Tuesday 7 July 2020

UIC Intercity & High-Speed Committee (ICHSC) e-meetings held on 29 June – 1 July 2020

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The following e-meetings took place:

  • The Alliance of Universities for High-Speed Rail, 29 June 2020 (Steering + Plenary)
  • The High-Speed IRS Working Group, 30 June 2020
  • The Intercity & High-Speed Committee Plenary, 1 July 2020

Meeting virtually, through the numerous e-conferencing applications, is becoming quite normal ... “the new normal?”. We have become used to it! Of course, advantages and disadvantages are present and at the ICHSC Plenary we had to deal with a very wide time slot, which ranged from -9 H (CET) in California and + 6 H (CET) in Beijing! But we did it, thanks to the goodwill of the Committee Members.

The UIC Intercity & High-Speed Committee brings together several dozen UIC railway members who are either active in the high-speed domain in their day-to-day operations or have identified high speed as a development objective. The Committee is a treasure chest of expertise entrusted to it by the members through discussions, communication, studies and projects. UIC makes this expertise available in several ways: by means of the “high-speed” database and maps, by issuing reference documents and numerous publications.

The ICHSC plenary meeting was chaired by Mr HUO Baoshi of China Rail with the two vice-Chairmen Mr ROMO Eduardo of Fundacion Caminos de Hierro and Mr LEZA Imanol of Euskotren. The Chairman started by welcoming all participating members, about 46 in total, and he reminded everyone that – these days – we should have been in Beijing to participate in the 11th World Congress on the High-Speed Rail! Special welcome to the large Turkish delegation (8 representatives) and to the new UIC Members: National High-Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL) from India and the Chinese Rail Economic and Planning Research Institute Co. Ltd. (CRECC).
Mr Marc Guigon, Director Passenger Department reported on the UIC General Assembly, held on 30 June.

  • New UIC members: CRECC and CRCD from China – NHSRCL from India - DRT (Thailand), Serbia Cargo, Rail Baltica, etc.
  • An MoU has been signed with the University of St Petersburg, of the Alliance, and UIC
  • World Congress on High-Speed Rail is delayed to mid-2021
  • Next Plenary Global passenger forum is planned on 9-10 February 2021 in Moscow – input from members is requested
  • Four new Opt-in 2021 projects were presented at the European Workshop and to APRA Workshop with good support
  • High Level Passenger Committee will meet in Brussels on 2 October 2020
  • The Covid-19 Task Force brings together 171 representatives from 71 different countries and 18 international organisations. Six UIC guidance documents (labelled “Railsilience”) have been produced. The Covid-19 economic impact has been assessed according to two scenarios whether the recovery is quick or slow. What will be the “new normal?”

The four Opt-In 2021 projects: Artificial Intelligence: state of the art in High Speed Rail / Benchmark on Transport Regulatory Framework / Air Wide Move to Rail / HSR operation in extreme conditions: Wildfires were presented at the dedicated (EUROPE) UIC workshop on 28 April, getting good responses; they were also presented at the UIC APRA (Asia-Pacific Region) workshop on 11 June last, arousing interest between members.
It followed presentations of the major research projects in development, delivered by the PMs:

  • Door2Door & AV project group is made of the four funding members: SNCF, DB, FS, SBB and is led by DB. The project scope is to carry out a qualitative benchmark about door-to-door solutions and assess the impact of autonomous vehicles. The project started in 2018 and it will continue until 2021.
  • High speed mix traffic lines project is led by ADIF/Euskotren with SENER as the consulting company. The study started in November 2019 and is expected to end in October 2020. About 13 corridors are under scrutiny. The classification of lines is completed with a decision tree when considering the investment for the construction of a railway link. The design requirements and the constraints that characterise the mixed traffic lines are listed and categorized whether they apply to infrastructure, signalling, energy, telecommunications and/or rolling stock. The constraints placed on operations appear to be strongly linked to the crossing speed, the number, deployment and length of siding loops and their impacts on capacity.
  • EU-China project is developed by BJTU (prof. Dewei Li). The project deals with technology, regulations, political and financial issues. Eastern, Western and Central corridors are analysed. Freight EMU trainsets (85t and 800 m2 for goods) to be designed by CRRC with a maximum speed of 350 km/h are considered. It is worth noting that this project is fully funded by the UIC APRA region.

Mr Eduardo Romo co-Chairman of the H-S IRSs Working Group, gave a complete summary of the work done during the H-S IRS meeting on 30 June 2020.

Four major IRSs have been published during this year (2020):

  • IRS 60670: Implementation of High-Speed Railway – Features and definitions – published in Feb. 2020
  • IRS 60671: Implementation of High-Speed Railway – Emerging phase – published in Feb. 2020
  • IRS 60672: Implementation of High-Speed Railway – Feasibility phase – published in May 2020
  • IRS 60674: Implementation of High-Speed Railway – Construction Phase – published in May 2020.

IRS 60670-5 series – Implementation of a High-Speed Railway: Designing, constructing and operating new HSR systems are a complex task with many influences, stakeholders, requirements and objectives. In this regard, this series of six IRSs comes to assist stakeholders and decision-makers during the five phases of implementation of such a system i.e. emerging phase, feasibility phase, design phase, construction phase and operation phase. They are now all public.

The IRS 60661: Railway application – High-Speed - Dynamic integration tests and trial operation before revenue operation review – is very close to publication.

UIC is working with a multitude of stakeholders (universities, railway companies, railway consultants) to develop new solutions for the railway community on a global level with new standards to be released in the next two to three years including:

IRS 6068x series – Design of a new High-Speed Railway” is a step-by-step guide covering infrastructure, rolling-stock, energy, communication, etc.

The first one: the IRS 60680: Design of a new HS Railway-Infrastructure – v. 4.1, 11th Ed. 22 June 2020 - has been approved by the Committee Plenary. After submission to the Rail System Department for endorsement/approval it will start the publication phase at UIC.
The IRS 60681: Communication and Signalling - is to be approved in September 2020 by the Committee Plenary.
The IRS 60682: Design of a High-Speed Railway- Energy is planned to be approved in December 2020.
The very first draft of IRS 60683: Design of a High-Speed Railway- Interfaces was presented at the Plenary meeting.

On the operational aspect, the “HSR operation in extreme climate conditions” series is a bundle of reports addressing the challenges of operating High-Speed rail face to extreme weather conditions as: Strong wind, Flood, Earthquake, High temperatures, Low temperature and snow, which are currently reports already published and Wildfires is the one to be developed as new OPT-IN 2021.
For each risk, international experience is collected and analysed in order to provide knowledge of the quantitative risk forecast and detailed knowledge of the protection measures applicable to rolling stock or infrastructure, both in the design and operational phase and risk reduction assessment. There is an idea to create a dedicated IRS to set an inventory of measures to be taken in extreme climatic conditions. The HS IRS working group will analyse the reports on natural disasters and come up with a proposal for their integration in the IRS working plan.

As far as the Alliance of Universities for High-Speed Rail is concerned, Prof. Wu Jianhong, from BJTU, reported on the major points dealt with at the Alliance Steering and Plenary e-meetings held on 29 June.
Welcome speech from the Chairman Prof. Wang Jiaqiong (20 participants). He started to thank all fellow speakers for their address and expressed his appreciation to UIC, China Railways, CARS and all Alliance Members for their long-time support.

Major points:

  • Plan the special edition on HSR research to be issued after this Summer period and defer the 1st Workshop on HSR to 2021, with a possibility to have a mixed participation, face-to-face in Naples and on-line sites.
  • Since March 2020, two new Universities have applied to become Alliance Member: Institute for Transport Economics, Geography and Policy (ITREGEP Czech Rep.) - in total today 36 Universities with 72 Representatives belong to the Alliance of UNI for HSR.
  • The new procedure for becoming Alliance member, launched on 31/01/2020, has been applied by four Universities: BJTU, TOKYO TECH, DNIPRO, SOUTHAMPTON.
  • Extend deadline for new procedure +1 Year.
  • Prof. Wu Jianhong (BJTU), Prof. Pagliara (UNI NAPLES) gave reports on AUHSR Steering meeting on HSR Productivity and HSR Equity projects.
  • AUHSR website- 30 Subpages contents to be approved.
  • New UIC Brochure on High-Speed: topics of AI:
    • to include 1 or 2 pages about the ability of HSR to cope with pandemics,
    • to introduce the consequences on the transport market due to the covid-19
    • to start the AI project in September 2020.

The Chairman, the vice-Chairmen and all the Members thanked UIC for the organisation of the full set of e-meetings. All in all, they were three days of fruitful e-meetings.

For further information, please contact Paolo de Cicco, Senior Advisor for High-Speed:

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