Information published on 15 June 2011 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 242.

SPECTRUM EU Funded FP7 project – Kick-off meeting – 9 and 10 June 2011 at UIC in Paris

  • Research

9 and 10 June marked the kick-off meeting for the EU funded FP7 Rail Freight project SPECTRUM for which UIC leads the important dissemination Work Package.
The aim of this freight logistics project, set to last 48 months (starting 1 May 2011), is to develop seamless rail freight services to match customers’ supply chains. The project will determine how to effectively integrate low density, high value, time sensitive freight services with existing passenger services without detriment to either service type, taking into consideration operational, technological and logistics requirements.
Market context:

  • Modern manufacturing techniques and logistics systems require reliable, time sensitive delivery of lower density and higher value goods. This type of goods presents a significant market opportunity for rail freight which it has not achieved on a significant or sustained basis to date. The benchmark is set by the road transport industry and rail has to compete effectively with this sophisticated and adaptable sector.
  • Depending on the market segment the key requirements may be a mix of faster transit time, specialised goods systems, tracking and tracing systems ability and availability, greater flexibility, lower and competitive prices or premium services.
  • Rail has to compete head on with road transport and match bottom line requirements, enhance productivity to levels well above that achieved by conventional rail freight services and simultaneously realise serious cost reductions in both capital and operating costs.
  • The project is complementary to two other EU funded freight research projects which started recently, MARATHON and SUSTRAIL, with which SPECTRUM aims to cooperate closely.

SPECTRUM’s objectives are to work towards defining rail freight services consisting of:

  • A freight train that performs like a passenger train in terms of speed, acceleration, braking, momentum: allowing full scheduling on inter-urban and suburban train networks with no excessive consumption of train paths or the inflicting of delay on other rail traffic;
  • Increased operational productivity through intensive asset management systems, integration of train, capacity management, infrastructure utilisation and integration through handling systems into the co-modal networks of modern logistics;
  • A freight train that is smarter by design in terms of the on-board array of systems for condition monitoring of the train technology, cargo status and tracking and tracing;
  • A standardised and universal power supply system for the delivery of power to temperature controlled containers (reefers) in a controllable fashion.

The main work packages of the project are (apart from the management WP):

Work Package 1: Logistics & Market Analysis

Work Package 2: System Concept Development
This WP aims to conceptualise and design (at a broad level) the nature of 2-3 systems to deliver the ’offering’. Based on an integrated vision, the WP will (pre-competitively) develop a shared (and open) concept of how logistics, operations, infrastructure and vehicles need to integrate to deliver the high service levels expected.

Work package 3: Conceptual Design is conceptual, leading to concept designs, systems, modelling and simulation.

Work package 4: Synthesis, where the designed concept and the economic case are re-integrated with the estimated costs of the systems and the potential market returns synthesised into example business plans. The concepts are demonstrated using modelling, simulation etc. as appropriate.

Work Package 5: Demonstration of a number of the developments
The project will, among others, deliver a standard for power supply to refrigerated containers, undertake extensive market research, develop system concepts and make the first steps into design work for further development by the system builders. It will also deliver an extensive Electronic Handbook that consolidates all the material developed in this project into a one cohesive document.
The handbook will provide necessary background and important information to assist individuals and organisations interested in SPECTRUM outcomes, impacts and contributions.

Work Package 6: Dissemination. This WP is led by UIC
WP 6 was presented and discussed by Dennis Schut of the UIC Research Unit. Dissemination is an important task, because without a proper dissemination, implementation of the project results will hardly be possible and therefore no innovation will take place. Besides the dissemination work in this WP, it is possible an important to keep UIC members informed about project developments, receive their feedback and use this as input into the project again, maximising the chances of a potentially useful outcome of the project. Already in September 2010, the Research Unit of UIC’s Fundamental Values department organised a so-called “Research Board” meeting between the UIC staff (Mr Oliver Sellnick – Freight Director) and members of the Freight Forum with the three project coordinators and a number of WP leaders of the related freight projects SPECTRUM, MARATHONM and SAUSTRAIL. These types of meetings will be organised by the Research Unit for these and other EU funded projects in the future in order to have good input from UIC experts and guarantee smooth information flow between EU funded projects involving UIC participation and UIC members.

The project partners are economic and technological research institutes specialised in rail freight, the rail industry, infrastructure managers and associations such as UIC and the EIA. There is also a very important Advisory Board in which a number of railway operators participate, as well as a group called “Input Partners” comprising mostly users of rail freight services.

For more information please contact Dennis Schut, UIC Research Unit: schut@uic.org