The “InnoRail 2013” international conference, in which UIC is participating as a partner, is being held at the Novotel Congress Centre in Budapest from 28 – 30 October to discuss infrastructure and innovation in Europe. The aim of the conference is to provide a forum to exchange views between different professional fields of railway infrastructure, to discuss practical issues and to present new innovative developments, tools and methods. The conference, which has brought together around 300 participants (nfrastructure operators, industry partners, researchers and theoretical and practical experts) from 18 countries, will be an opportunity to discuss:
- Trends in transport policy; strategy, regulatory environment and economic challenges of railway infrastructure development
- Structure, construction, maintenance and operation of railway tracks
- Interoperability, signalling and telecommunications equipment, modern control and dispatch
- Traction power supply
- Risks and safety
The prime objective behind the commencement of a series of biannual professional conferences to be organised every odd year with a focus on practical matters is to provide a forum for an exchange of views between different professional fields of railway infrastructure, for the discussion of practical issues and for presenting novel innovative developments, tools and methods.
All members of the European Union have much to do to make their railways more lucrative to passenger and freight transport and achieve a significant growth in market share. It is an obvious fact that the stage of development of infrastructure and, within it, railway infrastructure is not identical in the Western and Eastern member states of the European Union. EU financing offers significant opportunities for closing the gap, however, the use of these funds does not always serve such objectives in the most efficient manner. The railway community would like to facilitate a positive change in the current situation.
It is also important that European Railway companies focus on fostering the harmonisation of railway infrastructure in the East and the Far East because it is projected that rail traffic will significantly increase in these directions. Thus, it would be expedient to mutually share experiences with experts from these regions as well.
Mr László Mosóczi, Chairman of InnoRail 2013, opened the conference introducing it with a video message from Mr Pál Völner, Minister of State for Infrastructure at the Ministry of National Development, Hungary, who assured the Hungarian government’s investments in infrastructure and in a better competitiveness for modes of transport.
UIC was represented by Hans Günther Kersten, Director of the UIC Rail System Department and Miklos Kopp, Director of the UIC Freight Department, who gave a joint presentation on the first day on “Safety: a barrier to interoperability?”
They claimed that after 10 years of EU policy, there is a significant progress of intramodal competition, but the modal share of rail in land has dropped by 2.3 points, and there is a lack of interoperability. Indeed, structural changes are not sufficient to revitalise rail freight, there is a need for a solid but flexible legislative structure, new innovative financing solutions and a safer and more efficient system. Not only should the infrastructure be renewed but standards have to be written.
In Europe there is still a feeling of resistance to change and harmonisation, and lack of momentum.
Besides, the overlaid legislation leads to national regulation and it embodies a long transition due to national pecularities (legacy infrastructure and Rulebooks). The rules notification process consists in: taking existing rules published by ERA and establishing new rules (submitted by the EC, ERA gives its opinion, reviewed by RISC...).
_ Many rules enforce national standards or UIC Leaflets, and company rules are turning into national laws. In the EU there is no special standardisation body for railways, but UIC plays its role and UIC Leaflets are now to evolve into International Railway Standards, formatted like ISO Standards.
Indeed, safety standards can be a barrier, but this is not the main problem, there is a strong need for safety management system. To achieve harmonisation, national rules have to be published and rationalised. The propagation of UIC Standards that are useful, worldwide, over decades, and adaptable to regional circumstances is a means to reducing the administrative burden.
Mr Massimo Marianeschi from UNIFE presented the Shift2rail project – a market-oriented, industrially-driven and multiannual R&I programme, a public-private joint undertaking under Horizon 2020. The project obtained the green light from the European Commission in June 2013 and will last for six or seven years. This 1.15 billion euro project composed of a 55 actor consortium from 26 countries aims at achieving a competitive and resource-eficient transport system, focusing on better capacity, reliability and life-cycle costs, and impacting all segments of the rail market.
The conference will continue and will now address the issues of heavy haul conditions, telecommunications, revision of EU safety targets and performance, risk analysis and risk management, technology solutions, asset management, ETCS...
During the sessions, participants have the opportunity to visit the exhibition space featuring the 22 booths of partners and sponsors, and on the second day, the chance to follow the conference at the Hungarian Railway Museum.
Following the success of this first InnoRail Conference and Exhibition, we are looking forward to seeing you at the second edition of INNORAIL 2015 in Budapest!