Reporting Representing

UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux received the 2016 Award of the BIC (International Container Bureau) during the 5th Global Rail Freight Conference GRFC held in Rotterdam

During the gala dinner hosted by the BIC (Bureau International des Containers) on 22 June in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on the occasion of the 5th UIC Global Rail Freight Conference GRFC, the 2016 BIC Award was presented to Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General of UIC, the worldwide organisation of railways, in recognition of almost 40 years of exemplary leadership in the international railway sector.

The BIC’s Board of Directors cited Mr Loubinoux’s contribution to the development of sustainable transport and low emission trade alternatives as a decisive factor, as well as his action in the framework of UIC aiming to promote and improve railway standardisation, security and safety.

According to the evaluation by the BIC’s Board of Directors, as mentioned in his address by Mr Armand Toubol, Honorary General Manager delegated for Freight at French Railways (SNCF), BIC’s Board Member: “Mr Loubinoux’s work has greatly influenced the way that the world’s railways have developed. The past year has seen Mr Loubinoux involved in the establishment of two international landmark agreements for sustainable development and climate change: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) and the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in Paris. This involved working closely with the UN Secretary-General as a member of the UN High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport for the Five Year Action Agenda”.

In presenting the 2016 BIC Award, BIC’s Board Chairman Mr Giordano Bruno Guerrini stressed that “Mr Loubinoux has dedicated his working life to the sustainability of rail and intermodal trade. His commitment for promoting sustainability in transport, and increasing rail safety and security is a notable achievement and one that fully deserves the BIC Award”. BIC Chairman was accompanied at the ceremony of transmission of the 2016 BIC Award, by Mr Douglas Owen, Deputy Secretary General of the BIC.

Founded under the auspices of the International Chamber of Commerce in 1933 as a neutral, non-profit, international organisation, the BIC today has over 2100 members in 120 countries. The BIC has played an important role in the growth of containerisation, with its long-established and active role in the development of industry standards and its appointment by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1972 as the industry’s global container prefix registry – a registry further endorsed by international customs conventions. Since 2013 the BIC has also operated the Global ACEP Database, under the guidance of the IMO. The BIC is currently launching the BIC Technical Characteristics Database to help simplify compliance with SOLAS container weight requirements.

Today, the BIC code is the “international calling card” of nearly every container in international trade, allowing for proper identification and facilitating the crossing of borders without delay. With a mission to promote the safe, secure and sustainable expansion of intermodal transportation, the BIC enables professional dialogue amongst its members, standards bodies, governments and other industry organisations. The BIC holds official observer status as a NGO at both the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO), and contributes regularly as an observer to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and other organisations.

For further information please contact the UIC Communications Department:

4 Votes

Average rating: 4 / 5


Working group on behalf of the MERITS TimeTable Expert Group (TTEG) met on 21 June 2016 in Rome

The TTEG is the community of Railway Undertakings that publishes consolidated timetable data (MERITS data) to be used by the MERITS members in information systems to support journey planners and booking activities.

This working meeting was held on 21 June 2016 at the invitation of Roberta Rizzo, Trenitalia in Rome.

The participants represented 11 railway companies: Trenitalia, SNCF, DSB, SJ, CD, MAV-START, NSB, DB, RENFE, CFL, Trenord.

UIC was represented by Marc Guigon, Senior Advisor for Passenger Transport, Fabrice Setta, Senior Advisor for eBusiness and Joachim Baars, Expert on Timetable Data.
The meeting focused on:

  • Ways of delivering station data when there are several railway undertakings operating in one country
  • Minimum Connecting Times (MCTs) in railway stations
  • Restrictions on origin-destination relationship when reservation is mandatory for only part of the train journey

The group reached a common understanding of these points, and decisions for implementation will take place during next meeting.

For further information please contact Marc Guigon:

2 Votes

Average rating: 4.5 / 5


UIC participated in the 14th edition of the Global Level Crossing Safety & Trespass Prevention Symposium 2016 (GLXS), Helsinki, Finland from 12 to 16 June 2016

Enabling safe performance at level crossings

The Global Level Crossing Safety and Trespass Symposium (GLXS) is a biennial event bringing together engineering, safety, security, human factors, practitioners, academics and researchers from the global road, rail, law enforcement, research and regulatory communities.
It provides an opportunity to exchange information, discuss the latest research and share good practice to improve the safety of the at-grade interface between road and rail systems, and prevent railway trespassing.
This year it brought together 100 participants and 30 speakers from 20 countries.

The event was opened by Ms Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications in Finland since 2015 and Kari Wihlman, Master of Laws trained on the bench. He has acted as Director General of Trafi since the agency was founded in 2010.

Two Keynote speakers took the floor:

  • Mr Martin Gallagher, Chair of UNECE Expert Group on Safety at Level Crossings. He gave an overview of the work programme and remit of the group of experts.
  • Mr Kurt A. Olsen, Director, Railway Department, Accident Investigation Board, Norway shared some findings from accident analysis in Norway.

One of the sessions, dedicated to Strategies, Planning and Education, gave Isabelle Fonverne, UIC, the opportunity to present the collaboration between UIC and the International Road Transport Union (IRU) and Operation Lifesaver Estonia, on how to make professional drivers aware of safety at level crossings, which had resulted in the publication of three safety guides for professional drivers (of buses, taxis or trucks), now available in 10 languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Polish, Chinese, Arabic and Greek) and soon in Croatian. UIC, IRU and OLE have worked to deliver simple, basic safety messages and pictograms that can be understood by any professional driver in the world, regardless of national regulations. These flyers will be distributed to professional drivers, and used by ILCAD partners for their own needs, and by IRU (in training sessions organized by the IRU academy) and OLE.

Upon request we can deliver additional languages of these flyers in .PDF and .JPG versions. Please contact: Available languages can be found here
Link to the presentation:

The following sessions were dedicated to Human Factors, a key issue in level crossing safety.

“Solutions for specific cases”, “Innovative Approaches”, “Accident models and enforcement” and “Accident investigation” were also discussed.

The last sessions presented the “Trespass Prevention” issue and Dr Grigore Havârneanu, UIC Security Division, presented “Preventing Pedestrian Trespass in the Vicinity of Level Crossings”. He discussed a particular type of trespasser profile, specifically pedestrians who cross or walk along the railway tracks from a station platform towards a nearby level crossing or vice versa (

He gave relevant recommendations from the European research project RESTRAIL (REduction of Suicides and Trespasses on RAILway property: supported by field data and illustrated with examples from several pilot studies conducted in Europe. The presentation highlighted the promising results but also the constraints of jointly implementing anti-trespass panels with signage, surveillance cameras and fences. He also gave a reminder that the RESTRAIL toolbox ( is being continuously updated to include new published studies and results from ongoing field trials.

Ms Kirsi Pajunen, Chief Adviser to the Director General of Rail Transport Sector and Mr Yrjö Mäkelä, Director General of Rail Transport Sector, Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi concluded this very successful conference. They pointed out the enthusiastic cooperation between stakeholders and the fruitful interdisciplinary exchanges; they mentioned the usefulness of the RESTRAIL toolbox, and underlined the high quality of the presentations made at this symposium (the presentations can be seen here: Lastly, they invited the participants to the next edition in 2018, date and location to be determined.

Technical visit near Helsinki:

Railway Beacon improves the safety of level crossings. The device warns of an upcoming train on level crossings via LED light. When the light is flashing it is no longer safe to cross.

For more information on this event please visit:

At UIC, please contact Isabelle Fonverne: and Grigore Havârneanu:

1 vote

Average rating: 5 / 5

News from UIC members

United Kingdom: One weekend of major work at Chislehurst station completed by Network Rail – four more to come

The first of five consecutive weekends of work at Chislehurst, south east London, has been completed successfully and safely by Network Rail.

The work, to rebuild the railway at the south end of the station to a new design, will improve the reliability and comfort of trains that run to and through the area.

Each weekend of engineering there means no trains can run through the station, on the line between Sevenoaks and Orpington. Southeastern trains have been diverted where possible and some has been and will be replaced by buses.

Work started on the weekend of 11 and 12 June and will continue until the weekend of 9 – 10 July.

Network Rail project manager Cameron Downey said: “Chislehurst is a busy stretch of railway and the area we are rebuilding sees many trains crossing from one track to another to destinations such as Sevenoaks, Rochester and beyond.

“Our project is to replace 12 sets of points and more than 500 metres of track, to a new design. We are doing this work piece by piece over five weekends, which is a challenge in itself, but when it is done we will have replaced worn-out tracks and equipment with new kit. This is part of our Railway Upgrade Plan to deliver more reliable journeys for passengers.

“In addition, trains are limited to 20 mph when they cross from one track to another here at Chislehurst, and we will be able to raise that to 40mph. We took out and replaced the first set of points, which allow trains to move from one set of tracks to another, this weekend, and we also re-laid more than 250m of new track.”

Southeastern Train Services Director, Richard Dean said: “The engineering work taking place over the next four weekends is essential to improving the reliability of the railway through this section of track. We appreciate that this will cause some inconvenience to our passengers over the next few weekends but we will be diverting trains where possible and putting on replacement bus services to keep people moving so we would ask people to please check before they travel.”

When complete, the £4m project will have re-laid the whole junction south of Chislehurst station to a new design, and changed the signalling arrangements. Trains currently use the junction to switch from on pair of tracks to another, and also access the line lines to Swanley and the Medway Towns.

(Source: Network Rail)

1 vote

Average rating: 1 / 5

News from UIC members

Finland: Focus on customer needs in reducing the maintenance backlog in the transport network

Additional funding to the amount of €364 million has been allocated to basic infrastructure maintenance for the period of 2017–2019. The funding has been transferred from development projects that had not been designated and it is intended for reducing the maintenance backlog in the transport network.

The funding is directed to improvement of roads, railways and private roads and supporting transport projects in urban areas. This additional funding complements the backlog maintenance programme totalling €600 million published by the Government in February 2016.

“The Government has granted an additional €1 million to curb the maintenance backlog. The now allocated additional funding for basic infrastructure maintenance is a response to customer needs on several sites across Finland. The preparations for the programme had an emphasis especially on the operational preconditions for businesses, commuting needs and traffic safety”, said Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner.

The targets for additional funding have been chosen on the basis of the material provided by the Finnish Transport Agency and the ELY Centres. Recent knowledge about customer needs has also been used to a considerable extent.

Roads, private roads and railways will be improved

Of the additional funding, €163 million will be directed to roads and €191 million to railways. Measures that will be carried out on roads include a variety of arrangement for intersections and lanes, road improvements, fast lanes and parking for lorries. The largest individual project is the replacement of the cable ferry in Vekaransalmi by a bridge, for which the cost estimate is €19.4 million.

The improvement of roads that are crucial for businesses and renovation of road structures will be carried out with the funding. Of the additional funding, a total of €30 million will be allocated on national level to government subsidies for improvement of private roads. The additional funding allocated for the subsidies is intended for improving the transport chains and safety of timber transport.

In the railways, an important investment is allocated to the Tampere-Seinäjoki and Tuomioja-Raahe routes as well as to improvements carried out on the coastal railway line. In addition, safety equipment that is in poor condition and in which the technology is old will be replaced on several railway sections and railway yards to ensure the operability of the railways and the punctuality of rail traffic.

For example, the transport chains of businesses can be made considerably more efficient by increasing axle loads. The renovation of depots and rail tracks, on the other hand, will promote the freeing of competition on the railways.

Investments in accordance with the targets in MAL agreements directed to four large urban areas

Financing will also be directed to targets in accordance with the agreements concerning land use, transport and housing (MAL) in the Helsinki region as well as in the urban regions of Turku, Tampere and Oulu. The financing will be used, for example, to support the construction of the Klaukkala by-pass in Nurmijärvi and the E18 ring road in Turku. These measures enhance the efficiency of transport and the land use needs in the metropolitan area.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications reports the progress and effectiveness of the measures transparently and in an up-to-date manner. The funding programme and targets can be viewed (in Finnish) on the Finnish Transport Agency’s website.

Additional funding and maintenance backlog sites on the Finnish Transport Agency’s website: (in Finnish)

The Ministry of Transport and Communications’ press release regarding the maintenance backlog on 5 February 2016:
(Source: Finnish Transport Agency)

1 vote

Average rating: 3 / 5


ILGGRI invited UIC to its Plenary Meeting from 26 – 27 May 2016 in Athens

The Plenary Meeting of the “International Liaison Group of Governmental Railway Inspectorates” (ILGGRI) took place at the invitation of the Greek National Railway Safety Authority from 26 – 27 May 2016 in Athens. Representatives of about 20 European National Safety Authorities attended this meeting. UIC was invited by ILGGRI to report on Safety activities.

Peter Gerhardt, Manager of the UIC Safety Unit, report on the worldwide mission of UIC to promote the development of rail transport in order to meet challenges of mobility and sustainable development. He also mentioned the numerous MoUs concluded between UIC and international organisations and institutions.

His presentation focused on the work programme of the UIC Safety Unit and the five Advisory Groups of the UIC Safety Platform. He highlighted the common UIC System Safety Management Group (SSMG)/CER Safety Support Group which supports CER speakers in safety related Working Parties of the “European Railway Agency” (ERA). Following the entry into force of the technical pillar of the 4th Railway Package, the Agency’s name will change to European Union Agency for Railways (the “Agency”, EUAR).

Peter Gerhardt mentioned the three multidisciplinary Task Forces on:

  • Safety Contractor Management
  • Signals passed at danger (SPAD)
  • Safety culture and Safety Management Systems (SMS)
    which will finish their work with the presentation of recommendations and guidelines to share best practices across UIC members.

Further main items presented by Peter Gerhardt were the UIC Safety Database with the participation of 22 European railway companies and UIC activities on safety at level crossings, such as the

  • International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD), coordinated by UIC
  • Participation in the joint WP road/rail at UNECE
  • Communication of guidance for professional drivers (jointly deevloped and published with IRU and OLE in various languages)

ILGGRI representatives appreciated the information from UIC and expressed their interest in continuing this cooperation and information exchange.

The next joint meeting of the UIC SSMG/CER SSG with the ILGGRI Regulatory Subgroup is scheduled to be held on 30 September 2016 and will take place at the invitation of UIC in Paris.

For further information please contact Peter Gerhardt:

1 vote

Average rating: 4 / 5


13th UIC Sustainability Conference to be held in Vienna on 12, 13 & 14 October 2016

Be a Sustainability champion ! – Apply now

Following the success of previous editions, the first day of the UIC Sustainability Conference will allow UIC members to highlight recent achievements in the field of railway sustainability.

This session will take the form of a world tour of railways, with each given three minutes and one slide to describe the impact on environmental, social and economic sustainability.

This is a unique opportunity to illustrate the engagement of your company in Sustainability issues and share best practice with a global audience.

To be a Sustainability Champion and reserve your time on stage please complete application form here and return it to before 12 September 2016.

Technical day programme

Thursday 13 October will be the occasion for participants to attend numerous parallel sessions focusing on key sustainability issues affecting the rail sector including energy, noise, carbon, sustainability reporting, climate change adaptation, sustainable mobility, recycling and sustainable procurement, sustainability for maintenance activities.

You can download the details of those workshops here. Do not hesitate to check the website for regular updates.

Registration – free of charge – is possible here.


For further information please contact Nick Craven, Head of the UIC Sustainable Development Unit:

2 Votes

Average rating: 4 / 5

News from UIC members

China: First Shenzhen-Urumqi South through train in service

At 9:30 on 15 May, Train Z230/231 from Shenzhen to Urumqi South in the charge of Guangjiu Passenger Depot of Guangzhou Railway Group Corporation, pulled out of Shenzhen Station. This was the first Shenzhen-Urumqi South through train.

The train adopts the latest 25T car body and is scheduled to finish the 4657 km journey in 48 hrs and 17 minutes. The ticket for a top-layer semi-cushioned sleeping berth costs 714.5 RMB, and that for a semi-cushioned seat costs 423.5 RMB for the whole trip. The train leaves Shenzhen Station at 9:20 every day and arrives at Urumqi South Station at 9:47 on the third day.

(Source: China Railways)

0 vote
News from UIC members

United States: High-Speed Rail Authority and Energy Commission team up to make California greener

On June 16, 2016 the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) and the California Energy Commission (Energy Commission) announced that they have agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will ensure that the high-speed rail program will help California meets its climate goals and become a greener state.

The MOU allows increased cooperation between the Authority and the Energy Commission to explore the latest green technology and best practices during the design and construction of the nation’s first high-speed rail system. It will help facilitate the use of renewable energy, the delivery of zero net energy buildings and incorporation of zero emission vehicle infrastructure in California as part of the rail system.

“California has always been a leader when it comes to using ren ewable energy, reaching our climate goals and fighting global warming,” said Jeff Morales, Authority CEO. “This MOU with the Energy Commission is another step in the right direction that will help us build a first class high-speed rail system in our state.”

“Transportation is the single largest source of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions,” said Robert B. Weisenmiller, California Energy Commission Chairman. “California high-speed rail can provide an alternative, greener transportation option for residents. The plan to power the system with 100 percent renewable energy, have zero net energy stations and use alternative fuels in support vehicles shows, once again, the state’s commitment to a more sustainable future.”

In response to Assembly Bill 758, the Energy Commission adopted the policy goals of reducing energy consumption in existing residential buildings by 40 percent by 2020 and reaching zero net energy in 50 percent of California’s existing
commercial buildings by 2030.

The Authority is committed to powering the high-speed rail system with 100 percent renewable energy sources, maximizing the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions throughout design and construction, and making energy efficiency a priority in design. This includes constructing zero net energy buildings and electric vehicle charging infrastructure at rail stations as well as partnerships with local public transit agencies.

A link to this MOU can be found here:

(Source: CHSRA)

0 vote
News from UIC members

Turkey: Final countdown started for the inauguration for the Kars Logistics Centre

Mr Ahmet Arslan, Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication, carried out examinations on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line, Kars Logistic Centre and Ankara-Kars Rapid Railway Line Project.

Mr Arslan also expressed that the “Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line is our indispensable project. We will complete the construction of this line, which is the missing part of the Iron Silk Railway Project, at the end of this year.

Considering the fact that there is approximately 31 trillion USD worth of trade volumes in this region and 1.5 billion people are living here, this project is of great importance. We aim to establish an intermediate corridor excluding the North corridor from Asia to Europe and South corridor running through the south of Caspian, which are the international corridors.

This is the target of the Republic of Turkey. We aim to complete the construction of the Ankara-Kars Rapid Railway Line Project, which is carried out in order to transport the goods to Kars more rapidly, in 2023, the 100th anniversary of our Republic.”

(Source: TCDD)

1 vote

Average rating: 4 / 5

News from UIC members

Czech Republic: The biggest players on the Czech railway market sign memorandum on the improvement of Prague-Munich train service

Three directors, the director of the Railway Infrastructure Administration (SZDC), Czech Railways (CD a.s.) and CD Cargo, have signed a memorandum on cooperation in an effort to achieve a major improvement in the connection between Prague and Munich. Due to the current travel time of almost six hours, the railway line stands no chance to compete. Non-electrified single-track section from Plzen to Regensburg with two set-backs disqualifies both passengers and freight transport in battling for customers.

“This is the reason why we have joined the Memorandum. The flow of goods and materials between the Czech Republic and Bavaria currently takes place mainly on the road,” said the Chairman of Board of CD Cargo, a.s., Mr Ivan Bednarik. “Concerning the development of the infrastructure, the Czech Republic is behind the times. That’s why the international freight transport walks around us. There is a common western practice nowadays to compile trains with a length of 820m, which is something absolutely unthinkable for us. “

International transport for the Czech Railways is a segment, which develops dynamically and generates strong growth in revenues. Therefore the national carrier in cooperation with DB has been focusing on the quality of the services and the connections between Prague, Berlin and Hamburg over a long period of time. Equally important, however, it is the line from Prague to Munich in terms of the international lines network. The pressure on Bavarian and federal authorities has been recently increased by the top representatives of the Czech Republic as well. The main goal is to make this line one of the priorities of the German Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan (Bundesverkehrswegeplan).

“Our organisation plans to improve the infrastructure parameters on the Czech section of the track. Nevertheless, the same effort on modernisation of the related lines from the CR to Munich will be undoubtedly important from the German part. The signing of the Memorandum is supposed to be a message that we take seriously the agreements between the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and the Chancellor Merkel, as well as the agreements of Ministers of Transport on improving of the railway connections,” stated Pavel Sury, the CEO of the SZDC.

“I was recently present at the opening of the Gotthard tunnel on the north – south axis between Frankfurt and Milan. It may seem unimportant for the Czech Railways but the opposite is true. It means that we have to increase the pressure on modernisation of the east – west connection as well, of which we are logically the part. Otherwise, we will end up cut off and the international long-distance transportation will go around us. If we managed to shorten the travel time from the current six hours to four and half, many people would prefer trains instead of cars and planes,” added the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the CEO of CD, a.s.

“We will immediately communicate the signed Memorandum to the foreign partners, particularly in Germany in attempt to lobby for the high priority of the Prague-Munich line in the above-mentioned plan. Furthermore, we are going to promote it in Brussels amongst MEPs, European Commission, the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), as well as UIC and OSJD”, concluded the member of the Board of Directors of CD, a.s. for projects and international relations, Mr Roman Sterba.

(Source: ČD)

3 Votes

Average rating: 5 / 5


Successful 5th UIC Global Rail Freight Conference organised in Rotterdam under the theme: “Shaping Together the Business of the Future”

Rail Freight has a future if based on more customer-orientation, more corridors, more complementarity, more collaboration, more creative connectivity

UIC successfully organised the 5th edition of the UIC Global Rail Freight Conference on 22 and 23 June 2016 in Rotterdam, which has become over the editions the reference at global level for exchanges on all strategic issues and best practices related to the development of rail freight and logistics services across the world.

This year, under the Patronage of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, and with the support of UIC Member ProRail (Dutch Railway infrastructure manager), OTIF (Intergovermental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail) and United Nations UNECE, ITF from OECD, as well as a number of international and railway associations such as BIC, CIT, GCU, UNIFE, UIP, ERFA, Rail Cargo, UIRR, etc, the Conference brought together around 250 participants from all the parts of the world and representing the whole freight and logistics supply chain. The Conference was also connected this year to the TEN-T Days organised by the European Commission earlier this week at the same place, at the Van Nelle Factory.

A series of high level speakers discussed about the theme “Shaping together the Business of the Future” and more particularly focused on “From Shanghai to Rotterdam: the landbridge concept 10 years on”, “Strategies to deliver opportunities and enhance effectiveness”, “Rail Freight 4.0: innovation and digitalisation for global solutions” as well as “The workforce of the future: digital skills and human capital.

The Official opening of the Conference gave the floor to high level representatives from the political and business world.
Among them, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General UIC, who welcomed all the participants on behalf of the International Union of Railways, Pex Langenberg, Vice Mayor of Rotterdam in charge of Mobility who welcomed on behalf of the city of Rotterdam, Mark Frequin, Director General Mobility, Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, Pier Eringa, CEO Prorail, Dutch Rail Infrastructure Manager, Emile Hoogsteden, Vice President Containers, Breakbulk & Logistics, Port of Rotterdam, Salman Babayev, Vice President of Russian Railways (RZD), representing UIC Chairman Oleg Belozerov, Herald Ruijters, Acting Director B, DG MOVE, European Commission.

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General said:

I’m very pleased that UIC ensures the bridge between the important events that took place at the beginning of this week, the TEN-T Days and the Corridor Day of the Dutch EU Presidency, and our two-day conference that will highlight the latest developments of world trade and international markets, and the perspectives of optimally integrating rail freight into the global transport and logistics chain.
The 2016 edition of the GRFC conference has the ambition to provide a clear picture of new perspectives connected with the need for mobility and growth of world trade, the creation of new opportunities (corridors, dedicated logistics offers, new technologies as digitalisation) and all forms of cooperation, partnerships and synergies. These perspectives of regular growth connected with the creation of new trade flows and new routes, definitively open promising perspectives for rail freight, in combination with other transport modes. This conference will dedicate an important part of the sessions and debates to presentations of these new opportunities in Europe and in various regions of the world. Since the last GRFC Conference, all these dreams are increasingly taking the shape of reality, thanks to the involvement and continuous commitment of all stakeholders: governments, railways, their multimodal partners, financial institutions, international organisations”.

He followed by saying:

UIC as the worldwide organisation grouping the entire community of railways is fully committed to contribute with all its cooperation structures to the development of an effective rail freight transportation system as the backbone of a balanced and optimised multimodal transportation mix.

I can confirm that UIC and the worldwide railway community are strongly supporting the Declaration made by EU Transport Ministers at the Business Conference organised by the Dutch EU Presidency during the TEN-T Days, aiming to promote the development of competitive rail freight transport, in particular along rail freight corridors.

UIC will continue to concentrate its actions on improving the four issues of interoperability, reliability, quality and commercial success of railway operation on European corridors as well as corridors linking Europe to neighbouring regions.

I would like to just mention the cooperation work achieved at the level of freight CEO Task Force, Global Transport Expert group (GTE), Combined Transport Group (GTC), ECCO project, GCU, GRFC Conferences, etc. This action is carried out in close cooperation with all international partner institutions, OTIF, United Nations, ITF, World Bank, Regional Development Banks such as EIB, ADB, etc.”

Mr Pex Langenberg, Vice Mayor of Rotterdam in charge of Mobility welcomed the participants and young professionals attending the Conference on behalf of the city of Rotterdam, by reminding the participants that the city has encouraged relationships between railways and ports since 1870 and explaining the benefits of the Betuwe route in the Netherlands. He also added that this week shows that arguments still have to be developed in favour of the development of rail freight.

Other speakers during the official opening insisted on the importance of “shaping together the business of the future, still in a context of competition, but with more cooperation, and thanks to the benefits expected from digitalisation”. The future indeed could be a “combination between robust and flexible approach of what you want to deliver”.

Mr Salman Babayev, Vice President of Russian Railways (RZD), representing UIC Chairman Oleg Belozerov, declared that

Russian Railways were ready for a continuous and constructive dialogue to be led with Member States and all relevant parties in order to sustain efforts to build through Russia the “landbridge between Europe and Asia”

He particularly stressed

the importance to be more and more “client orientated” – one of the main messages of GRFC this year – and to develop the international transport corridors

He said

our profitability of cooperation is enormous”

Mr Paul Barrett, the moderator of the Conference, also invited five young professionals to listen to all the debates. Their mission was to make sure, in a “fresh blood approach”, that the link between current and future generations who would be in charge of the future of rail can be made and share the important messages, embracing the new challenges for railways, and more particularly for rail freight.

Among these messages delivered by speakers during GRFC, several ones can be kept in mind:

  • Rail freight actors and stakeholders must think the future of railways as a whole network and not only corridor by corridor: in this context, it is important to have both administrative and technical harmonisation, to continue to develop interoperability and facilitate cross-border operations, but also to have adapted regulations, to create a favourable legal and tax scheme to reduce the cost burden;
  • Rail freight actors and stakeholders should not forget the key player: customers of this business who play a crucial role. If they take into account expectations from the market: regularity / reliability; if they develop more door to door solutions and adapted services in connection with customer needs, with the dimension of flexibility and price stability - not so bad in rail, adapted equipment, developing safe transport, based on operation excellence. If all these aspects are regrouped, “there is room for rail between air and sea if we can match the market requirement”;
  • Rail freight actors and stakeholders have all the reasons to remain optimistic; there is still progress to make as the present business model is at risk. But digitalization offers opportunities and thanks to “new blood” and the introduction of young skilled people to new technologies and to new mobility, perspectives offer a great future to re-invent railways through new generations, characterised by digital skills, customer obsession, able to act with flexibility, accepting job mobility, new organisational models, procedures, processes.
  • Rail freight actors and stakeholders finally have to continue their common efforts to improve the image of the sector, which is not what it should be.

Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General, concluded this two-day conference by thanking all the speakers and participants for these very fruitful exchanges, presentations and debates. He said: “We had visions, expectations, practice in a totally transparent manner.

Summarising these two days is impossible. But as mentioned previously, some salient key points from all can be several useful take away:

  • Customers: without them, rail freight has no prospect for development;
  • Corridors: they have become a self-evident fact shared by all organisations with TEN-T Days, not only in Europe but at a global, transcontinental level, including East-West and North-South connections; services will make the difference; we have come from vision to reality, we must go from policies to business cases;
  • Centres: it was already the message in the GRFC organised in Vienna in 2014 and it becomes a reality: more and more logistics hubs are created, as interfaces which offer capacity to maximise loads and they offer possibility of added value services;
  • Complementarity: rail is not at all, but the backbone of a new transportation mix that can also be fed and de-fed (example of the incubator of the Port of Rotterdam); partnership with shipping is progressing and Rotterdam was the best symbolic choice to share this evidence;
  • Collaboration between all stakeholders, between associations and organisations, between shippers, forwarders, operators and major owners to better harmonise, to improve interoperability or legal aspects with common continental framework (through the General Contract of Use for Wagons (GCU) for example);
  • Creative connectivity to boost innovation, to take best advantage of digitalisation and the introduction of very concrete ideas, respecting intrinsic drivers of railways such as safety, security, sustainability

Two technical visits were organised within the GRFC, to the ECT Delta Terminal and to the Kijfhoek Shunting Yard. An exhibition also gave participants the opportunity to discover new innovations and rail freight products.

For further information please contact Sandra Gehenot, UIC Senior Freight Advisor and GRFC Project Manager:

7 Votes

Average rating: 4.71 / 5


GCU 10th anniversary celebrated in Rotterdam during GRFC

UIC also participated in the GCU anniversary in Rotterdam and was pleased to see that this General Contract of Use for Wagons (GCU), a multilateral contract based on the international convention COTIF 1999 and Annex CUV, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and that it has grown to an impressive network of more than 600 signatories across 20 countries, with more than 600,000 wagons currently declared in the GCU wagon database.

UIC, together with ERFA (European Rail Freight Association) and UIP (Association
of independent wagon keepers) is a founding member of the GCU, a contract under private law which has been applied since June 2006 by more than 600 railway Undertakings and Wagon Keepers and which makes obsolete bi- or multilateral contracts with regard to the use (and transfer between two Railway Undertakings) of freight wagons.

UIC is actively involved in the development of the GCU and its main technical appendices (conditions for the technical transfer inspection of wagons and corrective and preventive maintenance).

Nicolas Czernecki, one of the two chairmen of GCU, gave a speech on 22 June in Rotterdam, during the 10th anniversary of GCU.

This video explains what GCU is:

7 Votes

Average rating: 4.71 / 5


Annual NRT (Non Integrated Reservation Tickets) Meeting held from 7 – 9 June 2016 in Clervaux, Luxembourg

The NRT (Non Integrated Reservation Tickets) working group held its annual meeting in Clervaux, Luxembourg, kindly hosted by CFL. Representatives from CD, ZSSK, MAV START, SV, DB, NS, CFL ATTICA GROUP, SBB, ÖBB, SNCF, TRENITALIA and NMBS/SNCB were present, along with the CIT and a number of representatives of the UIC working groups whose work affects or is affected by the NRT activities. Natascha Hooft, who was elected as president last year, chaired the meeting. Luis Casado, senior advisor of this working group, represented UIC.

The meeting started with a warm welcome from the chairwoman of the group and from the host of the meeting. The first session was a joint session between the Night Trains Group, which held its own meeting the day before. The Special Conditions of Carriage were discussed in those articles concerning the Night Trains, and a new version was approved in which the text in English will be the master version. The new version of Leaflet 106 in those aspects concerning NRT was approved, although it still has go to through the EWT and the IRT working groups, given that it deals with aspects from those fields of work. The aim is to present the new version on the Commercial Group next autumn, which will be a product of all the Commercial Working Groups. The session finished with an overview of the activities of the IRT (Integrated Reservation Tickets) working group, presented by chairman Laurent Pollet.

The second day started with an overview of the activities of the CIT given by Jan Svensson, and a summary of the latest meetings and initiatives from UIC, given by Mr Luis Casado, with special attention to the Commuter and Regional Train Systems Training to be held from 28 – 30 September in Rome. This was followed by a discussion about the Rail Plus offer, chaired by Mr Sascha Oberbüscher (DB) who summarised the discussions and results of the experts group that has held three meetings during the last months to come up with a new offer for this product, to be approved at the next Commercial Group. Mr Oberbüscher also announced that they will start to work in a digital version of the Rail Plus pass. During the afternoon, the group revised the SCIC NRT, and some changes were introduced. Other topics related to the Special Conditions of Carriage were also addressed.

The last session started with an overview of the pilot project of DB and SNCF in Alleo trains regarding penalty fare notice for border crossing journeys, given by Christiane Kraus (DB) who also talked about commercial policies. Later, Mr Jan Svensson (CIT) to reduce the timeframe for the submission of applications for refunds. Mr Ruetger Fenkes, president of the Commercial and Distribution Forum, reported on the state of the art of the MERITS/PRIFIS project (he explained the separation of both projects and the reasons to do it), and then he gave a presentation of the current status of the TAP TSI and the structure and roles of the TSGA. Federica Follesa (TRENITALIA) gave a presentation regarding the new anti fraud policies in Italy and the NRT regional traffic, and the meeting ended with Mr Peter Maleux (NMBS/SNCB) giving an overview on the ticketing activities.

TRENITALIA will host the next meeting from 16 – 18 May 2017.

For further information please contact Luis Casado Presa:

1 vote

Average rating: 4 / 5


22nd PASSAGE Meeting held from 14 – 15 June 2016 in Leuven, Belgium

The 22nd PASSAGE (Passenger Accessibility Solutions Support and Action Group for Europe), Working Group meeting took place on 14 and 15 June October in Leuven, kindly hosted by NMBS/SNCB. It was chaired by Mr Hans Christian Kierketeerp Moller (DSB), president of the group. UIC was represented by Mr Luis Casado Presa, Senior Advisor of the Passenger Department. Representatives from CFL, RENFE, TRAINOSE, ZSSK, CD, SNCF, ÖBB, SBB and MAV START attended the meeting.

Several subjects were discussed. The meeting started with the traditional round table introduction in which all attendees explained the latest developments in the field of accessibility within their companies and/or in their countries. After that, the results of the study regarding the ticket vending machines and the adaptation to PRMs were presented, and it was decided to publish a guide on this subject. It was also decided that the next project of the group will focus on the provision of accessibility services in situations where there is a lack of resources, given the budgetary constrictions these kind of services usually have to deal with and the increasing number of demand that companies have to face.

During the second day, the new tariff approved by the NRT working group regarding the trips of companions of PRMs was discussed, and a new project was presented by Mr Jaromir Fol (CD), regarding the publicity of the assistance policies in railway companies for PRM international travel. David Sarfatti (AVANCIAL) presented the latest statistics in the use of PRM ABT, and it was agreed to study further developments of the tool in future meetings.

As the group had shown great interest in the provision of accessibility services in a small station, NMBS/SNCB organised a trip to Aachen where representatives of the companies could see for themselves how assistance is provided in a small, but busy station with limited resources.

The next meeting will take place in Stockholm, Sweden on 18 and 19 October 2016, hosted by TRAFIKVERKET.

For further information please contact Luis Casado Presa:

3 Votes

Average rating: 4.67 / 5

News from UIC members

Belgium: Greensky wind farm and ‘sail trains’ win Belgian Energy and Environment Award

Infrabel and ENGIE Electrabel have received a prestigious award on behalf of Greensky for the wind farm along the Leuven – Liège high-speed rail line. The wind farm won the Public Sustainable Development Award. Since October 2015, 170 trains a day (dubbed ‘sail trains’) run on this line via wind power thanks to the connection of the Greensky wind farm to the Belgian rail network. This unique and sustainable project supports and encourages the use of renewable energy.

Prestigious Public Sustainable Development Award

On the evening of Thursday 2 June – a few days before World Environment Day – the best environmental and energy projects were honoured during the eleventh edition of the Belgian Energy and Environment Awards ceremony. Infrabel and its partner ENGIE Electrabel, Belgium’s largest generator of sustainable energy, jointly received the award in the Sustainable Development in the Public Sector category.

This jury award honours public enterprises and municipalities for their commitment and sustainable contribution to the energy and mobility policy. The award recognises the unique and special implementation of a versatile wind energy project and the outstanding cooperation between the project partners.

In line with the strategic sustainability policy of the various partners in the Greensky project, it underscores the importance of supporting renewable energy projects that help reduce the environmental footprint in accordance with the objectives of the climate conventions. The public sector and Belgium are thus demonstrating their concern for sustainability issues and the well-being of current and future generations.

Greensky wind turbines power trains with renewable

The wind farm in Gingelom along the Leuven – Liège high-speed railway line (HSL2) is connected to the railway installations through the high-voltage substation in Avernas. Following the commissioning of the seven wind turbines on 24 October 2015, two-thirds of the generated renewable energy goes directly to the Belgian rail network. This means that every day around 170 trains – representing nearly 5% of all passenger transport in Belgium – can partially run on wind power over the HSL2 as well as the Leuven – Liège (line 36) and Landen – Sint-Truiden – Hasselt (line 21) conventional railway lines. These wind-power trains have been dubbed ‘sail trains’.

The remaining third of the wind energy is fed into the public power grid and supplies renewable electricity to approximately 10,000 households per year. The seven wind turbines generate roughly 35 GWh of electricity per year, thereby reducing CO2 emissions by 15,000 tonnes. Work on the second phase of the Greensky wind farm will start in the second half of 2016. From early 2017, nine wind turbines distributed between the municipalities of Lincent, Orp-Jauche, Hannut and Hélécine in the Walloon region will provide additional renewable electricity and reduce CO2 emissions by a further 20,000 tonnes per year.

The City of Sint-Truiden is firmly committed to the future. Its participation in the Greensky project is a carefully considered decision, with tangible payback experienced after just one year. The returns will be given back to the citizens of Sint-Truiden in the form of sustainable projects. Sint-Truiden is thus investing today in the quality of life of its residents, their children and their grandchildren.

The wind farm is part of the Greensky project, a partnership between ENGIE Electrabel (50%), the City of Sint-Truiden (23%), the Brussels Intermunicipal Electricity Company (IBE) (17%) and Infrabel (10%).

(Source: Infrabel)

1 vote

Average rating: 4 / 5

Next meetings scheduled

  • 25 April 2019 European work programme 2020 Paris
  • 25 April 2019 European Management committee Assistants Paris
  • 8 May 2019 Freight Forum RCA Vienna
  • 14-16 May 2019 UIC Global FRMCS Conference Paris, UIC HQ
  • 14-16 May 2019 UIC Global FRMCS Conference Paris, UIC HQ
  • 15-17 May 2019 Statistics Steering Committee Meeting Poznan, PL (PKP)
  • 16-18 May 2019 TopRail Forum Naples
  • 20-21 May 2019 Seminar on UIC Asia-Pacific Projects 2018-2020 Manila, PHILIPPINES
  • 21-23 May 2019 UIC-ADB Asia-Pacific Railway Innovations Forum Manila, PHILIPPINES
  • 21 May 2019 Preparatory Group 94th General Assembly Paris
  • 22 May 2019 European Management committee Assistants Paris
  • 22 May 2019 European Group of Assistants Paris
  • 23 May 2019 27th UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly Manila, PHILIPPINES
  • 3-5 June 2019 1st Digital Conference Brussels
  • 15-16 June 2019 UIC Middle-East Regional Assembly Amman, Jordan
  • 18-20 June 2019 UIC Security Week Paris, UIC HQ
  • 24 June 2019 28th European Regional Assembly Budapest
  • 25 June 2019 Executive Board Budapest
  • 25 June 2019 94 General Assembly Budapest
  • 26 June 2019 Safety Platform Steering Group meeting DB AG BERLIN
  • 16 September 2019 APNRTC (Asia Pacific Network of Rail Training Centres) Moscow
  • 17-20 September 2019 Best HR and training practices for Railways Moscow
  • 24-25 September 2019 Rail System Forum Steering Board Paris, UIC HQ
  • 9-11 October 2019 5th UIC World Congress on Rail Training Rabat, Morocco
  • 16-19 October 2019 UIMC Scientific Congress and General Assembly Pietrarsa Napoli - Italy
  • 28-29 October 2019 28th UIC Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly Tokyo, JAPAN
  • 5 November 2019 Safety Platform Steering Group meeting UIC HQ PARIS
  • 5 November 2019 Freight Forum RCA Vienna
  • 6 November 2019 Safety Platform Plenary meeting UIC HQ PARIS
  • 11-14 November 2019 7th NEXTSTATION Tehran
  • 20-22 November 2019 15th UIC Global Security Congress Praha, Czech Republic
  • 26 November 2019 Statistics Steering Committee Meeting UIC, Paris
  • 27 November 2019 Statistics Plenary Meeting UIC, Paris
  • 28 November 2019 Statistics Steering Committee Meeting UIC, Paris

UIC e-News Legal Editor: Marie Plaud-Lombard
Coordination: Helen Slaney
Editorial team: UIC e-News Team, Paris 28 June 2016

  Contact the UIC e-News team