From 15 – 16 September, the International Heavy Haul Association (IHHA) held its first strategy session to develop a common vision of heavy haul railways for the year 2030.
The impetus for this cooperative effort has been the anticipation that the fourth industrial revolution, characterised by cloud computing, big data analytics, the Internet of Things and 3D printing offers an opportunity to transform heavy haul railways.
The strategy workshop took place in Lulea, Sweden and was attended by representatives from Australia, Europe, India, Russia, South Africa and North America, with submissions as well from China Railways and VALE Brazil.
UIC was represented by Bernard Schmitt and Teodor Gradinariu, technical experts, who were designated to lead the themes of Customer Service, Network Planning, and Cyber-Security (Jacques Colliard, in future), respectively. These presentations will contribute to the IHHA common white paper – Digital Heavy Haul Railway 4.0 – which will focus on the IHHA’s development strategy for future heavy haul railways.
The heavy haul strategy group recognised the enablers of the Heavy Haul 4.0 vision. Among these are the challenges of transforming the skill sets of the rail workforce to align to the new digital rail platform and raising the capabilities to process big data. The Digital Railway 4.0 will require much greater communications capabilities and bandwidth to handle real time monitoring of train and track status and condition. Cybersecurity will need to evolve in relation with this growth of IT command and control of heavy haul rail operations.
The International Heavy Haul Association is looking to dialog further with suppliers, researchers, educators and regulators to help move heavy haul railroading forward.
The details of the strategy workshop will next be presented to an invited group of decision-makers in a parallel session coinciding with the next IHHA conference, to take place in Narvik, Norway in June 2019.
The International Heavy Haul Association, Inc. (IHHA) is a non-profit, non-political entity organised to facilitate and participate in the development or acquisition and distribution of knowledge germane to heavy haul railroad technology and operations. Membership is open to any heavy haul railroad regardless of country of origin. A heavy haul railroad is defined as one that meets at least two of the following requirements:
- Regularly operates or is contemplating the operation of unit or combined trains of at least 5000 metric tons.
- Hauls or is contemplating the hauling of revenue freight of at least 20 million gross tons per year over a given line haul segment comprising at least 150 km in length.
- Regularly operates or is contemplating the operation of equipment with axle loadings of 25 tons or more.
UIC Director General, Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, is Member of the IHHA Board.