Hosted by TCDD, a seminar on reducing infrastructure maintenance costs was held at the MERTCe (UIC Middle East Region training centre) in Ankara on 19 and 20 December 2018. Around 120 attendees from amongst UIC’s Middle East Region members actively participated in the seminar, which aimed to benchmark the many aspects relating to the main topic.
UIC experts introduced recent developments in the field of railway infrastructure, focussing inter alia on asset management, balance between maintenance and renewal, computer maintenance management software (CMMS), procurement methods, estimation of maintenance needs for track, innovative ballasted tracks, measuring and processing of track geometry parameters worldwide, modern methods for securing tracks and their components in sand-prone areas, methods to increase tunnel clearance, masonry arch bridge maintenance, cybersecurity for critical infrastructure, continuous infrastructure benchmarking, key performances indicators, etc.
The seminar was opened by Mr Cuneyt Turkkusu, Director of MERTCe & TCDD Human Resources Deputy Director, who presented the training centre’s expertise and capacity. Mr Jerzy Wisniewski, UIC’s Fundamental Values Director and Middle East Region Coordinator, then gave a general presentation of UIC, with a particular focus on the work programme for the region in 2018 and its plans for 2019.
Prof. Marc Antoni, Director of UIC’s Rail System department, and Messrs David Villalmanzo Resusta and Teodor Gradinariu from the department were the keynote speakers for the two-day session, and also acted as moderators for discussions and exchanges with the audience. Many engineers, railway management specialists and researchers from the sector attended the event and were well-prepared for the discussions, asking many questions and proposing solutions. UIC received positive feedback both during and after the seminar from participants on the quality of the presentations given and the knowledge of the experts in attendance. At the end of the first day, the UIC delegates were warmly thanked by Mr Ismail H. Murtazaoğlu, TCDD Deputy General Director, for their contribution to the important issue of infrastructure maintenance cost reduction. Mr Murtazaoğlu also extended his gratitude to UIC Director-General Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux for ensuring UIC representation at the appropriate level. He also expressed thanks for the words of compassion and condolence received following the fatal railway accident that had occurred a number of days previously on the TCDD network and for UIC’s technical advice on the matter.
In line with the conclusions from the 22nd RAME event, which took place in Esfahan on 26 November, and taking in account the importance of cooperation in UIC’s Middle East region, the members will be invited to participate in the first meeting of the Middle East Network of Rail Training Centres, to be held in March 2019 at MERTCe premises. The capabilities and expertise of the various national training centres will be discussed and determined at this meeting, and possible training activities may be agreed, depending on the needs of the members.
The UIC delegates to the seminar convey their special thanks to Mr Asir Kiliçaslan, Head of the International Relations Department at TCDD, and to all the staff involved in the organisation of the event for the warm hospitality received in Ankara.