UIC welcomes the announcement of the European Commission celebrating 2021 as the “European Year of Rail”

In 2021, UIC will start the celebration of its centenary by a series of events highlighting the strong assets and challenges that railways own and have ahead: among them, to promote rail as a sustainable, innovative & safe mode of transport

UIC welcomes the recent announcement made by Mrs Ursula von der Leyen celebrating 2021 as the “European Year of Rail”. This EU initiative will allow all the actors of the sector to demonstrate the advantages of rail.

Railway has a central role to play in decarbonising transport
While representing 8% of global passenger and freight transport activity (in pkm/tkm), railway represents 2% of the transport sector emissions and is therefore a particularly efficient and sustainable mode of transport. The rail and public transport networks benefit from a decisive advantage linked to be frugal, which is a cardinal virtue for tackling climate change issues:

  • Frugality in energy consumption: whether you think in terms of energy per capita or globally, railway and public transport are extremely efficient: passenger rail transport requires less than 1/10th of the energy needed to move an individual by car or by aeroplane;
  • Frugality in public space: whether in urban or rural area, the occupation of public space is minimal, and the promotion of public transport will once again give citizens the possibility to enjoy more public space with less noise, pollution and a greater level of safety;
  • Frugality in terms of life cycle: the lifetime of railways as well as trams, can be up to 30 years, minimising the need to reinvest regularly in non-renewable resources;
  • Frugality because those systems are scalable: it is possible to upgrade the level of service in changing only part(s) of the system without relying on complete system changes.

Railways still continue to improve every day
In 2014 UIC launched the “Low Carbon Rail Transport Challenge” regarding energy efficiency, CO2 emissions and modal shift, and in 2015 a pledge, in order to position railways as a solution to climate change and frame discussions with the United Nations and national governments.

The challenge was designed to illustrate how increased investments and modal shift to railways can help to secure the climate change below the two degrees scenario.
The low carbon railway transport challenge includes three sets of voluntary objectives:

  • To improve rail efficiency;
  • To decarbonise electricity supply;
  • To achieve a more sustainable balance of transport modes.

These commitments are supported by a set of targets at global level, two of them being:

  • To achieve a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions, per passenger-km and tonne-km, by 2030; and 75% reduction by 2050, relative to a 1990 baseline.
  • To increase rail passenger market share by 50% in 2030 and then doubling in 2050.

Over the past 18 months, UIC together with a coalition of European Rail Freight companies, led an initiative called Rail Freight Forward, the aim of which is to drastically reduce the negative impact of freight transport through innovation and a more intelligent transport mix. This coalition aims to double the modal share of rail freight to 30% by 2030.

As the railways are ahead of these objectives, most of UIC members have accepted to strengthen their commitments end of 2019 in a new pledge, which involves:

Innovation shall install railways as the backbone of future decarbonised mobility worldwide
As stated in the European Green deal “Transport accounts for a quarter of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions and is still growing. To achieve climate neutrality, a 90% reduction in transport emissions is needed by 2050.” This Roadmap will require a drastic improvement in the efficiency of the whole transport chain. For the railways, this means making better use of their network advantage.

Even if railways are already energy efficient, UIC will work on the digital control of a substation, reversible substations, and new fuels (hydrogen…) in order to create future decarbonised railways.

Nevertheless, complete future decarbonised mobility will only be possible if we ensure smooth interfaces between railway and public transport. Both have been working together, sometimes within the same companies for delivering mobility services, but until now they don’t consider their networks as having a duty to be interconnected in terms of design.

In 2021, UIC will organise a series of events to start its centenary
In 2021, on the occasion of the centenary of its creation as an international organisation, UIC will organise a series of events dealing with these aspects: where does UIC come from? What makes UIC unique? What aspects of railway DNA offer them perspectives in the future?

Among these events, UIC will participate actively in EUROPALIA Arts Festival to be held at the end of 2021 which will focus on railways. All railways companies, both European and those around the world, will be invited to join and celebrate the Festival together.

More information will follow.

For further information please contact the UIC Communications Department:

3 Votes

Average rating: 5 / 5

Promoting Representing

UIC mid-year statutory meetings to be held in June 2020

Dear UIC Member,

Further to my letter of 3 March 2020 (attached here as a reminder), I wish to inform you about the dates and place of the mid-year statutory meetings which are scheduled to take place at UIC headquarters as follows:

29 June (afternoon) = 30th Regional Assembly Europe
29 June evening = General Assembly cocktail reception
30 June (morning) = Chair & Regional Chairmen’s meeting
30 June (morning) = Executive Board
30 June (afternoon) = 96th General Assembly

The official invitation and registration letter with more detailed timings and further information will follow in the coming weeks.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours faithfully,

François Davenne,
Director General

0 vote

UIC and infrastructure manager organisation RailNetEurope work together to remove language barriers in Europe

During their first advisory board on 25 February, UIC and RNE reported on their Shift2Rail funded project Translate4Rail. Translate4Rail aims at developing a language tool that removes the cumbersome language barriers in international train operations. Despite many attempts to overcome interoperability issues, the need of a level B1 language certificate for train drivers is still one of the many examples of a lack of a level playing field between different modes. It hinders rail freight reliability and reduces competitiveness.

Translate4Rail (T4R) is a good example of how future innovation initiatives could be managed through close collaboration between all stakeholders involved: Rail innovation agency Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking, the infrastructure managers here represented by RNE and the rail freight sector united in Rail Freight Forward represented by UIC.

By capitalising on earlier work, the sector will be able to develop a viable, cost effective and quickly implementable solution. The solution will be a tool or device where train drivers and signallers can use their own native language and still communicate in an effective and safe manner. The project spans over 24 months and started on 2 December last year.

Already the project delivered a benchmarking analysis on the state-of-the-art of speech to speech technology. It showed that a lot of attempts have been made but none of them comply with the qualitative and safety standards applicable within the sector.

To follow are the actual development and testing of a language tool. One of the many research questions to answer will be where the tool or device should be located. A number of options are open and will be further developed during the course of this project leading to pilot testing.

Pilot testing will take place first in a secure environment (laboratory tests) before being undertaken in real operational conditions (field tests).

Advisory Group attendees were the European Union Agency for Railways, DG Move, CIT, New Opera, Railway Undertakings and Infrastructure Managers.

For further information please contact Paolo Freitas, Senior Freight Advisor:

6 Votes

Average rating: 4.83 / 5


UIC Security Platform Human Factors working group held on 3 March 2020 in Moscow

The annual security meeting of the Human Factors working group chaired by Vladimir Kuznetsov from JSC Russian Railways was held on 3 March 2020 in Moscow, Russia.

This fruitful meeting brought together around 40 people from 12 different countries.
After the introductory speeches given by Ludmila Renne (Deputy Head of Foreign Projects and International Cooperation Department, JSC “RZD”) and Vladimir Kuznetsov (Head of Sector Security Department, JSC “RZD”), the UIC Security Division represented by Marie Hélène Bonneau and Virginie Papillault, gave an update on the activities of the Security Division. The new task force that has been implemented at UIC, chaired by Marc Guigon was also mentioned. This task force will be composed of a number of railways (China, Korea, Italy, Iran, …) and some international organisations (UITP, IATA, UITP). The goal of this task force is to draft recommendations on how to handle this crisis.

Then, two presentations on the organisation of passenger transportation on railway transport during mass international events and the security of railway stations in Russia were given by Damir Garifsyanov (Deputy Head of Security Department – Head of Division, JSC FPC) and Rodion Stupnikov (Head of Security Service, Passenger Stations Directorate, Russian Railways).

Another presentation was given by Masayoshi Toyohara (JR East) on the security and safety during the management of large events. To complement these contributions, Catherine Jarrige from SNCF gave an update on the COLPOFER working group dealing with large events and control rooms.

The second part of the meeting was dedicated to discussing in detail the action plan of the Human Factors Working Group for 2020.

Two work strands were decided:

The first topic (item 2) deals with security during big events providing security recommendations. The goal is to collect experiences and best practice from railway companies (e.g. Olympic games, World Cup). A UIC leaflet will be developed in close collaboration with the Colpofer “large events” working group.

The second topic (item 3) focuses on Security and Human Factors measures taken in the case of acts of terrorism. The goal is to update two existing leaflets:

  • One entitled “Railway stations, platforms and trains and in emergency situations”
  • The other entitled “Preventive measures against terrorist acts on railway premises”

It was decided to present the results of the Human Factor working group activities and security leaflets with recommendations adopted to all UIC members, including members of UIC regional assemblies.

It was also proposed, at a later stage, based on lessons learned from the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, to draft guidance from a Human Factor point of view in case of a larger and stronger pandemic.

The presentations given during the meeting are available on the UIC Extranet Security Workspace.

For further information please contact Virginie Papillault, and Marie-Hélène Bonneau,

2 Votes

Average rating: 4 / 5

Cooperation Reporting

UIC-IATA Passenger workshops held from 3 – 4 March 2020 in Geneva

On 30 January 2020, UIC and IATA, the International Air Transport Association, signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The objective is to promote innovation while preserving intellectual property between UIC member railways and IATA airline companies.

Mr François Davenne, UIC Director General, said: “This MoU confirms the desire to really promote multimodality. Offering customers a single ticket for rail and air travel gives them the opportunity to choose the best of both worlds by optimising their journey as well as their carbon footprint. In addition, both IATA and UIC are currently developing tomorrow’s digital standards for ticketing applications: to work on established interfaces right from the design phase is an exciting prospect.”

Following this major step for the development of closer ties, on 3 and 4 March, Airline Aeroflot, Railways NS international, MAV-Start, IATA and UIC distribution experts, EY consultants and Travelport and HitRail solutions providers and CIT legal expert met in Geneva at IATA’s Geneva premises. Due to the Coronavirus outbreak many participants could not attend.

Denis Grenier (AccesRail) gave a presentation on how today airlines “interline” or “code share” with trains. Intermodal options will ensure the cheapest, greener and faster travel. Challenges are in the location, terminal and equipment coding and in providing better information to passengers. Both transport modes experts should first share the same concepts and wording. Distributing and controlling air and rail tickets would help define standards which decrease implementation costs.

Then Ionut Bedea presented IATA, his organisation, which represents 300 airlines in 53 countries. IATA, among many activities, produces on the one hand recommendations which are compulsory to follow for air interoperability and on the other hand less constringent guidelines. Representing UIC, Fabrice Setta presented the activities of the Passenger department. Multiple expert groups are developing International Railway Solutions (IRS) with a focus on the standardisation of ticket distribution interoperability flows.

On the Monday afternoon, Mr Bedea presented the state-of-the-art of airline retailing. IATA NDC retailing roles and messages are functionally very close to the new UIC nTM/FSM Retailing protocol. Participants agreed to share the technical diagram flows to study and understand the technical similarities and discrepancies. The next day Stafano Scarsi (EY) presented the UIC 2019 results of the Air+Rail white paper and the scenarios foreseen for 2020. Four workgroups are proposed to cover the most important distribution functional domains which are journey planning and shopping (Location Coding, Timetables, Availability), Booking (Reservation, Seat Assignment), Ticketing (E-ticket and Check-in/Control) and Liability (Entitlement).

All participants agreed to tackle two issues. The first one to improve the existing collaboration between Air and Rail ticket distribution IT systems. The second one to foresee the convergence of the latest webservices standards of both IATA and UIC. After a vivid discussion it was agreed that the reservation on trains is required by airline sellers to reassure customers. The train type scope project should therefore first focus on trains with compulsory or optional seat reservation. Another request was to think global and to add Japan, China, Korea and other Asian trains stations in a common standard to allow distribution by air systems of seat reservation on trains. The meeting was concluded by Marc Guigon, UIC Passenger Department Director, who thanked the participants for their commitment to develop the collaboration of Rail and Air distribution.

The workshops should continue on each of the four topics by conference call every month. The next plenary UIC IATA workshops will take place on 27 and 28 May at UIC headquarters in Paris.

For further information please contact David Sarfatti, Senior Passenger Advisor:

3 Votes

Average rating: 4.33 / 5


UIC Track & Structure sector has published the “Catalogue of Damages in Masonry Arch Bridges”

In 2003 UIC set up the working group Masonry Arch Bridges which managed the projects “Improving assessment, optimisation of maintenance and development of database for masonry arch bridges” (2004 – 2007) and “Assessment of masonry arch bridges” (2011 – 2015).

The results of the completed work during the project has been the basis for updating leaflet 778-3 and migrating it into IRS 70778-3 “Recommendations for the inspection, assessment and maintenance of masonry arch bridges”.

The background documents providing further detailed information and guidance are currently available on the UIC Extranet to registered users only. To give a wider audience access to this precious knowledge, the PoSE (Panel of Structural Experts) decided in 2019 to publish selected background documents.

The first document of this selection is the Catalogue of Damages in masonry arch bridges.

The development of the Catalogue of Damages began in 2004. The work was coordinated by ADIF and developed by Mr José Martín Caro (INES, external consultant).

The railway companies that contributed to this catalogue were CD, DB, IR, JBV, MAV, Network Rail, ÖBB, PKP, ADIF, REFER, RFI, RTRI, SBB and SNCF.

After creation of a collection of defects in existing masonry arch bridges, the analysis and study of the data led to some preliminary conclusions. For example, the main characteristics of the types of defects according to this type of bridge were defined. In a second phase, the most probable causes of defects and mechanisms of deterioration were analysed and described to complete the catalogue.

The numerous masonry arch bridges in our networks are resilient and robust constructions but show a quite different behaviour to steel and concrete bridges. Thus, if treated in an appropriate way they can be kept in service for a long life-span while producing a low maintenance cost.

The damage catalogue is a very useful tool to improve how to “read” this type of bridge in order to understand the causes of defects and to decide on an adequate treatment.

The know-how on design, construction and maintenance of these bridges has to be carefully protected, not only to keep the existing bridges but also to build new masonry arch bridges.
Providing the IRS 70778-3, the workshops, the video recordings (see and now also the background documents, UIC helps to preserve this expertise for the bridge engineers and asset managers.

You can find the document in the UIC ETF shop at the following link:

The preparation of two other background documents that have been selected for publication by the PoSE is already ongoing:

“Guide for execution and control of repairs – “Cleaning Manual” and “Guide for execution and control of repairs – Maintenance and replacement of existing masonry”.

Furthermore, the second edition of IRS 70778-3 will be published soon, according to the PoSE decision available in EN, FR and DE versions.

For further information please contact Harald Sattler, Senior Infrastructure Advisor:

2 Votes

Average rating: 5 / 5


Invitation: ILCAD Launch Conference to be held on 11 June 2020 in York, United Kingdom

We are pleased to invite you to 12th edition of The International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD) hosted by Britain’s railway infrastructure manager Network Rail, on Thursday 11 June 2020 at the National Railway Museum in York.

The National Railway Museum is a wonderful place that displays a large collection of locomotives and other items of rolling stock, virtually all of which either ran on the railways of Great Britain or were built there. It was an easy choice to hold the conference there surrounded by so much railway history. We are sure that you will enjoy it.

The language of the conference will be in English; it will be recorded and available on

A draft programme will be published at a later date and posted on .

Also, Network Rail is holding its annual Level Crossing Innovation Day on Wednesday 10 June between 10:00 and 16:00. It is a ’drop-in’ event to showcase innovative products and services related to the development and safety of level crossings and to get the level crossing community talking about innovation. There will be stands from Network Rail teams as well as a range of suppliers, and demonstrations covering many key elements of level crossing improvement – details will be published at a later date.

There will be a social event on the evening of Wednesday 10 June, with a technical visit on 12 June, details will be published at a later date. The technical visit will be organised so that you may participate only in the morning and be dropped at a train station to catch your train or plane connections to leave on Friday. You may also participate for the whole day.

What is ILCAD?
ILCAD, led by UIC, brings together railway industry representatives, road authorities, academics and more from around the world.

ILCAD aims to raise awareness about the dangers associated with the road/rail interfaces (level crossings).

ILCAD is a joint commitment that began in 2009 with ELCAD (EU countries + Israel). Since then, UIC has been coordinating this worldwide event to raise public awareness about the dangers at level crossings.

ILCAD 2020 Campaign
This year the 2020 conference and worldwide campaign will focus on how a person’s behaviour affects the way they use and interact with a level crossing. The theme will be: “Beware the Bubble”. We want people to understand when they risk being “in their bubble” so they can burst it and see the dangers and risks more clearly.

It concerns all kinds of level crossing users:

  • People being distracted by their daily life (mobile phones, appointments, school, work, worries)
  • Risk takers, people who want to make their own rules, rule breakers, opportunists or “Think-Laters”

To register for the conference, social events, and technical visit, visit Deadline: 10 April 2020

To submit an abstract, visit Deadline: 31 March 2020

The following information will be posted here

  • Network Rail level crossing exhibition day on 10 June 2020
  • The list of topics addressed during the conference
  • A list of hotels recommended in York
  • A map to the venue on 10 June (social event in the evening) and on 11 June (conference)
  • The programme of the technical visit on 12 June
  • Transport tips

Finally, we urge railways across the globe to organise activities around ILCAD so that the campaign has the widest safety impact. Should you wish to participate in your country please contact or visit

For information on the ILCAD 2019 campaign and launch conference

For any further information please contact Isabelle Fonverne, Senior Advisor Safety at UIC:

More information at:
Network Rail:

2 Votes

Average rating: 5 / 5

News from UIC members

Belgium: New direct train connection between Belgium and Poland

Since February 2020, Lineas together with PCC Intermodal offer a regular train connection between Belgium and Poland.

Three times per week, an open train drives from Genk over Antwerp and Frankfurt Oder to Gliwice, where the wagons can be further distributed across Poland.

Lars Redeligx, CCO of Lineas: "This is a very exciting addition to Lineas’ network. Customers can put their goods on rail in Genk and Antwerp and we drive them direct to economic hubs in south-west Poland. The journey only takes 36 hours. Likewise, we can connect goods from Poland to anywhere in Europe via our Green Xpress Network.”

The Silesia Xpress extends Lineas’ international network. With 21 destinations and an increase of trains by 50% in the past two years, the Green Xpress Network convinces more companies to choose rail. “The new regular service establishes Lineas in another crucial hub in Europe. It allows customers to take their goods further by rail and thereby optimize their supply chain even more.”

(Source: Lineas)

3 Votes

Average rating: 4.33 / 5

News from UIC members

United Kingdom: Spanning the ages

Region & Route:


  • Two of the railway’s most iconic feats of engineering will be celebrating their birthdays this week.
  • Scotland’s treasured Forth Bridge will be celebrating the 130th anniversary of its opening.
  • Whereas Wales’ landmark Britannia Bridge will be celebrating the 170th year since it went into operation.

The Forth and The Britannia bridges are two of the most treasured and recognisable features on our railway. Both are admired the world over for their pioneering designs and methods of construction.

The Forth Bridge was opened in 1890 and still holds the record as the longest cantilever bridge in the world. It was the first major structure in Britain to be made of steel and its construction resulted in a continuous East Coast railway route from London to Aberdeen.

The Britannia Bridge was completed in 1850 and at the time of construction had the longest continuous wrought iron span in the world. Devastated by fire in 1970, the bridge was rebuilt using the masonry supports used in the original structure, restoring a vital rail link across the Menai Strait.

A testament to the quality and innovation of their engineering, both bridges remain an integral part of Britain’s railway, serving millions of passengers every year.

Notes to editors
More information on the bridges can be found on our website via the below links:

(Source: Network Rail)

1 vote

Average rating: 3 / 5

News from UIC members

United States: California High-Speed Rail Authority releases Draft Environmental Document for first segment into Los Angeles County

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is releasing the first Draft Environmental Document for a significant project section into Los Angeles County. The document, which covers the 80mile stretch of the project from Bakersfield to Palmdale, will be open for public comment starting on Friday, February 28th.

The Bakersfield to Palmdale Project Section will provide a connection from the Central Valley to the Antelope Valley and Los Angeles County, closing the existing passenger rail gap between Northern and Southern California through the Tehachapi Mountains, as well as providing new opportunities for economic development and revitalization in the cities along this corridor.

The approximately 80-mile project section will travel through or near the communities of Bakersfield, Edison, Tehachapi, Rosamond, Lancaster and Palmdale with stations in Bakersfield and Palmdale. The approved Bakersfield Station and the proposed Palmdale Station would maximize ridership, work in coordination with of local land use planning and provide multi-modal transportation options, including potential connection with Brightline Trains in Palmdale.

With the release of this Bakersfield to Palmdale Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS), the Authority remains on track to complete environmental clearance for the full Phase 1 system by the federally mandated 2022 deadline.

From Friday, February 28, 2020 through Friday, April 13, 2020, the Bakersfield to Palmdale Project Section Draft EIR/EIS is available for a 45-day CEQA and NEPA review and public comment period.

In conjunction with the public review period for the document, the Authority will hold a public hearing to take public comment. Comments received regarding environmental issues will be reviewed and responded to as required by law. The final EIR/EIS document for Bakersfield to Palmdale will be issued in 2021.

(Source: CHSRA)

0 vote

UIC calendar

UIC e-News Legal Editor: Marie Plaud-Lombard
Coordination: Helen Slaney
Editorial team: UIC e-News Team, Paris 10 March 2020

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