The future of railway standards in Europe
Brussel – The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the International Union of Railways (UIC) are strengthening their collaboration by signing an updated Memorandum of Understanding supporting their technical cooperation and the use of UIC leaflets in the development of European Standards.
For many years, CEN and UIC have benefited from a fruitful cooperation through the participation of UIC and other industrial partners in the Technical Committees (TCs) of CEN. The activities which CEN is currently dealing with in the railway specific standardization field (CEN/TC 256) are track, vehicles, noise emission reduction and telematics.
The agreement between CEN and UIC covers the ways in which the two parties will cooperate in order to maintain an effective exchange of documentation and expert participation. This will ensure that duplication of work is avoided, whilst facilitating the input of UIC to CEN’s technical work in line with CEN’s policies.
The programme of Railway Standards in Europe is addressing the safe operation of railway networks and is also working to ensure the interoperability of products and services. Technical Specifications of Interoperability (TSIs) will continue to be drafted and updated by the European Railway Agency and CEN will continue to develop standards to meet the requirements of these regulations.
In its development of European Standards, CEN has already benefited from the use of parts of UIC documents and made reference to the UIC leaflets. A recent example is in the area of buffers or draw gears where CEN has started to integrate several UIC leaflets into a single European Standard.
As part of its work in the rail sector, and following the recent creation of the European Railway Agency (ERA), CEN is holding a major conference on ‘The Future of Railway Standards in Europe â€“ Advancing interoperability and improving public procurement’. The conference, which will take place in Lille on 14-15 November 2005, will look at the new challenges which lie ahead for the European rail sector and provide a unique opportunity to reshape the product acceptance and validation process according to the needs of operators, manufacturers and service providers in a European Single Market. Speakers at the conference will include representatives of all major stakeholders in the railway sector, including the Executive Director of the European Railway Agency (ERA), Marcel Verslype, the European Commission, manufacturing industry, operators and all major associations and regulatory bodies.
The International Union of Railways (UIC) with its 170 members worldwide covers railway companies including in some cases both the infrastructure managers and the train operators, in all the European Member States. UIC’s key tasks are technical cooperation, rail system coherence, interoperability. As part of the reform process, these were redefined and involve: promoting technical cooperation between its members to improve operating conditions and the quality of services offered to customers, whilst respecting their commercial and managerial autonomy, and not interfering in matters of competition; maintaining and developing the overall coherence of the railway system, notably at pan-European level, and achieving interoperability which is one of the keys for bolstering the rail transport competitiveness.
In this context, UIC is responsible for putting forward specifications and standards to standardisation bodies; acting as a technical platform to support the work of railway associations, in particular the CER and the EIM, spearheading international rail cooperation projects which dovetail with its core technical tasks, defining common provisions and recommendations intended for its members, concluding agreements with Intergovernmental organisations and other trade organisations responsible for transport matters or which cooperate with the railways.