Wednesday 28 June 2023

TopRail (Rail Tourism group of experts) meeting at UIC headquarters

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The UIC TopRail working group brought together some twenty participants on 13 June 2023 at the UIC headquarters in Paris. TopRail aims to raise awareness of the tourism potential of the railways.

Tourist-Friendly: a classification and categorisation system for tourist-friendly rail services and experiences ”, published in May 2023 by the TopRail working group, was presented and its future development discussed.

The aim of this classification is to provide business partners and end customers with a tool for comparing railway services and companies. Different classifications (range, speed, time, purpose, etc.), close to tourist railways, are offered.

Two certification categories have been identified:

  • Tourist-Friendly – for services or operations complying with basic requirements.
  • Excellence Tourist-Friendly – for services or operations complying with basic requirements and at least 50% of the extra requirements.

It has been proposed that this categorisation be transformed into an IRS in order to develop a Tourist-Friendly label adapted to the different elements (stations, rolling stock, lines, and even companies) that are part of a sustainable tourism approach. To this end, the Future of Rail Tourism (FRT) opt-in project has been launched for the 2024-2025 period and is open to any UIC member that would like to join the proposal. TopRail members have also agreed to launch different pilots over this summer to check the categorisation and highlight any eventual adjustments to be done.

A round-table discussion enabled participants to share the latest rail tourism news from Hungary, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, France and Japan, and the growing strategic importance of experiential tourism for the future of railways around the world was confirmed.

During the meeting, the new TopRail campaign was also presented. With the help of social network following being one of the main objectives of TopRail, more efforts will be made to raise awareness of the importance and development of Rail Tourism to foster sustainable mobility for leisure by rail around the world.

The afternoon was devoted to a dynamic session to work together on the future strategy of TopRail as a sector within the UIC Passenger Forum, its focus areas and main objectives.

The next TopRail meeting and technical visit will take place on 3 October at the ÖBB office in Vienna, Austria. This occasion will give TopRail members the opportunity to join the World Passenger Festival, which is going to be held in Vienna over the same dates.

For further information please visit or contact Vanessa Pérez:

or Cécile Gendrot:

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