Tuesday 15 November 2022

UIC advocates for more capacity for a successful modal shift to rail through digitisation at Digital Rail 2022, held on 7 and 8 November in London

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On 7 and 8 November 2022 at Twickenham Stadium in London, Global Railway Review, one of the leading sources of information and analysis of the rail sector’s cutting-edge innovations, organised a conference entitled Digital Rail 2022 where global railway leaders showcased their experience of digital transformation in a case-study led agenda.

In addition to a large exhibition showcase area, displaying the latest rail innovations, technological advances and digital solutions, the conference also provided ample opportunities for networking and exchanging information thanks to the various panel discussions and roundtable debates. Simon Fletcher, UIC Director Europe and Chief Standardisation Officer, hosted the event with Craig Waters, Editor at Global Railway Review, who opened and closed the ceremony.

On 8 November, Christian Chavanel, UIC Railway System Director, opened with the keynote speech. He highlighted “a unique momentum for a radical modal shift from road and aviation to railways worldwide” and set out the next steps proposed by UIC in its latest publications, Vision of Rail 2030: Design a Better Future and Manifesto. In the context of growing climate change concerns shared across the globe – the urgency of which has been recalled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the World Bank – the railway sector is striving toward a single objective: more capacity for successful modal shift – a goal served by digitisation.

UIC has decided to focus its added values to meet this single objective.

Consequently, UIC has adopted a systemic approach to integrate major technical breakthroughs through its multi-annual work programmes, based on:

  • Capacity, where UIC will focus on traffic control centres and crisis management, and automation, facilitating an increase in the number of trains and supporting the cost leadership strategy (DAC, ATO, Artificial Intelligence, robotics, automatic inspections, 5G use cases, etc.).
  • Quality of service and continuous improvement of railway services for more capacity, where UIC will focus on operations (harmonised operational rules, tools for increasing the length and towed mass of freight trains, predictive maintenance, reduction of railway noise, etc.) and safety (new methods for safety demonstration and risk analysis processes, and certifications and approvals of innovative systems at European and global level).
  • Innovations for more capacity, where UIC will focus on new technologies, tools and knowledge sharing (FRMCS, Railway Digital Modelling, Open Sales and Distribution Model (OSDM), lighter trains, reduction of energy consumption and emissions, resilience of railway infrastructures and rolling stock to climate change, and a common European Freight Digital Platform) and remain involved in Europe’s Rail System Pillar on the Railway System Architecture, DAC, Modelling, PRAMSS and Telecom for CCS+.

Everything can contribute to increasing capacity and amplifying digitisation, and Digital Rail 2022 provided a great platform to discuss these innovations.

Christian Chavanel also participated in the panel discussion on the subject of “Keeping trains moving for longer: How digitalisation can maximise rolling stock asset” with Dr Samuel Bemment (Railway Industry Association), Sohail Ashraf (Govia Thameslink Railway) and Josh Kimberling (Instrumental), which focused on the use of artificial intelligence and the necessary implementation of new safety demonstration methods.

Thanks to discussions with the audience, he highlighted that the current issue is not the development of data technology, but the culture surrounding it and its acceptance and understanding by the public and relevant authorities. UIC is currently working on this with safety authorities and agencies.

For more information on Digital Rail 2022 and video highlights, you can visit the event website.

For further information, please contact Christian Chavanel, UIC Railway System Director at chavanel@uic.org

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Twickenham Stadium, London, UK
Christian Chavanel, Keynote, Digital Rail
Christian Chavanel, Keynote, Digital Rail
Panel discussion, Digital Rail