Rail sector agrees on a common vision on Digital Capacity Management

Europe’s major Infrastructure Managers and Railway Undertakings endorsed a Joint Vision for the Sector on Digital Capacity Management. RailNetEurope, Forum Train Europe, UIC, the Rail Freight Forward initiative, the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies, European Rail Infrastructure Managers and the European Rail Freight Association have published the cornerstones of the future of Digital Capacity Management (DCM). DCM will contribute to freeing up capacity on congested lines and boosting modal shift to rail for both passenger and freight traffic. A strong call for investments in Digital Capacity Management stresses its role as a major game changer in order to reach the Green Deal targets for the transport sector. DCM is the integral IT-part of the European programme “TimeTable Redesign (TTR) for Smart Capacity Management”.

 

The European Commission has put forward the Green Deal with the objective to transform Europe into the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050 and enhance Europe’s CO₂-reduction targets from 40% to 50% by 2030. Key to achieving this goal is to transport at least 30% of all goods in Europe by train. Hence, more trains need to run on the European rail network in the future. This calls for investment to increase the infrastructure capacity, particularly in parts of the network which are already saturated today. To mitigate this situation, two means are needed: building additional infrastructure as well as using the existing infrastructure more efficiently. This can be achieved through digitalising, automising and therefore optimising capacity management. The European programme “TTR for Smart Capacity Management” holds exactly this solution in hand: a digitised view on the full European network so Infrastructure Managers can reduce bottlenecks through smart data management, put more trains on the existing infrastructure, make them run fluidly, better plan their maintenance works, and harmonise interoperable freight and passenger trains.

But there is more to Digital Capacity Management than additional capacity. Railway Undertakings require easy access to long- and short-term high-quality train paths in order to design and market attractive products to their customers. In order to compete with road, a train needs to be run across Europe as easily as a truck. DCM will connect the systems of IMs and RUs to facilitate the complete capacity management process – from advance planning to the actual train run. This benefits customers who receive better rail products, with more capacity for flexible connections throughout Europe, and with higher reliability and ease of use.

Read here: Joint Vision for the Sector on DCM

At the stop of the Connecting Europe Express in Antwerp, Geert Pauwels, CEO of Lineas, made a case for DCM: “Digital Capacity Management is a game-changer. It will help infrastructure managers to make driving a train through Europe as easy as driving a truck.” DCM is one of the five enabling technologies identified by the Rail Freight Forward (RFF) initiative to make rail leap forward into the 21st century and become the backbone of Europe’s mobility.

A short video was published, dedicated to DCM and part of the larger “Future of Mobility Campaign”.

ERA and RNE jointly organise workshops on data sharing

The current European Railway Regulatory framework requires that authorities (national and European) and the sector create, manage and maintain a handful of legacy registers (railway infrastructure, location code, organisation code, rolling stock) as well as B2B data exchange between railway actors to facilitate rail operation, interoperability and safety. These information assets (reference data) are crucial enablers to facilitate data interoperability in the sector. 

In the last few years, different initiatives and projects to enhance data exchange, improve data quality and avoid overlap have taken place (ERA RCC linked data project, Rail Facility Portal, RNE Big Data, ELETA, Digital Train projects as some examples). 

Based on this experience, ERA and RNE have taken the initiative to organise two workshops to explore – together with the sector – the lessons learnt, the challenges and the opportunities for enhancing the efficiency in the management of reference data -registers- and rail data spaces. 

In particular these two workshops should lead to: 

  • harmonisation of the rail reference data (companies, infrastructure, rolling stock, operations), their governance, usefulness, uniqueness and maintenance;
  • identification of the necessary steps and actions by ERA, RNE, and stakeholders to promote the information flow between data consumers and data providers, to enhance data interoperability and to facilitate the development of new data services interoperable by design. 

INVITATION LETTER 

26 October 2021, 13:30-17:00, Online 

1st Workshop: Enhancing Data Interoperability – Reference Data 

 AGENDA 

REGISTRATION LINK

(Please register until 8 October 2021)

 

13 December 2021, 13:30-17:00, Brussels 

2nd Workshop: Enhancing Data Interoperability – Connected Data 

European Standard contract of use of infrastructure available on RNE website

Improving business relations between Infrastructure Managers and Railway Undertakings by harmonising contractual documents has been a long-standing objective of RNE.
Over the past two years, RNE and CIT have worked on a proposal for a “European Standard contract of use of the infrastructure” (E-SCU-I), which was endorsed by both organisations in May 2021.
Similar to the “European General Terms and Conditions” (E-GTC-I) previously negotiated by RNE and CIT, the E-SCU-I, which is composed of a common structure and wording proposals, constitutes a toolbox for the design of contracts of use, representing a standard of best practices. It shall support Railway Undertakings and Infrastructure Managers in designing their contractual relations in an increasingly harmonised way without being binding.
A separate “implementation guide” explains the nature and proposed content of the E-SCU-I in more detail and provides guidance on how to use the document.
The E-SCU-I and the accompanying implementation guide are available at https://rne.eu/legal-matters/harmonisation-of-contractual-framework/

Translate4Rail field tested on Villach-Tarvisio-Pontebba route

The Translate4Rail project, funded by Shift2Rail and managed by UIC and RNE, has reached a significant milestone by field testing its Language Tool prototype.

The Translate4Rail research project is developing a Language Tool prototype to meet the communication needs between train drivers and traffic controllers on cross border services (in normal, degraded and emergency situations).

Translate4Rail offers train drivers and traffic controllers a fully comprehensive set of ready-to-use predefined messages (PDM) covering their communication needs in all operational situations. These specific messages will be channeled through the Language Tool prototype being developed by Translate4Rail, enabling drivers and the traffic controllers to understand each other while each speaking in their native languages. After testing the Translate4Rail Language Tool prototype in the laboratory, the Translate4Rail team went to the field to test the prototype in real operational conditions, using two scenarios by testing in “standstill” and “running” modes on the Austrian-Italian border.

The tests were performed with significant involvement of the experts from two Infrastructure Managers, RFI and ÖBB Infra, and four Railway Undertakings: DB Cargo Italy, Lokomotion, Rail Cargo Austria and Rail Traction Company.

The tests commenced on 30 June in Tarvisio-Pontebba/Pontebba-Tarvisio and continued on the Austrian side on 1 July in Arnoldstein-Villach/Villach-Arnoldstein, where several defined testing modules were tested.

To ensure safety during the tests, bilingual drivers and traffic controllers were involved in the field tests.

During the tests, train drivers and traffic controllers used the Translate4Rail Language Tool prototype to communicate with each other, proving the concept of predefined messages in a safe environment.

Example of PDMs to illustrate the concept:

Thanks to the outstanding enthusiasm of colleagues involved in the field tests, together with strong support from third parties, especially ÖBB TS, Frequentis and the Translate4Rail Language Tool prototype developer Synvance, the work on the Translate4Rail Language Tool prototype using the database of Predefined Messages can continue to the next phase of the field tests.
Based on their experience during the tests, drivers and traffic controllers will provide their feedback on language tool evaluation, ergonomics (tablet usage), and tool adaptation for daily operations. On this basis, the Translate4Rail research project will provide recommendations for the adaptation and enhancement of the Language Tool to be used in daily operations.

Customer Information Platform (CIP) is rolled out to the entire RFC Network

The Customer Information Platform (CIP), an internet-based application operated by RailNetEurope (RNE) on behalf of the Rail Freight Corridors (RFCs), has been successfully rolled out to RFC Rhine-Danube. The information concerning this newest RFC is now available in the CIP productive environment under https://cip-online.rne.eu. With this, the CIP now provides customer-relevant information on railway infrastructure in 26 European countries covering the entire RFC Network.

The cornerstone of CIP is an interactive map, which is supplemented by a joint document share point used by all RFCs. The CIP interactive map provides a wide range of information on the rail infrastructure along the routes of RFCs, such as the rail freight-relevant line properties, length of the line sections, ETCS deployment plans and further investment projects. The CIP interactive map also features information about the re-routing options in case of international contingencies appearing along the routes of the RFCs as well as an advanced functionality for route-planning.
In addition to the above, the geographical coverage of CIP is gradually being extended beyond the routing of RFCs, thus covering also the feeder and outflow paths of RFCs’ customers. Moreover, to further improve the experience of CIP users, in early 2021 the graphical user interface of CIP has been upgraded to match the state of the art.

Successful Webinar on Rail Facilities Portal

On 15 June 2021, RNE and UIRR jointly organised a webinar on the Rail Facilities Portal with the participation of over 100 stakeholders from the railway sector representing the European Commission, Rail Freight Corridors, Railway Undertakings, Terminals, other service facility operators, shippers and other logistics service providers, Infrastructure Managers, umbrella organisations of theirs and Rail Regulatory Bodies.

You can download the summary, the presentations, the videorecording and the poll results below.

Technical Meeting 2021 Successfully Completed

From 14 to 17 June, the Technical Meeting took place online. Organised by the RNE Capacity Management team, more than 60 timetabling experts from about 25 Infrastructure Managers participated. The goal of this virtual gathering was to coordinate the draft offers for the timetable period 2022 at more than 120 border points across Europe. As a significant number of train paths crosses not only one but several borders, representatives of more than two IMs sat at many of the 107 virtual tables. Being set up for the second time as an all-online event due to COVID-19 restrictions, participants experienced a very smooth execution without any significant problems. RNE would like to thank all participants sincerely, as this successful meeting is considered an important step towards seamless international train runs in the upcoming timetable period.

Over 15.000 Service Facilities Available Now in the Rail Facilities Portal

During the last 6 months, the number of service facilities in the RFP has increased significantly by nearly 50% and is now over 15.000.

In addition, improvements have recently been made to the search functionality, allowing for a more efficient way of finding service facilities; and among other features, remembering your frequently used service facilities, thus enabling a quicker search for the next time you are searching for the same service facilities of your interest. Various further developments are planned until the end of this year, including many improvements making the use of this platform increasingly user-friendly for the customers.

Finally, we would like to invite all transport and logistics service providers to use the RFP in the planning of their routes and services:
https://railfacilitiesportal.eu/.

Also, if you are a service facility operator, take this opportunity to advertise your services, and for this purpose, please contact us via contact@railfacilitiesportal.eu.

For more information on the Rail Facilities Portal, please watch the below video:

 

 

RFC Network – RNE sessions 2021 celebrating the European Year of Rail

The RFC Network together with RailNetEurope (RNE) will host 3 exclusive online sessions to celebrate the European Year of Rail 2021. During each session presentations related to the overall session topics will be held and there will be the possibility to get active in the time planned for Q&As. The dates and draft agendas incl. the speakers can be found below. All three events will be held online via Microsoft Teams. You can register to participate via the link above the sessions.
We are looking forward to your participation in these special events!

The 1st session will be held on 18th June 2021 from 14:00-16:00 CEST:

(link to register)

The 2nd session will be held on 16th September 2021 from 11:00-12:30 CEST:

(link to register)

The 3rd session will be held on 14th October 2021 from 14:00-16:00 CEST:

(link to register)