August 7, 2019

Third EC Meeting on International Contingency Management – Recap

The third EC meeting on international contingency management (ICM) took place on 17th June 2019 in Brussels. The EC appreciated all the work done by IMs, RFCs, RNE and RUs on this matter. From our side as RNE, the following points were particularly appreciated:

  • Agreement on common text for NS and CIDs and commitment to have a new NS common structure by the end of the year
  • Development of rerouting overviews by RFCs and their foreseen visualisation in CIP (which was also welcomed by RUs, especially ERFA)
  • Progress in implementation of English speaking dispatchers
  • RNE focus on the operational handling of all (also small) interruptions and improvement of communication in these cases, specifically the Park or Run tool

The RUs presented their draft of the ICM Handbook, which was almost finished. The only open topic was Resources Allocation, which covers the sharing of locos and drivers in case of an interruption. The RUs had not yet found a common agreement due to the sensitive nature of the topic (being partners and competitors at the same time). They had three to four possible solutions in mind, which they will evaluate in depth (SWOT analyses to be done) before coming to a common agreement. The EC appreciated all their work and it was agreed that the RU handbook should be finalised by the end of the year.

The EC reported on several legal topics, which are still open, focusing in particular on the allocation principles to be applied in case of interruption (are they applicable only to interrupted line or can they be applied also on diversionary line?) and the withdrawal of an already allocated path (Is this allowed? Under which conditions? Can this be also applicable on diversionary line?).

Answering these questions is not easy, as there are no specific articles treating these topics and although there are some references in other articles, they might sometimes appear to be contradicting each other. Therefore, the EC took on the task to work on these legal aspects.

Concerning the revision of RNE ICM Handbook, the RUs listed several expected additions, e.g. compensations rules, coverage of smaller interruptions, display of available capacity, simplified language requirements, coordination of TCRs, etc.

However, it was generally agreed that the current handbook should first be fully implemented and tested (in a simulation rather than in real-life cases) before the revision.

Further steps and overall conclusions

The EC emphasised the following key points which should be tackled in the future:

  • In general, transparent communication processes among different actors are essential, but are especially important for international contingency management.
  • Re-routing overviews should be more ambitious and cover a wider range of routes in the future. Diversionary routes form part of the RFC (Art. 2(2a) RFC Regulation). The overviews may help in-form investment decisions in the future (TEN-T, Register of Infrastructure (RINF), CEF).
  • Better coordination between ICM and TCRs shall be a target.
  • More simulations should be carried out to test the processes of the Handbook.

There is ongoing work regarding the implementation of the Handbook, definition of re-routing overviews, simulations, TTR, language requirements and the Park or Run tool. Further, the EC explained that during the last PRIME Plenary in Berne on 13 and 14 June, the climate contribution of rail infrastructure had been discussed. In this context, the resilience of the rail network should remain on the agenda and the EC suggested including the following points in the next meeting’s agenda:

  • RU ICM Handbook, after endorsement by the RU Dialogue;
  • Legal issues regarding the withdrawal of paths on diversionary routes, after conclusion by EC services;
  • Re-routing overviews and feedback from simulations;
  • Suggestions for improvement, in particular as regards compensation and liability.

The EC recommended waiting until the publication of the RU ICM Handbook at the end of 2019 or the conclusions of the legal assessment by the EC services before organising a follow-up meeting.