Incidents on the railway infrastructure always have an effect on rail operations. Most incidents are handled at a regional or national level by the responsible infrastructure manager. If trains on networks of neighboring infrastructure managers are affected, the traffic management of neighboring infrastructure managers is informed directly and involved in the incident management process. This process is daily practice between the infrastructure managers in Europe.
If large incidents with a significant international impact occur the international coordination of incident management needs high management attention of infrastructure managers, allocation bodies and railway undertakings. Other stakeholders such as shippers, governments, regulatory bodies, ports, terminals and media need to be kept informed about the status of the international disruption.
International Contingency Management
On 16th May 2018, the RNE General Assembly in Sopron unanimously approved the first International Contingency Management Handbook with implementation from Timetable period 2019. RailNetEurope (RNE) with the support of the RFCs has taken the responsibility of keeping this document up-to-date. After 2 years from its implementation, the revision process was started in order to improve the ICM handbook reflecting the experiences gained during the real interruptions. The new RNE International Contingency Management Handbook, including several Annexes was approved by RNE General Assembly on 19 May 2021 with the implementation from timetable period 2022.
The purpose of this handbook is to describe the standards that allow the continuation of traffic flows at the highest possible level despite an international disruption and to assure transparency of the status of the disruption and its impact on traffic flows for all relevant stakeholders across Europe.
This handbook defines the necessary cooperation in case of international disruptions and describes:
• How to recognise and when to declare an internationally relevant disruption
• The process for international business continuity management
• The roles needed for the international cooperation
• Whom to contact
• Pre-defined procedures and best practices
UIC and ERFA publish Contingency Management Handbook for Rail Freight Coalition
In its vision paper ’30 by 2030′ the Rail Freight Forward Coalition (RFF) committed to adopting and implementing a Contingency Management Handbook. This handbook outlines harmonised international contingency measures for whenever major disruptions happen on the European railway network.
The handbook was developed by the UIC ECCO group, which unites Railway Advisory Group speakers and the ERFA representative of the European Rail Freight Corridor Network.
TIS Incident Management tool – Dispatching of Freight Trains in disrupted situations
In case of major disturbances, when capacity is significantly reduced, Infrastructure Managers (IMs) have to agree which trains can continue to run as planned, which trains have to be parked and where they should be parked. In the past, this process required several phone calls or the exchange of Excel sheets, or did not happen at all. As a result, border stations were blocked by trains that were not taken over by neighboring IMs.
In order to facilitate the communication in disrupted and stressful situations, an online ‘TIS Incident Management tool’ (formerly known as Park or Run tool) was developed to help dispatchers to identify the trains directly affected by the interruption. Furthermore it also provides the possibility for online communication with affected IMs (and, in the future, also RUs) about which trains may run as planned and which should be parked and where. In addition, the tool helps to speed up border processes in daily business and minimise track occupation times in marshalling yards.
The Incident Management tool is fully available in TIS from August 2020 and from January 2022 at the latest shall be mandatorily used by all IMs to inform all relevant partners in minimum about the interruptions within the scope of International Contingency Management Handbook.