International Union of Railways

The International Union of Railways (French: Union internationale des chemins de fer, UIC) is an international rail transport industry body.

International Union of Railways
Union internationale des chemins de fer
Formation17 October 1922; 101 years ago (1922-10-17)
Legal statusActive
PurposePromote rail transport at world level
Meet the challenges of mobility and sustainable development
Headquarters16 rue Jean Rey
Paris, France
Membership (2021)
Krzysztof Mamiński (PKP)[1]
Vice Chairman
Mohamed Rabie Khlie (ONCF)[1]
Director General
François Davenne (UIC)[1]
Karine Van Ceunebroeck[1] Edit this at Wikidata

History edit

The railways of Europe had originated during the nineteenth century as many separate concerns across numerous nations; this led to disparate and conflicting standards emerging and thus onto incompatibility. One prominent example was the British Gauge War, during which different railway companies were laying different track gauges across Great Britain, causing inefficiency wherever a break of gauge occurred, prior to an Act of Parliament the issue in 1846 by establishing one standard gauge of 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm).[2][3] The early effort towards standardisation somewhat influenced railways aboard as well, however various other track gauges persisted and developed across the world; even through to the twenty first century, incompatible track gauges, let alone other issues, persisted to hinder interoperability efforts.[4][5][6][7]

Several key events happened during the early twentieth century; in the aftermath of the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles, numerous border changes were enacted across Europe, which greatly impacted several formerly united national railway networks while compelling several others together in some cases. It was early into the interwar period that the UIC was established on 17 October 1922 with the principal aim of standardising practices across the railway industry and expanding international cooperation in the sector.[8]

The UIC has introduced numerous classification systems over the decades. During the 1970s, the UIC Franc currency equivalent was established for the purpose of easing international ticket revenue sharing;[9] it was replaced by the European Currency Unit on 1 January 1990.[10] UIC classification and UIC Country Codes allowed precise determination of rolling stock capabilities and ownership;[11][12] furthermore, wagons have been assigned their own unique UIC wagon numbers.[13][14]

Over time, the UIC has formed various partnerships and cooperative frameworks with other multinational railway authorities, such as the European Union Agency for Railways.[15] The UIC has played a leading role in the development of Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs), which have gradually taken over from older standards developed by various national railway entities.[16][17][18]

During the 1990s, the GSM-R radio telecommunication system was formulated as an international interoperability specification covering voice and signalling systems for railway communications.[19][20] GSM-R, which is built on GSM technology, was designed to be a cost efficient digital replacement for various existing incompatible in-track cable and analogue railway radio networks.[21][22] The specification for GSM-R is maintained via the UIC project European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). By June 2023, GSM-R had been implemented across roughly 130,000km of track, along with 90,000 cab radios and 20,000 datalink radio units.[23]

A more capable next-generation radio, the Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) program, is under development as of 2023.[24][23] In addition to eventually replacing GSM-R, it will provide new capabilities that require more rapid data exchange, such as live video transmission.[25][23]

Mission edit

The UIC's mission is "to promote rail transport at world level and meet the challenges of mobility and sustainable development."[26]

Objectives edit

The UIC's main objectives[26] are to:

  • Facilitate the sharing of best practices among members (benchmarking)
  • Support members in their efforts to develop new business and new areas of activities
  • Propose new ways to improve technical and environmental performance
  • Promote interoperability, create new world standards for railways (including common standards with other transport modes)
  • Develop centres of competence (High Speed, Safety, Security, e-Business, ...)

Members edit

When founded in 1922 the UIC had 51 members from 29 countries, including Japan and China. They were soon[when?] joined by members from the Soviet Union, the Middle East and North Africa.[specify] As of February 2024, the UIC has 218 members[27] across five continents.[26] Of these there are:

  • 65 active members (usually companies located in Europe, East Asia, South Asia and Middle East):
  • 78 affiliate members (usually companies located in Africa, Oceania, South America and Southeast Asia, or universities and organisations in Europe and Asia, or government authorities):
  • 58 associate members (usually companies in Africa and North America):
  • 17 suspended members:

On 12 November 2010, the UIC opened an African regional office in Tunis, Tunisia with the support of SNCFT.[29]

On 9 March 2022, the UIC suspended all member companies from Russia and Belarus, following Russian invasion of Ukraine.[30]

Standard terminology edit

In order to provide a common understanding and reduce potential confusion, the UIC has established standard international railway terminology and a trilingual (English-French-German) thesaurus of terms. The thesaurus was the result of cooperation with the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT/CEMT) and was published in 1995.[31]

Classification of railway vehicles edit

The UIC has established systems for the classification of locomotives and their axle arrangements, coaches and goods wagons.

Some UIC regulations edit

UIC plays an important role in standardization of railway parts, data and terminology, though the degree to which its standards have been adopted by its members varies. Therefore, UIC codes (also known as UIC leaflet) are developed since the beginning of UIC's work. A new term for these UIC leaflets is used by UIC for better understanding: International Railway Solution (IRS).[32]

Some UIC codes are:

  • UIC 568 The 13-corded standardized connection cable with connector is used to transmit data and commands between the locomotive and the carriages of a passenger train.
  • UIC 592-2 Large containers for transport on wagons – Technical conditions to be fulfilled by large containers accepted for use in international traffic. Describes the classes and categories of large containers, handling characteristics, identification markings, and special conditions applying to large tank containers.
  • UIC 592-3 Large containers (CT), swap bodies (CM) and transport frames for horizontal transhipment (CA) – Standard report on acceptance tests.
  • UIC 592-4 Swap bodies for grab handling and spreader gripping – Technical conditions. Swap bodies are the removable superstructures of road transport vehicles. Their dimensions and some of their fittings are standardised, particularly dimensions, strength parameters and securing devices, of the road vehicle, the wagon and transhipment arrangements (grab-handling grooves, lower securing parts and, in special cases, upper securing parts).
  • UIC 596-5 Transport of road vehicles on wagons – Technical organisation – Conveyance of semi-trailers with P coding or N coding on recess wagons. This leaflet sets out regulations and provisions for semi-trailers with normal road transport characteristics for conveyance on fixed-recess carrier wagons. The provisions are valid for semi-trailers, gantry equipment/industrial trucks with grab handles, recess wagon types 1a and 1b in accordance with UIC Leaflet 571–4.
  • UIC 596-6 Conveyance of road vehicles on wagons – Technical organisation – Conditions for coding combined-transport load units and combined-transport lines. The leaflet sets out the coding and organisation of loading units in respect of road vehicles on wagons, designed to ensure compatibility of loading units (LU) with the permissible profile for combined transport lines. The provisions aim to facilitate LU identification to speed-up international traffic movements. They are applicable to semi-trailers, swap bodies, roller units loaded on wagons and bogies in combined transport operations.
  • FU-7100[33] Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) User Requirements Specification. Defines a set of technology independent user requirements in the form of individual applications.  Each application has been defined to provide or support an identified communications need that is considered necessary for current and future railway operation.

See also edit

References edit

Citations edit

  1. ^ a b c d "Executive Board UIC". 31 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Railway Regulation (Gauge) Act 1846" (PDF).
  3. ^ Rolt 1989, pp. 202–203.
  4. ^ "What are the consequences of Europe's different railway gauges?". 21 April 2022.
  5. ^ "Why the end of the gauge war didn't standardise Britain's railway". Network Rail. 20 May 2021.
  6. ^ Maisel, Adam; Keturakis, Laurynas (4 February 2018). "Baltic Trainspotting: Railways and NATO's Logistics problem in Northeastern Europe". Modern War Institute.
  7. ^ "Harmonising the future of railway operations". 29 December 2006.
  8. ^ "UIC since 1922". UIC – International union of railways. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  9. ^ de Fontgalland, Bernard (8 November 1984). The World Railway System. Cambridge University Press. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-521-24541-8.
  10. ^ "Intercontainer opts for the ECU". Rail International. 21: 34. 1990.
  11. ^ The Railway Data File. Leicester: Silverdale, 2000. p. 52. ISBN 1-85605-499-3.
  12. ^ Peck C.B., Locomotive cyclopedia of American practice, 1950-52, Association of American Railroads Mechanical Division, Simmons-Boardman Pub. Co., 1950, p. 449.
  13. ^ UTP Marking 2015, Uniform Technical Prescription Applicable to Vehicle Numbers and linked alphabetical marking on the bodywork: THE RAILWAY VEHICLE MARKING, Applicable from 1.1.2015, retrieved from: OTIF page Prescriptions and Other Rules
  14. ^ Leaflet 419-2, Analytical numbering of international freight trains, Obligatory, 2nd edition, November 2008 - Translation, 1/09 (issued 1 February 2009), ISBN 978-2-7461-1957-4
  15. ^ "UIC and European Union Agency for Railways sign coordination framework". 2 December 2021.
  16. ^ "Train braking performance determination". 31 May 2005.
  17. ^ Paukert, Hans (3 April 2007). "UIC works to reduce train noise with composite brake shoes".
  18. ^ "Fuelling the debate on diesel engine emissions". 28 May 2008.
  19. ^ "GSM-R: where are we today?". 3 November 2005.
  20. ^ Kessell, Clive (30 January 2019). "GSM-R: a migration strategy to its successor?". Rail Engineer. Archived from the original on 22 February 2019.
  21. ^ "Siemens Wins Belgian GSM-R". Light Reading. 14 May 2003. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  22. ^ "The way from the idea to GSM-R". UIC. 13 March 2013. Archived from the original on 11 January 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  23. ^ a b c Mandoc, Dan (2 June 2023). "The second phase of the FRMCS introduction begins".
  24. ^ Mandoc, Dan; Evanghelou, Jean-Michel (4 May 2020). "FRMCS: More than just a successive replacement for GSM-R". Global Railway Review. Russell Publishing Ltd.
  25. ^ Smith, Kevin (1 March 2017). "Beyond GSM-R: the future of railway radio". International Rail Journal. Simmons-Boardman Publishing Inc. Archived from the original on 8 May 2017.
  26. ^ a b c UIC Overview as at 12 March 2009.
  27. ^ "Vademecum".
  28. ^ "Afghanistan becomes UIC member | Pajhwok Afghan News". Archived from the original on 19 December 2013.
  29. ^ "UIC Office for Africa opened in Tunis". Railways Africa. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  30. ^ "The international railway community shows solidarity with the people of Ukraine". UIC. 9 March 2022. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  31. ^ "Transport Thesaurus". UIC. 1995. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
  32. ^ Magnien, Airy. "UIC e-news". UIC. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  33. ^ FRMCS Functional Working Group (19 February 2020). "Future Railway Mobile Communication System User Requirements Specification" (PDF). UIC.

Bibliography edit

External links edit