Positions 28 Jun 2012

CER position paper on Standardisation & Climate Change

The European railway system has been standardised and regulated for more than 150 years and is defined through a complex and vast hierarchical standardisation and regulation landscape. The standardisation starts with the basic functional requirements on company level and goes up to European standards like UIC Codes, UIC/UNIFE Technical Recommendations and CEN/CENELEC EuroNorms/ Technical Specifications. The regulation comprises national framework as well as Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSI) ensuring the interoperability of the trans-European rail system and the European Commission’s Directives.

In order to adapt the European railway system to climate change, the existing standardisation needs to be adapted or extended accordingly. Firstly a complete mapping of the existing standards and regulation is required to identify the gaps between the current situation of the rail system including rolling stock and infrastructure and the target system of a resilient railway system. The open points should be closed by well-focussed research and development activities e.g. in the Framework of Horizon 2020. All R&D activities in terms of climate change adaptation must be fully exploitable in terms of standardisation potentials. Based on these finding the existing European standardisation bodies (incl. UIC) as well as the on-going standardisation work in European must be supported and the aspect of climate change and resilience added to the existing framework.
Taking into account the long life cycle costs of the rail system’s components, like 20-30 years for trains, 30 years for ballast formation and 75 years for bridges, the standardisation work has to be well supported broadly and started as soon as possible allowing the periodic replacement of the existing and fatigue components by new, improved and climate change resilient elements of the rail system. The major elements of the rail system to be considered are: ballast formation, catenary, earthworks, slab track, drainage systems, water ducks and bridges.