Rastatt 1-year anniversary: Is the rail system today better equipped to deal with disruptions?
One year after the reopening of the Rastatt line European Rail Freight Association (ERFA), Netzwerk Europäischer Eisenbahnen (NEE) and International Union for Road-Rail Combined Transport (UIRR) highlight the lessons learnt and the positive steps taken to tackle rail freight’s weak points, while mentioning some issues that remain open to this day.
Never again must the closure of a small stretch of railway line lead to such chaos and wide-reaching economic damage.
Since Rastatt all sides of the rail sector, with the support of the European Commission, have committed to tackling the main challenges facing rail freight. Strengthening rail’s competitiveness and rebuilding customer confidence is at the heart of the action plan.
Where are we now?
Simplified communication - English has been adopted as the main language of communication between infrastructure managers and railway undertakings during international disruptions. At least one English speaking dispatcher in national traffic control centres will be guaranteed in every shift from 2020.
Re-routing alternatives - “Off the shelf” rerouting options and traffic management scenarios that minimise disruptions are being prepared, including information on technical parameters and other operational requirements. This will help to keep trains running in the event of disruptions.
Leadership - One Infrastructure Manager takes the lead in co-ordinating the international co-operation with other Infrastructure Managers and in managing the available international re-routing capacity. The lead infrastructure manager is also responsible for communication with railway undertakings.
Quick reaction and mitigation - Fast reaction times will ensure that relevant re-routings and mitigation decisions should be taken within the first 24 hours. Within 36 hours of an incident taking place, a rough indicative timetable should be provided.