THE Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (S2R), the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (Cenelec) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to accelerate standardisation work for the European rail sector.

The MoU aims to formalise the existing close collaboration between S2R, and CEN and Cenelec, both recognised by the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) as European Standardisation Organisations responsible for developing standards at a European level. The organisations say they are committed to fostering the uptake of innovation in the rail sector through the MoU and contributing to maintaining the EU as a world leader in the railway supply sector.

S2R says the agreement is crucial to maintain the sector’s competitiveness, as more than 45% of the world market for rail products lays in the hands of European manufacturers. The European rail sector directly employs more than one million people, and indirectly around 1.3 million employees. The sector is also set to play a key role in delivery European ambitions to transition towards a fully green economy.

In recent years, CEN and Cenelec have worked extensively on standardisation for the rail sector to ensure the uptake and interoperability of new technologies across the whole EU. Through the MoU, CEN, Cenelec and S2R have committed to deepening their existing cooperation by working together to identify areas where European standardisation can further contribute to the innovation of the rail sector.

These areas include:

  • collaborating on multimodal ticketing and passenger information to ensure rail contributes to a smart and smooth passenger travel experience
  • making rail freight competitive, meeting the current customer needs and delivering the benefits of digitalisation, and
  • contributing to the development of new concepts such as the certification of new materials in order to benefit from cost reduction related to onsite tests.

“The objective of this consolidated cooperation is to boost the competitiveness of the railway sector by accelerating the market uptake of innovative solutions and enhancing the economic benefits thanks to standardisation,” says S2R executive director, Mr Carlo Borghini. “Two excellent examples are the ongoing work on the digital automatic coupler (DAC) and the future generic framework for virtual testing which will be provided as an official S2R contribution to the relevant CEN Standardisation Working Group. We look forward to these and other concrete outcomes to arise from this fruitful collaboration.”

“Our long-lasting cooperation with S2R is a great example of the success story of standardisation: through the involvement of all relevant stakeholders in standard-making process, we can boost innovative technologies and contribute to the European twin digital and green transitions – as reflected in our Strategy 2030,” says CEN and Cenelec director general, Ms Elena Santiago Cid. “We look forward to our ever-strengthening cooperation to contribute together to safe, innovative and efficient railway systems in Europe, with the strong support of standards as strategic tools to create trust, enhance the competitiveness of the European rail industry and benefit citizens with quality and reliable services.”