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Poles

The activities and experts‘ know how of EURNEX members are structured in 10 Poles of Excellence that cover a broad range of  the railway research topics.

The Scientific Poles of Excellence take the lead in detailed discussion of research and technical issues within the EURNEX association and in the preparation of research project proposals. The Scientific Poles of Excellence promote research collaboration and projects within the association’s framework.

The Scientific Poles of Excellence bring together the exchange and dissemination activities in a sufficiently coherent and consistent manner, with the following objectives:

  • to promote state-of-art research,
  • to foster scientific and technological cooperation between the members,
  • to optimize the rail research and education potential within the EU, and
  • to realise the concept of a “European Research Area” in this industrial sector.

The scientific Poles of Excellence encourage the interdisciplinarity with other poles with the objective to facilitate the rapid transfer of knowledge and innovation in well identified railway areas.

  • 1. Strategy & Economics
  • 2. Operation & System Performance
  • 3. Rolling stock
  • 4. Product Qualification Methods
  • 5. Intelligent Mobility
  • 6. Safety & Security
  • 7. Environment & Energy Efficiency
  • 8. Infrastructure & signaling
  • 9. Human Factor, Cognitive Engineering and Social Sciences
  • 10. Training & Education

This pole focuses on research that develops and supports business case for railways. Issues looked at by this pole include the main drivers of demand and costs in railways; potentials and limitations of quality of service rendered by railways to the various market segments; actions from regulators and policy makers that could help to improve railway performance.

Pole Leaders:

Pole members

Research topics

  • Common EU strategy in connecting big metropolis by high speed rail, business cases.

  • Service economics incl. knowledge of service requirements of shippers and of passengers and how these are addressed by competing modes

  • Market requirements for rail services to be able to attract typically non-rail freight users e.g.  high value consumer goods, LDHV (low density) or temperature controlled goods, high speed freight

  • Long term trends in society and technology that influence mobility patterns, appraisal of the costs and benefits of alternative innovations

The general objective of this pole is to understand and to evaluate the complex nature of the railway system and to assist its operational management. The specific areas looked at by the pole members are: stakeholders‘ requirements; interoperability; functional analysis and designing of system architecture and components relationships; modelling and simulation; operation planning and management; capacity management and optimization.

Pole Leaders:

Pole Members:

Research topics

  • Operation on high density mixed traffic networks

  • Requirements and standards for long distance night passenger services

  • Integration of battery powered trains into existing timetables

  • Cross-border train slot booking (incl. Freight), assignments and synchronization of timetables and train circulations intra EU for longer distances of transport

  • Enlarged capacity of railway system: faster, heavier, and larger trains; soft infrastructure capacity enlargement

  • Rail integration in urban freight distribution

The Pole aims at developing innovative solutions to the challenges of tomorrow’s rolling stock. Specific objectives of the pole include: improving the performance and the attractiveness of passenger and freight vehicles; maintaining and enhancing safety and reliability; provide scientific and technical foundation for innovative solutions and supporting the establishment of new standards for rolling stock.

Pole Leaders:

Pole members:

Research topics

  • New materials for energy absorption, noise and damping
  • Aerodynamics (incl. freight, container trains)
  • Smart vehicles incl. wagons
  • Railway dynamics and damage processes and rolling noise creation mechanisms
  • Structural new materials  and optimized layouts
  • Fatigue behavior; impact resistance; durability; inspection and repair; production and joining processes; fire resistance of new materials.

The pole aims at improving the effectiveness of testing and modeling and at developing product qualification methods for new techniques and technologies supporting the implementation of TSIs throughout the enlarged Europe. Activities would include research and development to improve methods of assessment; test procedures; test facilities (equipment); modeling; knowledge management system on PQM and the application of simulation methods. The pole would also tackle assessment of conformity of standards and cross-acceptance procedures, as well as education and training for product qualification and TSI implementation through enlarged Europe.

Pole Leaders:

  • IK Warsaw: Witold Olpinski, Marek Pawlik

Pole members:

Research topics

  • Development of standards for neighboring cross-border signal boxes
  • Continued development of pricing for cross-border passenger transport (CIV)
  • Electronic transmission for movement commands in case of failure of control and safety systems
  • Investigation regarding a unified language for European railway operations
  • Research on the implementation status of TSIs in the EU, and very importantly, measures for accelerating implementation
  • Research into the organizational and regulatory environment to encourage the adoption of innovations (for instance wagons exceeding dimensions)

„Intelligent mobility“ covers new communication, navigation and surveillance (inside or outside the vehicle) technologies able to answer the needs for lean, clean and clever transport systems. The pole would look into the following domains: information systems (passenger, freight, remote diagnostics, predictive maintenance, traffic management), ticketing and payment/refund systems, security (systems and users), railway system management.

Pole Leaders:

Pole members:

Research topics

  •   Necessity for the communication to be resilient to technology evolution and also the necessity to have access to spectrum. Future capabilities such as dynamic spectrum allocation, millimeter-wave based smart railway communications, LTE (Long Term Evolution std.) based broadband communications for high-speed railway
  • Dependability aspects on wireless communications. This aspect is treated in the case of GNSS but not for T2G, T2T communications
  • Passenger ticketing improvements with harmonization and exchange of relevant data, unified personal ticket storage
  • Innovative uses of Automatic Load Checkpoint data: predictive maintenance, authorisation to place in service and more
  •  Low cost failsafe train positioning for port-area railway networks

The objective of the pole are to monitor safety, develop new technology and to promote safe and secure systems of operation that reduce risks with diminishing costs. The pole will cover the following areas: safety and security management; active safety and passive safety requirements and assessment; incident/accident database and learning; risk analysis and assessment; technical and operational safety; occupational health and safety; safety impact of maintenance; new technology for security; psychological aspects of security; prevention of terrorism.

Pole Leaders:

  • IFSTTAR: El Miloudi El Koursi
  • SUT Katowice: Szymon Surma

Pole members:

Research topics

  • Cybersecurity, ramsomware protection, personal data protection, company data protection
  • Integration of key locks in ETCS
  •  ETCS Level 3 implementation for end of train devices
  • Research on methodologies allowing correlation between cost and levels of safety improvement
  • Satellite positioning systems and own traffic monitoring systems for the detailed real time information  for safety and security ensuring services
  • Security and safety for high value freight

This pole will cover the following environmental topics: energy consumption and saving in electrified and diesel traction systems; electromagnetic pollution; noise and vibration not only on board but also on ground; influence of weather conditions on railway operation; water and air pollution. This is a transversal pole, where the knowledge coming from infrastructure, rolling stocks, signaling systems, operation and economy are oriented to the analysis of environmental impact of the railway systems.

Pole Leaders:

Pole members:

Research topics

  • Reuse and recycling in the railway and transport sector
  • Batteries for electric driving, regenerative braking, alternative power sources
  • Energy harvesting for fixed and moving equipment, electrification of railway wagons
  • Aerodynamic studies for trains including freight trains (container trains)

The main objective of the pole is to optimise the cost, reliability and availability of the railway infrastructure. The pole will cover the following areas of research: track including sub-grade and rail; switches and crossings; level crossings; wheel/rail interface; signaling and control systems; line-side equipment; railway structures, cuttings and embankments; remote condition monitoring; electrical power distribution; maintenance procedure; catenary; life cycle cost (e.g. in relation to maintenance); noise, vibration and corrugation; signalling compatibility; interlocking.

Pole Leaders:

  • TU Munich: Bernhard Lechner
  • IFSTTAR: Laurent Bouillaut
  • ZAG: Stanislav Lenart

Pole members:

Research topics

  •  Reference values and target values for port-area railway track (including switches and crossings)
  • New designs of slab track, more resilient against deterioration, easily reparable after terrain movements or torrential down powers, storms and floods
  • Evaluation of increased safety and reliability of railway infrastructure after its modernization or reconstruction
  • Modern design of railway stations and marshalling yards.
  • Defrosting of railway infrastructure (esp. contact wire in railway, tram and trolleybus transport)
  • Modern methods in modeling of noise and vibration originated in railway transport and mitigation measures.

HORTENS
Human Factor, Cognitive Engineering and Social Sciences

The pole objectives will focus on new challenges related to the design, the analysis and the evaluation of human-machine systems applied to railway. Several mains strategic centers of joint interest are planned:

  • Human in the loop

New challenges are required for developing efficient methods integrating human factors and organizational factors when designing or operating guided transport systems

  • Positive and negative human contribution

Humans can contribute to the resilience of a human-machine system and to the occurrence of incidents or accidents. Databases related to feedback of field experience focus mainly of accidents or incidents due to human actions. Human behaviors are then interpreted as possible negative impacts for a system because of the occurrence of human errors or violations.

  • Cooperate and learning from the past

Technology has to adapt to human behavior by cooperating with humans and learning from these interactions. Auto-learning or co-learning capacities and cooperative capacities have then to be developed for technology.

Pole Leaders:

Pole members:

Research topics

  • Holistic approach embracing cognitive, physical and organisational human factors
  • Promote systems ergonomics within a systems engineering philosophy
  • Auto-learning or co-learning capacities and cooperative capacities for technology
  • Database studies of the negative/positive impacts for a system because of the occurrence of human errors or violations

 

The pole has the following objectives: to create a pool of short training courses; to support the running of short training courses; to implement international PhD and Master programs; to launch a European University of Railway; to promote interdisciplinary contacts (collaboration across poles); to be a permanent forum for prospective studies; to promote exchange of knowledge ((e)-learning material, publications etc); to promote dissemination of knowledge out of research project results and publications; to use research results in education programs and short training courses.

Pole Leaders:

  • CERTH: Evangelos Bekiaris
  • UPCE Pardubice: Tatiana Molkova

Pole members:

Research topics

  • Identify research based education content resulting from the outcomes of finished projects
  • Enhance and expand educational access to railway courses
  • Enhance educational quality in the railway area (academic, stakeholders)
  • Create mechanisms to put forward courses not offered by existing institutions
  • Develop e-learning based courses and promote the production of course materials
  • Promote Joint PhDs using bilateral and multilateral programs
  • Promote joint international MSc programs in different rail related areas
  • Promote a Pan-European master of railway, interoperability issues