RFC-related Other Activities
Several other RFC-related activities and projects have been undertaken jointly by RNE and the RFCs, aiming to develop and bring into practice joint processes applicable to the entire RFC Network.
Pre-arranged Path product definition
In early 2016, RNE started to streamline the Pre-arranged Path product offered by the RFCs. A task force consisting of C-OSS managers and timetabling experts revised the existing guidelines. This resulted in the merging of the standing Guidelines for Corridor OSS and the Guidelines for Pre-arranged Paths into the Guidelines for C-OSS concerning PaP and RC Management.
During this process, all obsolete/redundant contents were eliminated. The descriptions provided by the two previous guidelines were reviewed and updated, the aim being to close all gaps in the standing process descriptions and provide for an adequate level of detail. The newly described process reflects market requirements more accurately and will enable C-OSSs to fulfill their coordinating role in a more efficient way.
To assist those working with the guidelines, the aforementioned task force also created an Explanation of changes made in the former two documents, leading to a single combined guideline.
As the new guideline necessitated several developments within the Path Coordination System (PCS), it can be activated for the 2019 timetable year at the earliest as regards annual requests and, as regards ad-hoc requests, for the 2018 timetable year at the earliest. In the meantime, the previous guidelines will remain valid and applicable.
Short-term capacity product for RFCs
Seeing that the market needs are not covered by the existing Reserve Capacity, in September 2016 the RFC Talks requested RNE to conduct, jointly with the C-OSS Community, a feasibility study on the suggested improvements to the RFCs’ short-term capacity product. The study will examine the possibility of significantly shortening the deadline for placing Reserve Capacity requests, targeting three days. Furthermore, the study will define the process and the required coordination steps of the new service. The study results will eventually trigger PCS developments that need to be harmonised between all stakeholders. Coincidentally, several RFCs have announced that they themselves have started to assess solutions towards a more attractive short-term capacity product for RFCs.
Based on the opinion-gathering conducted within the C-OSS Community, it was proposed to establish a project structure in which RNE, in close cooperation with the C-OSS Managers and further stakeholders such as timetabling experts of the involved IMs, will define the new product as well as describe the related process and required IT developments.
The goals of the proposed project are:
- To launch a test pilot with volunteer RFCs based on the already existing process for international ad-hoc capacity requests with minimal involvement of the C-OSS (observer role) in the second quarter of 2017.
- To develop overall specifications for a future short-term capacity product to be offered on as many RFCs as possible. This will be done in cooperation with all C-OSS Managers as well as Sales & Timetabling experts of involved IMs, taking into account the experience gained in the pilot.
- To provide RFCs and their customers with a more attractive short-term capacity product taking into consideration the progress of the required IT developments.
RFC Traffic Management Information
Rail Freight Corridors (RFCs) and IMs are requested to provide the same information to all recipients; but sometimes they have to do it more than once and in different ways. Therefore RNE has started a project focussed on traffic management information. The project team, consisting of representatives of IMs and RFCs, has developed a “Common structure for providing traffic management information” in a harmonised way in different documents (e.g. Corridor Information Documents), collected the relevant “Traffic Management Information” and drafted a proposal for its use and publication.
The Traffic Management Information (TMI) document provides a detailed overview of the traffic management information content and structure; its annexes provide specific traffic management information for the border sections relevant for RFCs.
TPM on RFCs
The Train Performance Management (TPM) project, carried out in 2009, was a first attempt to put in place a complete process for monitoring, analysing and improving performance of international trains, namely in terms of punctuality. ‘TPM Guidelines’ were developed to describe the overall train performance quality management process.
From 2011, with the coming into force of the Freight Regulation, the focus moved to meeting the needs of the Rail Freight Corridors (RFCs).
With the Freight Regulation in mind, the ‘Guidelines for punctuality monitoring (GPM)’ (which were based on the former TPM Guidelines) were published.
Taking into account all previous experiences, the GPM provide a comprehensive description of how to improve train punctuality. The GPM were delivered to the RFCs so that they could use them without having to re-invent the wheel. The GPM also provides a template to be used as a basis to draft a Rail Freight Corridor punctuality management handbook.
It is important to underline that the GPM, although conceived with the Freight Regulation in mind, can also be used in other contexts and for all types of railway traffic (including passengers).
Added value of TPM approach
- The international approach to punctuality analysis is designed to improve the quality of train performance on corridors and thereby improve customer satisfaction and attract more traffic to railways
- A network of experts is now in place
- Regular international collaboration on quality performance (looking beyond borders) between IMs, and between IMs and RUs, has been established.