Incidents on the railway infrastructure always have an effect on rail operations. Most incidents are handled at a regional or national level by the responsible infrastructure manager. If trains on networks of neighbouring infrastructure managers are affected, the traffic management of neighbouring infrastructure managers is informed directly and involved in the incident management process. This process is daily practice between the infrastructure managers in Europe.
If large incidents with a significant international impact occur the international coordination of incident management needs high management attention of infrastructure managers, allocation bodies and railway undertakings. Other stakeholders such as shippers, governments, regulatory bodies, ports, terminals and media need to be kept informed about the status of the international disruption.
International Contingency management
On 16th May 2018, the RNE General Assembly in Sopron unanimously approved the International Contingency Management Handbook and its implementation from Timetable period 2019.
The purpose of this handbook is to describe the standards that allow the continuation of traffic flows at the highest possible level despite an international disruption and to assure transparency of the status of the disruption and its impact on traffic flows for all relevant stakeholders across Europe.
This handbook defines the necessary cooperation in case of international disruptions and describes:
• How to recognise and when to declare an internationally relevant disruption
• The process for international business continuity management
• The roles needed for the international cooperation
• Whom to contact
• Pre-defined procedures and best practices
RailNetEurope (RNE) with the support of the RFCs takes the responsibility of keeping this document up-to-date. The first revision of the handbook is planned in June 2019.
Park or Run tool – Dispatching of Freight Trains in disrupted situations
In case of major disturbances, when capacity is significantly reduced, Infrastructure Managers (IMs) have to agree which trains can continue to run as planned, which trains have to be parked and where they should be parked. Currently, this process requires several phone calls or the exchange of Excel sheets, or does not happen at all. As a result, border stations are blocked by trains that are not taken over by neighbouring IMs.
In order to facilitate the communication in disrupted and stressful situations, an online ‘Park or Run’ tool was developed to help dispatchers to identify the trains directly affected by the interruption. Furthermore it also provides the possibility for online communication with affected IMs (and, in the future, also RUs) about which trains may run as planned and which should be parked and where. In addition the tool could help speeding up border processes in daily business and minimise track occupation times in marshalling yards.
The Park or Run tool was developed within TIS and is currently in Pilot usage between several IMs. After the pilot, foreseen until end of 2018, the implementation handbook will be finalized and the tool will be ready to roll out Europe-wide.