FTE Plenary Assembly striving for better rail capacity management

On June 9th, 2021 the association Forum Train Europe held its semestrial Plenary Assembly. Being an online meeting for the third consecutive time, member Railway Undertakings from freight and passenger business met to streamline the future of rail capacity management.

Farewell Peter Jäggy

Welcome to the FTE team and community Sebastián Čarek and Peter Bouman

The member RUs voted on key requirements for timetabling and capacity management in general and the TTR program in particular, asking all IMs to rapidly provide

  • Stability and reliability of paths – with early and reliable planning of temporary capacity restrictions by IMs
  • Fulfilling passenger needs – with earlier final paths provided by IMs, bookings can open earlier to customers
  • Fulfilling freight customers needs – allowing long and short lead times for path bookings depending on market needs
  • Cross Border Harmonisation – on process, rules, IT and common planning to make Europe connected

FTE members ask to have such improvements together as a package in order to develop the full rail market. Continuous learnings should lead to constant, fast improvements not only of concepts but also of implementation.

With stability of paths/timetables one of the core concerns of FTE members, the Plenary Assembly also asked for a timely joint effort of IMs in improving TCR (temporary capacity restrictions) planning und common usage of existing tools. The joint TCR Working Group of FTE and ERFA is ready and standing to support IMs in this regard.

Easy access to paths, also for international trains, is one key element to facilitate rail transport. FTEs members have been working together for more than a year now to improve RU specific functions in the RNE Path Coordination System (“RU Change Requests”). With the positive experience, also in the collaboration with the IMs organization RNE, the Plenary Assembly decided to shift the decision making for specific RU Change Requests to the FTE Working Group IT.

Further topics discussed were

  • the unharmonized European path Allocation/Priority Rules and the underlying need to harmonize Network Statement procedures – as these currently don’t allow for checking the rules of neighbouring IMs at the same time
  • the upcoming three-fold jubilee in 2022: marking FTEs 25th anniversary, the centennial of the European timetabling conferences organized by SBB and the 150th birthday of the the first European timetabling conference!
  • The statutory subjects like budget agreements and conference dates.

Even though being an online meeting the Plenary Assembly also had a very personal moment with the farewell of Peter Jäggy, who served the FTE Community for 24 years both as expert and as Secretary General. Members, the Executive Committee and the FTE office team took the opportunity to warmly thank Peter for his dedicated service in FTE!

Two new colleagues of the FTE office have been welcomed, too: Sebastian Čarek and Peter Boumann will assist the FTE community.

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Overview of Members