TTR Day 2020

On Tuesday, 3rd of November the first online TTR day organised by RailNetEurope and Forum Train Europe took place on Microsoft Teams. Aside from Keynote Speeches by Clemens Först, CEO of Rail Cargo Austria and Chairman of Rail Freight Forward and Maurizio Casteletti, Head of Unit “Single European Rail Area” at the European Commission, 5 content sessions took place concerning:

  • TTR Process
  • Temporary Capacity Restrictions
  • IT Landscape
  • Legal Framework
  • Migration

For anyone interested, the presentations, recordings and polling results are available under this link.

In their welcoming statements, the Presidents of both organisations, Harald Hotz (RNE) and Stephan Pfuhl (FTE) highlighted the importance and urgency of the TTR project, mentioning that there will be more Passenger and Freight trains on the networks in the future, despite the current drop due to the pandemic. TTR will cover the need for more capacity and result in higher productivity and competitiveness of the rail sector. It shall also improve the performance of the capacity supply for RUs and end users and enable all this without investing into physical infrastructure.

Paul Mazataud, Vice-President of RNE and main responsible for TTR highlighted, that TTR is a very ambitious program for everybody. As the capacity strategy and capacity model need to be ready for TT2025 this must be considered as “tomorrow”. Especially the rolling planning part, which is a major change compared to today’s system must be well prepared by RUs and IMs in advance.

Keynote Speeches

Clemens Först reminded the participants that the biggest mid-term threat for Europe is climate change, which is caused by large parts by CO2 emitted by transportation. The solution and only sustainable way for land transport in the next 10-15 years is rail, which is why Rail Freight Forward has launched the “30 by 2030” program, with the aim of doubling the rail freight modal split to 30 %.In order to reach this, the following points must be fulfilled:

  1.  RUs need to do their homework
  2. A level playing field between road and rail is needed
  3. Even if the two above-mentioned conditions are fulfilled, the modal shift will change only little versus rail transport. To reach the goal “30 by 2030”, the performance of the infrastructure must be improved substantially.

Clemens Först pointed out, that the economy does not care about railway’s timetable periods. Some need capacity on the spot, some need multiannual commitment, and rail operators as service providers must be able to adapt to the customers’ needs.

For this to be feasible, a mindset shift in the Infrastructure Manager community is needed, away from a national focus, and no penalising of volatility. The methods currently apply lead to shift of freight onto roads. TTR covers these needs very broadly and is strongly supported by RFF in its whole.

Maurizio Casteletti pointed out, that the railway sector needs to focus on the time after the pandemic, using the European Green Deal to improve conditions for rail. The momentum is there, as the EU declared the year 2021 as “year of rail”. The European Commission’s aim is to reduce transport carbon emission by 90% by 2050. For this to be successful, a substantial modal shift, smart traffic management systems and initiatives to increase and improve capacity management of railways are needed. To achieve this the railway sector shall create the best possible processes and rules, and where necessary have the legal framework adapted.

Content Session Process

In the content sessions, Daniel Haltner pointed out the need to consider all steps of the process as well as the importance of partitioning capacity to ensure enough high-quality paths are available for annual timetabling, rolling and ad hoc planning. He also highlighted the benefits of TTR for both Freight (additional flexibility to react to market needs) and Passenger (earlier opening of bookings, long-term rolling planning paths) RUs, as well as the aim to reduce phantom requests. To reach this, it is crucial that the capacity model and strategy are harmonised, also with the inputs from RUs.

Content Session TCR

Guus de Mol elaborated on the issue of TCRs, that used to be national and therefore not coordinated on an international level. The aim of TTR concerning TCR is to have efficient, stable, and early planning of TCRs, for RUs to be able to estimate the effects of the TCRs on the whole path and to have the TCR planning harmonized between IMs. Paul Mazataud added that to reach this, there is a proper change management needed within the IMs in order to ensure stability and so that all consequences of a change are considered – be it on the customer, on financial discipline, or on process. The focus must be to consider the greatest common benefit for the sector, which also should include things such as the additional cost for RUs. There is one common goal that the railway sector, RUs and IMs alike has: In the end everybody wants to have running trains.

Content Session IT Landscape

The IT content session with Benny De Smedt from LINEAS and Michael Beck from DB Netz, moderated by Harald Reisinger, RNE, explained the need for a harmonised system in Europe, with a central  framework that can communicate with the existing national systems. Harmonisation does not mean it must be the same system everywhere, but the systems must be able to exchange information. The Success of TTR is heavily dependent on funding of the IT framework, therefore RNE calls on the sector to support this opportunity.

Content Session Legal

For TTR to be consistently applied in Europe, a harmonisation of the existing legal framework with the objectives of TTR is needed. This was discussed in a panel with Elisabeth Hochold, legal advisor at RNE, Nina Scherf, legal advisor at CIT, and Christiane Trampisch from the European Commission. The main challenge herein lies  likely in the different levels (EU law, national laws, network statements, etc.), as the sector cannot decide for itself, and is fully dependent on decision makers and political lobbyists. The railway sector therefore needs to raise awareness of decisionmakers and try to convince them why change is needed.

At the same time timing is a problem, as negotiation of legal changes take a lot of time, it might be challenging to get to a legal framework covering TTR and making TTR implementation possible by 2025. To reach this the sector and the EU commission will need to work together more closely. The EU commission explains, that they are willing to push things forward, with TTR being a key element of the EU green deal, as it harmonises national timetabling on international trains, and as such allows to increase the efficiency and capacity, and in turn the attractiveness of railway connections.

Content Session Migration

According to Philip Koiser, Manager of TTR Programme at RNE, the migration can already pick up speed, despite frameworks not being present, and can be done by the sector itself. While doing so it remains important to detect gaps between the current and the TTR process and taken care of. For this, a shift from sandbox to implementation pilots will be defined together with the first phase implementers.

The „Diagnostic and Design Phase“ is starting to transform the TTR process description into a detailed process and IT architecture. As the current system is inefficient and running a train needs to become easier, it is important to come from the concept to the implementation phase. For the RUs it is crucial to have all elements of TTR, European-wide and not only on selected lines.

Final Podium

On the final podium the participants from RNE and FTE agreed that  the benefits of TTR for passenger transport are often undervalued. They do not only profit form earlier booking, but also from the improved stability and better TCR planning. There was an agreement that a system such as the proposed TEE 2.0 can only be successful if the mixed traffic network is stable and reliable. To reach this, there is a need to elaborate Commercial Conditions together and find pragmatic solutions, while still considering the legal issues. TTR will be successful if national specifics can be overcome, which is a process with many different steps. To be successful, RUs and IMs need to get up and ensure their own fortune. It is important not to be afraid to leave your comfort zone.

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