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ERRAC Plenary revisits railway vision

The 14th Plenary meeting of the European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC) took place in Berlin in conjunction with the INNOTRANS 2006 conference. ERRAC members had a unique opportunity to see and discuss a range of exciting new developments in the European railway sector.

Rail station
© Peter Gutierrez

INNOTRANS is the most important platform for promoting innovation in the European railway sector and, thus, a natural venue in which to examine ERRAC’s joint strategy for rail transport research and development.

The Plenary was attended by a wide variety of railway stakeholders, including representatives of the EU Members States, the European Commission, railway operators, infrastructure managers, the manufacturing industry and academia. The agenda focused mainly on the ongoing work of updating ERRAC’s Strategic Rail Research Agenda (SRRA), originally published in 2002.

Work in progress

A dedicated working group comprising prominent European railway experts has already carried out extensive work on revising the sector’s vision and strategic research priorities. ERRAC members were asked to validate the work done so far and to contribute their own thoughts and suggestions before the preparation of a final draft. The final updated SRRA, it has now been confirmed, will be adopted at the next ERRAC meeting on the 7 February 2007.

Ake Wennberg
Ake Wennberg

The meeting was marked by the participation for the first time of Alain Bertrand, Strategy and Research Advisor of the European Railway Agency (ERA). Bertrand presented the main activities of his agency and its needs and expectations in the field of railway research.

Other items on the agenda included a report from the Project Evaluation Working Group on a number of projects carried out in the 1990s, reports from other working groups, and an information session on the INTEGRAIL Project.

Pages turned

The meeting was also attended by the European Commission’s Research Director Jack Metthey, an important contributor and supporter of ERRAC from the outset of its activities in 2001. Metthey announced that this would be his last ERRAC meeting in the capacity of Director at DG Research, as he would be moving to a new role and would be replaced by Andras Siegler, a Hungarian member of the European Commission.

“I would like to thank you, the ERRAC members, for your excellent collaboration and I wish you all great success in your future activities,” said Metthey. ERRAC Chairman Ake Wennberg also thanked the outgoing Director for his support and contributions to the European railway sector and wished him equal success in the new role.