image description

Innovations will come from Russia

Ideas of Russian railway engineers have received international recognition
image description

Projects of Russian Railways’ subsidiaries will be implemented under the auspices of the Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly (APRA) of the International Union of Railways (UIC). Russian Railways was able to achieve this as a result of negotiations in 2021. The decision to finance projects of Russian Railways’ subsidiaries was made at the 32nd session of UIC APRA, held in December.
It will be recalled that UIC consists of six assemblies, formed on the basis of geography. 
As "1520. International" was told by Ludmila Renne, deputy head of the department of foreign projects and international cooperation and a member of the UIC APRA project management group representing Russian Railways, the Company is a member of the steering committees of the European and Asia-Pacific Regional Assemblies and participates in the implementation of multiregional UIC projects.

"Participation in APRA's project activities offers a number of tangible effects for the holding company," says Lyudmila Renne. "For example, the promotion of Russian technologies abroad and obtaining orders for research work, cooperation with profile experts from leading Asian companies with the purpose of importing advanced technologies into the Russian transport market, and much more".

Ludmila Renne notes that the selection of project applications for funding is based on the criteria proposed by Russian Railways in 2017 and approved by APRA members. Project applications are analyzed for compliance with these criteria by the UIC APRA project management group. The group also performs expert review of completed research and development work.

Alexey Ozerov, head of the international department of the Research and Design Institute for Information Technology, Signaling and Telecommunications in Railway Transportation (NIIAS), is also a member of the UIC APRA project management group. According to him, more than 30 applications by railway companies from different countries, including Russia, Kazakhstan, China, South Korea and Japan, are submitted to UIC APRA annually.

"Taking into account votes "for", the most worthy project applications, which are of the greatest interest to the members of the Assembly in terms of  development of the Asia-Pacific region, are selected for further implementation using APRA’s special project fund, which is formed by the membership fees," explains the expert.

According to Nikita Gorshkov, head of the Center for Commercial Development and International Cooperation of the All-Russian Research Institute for Railway Transport (VNIIZhT), the project selection mechanism is continually improved.
"While previously it was enough just to submit an application and wait for the voting results, now the selection is multifaceted. First you have to present the project to the project management group, which checks whether the project corresponds to the goals of the APRA strategy," explains Nikita Gorshkov. "Then you have to defend your idea in front of all the members of the assembly and then wait for the results of the vote".

In 2021 similarly to 2020, the project competition was divided into categories, including infrastructure, passenger services, strategy, and IT technologies.

Lyudmila Renne says that in 2021 all four applications, put forward by the Russian members of APRA (NIIAS, VNIIZhT, Federal Passenger Company (FPC), Russian University of Transport (RUT MIIT)) with a total budget of 175,000 euros, were successfully included in the list of priority projects for 2022. This required several rounds of negotiations with the key partners of Russian Railways on the APRA platform - the railways of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, China, the Republic of Korea, as well as the Ulan-Bator railway.
According to Alexey Ozerov, at the APRA assembly session in December 2021 NIIAS presented the results of activities under the project approved by the commission in 2020 - "The role, methods of formation and the future of transportation control centers (TCC)". 
"In fact, this project is the first global international study in analysis of the formation and operation of transportation control centers in different countries of the world. The results of this work were highly appreciated by UIC experts and APRA members," notes Alexey Ozerov.

In addition, "Railway Transport Model" (RTM), an application by NIIAS, was supported by the Assembly members at their last meeting and received funding for 2022.
"This project is focused on the study of the application of various simulation methods in the tasks of technical and economic evaluation and selection of railway infrastructure projects," explains Alexey Ozerov.

The UIC APRA panel also noted "Research Priorities. Appendix to the UIC APRA 2050 Strategy", a project by VNIIZhT, which was the second in the overall rating table.  
"This project implies the preparation of a separate section on research priorities in the APRA region," says Nikita Gorshkov. "In addition, the Assembly supported a project of our colleagues from Federal Passenger Company, to be implemented by us jointly. The work deals with the analysis of the measures taken by the state to support international railway passenger transportation, and the development of recommendations to improve the economic efficiency and sustainability of passenger carriers".

The head of the Center for Commercial Development and International Cooperation at VNIIZhT notes that each project approved by the panel provides not only for "paper stages," but also specialized seminars and webinars. "Regardless of who wins, there are many participants in the projects. In particular, there are joint discussions, exchange of experience, and the results of the project can always be used not only the authors of the study (and their country), but also all members of the assembly, because the works contain plenty of data from different countries and companies," he summarizes.
Anastasia Baranets

Read next content