ERFA: Rastatt crisis was a wake-up call, we welcome new EU rules

SBB Cargo Class 482 TRAXX locos haul a freight train over the Rastatt tunnel route in September, 2016.
SBB Cargo Class 482 TRAXX locos haul a freight train over the Rastatt tunnel route in September, 2016.

The European Rail Freight Association (ERFA) has welcomed the introduction of new EU rules to “create a more customer-orientated rail network.”

The new framework provides basic consultation and coordination obligations for infrastructure managers’ planned works, to minimise disruptions to rail services.

It comes after construction work caused an almost eight-week closure of the Rastatt tunnel in Germany – described by ERFA as “the final wake-up call” – and severely disrupted north-south rail freight traffic in Europe.

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ERFA said that, ultimately, improved performance is essential to make rail a more attractive transport mode and that late information on planned disruptions, limited or unsuitable diversionary routes, and uncoordinated infrastructure works contribute to a poor quality of service.

One of the changes welcomed by the group is the need for infrastructure managers to offer at least two alternative routes for the most disruptive capacity restrictions – defined as lasting more than 30 days and affecting more than 50 per cent of traffic.

ERFA said that the impact of the changes will start to be felt from the 2018 timetable change, but most will kick in for the 2019 timetable change. The full impact is expected to be felt for the 2020 timetable change.

Read more: Happy birthday HS1 – A look back at the launch of Britain’s first high-speed line


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Electrification, traction power supplies and distribution networks

Peter Stanton undertook, between 1968 and 1972, a ‘thin sandwich’ degree course at City University, London, sponsored by British Railways Midlands Region and with practical training at Crewe and Willesden.

In 1980, following a spell as Area Maintenance Engineer at King’s Cross, Peter took on the interesting and challenging role of being the Personal Assistant to the British Railways Board Member for Engineering. As such, he was project manager for several major inter-regional inter-functional schemes.

Under Railtrack, Peter became Engineering Manager for Infrastructure Contracts, based in Birmingham, and then Electrification and Plant specialist for the West Coast Route Modernisation under Network Rail.

Since 2007, as an independent consultant, he has worked on the national electrification programme, Dubai Metro Red Line, Network Rail Crossrail, and Great Western Electrification. He sits on the Railway Technical Advisory panel of the IET and the Conference and Seminars Committee of the Railway Division of the IMechE.


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