International Union of Railways

International Union of Railways

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The UIC or International Union of Railways, is an international rail transport
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

 industry body.

Brief history


The railways of Europe originated as separate concerns. There were many border changes after World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

. Colonial railways were the responsibility of the mother country. Into this environment the UIC was born on 20 October 1922, with the aim of standardising industry practices.

Ticket revenue splitting was originally undertaken with the UIC Franc
UIC franc
The UIC Franc is a virtual currency unit used by the International Union of Railways.A related currency for the airline ticketing industry is the Neutral Unit of Construction ....

 currency equivalent. The UIC classification
UIC classification
The UIC classification of locomotive axle arrangements describes the wheel arrangement of locomotives, multiple units and trams. It is set out in the International Union of Railways "Leaflet 650 - Standard designation of axle arrangement on locomotives and multiple-unit sets". It is used in much...

 and UIC Country Code
UIC Country Code
The UIC Country Code is a two digit number used to identify member countries of the International Union of Railways . The UIC has issued numbering systems for rolling stock and train stations that both contain the UIC Country Code. The values are defined in UIC leaflet 920-14.-Table of Codes:-...

s allowing precise determination of rolling stock capabilities and ownership. The 1990s GSM-R
GSM-R
GSM-R, Global System for Mobile Communications - Railway or GSM-Railway is an international wireless communications standard for railway communication and applications. A sub-system of European Rail Traffic Management System , it is used for communication between train and railway regulation...

 radio telecommunication system is an interoperability
Interoperability
Interoperability is a property referring to the ability of diverse systems and organizations to work together . The term is often used in a technical systems engineering sense, or alternatively in a broad sense, taking into account social, political, and organizational factors that impact system to...

 specification covering voice and signalling systems.

Mission


The UIC's mission is "to promote rail transport at world level and meet the challenges of mobility and sustainable development."

Objectives


The UIC's main objectives are to:
  • Facilitate the sharing of best practices among members (benchmarking)
  • Support members in their efforts to develop new business and new areas of activities
  • Propose new ways to improve technical and environmental performance
  • Promote interoperability, create new world standards for railways (including common standards with other transport modes)
  • Develop centres of competence (High Speed, Safety, Security, e-Business, …)

Members



When it was founded in 1922, the UIC had 51 members from 29 countries including Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. They were soon joined by the railways from the USSR, the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

. Today, the UIC has 199 members across 5 continents. Of these there are:
  • 82 active members (including railways from Europe
    Europe
    Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

    , Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    , the Middle East
    Middle East
    The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

    , North Africa
    North Africa
    North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

    , South Africa
    South Africa
    The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

    , India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

    , Pakistan
    Pakistan
    Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

    , China
    China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

    , Japan
    Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

    , Korea
    Korea
    Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

    , Kazakhstan
    Kazakhstan
    Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

    , and companies operating worldwide such as Veolia Transport)
  • 80 associate members (including railways from Asia
    Asia
    Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

    , Africa
    Africa
    Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

    , America
    Americas
    The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

     and Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

    )
  • 37 affiliate members (related or ancillary rail transport businesses or services)

In 12 November, the UIC opened an African regional office - in Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

 - with the support of SNCFT.

Standard terminology


In order to provide a common understanding and reduce potential confusion, the UIC has established standard international railway terminology as well as a trilingual (English-French-German) thesaurus of terms. The thesaurus was the result of cooperation between the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) and UIC and was published in 1995.

Classification of railway vehicles


The UIC has established international systems for the classification of locomotives
UIC identification marking for tractive stock
Since the beginning of 2007 all newly authorised railway locomotives or other traction units, at least in Europe, have been given a twelve-digit number. This makes the locomotive or railcar clearly identifiable from an EU-wide list of registered railway vehicles and which follows the UIC Code of...

 and their axle arrangements
UIC classification
The UIC classification of locomotive axle arrangements describes the wheel arrangement of locomotives, multiple units and trams. It is set out in the International Union of Railways "Leaflet 650 - Standard designation of axle arrangement on locomotives and multiple-unit sets". It is used in much...

, railway coaches
UIC classification of railway coaches
Railway coaches are classified under an international system developed by the UIC. This UIC classification of railway coaches replaced earlier national classification schemes in many countries, such as Germany. The coach class is expressed as a combination of letters. It is sometimes followed, for...

 and goods wagons
UIC classification of goods wagons
This list contains the UIC classification of goods wagons and their meanings. The description is made up of a class letter and usually several code letters ....

.

Some UIC regulations


Some UIC codes are:
  • UIC 568
    UIC 568
    The 13-corded cable with connector of the UIC 568 standard is a standardized connection cable from the UIC, used for transmitting a variety of data and commands between a locomotive and passenger carriages...

     The 13-corded cable
    Cable
    A cable is two or more wires running side by side and bonded, twisted or braided together to form a single assembly. In mechanics cables, otherwise known as wire ropes, are used for lifting, hauling and towing or conveying force through tension. In electrical engineering cables are used to carry...

     with connector is a standardized connection cable, used transmit data and commands between the locomotive
    Locomotive
    A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...

     and the carriages of a passenger train.
  • UIC 592-2 Large containers for transport on wagons - Technical conditions to be fulfilled by large containers accepted for use in international traffic. This leaflet defines the technical characteristics and practical features of large containers for use in combined traffic. It describes: the classes and categories of large containers. the handling characteristics, the identification markings, and the special conditions applying to large tank containers.
  • UIC 592-3 Large containers (CT), swap bodies (CM) and transport frames for horizontal transhipment (CA) - Standard report on acceptance tests.
  • UIC 592-4 Swap bodies for grab handling and spreader gripping - Technical conditions Swap bodies are the removable superstructures of road transport vehicles. Their dimensions and some of their fittings are standardised. This standardisation applies particularly to the dimensions, strength parameters, securing devices, of the road vehicle itself, of the wagon and of transhipment arrangements (grab-handling grooves, lower securing parts and, in special cases, upper securing parts).
  • UIC 596-5 Transport of road vehicles on wagons - Technical organisation - Conveyance of semi-trailers with P coding or N coding on recess wagons This Leaflet sets out regulations and provisions to be observed by semi-trailers with normal road transport characteristics for conveyance on fixed-recess carrier wagons. The provisions are valid for: Semi-trailers, Gantry equipment/industrial trucks with grab handles, Recess wagon types 1a and 1b in accordance with UIC Leaflet 571-4.
  • UIC 596-6 Conveyance of road vehicles on wagons - Technical organisation - Conditions for coding combined-transport load units and combined-transport lines The present leaflet sets out the coding and organisation of loading units in respect of road vehicles on wagons. This coding is designed to ensure the compatibility of loading units (LU) with the permissible profile for combined transport lines. The provisions in the present leaflet aim to facilitate LU identification in order thereby to speed-up international traffic movements. They are applicable to: semi-trailers swap bodies roller units loaded on wagons or bogies in combined transport operations.

See also

  • African Union of Railways
    African Union of Railways
    The African Union of Railways in an organisation under the auspices of the new African Union dealing with railways. It is similar to the International Union of Railways .- Overview :...

    , similar organisation focused on Africa
  • International Union of Public Transport
    International Union of Public Transport
    The International Association of Public Transport ' is the organisation for public transport authorities and operators, policy decision-makers, scientific institutes and the public transport supply and service industry...

    , which covers passenger railways, especially in cities.
  • UIC classification
    UIC classification
    The UIC classification of locomotive axle arrangements describes the wheel arrangement of locomotives, multiple units and trams. It is set out in the International Union of Railways "Leaflet 650 - Standard designation of axle arrangement on locomotives and multiple-unit sets". It is used in much...

  • UIC classification of railway coaches
    UIC classification of railway coaches
    Railway coaches are classified under an international system developed by the UIC. This UIC classification of railway coaches replaced earlier national classification schemes in many countries, such as Germany. The coach class is expressed as a combination of letters. It is sometimes followed, for...

  • UIC classification of goods wagons
    UIC classification of goods wagons
    This list contains the UIC classification of goods wagons and their meanings. The description is made up of a class letter and usually several code letters ....


  • Organization for Cooperation of Railways
    Organization for Cooperation of Railways
    The Organization for Cooperation of Railways , was established as the equivalent of the International Union of Railways to create and improve the coordination of international rail transport. Concerning especially the transports between Europe and Asia, it has helped develop cooperation between...

  • Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail
    Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail
    The Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail, - History :The Organisation was set up on 1 May 1985. The Organisation’s basis under international law is the Convention of 9 May 1980...


External links