François Davenne: Implementation of the Fourth Railway Package will reduce transport costs

François Davenne is Director General of the International Union of Railways (UIC). We spoke to Mr Davenne on the occasion of his participation in the International Railway Conference held in Bucharest, part of Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

François Davenne

Why only eigth European countries adopted the Fourth Railway Package?

All member states will adopt the Fourth Railway Package, but some of them have asked for a one-year delay. We have to understand that this is about changing the railway practices. For the countries which have a complex railway system, the delay is understandable.

What will be next after the Fourth Railway Package, what is the next target?

There will be a period of stabilisation. The implementation of the Fourth Railway Package will allow the sector to work in operational standardisation, to level up international traffic procedures. The sector has to be more involved into these changes.

What do these changes mean for passengers, how will they be perceived by rail transport users?

This is a good but also difficult question. Currently, connections between trains and the metro, public transport in general, are poor. It is difficult to plan a doorto-door journey. According to the new regulations, which create more standardisation, it will be possible to plan such door-to-door journeys more precisely, but also to reduce rail transport costs by making the use of existing lines more efficient. The traffic speed will increase, there will also be more traffic, the occupation level will increase, so costs should drop.

What European countries have implemented the ERTMS system best?

In my opinion, Switzerland ranks first. It has a very good deployment of ERTMS, event if it is not a member of the European Union. Spain also, even if its railway system is not very extended. Spain has a very modern railway network and their projects are very interesting. However, France and Germany remain the leading actors of the European railway system.

Is there a possibility to expand the regulations of the Fourth Railway Package to Eastern Europe countries in the former Soviet area?

It is difficult to do that because railway safety concepts are different. Nevertheless, future collaboration is possible, especially regarding the radio frequency. Currently, more than 200,000 km of railways are equipped with the GSM-R around the world, but there is a lower level of ERTMS deployment. The radio frequency is more dynamic, it is easier to implement.

François Davenne in brief

François Davenne is Director General of the International Union of Railways (UIC). We spoke to Mr Davenne on the occasion of his participation in the International Railway Conference held in Bucharest, part of Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Until the end of June, François Davenne has been Deputy Director General of UIC. He was previously Secretary General of OTIF (Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail), between 2013 and end of 2018. He graduated from École Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications d’ Evry, in 1988 and from al École Nationale d’Administration in 1999. After experience in international satellite telecommunications, his first assignments were in the French housing sector where he managed key operational programmes. Since the end of June 2019, François Davenne is UIC Director General.

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