THE EUROPEAN Rail Research Advisory Council was launched on November 26 at the 5th World Congress on Railway Research in Köln. Philippe Busquin, the European Commissioner responsible for research, said ERRAC would have representatives from the Commission, EU member states, and major stakeholders in the rail industry. These include manufacturers, operators, infrastructure managers, research and academic bodies, environmental bodies, users and industry associations.

ERRAC has been created to determine the scope and content of the EU’s Strategic Rail Research Agenda, which is due to be presented at a research conference in Valencia on June 4 - 6. The Agenda is seen as an important step towards the development of a co-ordinated rail research strategy for Europe, and is likely to be based on the Joint Strategy for European Rail Research unveiled by UIC, UITP, Unife and CER last June (RG 7.01p431).

The advisory council will initially focus on conventional rail interoperability, defining a range of research projects to be taken forward by different bodies on a European, national and private sector level.