CHINA: The Ninth IHHA Conference on June 22-25 offers an exceptional opportunity to exchange technical information and knowledge about heavy haul railways.


Lu Changqing, IHHA Co-Chairman

On behalf of the IHHA 2009 Preparatory Committee, I am delighted to welcome delegates to the Ninth International Heavy Haul Conference in Shanghai on June 22-25.

The IHHA 2009 Conference is co-hosted by the Ministry of Railways, People’s Republic of China, and the Inter­national Heavy Haul Association. The theme of the Ninth Conference is ‘Innovation in the Development of Heavy Haul Transport’. This high-level international conference will bring together about 500 representatives of designers, constructors, researchers, engineers and managers, as well as suppliers, manufacturers and operators from countries with heavy haul railways.

The event provides an exceptional opportunity to exchange technical information about innovation in heavy haul operations, and our aim is to promote further progress in the heavy haul field across the world. During the Conference senior officials from the Ministry of Railways and IHHA board members will address delegates with keynote presentations.

IHHA is a worldwide non-governmental association of railways and railway institutions dedicated to improvement of heavy haul railway operation, maintenance and technology. Since it was founded in the USA in 1986, the IHHA has grown and now has 10 countries which are full members: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Norway, South Africa, Russia, Sweden and the USA. The UIC is an associate member. The IHHA’s mission is to pursue excellence in heavy haul railway operation, maintenance and technology, promoting the view that heavy haul railways are one of the best ways to enhance transport capacity while promoting technical co-operation and the exchange of information among members. The Conference is held every four years.

During the Conference there will be a welcome banquet and gala dinner, and visitors will have the opportunity to undertake city and other local tours. After the Conference a technical visit to the Datong – Qinhuangdao coal railway will be arranged, and there will also be a sightseeing tour by rail to Tibet.

Being held simultaneously with the IHHA Conference, the Modern Railways 2009 exhibition has been organised by the China Academy of Railway Sciences. It will be held in the Shanghai Exhibition Centre to publicise the construction and development achievements of Chinese Railways, while focusing on advanced technologies and equipment in the fields of heavy haul, high speed, operations management, locomotives and rolling stock, communications and signalling, operational safety, and information technologies.

While the IHHA Conference takes place the current financial upheaval may still be attacking the whole world. As this has already had a serious negative impact on the world economy, ways of dealing with the economic recession worldwide will also be a topic for debate in the heavy haul industry. To tackle the situation and maintain the steady and rapid development of China’s economy, the Chinese government has launched a series of positive and important policy measures designed to support the construction of infrastructure projects, and a total of 4 000bn yuan will be invested to enhance the domestic economy. In this package 2 000bn yuan will be spent on railway construction as the government has given it top priority — in 2009 only 600bn yuan had been budgeted for construction of railways in China. Over the next few years, a number of passenger-dedicated lines, inter-city railways, coal routes and new railways in western China will also be built. As China’s rail network develops, there are both opportunities and challenges.

We firmly believe the Ninth International Heavy Haul Conference will further strengthen technical knowledge and co-operation among members of the international railway community. This will give us the means to push the heavy haul industry forward thanks to better and faster development while ensuring safety, economy and minimal impact on the environment.

Shanghai is one of the largest cities in China with a population of about 20 million. After 30 years of reform and opening-up to commerce, Shanghai has become China’s and even Asia’s leading financial, shipping and logistics centre. A bright pearl on the Huangpu River, the city welcomes guests from all over the world.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to the co-organisers and sponsors for their sincere support. And I wish the Conference complete success.

An outstanding event

I expect this Conference to be one of the IHHA’s best. More than 350 technical abstracts were submitted, and the Conference Technical Committee had a difficult job in selecting the best 95 for the technical programme. It was by no means an easy task because all the abstracts were to a very high standard – they came from Canada, the USA, China, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Australia, India, Ukraine and several EU countries.

The host IHHA Director, Lu Changqing, Chief Secretary General of the China Railway Society and also the Co-Chairman of the IHHA Board of Directors, has done an excellent job in putting together an outstanding Conference. The selection of Shanghai as the venue and the post-conference technical tours of China’s high speed and high tonnage lines should be of delight and interest to many. Li Nansen, Director of the China Railway Society, has been invaluable in co-ordinating the Conference plans with the IHHA headquarters in the USA.

This will be the first Conference that the IHHA has held in China since 1993, and the Chinese Ministry of Railways has been a solid supporter and advocate of the Conference.

W Scott Lovelace, Chief Executive, IHHA