EUROPE: The International Union of Railways has published Agenda 2015 for Combined Transport in Europe, the concluding report of the Diomis study launched in January 2006 to investigate ways of growing intermodal services. Drawn up by Kombiconsult and K+P Transport Consultants with guidance from the UIC, the study puts forward strategies and recommendations for railways, infrastructure managers, the European Commission, transport ministries and other bodies which would favour the development of intermodal transport in the context of saturated terminals and infrastructure.

Described as 'a toolbox of effective actions which will enable intermodal shift', Agenda 2015 was presented at a conference in Paris on April 18. The document covers better use of train paths; the application of incentives in infrastructure charging 'to induce resource-saving production schemes'; improvements to punctuality and 'consistency of rail traction services'; better 'process organisation'; implementation of 'smart train and network capacity management systems'; use of longer and heavier trains; higher axleloads; and best practice for terminal operation and management. Four topics relating specifically to infrastructure investment are addressed: implementing ongoing network projects; an international agreement on removing 'Achilles heels'; terminal projects and an intermodal hub programme; and implementing a standard process to ensure international co-ordination of intermodal terminal development.

Oliver Sellnick, UIC Director, Railway Undertakings, said 'Agenda 2015 is more than just another study demanding more investment into rail infrastructure. It explains to railway undertakings, intermodal operators, terminal operators and infrastructure managers how they can use infrastructure more efficiently by using already existing best practice measures.' He called for conference participants to promote Agenda 2015 and suggested a similar event next year to share experience of implementing the action points outlined in the document.