SOUTH KOREA: The International Union of Railways officially inaugurated its training centre for the Asia region during the recent statutory meetings in Seoul. International Railway Training Centre Asia is located at Korail's Railway Human Resources Institute in Uiwang, close to the South Korean capital.

The ceremony was followed by the first seminar of the Asian Network of Training Centres, which brings together senior railway officials and training experts from the region.

Announced at the Asian regional assembly in Delhi last year, IRaTCA is an integral part of UIC's strategy to develop its global role through the five regional assemblies established in 2006. It is expected to start operation this month, with up to 140 people participating in courses during 2008. The initial curriculum is based around four main topics, with courses lasting two to four weeks. A course on Advanced Railway Technology for Nigerian trainees was held in March, and this month will see the first course on Rolling Stock. This will be followed in September by a session on International Railway Logistics, and a course on Railway Management is scheduled for November.

According to the Head of UIC's Asia Regional Unit Mukul Mathur, changing trends in railway training have underlined the need for stronger collaboration between training centres in Asia. The IRaTCA management team is expected to work closely with Meryem Belhaj, who heads the UIC centre of competence for training, in order to develop common activities and projects for the Asian region.

Participating in the official inauguration on May 21 were UIC Deputy Chief Executive Vipin Sharma, Asian Regional Co-ordinator Gerard Dalton, the Commissioner of Railroad Policy at Korea's Ministry of Land, Transport & Maritime Affairs Sim Hyeok-Yun and IRaTCA Director Kwang Mo Kim.