Wednesday 28 February 2024

Panel of Structural Experts plenary meeting held on 22 February in Paris

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The Panel of Structural Experts (PoSE) is a permanent activity group within the Rail System Forum that works on issues relating to bridges, tunnels and earthworks, as well as other structural elements in the field of civil engineering. The focus is on design and maintenance strategies and processes for these assets.

The meeting was held in-person at the UIC head office in Paris on 22 February 2024. Tuomas Kaira, UIC Senior Infrastructure Advisor, and Didier Van de Velde, Chair of PoSE, welcomed all participants, representing European UIC members, to the meeting.

The meeting discussions focused on UIC’s leaflet migration plan, the status of ongoing PoSE projects and other UIC activities, and upcoming projects and working groups. The migration plan in particular needs a lot of work and should be the focus of the group in upcoming years. Tuomas presented the status of active PoSE projects: for example, the EOLE project on the effects of overloads on infrastructure is finally going to be finished this year and the plan is to have a draft of the guideline to be published ready for comments by the next PoSE meeting in September.

Herbert Friedl (SBB) gave an interesting presentation on the derailment accident in the Gotthard Base tunnel. The findings of the accident are also relevant to the Mitig4Derail project, a PoSE project launched in 2023, and consequently the status of the project was briefly discussed.

Before the Panel of Structural Experts’ meeting, during the afternoon of 21 February, a joint meeting was held between UIC activity groups PoSE and Track Expert Group (TEG).

Each year it is customary for a joint meeting to be organised during the same week as the winter meetings of both groups in Paris. This provides a great opportunity to discuss matters affecting both groups, and infrastructure in general.

Franco Iacobini, from RFI, Chair of the Infrastructure Subsystem Sector, welcomed everyone to the meeting. The meeting started with news from UIC and continued with a long discussion of the UIC Infrastructure migration plan.

Two new opt-in proposals were presented: “Bridge-track interaction and Rail Expansion Devices” and “Reusing and/or recycling infrastructure components”, and one proposal for a working group: “Geotechnical works impacting existing railway infrastructure”. Project Mitig4Derail about derailment mitigation measures is relevant for both structural and track experts and consequently the status of the project was presented during the meeting.

We also briefly discussed the conclusions of the Fibre Optics Sensing seminar, held earlier the day, and what could be the next steps in the field.

The PoSE group’s ongoing work includes:

  • Migration of UIC leaflets to IRSs
  • EOLE: A project on exceptional overloads and their effects on infrastructure, as well as assessing infrastructure for heavy load consignments (2017 – 2024)
  • Mitig4Derail: A project on derailment mitigation measures adapted to infrastructure (2023 – 2025)
  • Review of IRS 70779-10 “Tunnel Asset Management and Maintenance Principles” and catalogues. All our publications are available and accessible on the online shop in English and French here: UIC Railway Publications
  • New opt-in project “Bridge Fatigue” for 2024 regarding load models for the bridge fatigue assessment of existing bridges. Kick-off on 15 March 2024
  • CO2Free 2: An opt-in project for 2024 on the use of low-carbon concrete in structures and other ways to reduce the CO2 emissions of new concrete structures

For further information, please contact Tuomas Kaira, Senior Advisor, Infrastructure Unit Railway System Department at

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