Standards@Rail: CEN and CENELEC celebrate the European Year of Rail 

2021 is the European Year of Rail. On this occasion, CEN and CENELEC are proud to highlight the important role European standards play to ensure the well-functioning of a key sector for the future of Europe.

Standardization on railways application is part of CEN and CENELEC’s wider work on transportation, a complex and large portfolio: it includes 1234 standards from CEN and CENELEC. These standards are mainly developed by two Technical Committees (TCs), CEN/TC 256 'Railway Applications' and CLC/TC 9X 'Electrical and electronic applications for railways'.

In particular, standards on rail cover a wide range of topics specifically related to railways applications (products, processes and services), such as, among others, safety, rolling stock capacity, system efficiency, as well as cybersecurity, digitalisation, and automatic couplings. This work on rail contributes massively to the development of safe, innovative and efficient railway systems infrastructure, rolling stock and systems, and supports the EU in its strategic ambitions.

Furthermore, some of the future projects on rail standardization are well placed to support the European Commission’s Green Transition goals, such as the Green Deal. Indeed, one of the ambitions of the plan is to support clean, cheap and healthy forms of private and public transport, and achieve a 90% reduction in transport emissions by 2050.  

By promoting important new topics crucial for the production of trains in the future, CEN and CENELEC are working on standards on a variety of very diverse issues: cybersecurity; optimised interfaces between the subsystems of railway systems; the facilitation of the use of ‘simulation’ in the place of ‘physical testing’ for established requirements; Digital Automatic Couplers for freight wagons and innovative solutions for intermodal and combined transport; the use of new materials; and multimodality and mobility as a service (MAAS).

The many (and surprising ways) in which European standards support rail transport are showcased in the new cartoon “Standards@Rail”, developed by CEN and CENELEC to celebrate the European Year of Rail. You can download it here.

For more information, please contact Thierry LEGRAND and Marc-Antoine CARREIRA DA CRUZ.