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The Forum brought together more than 200 representatives of the international scientific community and railway businessmen from eight countries to discuss and develop solutions to the most pressing issues of improving te operation of the railway sector.

The topic of the plenary session “The Future of Rail Transport. The Achievements of Science as a Catalyst for Transformation in the Industry” attracted great interest on the part of delegates to and guests of the Forum. The authoritative transport experts who addressed the Forum raised the issues of segmentation of research priorities on the basis of the hierarchy of technological problems in the railway sector, formation of a self-developing innovative environment, in particular, the multiplier effect of continuous growth of innovations.

Among the speakers were Vadim Morozov, first vice-president of RZD JSCo, Valentin Gapanovich, senior vice-president of RZD JSCo, Boris Lapidus, D.Sc. in Economics, general director of OAO VNIIZhT and chairman of the International Railway Research Board at the International Union of Railways, Viktor Ivanter, D.Sc. in Economics, member of the Academy of Sciences, director of the RAS Transport Institute, Fedor Pekhterev, Ph.D. in Economics, general director of  Institute of Transport Economy and Development, Michael Kadow, DB Mobility Logistics AG, Alexey Sokolov, D.Sc. in Engineering, deputy chairman of the RZD Unified Scientific Council for  Scientific Development and Interaction, and Oleg Bely, director of the RAS Transport Institute.  

According to Vadim Morozov, RZD JSCo has already implemented many innovative solutions in the spheres of carriage process informatisation, service quality management, and monitoring the state of fixed assets and production processes. The company, in conjunction with leaders of Russian railway transport machine building, has achieved major successes in creating new rolling stock, passenger electric locomotives and long-distance and shunting diesel locomotives and has initiated a rebirth of Russian diesel motor building.

Automatic carriage and rolling stock management systems based on modern information technologies and communication systems are developing rapidly. To make more effective use of the infrastructure, logistical technologies will be developed and container use will be increased.

Under today’s economic conditions, innovative development of Russian railways calls for clear-cut formulation of the functions and mutual responsibilities of the participants in the innovative process, said Valentin Gapanovich.

The company has formed a structure and introduced a corporate system of innovation management that comprises the entire cycle of innovative project introduction from laying down strategic guidelines and development targets to delivery of new products, their commercialisation and effectiveness assessment. A complete package of documents setting the tasks and the principles for work in this sphere has been adopted.

The session “Improving Transport Flows for Better Business: Innovative Solutions for Transportation Management” discussed such issues as railway line specialisation, mechanisms for speeding up railway traffic, development of a regulatory pricing model, automation of management systems and introduction of energy-saving railway train traffic schedules.

Boris Lapidus, D.Sc. in Economics, general director of OAO VNIIZhT and chairman of the International Railway Research Board at the International Union of Railways, said that research into the world railways system show that maximum efficiency is achieved on lines that specialise in handling freight or passenger trains. This corroborates the Strategy-2030 idea of creating specialised test ranges for heavy freight traffic, on the one hand, and express freight and passenger traffic, on the other.

Vladimir Savchuk, head of the Railway Transport Research Department at the Institute of Natural Monopolies (IPEM), spoke about new approaches to forming the investment programme for replenishment of the locomotive fleet. The degree of wear-and-tear on locomotives remains high and, because of the caps on tariffs, the RZD JSCo investment programme is not sufficient for renewing the fleet at the required rate.

It is, therefore, necessary: to change the principle behind formation of the investment programme in order to orientate it more towards needs than possibilities; to introduce the project principle for formation of the investment programme for renewing the locomotive fleet; to coordinate locomotive fleet renewal projects with projects for renewing the infrastructure and the regulatory (network) contract; to submit to the state various options for using various sources of financing for the investment programme on the basis of optimisation of positive and negative effects for the state and for the economy.

The session on the topic “Scientific Human Resources as a Source for Innovative Development of Rail Transport” moderated by Anton Nagralyan, Ph.D. in Sociology, first deputy head of the Personnel Management Department and head  of the RZD JSCo Internal Policy and Development of Corporate Culture, saw a lively discussion in which virtually all those present took part.

The topical issues discussed included organisation of targeted training in railway specialities; the results of the joint work of sectoral higher educational institutions and business; implementation of the social management principle in training transport company professionals; study programmes and individual career development plans; criteria for selecting candidates and the anticipated effect for employers; bringing in young personnel to work at sectoral research institutions and councils.

The speakers expressed polar opinions on the standard of “target-trained” professionals, “commercialisation” of knowledge and student aspirations, the opportunities offered by the transport sector for the work and realisation of the potential of young scientists.

The members of the session “Integration of Transport Science on a Pan-European Scale” focused on such topics as the trends in global research and development; the possibilities for scientific cooperation within the framework of international sectoral organisations; and implementation of joint research projects.

Professor Dmitry Macheret, Ph.D. in Economics, first deputy chairman of the RZD JSCo Unified Scientific Council, spoke about creation of the Space 1520 Research Centre as a factor contributing to implementation of the main areas of global research in the field of railway transport. It would offer new opportunities for creating innovative transport products, technologies and management processes; enhanced efficiency of production, exchange and consumption of goods and services; levelling out and harmonisation of development of various regions in the world; solution of demographic and environmental problems.

The session “Transport Engineering: Scientific & Technical Innovations to Help Manufacturers” was devoted to discussing the problem issues that still defy solution in spite of the attention focused on them at all levels of the transport industry. Arguments arose over how to bridge the gap between the tasks of the scientific and technical complex and business expectations. Use of alternative fuels and traction means remains a moot point.

Anton Zubikhin, general director of Centre for Innovative Development of STM, spoke about the practice of implementing innovative projects in the field of transport machine building with support from state-owned development institutions.

Eduard Oganian, head of the OAO VNIKTI Endurance Capability Department, D.Sc. in Engineering, presented proposals for increasing the service life and reliability of cast parts of freight wagon bogies. This long-festering problem is particularly important for traffic safety.

A joint meeting was held, as part of the Forum, of the Presidium of the RZD JSCo Unified Scientific Council and the management of the International Union of Railways International Railway Research Council.

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