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REFER - Articles and news items

Portuguese rail network developments: Challenges and opportunities

Issue 5 2014 / 18 September 2014 /

Portugal was affected by the international economic and financial crisis, like the majority of European countries, which determined the request for external help in 2011 and materialised with the Economic and Financial Assistance’s Programme. This context involved a change of strategy regarding public investment in transport infrastructures which became effective in October 2011, through the Transports’ Strategic Plan/Sustainable Mobility (PET – Horizon 2011–2015), that laid down the guiding principles for action in this domain. António Viana – Director of Strategy and Network Development at REFER (the Portuguese rail infrastructure manager) explains the direction for the future.

Signalling & Telecoms supplement 2013

Issue 1 2013, Supplements / 25 February 2013 /

Crossrail’s signalling plans for best possible performance
What is in store for ERTMS in 2013? (Pio Guido Head of ERTMS Unit, European Railway Agency)
Railway telecommunications and traffic safety (José Pestana Neves, Adviser to the Board of Directors, Refer Telecom and Member of the UIC European Radio Implementation Group)

FBSIC – an innovative tool based on GIS technology

Issue 5 2012 / 19 September 2012 /

Railway infrastructure managers and operators are huge property owners, managing important railway facility and infrastructure territories. Due to the historical background of the railway industry, valuable real estate assets can be found, and there are certain regulations concerned with urban and suburban environments associated with railway lines, stations, logistic terminals and interfaces, yards and workshops, etc.

The duty of railways to ensure compliance with requirements associated to urban/regional planning of territories, and the need to make adjustments in order to adapt to changing mobility conditions and transport markets (passengers and freight), has historically forced railway companies to introduce functional and topological changes that often disregarded the economic optimisation of property use.

There are many ways to implement real estate/leasing initiatives that can turn into signifi – cant money-making opportunities for the core business of railway entities, while contributing to increasing the transportation market.

Level Crossing Safety supplement 2012 (free to view)

Issue 4 2012, Supplements / 30 July 2012 /

Infrabel progressively increases safety at level crossings (Ann Billiau, Director-General, Rail Access, Infrabel)
Portugal raises the tempo of level crossing safety initiatives (Paulo Soares de Melo, Director of Level Crossings, REFER)
Level crossing misuse – not a traditional policing solution (Miles Flood, Chief Superintendent Territorial Policing, British Transport Police)

REFER achieves goal for accident reduction at level crossings before established date

Rail industry news / 13 February 2012 /

Since 1999 the number of accidents has been reduced by 84%…

Three new connections in the Portuguese network

Issue 6 2010 / 10 December 2010 /

In 2010, REFER EPE – the Portuguese rail infrastructure manager – opens three new connections of great importance for the rail network in Portugal. Three investments in the Main Network, considered as priorities in the Strategic Guidelines for the Railway Sector established by the Portuguese Government in 2006, include the rail link to the Port of Aveiro, the Trofa Bypass and the Alcácer Bypass.

Improving level crossing safety

Issue 5 2009, Past issues / 26 September 2009 /

Each year in Europe, the number of victims from accidents at level crossings (LCs) is approximately 600. It is a disturbing number, which not only demonstrates that this is a problem affecting all countries, but should also prompt awareness and education campaigns on the rules and good practices when crossing LCs, given that 95% of the recorded accidents resulted from failure to obey the rules.

Recent progress boosts REFER’s success

Issue 5 2008, Past issues / 27 September 2008 /

The Portuguese railway has recently seen significant developments with many of its operations including the construction and renovation of its infrastructure, railway systems and equipment, as well as making alterations to management personnel. Along with the liberalisation of the railway sector, a set of new challenges demanded the infrastructure managers to outline their management plans towards a more competitive market. This new reality has led REFER to restructure its organisational philosophy – in particular in the areas that are related to the infrastructure management, with the creation of specific areas directed towards the client as well as its maintenance and reinforcement of traffic components’ integration.

One year on: high-speed plans continue

Issue 5 2007, Past issues / 26 September 2007 /

In our last article (published in ERR 4/06) concerning the plans, projects and priorities of REFER, we presented a general perspective of the public infrastructure investment in the conventional network corresponding to the most urgent ones and it also gave some information about the development of the high-speed project. Approximately one year later, with the high-speed project stabilized and fulfilling its schedule, namely the public presentation of its financial model in July, REFER is now able to present the latest developments of its investment program 2007/2015 regarding the conventional network.

Portugal – plans, projects and priorities

Issue 4 2006, Past issues / 28 July 2006 /

In the wake of Directive 440/91 CEE, Portugal decided to set up a new model for the railway sector.