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Presentation of “2025 Vision for Middle East railways”. The Action plan 2009-2010 for the Middle East will focus on international corridors, technological developments, safety and infrastructure management issues, education and human resource development, industrial competence, financing of rail transport and business development

The 3rd meeting of UIC Regional Assembly for Middle East (RAME) was

successfully held in Amman, Jordan, at the kind invitation of the Aqaba Railway Corporation (ARC) represented by its Director General Eng. H. Krishan. The UIC Middle East Regional Assembly is currently chaired by Mr. Süleyman Karaman, CEO of Turkish Railways (TCDD) and vice-chaired by Dr. Hassan Ziari, Deputy Minister for Roads and Transportation and President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI). Other members attending the meeting were CEOs or their representatives from Hejaz Jordan Railways (JHR), Syrian Railways (CFS), AlHijaz Railway Syria (CFH) and Saudi Arabia Railways (SRO) together with representatives from the UIC, the Union of Arab Railways (UAR) and CIT.


The meeting was opened by H.E. Ala’s Batayneh, Jordanian Minister of Transport, who addressed a warm welcome to all participants from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey as well as those from UIC, UAR and other organisations. Vipin Sharma, Deputy Chief Executive of UIC in charge of the development of the global dimension, underlined the role played by Middle East railways in one of the most dynamic regions of the world for railway projects and developments. A series of important projects were highlighted by the Regional Assembly Chairman Mr. Karaman during the meeting. Due to its geographic location, Jordan is to become a centre for railway activity in the region and a future hub for rail transport thanks to the active involvement of the Jordanian government. The ARC Director General Eng. Krishan reaffirmed the role that Aqaba Railway is willing to play within the UIC group of Middle East railways.


Stig Nerdal, UIC Project manager, presented the final version of the “Vision 2025 for Middle East railways”, a working base to be endorsed by all members and all political decision makers in the region. This document will now be disseminated to Transport Ministers and other politicians in Middle East with the objective of having this vision document officially recognised as a “white paper” for the future development of rail transport in the Middle East. Paul Véron, Director of Communications and UIC Coordinator for the Middle East, presented a progress report on 2008 /2009 Action plan activities and commented on further activities to be developed over the next period whilst thanking all members for their increasing involvement.


The CEOs of Middle East railways further
concentrated their work on the following issues:


- UIC Global dimension - “Vision 2025 – a Strategy for Middle East railways”

and a contribution to a UIC Global Strategy for rail transport development,

- development of international railway corridors,

- preparation of intergovernmental agreements (ECO) and reinforcement of cooperation with

international organisations (United Nations and their regional conferences ESCAP, UNECE,


- creation of new business opportunities for Middle East railways: promoting partnerships with

shipping lines, ports, intermodal operators, industry groups, etc.,

- development of coordination activity within the UIC Regional Office in Tehran (managed by


- development of new cooperation activities in the Middle East region (with UIC HQ support) on

Railway Safety Issues, Construction and Operation in Desert Conditions, Track maintenance

with an efficient Asset Management Strategy,

- unification of purchasing strategies among Middle East railways,

- convergence on international rail transport law (CIM, SMGS), presentation by CIT,

- development and promotion of the International Rail Academy (located in Tehran) vis-à-vis Middle East railways.

- development of communication and information tools within the Middle East railway


The 8 May workshop on “International rail transport issues in the Middle East region” included presentations by CEOs on the latest projects and rail transport development plans in Jordan, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia as well as a presentation of the TRADEMCO study on potential partnerships between Middle East railways and ports, terminals and shipping lines.

In his conclusions, Vipin Sharma mentioned a series of issues to be considered for the Middle East 2009 / 2010 Action plan, including further development of corridors, technological developments including high speed and freight train speed, maintenance cost reduction, use of smart technologies, safety and infrastructure management issues, education and human resource development, industrial competence, financing of rail transport and business development.


The Next meeting of the UIC Regional Assembly Middle East will be held in Istanbul where Turkish Railways and UIC plan to organise the “2nd International Railway Symposium (IRS) and Trade Exhibition” together with the “UIC Global Conference on Traffic Management and Train Control
Systems on 15 -17 October 2008 ( 

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