IHHA Narvik Conference Update

Dear Railway Professionals and Associates,

The International Heavy Haul STS Conference is drawing near, and we are looking forward to seeing you in Narvik on 10-14 June. Days are busy at the Conference HQ, but preparations are on track and every effort will be made to create an enjoyable and fruitful conference experience. We are happy to say that so far 430 delegates from 30 different countries have registered for the conference. In addition to this we have exhibitioners and speakers, in total approx. 500 registrations. This augurs well for our discussions and the exchange of know-how and ideas.

Please note that registration has now closed. Our team in the secretariat work hard to provide accommodation in Narvik and the surrounding area. Should you have any questions, please contact the conference secretariat at secretariat@ihha2019.com.

We received a staggering 472 abstracts from 24 countries for the IHHA STS 2019. The Technical Committee would like to thank all authors for their time and effort in submitting a contribution, and your willingness to share experiences and expertise. Each abstract was reviewed and scored by reviewers, and the top 151 abstracts were selected for oral presentations. The next 57 best abstracts were selected to be invited for poster presentation.

A detailed Conference Program is now available for download at the conference website. Please note that there could still be last-minute adjustments to the schedule, and that updates will be published on the website.

We would also like to acknowledge and thank our sponsors and exhibitors for supporting the conference. Without their support, this conference would not have been possible. It is too early to say whether shorts or sweaters will be called for when you arrive. Arctic weather is fickle, and we recommend you bring both.

Not to mention sunglasses, in case you should consider a midnight stroll. The spectacular nature, the unique Ofoten Line and Narvik’s vibrant Navvy heritage – all will combine to provide an exciting and exotic backdrop to your conference experience, and we would like to extend a very warm welcome.

See you in Narvik!

Best regards,

Thor Braekkan Vice Chairman IHHA Co-Chairman, Conference Planning Commitee

IHHA joins CSC in opening Heavy Haul Railway Technical Research Center, Taiyuan City, China

On 26th October 2018, IHHA’s Chairman and a number of Board Members participated in the opening of CSC’s Heavy Haul Railway Technical Research Centre on the 30th Anniversary of Dagin Heavy Haul Railway’s opening at the invition of Mr. Ma and Mr. Shen.

At the session, a number of presentations were made including:

  • “Future Strategic Direction of IHHA - moving Heavy Haulers from Good to Great”, by Brian Monakali, Chairman IHHA

  • Update on North American Heavy Haul Activities”,
    by Lisa Stabler, Director IHHA USA

The IHHA would like to Thank Mr. Ma, and Mr. Shen for inviting IHHA to be part of this occasion, and give us an opportunity to speak at such a prestigious occasion. We appreciate the hospitality given by Chinese team.

Said Brian Monakali, Chairman of the IHHA, “ I would like to congratulate CRS for hosting such an impactful session to promote heavy hauling, and to congratulate them for the Inauguration of the Heavy Haul Railway Technical Research Center, with Mr Shen as Chairman. This will go a long way towards promoting Heavy Haul developments in China and globally.”

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IHHA Strategizes Heavy Haul Rail 4.0

October 9, 2018

The International Heavy Haul Association has conducted its first strategy session towards development of a common vision of heavy haul railways for the year 2030.  The impetus for this cooperative effort has been anticipation that the 4th industrial revolution, characterized by cloud computing, big data analytics, the Internet of Things and 3D printing, will offer an opportunity to transform heavy haul railways.

The preliminary strategy workshop took place in Lulea, Sweden September 15 and 16, and was attended by representatives from Australia, Europe, India, Russia, South Africa and North America, with submissions as well from China Railways and VALE Brazil.  The Workshop reviewed presentations on a suite of themes presented by theme champions from each of the member countries.to arrive at a common vision of Heavy Haul 4.0.

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The representatives envisaged heavy haul railways dealing with higher tonnages in the future, unlocking capacity through the use of true virtual moving blocks, aided by communications-based train control.  They saw trains running autonomously with tighter headways, dispatched and guided by computers analysing vast amounts of data in real time.  Track and rolling stock inspections would be performed by onboard and wayside sensors feeding artificial intelligence algorithms capable of trending conditions and proactively assigning maintenance work orders.  Technology was determined to be a key lever in achieving safer, more productive and more reliable railways and the lowest possible risk environment for employees.   In the future, railway assets would be closely managed with the help of extensive data analytics capable of assessing remaining asset life, but prompting actions that would economically extend asset life.

The heavy haul strategy group acknowledged the enablers of the Heavy Haul 4.0 vision.  Among these are the challenges of transforming the skill sets of the rail workforce to align to the new digital rail platform, and raising the capabilities to process big data.   The Digital Heavy Haul Railway 4.0 will require much greater communications capabilities and bandwidth to handle real time monitoring of train and track status and condition.  Cybersecurity will need to evolve in relation with this growth of IT command and control of heavy haul rail operations. 

The preliminary thoughts of the strategy workshop will next be presented to an invited group of decision-makers in a definitive parallel session coinciding with the next IHHA conference, to take place in Narvik, Norway in June, 2019.     This session is intended to build consensus and broaden the vision of Heavy Haul 4.0.   

The International Heavy Haul Association would then be looking to dialog further with suppliers, researchers, educators and regulators to help move heavy haul railroading forward.  The visioning exercise will produce a common white paper to focus these discussions.

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