The MERLIN project held its Mid-Term Conference on 17 June 2014 in Antwerp

“Energy and the Railways – Smart Friends”

The MERLIN Mid-Term Conference, the EU co-funded project dealing with the investigation on the viability of an integrated management system to achieve an optimised energy usage in European mainline railway systems, was held on 17 June in the 19th century heritage premises of Antwerp Zoo.

This conference, hosted by the UIC Energy Efficiency Days 2014, brought together 67 participants, and was aimed at presenting the intermediate outcomes of the MERLIN project.

In his welcome speech Mr Hans Günther Kersten Director of the Rail System Department of UIC highlighted the long and fruitful collaboration between UIC, UNIFE and other partners, illustrated among others by the MERLIN project, and recalled the overall objective of MERLIN that is to help Rail Transport not only to improve its environmental friendliness but also to enable it to be cost effective. It should therefore help the supply industry and the Rail Operating Community to share the same vision of the market; otherwise we run the risk of missing important opportunities.

Franco Cataldo, Technical Affairs Manager at UNIFE and MERLIN Project Manager, gave an overview of the project. He highlighted the importance of the MERLIN project, evidenced by the strong participation of the key actors from the sector. He said: “Energy management is a key issue for railway systems, and MERLIN will propose the architecture for future smart energy management systems.”

The highlights of the conference were the following:

  • the five MERLIN Scenarios and their objectives (Monica Pelegrin, ADIF);
  • the architectures of the MERLIN railway energy management system, (Ruth Arregui, CAF);
  • the strategic decision making tool (Roberto Palacin, Newcastle University);
  • the operational energy management system (Valerio Recagno, D’Appolonia);
  • the legislative and standardisation interactions that MERLIN will intend to have (Franco Cataldo, UNIFE, and Eduardo Prieto, FFE).

All panel sessions gave rise to very lively question and answer sessions between speakers and participants, raising relevant issues about smarter use of energy in the railway system.

In his concluding remarks, MERLIN steering board chairman Daniel Cadet of Alstom, thanked the audience and added that the conference’s strong participation showed the large interest raised by the topics dealt with by the project. He therefore invited the railway operators and infrastructure managers not part of the consortium to join the MERLIN Rail Reference Group to discuss more in detail the ongoing project work and ensure their needs are reflected in the project’s outcomes.

The completed work of the project will be presented at the MERLIN final conference in September 2015.

To know more about the MERLIN project, please visit

For further information and to join the MERLIN Rail Reference Group please contact dekeyzer at

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