Infrastructure Subsystem

The Infrastructure Subsystem Sector (ISS) provides the physical layer of the Rail System which, together with the other sectors of the Rail System, ensures a safe and reliable operation.

The Infrastructure Subsystem Sector (ISS) provides the physical layer of the Rail System which, together with the other sectors of the Rail System, ensures a safe and reliable operation.
Structures are the most expensive assets of the system. Decisions about infrastructure investments require long processes, where stakeholders must raise consensus and administrations should reserve the required budget in advance. Infrastructure works need exhaustive preparation and their execution take long time. Life cycle of the infrastructure assets are the longest of the railway system assets. Infrastructure is so exposed to climate change that it urgently needs to be adapted to new parameters.

The way we work

UIC ISS works under the umbrella of two high level groups of experts: the Track Expert Group (TEG) and the Panel of Structural Experts (PoSE). UIC ISS coordinates the ongoing working groups organised in the topics of the sector: infrastructure, track and its elements and the interaction between the different technical subsystems. The common spirit of the groups is to work together with excellence expertise to:

  • share and debate best practices of the sector (benchmarking) and learn of other experience
  • collaborate with other UIC departments to achieve the excellence in the sector
  • go in-deep on a specific topic
  • update procedures and algorithms and explore new opportunities

UIC ISS also contributes to revise UIC IRSs and develop new ones. This commitment is being developed by specific groups of experts to provide to the whole rail system with an updated knowledge of specifications, guidelines and technical recommendations. A 5-year systematic review of all the published IRSs assures that the knowledge is updated.

What we want to achieve

Our target is to increase the knowledge of our network using innovative technologies and data-driven decisions to monitor its behaviour, to adapt it to the new climate change conditions, to automate and harmonise its maintenance, to increase its capacity, and to control its cost.

How we make it happen

We are promoting the activities of both TEG and PoSE, giving visibility to our experts and the topics raised by the groups. We collaborate with all the regions of the UIC to promote ISS activities. We are taking an active role in worldwide technological seminars and we are structuring our research work to present the main findings in railway congresses and professional publications. We organise specific training sessions with our members to help the railway community understand our sector. Both TEG and PoSE are the formal platforms to boost the ideas and organise the specific working groups.

We work throughout structured projects with objectives, planification and foreseen deliverables. The projects are structured in three main pillars:

Pillar 1. Data-driven decision making and automation
For both new investments and existing networks, new technologies provide tools to be used at the service of a connected and robust infrastructure system

Pillar 2. Adaptation to Climate Change
Unforeseen and uncontrolled events might be studied. The community needs to identify the main causes and measures, to quantify the impacts and to quickly invest in resilient infrastructures. The related projects are:

  • Alternative Treatments to creosote for wooden sleepers (At-Wood)
  • Update leaflet 722. Methods of improving the track formation of existing lines.
  • REsilient RAilways facing Climate Change. Operation Management and Impact on Infrastructure (RERA-RAIN).

Pillar 3. Standardisation
ISS is committed with the UIC task of updating the technical documents of the sector worldwide and concluding the current migration plan from leaflets to IRSs and systematic annual review. All the IRSs should be focussed on a global level, with regional specifications in the corresponding annexes. More information on the standardisation activities of UIC at:

The Track Expert Group (TEG)

The TEG works on issues relating to layout, track superstructure design and maintenance strategies/processes and track components.

The group is chaired by Bernhard Knoll of ÖBB (Austria). Kurt Demeersseman of Infrabel (Belgium) performs the role of group secretary.

The TEG is currently working on:

  • asset management engineering for existing plain track and switches and crossings
  • initiatives to develop new and enhanced track solutions and guidance for use in products and methodologies for selection of systems
  • advances in automated inspection systems (laser, radar, cameras, drones)
  • developing International Railway Solutions (IRS) and migrating existing UIC leaflets
  • actively influencing international (ISO) and European (CEN) codes and standards
  • handling digitalisation and environmental questions relating to superstructure

Panel of Structural Experts (PoSE)

The PoSE deals with topics relating to civil engineering structures (viaducts/bridges, tunnels and earthworks), design and maintenance strategies/processes and aerodynamic effects on such assets.

The PoSE’s work focuses mainly on the following areas:

  • Engineering of existing bridges, tunnels and earthworks
  • Maintaining current knowledge of railway-specific sciences and migrating UIC leaflets to IRSs
  • Preparing background documents to produce guidelines or to facilitate standardisation
  • Supporting and complementing CEN/ISO activities in relation to civil engineering structures for railways, particularly regarding:
    • dynamic and aerodynamic influences
    • special consignments or heavier than usual loads exceeding existing load models
  • Basic research projects to understand and develop the fundamental requirements for future railways
  • Disseminating the results of research projects through dedicated workshops, such as the recent workshop on masonry arch bridges

UIC contact

For any further information please contact Mercedes Gutierrez

Calculation of the payload limits for freight wagons

This software program is based on European standard EN 15528. It provides calculations of payload limits for freight wagons in each line category. Calculating load limit tables using this UIC program guarantees accurate and optimised values for individual wagons, taking actual axle spacing into account.

  • The program documentation can be accessed via “Help” and “Open documentation”.
  • Administrator privileges are required to install the software.
  • The language for the tool and documentation can be set to English, French or German.
  • The software runs on machines using Windows 2000 and later versions of Windows.
Software: Calculation of the payload limits for freight wagons (version

- Zip - 1.9 Mb



Contact person for software matters: Thomas Reichl

Contact person for technical matters: Manfred Mautner

For any request please contact us with the subject "Software: Calculation of the payload limits for freight wagons": UIC Contact form

Share this
article logo
30 June 2023
UIC FRMCS Working Groups met in Sigtuna, Sweden
article logo
30 June 2023
UIC publishes IRS 70722: “Maintaining and improving earthworks and track bed layers”