ERMEWA - Let’s reinvent the railway together

Under this motto, Ermewa will organize a series of events. The first being a conference on railway safety.

Safety is one of the key challenges for freight transportation by railway.

How can we assure that safety becomes a daily target for everyone involved in the life cycle of a railcar (construction, the daily supply chain, repair & maintenance as well as scrapping) be it on the trains, on the yards, in the factories, in the workshops, in the warehouses and in the offices?

How can we assure that we have all necessary information to guarantee maximum safety at any moment in the railcar life cycle and in the supply chain?

Ermewa organized a conference on October 10th 2017 from 9 to 12 am in Paris to discuss safety from two perspectives: the Human factor and Digitalization.

The Human Factor:

From 9h to 10h, Mr. Christian Morel, a French sociologist, who has written several books about human decision making (Les decisions absurdes I & II) and has applied his thinking to safety within organizations, has looked at the emergence, in high-risk environment, of dynamics aimed at promoting highlighted decision-making.

He uses specific cases as aircraft cockpits, nuclear submarines, and winter hiking in high mountains.

For example, the author shows that contradictory discussion has been decisive in the reliability of nuclear reactors in the US Navy, that the implementation of check-lists in operating rooms has drastically reduced the surgical mortality and that the air force policy of not punishing mistakes facilitated the reporting of information.

From these experiences, Christian Morel sketches what he calls "meta-rules of reliability", a synthesis of sociological laws and cognitive prescriptions, such as human factors, non-punishment policies, devil's advocate processes, interaction generalized or secure language. In doing so, the sociology of highly reliable decisions proposed goes against the received ideas and applies, by its extended vision, to all activities.

Followed by 30 minutes of questions.


From 10h30 to 11h30, Mr. John Felty, Senior Director Business Development, Digital Solutions and Mrs Sarah Krasnik , Data Scientist, both coming from Amsted Rail/IONX explained the benefit of digitalization in rail safety.  


The rail industry is constantly striving to increase safety of freight transport, ideally preventing accidents from occurring as opposed to reacting to them. With the real-time asset and component monitoring capabilities only possible with telematics, risk of any type of unsafe travel can be continuously assessed to allow immediate response to potentially hazardous events.

IONX systems use a wireless mesh network to monitor several events including GPS positioning, load status, and wagon impacts, providing actionable information through alerting systems to improve safety of operations unavailable otherwise. Freight rail telematics use cloud communication for asset monitoring, but are just beginning to breach the surface of the advanced data and image processing which make autonomous operation possible in the trucking industry. Wagon visibility needs to continue to be maximized to enable automatic action to reduce risk, with telematics spearheading rail into the smart market.

Followed by 30 minutes of questions

And a discussion exploring and highlighting the links between the two subjects.