Policy Papers


1. Introduction.

This annual plan of FEDECRAIL for the year 2021 is based on:

  • a. The COVID-19 crisis, being a pandemic, has been spread all over the world from the beginning of the year 2020. In the end of 2020 there are signs that vaccines might be developed, so that vaccination might improve the situation during 2021.
  • b. The Strategic plan 2017 – 2022 (accepted by the members in May 2017 during the AGM in Antwerp);
  • c. The wish of the members to behave as a more member orientated organization, as base for the start of executing the ‘Plan Paris’ as accepted by the 2017 AGM in Antwerp and….
  • d. Finding a serious fair place in the European Green Deal, by starting to unify the working industrial and mobile heritage for this main reason
  • e. The reason of the decisions of our Members HRA and BRB lo leave FEDECRAIL per January 1st 2021

2. The main directions for 2021.

The year 2021 will be of great importance for FEDECRAIL and her members in which we have to take clear decisions about new directions of our behaviour. In this process of alterations we have to discuss and decide with our members about in what way we will change our financial relationship for the period after 2021. In the same way we should discuss and decide about the membership structure and the administrative structure of FEDECRAIL.

Producing of the annual plan for 2021 is the full responsibility of the board in present composition as is the discussion with the members and the proposals of decisions about the new structures from 2022 on is written above. The final product should in the end be discussed as full-grown proposals with the members and if agreed adopted by them in the AGM 2021.

In the last quarter of 2020 we have made the first steps executing the Plan Paris and the relationship with the European Green Deal. As a result of this the board of FEDECRAIL will use these first steps to initiate a platform of European organizations working in the field of working industrial and mobile heritage to fulfil the aims in the actualized Plan Paris.

In the relationship with our colleagues in Great Britain we should stay in contact with the UK heritage rail sector after BREXIT to make clear in what way individual membership of FEDECRAIL can be beneficial. This also means that FEDECRAIL aims to continue a constructive fraternal contact with HRA with a long term vision to reinstate in a transformed way the membership-relation between HRA and FEDECRAIL.

3. Board affairs.

Because of COVID the AGM 2020 was only partly executed, for as far as the Belgium law foresaw executing as necessary. The rest of the 2020 AGM will take place in 2021. That includes the election of board members to replace two board members that step down at the end of their constitutional term. One of them is not eligible because of the constitutional maximum of 12 years has been reached. As far as the board can foresee, the AGM of 2021 will be held at the same date as the last part of the AGM 2020. As result of this there will be 3 other board members stepping down, because of ending their terms. If they want to be re-elected, they need to be proposed by one of the FEDECRAIL voting members in the way the constitution foresees. Until now for both elections there are three candidates, formally proposed by FEDECRAIL voting members for the 2020 election. The board want to guarantee to maintain enough level of experience in the Board of FEDECRAIL from 2021 on. Because this guarantee the President of FEDECRAIL who in an earlier stage of the succession process decided to step down after his term, has revised this idea by accepting the eligibility for another term, for which of course the normal constitutional procedure has to be followed.

The board will make an overview of profiles assigned to board members posts after the 2021 elections. Also the board will make the connections clear between the responsible board member and a working group which is functioning under that board member’s responsibility. That makes also clear to the members what vacancies have to be filled in. That could be helpful by finding/recruiting the right candidates for proposal/election. Of course the board in new composition after the 2020/21 elections can reshuffle the tasks if there is a need to.

4. The transformation process 2021.

The transformation of the FEDECRAIL’s policy is mostly based on the changes that are ongoing in our world. We have learned in 2020 that meetings by web-techniques (and accepted as a possibility in the renewed constitution for board-meetings) were not popular by the board members who preferred the former physical meetings. Nevertheless this more personal emotional fact, the positive results of using this modern techniques for the board-meetings were several i.c.:

  • a. Much lower costs, because of a significant decrease in travelling/hotel costs;
  • b. Much more frequent board meetings, so that a faster route of plans, planning, decisions making and
  • execution became possible;

  • c. The same possibilities are available and are useful for meetings in the working groups.

The budget from 2021 on, will be transformed like the changed 2020 budget because of the then for the first time realized modern way of meetings, which has lowered the cost of FEDECRAIL drastically, that we could offer a 50% lower membership fee as the 2019 level, and that was fitting well in the very difficult financial COVID-19 situation some of the members are in. This asks also to look into the matter of the differentiation of forms of membership, to perform as a really member orientated organization. Together with a new role as facilitating platform, on which Fedecrail members will be active in the different projects on European level. These changes are proposed to be discussed with the members of FEDECRAIL in an early stage like 2nd half of January 2021, in a webinar form, so that this should lead to a well-supported proposal for acceptance during the AGM 2021.

5. Priorities in 2021.

In order to allow for a smooth transformation process, the following activities will be developed, possible executed by a working-group under a responsible board member.

5.1. Most Physical events 2021 to be postponed to 2022 at the earliest. Learning the digital doings.

The board of FEDECRAIL has decided, because of COVID-19, to postpone all planned physical events planned for 2021, to 2022 at the earliest (most of them postponed already from 2020). This means that the conference, the connected study programme and the youth exchange programme will be postponed.

In the light of these discussions we will also research the possibility of a full AGM in web-form following the conditions set by Belgium law. The AGM 2021 will be held, if possible/necessary in a digital form as well, on the same date as the remainder part of the AGM 2020.

(Some experiences with AGM’s as a web-meeting were positively experienced by UNECTO with especially the possibility of formal secret voting. The AGM of Europa Nostra was followed by more than the double attendants as earlier in the pre-COVID-19 period.)

2021 will be a learning experience in preserving the new mode of meeting via the web as learned since CORONA and use complementary physical meetings at certain moments, because of the very much needed direct social contacts, which are excluded by the digital way of meeting.

The idea about a webinar (a digital conference) that can be followed all over the worldwide web, with contributions from speakers from all over the world, could be an interesting alternative for the conference, or an additional possibility. This could be separately organized from the AGM.

This grown-up behaviour asks for acquiring knowledge about streaming services, online translations, the correct use of cameras, microphones and moderators. And of course about the costs of this type of activities and how to find an income strategy for this way of working (= a business model).

5.2. Communication.

As a result of 5.1. his should be prioritizing the urgency of a completely new communication policy, all angles and monitoring progress and evaluation of the process, so that this makes our collective knowledge accessible for the whole sector and to make it open to new ideas and improvements in favour of all members from now on.

5.3. 2021 year of the European railways. A good start of executing Plan Paris and join the Green Deal.

In the last quarter of 2020 there have been positive contacts with other European Umbrella organisations of working industrial and mobile heritage and the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH) and Europa Nostra on presidential/board level . We have agreed that in the beginning of 2021 a webinar (or two) will be organized to formulate joint goals as a start of the discussion with the Euro Parliament and the European Commission. Like the Pan European Study on family owned heritage houses in Europe (published by the EC in 2019), we need to initiate a study with relevant information about the sector of working industrial and mobile heritage for the politicians in the light of the energy transition and the Green Deal, in which cultural, economical, educational values gives the right indications in the political discussions.

So, before the AGM 2021 we should have an agreement with the parties meant above and a first draft of a project plan for the Pan European Study. So during the 2021 AGM it will be up to the members to agree or not. That’s the question as a possible start of executing Plan Paris.

( In the unlikely event that the members don’t agree with the proposal, the board have to do more research for the reason of this disagreement. The outcome should help to make the proposals more acceptable for the members, but like the preparations in web-meetings with the members during the conception process of the first proposals, this will not be an guarantee of successful acceptance.)

5.4. Representation of interest.

A prime goal remains to improve and maintain an effective network at European level, for acknowledgement of the cultural, economic and social value of the heritage rail sector and those of our members’ in particular. This is a prime task for the board of FEDECRAIL as leader of the European lobby-organization for the heritage rail sector. These networks include:

  • a. The European Commission:
    • Commission for Education & Culture; Commissioner, Tibor Navracsics, Dir. Gen. Martine Reicherts
    • Commission for transport (Rail); Commissioner Adina Velean Dir. General: Henrik Hololei
    • Commission for the European Green Deal; Executive president Frans Timmermans Dir. General: Diderik Samson.

Fedecrail will draw attention of the commission to the specific values of our sector, also in the light of the actual strategy of this new Commission and the proposed Green Deal policy. We have to highlight the elements of support the heritage rail world can contribute to the commission’s ideas of strengthening the identity of a future united Europe.

  • b. The European Parliament.
    Following the 2019 election of the European Parliament, contacts are in the process of being established with the following committees: Transport & Tourism, Culture & Education and Environment, Public Health & Food Safety. Some of these contacts are being realized via Europa Nostra, or other members of the FEDECRAIL Network. This will ask more attention of the whole FEDECRAIL team.
  • c. The European Rail Agency (ERA) + Working Group HOG:

    BREXIT and withdrawing of the HRA from FEDECRAIL membership asks for re-orientation of staffing of the HOG working group. This should be a discussion by the board, with the existing working group members and the FEDECRAIL members as a whole. This asks at least for new representative membership taking actively part in the HOG – activities. The board will ask members if they can bring in additional staff of qualified technical status for the work to be done in HOG.

    FEDECRAIL as a representative body will stay active in different programs (ERMTS, TDD, ECM etc.). One of the main goals for 2021 will be to strengthen our influence on text proposal by ERA, to the DG transport directives, which will be send to the European Member States. This should lead to more clarifying texts from the EC to the National Governmental bodies, like the Ministries of Transport who are responsible for national railway laws and rules. The development of these routes of support will ask extra efforts of HOG besides continuation to attend the GRB and NRB meetings, where the progress is as formulated and controlled.

    In the beginning of 2020 the HOG managing team members and the FEDECRAIL president had a meeting with officials of both ERA as well as the European Commission. We discussed most of the points of concern, explained what threads were significant for our sector. In many cases we might find solutions for support, of which financing and fulfilling new legislation will be quite a problem. But very often we will have to built a business-case and propose via ERA to the commission and then to national governments. Complicated, but not impossible.

    In 2021 we will work to develop an appropriate financial structure in which besides a lower basic membership-fee an additional membership-fee will be asked from those members who directly benefit from our HOG activities.

6. Improving efficiency of HRM-activities for the whole European Heritage Rail sector.

Transforming our organization from a meeting table as a lobby organization, into a platform where projects of importance (sometimes new, sometimes existing, but if we are doing well, always of an until now unknown volume, because of the diversity of our intense complex new reality) for the European sector are dealt with, by people related to members in an unknown hive of activity based on interaction and co-operation. This activities should be seen as mutual responsibilities of all involved.

Until now all the work done in FEDECRAIL is done by volunteers. For executing the amount of extra work as stated above, we need to extend the number of Working Groups or at least the number of volunteers participating in the Working Groups. Here lies in reality a task for the members and their adherents as well. It is not impossible that in the executing of the projects, professional organizations will be involved and that younger students are involved via the European Erasmus + programme. In the project planning this will be of great importance.

7. Current Work groups have prepared annual plans for 2020, highlighting.

  • a. Heritage Operation Group HOG) (see under 5.4.c for the ERA related activities).
  • In 2021 we will look with the members if a special working group, for possible problems on European level for non-mainline users (or non-mainline related problems) will be of use and benefit of the members. If so we will make a working programme for the rest of the business-plan- period 2021 – 2023. The results at the end of that programme will help to decide if this activity will be continued. A first idea is here that the environmental working group might be included into this idea. We will look if there is a need for a new – separated from HOG – working group.
  • B. Tramway Group (TG)
    The TG chair (Mimmi Mickelsen) and TG secretary (Jenny Nunn) monitored the Covid situation across Europe. During 2021 TG intends to have more contact with the Museum and tourist tramways. They are looking for more people joining the TG, to do the growing amount of work and who are interested in the international part of it. TG will continue to establish mutually beneficial relationships (like UITP (Union International des Transports Publics) to follow developments which could have a major impact on heritage tramway operations. TG also plans to develop closer ties with the Nordic Tram Group and AHN (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Historischer Nahverkehr). TG will set up a questionnaire about COVID-19 and will develop one or more webinars about different subjects related to heritage tramways. This gives TG also the chance to refresh contacts throughout Europe. Communication will be executed as part of the new FEDECRAIL communication policy, that’s under construction.
  • C. Conference Team. See chapter 5.1.
  • D. Youth Exchange. See chapter 5.1.
  • E. Communication Group.
  • To reshape the communication of our organization is one of the highest priorities ! Therefor a first draft communications policy paper, written by Janney Nunn is on the table of the FEDECRAIL board. Planning is that this policy paper will be discussed in the beginning of 2021 and after acceptance will be implemented in the first half of 2021.
  • F. Environment Work Group (EWG).
  • The idea is to class the activities of the EWG under the foreseen Safety and Technical part of HOG (see chapter 7.a) . This might become a part of the Pan European Study on the importance of Working Industrial and Mobile Heritage as first step in executing Plan Paris. (see chapter 5.3.)
  • G. Data Collection.
  • After not being successful in data collection of young people working in the heritage rail sector in 2019, it is time to consider in a few steps how we still can make this possible in this very important field. Important possibilities are lying in renewing the structures of membership and administration.

8. Conclusions.

As we learned from 2020 that much ideas that were very serious developed, were obsolete in two moths time because of a small virus. So this annual plan has the absolute good intention to lead our sector through the year 2021 to execute all the plans in this annual plan in favour of the members of the heritage rail sector.