Recap of the Bilbao Conference 2024: Advancing Heritage and Inclusion

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Vision for the Future

The Bilbao Conference 2024, which took place from May 2nd to May 5th, was a pivotal event that convened experts and enthusiasts in the fields of industrial and mobile heritage. Held in the vibrant city of Bilbao, the conference served as a critical platform for networking, knowledge exchange, and strategic discussions. With a focus on addressing pressing issues and fostering collaboration, participants engaged in a series of sessions that highlighted both challenges and innovative solutions within the heritage sector.

A pivotal session involved the World Industrial Mobile Heritage (WIMH), which began articulating a clear vision for its future. Leveraging insights from the TICCIH Katowice meeting, WIMH underscored the necessity of fossil fuels in heritage practices and advocated for their inclusion in the EU Green Deal. The use of a professional lobbying organization in Brussels was highlighted as a step toward elevating the role of working industrial and mobile heritage within the European cultural identity.

Engaging and Informative Sessions

The conference kicked off with a depot visit and a meet-and-greet, setting the stage for in-depth discussions and collaborative sessions over the following days. Among the focused groups, the Tramway Group delved into several critical topics, including procurement challenges in Stockholm and innovative strategies to engage young people—a theme that resonated across various sessions.

A significant portion of the conference was dedicated to the Heritage Operating Group, which outlined its objectives for the coming year. High on the agenda were discussions around the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) and the Entity in Charge of Maintenance (ECM). The group examined the latest developments in ERTMS and reviewed recommendations from the European Railway Agency (ERA) to the European Commission. Noteworthy was the participation of Josef Doppelbauer from the EU Commission, enhancing the dialogue on revising the Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs).

Vision for the Future

A pivotal session involved the World Industrial Mobile Heritage (WIMH), which began articulating a clear vision for its future. Leveraging insights from the TICCIH Katowice meeting, WIMH underscored the necessity of fossil fuels in heritage practices and advocated for their inclusion in the EU Green Deal. The use of a professional lobbying organization in Brussels was highlighted as a step toward elevating the role of working industrial and mobile heritage within the European cultural identity.

Special Focus: Heritage Preservation in Ukraine

One of the conference’s most impactful sessions centered on Ukraine, discussing the efforts to safeguard and relocate mobile heritage from war-torn regions. The dedication to restoring and utilizing railways amid conflict provided crucial insights and underscored the broader cultural and practical challenges faced in such endeavors.

Youth Engagement and Diversity

The issue of engaging youth was a recurring theme, emphasized during the discussions about forming a new youth initiative within Fedecrail. The challenges posed by different laws across Europe were considered, alongside the broader need for diversity and inclusion. Fedecrail’s commitment to these principles was evident as they explored new ways to attract young volunteers and ensure participation across diverse demographics.

Looking Back and Moving Forward

Reflecting on a previous meeting in Frankfurt in November 2023, the members had identified key challenges including volunteer engagement, fundraising, regulations, sustainability, and attracting visitors. These discussions framed many of the conversations at the Bilbao conference, serving as a backdrop for strategic planning and community engagement.

A new board was elected on the AGM 2024 also we decided new fees for the members and the conference 2025 that will be hold on Isle of Man.

President: Mimmi Mickelsen
V President: Philippe Dupont
V President: Pierluigi Scoizzato
Treasurer: Jenny Nunn
Secretary: Gottfried Aldrian
Not on the picture but council members:
Marieke Nauta
Rik Degruyter

A new member got elected into Fedecrail Linia 102 from Ukraine. We also got some god information on eveluate the constitution and also whats going on in the work groups.
The work will go one for 2024

Conclusion

The Bilbao Conference 2024 was a testament to the vibrant and dynamic nature of the heritage sector. It provided a fertile ground for discussing advances and challenges in preserving mobile and industrial heritage while fostering an inclusive environment that welcomes the next generation of enthusiasts and professionals. As the participants left Bilbao, they carried with them not only enriched knowledge and new connections but also renewed enthusiasm to advance the role of heritage in today’s rapidly changing world.

We hope to see you all in 2025 in Isle of Man!

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