International Union of Railways
Union internationale des chemins de fer
Formation17 October 1922; 100 years ago (1922-10-17)
Legal statusActive
PurposePromote rail transport at world level
Meet the challenges of mobility and sustainable development
Headquarters16 rue Jean Rey
Paris, France
Membership (2021)
Krzysztof Mamiński (PKP)[1]
Vice Chairman
Mohamed Rabie Khlie (ONCF)[1]
Director General
François Davenne (UIC)[1]
Karine Van Ceunebroeck[1] Edit this at Wikidata

The International Union of Railways (UIC, French: Union internationale des chemins de fer) is an international rail transport industry body.


The railways of Europe originated as many separate concerns, and there were many border changes after World War I and the Treaty of Versailles. Colonial railways were the responsibility of the mother country. Into this environment the UIC was created on 17 October 1922,[2] with the aim of standardising industry practices.

Ticket revenue sharing was originally undertaken with the UIC Franc currency equivalent. UIC classification and UIC Country Codes allowed precise determination of rolling stock capabilities and ownership, with wagons assigned unique UIC wagon numbers. The 1990s GSM-R radio telecommunication system is an international interoperability specification covering voice and signalling systems for railway communications whose specification is maintained by the International Union of Railways project European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS).


The UIC's mission is "to promote rail transport at world level and meet the challenges of mobility and sustainable development."[3]


The UIC's main objectives[3] are to:


When founded in 1922 the UIC had 51 members from 29 countries, including Japan and China. They were soon[when?] joined by members from the Soviet Union, the Middle East and North Africa.[specify] As of 2021,[when?] the UIC has 207 members[4] across five continents.[3] Of these there are:

On 12 November 2010, the UIC opened an African regional office in Tunis, Tunisia with the support of SNCFT.[6]

On 9 March 2022, the UIC suspended all member companies from Russia and Belarus, following 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[7]

Standard terminology

In order to provide a common understanding and reduce potential confusion, the UIC has established standard international railway terminology and a trilingual (English-French-German) thesaurus of terms. The thesaurus was the result of cooperation with the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT/CEMT) and was published in 1995.[8]

Classification of railway vehicles

Main articles: UIC classification of goods wagons, UIC classification of locomotive axle arrangements, UIC classification of railway coaches, UIC identification marking for tractive stock, and UIC wagon numbers

The UIC has established systems for the classification of locomotives and their axle arrangements, coaches and goods wagons.

Some UIC regulations

UIC plays an important role in standardization of railway parts, data and terminology. Therefore, UIC codes (also known as UIC leaflet) are developed since the beginning of UIC's work. A new term for these UIC leaflets is used by UIC for better understanding: International Railway Solution (IRS).[9]

Some UIC codes are:

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Executive Board UIC". 31 December 2021.
  2. ^ "UIC since 1922". UIC – International union of railways. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b c UIC Overview as at 12 March 2009.
  4. ^ "Vademecum".
  5. ^ "Afghanistan becomes UIC member | Pajhwok Afghan News". Archived from the original on 19 December 2013.
  6. ^ "UIC OFFICE FOR AFRICA OPENED IN TUNIS". Railways Africa. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  7. ^ "The international railway community shows solidarity with the people of Ukraine". UIC. 9 March 2022. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  8. ^ "Transport Thesaurus". UIC. 1995. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
  9. ^ Magnien, Airy. "UIC e-news". UIC. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  10. ^ FRMCS Functional Working Group, UIC (19 February 2020). "Future Railway Mobile Communication System User Requirements Specification" (PDF).((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)