Nordic Light Rail Association

What does the NLRA do and how we use the money of our members - Chairman’s Report

I would like to tell you about the activities of your Nordic Light Rail Association.

Nordic Light Rail Prize and scholarships

When we started the Association the first activity was to award the Nordic Light Rail Prize to persons who deserve to be honoured for their work with Tramways in the Nordic countries. Together with the prize we offer scholarships for young people. We have not received enough applications for our scholarship in the past. But this year 3 students applied and the board made the decision to support the project from Suvi Tammilehto, Finland. She is working on a project regarding “Tramways and roundabouts” and she will present this project during “Light Rail Day” in November 2020 in Helsinki.

 Tramway Study Trips in 2019 and 2020

In 2019 the NLRA offered a Light Rail Study Trip to Poland. The group of participants was small. However, we had 3 days with many situations as eye openers and a totally new view on tram systems in Poland and many impressions have filled our minds.  Most surprising was the great hospitality which was shown to us during our visits. If you were not able to be with us in 2019, you hopefully will be with us this year. We will go to Sweden to visit the new tram system in Lund on 16th September 2020 and the tramway in Gothenburg on the 17th September 2020. Hopefully we will get a look to the new vehicle in Gothenburg. Stay informed by checking our website. If you are already interested to join, please write me and I will put you on the list or interested persons. This is not a registration for the trip, but I will keep you informed.

Collaboration between the Nordic countries

When the NLRA was founded, the members of the board thought, that there would be an interest of working together between the tram systems in the Nordic countries. “In the old days” (somebody may tell me, when that was) there were working groups across country borders like “where to get spare parts for old vehicles”. These groups are no longer in existence and collaboration is partly between for example 2 tram systems regarding a special issue. When the issue is solved, collaboration stops again.

We strongly believe that there is a need for cooperation, information exchange and collaboration on an international level. But it is not as easy as we thought to establish these connections. One of the reasons is that all work in the Association is done on a voluntary basis. We still need to work on our image as network organisation of professionals where people do work for the NLRA as part of their work and not as a leisure activity. We still have to crack that nut and many of our activities in 2020 are precisely focussed on that issue.

Upcoming workshops

To establish the collaboration between countries we will offer workshops. These workshops are different than public meetings like conferences where everybody can join. The idea behind the idea is to take a special need of a tram system and offering this issue as a workshop to other tram systems, so the exchange between countries makes it possible to learn from each other.

In 2020 we will offer our first “workshop for owners” on Tuesday, 10th November 2020 in Helsinki following the conference “Light Rail Day” as at least some of the owners will be there already. This workshop will not be open to others, such as operators. But even this is not an easy task as in some countries the owner and the operator are separate entities and in other countries the owner and operator are the same.

Another workshop could be “predictive maintenance”. Hopefully we could gather several tram systems around this technical issue and this could be a workshop. But to start such a workshop we need to have at least one tram system being the host, offering the place to do the workshop and take the ownership at least partly.

It has taken some time for the Association to identify workshops as a possible method to establish collaboration on an international level. Now the NLRA is doing the groundwork to establish these workshops.

What your money goes to

In the past we used the money for expenses like our website, the Nordic Light Rail Prize (the medal) and Study Trip expenses. The biggest expenses – travel costs for board meetings – have mostly been carried by the board members themselves or their companies. We really made every effort to keep expenses low. Our board meetings are mainly done using video conferencing to reduce travel expenses.  As the financial status in the Association improves the expenses for travel costs may rise in future, even if we still conduct most of our meetings as video conferences.

Your support goes to:

  • Scholarships for young people involved in a relevant Light Rail project
  • Honouring Tramway people with the Nordic Light Rail Prize
  • Tram System Study Trips
  • Workshops to establish collaboration between Tramways in the Nordic Countries
  • A resource to connect light rail professionals in the Nordic countries

Thank you for becoming or being a member of NLRA

Copenhagen, April 2020

Bernd Reuß, Chairman


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