PERES Meets With Metra, Chicago’s Largest Passenger Transport Operator

On the study visit to the USA, PERES team met with the top management of Metra, a railway operator that performs passenger transport in a wider Chicago metropolitan area. With 242 stations on 11 lines, Metra is the fourth-largest commuter railway system in the United States, and the busiest railway system outside of the New York metropolitan area.

In an open conversation with the top management of the company, PERES team was presented with the scope of Metra’s operation, its resources and the condition of its fleet. Metra’s management expressed a high interest in innovative technologies and openly stated issues that they are facing that could be solved by new solutions – their need to upgrade infrastructure such as bridges, signalling and telecommunication and desire to implement smart railway crossings in the future. With 866 gate crossings on their railways, they are looking for new ways of upgrading the security and safety.

Other important issues discussed were the need for technologies that would extend the life of rolling stock in view of Illinois climate conditions, but also new passenger information systems relying on mobile apps, as well as looking into an automated ticketing system that can function efficiently with Illinois legislation on train fares and ways to reduce fair evasion.

With certain designs of equipment are almost 70 years old, Metra representatives stressed they are aware of the need to innovate and update, and expressed an openness for new technologies.

The visit was concluded by a trip to Metra’s maintenance facility to familiarize with the design of Metra’s rolling stock and observe the refurbishment process.

PERES Team Visiting EMD

As a part of its study visit to the US, PERES team visited Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD), part of the Progress Rail, a Catepillar company, leading US manufacturer of diesel-electric locomotives based in Illinois.

During the meeting with the representatives of Progress Rail, PERES team were presented with the new trends and developments in the US railway industry, including the new focus on the modernization of locomotives, and the switch of DC to AC drive locomotives. They were also presented the developments in the company itself, chief among them the switch from a manufacturing and sales company, to rolling stock and locomotives leasing as the leasing became a trend in the US in the past years.

PERES team was also shown the areas in which company is focusing its research, such as data analytics, asset tracking of rolling stocks and locating defects as a part of predictive maintenance. Also, USA’s Automatic Train Operation (ATO) technologies were discussed and how they are integrated in the locomotives.

Special attention was given to the fields in which Progress Rail is open to innovations and collaboration with outside companies – fuel savings, application of drone technology, driver monitoring – especially facial recognition technologies to detect fatigue and distraction and train automation.

PERES Study Group Meets With World Business Chicago

The first meeting of the PERES study trip to the United States was with Tom Bartkoski, Director of International Business Development of World Business Chicago.

The meeting took place at the premises of World Business Chicago, a non-profit public-private partnership serving as a bridge between the city’s public and private sectors. PERES team had an opportunity to get acquainted with the general business climate in Chicago, as well as the state of Illinois, and the resources that are available for business growth.

Subsequently, Mr. Bartkoski gave the PERES team a general overview of the railway sector in Illinois and overall railway transport network. The issues Chicago Transport Authority has with passenger capacity were especially stressed, as well as the investments in the public transport, and the new CRRC facility being constructed in Illinois.

PERES Study Mission to the USA Assembles in Chicago

Cluster managers of five European railway clusters, along with a number of select SMEs from the European railway industry arrived in Chicago, Illinois on the beginning of the pilot study trip organized as a part of the PERES project.

During the following five days, the study group will have a number of meetings with railway operators, manufacturers, institutions and research centers. The objective of the study visit is to gain information on the US railway market, its needs, general business climate, and the way products and services of European SMEs can be offered in this market.

PERES Training Webinar on USA

In preparation for the PERES study mission planned for 31/03 to 06/04, we warmly invite you to join us for a training webinar which will take place on Wednesday 20/02 at 15:00 (GMT) / 16:00 (CET)

The training webinar will take the following format:

  • An overview of the mission and its purpose and an introduction to the cluster managers
  • An introduction to the companies who have applied to attend the study mission
  • The US rail market
  • Doing business in the US
  • Draft agenda/timetable and travel arrangements
  • Estimated package costs for accommodation in USA (the “Package” includes: hotel in Chicago, Cleveland and Pittsburgh; flight from Chicago to Cleveland; transfer through private coach for the other segments).
  • How to apply for “ESTA” or “Non-immigrant Visa” to enter USA,


Please register your interest to attend and we will be in contact with on the morning of the webinar with joining instructions.

In order to register, please visit URL

PERES Steering Committee Meets in Belgrade

After a very successful conference and B2B networking meetings organized by the PERES partner RCSEE, and hosted by the Serbian Railways, cluster managers involved in the PERES project met at a steering committee meeting.

Team members discussed the findings and feedback received from the companies attending the conference. Second item on the agenda were the identification and followup of potential interesting networking opportunities noticed during the B2B session. Finally, plans for the upcoming PERES pilot study trip to the USA were discussed.

B2B Meetings at PERES Event in Belgrade

As a part of the PERES project presentation event in Belgrade, a B2B meeting session was held for over 30 attendee companies.

Large number of event participants had a chance to meet with each other as well as the Cluster organizations partnered on the project. As the event host were Serbian Railways, participants also had an opportunity to meet the representatives of three national railway companies – Serbian Railways Infrastructure, Srbija Voz, national passenger transport operator, and Srbija Kargo, national freight transport operator.


PERES Project Presented to the Railway Companies


Partners involved in the PERES project gathered in Belgrade to present the current progress of the project and future plans to the interested member companies of the five Clusters.

Five partner clusters – DITECFER from Italy, BTS from Lower Saxony, I-Trans from France, and the organizer, RCSEE which covers the six countries of Western Balkans, gathered its member companies at the premises of the host, Serbian Railways, for the presentation of current state of affairs of the PERES project and the upcoming organized pilot mission to the United States.

Event participants were welcomed by the representative of the Serbian Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Ms Vida Jerkovic, Head of Department for Railways and Intermodal Transport, who gave them an overview of numerous projects on maintenance and renovation of the railway infrastructure in the Republic of Serbia, as well as the projects which are planned in the future period.



Executive Director of the Serbian Railways, Mr Rajko Kovic, who expressed his satisfaction with the event, and stated that Serbian Railways will require modern and efficient infrastructure in the upcoming years and decades, and that it can only be done through close cooperation with railways and its suppliers.



Event moved on to the results of the analysis performed by the PERES team – plans and capacity of the cluster member companies, along with the support they might need in order to achieve their internationalization plans.

Finally, PERES team presented the plans for the upcoming pilot mission to United States and visit to the railway companies and stakeholders in Chicago, Cleveland, Erie and Pittsburg area, to be held in the period of March 30th-April 6th.



Presentations from the event:


Format Title
PERES Team – PERES Project Information and Plans for Pilot Mission to the USA
Ms Vida Jerkovic – Railway Infrastructure Projects in the Republic of Serbia, January 2019