This week, the NEC Birmingham welcomed back Railtex, the 15th International Exhibition of Railway Equipment, Systems and Services, and Infrarail, the 13th International Railway Infrastructure Exhibition.
A total of 5,000 attendees from the railway industry met on the three days of the exhibition (7-9 September) to network and explore collaboration opportunities, of which some 3,000 were trade visitors from management, engineering, planning and technical design backgrounds.
During the opening ceremony on Tuesday morning, Nicola Hamann, managing director of Mack-Brooks Exhibitions, welcomed all attendees and expressed her gratitude to everyone who made the long-awaited reunion possible. The opening ceremony carried on with a message from Darren Caplan, chief executive at Railway Industry Association (RIA). Andrew Stephenson MP, minister of state at the Department for Transport was also one of the key speakers who expressed their views on the future of the industry and upcoming projects, including HS2 and other development plans in northern regions of the UK.
Keith Williams, chair of the Williams Rail Review, was present to talk about the Williams-Shapps plan for rail and how the Government aims to turn the UK rail network into the backbone of a cleaner, more modern and more environmentally friendly public transport system across the country.
Beyond the main exhibition, there was also a supporting programme packed with keynote speakers from leading industry names, technical seminars, project updates and Q&A sessions as part of a seminar programme across the three days. The programme included two conferences streams: The Future Focus Conference and Unlocking Innovation Zone, two recurring features organised by the exhibition’s Main Show Partner RIA – the Railway Industry Association.
Railtex and Infrarail are part of a series of targeted trade exhibitions which also include EXPO Ferroviaria in Italy and SIFER in France. After Railtex/Infrarail this week, the next stops on the road to recovery will be in Milan from 28–30 September for EXPO Ferroviaria, and Lille, from 26 – 28 October for SIFER.
Mack-Brooks Exhibitions recently announced that the two exhibitions will be co-located once again in 2022, this time at Olympia London from 10–12 May.
Olaf Freier, Railtex/Infrarail portfolio director on behalf of Mack-Brooks Exhibitions, said: “We are so delighted with the outcome of our first show after eighteen months without face-to-face events. There is nothing like meeting in person to forge lasting relationships, meet colleagues and renew acquaintances. These last three days have provided the whole industry with am opportunity to get back on track through meaningful encounters and content both current and crucially relevant. And that in itself is a huge success.”