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Railtex 2011: Electrical products featuring in railway operations

By mid-April more than 380 companies had joined the list of exhibitors at Railtex 2011, which takes place at Earls Court, London, from 14 to 16 June. The tenth in a well established series of events, the show will have something to offer for all sectors of the rail industry – with a strong emphasis on innovation.

With the number of exhibitors at Railtex 2011 already higher than at the last event in 2009, organisers Mack Brooks Exhibitions are aiming to repeat the widely acknowledged success of that show. Then, the exhibition attracted 8,250 visitors from 47 countries – a number that rises to 10,730 when participating companies’ personnel are included.

The scope of Railtex embraces both fixed assets such as electrification, signalling and communications systems and all aspects of rolling stock construction and operation. Companies exhibiting include many of the best-know names in the UK rail market – among them Atkins, Bombardier Transportation, Faiveley Transport, GE Transportation, Invensys Rail, Knorr-Bremse Rail Systems, Siemens Mobility and Tata Steel.

Alongside this array of top names will be exhibitors that reflect the enormous diversity of products and services essential for the safe, reliable and cost-effective operation of main line and urban rail systems – ranging from vehicle maintenance systems to specialist electronics and cable products. Electrical products feature in most areas of railway operations and this will be reflected by the number of participants exhibiting from this sector of the market.
In the rolling stock sector, visitors can expect to see innovations in on-board systems, battery technology, vehicle control equipment and advanced monitoring and measurement products. State-of-the-art signalling systems by leading suppliers will be on show too, as well as innovations in communications and data systems, including new products for passenger counting, customer information, CCTV and Ethernet technology.
Electrical systems suppliers will also be hoping to benefit from recently announced government plans to embark on a programme of main line rail electrification. The first major route to be tackled will be the Great Western Main Line from London to Bath, Bristol and Cardiff, with lines in northwest England and in the Strathclyde region of Scotland also to be electrified. 

Electrification is planned from the start for London’s £15.9 billion Crossrail project. It will also be the propulsion system adopted for the HS2 high-speed railway from London to Birmingham and beyond that is currently the subject of a government consultation process. Many Railtex exhibitors will be seeking a share of the business resulting from all of these projects.
UK-based companies will predominate at the show but many foreign companies will also be exhibiting, including a group of firms from France whose presence is co-ordinated by the UBIFrance export promotions agency. Among 14 other countries represented will be Brazil, Germany, Italy Norway, Poland, Spain and Switzerland.

Exhibition Manager Michael Wilton says: “Despite a generally tight economic environment in the UK at present, rail is benefiting from investment and our tenth Railtex show comes at time when suppliers can look forward to plenty of business opportunities. In London work on the massive Crossrail project is now well under way and the government has made a clear government commitment to high-speed rail. With the prospect of other major network enhancements such as electrification, the industry is set to benefit from a period of sustained investment. The very positive response to Railtex from companies in the rail sector shows how ready they are to play their part in delivering the products and technologies needed to complete these projects. With the prospect of such a huge diversity of equipment and services on show and so many key figures present, we believe a visit to Railtex is essential for anyone connected with the rail industry.”

In addition to showcasing the latest technologies for rail applications, the scope of the event is further broadened by companies offering services related to the industry’s human resources needs, such as specialist recruitment, training and occupational health. In this particular sector, a new feature this year will be the Recruitment Wall, where leading recruiters will be able to publicise work and employment opportunities in the industry.

A full and regularly updated list of exhibitors is available on the show website – www.railtex.co.uk 

Free seminars
While exhibitors and their products form the centrepiece of Railtex, organisers Mack Brooks Exhibitions continue to develop the event to enhance its value for visitors. This year’s show is no exception, with an extensive programme of seminars aimed at providing a deeper understanding of the development of both rail policy and technology.
A key participant in the event will be Network Rail, which owns, operates and develops Britain’s rail infrastructure. With major changes in progress in the company’s structure and procurement processes, the show offers an opportunity for the industry as whole to understand how these might affect the entire supply chain.
In addition to its stand presence, Network Rail will present a series of briefings in a seminar theatre set up in the exhibition hall. These are expected to include a talk on the company’s new approach to supplier engagement plus updates on current major projects – a Thameslink progress report, the London Bridge redevelopment, the main line electrification programme, the Birmingham New Street scheme and Reading capacity enhancement. These sessions will be open to all show participants at no cost. In addition, Network Rail Chairman Rick Haythornthwaite will formally open the show on 14 June.
Also taking place during all three days of the show will be a wide-ranging programme of drop-in seminars hosted by The Rail Engineer magazine. Highlights will be a keynote presentation by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond and an address by Sir Roy McNulty, author of the recent value for Money report on Britain’s rail system. Other speakers will offer their insights into a range of developments in technology for the rail market. Entry to these seminars, details of which appear on the website, will also be free. 
Organisations supporting Railtex 2011 include the Rail Alliance and the Railway Industry Association, both with a stand presence. The RIA is working with UKTI, the government’s trade promotion agency, to stage a Meet the Buyers event at Earls Court during the show, offering UK suppliers one-on-one sessions with invited foreign buyers. Also endorsing this year’s event are the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers and the Permanent Way Institution.
Railtex is one of two exhibitions organised in the UK by Mack Brooks for the rail industry. Its sister event, Infrarail, is dedicated exclusively to the rail infrastructure market, while Railtex encompasses the entire industry. The next Infrarail will take place in Birmingham in May 2012. The company also stages regular rail technology shows in France (SIFER), Italy (EXPO Ferroviaria) and Russia (Exporail). 

Entry to the show and most of its associated events is free for pre-registered visitors. The simplest way to pre-register is to go the show website www.railtex.co.uk and follow the on-screen links. There is also a telephone hotline for pre-registration – 0844 665 2048. Pre-registration avoids a £15 fee for on-site registration and avoids possible delays entering the exhibition. More details of all activities taking place during Railtex can also be found on the website.

Railtex 2011

Dates: 14 – 16 June 

Venue: Earls Court Two, London (www.eco.co.uk) 
Show opening times:
14 June – 1000-1700
15 June – 1000-1700
16 June – 1000-1600
Entry: free for pre-registered visitors; £15 for on-site registration

Show website: www.railtex.co.uk



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