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Exhibitors prepare for Infrarail 2010 as rail investment grows

13 April 2010

After visiting the Railtex show in 2009, it became apparent that there are strong links between the rail industry and HazardEx, with many products being exhibited having ATEX approval as well as several other relevant industrial standards. This week the HazardEx team is visiting the partner event, Infrarail

Exhibitors prepare for Infrarail 2010 as rail investment grows
Exhibitors prepare for Infrarail 2010 as rail investment grows

Suppliers of rail infrastructure products and services are preparing for the Infrarail 2010 exhibition, which takes place from 13 to 15 April at the UK’s National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

This event is the eighth in a long-running series of events organised by Mack Brooks Exhibitions that provides a focus for the latest technologies in track, signalling, electrification and all other aspects of the rail infrastructure market. Infrarail currently takes place in even-numbered years, with its partner event, Railtex – which covers the wider aspects of the market, including rolling stock – staged in odd-numbered years, most recently in London.

Alongside this year’s show a wide-ranging programme of parallel activities is planned to help visitors keep abreast of industry trends and make or renew valuable business contacts. Among these are a high-level conference, numerous free seminars and informal social and networking events.

Infrarail 2010 comes at a time when significant investments are in progress or planned for the rail network in Britain. Work has already started on London’s £15.9 billion Crossrail project, building a new high-capacity cross-city line that is due to open in 2017. Also underway in the capital is the £5.5 billion Thameslink Programme to deliver a major boost in capacity on the existing north-south heavy rail network through London. That is scheduled for completion in 2015.

Spending by national rail infrastructure authority Network Rail has been set at GBP28.5 billion over the five years from April 2009, with £7.6 billion of this destined for capacity enhancement schemes. In addition, in 2009 government approval was given for the first £1.1 billion phases of what is hoped to be a rolling programme of main line electrification.

Also on the agenda is the possible construction of new high-speed lines. Government recommendations on routes and funding options for these are to be published for public consultation this spring, following studies launched in 2009.

These developments set an upbeat mood for Infrarail 2010, which by mid-January had already attracted some 150 exhibitors. Many will be taking part in the event for the first time, joining more established companies to bring new ideas and technologies to the market. Together they will form a cross-section of the great diversity of products and services needed build, operate and maintain a railway network, whether it is a main line or an urban system like the London Underground.

Among industry bodies to endorse Infrarail 2010 is the Railway Industry Association, which represents 140 UK-based members of the supply industry. Also supporting the event are the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers, the Permanent Way Institution, the Rail Freight Group and the Rail Alliance suppliers’ networking organisation.

Exhibition manager Michael Wilton said: "It is very encouraging to see such a positive response from the industry to Infrarail – and it will be good to welcome so many companies exhibiting for the first time. Rail infrastructure investment now occupies a much higher position in the political agenda than it used to and we believe this is the right show at the right time. And as well as providing a chance for suppliers to present their latest products and services, Infrarail is increasingly an interactive event. There are plenty of opportunities for those visiting to get involved in discussions on technology and policy."

One of these interactive activities that is new at Infrarail 2010 is The Platform, an open forum providing show visitors and participants with an opportunity to join in discussions with key industry figures on current and future aspects of rail infrastructure development. Organised by the Railnews industry journal and co-sponsored by the Rail Alliance networking organisation, The Platform will run over all three days of the show, with a different theme to each morning and afternoon session. Each session will feature an expert panel with a moderator. Access will be free of charge to those visiting the show. The Platform will be staged in the exhibition hall.

A seminar theatre in the hall is the setting for a programme of technical seminars, some devised by the Infrarail team, others hosted by the Rail Engineer magazine. Taking place over all three days of the exhibition, these are free to attend with no advance registration and will include Q&A sessions.

Further adding to the extensive programme of events at the show will be a high-level rail infrastructure conference organised by Railway Gazette International. Entitled ‘Building Tomorrow’s Railway’ and featuring leading speakers from across the European rail industry, this will take place today as well as yesterday.

Another innovation at Infrarail 2010 is the awards and gala dinner, which will celebrate industry innovation and stand presentations at the show – and will provide an enjoyable social and networking occasion. Organised in collaboration with Rail Media Group, this awards dinner will take place on the evening of Wednesday 14 April, the middle day of the three-day exhibition.

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