Railtex 2013, the UK’s premier rail event, will be welcoming visitors next week at Earls Court exhibition centre in London. Running from 30 April to 2 May, this will be the eleventh of these popular exhibitions, providing a technology showcase for customers in the domestic rail market and an opportunity for the UK-based suppliers to present their capabilities to a wider international audience.
Visitors will also be able to gain insights into policies, projects and trends in equipment developments, thanks to a busy programme of supporting activities.
Railtex 2013 coincides with an upbeat mood in Britain’s rail industry, with strong government support for the development of the country’s rail system leading to unprecedented levels of investment. This is a response to year-on-year rises in the number of passengers using the network – up nearly 8% to 1.46 billion in 2011-12, and a healthy increase in freight volumes, up 9.5% to 21.06 billion tonne-km.
Heading the list of current projects is the £14.8 billion Crossrail east-west cross-London line, on which tunnelling is now in progress ahead of a phased opening from 2018. A major programme of main line electrification is getting under way and wholesale modernisation of the signalling system is being undertaken. And the government continues to press ahead with its plans for the much-publicised HS2 high-speed network.
These projects are among many attracting the interest of more than 400 companies taking part in Railtex 2013, from well known international names providing total rail systems such as Alstom, Bombardier and Siemens to suppliers of the many specialised products and services essential for the efficient and safe operation of main line and urban networks. The remit of the event is to cover all aspects of railway technology, embracing both fixed assets – railway infrastructure – and rolling stock.
Busy seminar programme
The exhibition will be opened by Minister of State for Transport the Rt Hon Simon Burns MP on 30 April. On the same day the Minister is to deliver a keynote speech as part of an extensive free seminar programme running over all three days of the event. Keynote presentations will be made on subsequent days by Network Rail Chairman Richard Parry-Jones and by Crossrail Chief Executive Andrew Wolstenholme. These seminar sessions run throughout the show and are open to all, free of charge.
Similarly open to all will be the Project Update Theatre, where project directors and managers will outline the status of major UK rail schemes. The programme includes three presentations by Network Rail covering current some of the company’s significant projects, an update on the UK’s planned high-speed rail network and a briefing by Hitachi Rail Europe on the IEP rolling stock programme.
Additional industry insights will be provided by The Platform, staged in partnership with business development specialists Rail Champions. This interactive discussion forum will feature panels of industry experts addressing topical themes, with audience participation welcome.
Opportunities for the social contacts that help bind the rail industry together will be provided by the opening day’s Networking Reception, while new this year will be the Railtex Awards, a dinner on 1 May celebrating the achievements of companies taking part in the exhibition.
The industry’s skills needs are also being addressed during Railtex. A new programme, Rail – The Next Generation, is intended to introduce engineering students and graduates to career opportunities in the rail sector, and is supported by the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering and Young Railway Professionals. Participants will be given a tour of the exhibition, including meetings with companies to discuss their activities and possible career paths available.
Entry to Railtex 2013 is free for visitors who pre-register via the show website www.railtex.co.uk. Available up to 29 April, pre-registration avoids the £20 ticket price payable on the door. The website also includes show opening times, the latest list of exhibitors, plus full details of all supporting activities.