Infrarail, which takes place at ExCeL London between 1 and 3 May 2018, is the UK’s premier trade exhibition for the railway industry. Alternating with sister show Railtex, Infrarail gives the infrastructure suppliers, particularly the smaller, specialist manufacturers, a chance to show off their wares.
This year’s exhibition is no exception. The sheer variety of goods and technology on display will be eye opening. Exhibitors will be showing off their LED signal heads, staircase treads and nosings, drainage pits, cables, fasteners, hand tools and geosynthetics.
Some of the displays will be high-tech. There will be surveying equipment, including aerial surveys using drones (UAVs), the latest signalling control and power systems, lasers and RADAR.
Innovative and clever software, to measure and control everything you can imagine and a few things you can’t, will be everywhere.
But the traditional infrastructure technologies won’t be forgotten, even if they too have undergone a bit of a makeover. Concrete, albeit lighter than before using clever reinforcement and compositions, will be found on several stands. So will rail (but made from special steel), sleepers (from imitation wood), switches and turnouts (with improved mechanisms), and overhead catenary (with fewer components that make it lighter and quicker to install).
The professional bodies are involved. The Permanent Way Institution (PWI) joins the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) in having a stand. So too do Crossrail and HS2.
Of course, Rail Engineer will be there. Your favourite railway engineering magazine has arranged for Network Rail chief engineer Jon Shaw to open the show, Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling MP to deliver the first keynote, and director of HS2 Lorna Pimlott to speak on the last day.
In addition, in the Rail Engineer Seminar Theatre, sixteen lucky exhibitors (chosen from over 30) will have the chance to explain their latest developments and discuss the merits of their newest products with show visitors as part of a series of free seminars.
A second theatre, the Knowledge Hub, organised by the Railway Industry Association, will bring even more experts to talk with Infrarail visitors. Expect to hear from Crossrail chief engineer Chris Binns, Digital Railway’s David Waboso, and Jeremy Long from MTR.
Do you want to know more about Rail Baltica, a standard-gauge rail link between Finland and Poland via the Baltic States, or MosgortransNIIproekt, a multidisciplinary design and research institute that is working on, amongst other things, the Moscow Monorail? You can – by visiting the Knowledge Hub.
Rail Engineer is also involved in the ontrack display. On two lengths of track kindly supplied by British Steel, some of the latest high-technology kit will be on display.
Even in an extended issue of the magazine, such as this one, it is impossible to preview everything. We have only mentioned some 65 of over 200 stands at the show, although we have provided a synopsis of every technical seminar. The only way to find out what is actually there, and what might interest, surprise or intrigue you, is to visit the show for yourself.
It’s open for three days and entrance is free, provided you register in advance. Whichever day you come, be sure to drop by stand H18 and say hello – that will be Rail Media’s home-away-from-home. We look forward to seeing you there.