Following a challenging and unprecedented period brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the rail industry is now targeting a slow but determined recovery. Successful rail events will play a major role in kickstarting business activity and reconnecting the key decision makers with their peers.
International events organiser Mack Brooks Exhibitions has announced the news that Railtex and Infrarail, which have both served the rail market for over 20 years, will return in 2021 and come together to form what is being billed as the ‘ultimate show for the UK rail industry’.
The NEC Birmingham will play host to the all-encompassing event, which is expected to welcome more than 400 exhibiting companies and thousands of visitors across three days of networking, education and showcasing. Railtex/Infrarail 2021 will take place 11 -13 May, with the organisers encouraging businesses to get involved during a period that could well shape the future of UK rail.
New partnerships, new opportunities
The inaugural, co-located Railtex/Infrarail exhibition will offer a brand-new programme of activity, held in partnership with supporting organisations old and new. An agreement has been struck with the Railway Industry Association (RIA), which will host a varied selection of conferences throughout the three days.
A new feature from RIA, supported by Network Rail and other stakeholders, is the Unlocking Innovation (UI) Zone, which will be a daily programme focusing on new ideas and thinking that could benefit the railway, its passengers and the economy. There will also be a new UI Showcase stand, where discussions can be held with presenters from important organisations such as Network Rail, RIDC, Tier 1, HS2, regional authorities, UKRRIN and Innovate UK.
Also organised by RIA will be the returning Future Focus Conference. A three-day free to attend, high level, strategic conference covering topics for the whole industry supply chain with political and industry leaders presenting on UK rail’s strategic direction. A Meet the Buyer/Commercial Officer programme will also offer the opportunity for pre-booked meeting slots with a range of UK and overseas rail buyers.
More products, services and live demonstrations than ever
By combining Railtex, the premier exhibition of railway equipment, systems and services and Infrarail, the leading showcase for every aspect of railway infrastructure technology and expertise, next year’s event will be the perfect platform for companies covering every aspect of the railway industry and its associated disciplines.
Never before has there been an opportunity to see so many different products, services and innovations under one roof at a UK rail exhibition as there will be at Railtex/Infrarail 2021. From track, rolling stock, and infrastructure to plant, machinery and civil engineering, there will be something for everyone involved in rail in any capacity. Exhibitors will be able to grab the attention of attendees by hosting their own live demonstration of their products, either at their stand or at the dedicated track display area. There is no better way to promote your brand’s capabilities than with a live demonstration, and the NEC will provide the perfect setting next May.
Rail Engineer will be there as usual, hosting a seminar theatre that will give exhibitors the chance to present their technology and introduce their latest products to a wide-ranging audience.
High level addresses from the industry’s leaders
In previous years, Infrarail and Railtex have always hosted influential keynote speakers from senior figures and next year will be no exception.
Keynote speeches from figures such as the Rail Minister Andrew Jones MP, chief executive of RIA Darren Caplan as well as the then managing director of Digital Railway (Network Rail) Stuart Calvert were included in Railtex’s previous comprehensive conference programme.
Infrarail has played host to former State Secretary of Transport Chris Grayling and former HS2 managing director Paul Griffiths, as well as Network Rail’s former Digital Railway MD, David Waboso CBE.
While next year’s programme is still to be confirmed, there is promise of a range of high-profile speakers from all aspects of UK rail.
Stand bookings are now open
Stand bookings are now being taken and potential exhibitors are urged to take action to avoid disappointment. Natig Asadullaev, exhibition manager for Railtex/Infrarail 2021, said: “Following the postponement of 2020’s exhibitions, we are already anticipating a huge response to bookings for next year’s event.
“I have no doubt that Railtex/Infrarail 2021 will be the highlight of the rail industry calendar year and for both tier one and two companies and SMEs, there is no better place to be seen and to take part in the shaping of the future of the UK rail network.”