As the NEC prepares to welcome Railtex 2017, Railway Strategies takes a look behind the scenes to find out what the event offers for the visitor

There are just weeks to go before Railtex 2017, the UK’s leading rail technology showcase, opens its doors at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

The thirteenth of these successful events takes place from 9 to 11 May, and by mid-February more than 430 companies featured in the list of exhibitors, with demand for stands continuing.

Participating companies cover all sectors of the supply chain and range from the best known names serving the UK market to the smallest specialist firms, creating an event that offers plenty that is new and something of interest for everyone involved in the industry.

Prominent exhibitors include Alstom Transport, Hitachi Rail Europe and Siemens, plus major rollingstock subsystems suppliers such as Knorr-Bremse Rail UK, Rolls-Royce subsidiary MTU Friedrichshafen and Voith Turbo. Making a welcome first appearance at a Railtex show will be Stadler Rail, now a significant supplier of rolling stock to the British market, while leading Chinese train builder CRRC Corporation is making a return to the event.

Companies addressing the key field of rail vehicle maintenance include traction equipment specialist Houghton International, lifting systems manufacturer Mechan and component maintainers Sabre Rail Services and Sulzer. Also present will be Lucchini Unipart Rail, offering bogie, wheelset and gearbox overhaul services.

Windhoff Bahn-und Anlagentechnik will be covering both this sector with depot equipment and as a supplier of infrastructure products and services – another area well represented by exhibitors. Track products specialists ArcelorMittal Europe – Long Products, Direct Track Solutions, Schwihag and Tinsley Bridge, plus plant hire firms A-Plant Rail and Mabey, infrastructure maintenance company Bakerail Services, and equipment suppliers Cembre and Sperry Rail all feature in the list of exhibitors.

As well as being important business sectors for the top international companies present at Railtex, the market for signalling and communications technology will be addressed by a number of companies, including Park Signalling, telent and Unipart Dorman.

Railtex has also attracted exhibitors targeting current Network Rail electrification projects. Among them are OLE steelwork fabricators Adey Steel and Had-Fab, L.C. Switchgear, PACE Networks with its Rail Electrification Infrastructure Stand featuring a number of specialists in this field, and Pfisterer.

These represent just part of the vast range of products that will be on show. Exhibitors will also be showcasing station fixtures and fittings, vehicle interiors, passenger information systems, railway electrical equipment and electronics, security products, asset monitoring systems, PPE and workwear, cable technology, supplies and consumables, consultancy services and much more. A full list of exhibitors can be found at

Alongside conventional stands, features in the exhibition hall will include The Track, a display area for smaller pieces of track-mounted equipment, sponsored by British Steel, and The Yard, providing an open area for larger vehicles and plant. And the Rail Alliance suppliers networking association will have its own Hub, bringing together member companies’ stands.

There will also be stands hosting leading industry bodies, among them Digital Railway/Network Rail, High Speed Two (HS2 Ltd), sharing its presence with the National College for High Speed Rail, Midlands Engine Rail, Rail Forum East Midlands, the Rail Supply Group and the Railway Industry Association.

High quality supporting events
Over the years, Railtex has gained an increasingly strong reputation for the quality of the supporting events that make a visit to the show even more worthwhile. This year is no exception, with continuous programmes comprising presentations and discussion forums taking place at two locations in the main hall – the Seminar Theatre and the Knowledge Hub.

Highlights of these programmes will be keynote speeches by leading figures shaping the future of the rail industry. On the first day of Railtex, Rail Minister Paul Maynard MP will deliver a keynote address in the Seminar Theatre. Later the same day Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, will give an address. Speaking on the second day, 10 May, will be by Dr Francis Paonessa, Network Rail’s managing director infrastructure projects. On the third day the keynote speaker will be Professor Andrew McNaughton, technical director at High Speed Two Ltd.

The Seminar Theatre will also host technical presentations by Railtex exhibitors.

Keynote speakers at the Knowledge Hub will be Gordon Wakeford, chair of the Rail Supply Group and managing director of Siemens Mobility, David Waboso, managing director, Network Rail/Digital Rail, and David Prout, director general, DfT/HS2 Ltd. These sessions, along with a series of project updates and industry briefings, have been developed in partnership with the Railway Industry Association.

The Knowledge Hub will also be the setting for daily topical panel discussions led by leading industry figures, with everyone invited to contribute.

All these sessions will be open to everyone attending the event. Visitors are advised to check final details via the show website to help plan a successful visit.

This busy programme sets the scene for an event which as well as showcasing the latest technology on offer from the rail supply sector and giving access to insights from industry leaders, also provides great networking opportunities – including the opening day’s Networking Reception hosted by show organisers Mack Brooks Exhibitions.

Register in advance for free entry Pre-registering in advance via to attend the show will give free access over all three days of the event, including the many supporting activities taking place. There will be an entrance fee for those who have not registered in advance.

Railtex 2017
9 – 11 May 2017
Halls 3 and 3a,
National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham