Opening of the Innotrans fair in Berlin

New equipment from Alstom for Luxembourg (left) and Polish manufacturer Newag for regional service in Poland are among the equipment on display at the opening of the InnoTrans exhibition in Berlin. Keith Fender

BERLIN — The world’s largest rail industry trade show, InnoTrans, is back after a four-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Large blue electric locomotive on display track
The four-axle ‘Bison’ electric locomotive was built by China’s CRRC for use by Hungarian freight railway company Rail Cargo Hungary. Keith Fender.

The show opened in Berlin today (Tuesday, September 20), with 2,834 exhibitors from 56 countries using the entire Messe Berlin exhibition grounds, which includes 26 buildings covering more than 1.7 million square feet, as well as 124 rail vehicles on display. on about 3 miles of track on site. Tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world are expected every day during the four days of the show.

Technological change and the increasing use of digital in rail operations are key themes at the show, with new trains powered by batteries and hydrogen alongside traditional electric or diesel propulsion. New locomotive designs – both full-size and in model form – are on display from builders around the world.

White passenger locomotive model with red stripe
The new Talgo electric locomotives for the German DB, being built in Madrid, are unveiled in model form. Keith Fender

The indoor exhibits showcase not only new technologies, but also international rail system construction or expansion projects, including ambitious projects in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates) and high-speed rail projects in Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Among the equipment on display: the first hydrogen passenger train for the United States, which will be presented by Stadler. The trains News Wire will feature this and hydrogen trains from other manufacturers in an upcoming report.

Ukrainian rail boss visits Berlin

Two men at the microphone
UZ leader Oleksandr Kamyshin, right, and PKP chairman Krzysztof Maminski speak to media around the world. Keith Fender

The boss of the Ukrainian railways (Ukrzaliznytsia or UZ), Oleksandr Kamyshin, participates in the show and signs multiple cooperation agreements with European railway operators. In a press conference with Polish national railway company PKP today, speaking in English, Kamyshin said it was the 209th day of the war with Russia and his system continued to be bombed or attacked daily. So far, 244 UZ employees have been killed on the job and 425 others seriously injured. He reaffirmed his country’s determination to join the European Union and commented that Ukraine was “paying a very high price for this” in the form of Russian aggression.

Kamyshin expressed his thanks to the PKP and Poland for helping transport millions of women and children as refugees in the weeks immediately following the Russian invasion, as well as transporting humanitarian aid in Ukraine and freight, especially grain, from the country. UZ and PKP have signed agreements to further develop connections and streamline the operation of cross-border rail traffic. Similar agreements were signed later in the day with German operator Deutsche Bahn.

Despite the ongoing war, several Ukrainian railway engineering companies are exhibiting at InnoTrans, eager to develop new business opportunities. Unlike previous InnoTrans fairs, no Russian companies are exhibiting there. Previously, the Russian state railway company RZD and the railway engineering company Transmashholding (partly owned by the French company Alstom) had large stands; in 2022, they are nowhere to be found.

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