The inside track on InnoTrans

The world’s rail industry descended on Berlin on September 18-21, with more than 160,000 trade representatives visiting the German capital to attend InnoTrans.

The 12th staging of what has become Europe’s biggest rail trade show (if not the world’s) played host to launches of all kinds of gadgets as well as trains, plus keynote speeches and presentations from industry figures from across the globe.

There were 3,062 exhibiting companies from 110 countries, while institutions from 61 countries also attended. The event featured some 155 world premieres and 155 vehicles on display (including buses).

Dr Christian Göke, CEO of organiser Messe Berlin, said: “No other event offers trade visitors such a comprehensive and global insight into every part of the industry’s value chain.”

Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling attended the event, at which new trains for Greater Anglia, Govia Thameslink Railway and the Glasgow Subway were on display.

For Greater Anglia, InnoTrans attendees were able to view Stadler’s Class 755/4, the first of 38 new bi-modes to be unveiled with a full interior. The first of these trains is due to be delivered to the UK before the end of this month. 

Stadler, the largest exhibitor of rolling stock this year. is also building 17 Glasgow Subway trains for the famous ‘Clockwork Orange’ system, as part of a £200 million deal with Ansaldo that will eventually introduce automated trains onto the underground network.

Govia Thameslink Railway is taking delivery of 25 six-car Class 717s from Siemens, with these units due to enter traffic later this year. While six are in the UK now, the rest are in Germany for testing and commissioning. Three cars from 717017 were on show during the event. 

Other manufacturers familiar to the UK market were displaying products for various other countries. These included Alstom, which displayed its new Coradia Stream - its new single, versatile platform designed to meet the needs of inter-city and regional transport.

Alstom also showcased its Prima H4 locomotive. Essentially a shunter, this has an eco-friendly design that can offer zero emissions. It’s designed mainly for shunting, freight and engineers’ trains, and is based upon a modular platform. There are multiple power supply options including bi-mode between overhead catenary and diesel, bi-mode battery (catenary and battery), or hybrid (battery and diesel). Its top speed can be 75mph. So far 47 have been ordered by SBB Infra, with the first in traffic next year.

Many visitors to InnoTrans will have used the famous S-Bahn to reach the site, and the latest generation of train for the system was displayed. In a contract won by Stadler in a consortium with Siemens, 106 trains are being built and the first completed half-train was shown to the public.

Six years ago at InnoTrans, the EuroLight was displayed at the event, and this platform was used for Direct Rail Services’ Class 68. Fast forward to 2018, and Stadler displayed its EURODUAL locomotive for Havellandische Eisenbahn (HVLE).

This was the first time the Swiss company has received an order for the six-axle design with bi-modal drive. It can offer up to 2,800kW in diesel and 7,000kW in electric mode. Intended for use in Germany, could a variant end up in the UK?

Light rail was represented with exhibits from Siemens (the Avenio M Ulm tram), Skoda and also the Silkworm Tram.

Locomotive-hauled trains were also on display, including a German push-pull set for DB on its Nuremberg-Ingolstadt-Munich route. Four coaches, a driving car and a Skoda Transportation Emil Zatopek electric locomotive were displayed at the event. The 125mph set is the first to feature wheelchair access at 760mm, and also features a children’s section!

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