In May, Railtex 2019, the UK’s premier exhibition of railway equipment, systems and services, returned to the NEC in Birmingham, UK, acting as a platform to connect visitors with suppliers for all aspects of the rail industry. Grant Rebecca, digital content assistant, visited the three day event to see first-hand every part of a rail journey.
Taking place from 14th May – 16th May, Railtex saw over 400 exhibitors from 22 different countries showcasing products related to tracks, signalling, train carriages and more. The show attracted 6,700 visitors, who were able to witness on stand demonstrations, and see how each product contributed to creating the full train travel experience.
This included elements of the base infrastructure, such as the tracks and sleepers, to elements for the train carriages, from internal electronics to window wipers, as well as elements before the customer reaches the train, such as display boards for travel information.
The state of the UK rail industry was a popular topic amongst the fastener companies exhibiting at the show including Nord-Lock Group, TFC Ltd, Clyde Fasteners Ltd, Browns Fasteners Ltd, and global distributor of communication and security products, Anixter.
“The UK rail industry is booming due to large developments in the UK such as HS2 and Crossrail. These new rail lines are important to us and Railtex is an important show to showcase our products,” commented Brendan McDonald, vice-president sales at Anixter.
Echoing this was global specialist in bolting solutions Nord-Lock Group: “With many more train journeys to be made in the next 10 –15 years, the rail market is currently in a strong position and is only looking to get stronger,” commented Andrew Radnor, sales manager at Nord-Lock Group.
Exhibiting for the first time this year was UK fastener supplier, Browns Fasteners Ltd, showcasing its range of rail fasteners. “Previously we attended the show as visitors, which inspired us to exhibit this year. Railtex is a great place to meet clients as all our customers are here,” said Mark Ainsworth, director at Browns Fasteners Ltd.
Another factor impacting the rail industry is the low carbon footprint. Focusing on the carbon saving potential of rail travel was global specialist in the adhesives market, Henkel Ltd, exhibiting its LOCTITE® range of threadlocking adhesives, which prevent self-loosening and secure any threaded fastener against vibration and shock loads.
“Compared to air travel, trains can run more passengers, more frequently, on a smaller carbon footprint. It must be at least 20% less carbon per passenger to take the train than to fly,” said Henkel.
Also on display at the show was the M12 connector portfolio, which has recently been approved for use in railway applications – created by global manufacturer of circular connectors Binder UK Ltd. Binder showcased its complete range of innovative circular connectors to visitors at the show. Its 8-pole, X-coded connectors feature data transmission speeds of up to 10Gbit/s and will prove highly valuable in rail applications for ethernet protocols, communications, security, CCTV and passenger information systems.
As well as the many products on display RailTex once again held a ‘Seminar Theatre’ hosting a selection of technical seminars from within the rail industry. Key topics covered included ‘How can we digitise the journey to benefit the customer?’ by Mike Hewitt, chief technical officer, ADComms; ‘Integrating systems for safety critical applications’ by Chris Parr, technical director at Sella Controls Ltd; and ‘Bridges with hot rolled sections for railway lines’ by Dennis Rademacher, bridge development leader at ArcelorMittal Europe.
Also giving a presentation was keynote speaker Rail Minister Andrew Jones MP, who covered the growing state of the UK rail industry and the key challenges and opportunities it will face in the coming years.
The next edition of Railtex is set to take place in May 2021.
Grant joined the magazine in 2018, bringing with him extensive knowledge of online and digital platforms. He is developing his industry knowledge through exhibition visits and the production of video interviews with key industry players.
Grant manages the digital content across the FastFix network, and is also responsible for all social media channels.