by Phil Marsh

Interested in rail infrastructure and the politics of railways?

Published: 8th May 2014

Massive Rail exhibition at Earls Court shows how railway engineers work

The 10th anniversary Infrarail railway engineering exhibition takes place at Earls Court in London on May 20 & 21 between 10am and 5pm and May 22 between 10am and 4pm, with nearly 200 exhibitors in attendance.

The promoters say that this is the UK’s leading railway infrastructure event and they have a strong case to make this claim. The railways are undergoing a huge change with record investment which brings massive opportunities to the supply chain and for those who fancy working in the rail industry.

Visitors and exhibitors alike see the latest technology in action, learn about new products and services while consolidating existing relationships and making new connections.

A new exhibition will be launched at Infrarail, The Civil Infrastructure and Technology Exhibition (CITE) will be co-located within Infrarail 2014. This will be the largest rail infrastructure exhibition held in the UK this year. CITE will focus on infrastructure, civil engineering, energy, geotechnical, tunnelling, waste, water and utilities in the road, port and utility construction industry away from the railways, while Infrarail will focus on rail infrastructure management.

There is also a recruitment wall, where many rail jobs will be advertised so if you fancy trying the railway for a career, this show is a very good starting point.

So what can be seen at the event? Plant and equipment used on maintaining and constructing our railways plus signalling, communications, track and station equipment.

The whole exhibition is a huge real-life advert for the railway supply chain industry and so there is usually a good mix of displays and demonstrations to be seen.

Listen carefully and ask questions!

Infrarail has some excellent speakers on many important subjects and these give members of the public a pretty unique chance to question rail leaders and senior politicians.

The choice of speakers and topics may well decide what day to visit! In chronological order, the opening speaker at 1030am on May 20 is Transport Minister Baroness Kramer supported by Jeremy Candfield, Chair of the Rail Industry Association. Various other senior rail industry people from several companies will follow.

The two project updates are at 1350hrs when Network Rail gives an update on the massive electrification project and at 1430hrs by Transport for London who will update us on the billion pound Northern Line tube extension to Battersea Power Station.

May 21 is opened by a presentation by Simon Kirby, the Managing Director for Network Rail Infrastructure Projects who is to join the HS2 project shortly. Again, the main speaker is followed by others from rail supply companies such as Siemens.

The two project updates at 1310hrs when HS2 Commercial Director Beth West gives an HS2 update looking at business opportunities for British companies who wish to get involved with the project. This is followed at 1350hrs by a Network Rail Thameslink update.

Passengers’ only chance to question the Department for Transport

The final day, May 22 sees the person who is responsible for Government rail policy take the stand. Claire Moriaty is the Director General Rail Group at The Department for Transport.

She was appointed Director General Rail Executive at the Department for Transport in 2013. The main areas of Clare’s responsibility are:

The government’s response to the recommendations proposed by Sir Roy McNulty and subsequent proposals for the reform of the rail industry. This was made three years ago and not much seems to have happened as a result, but all will no doubt be revealed.

The delivery of major rail investment projects, involving cross industry leadership ensuring rail passenger franchises deliver customer benefits and that financial and other risks are effectively managed.

Sponsorship of Directly Operated Rail, the Government owned train company and the British Transport Police

She starts at 1030am and is followed by a couple of other speakers from the rail supply chain. This is probably the only public opportunity to quiz the DfT rail manager on policy.

The final days two project updates are at 1310hrs when Network Rail’s Project Director for the Northern Hub explains how the project is getting on followed by London Underground who will explain their Lean Transformation Programme.

There are also several other discussions open to public participation over the events three days.

Meet the magazines and railway institutes

Several railway magazines will be present at the exhibition and their staff will be on hand for a chat.

Several professional railway bodies such as The Permanent Way Institute has a stand and this is a celebrated professional institution which supports training and development in track areas.

If signalling interests you rather than track, then the Institute of Railway Signal Engineers is also at the show. Both organisations are well worth a visit.

Admission information

There is free admission for those who register in advance or it will cost £20 foe on the day admission.

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