Thursday, April 22, 2010

InnoTrans, noting U.S. changes, woos North American rail sector

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International rail exhibition often have shrugged at the relative dearth of participation from North American suppliers and/or paltry attendance figures from the North American continent. But that may change at this year’s InnoTrans 2010 conference, to take place Sept. 21-24 in Berlin, conference organizers say.

One reason for this is President Obama’s announcement pledging to invest $8 billion . . . in setting up a high speed railway network,” InnoTrans officials say. “Gradually opening up the U.S. railway market, hitherto largely closed to outsiders, is also having a positive effect on InnoTrans 2010. More exhibitors and attendees from the U.S. than ever before are expected to attend.”

InnoTrans currently counts “23 companies on the list of U.S. exhibitors, including major companies such as GE Transportation, Progress Rail Services, Wabtec Corp., Electro-Motive Diesel, and Cisco Systems.”

Other U.S.players, including railroad executives, are also expected in Berlin, according to Matthias Steckmann, director at Messe Berlin. “This year we expect an increased number of attendees from the U.S.A. Thus 500 mostly senior managers, [involved with] construction, design, and maintenance of railway infrastructure, have agreed totake part. Major railway companies such as Amtrak as well as transport companies from New York, Chicago, New Jersey, and Vancouver (in Canada) are sending numerous representatives to Berlin.”

Steckmann adds that U.S. suppliers Timken, L. B. Foster, Railquip, Loram, Magnus, and Miner are among those expected to attend this year’s event. Beyond that, “The fact that the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association will take part in InnoTrans for the first time rounds off this picture very positively,” he says.