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Future of digital rail debated at 7th International Railway Summit in Frankfurt

Press release   •   Feb 26, 2019 16:00 GMT

The 7th International Railway Summit, a unique 3-day networking event organised by IRITS Events in association with the International Union of Railways (UIC) concluded in Frankfurt on 22 February after a busy timetable of debate, parallel one-to-one consultation meetings, technical visits, and many formal and informal networking opportunities.

Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof hotel in central Frankfurt welcomed some 200 delegates representing 93 companies and organisations from 24 countries across the globe.

Even amidst increasing protectionism in many industrialised nations, the railway sector is making a steady transition to an international network of operations, a worldwide supply chain, multimodal partnerships and cooperation with international peers who face similar challenges. In this spirit of openness, the International Railway Summit’s mission is to help operators, infrastructure owners, and national and local governments to learn about the latest trends and best practices and introduce them to innovative solutions.

The 7th International Railway Summit’s conference programme, comprising keynote speeches, presentations, technical reviews, and controversial debate, tackled the theme ‘How do we achieve an efficient railway system in the digital era?’. The programme was chaired by UIC’s Chief Digital Officer, Francis Bédel.

Keynote speakers included Elisabeth Werner, Director of Land Transport at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE), Tobias Miethaner, Director General Digital Society, German Ministry of Transport & Digital Infrastructure, Bas Leermakers, Interim Secretary General, Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) and Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General, UIC. There were also spirited panel discussions, technical reviews and contributions from a variety of influential figures within the rail sector.

During the two-day conference programme delegates discussed the impact of digital on cross-border operations, smart cities, data analytics, 5G communications, infrastructure investment, and global visions for the future of transportation.

A simultaneous programme of pre-arranged one-to-one meetings saw the first steps of many and varied potential partnerships. Some 250 one-to-one meetings took place, a total of 125 hours of focussed bilateral meetings.

In addition, delegates were able to visit rail facilities in the city to learn about local practice and technological advances from decision-makers and innovators. Delegates were given guided tours of VGF’s tram and metro infrastructure, Deutsche Bahn’s digital innovation hub, Skydeck, and DB’s suburban train maintenance depot.

A welcome reception and dinner on the opening evening of the summit and an offsite dinner at the acclaimed Trares Restaurant and Bar gave delegates a chance to relax and forge personal relationships beyond a purely business footing.

The 8th International Railway Summit will take place in New Delhi on 20-22 November 2019, the first time the event will be held in India. The 9th International Railway Summit will be held in Warsaw, Poland on 19-21 February 2020. Organisations interested in learning more about International Railway Summit and about how they can participate in the event can visit or contact the organisers, IRITS Events.

International Railway Summit is a meeting of senior executives representing the world’s key rail operators, rail infrastructure management companies, national and local governments, rolling stock manufacturers and a wide range of solution providers.

International Railway Summit provides a 'matchmaking' service between rail industry leaders ('buyers') and technical experts, based on buyer delegates' project requirements and the proven expertise of large and small suppliers that we have carefully handpicked. Based on this matchmaking, buyer delegates attend one-to-one consultation sessions with suitable suppliers during the annual summit.

In addition to the one-to-one meetings, delegates also attend a conference programme given by key industry leaders and experts and network over lunches and dinners with their counterparts and industry colleagues from all over the world. The International Railway Summit is hosted by IRITS Events. The 

The 8th edition will take place in New Delhi, India on 20-22 November 2019. The 9th edition will be held in Warsaw, Poland on 19-21 February 2020.

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