THIS YEAR'S Elmia Nordic Rail will for the first time share its conference programme with Elmia Future Transport, a concurrent event launched to look beyond rail to the wider transport scene.

Held at Jönköping in Sweden every two years, Nordic Rail has grown dramatically since the first event was held 12 years ago, as liberalisation and competition across Europe have made change an everyday occurrence. Its focus is purely on railway issues, with a particular emphasis on technology and infrastructure, but Jörgen Nyström, Project Manager for Nordic Rail and Future Transport, believes it is impossible to split up the transport industry into discrete segments. 'Our aim is for Future Transport to be a natural meeting place for everyone who works in the transport industry in Northern Europe. As with the railways, the transport industry as a whole is facing dramatic changes, and needs a meeting place for its specific issues.'

'Nordic Rail is a forum for the industry's players to discuss prevailing conditions, potential solutions and future scenarios', says Nyström. 'This is where business leaders and decision-makers meet, as well as experts, suppliers, entrepreneurs, town planners, track managers and buyers'. Issues lined up for discussion in the conference sessions will include new transport technologies, intermodality and logistics, large infrastructure projects, regulation and finance. A major seminar will centre on environmental issues and future energy supplies, as global warming becomes a hot topic.

To complement the rail focus, Future Transport will begin with the customers who use the railways as train operators, forwarding agents, transport managers and logistics specialists. But the event is also targeted at business leaders, politicians, finance managers and the representatives of sea ports and freight terminals.

The main focus of Nordic Rail is of course on the north of Europe, but since its foundation the exhibition has steadily broadened and is now on the verge of becoming a global forum. At the last event in 2005 there were 226 exhibitors from 17 countries, and more than 4 000 visitors from 22 countries, numbers that the organisers expect to beat this year. A highlight of the event will be the Nordic Rail Buffet, which attracted 1 900 people in 2005.

  • The highlight of the Funkwerk Information Technologies stand will be AlisterCargo, a yard and depot control system developed to use standard industrial components. This is now being brought into service by Danish State Railways (RG 7.07 p452). Electronic turnout operation and routesetting panels make manual changing of points unnecessary, increasing safety. The stand will be shared with Funkwerk Kölleda, which will be showing GSM-R cab radio sets and onboard communications equipment.