INTRO: The fifth Rail-Tech Europe is being held at the Royal Dutch Jaarbeurs trade fair in Utrecht on April 4 - 7

WITH THREE high-profile new lines under construction and intense debate over the progress of the railway reform process, rail is a hot topic in the Netherlands at present. Railway Gazette International is supporting the biennial Rail-Tech Europe conference and exhibition.

This year’s conference offers a well-timed opportunity for operators, engineers and politicians from across the world to address these issues. Representatives from the European Commission will also be participating. The conference theme is the separation of operations and infrastructure - does it contribute to better price and performance?

This year the conference will start one day before the exhibition, giving the exhibitors an opportunity to participate in the discussions. The first day will begin with sessions on ’Opportunities for the Rail Industry’ and ’Innovative Contracts’ which will be of particular relevance to the suppliers, contractors and consultants.

The second morning will focus on policy and strategic issues, from both a European and Dutch perspective, including a session on experience with the separation of infrastructure and operations in different countries. The afternoon will focus on technical issues, including areas spanning the critical track/train divide such as signalling and train control, and the wheel/rail interface.

Day three of the conference will be chaired by Railway Gazette’s Deputy Editor Chris Jackson. It will start with a session on process and implementation, which will look at ways of optimising the relationships between different players. This will be followed by a second session drawing lessons for the future.

Rail-Tech delegates will also have the opportunity to examine the three new line projects. There will be a technical visit to the north-south metro line in Amsterdam on April 6, and visits to the works for HSL-Zuid and the Betuwe Route freight line on the following day.

Over 130 exhibitors

The three-day exhibition has attracted a wide range of companies from the Netherlands, Belgium and across Europe. Details can be found in the exhibition catalogue produced by Railway Gazette.

International associations participating in the exhibition include Holland Rail Industry and Swissrail, showcasing the work of their member companies.

Many of the major rolling stock manufacturers will be participating, together with subcontractors and component suppliers. Reflecting the competitive nature of the Dutch infrastructure market and ProRail’s remit to boost network condition by 2008 (p207), there will be a strong representation from infrastructure contractors and engineering companies, together with specialist suppliers from the civil engineering, trackwork, signalling, communications and overhead electrification sectors.

This year, Rail-Tech will include an area devoted to small consultancies, which has attracted great interest from firms in the Netherlands and elsewhere. This will include a number of Notified Bodies offering testing and certification services under the new European Technical Specifications for Interoperability.

As in past years, the centrepiece of the exhibition halls will be 180m of temporary track where exhibitors will be able to display vehicles and track maintenance machines, as well as infrastructure compo-nents.

For further details of Rail-Tech 2005 contact:

Europoint BV, PO Box 822

NL-3700 AV Zeist


Tel: +31 30 6933 489

Fax: +31 30 6917 394


Railway Gazette International

at Rail-Tech Europeon stand 1.A.129

CAPTION: TOP: An NS Reizigers Class 1700 loco crosses a canal inDelft with a regional train Photo:Marcel Vleugels

BELOW: As part of ProRail’s programme of infrastructure renewals, Volker Stevin’s Obelix crane was used to relay track at Utrecht

BELOW RIGHT: German open access freight operator rail4chem has launched a Benelux subsidiary to handle traffic to and from Rotterdam Photos: Quintus Vosman