A visit to InnoTrans 2016 in Berlin, Germany (Part One)

Every other year Berlin, Germany hosts the purportedly largest railroad industry exhibition in the world: InnoTrans. There the railroad industry displays its newest and best it has to offer: Be it new locomotives or something as mondain as rail clips. It appears that 2016 was another banner year for the show. According to the Berlin Messe press office around 130000 people had signed up to attend the three day rail industry schmooze fest this year.

The indoor exhibition space is around 1.8 million square feet, spread over 26 halls. To show off locomotives, coaches and other rolling stock there are two and a half miles of track in the outdoor exhibition area, connected to the main rail line for easy access. 

 An arial view of the InnoTrans exhibition area. Notice the outdoor exhibition area in the left middle of the photograph full of rolling stock. The main rail line can be seen arching from the bottom right to the middle left of the picture. Downtown Berlin is relatively close by to the right.  Photograph: Berlin Messe GmbH

An arial view of the InnoTrans exhibition area. Notice the outdoor exhibition area in the left middle of the photograph full of rolling stock. The main rail line can be seen arching from the bottom right to the middle left of the picture. Downtown Berlin is relatively close by to the right. Photograph: Berlin Messe GmbH

 A guide to InnoTrans 2016

A guide to InnoTrans 2016

Frankly I never quite thought of and realized the nitty gritty required when building a coach or a whole train. Or how much is involved in just keeping the railway running smoothly. Just take a look at the various categories of exhibits:

 My InnoTrans 2016 pass. It also doubled as a public transportation ticket for the entire Berlin transit system for three days. 

My InnoTrans 2016 pass. It also doubled as a public transportation ticket for the entire Berlin transit system for three days. 

The indoor exhibits are only accessible to accredited people, i.e. folks working for the railroads or the rail industry in general, public transportation and the press. The “public days” are Saturday and Sunday and only the outdoor exhibits can then be viewed. 

So, without further ado, here are some of my photographic impressions (in no particular order or theme):

 How very true...

How very true…

 The newest in passenger information systems

The newest in passenger information systems

 Need to know how many pax are boarding or alighting, including their bicycles? Well, here is your new, totally automated counting system!

Need to know how many pax are boarding or alighting, including their bicycles? Well, here is your new, totally automated counting system!

 Rear view mirrors are so passé...now we have rear view cameras. 

Rear view mirrors are so passé…now we have rear view cameras. 

 How about a windshield with integrated lighting? Design for the new Stockholm underground vehicles.

How about a windshield with integrated lighting? Design for the new Stockholm underground vehicles.

 Ever wonder what the innards of a train toilet looks like? Wonder no more!

Ever wonder what the innards of a train toilet looks like? Wonder no more!

 And for our Asian customers...

And for our Asian customers…

 A driver's seat must be comfortable and offer total control.

A driver’s seat must be comfortable and offer total control.

 Passengers need comfortable seats also.

Passengers need comfortable seats also.

 But what color shall we choose for our seats?

But what color shall we choose for our seats?

 And iPads at every seat.

And iPads at every seat.

 The newest in multi lingual onboard fare collection systems.

The newest in multi lingual onboard fare collection systems.

 Station fare gates.

Station fare gates.

Spain’s idea of the three “proofs” in outdoor ticket machines: weather proof, vandalism proof, fool proof!

 Modular roof mounted climate control systems

Modular roof mounted climate control systems

 A plethora of window shades are on offer. 

A plethora of window shades are on offer. 

Brad admiring a “Smart Bus Stop”. Not quite sure what that does…

 Can't have a train without a whistle or horn!

Can’t have a train without a whistle or horn!

 A wheel for the Deutsche Bahn AG. See the next photograph for more details about it.

A wheel for the Deutsche Bahn AG. See the next photograph for more details about it.

 Progress Rail (Caterpillar) was hawking their latest in high speed turn outs. 

Progress Rail (Caterpillar) was hawking their latest in high speed turn outs. 

 One company's idea on how to reduce rail/wheel noise (top picture) and how to make rail crossings safer for bicycles and motorcycles by eliminating the rail head to crossing gap (bottom photo, right side)

One company’s idea on how to reduce rail/wheel noise (top picture) and how to make rail crossings safer for bicycles and motorcycles by eliminating the rail head to crossing gap (bottom photo, right side)

 I had no idea that there were so many different rail profiles.

I had no idea that there were so many different rail profiles.

Or turn out “frog” variations.

 Over head power supply lines and a high speed pantograph for electric trains close up and personal.

Over head power supply lines and a high speed pantograph for electric trains close up and personal.

 A working mock up on how pantographs operate.

A working mock up on how pantographs operate.

For diesel locomotives and DMUs Motoren und Turbinen Union Company (MTU) displayed some massive diesel engines and crankshafts:

 A coupling system for high speed EMUs.

A coupling system for high speed EMUs.

And here is an example of what happens when somebody forgets to check the oil level. The destroyed electric motor stator from one of the drive motors of a UK Class 66 locomotive:

Replacements are available. From a company in Ireland: 

 A UK Class 66 diesel electric locomotive. Still in EWS livery.

A UK Class 66 diesel electric locomotive. Still in EWS livery.

Brad and myself spent two massive days taking in InnoTrans. Even then we did not get to see a vast area of the exhibition halls. For example we never made it to the area where the companies responsible for on board catering and equipment showed their wares. 

More about the outdoor exhibits in Part Two.

All photographs by Ralf Meier (Sony a7R (4K) and Brad Wing (iPhone 5) unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

 

  

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