InnoTrans 2018 in Berlin, Germany
It was that time again: September 2018 in Berlin, Germany. InnoTrans, the bi-annual binge fest regarding all things railroad, had opened its doors for a week. The big guys like Skoda Transportation, Siemens-Alstom, StadlerRail, Bombardier Transportation as well as Hitachi Rail were all showing off their newest and best. It was however the not so well know suppliers who made the exhibits quite interesting. I never realized that there would be an outfit manufacturing devices to prohibit rail bolt hole cracks? Or a gizmo that cleans pantographs? But then I am not a railway engineer!
Over all this loomed the 600 pound gorilla of railroading with its own exhibits, stands, video presentations, job and career center and a whole full size train in the outdoor area: Deutsche Bahn, the German railway system operator! They even brought their very own robot.
According to InnoTrans’ supplied statistics (and they are not shy to constantly remind one that this is the largest exhibit of its kind in the world), the 2018 event brought 3062 railroads, manufacturers and companies showing off their wares. Of those 1910 were from outside of Germany. This year’s visitor number stands at 161157 from 149 countries. Total exhibit space was a bit over 1 million square feet. 6 and 1/2 miles of standard gauge track was available in the outdoor exhibit area to show off full size rolling stock.
InnoTrans divides the exhibits into 11 product groups:
1) Rail bound vehicles for public and freight transport
2) Intermodal transport vehicles
3) Subassemblies and component groups
4) Service for vehicles
6) Railway Construction / Infrastructure
7) Public Transport / Fixed Structures
8) Transportation IT – Management, Data Processing, Information, Communication
9) Freight Traffic Logistics
11) Tunnel Construction
Product group 3 alone has 3312 sub groups: Fun things like exhaust filtering systems or locking mechanisms for train toilets. Anybody who has the time and inclination to take a closer look at the over 5400 railway related products can click here for a link to the InnoTrans product listing.
In short, it is quite the “anorak’s” paradise. So without further ado here are some of our photographs from the exhibit:
Part of the outdoor exhibition area as seen from the Berlin Funkturm, which is in the center of the InnoTrans area.
The “Funkturm”. The very first television program in the world was broadcast from an aerial on the tower. It is still being used for mobile phone and public safety radio communications. It also has a restaurant which, surprisingly, is actually reasonably priced.
A more ground based view of the outdoor exhibit area.
The entrance to InnoTrans from the Messe-Süd S-Bahn (suburban train) station. On the left is one of the numerous exhibit areas run by Deutsche Bahn. Catchy phrase they are using: Let me enterTRAIN you!
As always, the Wiebe Company brought their little steamer to InnoTrans for cab rides.
The author admiring the windshield and cab windows for the new AMTRAK Acela Liberty trains to be built by Alstom. Why they displayed it upside down I do not know.
The look of things to come for AMTRAK: The Alstom Acela Liberty train. Alstom Photo
The Chinese had a huge presence this time around, occupying the better part of one of the halls.
The Chinese also went around to different manufacturers equipment and measured, videoed and took photographs. This guy was using a measuring tape to get the dimensions of the driver’s desk on a Skoda electric locomotive, Deutsche Bahn Class 102. While calling out the measurements, his compatriot dutyfully wrote all this down in a little black book.
My other half leaving the aforementioned Skoda locomotive after inspecting the inside.
Three photos of the inside of the Skoda electric.
The Number 2 business end of the Skoda.
A Siemens Class 462 for the Rhein Ruhr Express services. These Siemens “Desiro HC” electric multiple units are interesting in as much as they are comprised of four coaches. Both end units are single deck and contain the propulsion systems. The two intermediate units however are double deck.
A new Hitachi train for the FS. (Ferrovie dello Stato, the Italian State Railways) A double deck EMU for regional services, classified as ETR 521.
Another new train for the Italian State Railway. This one was built by Alstom, branded as “Coradia Stream Pop” trains. These trains are also intended for fast, regional services.
Siemens and Stadler showed off their new trains for the Berlin S-Bahn system. These are third rail units classified as BR 484.
The interior of the new 484 trains for Berlin. First impression is nice, with lots of space and comfortable seating. Air conditioning is now standard. As with most new commuter and subway trains this one is also using the “open” gangway system.
Usually one does not get to see much equipment for the British rail system at InnoTrans. This year however, both Stadler and Siemens showed off their creations for the UK market. Stadler is building trains for the Greater Anglia Rail Company. It is an interesting design. These trains are bi-mode. They can be run under catenary or with diesel power. Stadler has come up with the idea of putting the complete propulsion system into a small power car unit, sandwiched in between the coaches.
The power car unit on the Stadler “Flirt UK” set. Notice that Stadler uses “Jacobs” trucks (bogies) on the train.
This is Siemens Mobility’s new train for The Great Northern Rail Company. These are based on the “Desiro” platform. This is an EMU for catenary service.
A truck close up of the new train. What I find fascinating here is the fact that they are using brake shoes, not disc brakes, on a train built in 2018. I thought that those kind of friction brakes on passenger trains had gone the way of the dodo bird.
Another example of the Siemens “Desiro” platform. This is a Class 707 third rail EMU at the Chiswick (London) station.
Generally I am no friend of the new British trains. I find them cramped, with awful seating and noisy. Often the diesel engines are mounted underfloor and the constant roar on a long trip will drive you batty. But it’s the seating that really bothers me. Take a look at this next photograph:
Who in the world would design this in a brand new train? Why is it so difficult to have the seats line up with the windows?
In this photo it is even worse. The fourth row has no window view at all, not even a bit. The seating on UK trains is getting worse than on airlines. This is the arrangement on the new Great Northern trains:
There is even less seat pitch than on Ryan Air! Compare that to this Swiss train:
But enough about me whinging.
Trams were on view also. Here is a Skoda tram for the German city of Chemnitz:
A new tram for Moscow from Transmashholding / PC TS.
Another Transmashholding / PC TS tram for Sankt Petersburg, Russia.
MTU also showcased their wares. Among other things the company is a major manufacturer of diesel engines for rail applications. The new UK IEP 800 and 802 use MTU power packs. The new Siemens “Vectron” diesel locomotives also use MTU power.
This is the MTU 15M1P series underfloor diesel powerpack designed for hybrid rail car applications. It weighs in at 350 kilograms (772 pounds) and has a maximum charging power of 153 kW. It is EU Stage IIIB emissions compliant.
This MTU diesel is designed for conventional locomotives. This 16 cylinder diesel puts out 2400 kW (3200 hp) and is also EU Stage IIIB emissions compliant. Among others the aforementioned Siemens “Vectron” locomotives use these engines.
A rail coach air conditioning unit.
An automatic coupler manufactured by Miira/CAF.
Plastic cross ties? Yes, indeed, if the STRAIL Company gets its way. They are made from recycled materials and are themselves 100% recyclable. The company claims a minimum life cycle of 50 years and a useable axle load of 30.5 tons.
And who knew that one would need a “Pantobot”? The Camlin Company out of Northern Ireland produces an automated system which detects pantograph anomalies. I suppose on an overhead catenary electrified railroad something like this would make sense:Here is what Camlin says:
Just in case, here is a link to a video by Alstom explaining what a pantograph is: Pantograph: How does it work? And here is a video showing what happens when things go wrong: Ooops!
Never did figure out what the attraction of this “frog” was.
InnoTrans has also now taken an interest in displaying city buses with alternative propulsion systems. I will get into that in another blog.
All photographs, unless otherwise stated, by Brad Wing and Ralf Meier. (Sony a6500, iPhone 7 and iPhone 8)
©Ralf Meier 2018
Please feel free to leave a comment or reply. You do not need to enter your email address or web site.