Infrarail 2005 Review
24 September 2005 - thanks to Nick Powell for this article
Infrarail was held at G-Mex in Manchester again this year.
However changes in the industry, with Network Rail having taken all infrastructure maintenance "in house" since last time, have altered the perceived benefit of attendance for a lot of companies, whose absence was very noticeable. There was no presence from the big OTM manufacturers, Plasser, Matisa or Kirow, and of the OTM users only GrantRail was represented.
In previous years, the space outside the Central Hall has been used to display larger items, this year the outside space was in use as a smoking room, with smoking in the hall itself banned this year.
Whilst there were over 200 exhibitors on site, most had only small stands, with their wares displayed only in photo or video form. Only 2 of the major plant hirers had stands; WA Developments' centred on their contracting business, whilst Hydrex's centrepiece this year was a motor cycle in their house colours, with their Rail Services Director quipping that this was the future of the rail plant business!
Only 3 companies had brought vehicles with them this year. LH Plant fielded a new Unimog with access platform, Rexquote their new Volvo-derived Mega-Railer, and Philmor had a JCB 250 on display. Sadly none were really well-placed for photos. Geismar had a fairly large stand, but were concentrating on hand tools and measuring equipment, neither of which hold much interest for OTM types.
According to the MackBrooks stand, there will be no UK exhibition next year (Expo '06 will be in Turin), hopefully that will encourage more participants at Railtex '07, venue and date to be announced.
For equipment "metalheads" this was a very disappointing show. But as always, for me anyway, it was an opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues I hadn't seen for ages!