New hydrogen-powered train part of InnoTrans exhibits

Exhibits and exhibitors to break a record at world's largest trade show for railroads
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Alstom will debut this hydrogen-powered, zero-emission train, along with details about its operation, on Tuesday. The train is one of hundreds of exhibits at InnoTrans the bi-annual railroad conference and trade show held in Berlin, Germany, the world's largest rail trade show.
TRAINS: David Lassen
Preparations continue Monday for equipment displays at InnoTrans 2106 in Berlin. Almost 3,000 exhibitors will participate in the show, running Tuesday through Thursday.
TRAINS: David Lassen
BERLIN — A record number of companies and nations will be represented Tuesday when InnoTrans, the world’s largest rail trade show, opens at the Messe Berlin exhibition grounds in the German capital.

About 140 products will make their world premieres, including the first hydrogen-powered train, to be introduced by French manufacturer Alstom. Reporters were able to see the train during a Monday media tour, but Alstom declined to provide details on the zero-emissions train ahead of its official unveiling. Alstom officials say the train is built for local passenger service.

Advances in computerization and automation of the rail industry are a clear theme of this year’s event. During Monday’s media tour, the exhibitors visited included one using enhanced-reality glasses to aid in maintenance, and two (including U.S. exhibitor GE Transportation) touting management systems that increase fuel efficiency and improve maintenance, including the ability to predict and prevent breakdowns. And China’s CRRC, the largest rail manufacturer in the world, is promoting intelligent trains that can automatically recognize their operators and passengers, and allow passengers to do everything from ordering on-board meals to end-of-trip taxis and hotel rooms from their seats.

A total of 2,950 exhibitors have the exhibition grounds filled to capacity, Messe Berlin CEO Christian Göke said during a Monday news conference. Those exhibitors will fill more than 1.2 million square feet of exhibition space — also a record, thanks to facility expansion — as well as more than two miles of tracks available for equipment displays. The exhibitors come from 62 countries, including first-time participants from Egypt, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Vietnam. In all, more than 200 exhibitors are making their InnoTrans debut, and about 130,000 visitors are expected to attend.

While the show is understandably Eurocentric, given its location, many of the issues discussed during the opening press conference would be familiar at any North American gathering of rail executives. Ben Möbius, managing director of the German Railway Industry Association, says that the increasing globalization of the rail industry implies that governments must allow access to all markets, including many in Asia that are mostly closed to outside competition. Martin Henke, managing director of the Association of German Transport Companies, says rail companies need to continue to strive for advances in driverless technology to compete with road transport; seek to run longer trains to increase efficiency; and need more government support, especially at the national government level.

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