TRAKO 2019

“Gdańsk is a good place to do business,” said the exhibitors and visitors who came to AMBEREXPO on 24-27 September for the 13th TRAKO International Railway Fair, edition 2019. Over its 30,000 m2 of exhibition space, 1,000 m of display tracks for rolling stock, track machines and equipment, the presence of nearly 700 exhibitors from 30 countries confirmed the fact that this is Poland’s largest and most prestigious meeting of the rail industry and the second railway show in Europe in terms of size and importance.

TRAKO is a recognised meeting place for rail transport, rail and tram businesses: organisers and operators, technology providers, manufacturers, distributors, central and local authorities, experts, engineers, investors and railway enthusiasts. This is evidenced by the nearly 18,000 Polish and international experts who, over the four TRAKO days, held meetings with rail and tram sector companies and organisations. Many of them participated in the multiple debates and conferences arranged by TRAKO organisers: the MTG SA Gdańsk International Fair Co. and, most of all, the TRAKO Programme Council and PKP Group. Because TRAKO is also a platform for discussions, exchange of experience and pursuit of innovative solutions. At more than 40 events with international attendees, the industry’s most current priority subjects were addressed. The ProKolej Foundation organised an international debate on the Master Plan for Rail Freight. The debate pivoted around a discussion panel on the growth of the cargo markets in Europe and the possibility of enhancing the competitive standing of railways. The event’s guests included representatives of the central and local administration, rail and business organisations, experts on law and market regulation, railway and logistics professionals and the scientific community.

The Office of Rail Transport (UTK) organised a debate on the state of railway safety. The topics included safety on level crossings, new safety measures and actions to help decrease the number of accidents. The debate was preceded by a seminar which presented the state of safety in 2018 and the 1st half of 2019.

TRAKO featured a presentation of the Metropolitan Railway Concept in the Metropolitan Association of Upper Silesia and Dąbrowa Basin (GZM): a presentation of the concept, development directions and opportunities, combined with a debate on regional railways.

“Our Metropolitan Association was established to run large projects. We are starting with the Metropolitan Railway,” said Grzegorz Kwitek, GZM’s Member of the Board.

The debate’s participants agreed that the railway is a key component of the transport system in areas as large as the GZM.

“We carry 17 million passengers annually, with this figure growing continuously. This is why we have to plan for projects with a multi-annual perspective. All the components of the public transport system must be integrated,” emphasised Aleksander Drzewiecki, Koleje Śląskie (Silesian Railways) President of the Board.

Other regions of Poland also focus on the railways, for example in Szczecin, where the Szczecin Metropolitan Railway is to be launched in the coming years.

The debate We change Polish railways, attended by the representatives of Poland’s Ministry of the Infrastructure, PKP Group and the rail industry, was one of the more important events. In view of the significant increase in passenger volumes—by over 10 per cent compared to 2015—and the highest freight volumes in 9 years, Minister of the Infrastructure Andrzej Adamczyk emphasised the importance of discussing both strategic issues and investments in innovation.

The railway initiative package includes seven initiatives aimed at developing the railways: the National Railway Programme (KPK; PLN 75.7 billion), Maintenance Programme (PLN 24 billion), PKP Intercity Rolling Stock Strategy worth PLN 7 billion, PKP SA Railway Station Investment Programme, to be allocated PLN 1.6 billion, Combined Ticket, 4th Railway Package for passenger transport and the Railway Plus (KP) Programme.

The agreement between the Office for Rail Transport (UTK) and the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) is evidence of how strongly this discussion is rooted in reality. This document is a prerequisite to the implementation of the 4th Railway Package, which will come into effect in Poland in June next year. Another proof of real action for railway development was the agreement to co-fund the integrated ticket for Poland’s region of Pomerania. The Centre for European Union Transport Projects allocated PLN 90 million to the InnoBaltica company for a project which will make it possible for passengers on various modes of transport to use a dedicated app. To illustrate the wide range of events which were not so much spectacular as practical, we can quote the fact which shows that PKP PLK is increasing its contracting potential. At TRAKO, their subsidiary Zakład Robót Komunikacyjnych DOM, Poznań, collected a tamping machine from its manufacturer Plasser & Theurer. The state-of-the-art machine for railway line applications will ensure faster work, which entails efficient train running. Newag, in turn, presented a new product on the Polish market: a hybrid train. It can run both as an electric train (powered from the grid by means of a pantograph) and as a diesel train (it can then run on non-electrified lines). A test run for the new product was carried out at TRAKO. The project was kept secret until the very last moment.

TRAKO has become a place for recurring events held by the statutory bodies of many international organisations, including CER and OSZhD. For the first time, a recurring event was held by the members of the European Passengers Federation, a European umbrella organisation which brings together 35 associations committed to increasing the quality of public transport, promoting passenger rights and the intermodal integration of railway, bus and air transport.

TRAKO 2019 expressed the care for the growth of the industry in its youth dimension. The Education and Career day provided an opportunity for the direct exchange of information and employer–employee expectations also in view of choosing university courses, specialisations and PhD programmes. During the Education and Career Day, TRAKO exhibitors presented job, internship and traineeship opportunities, with a fashion show of railway uniforms as an original way to get young people interested in the railway profession.

The extensive product offer showcased at TRAKO 2019 was reflected in the awards granted in TRAKO competitions.
The Ernest Malinowski Award in the Rolling Stock and Separate Parts and Components category went to NEWAG SA for their IMPULS 36WEh multiple unit. The Ernest Malinowski Award in the Rolling Stock IT and Telematics Systems category was won by RAIL-MIL COMPUTERS sp. z o.o. sp. k. for their rmRailProtector 4.0—a family of innovative products from Rail-Mil for the ERTMS/ETCS L1 functionality, while the Ernest Malinowski Award in Rolling Stock Technical and Technological Innovations went to Iris-GmbH infrared&inteligent sensors for their IRMA 6 product. The Józef Nowkuński Award in the Infrastructure and Transport Systems category was presented to BOMBARDIER TRANSPORTATION (ZWUS) POLSKA Sp. z o.o. for EBI SWITCH 700. The winner of the Józef Nowkuński Award in the Technical and Logistics Projects and the IT and Telematics Systems in Infrastructure categories was Łódzka Kolej Aglomeracyjna Sp. z o.o. for their innovative railway and bus transport integration system in the Łódzkie Voivodship.

The PKP Energetyka capital group, which includes the ELESTER-PKP innovative railway sector company and the PKP Energetyka infrastructure company, dominated the opening gala of TRAKO, Poland’s largest railway exhibition. Owing to their partnership, both companies gained recognition in the vast majority of TRAKO competitions. Four awards are the outcome of the technical solutions and innovations from ELESTER-PKP, with the total record-breaking result boosted by PKP Energetyka with two awards in infrastructure management and corporate social responsibility.