InnoTrans the driving force of the rail sector again in 2018

  • Attendance exceeds 160,000
  • Exhibitors and trade visitors very satisfied
  • Open Days attract some 12,000 visitors
  • Exhibitors’ comments


Berlin, 24 September 2018 – Railways are booming, as shown by a successful balance sheet at the end of InnoTrans 2018. The leading international trade fair for transport technology, a four-day event, closed on 21 September, leaving behind very satisfied exhibitors and trade visitors. All available space was occupied on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds, where 3,062 exhibitors from 61 countries presented the entire range of products and services for the mobility sector. These included more than 400 innovations, 155 world premieres and no fewer than 155 vehicles. Alternative propulsion systems, battery and fuel-cell powered trains and electric buses for urban use were among the main themes of this trade fair.

During the trade visitor days 161,157 international guests came to Germany’s capital in search of information about the extensive range being offered by the industry. Of this total 153,421 were trade visitors, from 149 countries. The public were invited to attend on the weekend, when some 12,000 of them were drawn to the rail tracks and outdoor display area at InnoTrans.


As a cross-border event InnoTrans connects markets

Once again this year InnoTrans emphatically confirmed its reputation as an international business hotspot and economic power house for the industry. Rafael Santana, president and CEO of GE Transportation, for example, reported signing a contract with the railway company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) to supply 300 shunting locomotives to that country. Siemens Mobility and Deutsche Bahn are planning to work together in order to implement some new ideas about rail travel. A corresponding agreement was signed during InnoTrans 2018 by Sabrina Soussan, CEO of Siemens Mobility, Sabine Jeschke, DB board member for Digitalisation and Technology, and Jörg Sandvoss, board member of DB Regio AG.

Germany and China’s rail industries are also looking to work together closely in the field of urban trail transport. Volker Schenk, president of the German Railway Industry Association (VDB), and Zhou Xiaoqin, executive vice president of the China Association of Metros, signed a declaration of intent on “Sino-German cooperation in urban rail transport“. It encompasses coordinating the planning, construction and standardisation of rail transport vehicles in metropolitan regions.

Positive results ensure a positive mood among exhibitors

According to a representative survey, exhibitors and trade visitors gave a positive assessment of InnoTrans throughout. Around 90 per cent of trade visitors were highly satisfied with the business results of their visit and would recommend the trade fair to others. One in two trade visitors occupied a senior position in their company. 56.4 per cent of trade visitors came from abroad. The trade fair attracted especially keen interest among trade visitors from Southern, Eastern and Central Asia, which attracted around 20 per cent of visitors.


90 per cent of exhibitors expected follow-up business to be good and said they would be back for the next InnoTrans. Over 80 per cent said they would recommend the trade fair to others. The large volume of business reported by exhibitors corresponded with the information provided by trade visitors.

Improved passenger comfort, more innovations for the industry

Numerous exhibitors made use of the rail tracks and outdoor display area at InnoTrans as a high profile stage for products making their world debut. There was a lot of interest in the new Series 484 light rail trains for Berlin’s S-Bahn, which are due to commence scheduled services in 2021. The rolling stock is being manufactured by a consortium formed by Siemens and Stadler. Among the main features of these S-Bahn trains are air-conditioning, an up-to-date passenger information system and more space for baby buggies and bicycles. Another exhibit that was very popular with the public was the DB Regio concept train. In addition to a keep-fit cabin, a power napping area and swivelling panorama seats, this life size mock-up also included a children’s play corner.

The first day of the trade fair saw the symbolic handover of the key for the first of the new generation of Unimogs with a twin cab and conversion to road-rail operation, ordered by Magdeburger Verkehrsbetriebe GmbH & Co. KG (MVB). The Voith Rail Engine being exhibited by Voith and Liebherr is a new power unit for the rail industry. This high performance, low emissions engine for rail vehicles is the result of a joint venture between these two leading technology companies.


Bus Display features bus transport of the future

The new Trollino 12 from Solaris made its debut at the Bus Display, and its outstanding characteristics include a very quiet, eco-friendly propulsion system. First introduced in 2016, the Bus Display has become a very popular addition to the trade fair. While ten electric buses made their rounds of the Summer Garden, the newly launched International Bus Forum featured lively discussions by the panel about electric buses and their viability for public transport use.

InnoTrans Convention – High quality forum for decision-makers

The InnoTrans Convention, aimed specifically at decision-makers, is becoming an increasingly important part of the leading international trade fair for transport technology. For example, at the Design Forum experts reported on ways of reconciling contemporary design with efforts to improve the working life of vehicles. Deutsche Bahn presented the relaunch of the DB Lounge at the new Onboard Hospitality Forum. Customer satisfaction with this new concept has increased from 69 to 87 per cent. At the Dialogue Forum representatives of science and practice agreed that the current political and economic conditions for the digitalisation of rail services are exceptionally good.

HackTrain Hackathon presents the innovation potential for the industry

At the four-day HackTrain Hackathon, making its debut at the trade fair this year, the 80 or so developers who took part were able to demonstrate how the rail industry could be revolutionised by smart IT solutions. The first prize was awarded to the three-person team “Veggie on Rails” which, according to the judges, “showed an excellent understanding of the client’s needs” in coming up with the best solution to the task presented to them by the UK’s NetworkRail – What is the best way of monitoring trackside vegetation at risk from the weather? In a highly cost-effective way this concept analysed existing video recordings and combined them with GPS data and a way of classifying the growth of particular types of vegetation. The prize for each member of the team was a travel voucher with a value of 600 pounds sterling (670 euros). In second place was the team “ELB – Efficiency Less Bureaucracy”, whose concept used a voice recognition system to assist engineers in their search for information. “Safety_Eye” came third with an alarm system comprising acoustic, visual and wearable signals to provide track workers with better protection.


Trying out the seats in the new S-Bahn – keen interest during the Open Days

Although the weather was changeable, during the weekend when the general public were admitted, some 12,000 of them came to view the 155 vehicles and rolling stock on the rail track and outdoor display area. These included the Avelia HorizonTM double-decker, high-speed train from Alstom, a shunting locomotive with a hybrid propulsion unit from CRRC Corporation Limited in China, and the four-axle DE 18 locomotive from Vossloh Locomotives. Visitors were particularly interested in the Berlin S-Bahn (light rail) train from Siemens/Stadler. Another very popular exhibit was the DB Regio concept train.

Comments by exhibitors on InnoTrans 2018

Dr. Ben Möbius, Chief Executive, German Railway Association (VDB):
Battery and hydrogen-powered drivetrains, digitalisation, cybersecurity – the future of mobility is ready to go now. This leading international trade fair gave a fascinating demonstration of the innovative capabilities of our industry. Around the world we are pushing the limits of what can be achieved in terms of protecting our climate and offering quality to the customer. I believe InnoTrans 2018 showed that the rail industry stands for a high degree of common sense – and increasingly for fun.

Philippe Citroën, Director General, Association of the European Rail Industry (UNIFE):
With every edition InnoTrans proves itself to be the most attractive exhibition for the rail industry in the world and the place to be for rail professionals. UNIFE took again the opportunity to present the results of the 7th edition of the World Rail Market Study, to reinforce the cooperation with the other European and international stakeholders, as well as to address key issues for the European Rail Supply Industry such as the implementation of the 4th Railway Package, ERTMS, competitiveness, digitalization, research and innovation, and quality (IRIS Certification™). Even though this edition just finished I am already looking forward to the next one in 2020, which will for sure surpass the records established by the 2018 edition.

Chad Edison, Deputy Secretary for Transportation, California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA):
“In California, like in many other countries, we have the vision to achieve a rapid transportation system of high quality and use a renewable energy system that reduces our footprint on the world. Rail is a big opportunity for doing that. Many cutting edge investments in rolling stock and batteries, and in new approaches to managing rail systems, are on display at the InnoTrans fair in a very concentrated form. The fair offers us a broad overview and the opportunity to be informed about many new developments in a short period of time. At InnoTrans we are having a chance to interact with people who are developing stunning technological and transportation solutions all around the world, getting in contact with them and calling attention to the business opportunities in the United States.”

Dr. Michael Holzapfel, Head of the Business Division, Rail Industry Europe, Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG:

The rail industry is in a state of transition, and Schaeffler is actively involved in shaping the mobility of the future. This was also evident to us this year at InnoTrans from the upsurge in the interest shown by visitors, particularly in our services and servicing concepts. Once again InnoTrans provided an outstanding platform for discussions with customers and business associates, which were a renewed success in 2018. We were able to set the seal on two forward-looking joint ventures in the field of digitalisation.

Holger Doth, Division Manager, Road-Rail Vehicles, Daimler AG Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks:
The international renown of InnoTrans makes it an industry event of superlatives. We were able to establish new contacts and strengthen existing links at home and abroad. We drew very positive conclusions at the end of the fair. Our guests were clearly impressed by the diversity and performance characteristics of the Unimog. In the dual road-rail mode it is steadily gaining importance as a flexible and economical utility vehicle for shunting work or for infrastructural maintenance.

Laurent Troger, President, Bombardier Transportation:
At this year’s InnoTrans, we launched our new corporate positioning and design under the slogan: “Together we move”. As a strategic partner to more than 200 cities across the globe, InnoTrans represents a unique opportunity for us to discuss with customers and decision-makers about the mobility challenges they are facing and to discuss our state-of-the art solutions, which help cities grow and their economies develop.

Dr. Richard Lutz, CEO, Deutsche Bahn AG:
The high level of international interest in InnoTrans clearly showed that rail transport plays a key role in creating sustainable forms of mobility in our society. With our participation in the fair we showed that new technology can take rail transport to a higher level. With our new Digital Rail Germany programme Deutsche Bahn will increase capacity for rail transport and increase reliability.

Peter Jenelten, Executive Vice President, Marketing & Sales, Stadler Rail Group:

When InnoTrans is set as the deadline, with the words ’ This train has to be ready in time for InnoTrans’, then there is no going back. It has to be done.

Andreas Busemann, Chairman of the Board, Vossloh AG:
Once again InnoTrans provided the venue for highly promising, in-depth discussions about innovative technologies that showed the way forward in the railway sector. At Vossloh the possibilities offered by digitalisation are the key to attaining much higher levels in the efficient use and maintenance of high investment railway infrastructure. It seems to me that our customers and trade visitors are keen to discuss these issues with us because they realise that we are well informed about the physical aspects of rail track. In addition to choosing the right topics we have also struck a chord with our customers with our innovative products.

Sabrina Soussan and Michael Peter, CEOs, Siemens Mobility GmbH:
InnoTrans 2018 went extremely well for us. We spoke with many customers about joint projects, which both confirmed our efforts and inspired us, and there was keen interest in our products. The main focus was on the digital transformation, which with our technology enables operators around the world to make trains and infrastructures intelligent, to generate long-term added value over the entire life cycle, improve passenger comfort and guarantee availability.

Dr.-Ing. Roland Leucker, Managing Director, Research Association for Tunnels and Transportation (STUVA):
Once again, this year’s InnoTrans has shown what an important role tunnel construction plays in railway infrastructure. This was well illustrated by the keen response to the STUVA Tunnel Forum.

Klaus Deller, Chairman of the Board, Knorr-Bremse AG:

For Knorr Bremse the InnoTrans 2018 was dominated by the major trends of our time, i.e. urbanisation, digitalisation and eco-efficiency. For us the fair is the ideal platform for meeting with our customers around the world, and for discussing concrete solutions to the electrification and connectivity of systems in the railway industry. Our agenda focussed on sustainability and technology, and in this respect it was very much in line with the interests of visitors. This was demonstrated using two projects as examples: During InnoTrans our subsidiary Kiepe Electric signed a contract with Deutsche Bahn to investigate CO2 –based air conditioning systems. Knorr-Bremse also invited Düsseldorfer Rheinbahn to be our guest and this company is among the first transport companies anywhere in the world to implement the digital platform iCOM from Knorr-Bremse. iCOM is a central data hub that monitors the condition of rail vehicles and helps operators to introduce predictive and more cost-effective maintenance.

Dr. Heike van Hoorn, Managing Director, German Transport Forum (DVF):
This year we at the DVF were again very successfully represented at InnoTrans with our Dialogue Forum. The subject of “New mobility services plus bus and rail – How is digitalisation altering public transport?” attracted more than 200 people to the Palais am Funkturm. This success was due to some extent to the high quality of our panel, but of course also to the experts who attended. There is no better opportunity that that presented by InnoTrans for focusing on such topics and for meeting the right audiences.

Jürgen Fenske, President, Association of German Transport Companies (VDV):
This year, with more than 3,000 exhibitors and a wealth of rail technology innovations, InnoTrans, the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Transport Technology, showed that public bus and train services are becoming more and more important. In Germany more than ten billion customers make use of local public transport every year. Political decision-makers, who also attended InnoTrans in large numbers, have generally accepted the pivotal role of public transport in protecting our climate and maintaining clean air. The fair showed us once again that passenger and rail freight services stand for modern and sustainable forms of transport that can continue to grow providing political decision-makers target innovative and environmentally friendly transport throughout.

Olaf Zinne, Managing Director of the Electric Traction Systems and Vehicles Division and the Contact and Overhead Line Construction Division, German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI):
Besides alternative powertrains the main topic at InnoTrans 2018 was the digital transformation. Where driverless vehicles and pre-emptive maintenance were concerned, German companies were able to demonstrate their innovative capabilities, with technology spearheaded by the electrical engineering industry. InnoTrans impressively confirmed its role as the leading trade fair for this sector.

Marcin Napierała, Internal Communications Manager, Solaris Bus & Coach S.A.:
Solaris has now successfully completed its sixth InnoTrans. With an ever-increasing focus on all aspects of electro-mobility, this Berlin trade fair is the perfect meeting place for customers and suppliers. This year Solaris presented two vehicles at the Bus Display in the sunny Summer Garden. An electric bus from the Urbino range and, making its world debut, a Solaris Trollino 12 trolleybus. Both of these vehicles and the company stand at the CityCube attracted enormous interest, which is a good yardstick for a successful trade fair.

Claus-Peter Spille, Divisional Director for Air Suspension and Air Damping Systems, Continental:
As a one stop shop for innovative solutions we meet the trends and the main contributory factors such as fire protection, reduced noise emissions and applications for digital interconnectedness. In this respect InnoTrans provided us with an outstanding platform for presenting our latest developments and projects to our customers at home and abroad.

Dr. Christoph Hoppe, CEO, Thales Deutschland:

InnoTrans 2018 proved once again that it is the leading trade fair for transport technology. As a key player, Thales was able to meet its customers from Germany and abroad, welcome political stakeholders and hold a lot of good talks. Our topic was ”Leading Digital Mobility”. We were able to show Berlin audiences what we have in mind for the future of safe transport. We were able to demonstrate how our technology helps to make the world that little bit safer. We combine traditional products with innovative new technology to support our customers’ bold ambitions, be it in the field of driverless operations, IoT and connectivity, artificial intelligence, big data or cybersecurity. Every year, eight billion train passengers benefit from technology by Thales, of which we are very proud.