International Railway Summit 2016, a unique three-day event that brought together rail operators, infrastructure owners, national and local governments and expert suppliers of products and services, concluded in Vienna on 19 February after a full timetable of discussion, debate, technical visits, and opportunities to network and share knowledge.

The summit was attended by 97 delegates representing 65 companies and organisations from 18 countries. Delegates attended conference sessions, which featured keynote speeches, presentations and technical reviews, and participated in over 130 one-to-one meetings with potential business partners.

Through the technical visits, delegates were given a presentation on Vienna’s new central station (Hauptbahnhof) in the 23rd floor Skylobby of ÖBB headquarters, a guided tour of ÖBB’s new service centre in Matzleinsdorf, and a demonstration by offsite dinner sponsor Linsinger of their high performance rail milling train.

During the two-day conference speakers from around the world engaged in several lively debates and offered insights into a wide variety of rail industry topics including the future or rail transport, big data, urban rail developments, procurement and the European Union’s Fourth Railway Package

The first session discussed whether rail is on the right track and the opening speaker, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General of the International Union of Railways (UIC), said he wants rail to become the backbone of the transport system, and explained the great potential for rail. Alain Flausch, Secretary General of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), highlighted the rapid expansion of metros and light rail systems around the world which are sorely needed to help reduce worsening urban congestion.

The session on the Fourth Railway Package was opened by Josef Doppelbauer, Executive Director of the European Railway Agency (ERA), who announced details of the timetable for the launch of the package’s technical pillar which is designed to streamline the certification of rolling stock and reduce costs for the rail industry.

Evening functions were also an integral part of the summit. A speech by Christian Kern, CEO of the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) and Chairman of the Community of European Railways (CER), welcomed delegates to Vienna as part of a reception dinner on the summit’s opening evening on 17 February. The following evening, 18 February, delegates enjoyed a modern Austrian meal at Labstelle restaurant in Vienna’s city centre.

The summit, which took place at the five-star Palais Hansen Kempinski hotel in Vienna, was co-hosted by International Railway Journal and IRITS Events and was sponsored by 18 companies, including the Headline Sponsor, Supeo.

International Railway Summit 2017 will take place in Paris on 15-17 February 2017 and, for the first time on the Asian continent, in Kuala Lumpur on 15-17 November 2017. Organisations interested in learning more about International Railway Summit 2017 and about how they can participate in the event can visit http://www.irits.org or contact the organisers, International Railway Journal and IRITS Events