The ultra-modern rail coaches on display at the four-day InnoTrans 2012 are a treat to watch. The biannual exhibition was inaugurated here on Tuesday.
The fair provides a platform for rail transport traders to learn from each other about various aspects, including the latest developments. The exhibition brought together engineers, manufacturers and company heads, who presented their novel products, new technology in manufacturing, innovations in designing coaches and engines, assemblies and accessories for trains. The idea was to make more people take to train travel.
Used as we are to minimal comfort in trains in India, the exhibition was a revelation. Every country that manufactures coaches (rail cars) is vying for a share in the international market. If large players like Alstom, Bombardier and Siemens are making their pitch, companies from smaller countries such as Ukraine and Romania are showcasing the revolution in designing train bathrooms and tramcars.
Modular toilets and novel use of vestibular space had visitors thronging the coaches and engine rooms. Automatic ticket validation machines, boarding assistance for those with restricted mobility and wheelchair users, insulation against noise, crash-resistant driver’s cabin, and eco-friendly trains all there for one to cherish the visit.
A Ukrainian company has designed the vestibule and toilets for various categories such as VIP, first-class, second and third-class coaches. The toilets would include a shower cubicle too, if the client sought one.
Companies have designed insulation to reduce noise in train cars. The designers have relied on creating lightweight coaches, using newer materials like fibreglass and leather for seat upholstery.
Dedicated shelves for books and newspapers, dustbins, attractive seating arrangements, high-speed double-decker trains, and compact engines are some of the attractions at the exhibition. Among the innovations is positioning the engine and the transmission beneath the vehicle floor.
The exhibition includes conferences where companies present their products.
On Wednesday, Bombardier Transportation signed an agreement with Electro-Motive Diesel Inc., USA, to manufacture diesel engines, which will be supplied to Southeast Asia and Pacific regions. The company has a significant presence in India, but is looking to exports to Australia. Train cars are manufactured at its assembly plant in Maneja and Savli near Vadodara in Gujarat.
The company had unveiled its high-speed train ZEFIRO and TRAXX locomotive, which would reduce fuel consumption and maintenance cost appreciably, said its Chief Operating Officer, André Navarri.
The company would supply rail cars to Delhi Metro’s second phase, and is also working with the Delhi and the Kerala governments on their monorail projects, said its Managing Director Benoit Cattin-Martel. In Chennai, the company participated in a meeting on Tuesday to chalk out a programme for the Tamil Nadu government’s monorail project. It had presented its Request for Proposal, said the company’s India director, Harsh Dhingra.
Given its long-term presence in the country, Bombardier Transportation is looking to playing a larger role in developing public transport in the country.
“India has identified 30 cities for developing metro train services. With the Delhi government planning to develop feeder lines using monorail, and with land acquisition being a remote possibility, we believe we can get a slice of the pie,” Mr. Dhingra told reporters on Wednesday.