For those who haven't heard of Infrarail before, it is an exhibition which is held every 2 years which brings together leading railway infrastructure companies from across the world. Attracting upwards of 5000 industry professionals it is the "UK's definitive rail infrastructure event".
One of the first exhibits that caught my eye was that of Aerialtronics who are exhibiting a range of remotely piloted aircraft (or drones). As an engineering photographer and blogger this was bound to catch my attention.
These aircraft are becoming more commonplace and an important tool for inspecting sites. Most people would have seen by now some of the stunning footage Network Rail have published using drones.
Another exhibit of interest was that of the joint venture between Tarmac and Max Bogl. They were exhibiting a slab track system that is aimed squarely at HS2. They envisage that the entire line from London to Birmingham and beyond could be constructed using their slab track system.
I'll be covering this system in more detail in a future blog.
I also had time to catch the latest Crossrail update presented by Director of Operations Howard Smith. With tunnelling complete the emphasis of the project has moved to station fit out, installation of track and systems.
The fit out of the underground stations is now well underway and work has started to improve or build new stations on the western section of the line above ground.
The specialist concreting train that was last used to build the track bed for HS1 is now advancing though the new cross city tunnels. Sections of track under Barbican and Soho are using floating track due to the sensitive nature of the buildings above.
Work on the floating track system has been advancing for some time given the complex nature of the task.
Cossrail is another subject I will be covering in more detail soon.
One of the largest stands at this years event belonged Chinese train manufacturer CRRC Corporation. Rolling stock manufacturers usually exhibit at Railtex which is held on alternate years to Infrarail, however CRRC are clearly keen to enter into the UK market and are pitching high speed trains aimed at HS2 and a conventional EMU model which could also be sold in the UK.
To date CRRC hasn't managed to win any UK rolling stock contracts, however with ongoing electrification and HS2 going ahead there are certainly plenty contracts for them to bid for in the pipeline.