Warwickshire welcomes one of first major trade shows after lockdown
Long Marston played host to several thousand guests and exhibitors as the rail technology show Rail Live 2021 returned after a year's absence.
This year the event took place entirely outside and organisers Bauer Media had put in train a well thought out ‘Attend with Confidence’ COVID 19 secure regime. Guidance and FAQs were clearly laid out on the website for those attending, and hand sanitiser was available on arrival and distancing encouraged throughout.
The final figures are yet to be announced, but the event was well supported, with more than 2,000 visitors registered before the event opened and over 170 exhibitors registered. In a normal year, the event would attract 6,000 to this unique site, the Quinton Rail Technology Centre (QRTC), a few miles outside the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, a former military storage base which is now home to a rail storage, test and development site.
Invest in Coventry & Warwickshire joined up with the Department for International Trade to exhibit at the event as ‘Invest in Midlands Rail'. They provided information to businesses looking to find out more about setting up in Warwickshire and the wider Midlands, and signposted them to relevant business support for export, skills, rail networks and programmes and access to finance where appropriate.
This event marks the end of the tenure of the current management of the site under Motorail. Later this month the lease will pass to rail technology company Porterbrook, who have taken a 15 year lease and plan to build on the work over the years of Motorail to retain and develop the site for rail uses, Rail Live being a very good example of this. The event has grown over the years to become for rail what the Farnborough Airshow is for aerospace.
Another organisation to develop out of QRTC and the team at Motorail is the Rail Alliance, a b2b networking organisation for rail businesses. Rail Alliance is now part of University of Birmingham BCRRE (Birmingham Centre for Rail Research and Education), the largest rail department of any university in Europe.
If you are an SME and are either in the rail industry, or would like to get into the rail supply chain, support is available for Coventry & Warwickshire businesses from the Rail Alliance business support programme known as Digi-Rail. Support can include access to world-class technical expertise, demonstration infrastructure, seminars and workshops, access to technology providers and rail industry buyers, bespoke/1:1 consultations and diagnostic activities. Support given on DIGI-RAIL is a minimum of two days and will be at no cost to the company. For more details, please visit https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/partners/sme-support/business-support-programmes/digi-rail/index.aspx
Rail Live returns in June 2022 at Long Marston, and those wishing to take part can register their interest online at https://www.raillive.org.uk/