More visitors than ever attended this year’s RVE (Rail Vehicles and Enhancements) exhibition which was held recently in Derby.
An annual one-day exhibition for the rolling-stock supply industry, RVE has been steadily growing in size over the last few years.
For 2017, RVE moved to Derby Arena, the purpose-built velodrome that was opened in 2015. The track’s infield easily gave room for the 88 exhibitor stands, with space for more as the event expands further in future years.
Opened by Derby mayor councillor John Whitby, more than 1,100 visitors attended this year, up from under 700 in 2016. They were drawn to the event by the chance to see suppliers who don’t normally appear at the more ‘general’ railway exhibitions.
The range of products and services on show was staggering. Everything from lighting to lubricants, connectors to couplers, and testing services to communications systems were there to be looked at, picked up and enquired about.
All of the stands had experts on hand to answer those questions, and many of the visitors took all day to go around all of the exhibits. Malcolm Dobell, former head of rolling stock for London Underground and now a writer for sister magazine Rail Engineer, was one of them.
‘There are so many interesting things here,’ he said. Highlights for him? A demonstration of self locking nuts showing how some types come loose when others don’t, and a hand-held bolt tightening system that can ‘apply 500Nm of torque without taking your arm off!’
In addition to the serried rows of stands, there were other activities to keep visitors occupied. At one end of the hall, an amphitheatre-style conference area, hosted by industry observer Ian Walmsley, featured speakers on such diverse subjects as communications networks, electromagnetic compatibility risk management, train refurbishment, well-managed supply chains and innovation.
The Department for International Trade staged a meet-the-buyer event that was extremely popular. Fully booked weeks in advance, UK suppliers could sit down with buyers from Alstom, Eurostar, Hitachi, MTR Tech (Sweden), SBB (Swiss national railways), Siemens, ÖBB (Austrian state railways) and CAF (Spain). 114 companies successfully registered to meet these buyers, and so many more applied that ‘we had to beat them off with a stick’, as show organiser Kevin Lane eloquently put it.
All-in-all it was a great show. Plans are already afoot for next year, and there is space for another 20 stands or so, so it should be another good one. Watch out for it.