On track to huge potential

September 26, 2016

Railway companies from around the globe gathered in Berlin to showcase innovation and product development from across their networks. Julie Baxter joined those in the halls focused on catering and comfort services.

As rail specialists’ exhibition, InnoTrans, opened its doors this year it was breaking all records as the largest and most widely attended yet. And when they say large, they’re not kidding! This year its size broke records in every area with 2,950 exhibitors from 60 countries occupying every single space on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds and set over three massive floors. Some 200 of these companies were exhibiting for the first time including representatives from six new countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam.

Onboard Hospitality was making its first visit to the show, which is held in Berlin every two years, and has now been held 11 times. At first glance, the passenger experience seemed somewhat overlooked in the 25 plus exhibition halls on three floors, and certainly those in the tunnel construction and public transit halls seemed to be talking another language!

Outside 123 of the latest-generation rail vehicles were wowing the crowds visiting the outdoor display, and Innotrans is clearly an innovative force in the global rail industry with more than 130,000 trade visitors from all parts of the world attending over the four days.

Relatively new to the mix is a Travel Catering and Comfort Services element to the show where a growing number of onboard ‘pioneers’ were making their presence known. LSG Group had an eye-catching retro-style catering wagon, dishing up delights and showing just what its chefs can create in confined spaces; while Newrest had a strong presence building on rail contracts it already serves across Europe – now representing around 23% of its catering business. GLS Catering Services showcased a new range of Sonatural juices and its Snack brand, which all have halal certification.

New this year was Kaelis which already supplies tableware to three European rail operators and is looking for growth in this sector. Fernanda Veiga, corporate marketing manager, said: “This show is vast and just shows the huge potential of the sector globally. More and more rail operators are beginning to focus more closely on the passenger experience and looking at just how best to meet demand for catering and comfort at a high level.”

Other exhibitors clearly keen to build business across rail and aviation included bb-inflight, italcarrelli, Damino, Ibena, Rex-Royal, Rona, Szic, Squitos, Kelox and Calasseq.