A visit to InnoTrans 2016

September 26, 2016

InnoTrans is the biennial international trade fair for transport technology and is held over six days at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds.


In addition to 2,800 exhibitors occupying all the 41 available exhibition halls at the site, there are also extensive outdoor displays at InnoTrans 2016 making use of 3,500 metres of track.


Naturally, as a trade fair, the event showcases the latest in transport technology and provides visitors with the opportunity to see what manufacturers are capable of supplying.  This is where it can get interesting from the view point of passengers.


It can be particularly illuminating to compare the standard and quality of the train interior offered to passengers on some of Europe’s railways with what is, or very soon will be, available to passengers on trains in the United Kingdom.


Clearly it’s important to compare ‘apples with apples’.  A comparison of a train built primarily for short commuter style journeys against one used for lengthy inter-city journeys would be largely meaningless.


But some things should be a given whatever the length of journey, surely?


Such as a comfortable seat and increasingly these days, when passengers are likely to be carrying assorted smart 'phones, tablets, etc, adequate provision of power and USB sockets for device charging.


Nevertheless, my perception on the evidence that I saw at InnoTrans, is that passengers in both first and standard class on European railways get a far far superior ‘in train’ experience.  The seats are more comfortably padded, with generous leg room and are invariably placed in line with the train windows.  Virtually no use is made of longitudinal seating.  The trains have bright interiors and overall provide a more welcoming and comfortable ambience.


It was also interesting to note the parsimonious number of power sockets - with glaringly in my view no separate USB sockets - specified by SouthWest Trains in their newly built Siemens class 707 electric units, compared with what is on offer to passengers in trains specified for Dutch and Swiss train operators built by Stadler. 


I know which I would rather spend time in on a daily commute.


I’ve put a number of separate galleries together with images from InnoTrans which can be accessed from here;




While browsing the various images, do have a close look at the passenger train interiors and decide which you would rather enjoy a journey in.