When the dust settles after the International Railway Fair TRAKO 2021

The 14th edition of the International Railway Fair TRAKO 2021 – Poland’s largest and most prestigious and Europe’s second-largest meeting of the rail transport industry – is behind us. According to the organizer, the event was attended by nearly 23 thousand participants from 39 countries and more than 500 exhibitors from around the world.

New locomotives and technological innovations related to rail transport were displayed in this year edition at the exhibition space. Among others, the first in Europe and the second in the world hydrogen locomotive were presented.

“The TRAKO trade fair is this year’s biggest event for the transport industry in Europe and this was evident in Gdansk. The number of exhibitors and visitors was impressive. Such great interest in the event is certainly due to current trends – the fashion for rail, which is the best, as it is the safest, most environmentally friendly and crisis-proof means of transport. Today another word is associated with railroads – development. It has accompanied numerous rolling stock launches, debates and conferences throughout TRAKO”, said Krzysztof Mamiński, President of PKP S.A. and chairman of the International Union of Railways.

For NGOs and railroad enthusiasts, no less important were the debates held throughout the trade fair. Much needed changes in the railroad market in Poland and Europe, innovative technologies for railroads, solutions that will make the railroads in Poland climate-neutral were discussed.

For us, the most important was certainly the discussion block “Night travel by rail in Europe” on the subject of night trains in Poland and Europe. In the debate, the Civil Affairs Institute president Rafał Górski spoke about the need to support and restore night trains in Poland. He also stressed that it is important for Polish decision-makers to listen to the citizen’s voices. As an example, he gave the result of an opinion poll prepared by Europe on Rail coalition this year demonstrating that the majority of those surveyed supported the transition from air to rail transport.

During the discussion, all interlocutors agreed that for rail to be chosen by passengers, the offer must be attractive in terms of price, and connections must be well coordinated. There was also some criticism regarding the organization of railroad transport in Poland. It was said that it takes only a few days to launch an air connection in Poland, while an average of 180 days is needed to establish a railroad connection.

Besides Rafał Górski, the following participants took part in the discussion block about night trains: Iwona Budych – President of the Association “Transport Exclusion”, Michał Plaza – expert, RegioJet A.S, Marcin Wołek – Councillor of the City of Gdynia, Professor at the University of Gdańsk.

The entire conference on night trains can be viewed on the YouTube channel [ ENG and PL language]:

The 14th International Railway Fair TRAKO 2021 was held on 21-24 September. TRAKO is organised by Gdańsk International Fair SA and PKP Group in AMBEREXPO Exhibition and Congress Centre.

by Łukasz Janeczko
Policy Advisor, Instytut Spraw Obywatelskich

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