, , , ,


Suitably rested after a good night’s sleep here in Birmingham I’m ready for day 2 of Infrarail. As there’s not so many keynote speakers today the pace should be a little more relaxed, which will give me time to blog through the event and also get to listen to some of the seminars. One I’m particularly interested in is a bit niche (hey, I’m at a rail event, isn’t it all ‘niche’?) as it’s about composite masts for greener electrification projects, given by Noel Dolphin of Furrer+Frey. The railways have picked up the ‘green’ ball and are running with it. Already the greenest form of land travel, rail is determined to stay that way, so is constantly looking at ways of doing so. Of course, electrification’s a big part of that and it’s the area where the UK (thanks to Government policies) lags way behind Europe. We have the lowest electrified route miles, so anything that will help keep costs down and aid decarbonisation is of value.

Right, I’d better finish packing my kit and head off to the NEC. I’ll update this blog en-route…


Much as I like Birmingham I have to admit the walk from my hotel to the station was rather depressin due to the sheer amount of rubbish and litter I encountered en-route. The area by the car parks adjacent to the O2 arena is an utter shit-tip. Presumably a lot of it is discarded by people queuing to get into the venue like the ones I passed last night. Civic pride seems to be a thing of the past.

I’m now on Avanti West Coast’s 08:30 to Euston which will take me back to the NEC. New St station was busy, but it’s clear the recovery us still in progress. My train’s busy but there was no problem finding a seat in the rear of the set.

As we pulled out of Birmingham we passed the huge HS2 construction site at Curzon St, the site of the line’s cuty terminus. Work’s really progressed since my last visit so if I have time when I finish today I’ll pop by to get a few shots. Besides, the weather’s far too good to stay cooped up inside for longer than I have to!


I’ve finally had chance to stop and sit down for five minutes and blog. So much for thinking today would be quiet, Infrarail’s been far busier today than yesterday. There’s a lot more visitors so I’m glad I arrived early and gad chance to check out some of the stands before they became busy. There’s some interesting stuff to be seen. I could do with one of these for a start. It’s an exoskeleton that’s designed to take the strain off older workers! Sadly, it won’t work with the camera bag…


The end of another busy day, far busier than I expected but then not only were the crowds greater but I ended up covering three separate seminar stands. Not that I’m complaining as I got to hear some really interesting discussions as well as amass a huge amount of library shots and network with lots of people that I haven’t seen for ages. I’m not going to blog at length about the day, instead I’ll add a few more pictures and hope that tomorrow I can pause for breath long enough to give an overview of the show. What was great about the end of day 2 was the fact their were two drinks receptions. One on the RailBusinessDaily stand which promoted the activities of the Railway Children charity and another on the Alstom stand. Both allowed us to talk about more than just the day jobs and relax a bit more.

Network Rail allowed a lot of apprentices to attend the event. Here’s on of a cohort competing to see just how much weight (and bottles of water) he can balance on the sandcastle he’s made. A fun game with a serious message…

One of today’s important guests and keynote speaker was Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP, the Shadow Transport Minister, who spent a lot of time afterwards touring the event and talking to companies involved in the railway supply chain. Here he is delivering his keynote address.

I’ll try and add a few more pictures tomorrow if I get a break at the event. That said, I have to leave just after lunchtime in order to make my way to Crewe to join the rest of the volunteers working the Railway Children’s ‘3 Peaks by Rail’ marathon fundraiser. No doubt I’ll be blogging from the trip as long as the phone reception holds. If not, you’ll be able to read all about it in some rail publications soon….

I’ve a favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this blog, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course (although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab!), but the revenue from them helps to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site – and right now (because of Covid), us freelances appreciate all the help that we can get to aid us in bouncing back from lockdowns. Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Thank you!