Normally the Railtex trade show is in the first hall at the National Exhibition Centre you come to from Birmingham International station, but this time it was so far away I expected a Duke of Edinburgh’s award for walking there. Inside it is unusually quiet – ‘it was dead yesterday, better today’, one exhibitor says. This is the calm after the feeding frenzy of spending like sailors on new trains. Then there is Covid, and with so many people working from home there is no incentive to come here to get an early finish. At least there is no jostling in the aisles and fewer people whose names escape me.


Also scarce are the honey traps and the huge stands common at InnoTrans, but true novelty always comes from the smaller players, not the big ones. While most trade magazines feature whoever pays for advertorial, I have the luxury of picking out products I like, so naturally I’ll start with a seat.

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