10th SIFER exhibition affords a glimpse into rail industry of the future

Staged every two years since 1999, SIFER—the only international rail industry trade show in France provides stakeholders from across all sectors of the industry with a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face, exchange ideas and create new partnerships.


The 10th SIFER exhibition, held from 21 to 23 March 2017, more than lived up to expectations, attracting as it did some 4,900 visitors. Once again, the exhibition set the scene for wide-ranging and productive exchanges on the future of the industry, and for the establishment of strategic contacts and relationships. "SIFER keeps growing.

It is the only international railway exhibition in France, and the visitors it attracts are increasingly knowledgeable and qualified. It also attracts a highly diverse range of exhibitors. Plus, the section of the exhibition devoted to infrastructures is growing", observes Johann Pagès, Communications Manager at ETF.

Among the issues addressed at this year's edition were: predictive maintenance, the modernisation of rail infrastructures, the formation of closer ties with other industrial sectors, in particular the aerospace sector, and of course competition from China and Japan. Today the new focus within the rail industry is on predictive maintenance and the modernisation of rail infrastructures. A direction taken by companies that promises a host of innovations and thousands of jobs. At the opening ceremony, Xavier Bertrand, President of the Hauts-de-France region, expressed his desire to make Hauts-de-France a "Toulouse of the rail industry".

This 10th SIFER exhibition was also the perfect occasion for many companies to showcase innovative projects inspired by best practices in the aerospace, aircraft, automobile, and defence industries. Geolocation, conductive materials, and satellite data are opening up new fields of application in the rail industry.

And these are just some of the technologies and areas of know-how that will be driving the modernisation of the industry and the emergence of innovative solutions that will capture the imagination in the international arena. "At SIFER, we met a number of interesting potential customers. Since Lille is so close to Paris, we were able to meet several clients—even in the aircraft industry—that we would never have met because we are based in Toulouse" , explained a spokesperson for the company Laselec.

SIFER is widely regarded as a key event by both French and international industry stakeholders, a fact borne out by the attendance at this year's event of Dominique Riquet, MEP and Vice-Chair of the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee, and the 26 percent increase in the number of exhibitors, from 24 different countries. Also of note at this year's were an Austrian pavilion, Mornsun Guangzou Science & Technology Co Ltd (China), East Japan Railway Company…

"The SIFER exhibition brings together all of the stakeholders in the rail industry. The companies attending the show are all at the cutting edge of innovation because they have understood that there are strategic benefits to be gained by investing in research and development. For the legislative process, exhibiting these innovations and promoting rail industry stakeholders' know-how is particularly useful. As such, it is important to continue supporting these companies so that they can be more competitive in European and international markets. It is our duty to create a social and regulatory environment that is conducive to their reorganization so that France can continue to compete effectively with Chinese companies, for instance." Dominique Riquet, MEP, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee

What our partners have to say

"This exhibition has generated a certain amount of excitement since it is a showcase for many projects that will serve to promote our know-how worldwide. These include the simultaneous completion of 4 new high-speed destinations, several new inter-city links, in particular within the Normandy region, which is set to become the first French region to qualify as a TOA (Transport Organisation Authority) under the TET scheme. Urban and pre-urban rail transport is a booming market, as evidenced by the "Grand Paris" project, the renewal of the fleet of trains serving the Ile-de-France region, and the RATP's "major projects" programme. Additionally, today the focus is on modernising rail infrastructures instead of simply regenerating them. So the future looks bright! At the same time, it would be a mistake to neglect the fact that major Chinese and Japanese industrial players are starting to enter European markets. And this will give rise to major issues for the European rail industry." Jean-Pierre Audoux, General Manager, FIF

"SIFER is one of the more important exhibitions for the industry. A family reunion of the industry, as it were. For i-Trans and IRT Railenium, this 10th edition was the perfect opportunity to highlight their complementarity. Innovation and research: two drivers that promote employment and competitiveness. Two watchwords that unite our structures. One of the distinctive features of the rail market is that investment and production cycles tend to be long. It is therefore vital for companies to constantly innovate. i-Trans and Railenium provide industrial players with a range of tools designed to facilitate their innovation process and help them achieve a competitive edge. We are lucky to be working in a high-growth market offering many opportunities abroad, and our know-how especially is universally acknowledged. The dynamic exists! It's up to us to capitalise on it!” Yves Ramette, Chairman of i-Trans and IRT Railenium

Among the distinguished visitors at this year's exhibition were: Alstom (France, Belgium and Italy), Siemens (Belgium and France), Infrabel (Belgium), STIB-MIVB (Belgium), SNCB-NMBS (Belgium), Thalys (Belgium), DB Netz (Germany) and DB Cargo (France), B-Logistics (Belgium), VFLI (France), Airbus Safran Launchers (France), Akka Technologies (France), Artelia (France), Bombardier (France and Switzerland), Masteris (France), Bouygues Energies (France), Colas Rail (France), Eiffage (France), Eurotunnel (France and United Kingdom), Network Rail (United Kingdom), Faiveley Transport (France), Keolis (France), Liebherr (France), RATP (France), SNCF and SNCF Réseau (France), Systra (France), Thalès (France) TSO (France), Transdev (France), Liebherr (France and Germany), Russian Railways (Russia), TE Connectivity (France and Germany), Panasonic (Japan and United Kingdom), Chemins de Fer Luxembourgeois (CFL), ArcelorMittal (Luxembourg), Vossloh (France, Germany and Luxembourg), ONCF, Casa Tram (Morocco), Volker Rail (The Netherlands), Central Japan Railway Company (United Kingdom)… Plus stakeholders from Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, The Republic of Korea, China, Tunisia, and Turkey.