The year 2019 lies before us with major developments in the railway field ahead. Changes that are marked, especially, by innovation, digital transformation and new user demands. Challenges, all of them, to which the Spanish industry responds with its forthright commitment to R&D and the continuous advance in cutting-edge technological solutions. To help disseminate this innovative commitment, MAFEX has designed an intense activities schedule that will be carried out in the coming months. In the international sphere, it is committed to continue promoting Spanish services and advances in countries with important portfolios of projects such as Australia, the Nordic countries or the USA, amongst others. In addition, MAFEX will organise together with Terrapin, the trade fair / congress Rail Live 2019!, for the second consecutive year, from 6 to 7 March. This unmissable professional platform will be attended by 3,000 attendees from 80 countries, 300 speakers and 150 exhibiting companies. It should also be noted that this year the seventh edition of the International Railway Convention will be held in Malaga, from June 3 to 5, where the participation of representatives from approximately 30 countries and more than 125 senior posts from within the Spanish industry is expected. Presently, we are working on the preparation of an extensive programme of conferences, business meetings and technical visits. Alongside the promotional activities, Mafex will pay special attention this year to issues of trade policy and industry impact, such as Brexit or the financing framework, as well as the negotiations of the EU Trade Agreements with third party countries.
Another key aspect will be innovation. Within this field, the scope of automation, digitisation and the development of innovation throughout the system will be deepened, where the value of cooperation between industries and international support is greater. Aware of the great weight it has within the industry, the association has published the positioning note “Support for railway R&D as a key factor in the sector’s competitive improvement.” In this document, whose key points are shown in this edition, it is recalled that it is necessary for public administrations and government bodies and firms to promote R&D+i programmes and that there must be a clear, stable and lasting State-run investment policy. In the section “Destination” a broad monograph is dedicated to the railway sector in Spain. The country is at the cutting-edge of railway transport and boasts advanced solutions both for high-speed, as well as long and mediumdistance rail services, and also in urban mobility. In the “In-depth” section, the latest trends in urban intermodality are analysed. The transformation of public transport systems, due to the emerging digitisation process, brings with it the constant incorporation of technological advances that seek their full integration. In this era of changes, aspects such as the evolution of the stations towards smart centres and the user experiences take on special relevance and thus shape future mobility. Furthermore, the latest news from 22 member companies forming Mafex that are collected in the section “Partner News” as well as the five articles in the section “Innovation” where our partners unveil their most recent developments and technologies are also noteworthy. We hope that the broad content of this issue is of interest to all readers and serves to provide greater understanding of the current situation in the sector.