New edition of Rail Live! Madrid 31st March – 2nd April 2020


As the importance of positioning rail as the key transport mode of the future becomes a priority in cities and nations around the world with sustainability and population growth in mind, the developments required in rail are vast. As is visible around the world, rail is the sustainable mass transit solution which governments are backing. Recent announcements such as Modi’s continued large-scale investment in India’s transport infrastructure, the UK’s latest £45 billion investment in developments at Network Rail’s Control Period 6 and the decision of Texas Central (with the strategic help of the Spanish operator Renfe) to privately fund a high speed rail service between Houston and Dallas are just some examples of the global momentum backing rail.

Organisations all around the world are working to understand how rail operations and development projects can be optimised to better serve users, have a lower cost for owners and investors and have the capacity and accessibility to provide a backbone to future mobility. Some of the wider factors driving investment include the fourth railway package being implemented by the EU fundamental which incentivises major changes throughout the industry via a set of tools including the key pillar of liberalisation. Providing smart and healthy cities, fit for tomorrow’s economy is also driving investment in rail as a convenient and, most importantly, sustainable transport mode. Some of the key challenges that rail needs to tackle in order to be truly ready to support sustainable and accessible travel include smart mobility, optimising capacity and developments of urban rail networks as well as using digital technology to provide smart infrastructure. While technology plays a vital role in these developments, new ways of thinking also need to become established.

As the Spanish rail market liberalises in line with the rest of the EU and landmark projects are launched around the world including in Japan, China, India, USA, Australia and more, Rail Live! brings the leaders of world’s largest railway players together in Madrid to discuss these areas of development, to share the latest technological achievements and discuss what the impact on the European and worldwide rail sector will be.
The host partners of the show are MAFEX. Now celebrating their 15th year, MAFEX brings a wealth of experience representing the best in the Spanish railway sector across the world. As an axis of innovation and internationalisation, MAFEX are fantastically placed to help Rail Live drive the future of the sector in Spain and around the world.

Internationalisation and digitalisation: Two key areas of focus at Rail Live!

nternationalisation is a big focus for Renfe, using their expertise and knowledge to develop world-leading projects including Saudi Arabian Railways and Texas Central. With a number of landmark railway projects around the world, the knowledge and expertise of the Spanish rail market are in high demand. Both SAR and Texas Central will be travelling to Madrid for Rail Live! to share updates on the projects, along with a number of other important global developments including Rail Baltica, NRCTC in India, HS2 and California High Speed Rail Association. As the international opportunities for Renfe and the Spanish rail market continue to develop, the focus on these important projects will update the industry on the technologies, challenges and developments from a global perspective.

In addition to this, digitisation is naturally a priority for Renfe, who are focused clearly on one area which is set to majorly disrupt how rail fits into the wider transport landscape, Mobility as a Service. Having recently launched their ‘Renfe as a Service’ platform, Renfe are choosing to be an active player in the smart mobility ecosystem in Spain and internationally. The opportunity for high speed and long-distance rail to act as a backbone of a future society which no longer depends on privately owned cars and supports a wider ecosystem of a multi-modal shared and public transport is revolutionary. Renfe will be joining us to share more about the development of ‘RaaS’ and how Renfe envisages the development of smart mobility to unfold over the next few years. The evolution in this area marks an important cornerstone of the future of digitisation and will be in focus within the Mobility 4.0 Sessions at Rail Live! where international operators will discuss the role of rail in the development of smart mobility.

Global leaders on the agenda

The Rail Live! keynote sessions welcome global leaders to share the strategies that decision makers in large public and private operators are looking to implement to improve passenger and freight services. Keynote speakers joining us to share updates on their projects include Dr. Jacob Kam, CEO of Mass Transit Railway MTR (Hong Kong), who leads arguably the best urban rail network in the world, achieving 99% punctuality and high standards of service using state of the art technology and world leading operational management. Vinay Kumar Singh, Managing Director of the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) project, India’s flagship 300 M€ rail development connecting Delhi to regional centres with high speed commuter rail will also be participating in the keynotes. Vinay will give updates on this project, sharing their vision and how his team are overcoming the many challenges in building a high-capacity commuter rail in such a densely populated region. Corey Hannett, Director-General, Major Transport Infrastructure Authority of Victoria (MTIA), who oversees the huge £8-billion (9.340M€) capital investment portfolio in the State of Victoria will also be joining the line-up. With a vast portfolio of projects, Corey will share the developments of rail in the state of Victoria and how it is developing in this region.

The keynote speakers will not only update the industry on their own developments but also look towards trends impacting every project and rail operator at a global level, from financing models, sustainability, digital innovation and topics such as urbanisation, which are putting strain on the capacity of many rail networks globally.
The technologies that are key to revolutionising the rail industry and implementing the larger strategies mentioned above are complex and challenging. With this in mind, Rail Live! covers 13 themes and technologies, all key to achieving the overarching vision that global thought leaders envision.

Opportunities in digital technology 

Fundamental to the development of railways fit for the future is the digitisation of railway operations. Technologies including AI, IoT, big data, cloud computing, and virtual reality are all offering up new opportunities for efficiencies across areas as broad as training, maintenance and network planning.

igital innovation is challenging in this safety conscious and traditional industry, so Rail Live! Will bring together thought leaders to share their experiences of driving innovation throughout their organisations and ultimately making operations more reliable and cheaper. Another major challenge is the interoperability of rail networks, looking at how digital technology is impacting the development of international railways. Standardisation is a key challenge across the industry and a number of discussions will centre around this.

Some of the standout speakers who will be focused on digitisation include Tae Ho Kim, CEO of Seoul Metro focused on the development of a smart and connected metro. Rolf Härdi, Chief Technology Innovation Officer, Deutsche Bahn – Deutsche Bahn is one of the world’s leading railway operators, with some of the most technically advanced operations globally. Rolf will be joining us to discuss some of the key areas of opportunity that technology presents. Rolf also has a focus on open data and how this can be managed to support international development in rail. Nalinaksh Vyas, Head of Technical Mission, Indian Railways – The Technical Mission at Indian Railways are tasked with revolutionising operations across this vast contingent with the use of sensors, data management, AI and IoT to develop a platform which will impact every corner of this network. Gerald Schinagl, Head of Digital Innovation, OBB will be joining us to discuss a number of the different projects he is leading the way on, from various use cases of smart glasses to the latest developments in condition-based maintenance.

The latest developments in sustainability

As rail is the most efficient form of mass transport, the global focus on sustainability is offering a new lease of life for the rail industry. as governments and cities are focusing on the development of rail in answer to various environmental challenges and commitments, the rail industry continues to focus on a number of developments which can make Rail yet more sustainable. Discussing everything from hydrail, electrification and traction power, the Sustainability & Power stream continues to be a core focus at Rail Live!

Some of the speakers already confirmed to join us include Matthias Tuchschmid, Head of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Programme, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) who will be sharing the work he is leading around overall energy reduction at SBB and the economic incentives attached. Margrethe Sagevik, Head of Sustainability, Norwegian State Railways (Vy) who leads VY’s sustainability strategy in Norway will be sharing the various challenges of implementing these practices throughout the supply chain and engaging effectively in carbon offsetting efforts.
Bart Van Der Spiegel, Energy Advisor, Infrabel is a leader in the development of efficient energy practices in Belgium, focusing on a number of projects including driver optimisation and upgrading legacy power systems. Finally, Gabriel Castanares, Energy Efficiency Advisor, Renfe will be discussing the opportunities to save unused energy and the challenges of engaging with infrastructure managers.

Intelligent Infrastructure as the key to the future.

Core to the development of rail is the implementation of technology and new strategies across infrastructure and its related assets. As new technologies offer unprecedented levels of monitoring, assessment and operational optimisation, the development of these networks is fundamental as capacity requirements increase and networks around the world are relying on aging infrastructure.
Kim Sang Gyun, CEO, Korean Railway Network will be speaking at Rail Live! and sharing the development of the infrastructure on the Korean railway network, one of the most sophisticated globally. Sharing the technologies which have proven key to improving operations Kim Sang Gyun will take a deep dive into the creation of an intelligent infrastructure network in Korea. Martin Frobisher, Group Engineering Director, Network Rail, managing some key developments across the UK, will share how condition-based maintenance is being developed and the technical challenges the Thameslink and TransPennine upgrades have caused. Carel Jonckheere, Smart Railway Director, Infrabel will share the 2040 strategy at Infrabel, touching on areas including mixed reality, 5G and the role of smart clothing in creating an infrastructure network fit for the future.

Main developments in Urban Rail

Metro and Light Rail networks have always been a focus at Rail Live! and these streams will continue to focus on the many developments taking place on these networks, examining everything from the role of data, the impact of intelligent infrastructure and automation.

Some of the world’s leading networks are already confirmed to join us, including Khalid Alhogail, CEO, Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) who will share the development of this flagship project in Riyadh, which will revolutionise mobility in this road dependant city. Roman Lapytov, Deputy CEO – Strategy, Moscow Metro will give an update on the digital transformation at Moscow Metro and the importance of ultra-precise asset inspection in keeping up to date with the best metro networks in the world. BC Yen, President, Metro Taipei will be joining us to discuss how data streams are revolutionising operations in Taipei and the role of automated on-board inspection in developing state of the art maintenance systems.


As the hubs for passengers travelling on rail, stations are a core part of the railway ecosystem and impact the seamless journey all operators envision for their customers. Dealing with challenges from station design to operational efficiencies, the focus on Stations at Rail Live! is a core part of the discussion at the show.

Some of the speakers joining us include Philipp Lombriser, Senior Business Analyst, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) discussing how SBB are focused on creating stations which are digital hubs for the network, Mohammed Chahid, Head of Asset Development, Office National des Chemins de Fer (ONCF) who will be discussing how they are managing the lifecycles of their stations and creating the stations of the future. Sanjeev Kumar Lohia, Managing Director and CEO, Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation will be joining us to share the landmark redevelopment of Bangalore Station, a complex and challenging project.

New focus on freight
new addition this year, the new focus on freight will bring together the leaders of this industry who are using technologies, new business models and partnerships to bring rail freight to the front line of rail operations. Looking at everything from operational automation, to real time management of cargo, the projects being discussed will be industry leading.

Speakers confirmed to join the freight summit include Bertrand Minary, Chief Innovation and Digital Officer, SNCF Fret who will be discussing the automation of their processes and the impact this has on optimising operations. Anja Maria Sonntag, Chief Innovation Officer, SBB Cargo is leading the projects developing automatic coupling and will be bringing new insights from Switzerland on this topic to the discussions at the show. Michail Stahlhut, Managing Director, Hupac Intermodal will be discussing the role of open data and the digitisation of the full freight industry to reap real rewards. Finally, Gino Pfister, CEO, Ecco Rail will be joining us to share his vision of the future of freight and understanding how important inter-modality and customer experience is for the rail freight sector to ever compete effectively.


As digitisation is a core focus in much of the programme at Rail Live!, cybersecurity cannot be ignored. The serious challenges of keeping railway systems secure, as more and more data and operational actions are transferred to digital should not be underestimated. The Cybersecurity Summit will bring together the leaders at the forefront of this challenge to discuss the varied ways in which rail can ensure security for the networks, employees and passengers.

Some of the leading minds within Cyber Security sector are confirmed to join us, including: Geir Arild Engh-Hellesvik, CISO of Norwegian State Railways (Vy), Christian Schlehuber, Team Leader Cyber Security OT at DB Netz, Lies Alderliste-de Wit, CISO at Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS).

Rail Live! as an event

On the 31st March – 2nd April 2020 in Madrid the global rail industry will gather for three days of conference and an exhibition. The whole rail industry will be represented at the event, with leaders and visionaries speaking across 13 content areas, suppliers and partners attending and exhibiting at the show and the end users and buyers of this technology within the industry will attend the exhibition.

The industry leading discussions which will take place within the conference is the centrepiece of Rail Live!, encouraging real debate, updating the industry on the latest technologies and innovations and enabling international executives to discuss shared challenges and opportunities.Rail Live! is well aware of the importance of networking, with a multitude of opportunities available, from a fantastic reception on the 1st April, to extended breaks and an app within which 1-2-1 meetings can be arranged.
As we will be in Madrid, where some of the best rail technologies are on our doorstep, we will be partnering with Renfe, Adif and Metro de Madrid to provide a range of site visits around the conference sessions.

In addition to the conference, a number of activities will be taking place. The exhibition will welcome over 300 companies to share their latest technologies and projects and also incorporate a start-up village, featuring 150 start ups who have disruptive ideas and technology for the rail industry. Two seminar theatres will cover the latest technologies being implemented in the Spanish rail market and the VR/AR demo Zone is one not to miss.