Last month the UP3 team traveled to Amsterdam to attend the 9th edition of the World Rail Festival. The event saw 1000 delegates from rail operators, infrastructure gurus and industry specialists join for two days of networking and knowledge sharing to drive rail change and innovation. Delegates were privy to over 200 track sessions, and we attended as many as we could to utilise this learning opportunity. 

We were a Silver Sponsor and had some really engaging conversations with attendees around enhancing customer experiences and solving industry challenges like rail disruption and revenue protection.  As well as our exhibition stand, we also sponsored the coffee station (you’re welcome caffeine addicts 😋) and hosted a lively round table session. 

With everything it had to offer, this was a fantastic event to help you research the latest industry trends and catch up with friends old and new within the rail world. Here’s a run-down of our favourite insights from the event:

Our takeaways from the keynotes involved Europe’s focus on the move to ‘multi-modal’ travel and making rail the number 1 choice for journeys across the continent.  The issue was raised that for this to happen, we need to maintain an open dialogue and agreement between countries, governments, and operators. A big topic! A broad range of presentation tracks focused heavily on customer experience and providing more options for passengers, making it easier to plan and make multi-modal journeys, centred around rail. This linked well with the theme of innovation and paved the way for one of our favourite sessions – HYPERLOOP! A theory that has been around for a long time, Hyperloop technologies in Europe have progressed and the capabilities needed to make this dream a reality, are now coming to the forefront – this new wave of transport could be the future of passenger rail. Check our Hardt’s website to find out more around their work on the Hyperloop initiative across Europe. 

We loved facilitating our round table session (the busiest one of the whole event!) where we discussed passenger information during service disruption. We had some intriguing insights from rail operators like Deutsche Bahn, SBB AG and Trans-Metropolitan, who discussed:

  • What are the best ways to engage with customers during disruption?
  • How can we better use Twitter given social media is often a customer’s starting point.
  • Do you let the customer know if it’s a train operator issue or an infrastructure issue?
  • What constitutes too much information?
  • What role can private companies take in designing better solutions to these problems, when often the data and systems just aren’t made available to them?

If you didn’t catch our round table but want to find out more about what was discussed, or how you can join the debate – drop us an email and we’ll be more than happy to reopen the dialogue and hear your thoughts.

On the final day we attended the Diversity in Rail panel session which featured Kate Russell from the BBC, Vania Ribeiro at RATP, Silvia Kaupa-Götzl from O.B.B Postbus and Jenny Gejke from Swedish Rail. The panellists discussed how to encourage more women into the industry, promote young women to study STEM subjects and considered racial, neuro and sexual orientation diversity. So…what did we conclude from this talk? If a company truly wants to achieve diversity, they need to set quotas to achieve this; appoint women to the board and into senior management roles and break the conformational bias. We’d also like to suggest the need to highlight the importance of these conversations and include them in the main keynotes next year! 

Our three days at World Rail Festival were great. The energy and commitment to drive improvements across the rail sector is really encouraging. We are very grateful to Terrapin for their fantastic organisation, and for allowing us to showcase our workflow automation capabilities; we pride ourselves in working with our customers as part of your team, to understand and solve real business challenges that are prevalent in the rail sector. 

If you attended the event and had a UP3 coffee or picked up one of our snazzy green water bottles, send us a picture and say hello! Or if you missed us at the event but want to understand more about how we could work together to resolve your rail process challenges, then please do get in touch.

Until next year!

The UP3 Team