CZ/SK verze

"I See the Future of HSR as a Substitute for Road Transport," Reveals TRAKO Director

&quote;I See the Future of HSR as a Substitute for Road Transport,&quote; Reveals TRAKO Director
photo: RAILTARGET/"I See the Future of HSR as a Substitute for Road Transport," Reveals TRAKO Director
05 / 10 / 2023

In an exclusive interview with Jan Sechter, chairman of the Transport Section of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Dorota Daszkowska – Kosewska, general director of the TRAKO trade fair which takes place every two years in Gdańsk, Poland, shared insights on the participation of Czech companies at the Polish trade fair and the array of discussions, seminars, and conferences. She also touched on the significance and potential of high-speed rail (HSR) lines. "We also explore new topics; for instance, hyperloop technology was a point of discussion this year," she highlighted. Furthermore, she mentioned to RAILTARGET readers that the next TRAKO trade fair will take place between September 23 and 25, 2025.

As the final day of this year's fair commences, marking a successful event from the perspective of Czech companies, what are your reflections?

I'm pleased to see the Czech exhibitors, who traditionally rank among the most prevalent at TRAKO fairs, alongside their British and German counterparts. We also showcase national exhibits from various countries, but the Czech presence always stands out. As the last day of the fair unfolds, filled with many meetings, we will evaluate its overall success in due course. Today is designated to railway education. We've invited students from vocational schools to dive deeper into the railway world, not merely from a passenger's viewpoint, but to truly grasp the modernity, innovation, and sustainability it embodies.

It's evident that the fair isn't solely about company exhibitions or showcasing investments from across Europe. The TRAKO fair also serves as a platform for dialogues, seminars, and conferences. What future endeavors can we expect in this regard for the next TRAKO?

Organizing TRAKO for the railway sector, we collaborate closely with a program council, comprising all key railway associations and companies in Poland. And our many fair partners, numbering over a hundred this year, help shape the program. As organizers, our goal is to ensure every railway-themed program segment is featured without overshadowing others. We aim for attendees to find events tailored to their interests without being overwhelmed by numerous similar options. Certain events have become TRAKO mainstays. For instance, we recently conducted our fourth discussion on infrastructure, a collaboration between the Ministry of Infrastructure, the PKP group, and the Chamber of Land Transport. We're already gearing up for the fifth such discussion in two years. Notably, this year saw our inaugural discussion on women in transport infrastructure, which garnered such positive feedback that we're integrating it as a recurring event. We offer a plethora of discussions, seminars, and bilateral meetings, and participants consistently affirm their value and substance. Our dedication to maintaining a high-caliber discourse has become a defining feature of the TRAKO fair.

I can attest to that, as numerous discussions culminated here at the joint stand of RAILTARGET and the Czech Chamber of Commerce, addressing pivotal topics like the Digital Automatic Coupling and energy-centric transportation under the Green Deal framework.

We're always on the lookout for emerging topics. This year, for example, we delved into hyperloop technology—a concept sometimes challenging to fathom. It's akin to space exploration: numerous solutions become viable only when transposed from that realm into our everyday lives. With Nevomo, a leading Polish company in the sector, we ensure that cutting-edge transport trends have a place at our fair, facilitating both discovery and discourse. This year also marked the debut of our start-up zone, showcasing a myriad of mature, certification-ready solutions. Additionally, we spotlight innovations by students, like the outcomes of a competition for railway transport students, underscoring the railway's status as a forward-thinking industry.

You also showcased the future of railways. The Czech Railway Administration's HSR project, which envisions integration with the Polish HSR project by CPK, made its international debut. How do you perceive the future prospects of high-speed railways for Central Europe and the technological advancements showcased at the TRAKO trade fair?

I envision the future of HSR primarily as a potential replacement for road transport. Living in the Tricity (Gdańsk, Gdynia, Sopot), I've observed an uptick in visitors from the Czech Republic this summer. The consensus is that the revamped infrastructure has drastically cut down travel times to the coast. The anticipated high-speed network from Gdynia to Prague is expected to further reduce travel durations, fostering more frequent visits. Additionally, we're considering Rail Baltica connections to the Baltic countries to streamline travel without the hassles of airport procedures. My aspiration is to have everyone share their swift and pleasant train journeys rather than road trip stories.

Yet, we shouldn't overlook railways as a vital means of freight transportation. The ramifications of the pandemic on global supply chains are evident, signifying a monumental challenge for rail freight transport across Europe. I earnestly hope it catalyzes trade exchanges and bolsters European security.

As the fair draws to a close, you transition from post-fair reflections to preparations for the next event. Can you shed light on your plans?

The dates are set—September 23-25, 2025. We're optimistic about unveiling a new hall to replace the current temporary setup. An ongoing priority is to enhance the fair's international appeal, drawing parallels with the renowned INNOTRANS trade fair in Berlin. The railway industry thrives on communication and long-standing relationships. It was heartening to see reunions at the fair, especially after the pandemic-induced hiatus.

You previously established a temporary COVID hospital here before the 2021 fair...

... and this year, the splendid weather ensured cheerful interactions. Post-fair, attendees often explore the Tricity, their fair badges making them easily recognizable.

I'd also like to extend an invitation to the upcoming Rail Business Days in Ostrava, a spring rail fair rapidly gaining traction. Many Polish exhibitors have marked their calendars for it.

It's a commendable initiative, and I have nothing but admiration for the Rail Business Days team. I'm eager to attend and extend my support.

This interview transpired at the TRAKO railway fair in the RAILTARGET interview studio, under the aegis of the Czech Chamber of Commerce. Jan Sechter, chairman of the Transport Section of the Chamber of Commerce of the Czech Republic, facilitated the discussion.