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The master of the tracks

April 2021

Has lived through a lot in more than 20 years - siding manager Klaus Seipold.
Has lived through a lot in more than 20 years - siding manager Klaus Seipold.

A look behind the scenes of the outdoor track and display areas

It is always an absolute highlight of every visit to InnoTrans to see the outdoor track and display areas. On 3,500 running metres of tracks, trade visitors can admire mobility innovations from all over the world throughout each day of the trade fair. But behind this globally unique attraction is someone who is affectionately known in InnoTrans circles as the “railway siding manager” and who also has a private affinity with the beauties on the tracks. For him, it involves a lot of hard work and precise planning.

For more than 20 years, railway siding manager Klaus Seipold has been moving the vehicles on the tracks which mean the world.

How long does it take before the trains are finally on the track?

Klaus Seipold: Well in advance of the event, we coordinate the delivery of the exhibits with the exhibitors, our contract freight forwarders and DB Cargo as the railway undertaking. Many of the exhibits come from very far away, so it can easily take some exhibitors two to three months to get them to Berlin on time. Three days are planned for the train deliveries to InnoTrans itself. On the first day, Tracks 6 – 11 in car park P18 will be equipped, on the second day the tracks in the yard area and on the third day Tracks 1 – 5. In addition, the last set-up day of InnoTrans is planned as a time reserve. Before the trains arrive, a further three days are planned for the delivery and unloading of exhibits, which will be delivered by road and positioned on the open-air tracks or on temporarily installed tracks by means of huge cranes or ramps.

In the course of your time at InnoTrans, you have experienced quite a lot when it comes to equipping the track area. What do you remember most?

Klaus Seipold: An Asian exhibitor did not allow his almost 100-tonne locomotive to be moved by shunting locomotives. It had to be moved by hand with muscle power, and everyone involved had to wear white cloth gloves. Such care by our exhibitors for their exhibits happens quite often. On one occasion, a locomotive from the Czech Republic was delivered to the exhibition grounds by a heavy goods vehicle five days before InnoTrans. The manufacturer’s technician stayed in the locomotive during the entire assembly period and never let the exhibit out of his sight. But sometimes the reverse is also true: once we were expecting a freight wagon to be delivered by train from the Wustermark collection station, but it simply never arrived. It seemed to have literally disappeared into thin air. Its whereabouts remained unknown even days later. A few weeks after InnoTrans, it was found on a siding in Hanover. It had been left there while being transported to the collection station and was simply forgotten. Every InnoTrans brings new exciting stories. I am very much looking forward to the one at InnoTrans 2022.