We look back on an exciting and successful Monorailex Conference 2021. During the planning period it wasn’t clear if we would be able to host the Conference in-person, but we were lucky that Italy lifted some of its restrictions early, and with great support from Marino Torre (Hitachi) and Agostino Marioni (Hirun) we could host the Conference in-person in Milan.

Due to still ongoing COVID19 restrictions, some members and interested parties from Egypt, Brazil, India, China, and other countries around the globe couldn’t attend in-person, but the conference was set up as a hybrid event which made it possible to attend over Zoom; and with this to contribute to a successful event with valuable presentations and lively discussions.

The conference started on Friday, Sept 24 at the 21WOL Hotel in Milan with the Annual General Meeting of the IMA (International Monorail Association). On Saturday and Sunday, 30 participants attended in-person and 25 participated over Zoom remotely.
There were 17 technology and market-oriented presentations and 2 specifications workshops in the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday followed with two days of technical visits on Monday and Tuesday:

  • The visit at Marconi Express in Bologna was combined with a ride of Intamin's P30 System, insights into the OCC, and a detailed explanation of the system followed by a discussion on the various challenges and framework conditions with Rita Finzi, President of Marconi Express, and Franz Zürcher, Vice President Intamin Transportation. The Marconi Express system reduced a 35minute bus ride between the airport and Bologna main train station to 7 minutes.
  • At the Politecnico di Milano – one of the leading European Universities for Engineering, Architecture, and Design – Prof. Daniele Rocchi, Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, welcomed the group of delegates with presentations and visits of different research laboratories e.g., railway engineering including a visit at wind tunnel test facility, where, for example, the construction of bridge structures can also be tested in models of up to almost 14 meters length.
  • Metro Line 4 & 5 as fully automated transport solutions: Hitachi as a supplier of the CBTC (Communication Based Train Control) gave a presentation on their system and the related project in Milan. In addition, the delegates were able to gain a personal impression of fully automated metro operations with the metro ride to visit the Operations Control Centre and in-depth explanation in an exchange with the operator ATM.

The conference ended with a tour and visit to the Expo Ferroviaria, the most important national railway fair in Italy. Next to all technical and specific interchange between the attendees, there were also some fun activities like a small sightseeing tour through Milan, a visit to the vineyards in Montalto Pavese with lots of time shared along the exquisite and delicious Italian cuisine. A small photographic summary of the Monorailex 2021 can be found here.