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Railway Interchange Conference and Exhibition Meets In Minneapolis for Third and Final Time.
It was a bittersweet although successful end to the Minneapolis/Railway Interchange partnership when on September 22nd through September 24th, 2019 Railway Interchange held its fifth biennial conference and exhibition at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
It was in Minneapolis in 2011 when the first Railway Interchange event was held bringing together four separate rail engineering associations to host a combined conference and exhibition. No one was sure how a single event involving suppliers to the mechanical engineering, civil engineering and signal and communications engineering departments of the railroad and transit companies would work.
When you add to the mix the AREMA and CMA committee meetings, educational seminars, and presentations it was a complex undertaking.
Would the rail and transit companies be willing to send engineering managers from all departments to a single event? Would we be able to coordinate all of the AREMA and CMA meetings and presentations and still allow sufficient time for the rail customers to visit the inside and outside yard exhibitions? Meeting space, shuttle bus schedules, registration, food and beverage, hotel rooms and many more logistics issues had to be arranged and managed for an unknown amount of attendees.
Minneapolis turned out to be an ideal location for the initial Railway Interchange. The convention center and hotel rooms were more than adequate for the 7000 attendees and 600 exhibiting companies that came together in September 2011.
Minneapolis is a strong railroad location with many Class one and regional rail company facilities within a few hours travel. The BNSF North Yard was a great location for the outside exhibits and the shuttle bus service to the yard from the convention center was successful.
Railway Interchange returned to Minneapolis in 2015 and 2019 while holding its 2013 and 2017 events in Indianapolis. The success of Railway Interchange has outgrown the available exhibit space of the Minneapolis Convention Center.
The 2021 and 2023 RI Conference and Exhibition will be held in Indianapolis which has a large convention center that will allow for the continued growth of Railway Interchange and additional hotel space.
We bid a fond adieu to Minneapolis and our thanks to the convention center, hotel and restaurant personnel who made us feel welcome and helped to make Railway Interchange the largest rail industry conference and exhibition in North America.