900+ Attend RSSI C&S Exhibition in Indianapolis
First Major Face to Face Meeting Since COVID in Rail Industry is Huge Success!
After it was decided to cancel Railway Interchange 2021 due to the uncertainty of the COVID Virus the RSSI Board of Directors, at its April 2021 board meeting decided to move forward with planning a 2021 RSSI only C&S exhibition in place of Railway Interchange for its members and customers.
The 2020 RSSI Annual C&S Exhibition had been canceled due to the virus and with RI 2021 being canceled it would result in a two-and-a-half-year span between the 2019 Railway Interchange event and the next scheduled exhibition in 2022. The availability and success of the COVID vaccinations gave the RSSI Board confidence that by September 2021 a face-to-face exhibition could be safely achieved.
A survey of RSSI membership and customers found that the majority were in favor of a face-to-face exhibition if all appropriate COVID safety guidelines could be met.
The RSSI staff reached out to the Indiana Convention Center and the Indianapolis hotels and plans began taking shape for the 60th Annual RSSI C&S Exhibition to be held in September 2021.
The COVID Delta Variance which appeared mainly in the Southern US in the spring of 2021 caused some anxious moments, but steps taken by the Convention Center and the hotels to meet and exceed the state and federal guidelines for COVID prevention were encouraging and on Thursday September 23rd the exhibition opened with over 1000 registered guests and 120 exhibitors.
The week of September 20, 2021 became a C&S rail industry week for the City of Indianapolis as AREMA signal and communications committees 36, 37, 38 and 39 met on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with over 70 attendees and the FRA held training classes for over 40 field specialists on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Attendance at the RSSI social events held on Wednesday and Thursday exceeded all expectations. The social events included interactive games, a sports zone, food, and a quiet area where friends and business associates who had not seen one another for two years could socialize. At the opening ceremony for the exhibits Tim Orlandi, RSSI Board President, commented that “the fellowship felt at the social events was shared by all who attended”.
The 2021 RSSI exhibition, industry, corporate and regulatory meetings, and social events had no reported COVID related issues.
The 61st RSSI Annual C&S Exhibition will be held in Kansas City in May 2022. Booth sales will open in January 2022 and registration and hotel reservations will begin on February 2, 2022.