Thursday 26 January 2023

TopRail meeting and Fitur visit held in Madrid

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The first TopRail (Rail Tourism) meeting of the year took place on 17 January 2023 for its members at the Delicias railway museum in Madrid. This was an annual tradition until the pandemic and, this time, was again made possible thanks to Renfe and the Spanish Railway Foundation’s collaboration.

The meeting started with a welcome talk from Francisco Polo, Director of the Delicias Railway Museum, who spoke on behalf of Adrián Fernández, the new Managing Director of the Spanish Railway Foundation. During the meeting, more than 15 members of TopRail from Italy, France, Spain, Japan, Slovakia, and Switzerland discussed their news related to rail tourism for this year.

Marc Guigon, UIC Passenger Director, shared the latest news from UIC, and Carles Casas, Chair of TopRail, thanked the members for their commitment to the activity, as not only had the number of members increased but it had also achieved ‘sector’ status in the Global Passenger Forum after having been an opt-in project for a long time.

Worth a special mention was the talk by Stefano Benazzo, President of Wattrain, who launched a call to joint action regarding heritage trains, the presentation from Karol Martinček, Member of the Board of Directors of Železničná spoločnosť Slovensko, with ZSSK’s (Slovakian Railways’) latest news, and the debut speech from Alain Richard, President of Europe Express, a new UIC Member, sharing his new rail tourism projects at both the European and French level with the other participants.

It was also an opportunity to follow up with work related to the classification and categorisation system for tourist friendly railways, which was started in recent months.
Part of the meeting was devoted to summarising TopRail activity in 2022, including:

…and to discussions on TopRail activity to be developed in 2023:

  • A TopRail meeting and Fitur trade visit in Madrid held in January 2023.
  • A TopRail meeting during the High-Speed Congress in Marrakech in March 2023.
  • A TopRail session during the World Passenger Festival in Vienna in October 2023.
  • A technical visit in Austria to see the new Night Jet coaches which will take place in October 2023.

One of the main reasons for organising the first TopRail meeting of the year in Madrid was to make it coincide with Fitur, as it is one of the three most important fairs in the world of tourism with over 200,000 attendees. This fact was confirmed by the TopRail members invited to visit the Renfe stand on the opening day of the fair, where they were welcomed by members of the tourist train team and the company’s management, including Mariano Santiso, Manager of the Northern Area, and Javier Pérez, Deputy Business Area Director of Renfe, as well as members of the team.

The next TopRail meeting will be held on 9 March in Marrakech during the UIC High Speed Congress, the link to the conference can be found at

For further information please contact Vanessa Pérez, Advisor for the UIC Passenger Department, at

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