April 12


case: moderating the largest train and railway conference in Europe (and on Earth) Rail Tech Europe 2021

Summary with some highlights of the 3 day conference on transport and trains. All images (c) Promedia group

Railtech Europe live 2021 is the largest conference for railways and trains in Europe. For the first time it was converted to a digital event with over 8000 participants and over 100 speakers, both live and remote. Rogier connected remote and live speakers, technical and policy focussed people and the home audience with the studio. And make sure the program was accessible to beginners and merely interested people while still be of value to specialists of trains, railways and transport.

3 days moderator for trains and transport: a dream come true

I am a big fan of trains and railway enthusiast. Therefore, hosting this conference is dream come true. Maybe the CEO of the Dutch inframanager saying: “Wow you must really love trains ánd you are really well prepared” was the best compliment I could wish for.

Chairing the session on the European year of rail with the European Commission

The European year of rail 2021 was launched just one day before and the topic for the opening session. I hosted Diederik Samsom of the cabinet of Frans Timmerman, the CEO’s of the Dutch national railways (NS) and the Dutch inframanager and host of the event (Prorail) and the director for innovation of DG MOVE (transport).

The official European launch was a very formal series of speeches without discussion. Hence it was not only needlessly boring, but also shone any controversy. Therefore, I took the speaker from DG move along some very concrete issues where the EU ambitions for cross border transport are not implemented well. My challenge was to challenge the speaker without making it a blame game. And to make it accessible to viewers who aren’t very involved in the EU policy making world while keep it relevant to viewers from the Brussels Bubble.

Watch the whole interview with herald Ruijters of the European Commission.

Moderating very technical sessions about railways, transport and trains

Being a trainophile is one thing, but knowing all the nitty gritty technical details about trains is another. Many sessions where very technical. I managed this by
– having the audience ask the questions.
– have one of the editors of the publisher as sidekick: They are great experts who can help select the relevant questions, clarify issues and correct me if I’m wrong. This also put them in the role that suits them best: experts who know what is relevant and can interpret what is being said.
– take on the role of ‘canary in the coal mine’: Keeping as a general rule of thumb: If I still understand what it is about, probably 80% of our viewers does so too. So, if I no longer get it, don’t be afraid to let the speaker clarify.

moderating remote and live speakers and audiences

As the recordings were in The Netherlands and with international travel restrictions, most speakers from The Netherlands were in thhe studio and others were remote. I tried to really connect them. With an advanced interaction app we collected the opinions, remarks and questions from the audience. Not only to make them feel included, but also to force the speakers to realise there is an audience, and to tailor there contribution to it.

presenting an award show for transport and railway innovation

As cherry on the cake i got to host an award to innovators in the train and railway sector. Thank you Promedia for the gig and all railway enthusiasts for helping me prepare.

Rogier Elshout moderator transport award

conclusion: moderator for trains or (public) transport, but also any event that connects EU policies and technology

So you have an event about anything to do with trains or (public) transport? Give me a call because I’m thrilled to help you with it. But for any debate or conference where the Brussels policy bubble and technicalities meet: We gladly help you connect those worlds in a meaningful, interesting and effective way. As transport moderator we gladly get your event on track:)

attend the largest railway event of Europe

Want to be part of next years edition? Preregister for Rail Tech Europe 2022 here

About the author 

Rogier Elshout

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