Angola: Work is expected to begin next month on the rehabilitation of the 23 km Bungo – Viana section of the Luanda railway.Argentina: Buenos Aires suburban operator Metropolitano was due to begin electric operation over the 6·6 km between Temperley and Claypole last month. Work to install 25 kV 50Hz AC overhead equipment and raise platform heights at three stations has cost US$16m.Czech Republic: As part-repayment for Russian debts to the Czech Republic, Metrovagonmash has built a prototype two-car DMU for use on Czech regional lines. It is based on MÁV’s Class 63-41.Denmark: DSB has launched a new service pattern on the Ødense – Svendborg line, following completion of upgrading work by Banestyrelsen which required a five-week blockade. Europe: The European Commission has commissioned London-based Steer Davies Gleave, the Institute of Transport Studies and Frankfurt-based consultancy RMS to assess by February the impacts of various scenarios for liberalising the EU rail passenger market.France: Public consultation has begun for the proposed €800m express link from Paris Est to Charles-de-Gaulle airport. The 25 km line could open in 2012, halving journey time to 15 min.Germany: The federal government has appointed Morgan Stanley to examine options for privatising DB.Following a review of the tendering, Connex subsidiary Nord-Ostsee-Bahn has been confirmed as winner of the 10-year franchise to run the 237 km route between Hamburg and Sylt in Schleswig-Holstein from December 2005.Italy: The European Commission has adopted a decision requiring FS to allow new cross-border passenger services into Italy, as the refusal of the only possible partner to enter into an international arrangement amounts to an abuse of competition rules. Since 1995 FS has prevented Georg Verkehrsorganisation operating from Germany to Milano, by refusing to establish an international partnership and provide track access and traction. Netherlands: A three-month programme is underway to renovate the 1·5 km Moerdijk bridge. Around 2·2 km of track and 35 km of cabling will be replaced at a cost of €18m.Philippines: PNR has taken delivery of 10 air-conditioned coaches which arrived from Japan on August 14. Augumenting a fleet of 21 coaches delivered in 2001, they will be used on suburban services between Manila and Calamba. PNR is negotiating a US$100m loan from the Korean Export-Import Bank to fund the rehabilitation of this route and the purchase of 21 new air-conditioned DMUs.Romania: The state-owned stakes in around three-quarters of the companies created from CFR ready for privatisation were sold on the Bucuresti stock exchange on September 15.South Africa: Four companies have been awarded contracts totalling R91m to rehabilitate the disused 282 km Umtata – Amabele line by mid-2004.Spain: The Ministry of the Environment has been requested to approve the route of a 44·6 km high speed line between Linares-Baeza and Jaén. Following existing alignments at each end, it is expected to cost €180·3m.Under a €15·8m programme, FEVE is to lengthen each of its 16 Class 3800 two-car EMUs deployed in Asturias with an intermediate trailer car. Two trailers will be acquired to complete the lengthening of the 21-strong Class 3500 fleet from two to three cars.Sweden: Green Cargo is to dissolve its road transport operations, and expand its partnerships with external road transport companies through its Hallsberg full-load centre.United Kingdom: Eurotunnel expects to begin work in January on Folkestone Intermodal Terminal, a three-track facility to handle UIC gauge wagons on unused space at its Cheriton terminal from late 2004.USA: On August 27 Union Pacific officially opened its $181m Global III intermodal terminal at Rochelle, Illinois, able to handle 720000 containers annually.
UP TO 30% of the funding needed to expand Beijing’s metro network for the 2008 Olympic Games will be raised from the private sector. The city government’s Deputy Director-General of Development & Planning Liu Zhi revealed on May 25 that the city was looking to raise 14·5bn yuan in foreign capital by awarding concessions to operate the planned Lines 4, 5, 9 and 10 (RG 3.03 p119). Open tenders will be invited shortly on the basis of a 7:3 public-private partnership.Totalling 103·5 km, the four routes are expected to cost 50bn yuan. The city’s investment will be managed by a new company, Beijing Infrastructure Investment Co Ltd, and will fund the civil and E&M works. The private-sector element is expected to fund the rolling stock and station services such as fare collection and passenger information systems. Liu said that under its current master plan, the city expects to invest 230bn yuan in urban infrastructure works over the next four years. Much of this will be through BOT contracts with the aim of opening up the construction market. Some existing planning approval process will be replaced by new regulations to permit market pricing and open tendering.
BROADBAND internet access is to be provided on trains between London and Brighton under an agreement between train operator Southern and T-Mobile.One three-car Class 377 Electrostar EMU has been equipped so far, and broadband is initially being offered on six trains each way per day. The technology will be rolled out across 14 trainsets in the first phase. Installation takes around 30 man-hours per unit, and does not impact on availability.Nomad Digital is supplying Wimax hardware developed in Canada. Around 60 base stations will be located along the 82 km route to ensure high-quality coverage, although continuous connectivity is already available with 35 sites. A single roof-mounted antenna on each unit connects with an on-train server and WLAN. T-Mobile is marketing the facility as part of its world-wide HotSpot network. Free access is being provided in both First and Standard class during the start-up phase, but charges will apply from June. Download speeds of up to 1MBit/sec are anticipated.It is being promoted by window stickers and crew announcements. T-Mobile project leader Jay Saw said that take-up since the first unit rolled out on April 1 has been ahead of expectations. Ppassenger power sockets are to be fitted to the three-car Electrostars by Bombardier later this year.Southern Managing Director Charles Horton expects wi-fi to prove popular with business commuters, offering a further argument for using rail instead of car. A phased roll-out to other Southern routes could follow.
KNORR-BREMSE: Anchor Brake Shoe Company, a US manufacturer of high and low friction composition brake shoes and tread conditioning shoes for locomotive and freight wagons, has been acquired by New York Air Brake Corp, part of the Knorr-bremse Group. Anchor Brake Shoe was previously part of Standard Car Truck. ‘The addition of brake shoes to our product line will allow us to provide a more comprehensive service to our North American customers while the global network of the Knorr-Bremse Group will help Anchor penetrate new markets’, said NYAB President J Paul Morgan.
European Directive 2008/57/CE covering the interoperability of high speed and conventional networks has been transposed into Spanish law. It excludes the metre-gauge networks. Slovakia’s Ministry of Transport has announced that the previous government’s plans to merge infrastructure manager ZSR, passenger operator ZSSK and ZSSK Cargo into new holding company Slovenské Zeleznice by 2013 will not go ahead (RG 4.10 p27). Alstom Transport and Transmash Holding have launched a project to develop a new-generation 160 km/h EMU for use in Russia. The modular ED10 family will be available with up to 12 cars in high and low floor variants. A prototype is due to begin test running in 2012.The Thai parliament has voted to support a draft framework for negotiations with China over the development of a high speed network in Thailand (RG 11.10 p48). Plans for an extension of SRT’s metre-gauge line from Nong Khai to Vientiane have been dropped by the government of Laos following the start of work on a 530 km standard-gauge link to Xingshuangbanna in Yunnan at the end of October.Amtrak reported a new ridership record for the year to September 30, with a 5·7% increase to 287 million passenger-journeys. Fare revenue also increased to a record $1·74bn. QR National CEO Lance Hockridge said on October 29 that construction of the 69 km Northern Missing Link connecting coal railways in central Queensland had reached the halfway point, as part of the A$1·1bn Goonyella – Abbot Point Expansion project due to be completed in 2012 (RG 12.08 p947). New Jersey Governor Chris Christie confirmed on October 27 that he was not prepared to reverse his decision to scrap the ARC trans-Hudson tunnel project (RG 11.10 p30). Amtrak said later that it was not interested in taking over the preparatory works undertaken by New Jersey Transit.
ETHERNET: Westermo has introduced its RedFox train switch to provide a dual Ethernet backbone using the Westermo Operating System in an effort to deliver a more modular approach to onboard data transfer.The company says this ‘fly by wire’ technology allows a higher degree of ‘plug and play’ functionality by removing the need for manual reconfiguration when trains are serviced or cars are removed or added to a fixed-formation trainset. A dual bypass relay maintains network integrity in the event of loss of power in an intermediate vehicle.
ITALY: Open access high speed trains will begun running between Napoli and Milano on April 28, operator NTV confirmed on March 30. The company says its investment of €1bn will offer passengers ‘the first choice of who they travel with’ over the country’s high speed network.NTV will initially start with services on the Napoli – Roma – Firenze – Bologna – Milano corridor, but hopes to extend its network to Salerno, Torino and Venezia by the end of the year, when its entire fleet of 25 Alstom AGV trainsets will be available. The company indicated earlier this year that it hoped to begin running ‘before April’, but that was dependent on getting final approvals, clarifying track access agreements, commissioning sufficient trains and completing staff training.Fares and timetables will be announced on April 12, when tickets for the first services will go on sale. When the interior designs for the Italo trainsets were unveiled at its Nola depot in December, NTV revealed that it was planning to offer three levels of service – Smart, Prima and Club, together with a free wi-fi throughout and an onboard Smart Cinema in one coach.NTV said in December that it planned to adopt an ‘aggressive’ pricing policy, with book-ahead discount fares and compulsory reservations. Tickets will be available via the website www.italotreno.it a telephone call centre and travel agencies as well as self-service machines and Italo ‘service centres’ at all stations. Some tickets will also be sold on board the trains.
The Universidad Politécnica de Madrid has introduced an Alstom Chair at its Industrial Engineering School. The collaboration between the two parties is intended to foster research in the areas of electricity transmission, smart grid technology and railway signalling.On May 8 the University of Rhode Island and Deutsche Bahn signed a co-operation agreement covering a work abroad programme for students and an exchange option for younger DB staff. DB also plans to work with URI to offer a joint dual honours qualification in German and a relevant engineering discipline. Deutsche Bahn subsidiary Arriva has joined The Pearls Initiative, a professional development programme aimed at increasing the number of women in senior corporate positions in UK business. The programme is managed by An Inspirational Journey, a not-for-profit organisation backed by Royal Bank of Scotland Group. German federal railway authority EBA has approved the Prignitzer Bahn Akademie for driver training and licensing.
GERMANY: Work to upgrade an existing line to S-Bahn standards to enable Stuttgart service S4 to be extended from Marbach to Backnang was launched with a ceremony on June 22.The R31 train service is being replaced by buses from July to November while the 13·7 km route and four stations are upgraded. Work includes platform rebuilding, accessibility improvements and provision for S-Bahn services to pass freight trains on the single-track route. S4 is due to begin operating to Backnang in December, running half-hourly on weekdays and hourly at weekends. The €11m project is being funded with €6·5m from the Land of Baden-Württemberg, €3·1m from the Stuttgart region and local contributions.
Mombasa – Nairobi standard gauge railway specifications Gauge1 435 mm Length609·3 km Maximum speedPassenger: 120 km/hFreight: 80 km/h Axleload25 tonnes Minimum curve radius 1 200 m Maximum gradient1·2% Mombasa – Nairobi journey timesPassenger: 4½ hFreight: 8 h Project costUS$3·604bn(90% China Exim Bank, 10% government of Kenya) KENYA: An agreement to finance the construction of a 609 km standard gauge railway between Mombasa and Nairobi was signed on May 11 by Cabinet Secretary for the Treasury Henry Rotich and the President of China Exim Bank, Li Ruogu. China Exim Bank is to meet 90% of the US$3·60bn cost, with the remaining 10% to come from the government of Kenya.President Uhuru Kenyatta was joined at the signing ceremony by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who was on a state visit during which the two countries signed 17 bilateral deals worth more than KSh500bn. The presidents of Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan and a minister from Burundi also attended the event, reflecting the intention that the line will form the first phase of a US$8·1bn international network serving Kampala, Kigali and Bujumbura with a branch to Juba by 2020. President Kenyatta had ceremonially launched construction of the project on November 28 2013, but work was subsequently halted while two parliamentary commissions investigated whether procurement rules had been followed when the contract was awarded to China Communications Construction Co subsidiary China Road & Bridge Corp. Main works are now expected to start on October 1 this year, for completion within 42 months. The line is to be built to Chinese ‘class 1’ standards, designed for robustness and low maintenance. The route runs from Mombasa Port to Nairobi’s Embakasi Inland Container Depot, with passenger stations at Mombasa, Mariakani, Voi, Mtito Andei, Sultan Hamud, Athi River and Nairobi (Embakasi). The single-track line will have 33 crossing points with 1·2 km loops, and no level crossings. A total of 56 diesel locomotives, 1 620 wagons and 40 coaches are to be supplied. The line will be designed for trains with trailing loads of 4 000 tonnes or double-stack intermodal trains up to 216 TEUs, with the possibility of future electrification.The government expects the line to cut freight shipping costs from the current US$0·20 per tonne-km to about US$0·083 per tonne-km, and enable a businessman to ‘have his breakfast in Nairobi and be at the Port of Mombasa in 4 h to load cargo onto a train, then be on hand to take delivery in Nairobi that same evening.’