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Train driver dies in Queensland after locomotive and coal train crash near Rockhampton

The Guardian  Fri 18 Jun 2021 (Australia) Two other drivers were injured in the crash, with authorities suggesting one of the trains was stationary when hit from behind A Queensland Rail train driver is dead and two others have been injured after a locomotive and a loaded coal train collided west of Rockhampton. The three drivers were all on the locomotive – which wasn’t pulling any coal cars – when it collided with the coal train on the Aurizon rail network before midday on Friday, the Queensland Rail chief executive, Nick Easy, said. Police say the driver who died was a 49-year-old man from Margate, north of Brisbane. Another driver, 43, suffered a broken leg and was flown to Rockhampton hospital. The third driver, 41, sustained minor injuries and was taken to the hospital by road. Police have said both trains were westbound but it’s unclear if both were moving at the time of the crash. The RACQ CapRescue helicopter service, which attended the scene, said it appeared one train was stationary and was hit from behind by the other. “We are deeply saddened and distressed by the incident and our priority is the welfare of our people and the families of the drivers involved,” Easy said in a statement. He said the rail safety regulator and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland would investigate the cause of the crash. “Given the nature of the incident, it is not appropriate to comment or speculate further on the potential cause,” Easy said. The Capricorn Highway was closed for two hours so the rescue helicopter could access the crash site.   More:

June 21 at 05:35 AM

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High-speed Dallas-to-Houston train moves forward with $16 billion contract, construction team

The Dallas Morning News  Jun 17, 2021 (US)    Texas Central and Milan-based Webuild will work together to construct the rail line, which will allow passengers to travel between Dallas and Houston in 90 minutes. A high-speed rail between Dallas and Houston could be closer to reality after developers signed a contract with builders this month. Texas Central, the private development company for the bullet train that would connect North Texas with Houston, signed a $16 billion contract Monday with Webuild, an engineering and construction company based in Milan, Italy. According to a news release from the two companies, construction supplies are projected to cost $7.3 billion and the project’s construction will last six years. The project aims to create a number of construction and supply chain jobs during its building period. The total infrastructure cost of the rail is estimated to be $20 billion, according to Texas Central. The 240-mile high-speed rail would run from Dallas to Houston in 90 minutes, with a stop in the Brazos Valley, between College Station and Huntsville. The company said the Dallas station is expected to be located in the Cedars, south of downtown, and connect to Dallas Area Rapid Transit rail lines. Texas Central said the station is intended to accelerate growth in the neighborhood and encourage retail and residential development. But the project still faces hurdles, say U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady and others. “This means nothing,” the Houston Republican said Friday in a prepared statement. “This project is no more ‘shovel ready’ than it was years ago when Texas Central Railroad announced construction would begin soon — and failed — nor does TCR have a single permit to begin construction. In fact, they have not even filed an application with the federal Surface Transportation Board — the first step in an arduous and lengthy permitting process that could take years.” More:  

June 21 at 05:34 AM

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Maharashtra: Woman lying near railway tracks survives suicide bid as train passes

India Today June 19, 2021 (India) The woman's mother said her daughter had left the house without informing anyone on Friday morning. A 30-year-old woman who tried to kill herself by lying beside the tracks at Badlapur railway station in Maharashtra's Thane district survived miraculously even though a train passed the platform, a police officer said on Saturday. Prima facie, the woman, mother of a three-year-old child, was mentally unstable, he said. “The woman lied down near the railway tracks below the platform of the Badlapur railway station on Friday morning. At 9:30 am, Udyan Express passed the platform, but the woman survived without a scratch. When the train guard noticed the woman, the train was halted just before the last bogie was passing the tracks," Kalyan GRP inspector Walmik Shardul told reporters. He said it was sheer luck that the woman survived. The woman was later reunited with her family members, he said. While speaking to reporters, the woman's mother said her daughter had left the house without informing anyone on Friday morning. "She is mentally unstable,” she added.   (PTI) More:

June 21 at 04:58 AM

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Construction Flaws Led to Mexico City Metro Collapse, Independent Inquiry Shows

The New York Times  June 16, 2021 (MEXICO)  The conclusion, in a preliminary report released by Mexico City’s government, supports the findings of an investigation by The New York Times. MEXICO CITY — Construction errors led to the May collapse of an overpass in Mexico City’s subway system that killed 26 people and injured scores more, according to the preliminary results of an independent investigation released by the city’s government on Wednesday. The report, produced by the Norwegian risk management company DNV, suggests that serious problems with the welding and placement of metal studs, linchpins of the entire structure, directly contributed to the collapse. “We can preliminarily state that the incident was caused by a structural failure,” the report said, citing “deficiencies in the construction process.” The results support the findings of a New York Times investigation that highlighted shoddy construction on the metro line. Some of the studs holding the structure together appeared to have failed because of bad welds, The Times found, a crucial mistake that probably caused the overpass to give way. Engineers consulted by The Times pointed to the presence of ceramic rings, or ferrules, left in place after the welding process, and to irregularly placed studs as evidence of subpar workmanship — findings that were confirmed by the DNV investigation. Its report documented a “failure to remove the protective ceramic” around the studs, which “reduced the area of adhesion” with the concrete that held up the tracks. Too few studs were used to fuse the structure together, and their placement was inconsistent, something that “contradicts the design” of the overpass, the report said, echoing another finding of the Times investigation. The investigators for the DNV also noted that different types of concrete had been used to build the overpass, possibly because workers had to make adjustments on site during construction. On the steel beam underneath the overpass, the report found poorly planned, problematic welding. DNV said its report was based on “the field investigation and the laboratory testing of samples from the accident” and that it “only contains DNV’s hypothesis at this point.” The full investigation will be finished later this year, the company said in a statement. Mexico City’s government, which hired DNV to examine the causes of the crash, is also conducting its own investigation into the accident. “We promised to provide comprehensive care to the victims and to hire a specialized company to understand with technical professionalism and, based on scientific evidence, the root cause of this terrible tragedy,” Claudia Sheinbaum, the mayor of Mexico City, said during the presentation of the DNV report. The results of the independent inquiry could spell trouble for two of Mexico’s most powerful figures: Marcelo Ebrard, the foreign secretary, and Carlos Slim, one of the world’s richest businessmen. Mr. Ebrard, the mayor of Mexico City when the line was built, wanted it completed before he left office in 2012, according to multiple people who worked on the project. He is seen as a powerful contender to succeed President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico’s next presidential elections in 2024. In response to the release of the preliminary report, Mr. Ebrard said in a statement that determining the cause of the crash would require both a technical investigation and “an inquiry that reviews the entire decision-making process in the design, layout, supervision and maintenance” of the metro line. Mr. Slim’s conglomerate, Group Carso, built Line 12 — the part of the metro that collapsed — to expand the company into the lucrative rail industry. On Wednesday, Ms. Sheinbaum said she would “contact the companies that were part of the construction consortium that built Line 12 to set up a technical dialogue.” In response to earlier questions from The Times, Antonio Gómez García, chief executive of Group Carso, suggested that maintenance failures may have been to blame for the subway’s collapse. Mr. Ebrard had previously said that it was impossible to know whether his successor had “conducted all of the maintenance” required after large earthquakes. But the preliminary report from DNV found that the tracks and their mechanical components were “in normal conditions” and met with “routine maintenance protocols.” Mexico City metro workers also said they carried out “daily preventive maintenance activities,” according to the report. Investigators will continue to analyze whether the structure was subjected to abnormal weight that could have caused the beams to buckle. Carso is now building a significant part of the Tren Maya, a 950-mile railway intended to bolster the economy of southern Mexico — one of the country’s poorest regions — and stand as Mr. López Obrador’s legacy project. Some engineers and architects working on the Tren Maya have complained of problems similar to those faced when they built the subway: a rushed, disorganized process that has no master plan to guide construction. And Mr. López Obrador has insisted that he wants the Tren Maya to be finished before he leaves office in 2024. Maria Abi-Habib is the bureau chief for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. She has reported from across South Asia and the Middle East for The New York Times.    More:

June 18 at 05:09 AM

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Indian Railways narrow gauge trains to chug in the Kangra Valley again!

Financial Express  June 15, 2021 (India) Travelling passengers must follow all COVID-19 pandemic related guidelines and protocols issued by the state and central governments in the trains as well as at railway stations. Restoration of Indian Railways Trains: For the convenience and smooth movement of passengers, Indian Railways is resuming several special train services, which were temporarily cancelled or suspended due to the COVID-19 crisis. According to the national transporter, travelling passengers must follow all COVID-19 pandemic related guidelines and protocols issued by the state and central governments in the trains as well as at railway stations. The Northern Railway zone has recently issued a list of special trains that are being restored from today (15 June 2021) in the Kangra Valley Railway Section. Here are the special train services that are being restored from today: Train number 04601 Pathankot Junction – Joginder Nagar Special Express will resume services from 15 June 2021 Train number 04602 Joginder Nagar – Pathankot Junction Special Express will resume services from 16 June 2021 Train Number 04647 Pathankot Junction – Baijnath Paprola Special Express will resume services from 15 June 2021 Train Number 04648 Baijnath Paprola – Pathankot Junction Special Express will resume services from 15 June 2021 Meanwhile, the Northern Railway zone has also announced that Train Number 04647/04648 Pathankot Junction – Bajinath Paprola – Pathankot Junction Special Express has been provided with additional halts at Nupur Road, Guler, Kangra Mandir railway stations. Train Number 04647 will arrive Nupur Road at 9:19 AM and depart at 9:20 AM, arrive Guler at 11:05 AM and depart at 11:06 AM, arrive Kangra Mandir at 12:05 PM and depart at 12:06 PM. While Train Number 04648 will arrive Kangra Mandir at 5:51 PM and depart at 5:52 PM, arrive Guler at 6:53 PM and depart at 6:54 PM, arrive Nupur Road at 8:24 PM and depart 8:25 PM. For any kind of enquiry or information such as arrival/departure timings and enroute halts, passengers have been advised to contact Rail Madad helpline number 139 or visit Indian Railways website. More:

June 17 at 04:35 AM

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Texas bullet train group inks deal with Milan design firm

AP  June 16, 2021 (US) DALLAS (AP) — The developer of a long-planned — and controversial — high-speed rail line that would get passengers from Dallas to Houston in 90 minutes announced Tuesday that it signed a $16 billion contract with an Italian company to build the project, in what could be a step toward realization. Webuild, based in Milan, will oversee heavy construction of the planned 236-mile (380-kilometer) project for developer Texas Central, the companies said in a news release. Webuild will operate through U.S. subsidiary Cheshire, Connecticut-based Lane Construction Corporation. Nearly half the distance the bullet train will cover — at speeds up to 200-mph (320-kph) — will be elevated to reduce the impact on property owners, the companies said. Residents have fought the high-speed train, which has been discussed for decades and would rely on acquiring land through eminent domain to construct the rail line. Trey Duhon, who heads a group called Texans Against High-Speed Rail, criticized Tuesday’s announcement, saying it was just the developer continuing to try to drum up support for an unpopular project. “Texas Central takes every opportunity to generate what sounds like progress to keep interest and investments alive,” said Duhon, who also is the highest-ranking elected official in Waller County, outside Houston. “Texas Central has been reporting that construction will begin ‘within the next six months,’ ‘later this year’ or ‘soon’ for the last five years.” Webuild CEO Pietro Salini said the project brings further focus to the company’s work in the U.S., its single biggest market. “Being part of such a challenging project as leader of the design and construction of the railway is a unique experience that we are extremely proud of,” Salini said. Webuild was created in 2020 from Salini Impregilo, a leading player in major infrastructure projects that acquired Lane in 2016 and more recently Italy’s Astaldi engineering firm. Building the project will employ 17,000 people directly, Webuild said. The rail link itself would use Japanese bullet train technology and would employ 1,500 people once completed.   More:

June 17 at 04:29 AM

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Railway trackman fatally hit by train

The Hindu  JUNE 15, 2021 (India) A railway trackman was fatally hit by a train near Ollur on Monday night. The deceased was Harshakumar, 27, of Alappuzha. Another trackman, Vineesh, who was critically injured, is undergoing treatment. The accident occurred around 9.30 p.m. between Thrissur and Ollur. Harshakumar and Vineesh, who moved to the second track when they saw Rajadhani Express coming through the first track, were hit by a train engine, which came though the second track. Harshakumar died on the spot. More:

June 17 at 04:09 AM

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PNR's North-South railway to cut travel time by more than 50%--DoTr

The Manila Times  May 25, 2021 (Philippines) THE two segments of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) are expected to cut the travel time of commuters travelling to and from north and south by more than half, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said. The DoTr reported that the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Clark Phase 1 is 45.82 percent complete as of May 17. Upon completion, the DoTr said the 38-kilometer rail line can accommodate 300,000 passengers daily and will shorten travel time from Malolos, Bulacan to Tutuban, Manila to 35 minutes instead of 1 hour and 30 minutes. The PNR Clark Phase 2 from Clark, Pampanga to Malolos, Bulcan will reduce travel time from 1 hour and 30 minutes to 35 minutes, the DoTr said. The 54-kilometer rail line will also feature an Airport Express which will take arriving travelers from Clark International Airport (CRK) in Pampanga to Makati in Metro Manila in 55 minutes. According to the DoTr, the two segments will be linked with the PNR Calamba Phase 3 segment -- a 56-kilometer Tutuban to Calamba line, to form the 148-kilometer mammoth NCSR project NSCR is one of the railway projects of the DoTr which promises comfort and convenience to the riding public. The NSCR is a joint-project of the DoTr and PNR. Meanwhile, the DoTr announced that the Light Rail Transit 2 (LRT-2) extension from Marikina to Antipolo will open on June 22. The extension project will also cut travel time from Manila to Antipolo from three hours to 40 minutes and boost ridership by 80,000 daily More:

June 16 at 06:58 AM

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High-speed rail hits bump in Ayutthaya

Bangkok Post  29 MAY 2021 (Thailand) UN tells developer to mind heritage site The Transport Ministry wants to expedite the high-speed rail project from Bangkok to Nong Khai and is trying to overcome an issue over the construction of a new train station in Ayutthaya. Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob on Friday chaired a meeting of a committee managing the development of the Thai-Sino rail project. The meeting agreed to ensure that the construction of the train station in Ayutthaya proceeded in line with recommendations from the National Committee on the World Heritage Convention. It also approved the establishment of three subcommittees: one to accelerate the implementation of the high-speed rail project, another to develop cross-border connectivity and rail transport from Nong Khai to Vientiane in Laos, and a third to improve other transport systems to support the high-speed project. The National Committee on the World Heritage Convention last December ordered the State Railway of Thailand to ease the impact of the project on historical sites in Ayutthaya while ensuring it remained easy for passengers to use. According to the Fine Arts Department, an inter-agency working team will be formed to design the new Ayutthaya train station so it reflects the historical value of the one it replaces. Pratheep Pengtako, the department's director-general, said that although the existing station was not part of Ayutthaya's inner historical precinct declared as a Unesco World Heritage Site, it held deep historical significance, having been built during the reign of King Rama V when railways were first introduced to the country. Planners say the high-speed rail link from Bangkok to Nong Khai via Nakhon Ratchasima requires a new station to be built in Ayutthaya to meet commercial development needs. Mr Pratheep said the primary concern was that if the new train station was built in a way that did not reflect the design of the present one, it might compromise cultural integrity and adversely affect the city's World Heritage status. He said Unesco had written to his department expressing concern about the station and asked that measures be devised to cushion the impact of high-speed rail on the World Heritage Site. The 253-kilometre first phase of the project from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, which is estimated to cost 179.41 billion baht, is progressing well, said deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul. It will have six stations: Bangkok (Bang Sue), Don Muang, Ayutthaya, Saraburi, Pak Chong and Nakhon Ratchasima.   (file photo) More:

June 16 at 06:49 AM

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Opinion: Quebec's misplaced loyalty to concrete, a rigid sponge

Montreal Gazette  Jun 10, 2021 (Canada) While elevated rail is new to Montreal, the material selected for the REM — reinforced concrete — is certainly not. Thanks to the operation of neophilia — the love of novelty — in our society, the allure of newness often stifles caution. For example, when it comes to the Réseau express métropolitain (REM), there has been little public comment on the wisdom of choosing an elevated rail system. Aside from its ugliness, that is. Now, while elevated rail is new to Montreal, the material selected — reinforced concrete — is certainly not. Quebec’s civil engineers have bestowed upon concrete a loyalty that, despite a succession of failures, often outlasted the object of their affections. For aboveground road structures, engineers kept returning to their main mistress of materials no matter how often it let them — and taxpayers — down: The Champlain Bridge was opened in 1962. The deck and its supporting girders used reinforced concrete. Fifty years later, it was clear a new bridge had to be built. In 1971, Laval’s De la Concorde concrete overpass was completed. It collapsed in 2006, killing five. Some uses were plain weird. Take concrete sunshades. To help drivers emerging from tunnels adjust to the sun, hundreds of concrete grilles, weighing a tonne each, were suspended over the roadway and held up by 30-tonne concrete beams, one of which collapsed in 2011. The elevated concrete Turcot Interchange, built in 1967, was riddled with holes, patches and exposed reinforcing when the project to replace it began in 2015. Turcot was sensibly rebuilt on terra firma, using (gasp!) steel beams for overpasses. Quebec is littered with such examples. Concrete failure was deemed to be caused by human error (is there any other kind?). Insufficient or misplaced reinforcing was usually blamed. While concrete is superb in resisting compressive (downward) forces, it is weak when used — as in the above projects — as a solid beam. This is where reinforcing steel comes in: buried in the concrete, it serves as its secret source of strength. But reinforcing steel has its own vulnerability: it mustn’t be exposed to air or water. Small problem: concrete, which serves as its protective sheath, is permeable. It is a rigid sponge. Concrete is made by mixing cement powder, sand, gravel and water. Now, to make concrete placeable, a greater quantity of water is needed than the amount needed to react with the cement to make the whole mass harden. This excess water eventually migrates through the concrete and evaporates. The passages the water creates to make good its exit become permanent two-way avenues within the concrete. In mild or non-coastal climates, these pores present little difficulty. But freezing cycles can cause sodden pores to burst and concrete to spall. Visiting water (often laced with de-icing salt) can make its way to, and start corroding, the reinforcing steel, which then expands. The concrete fissures from this inside job. In elevated structures, truck (or train) vibrations aggravate matters when things get cracking. This is how, during Quebec winters, water has the power to weaken concrete and its reinforcing. Now on to the REM project. While today’s inexplicable infatuation with mid-century modern fashions has yet to die, mimicking elevated concrete expressways when building new rail lines is retrograde. They should be buried. That said, the REM’s quality control is exceptional. The reinforced concrete supports for the tracks are made up of a series of hollow shapes called segmental box girders, all of which are made in a factory. Elevated expressways generally used cast-in-place concrete, causing inevitable job-site goof-ups. REM is also using superior concrete. But concrete is still permeable, still a rigid sponge. While I don’t agree with the claim that the REM elevated structures will last 100 years, I am not suggesting they could self-destruct. I am saying that, with all the staining, patching and repairs of the concrete becoming eventually necessary, if you think they look ugly now — just wait. Peter F. Trent is a former mayor of Westmount. From 1971 to 1989, he was co-founder and CEO of Plastibeton Inc, a worldwide pioneer in polymer concrete technology.   More:

June 11 at 07:06 AM

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Three male teens accused of entering railroad tracks

The Japan News (by Yomiuri Shimbun) 4:55 pm, June 08, 2021 3 teens sent to family court for entering train tracks to take photos Three male teens accused of entering railroad tracks to take photos of an express train had their case sent to the Sagamihara Branch of Yokohama Family Court on Monday. The Kanagawa prefectural police sent the case on the youths, who allegedly trespassed on the tracks of Odakyu Electric Railway Co.’s signature limited express train Romancecar. The three are charged with violating the Railway Operation Act. According to police, the three said that they wanted to take photos of the train’s wheels and other parts and could do so only from the tracks. The accused minors are a university student and part-time worker, both 19, from Tokyo, and an 18-year-old university student from Yokohama. The trio is suspected of trespassing on the tracks at the Odakyu Line’s Sagami-Ono Station in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, early on the morning of Oct. 25, 2020. Police said the three hid under the platform and when the train pulled into the station, went out on the tracks to take photos. Speech   More:

June 11 at 04:32 AM

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Cancellation of High-Speed Rail (HSR) project

The Straights Times  JAN 8, 2021, 3:42 PM (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) High-speed rail project cancellation just tip of the iceberg in Malaysia's recent rail controversies KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's cancellation of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project is the latest in a series of controversies involving train projects that has cast a light on the governance of these billion-dollar deals. Since the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government came to power 10 months ago, at least two other tracks which traverse Kuala Lumpur's greater metropolitan area are facing government intervention over the selection of contractors. The RM4.4 billion (S$1.44 billion) Klang Valley Double Tracking Phase 2 (KVDT2) deal was terminated abruptly in August after Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said the award should be retendered, leading to a civil suit by the appointed firm, Dhaya Maju LTAT. Meanwhile, Umno MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman's chairmanship of Prasarana has also invited scrutiny, especially after the national public transport firm's decision to withhold up to RM1 billion owed to a consortium tasked with building the Light Rail Transit 3 (LRT3). Datuk Seri Tajuddin, the election director of Malaysia's largest party, cited Prasarana's liquidity problems and the lack of bumiputera sub-contractors selected by turnkey developer MRCB-George Kent (MRCBGK) for withholding the sum in the RM17 billion project. These government interventions have led to calls from across the political divide as well as civil society for more transparency, with some implying cronyism was at play.   More:

June 10 at 08:28 AM

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Oxygen Expresses

The Economic Times Jun 06, 2021, 07:10 PM IST (India) Oxygen Expresses delivered 26,281 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen across 15 states The railway's Oxygen Express trains have delivered 26,281 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen across 15 states, the national transporter said on Sunday. As many as 1,534 tankers have delivered oxygen to 39 cities in the country, it said. While 376 trains have completed their journey and brought relief to various states, six loaded Oxygen Express are currently on the run with more than 483 tonnes of LMO in 26 tankers. Southern states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka received more than 3,000 tonnes of oxygen each from the Oxygen Express. It offloaded more than 2,800 tonnes of the gas in Andhra Pradesh. Oxygen Express trains started their deliveries 43 days back on April 24 in Maharashtra with a load of 126 tonnes. Relief by these trains reached out to 15 states namely Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Telangana, Punjab, Kerala, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Assam.   More:

June 10 at 08:08 AM

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Japan bullet train driver disciplined

The Guardian  Fri 21 May 2021 06.19 BST (Japan) Japan bullet train driver disciplined for leaving controls to go to toilet A conductor, who was not qualified to drive the train, sat in the driver’s seat during his three-minute absence, in breach of the rules A driver on one of Japan’s  shinkansen  bullet trains is facing disciplinary measures after he abandoned his cab to go to the toilet while the train was carrying passengers and travelling at 150km/h. The 36-year-old driver, who has not been named, reportedly had a stomachache and asked a conductor to take his place while he went to the toilet. The conductor, who was not qualified to drive the Hikari-series train, sat in the driver’s seat during his three-minute absence, but did not touch the controls, according to the Kyodo news agency. The incident happened last weekend as the train carried 160 passengers at high speed along the busy Tokaido line, which links Tokyo and Osaka.   More:

June 10 at 08:06 AM

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Acela trains delayed a year by new round of testing

The Washington Post June 3, 2021 at 3:30 p.m. GMT+5:30 (US) Debut of Amtrak’s new Acela trains delayed a year by new round of testing The manufacturer had to alter designs to make the train compatible with aging infrastructure in the Northeast Corridor Amtrak’s new Acela train cars need an extra round of testing to ensure they can safely operate on the curvy and aging tracks of the Northeast Corridor, railroad officials said, confirming a year-long delay in the delivery of the new trains. A prototype train that began tests on the route between Washington and Boston last year was incompatible with the corridor’s track and its catenary system — the overhead wires that supply the train with electricity. The train had to be modified to work harmoniously with the infrastructure, according to Amtrak officials.     More:

June 10 at 08:04 AM

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Russia’s First Female Train Driver

The Moscow Times March 8, 2021 (Russia) Russia’s First Female Train Driver Gets Behind the Wheel Women are entering jobs that were off limits for decades after the Labor Ministry cut its list of banned occupations. Nearly every weekday, Yelena Lysenko-Saltykova puts on her navy blue uniform and gets in the driving carriage of an electric commuter train to ferry passengers between Moscow’s Kievsky Railway Station and the suburb of Novoperedelkino. It’s not something she takes for granted. As the first female suburban light rail train driver in Russia, Lysenko-Saltykova, 25, is one of a small, but growing band of women doing jobs that were off limits for decades until January, when Russia slashed its list of banned occupations from 476 to 100.   More

June 10 at 08:02 AM

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UK sets up Great British Railways

Reuters May 20, 2021  (UK) UK sets up Great British Railways but ‘without the terrible sandwiches’ Britain will create a new public railway operator called Great British Railways (GBR) in the biggest reform in a quarter of a century of a network plagued by expensive fares, packed commuter carriages and blunders over timetables. After the privatisation of British Rail from 1994-1997, the rail sector was fragmented into a bewildering array of different companies, fares and bosses - often leaving passengers angry at the poor service. The first stage of the multi-year plan will see flexible season tickets introduced next month to cater for increased working at home that has become the norm for many commuters during the coronavirus lockdown. "I want the ticketing to be straightforward and simple and we won't be going back to the days of British Rail with terrible sandwiches and all the rest of it," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.   More:

June 10 at 08:00 AM

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Vulnerability of Sukkur division track

Dawn  June 8, 2021 (Pakistan) Railways knew about vulnerability of Sukkur division track: official HYDERABAD: Much before Monday’s train crash near Daharki, Pakistan Railways authorities were informed about the vulnerability of the 900-kilometre-long up and down tracks of the Sukkur division, but to no avail. The vulnerability of the entire track could be gauged from the fact that the point where the tragic accident took place on Monday was welded and PR authorities conducted a forensic audit of that joint of the track just two years ago and cleared it. Speaking to  Dawn  over the phone from the scene, PR Sukkur division’s superintendent Mian Tariq Latif said he had time and again brought into the notice of the top railways authorities the vulnerable condition of the entire track within his jurisdiction. “There are around 6,000 joints on both up and down tracks in the Sukkur division and the point where the tragedy has occurred is one of the welded joints,” Mr Latif said, adding that the entire track in Sukkur division had welded joints.   More:

June 10 at 07:57 AM

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Washington oil-train derailment

AP June 8, 2021 (SEATTLE) Images Rail union: Sabotage caused Washington oil-train derailment SEATTLE (AP) — A rail union official reportedly told investigators that a fiery oil car train derailment north of Seattle late last year was caused by sabotage. Seven train cars carrying crude oil derailed and five caught fire in Custer, Washington, on Dec. 22, 2020, sending a large plume of black smoke into the sky close to the Canadian border. There were no injuries in the derailment about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of Seattle. KUOW reports that an official with the union representing the driver has told authorities the derailment was not an accident. “We know from the FBI investigation, from how trains operate, how trains work, how the couplers work, how the pin lifters work, that this incident was caused without a doubt by sabotage,” Korey McDaniel with the union’s safety team told BNSF Railway investigators, according to a hearing transcript obtained by the station. The incident happened near where two people had been arrested a month before and accused of attempting a terrorist attack on train tracks to disrupt plans for a natural gas pipeline. KUOW reports the cause of the derailment won’t be officially declared until the FBI, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the National Transportation Safety Board finish their inquiries. Two people were on board the 108-car train headed from North Dakota to the Ferndale Refinery, owned by Phillips 66.   More:

June 10 at 07:51 AM

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Hydrogen-Powered Trains Have Arrived

The Wall Street journal  May 26, 2021 6:38 am ET (US) Railways are using the gas to clean up diesel routes. As predictable customers, they can help bring down the costs of green hydrogen for other sectors. For all the buzz about hydrogen trucks and planes, railways provide the most immediate test case for the rollout of a clean-energy technology that has electrified policy makers and markets alike. Investors got very excited about the potential of hydrogen as a sustainable fuel last year, but have taken a breather in recent months—as they have with other speculative technology themes. The fact remains that, for many industries, so-called green hydrogen produced using renewable power needs about a decade of scaling up and rising carbon prices to make it competitive. Yet that isn’t the case for rail transport. Hydrogen-powered trains built by France’s Alstom have already carried passengers over 110,000 miles on trial operations in Europe. The total lifetime cost of ownership is already comparable for trains running on diesel, hydrogen fuel cells or electrified lines, according to a report by consulting firm Roland Berger. Hydrogen is best seen as a substitute for dirty diesel, still used on about half of Europe’s rails and most in the U.S. The gas is particularly useful on routes that aren’t busy enough to give priority to overhead electrification, but are too long for batteries alone. Alstom’s hydrogen trains are new, but existing diesel ones can also be retrofitted.

June 08 at 07:05 AM

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