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Mireo Plus B decarbonizes European railroads with its battery power

RailFactor Exclusive 15 November 2021 ( Germany ) Because  it  is  extremely  simple  to  power  trains  with  electricity,  whether  from  overhead  catenary  or  contact  rails,  railroads  are  one  of  the  most  environmentally  friendly  modes  of  transportation. For  regional  or  local  routes,  electrification  isn't  always  an  option,  thus  Siemens  has  created  Mireo  Plus,   a  new  platform  that  enables  operators  to  completely  decarbonize  these  operations  quickly  and  affordably. Only  around  50%  of  the  routes  in  Germany  are  electrified. Siemens,  which  has  built  electric  trains  for  many  years  (Siemens  was  the  major  proponent  of  them  in  the  20th  century),  has  built  the  Mireo  Plus  from  the  bottom  up  to  provide  flexibility,  range,  and  efficiency. Source https://press.siemens.com/global/en/feature/battery-powered-mireo-plus-b-decarbonises-europes-railways

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Hitachi Rail and Hull Trains celebrate winning reliability award

RailFactor Exclusive 29 November 2022 (UK) At  a  national  awards  ceremony  to  recognise  the  railroad  industry's  most  dependable  fleets,  Hull  Trains  was  recognised  "Best  in  Class." The  Class  802  Paragon  fleet,  which  was  developed  and  maintained  by  Hitachi,  won  the  prize  for  its  exceptional  reliability  in  2022. The  Golden  Spanner  awards,  presented  by  the  industry  journal  Modern  Railways,  honour  the  best  rolling  stock  maintenance  and  practises  and  recognise  the  businesses  that  have  done  the  most  to  increase  train  reliability  for  passengers. In  the  2ndGeneration  new  inter-city  category,  Hull  Trains  received  a  Gold,  the  highest  honour  available. Source https://www.hitachirail.com/press/#/pressreleases/hull-trains-and-hitachi-rail-celebrate-top-award-for-reliability-3220634

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U.S. House votes to block rail strike, mandate paid sick leave

Reuters December 1, 2022 (Washington , US) The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to approve a bill to block a potentially crippling railroad strike and to mandate paid sick time for rail workers. Lawmakers voted 290-137 to impose a tentative contract deal reached in September on a dozen unions representing 115,000 workers after President Joe Biden warned of the catastrophic impact of a rail stoppage that could begin as early as Dec. 9. The House separately voted 221-207 to give seven days of paid sick leave to railroad employees, but that faces an uncertain fate in the Senate. Democrats and some Republicans have expressed outrage over the lack of paid short-term sick leave for railroad workers. "We know much more needs to be done for railroad workers," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said ahead of the votes. "No one should be at risk of losing his or her job by staying home when sick, needing to see a doctor or getting lifesaving surgery." A rail strike could freeze almost 30% of U.S. cargo shipments by weight, stoke already surging inflation and cost the American economy as much as $2 billion per day, and strand millions of Amtrak and commuter rail passengers. After the vote, Biden called on the Senate to act "urgently." "Without the certainty of a final vote to avoid a shutdown this week, railroads will begin to halt the movement of critical materials like chemicals to clean our drinking water as soon as this weekend," he said in a statement. Asked if Biden supported the separate House measure to require sick leave, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the president broadly supports paid sick leave for all Americans "but he does not support any bill or amendment that would delay getting this bill to his desk." Railroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce oppose amending the contract deal that was struck in September largely on the recommendations of an emergency board appointed by Biden. The influential business lobby group said the sick leave, if passed and signed into law, "would impose an unworkable, one-sided modification to a labor agreement." Biden on Monday praised the proposed contract that includes a 24% compounded pay increase over five years and five annual $1,000 lump-sum payments, and had asked Congress to impose the agreement without any modifications. There are no paid short-term sick days under the tentative deal after unions asked for 15 and railroads settled on one personal day. "This all could have been avoided had the railroads been willing to provide their employees with a basic protection and what so many Americans already have: paid sick time," House Transportation Committee chair Peter DeFazio said. Association of American Railroads Chief Executive Ian Jefferies said House action on sick leave could undermine future collective bargaining and argued the unions have historically bargained for higher overall wages and a more generous long-term leave policy. Eight of 12 unions have ratified the deal. But some labor leaders have criticized Biden for asking Congress to impose a contract that workers in four unions have rejected over its lack of paid sick leave. The contracts cover workers at carriers including Union Pacific (UNP.N), Berkshire Hathaway Inc's (BRKa.N) BNSF, CSX (CSX.O), Norfolk Southern Corp (NSC.N) and Kansas City Southern. Both Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh are set to speak to Senate Democrats on Thursday about the rail labor issue. Source https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-house-set-approve-bill-block-rail-strike-2022-11-30/

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Why are so many workers going on strike?

BBC 30 November 2022 (UK) Tens of thousands of workers have downed tools this year to request pay deals that keep up with the rising cost of living. The public is having to deal with disruption from train and postal strikes, as well as closed schools, overflowing bins and gridlock in the courts. There could be further strikes through the winter and next year, as doctors and civil servants are also in dispute with their employers. Why are the strikes happening? The disputes are over working conditions, pensions and pay. Prices are rising at over 11% per year, the fastest rate for 40 years. That means workers are seeing their living costs rising faster than their wages, leaving them worse off. Employees in many industries belong to trade unions, organisations that represent their interests to management, and negotiate on their behalf over pay, jobs and working conditions. When those unions have not been able to get a pay deal they feel is fair, they can ask their members to vote on whether to take industrial action. At the most extreme, this means going on strike where staff refuse to do their jobs. Workers can also take less drastic measures to put pressure on their employers, such as refusing to do overtime. In some professions basic services must be maintained. Doctors and nurses won't completely stop work as that would put lives at risk. Industrial disputes have been rising since the pandemic. In 2019, on average 19,500 days a month were lost to strike action. In July 2022, the figure was 87,600, according to the Office for National Statistics. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/business-62134314

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UAE: Etihad Rail to cut transport time for cargo from 12 hours to 4 hours

Khaleej Times 29 November 2022 (UAE) Partnership comes in efforts to provide logistics solutions to the country’s largest companies, to transport goods through the network at reduced costs and time Etihad Rail, the developer of UAE's national railway network, has reached an agreement with leading UAE petrochemical company Borouge, to transport 1.3 million tonnes of polyolefins annually from its petrochemical complex in Al Ruways Industrial City via rail for export. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Etihad Rail, witnessed the signing of the terms sheet for a strategic partnership for sustainable transportation between Etihad Rail and Borouge. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Managing Director and CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), and Chairman of Borouge; and Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, witnessed the signing as well. The agreement was signed by Eng Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, and Hazeem Sultan Al Suwaidi, CEO of Borouge, in the presence of members of Etihad Rail and Borouge’s Board of Directors. Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: “This strategic partnership comes in line with Etihad Rail's efforts to provide logistics solutions to some of the country’s largest companies, where they can transport goods through the rail network at reduced costs and time. In doing so, Etihad Rail also contributes to reducing carbon emissions, in line with the objectives of the UAE.” He highlighted the role of Adnoc in supporting railway projects, as it was the first to use Etihad Rail’s services to transport granulated sulfur across the UAE, in addition, His Highness also highlighted Borouge's innovative capabilities in developing advanced solutions that enhance the UAE's competitiveness in the petrochemical industry and support the UAE's economy diversification efforts. Dr Sultan Al Jaber said: “This important collaboration between Borouge and Etihad Rail contributes to the growth of Abu Dhabi’s industrial sector and will support Borouge’s ongoing drive to optimize its logistics platform, lowering both its operating costs and carbon emissions. “The partnership reinforces Borouge’s resilience and accelerates the export of its ‘Made In UAE’ products using more sustainable modes of transport, while underlining the partners’ commitment to the UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative,” he added. Source https://www.khaleejtimes.com/transport/uae-etihad-rail-to-cut-transport-time-for-cargo-from-12-hours-to-4-hours

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Stadler once more sends the FLIRT model to Finland

RailFactor Exclusive 29 November 2022 (Finland) A deal  for  the  delivery  of  20  single-decker  FLIRT  multiple  units  was  signed  between  the  Finnish  VR  Group  and  Stadler. The  trains'  effective  electric  propulsion  will  enable  even  more  environmentally  friendly  rail  transportation  in  the  Helsinki  region. The  agreement  covers  the  provision  of  spare  parts  as  well  as  options  for  an  extension  of  full  service  and  an  additional  50  trains. The  new  trains  are  designed  for  use  in  regional  transportation,  such  as  around  Helsinki,  Finland's  capital,  and  in  the  Tampere  region. If  necessary  in  the  future,  the  FLIRT  vehicles  can  also  serve  as  intercity  trains. Source https://www.stadlerrail.com/media/pdf/2022_1129_media%20release_flirt%20vr%20group_en.pdf

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Italy state railway adds 300-euro bonus to help staff with cost of living

Reuters November 26, 2022 (Italy)    Italy's state railways company Ferrovie dello Stato said on Friday it will grant its staff a 300 euro additional bonus this year under a scheme approved by the government to help soften the impact of the rising cost of living. Ferrovie said under an agreement with unions it will give its staff the additional credit to pay expenses such as energy bills, public transport and gasoline. Ferrovie employs some 82,000 workers in Italy. Earlier this month the government approved legislation to forego taxation on so-called fringe benefits paid to employees this year for up to 3,000 euros per worker as part of a 9 billion euro aid package to help firms and households with decades-high inflation rates and increased energy prices. Source https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/italy-state-railway-adds-300-euro-bonus-help-staff-with-cost-living-2022-11-25/

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Train cancellations: 'Some days I spend more on travel than I earn’

BBC 30 November 2022 (UK) Vet Jenna Blackburn's usual commute is Chester to Manchester, changing at Warrington, often on Northern. But she regularly gets stuck in Warrington when trains are delayed or cancelled and has to get a taxi home. "Financially it's a lot," she said. "You're coming to work to make money and you can spend more than your day's wage to get home." She is one of many facing disruption, with train cancellations at the highest level since records began in 2015. Newly released data from the Office of Road and Rail shows 3.8% of trains in Great Britain have been cancelled in the year up to 12 November - or one in every 26. "On a semi-regular basis I'm getting home at nine o'clock at night," Ms Blackburn said. She doesn't drive and said a taxi home from Warrington to Chester usually costs between £30 and £40, depending on the time. But on strike days taxi prices are higher. Ms Blackburn said she once paid more than £160 for a taxi when she needed to get to and from work urgently. "Emotionally it's exhausting, to constantly have to look at the train times every single day. And hope I'm not going to be stranded," she said. 'Stress and expense' When trains are running, Ms Blackburn said they are often crowded and strikes have added extra stress and expense. The persistent disruption in recent months has prompted outcry from commuters, leisure travellers, politicians and business groups, particularly in the North of England. The Transport Secretary Mark Harper is due to meet a group of mayors in the region on Wednesday to discuss the situation. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/business-63795572

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London, Paris expand rail networks but studies flag polluted air underground

Straits Times 26 November, 2022 (UK) European governments hope to reduce air pollution by persuading their public to make greater use of the extensive underground rail networks in the continent’s biggest cities. Spurred by its hosting of the Paris Olympics in 2024, France is currently spending €42 billion (S$60 billion) on a gigantic expansion of its public transport, adding 200km of railway tracks and 68 stations to the French capital’s Metro by the end of this decade. Meanwhile, the British has just added a line to the London underground, named after its late Queen and stretching over 100km at a cost of £20 billion (S$33 billion). Although the overall environmental benefits of using public transport are not in question, recently published scientific studies have revealed that those tapping the underground networks in these two cities may be subjected to higher fine particle air pollution than in the outside, ambient air. Fine particle air pollution inside the Paris area Metro is “on average three times higher than in the urban exterior air”, claims a report by French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (Anses). And the British capital is no better. “Continued exposure” to higher than normal air pollution particles in London’s Underground could “lead to increased cellular toxicity and detrimental health effects”, including adverse cardiovascular and respiratory problems, warns a report released in October by the Global Centre for Clean Air Research based at Britain’s University of Surrey.  Although both the British and French transport systems have been in constant use since the 19th century, their sprawling underground systems remain poorly researched by environmental experts. Apart from conducting regular tests to ensure that general air quality requirements are met, there are few studies and no consensus about measuring the impact of fine particle air pollution. In the Paris Metro system, pollution is measured only on platforms, whereas Anses now argues that it should also be done in the hallways of underground stations and train cars. However, what emerges clearly from both the recent French and British studies is that the air in the underground systems contains what Anses refers to as a “high number of metallic elements, iron in particular, and also of elemental and organic carbon”. These particles are generated from train cars moving along tracks, brakes rubbing against metal rails and electrical connections. “You’ve iron rubbing on steel, steel on steel, iron and copper and barium from the brakes,” said Dr David Green from Imperial College London, in an interview for the BBC, Britain’s state-funded broadcaster. Further fine particle pollution comes from passengers’ hair and skin cells and fragments of their clothing. And all are pushed along by the trains moving through tunnels. Some particles – usually under 10 micrometres in diameter, or roughly 0.01mm – are large enough to be caught by the hairs in the nose and throat, so their damage to health may be limited. But those under 2.5 micrometres in diameter can penetrate deep into the lungs. How harmful they are is a subject of further research, and scientists will also have to consider the period of time passengers are exposed to underground air. And although research on this is ongoing, calculations may already have to be revised now that people no longer commute to work every day or at the same appointed hour. Be that as it may, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently introduced much tougher recommendations, advising that people should not be exposed to fine particles of air pollution exceeding 5 micrograms per cubic metre, half of what was considered safe until now. The legal, safe limit in both Britain and France – both of which adhere to European Union regulations adopted back in 2008 – now stands at five times the recommended WHO levels. Source https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/london-paris-expand-rail-networks-but-studies-flag-polluted-air-underground

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Bukit Panjang LRT upgrading to be completed in 2026 after facing delays

Channel News Asia 29 November 2022 (Singapore) The upgrading of the Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT) is expected to be completed in 2026, Transport Minister S Iswaran said in a written parliamentary answer on Monday (Nov 28). This was in response to a question by MP Liang Eng Hwa (PAP-Bukit Panjang) about the progress of the upgrading works on the BPLRT system. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) previously said the renewal was on track for completion by 2024. Mr Iswaran said that progress has been made, with part of the backend signalling system having already been upgraded. However, he said that the project has faced "several challenges since 2020" due to the impact of COVID-19. These include manpower shortage, slower progress due to the lockdown of cities in China where train manufacturing works are undertaken, and supply chain disruptions, Mr Iswaran said. LTA awarded a S$344 million contract to Bombardier Singapore in 2018 for the BPLRT system renewal. The renewal covers the upgrading of multiple systems on a live line. This includes renewing the entire signalling and power rail system, adding 19 new trains, upgrading another 13 trains from the existing fleet, and equipping the system with condition monitoring capabilities, said Mr Iswaran. Mr Liang also asked when the system will revert to a dual loop service. In his reply, Mr Iswaran said that Bukit Panjang LRT "continues to offer full dual loop services during peak hours". "However, to reduce the strain on our ageing BPLRT systems before the renewals are completed, BPLRT will continue to operate in a single loop during off-peak hours when ridership is lower." Since December 2019, the LRT has operated on one counter-clockwise loop via Petir Station during off-peak hours. LTA said then that the decision will "better match supply with demand, without affecting service to commuters". Mr Iswaran also said there are more than 10 bus services operating within Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Panjang that will mitigate the impact residents face. Five of the bus services run parallel to stretches of the BPLRT, he added. Source https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/bukit-panjang-lrt-upgrading-be-completed-2026-after-facing-delays-3108371

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The

RailFactor Exclusive 05 November 2022 (China)   The  first  train  for  the  Chuzhou-Nanjing  intercity  railway  (Chuzhou  segment),  which  was  designed  and  produced  by  CRRC  Puzhen,  was  just  formally  delivered  to  Chuzhou's  Xiangguan  Depot.  The  intercity  railway  between  Chuzhou  and  Nanjing  has  taken  another  significant  step  toward  operation, and  the  groundwork  for  the  next  debugging  and  commissioning  testing  and  trial  operation  has  also  been  set. The  train  on  the  Chuzhou-Nanjing  intercity  railway  (Chuzhou  segment)  is  an  intercity  D  type  vehicle  with  four  carriages  and  travels  at  a  speed  of  140  km/h  (2  motor  cars  and  2  trailers). This  model  is  ideal  for  a  one-hour  journey  between  the  central  city  and  the  major  neighbouring  cities  because  to  its  high  speed  EMC,  quick  start  and  stop  capabilities,  and  speedy  boarding  and  landing  of  the  metro  train.  The  historical  and  cultural  components  of  Chuzhou  were  included  into  the  external  design  of  CRRC  Puzhen. The  headlights  are  shaped  like  phoenix  eyes,  and  the  design,  which  was  inspired  by  Chuzhou's  phoenix  painting,   includes  an  orange  belt  that  runs  through  the  train's  entire  body  from  the  headstock  up.  This  emphasises  the  train's  vitality  and  creates  a  3D  image  that  represents  Chuzhou's  traditional  culture. Source https://www.crrcgc.cc/en/g7389/s10408/t336731.aspx

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RITES completes exports to Sri Lanka, orders to Mozambique underway

The Hindu Business Line November 28, 2022  (India) RITES will continue to explore overseas markets for export of rolling stock, says RITES chairman Rahul Mithal Indian Railways’ subsidiary RITES (Rail India Technical and Economic Service Ltd), has secured rolling stock export orders to the tune of ₹2,100 crore. While the ₹1,400 crore order to Sri Lanka has been completed, another ₹700 crore order book — that includes customised cape-gauge diesel locomotives — to Mozambique is currently underway. Source https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/rites-completes-exports-to-sri-lanka-orders-to-mozambique-underway/article66195417.ece

3 days ago

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