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Saudi Railway Company (SAR) and Alstom work together to enhance sustainable mobility in Saudi Arabia

RailFactor Exclusive 21 September 2022 (Saudi Arabia) A  Saudi  Arabian  agreement  to  look  at  hydrogen-powered  trains  for  the  country A  memorandum  of  understanding  (MoU)  was  signed  by  Alstom  and  Saudi  Railway  Company  (SAR)  to  develop  hydrogen  train  solutions  customised  for  Saudi  Arabia. The  agreement  was  signed  by  Mohamed  KHALIL,  managing  director  of  Alstom  Saudi  Arabia,  and  Mr.  Khaled  ALHARBI,  senior  vice  president  operations  at  SAR,  Kingdom  of  Saudi  Arabia,  following  a  series  of  meetings  where  both  parties  discussed  the  demand  for  seamless,  secure,  integrated,  and  sustainable  public  transportation  services. The  goal  is  to  actively  endeavour  to  create  and  implement  solutions  linked  to  railway  infrastructure  and  capability  that  are  in  line  with  Vision  2030  while  also  investigating  potential  for  the  future  of  sustainable  mobility  in  Saudi  Arabia. Source

September 27 at 06:23 AM

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Innovative battery hybrid train from Hitachi Rail will lower pollution throughout Europe.

RailFactor Exclusive 21 September 2022 (Germany) At  InnoTrans,  the  largest  rail  transportation  trade  show  in  the  world,  Hitachi  Rail  and  Trenitalia  present  the  innovative  "Blues  Train"  today  in  Berlin. When  it  begins  operating  in  Italy  later  this  year,  it  will  be  the  first  battery  hybrid  fleet  in  passenger  service  anywhere  in  Europe,  but  it  is  suitable  to  travel  the  entire  continent. A  hybrid  "tri-mode"  train  will  reduce  emissions  by  more  than  50%  and  can  effortlessly  convert  between  battery,  electric,  and  diesel  power. The  world's  most  technologically  advanced  train,  the  new  Hitachi  Rail  "Blues  Train,"  was  launched  today  (Wednesday,  21st  2022)  in  Berlin  at  the  largest  rail  transport  trade  show,  InnoTrans.  The  state-of-the-art  battery  hybrid  train,  designed  for  Trenitalia,  can  reach  and  leave  stations  entirely  on  battery  power  and  will  lower  carbon  emissions  and  fuel  usage  by  50%.  Later  this  year,  the  train  will  become  the  first  tri-mode  fleet  to  run  on  battery,  electric,  and  diesel  power  in  passenger  service  in  Europe. Source

September 27 at 05:46 AM

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At InnoTrans 2022, Siemens Mobility unveils the Mireo Plus B for the first time

RailFactor Exclusive 21 September 2022 (Germany) For  Landesanstalt  Schienenfahrzeuge  Baden-Württemberg,  27  battery-powered  trains  (SFBW) Battery-powered  hybrid  platform  that  is  innovative  and  energy-efficient  and  may  be  used  with  or  without  overhead  wires Additional  38  Mireo  Plus  B  trains  from  Siemens  Mobility  are  delivered  to  the  Danish  railroads  Niederbarnimer  Eisenbahn  (NEB)  and  Midtjyske  Jernbaner. At  InnoTrans  2022,  Siemens  Mobility  unveils  the  Mireo  Plus  B  battery  train  to  the  general  public  for  the  first  time.  Siemens  Mobility  has  received  an  order  for  27  Mireo  Plus  B  trains  from  the  Landesanstalt  Schienenfahrzeuge  Baden-Württemberg  (SFBW)  for  delivery  in  2020.  The  120-seat,  two-car  electric  trainsets  will  run  on  Network  8  of  the  Ortenau  regional  system  and  can  travel  on  rail  tracks  with  or  without  overhead  power  lines  thanks  to  its  battery  hybrid  motor.  The  multi-unit  deliveries  are  expected  to  be  made  between  June  and  December  2023. Source

September 27 at 05:31 AM

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Southend Pier train returns to service after doors failure

BBC 23 September 2022 (UK) A pier train named after Sir David Amess has returned to service five months after a technical problem left passengers trapped inside. The electric train was one of two "state-of-the-art" eco-friendly vehicles installed as part of a £3.5m investment for Southend city and pier. The train was taken out of action in April after the doors failed to open. "An intense period of safety tests and checks" followed, Southend City Council said. Southend Pier Railway is a 3ft (914 mm) narrow gauge railway that runs along most of the 1.34-mile (2.16km) length of the world's longest pleasure pier. The train, named after the late Southend West MP, began carrying passengers in April but was taken out of service after the doors failed on 25 April. Passengers and onlookers had to work together to prise open the doors of a carriage when the train reached the end of the pier. Councillor Martin Terry, cabinet member for community safety, said the work to get the train back in action had "certainly taken longer than we hoped". "The team have been working tirelessly to deliver this project and overcome every obstacle," he said. "With technology as advanced and unique as this, it has been important for the council to adopt a safety-first approach and get this right. "We are frustrated that we have not been able to get them up and running this summer, but now we can look forward to riding the new trains and I'm sure many people will welcome and be able enjoy them for many years to come." The council said the delay was due to the new technology working with the old pier. Source

September 27 at 05:14 AM

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Cross Island Line phase 2: Excitement about new rail option but concerns linger over details, impact

Straits Times September 21, 2022 (Singapore) Residents and businesses close to phase two of the Cross Island Line (CRL) are glad to have a new transport option in the future, but have concerns about issues such as the location of the new stations and construction-related traffic jams. Even though it will be ready only 10 years from now, Mr Mark Yeow is among those who are looking forward to the opening of the six stations along the 15km stretch of rail in 2032. The West Coast resident, 32, lamented about the relative lack of public transport connectivity near his home in Clementi West Street 2. The marketing consultant, who uses the bus, train and car-sharing services, recounted one evening in March when a 15-minute journey from Commonwealth took him almost an hour as he could not find a vehicle or a direct public transport route. He eventually got home via a combination of train and bus. Plans for CRL phase two were announced on Tuesday by Transport Minister S. Iswaran. He said it will provide greater public transport access to areas in the west, such as West Coast, and improve connectivity between the eastern, western and north-eastern parts of Singapore. This rail section includes interchanges with the Downtown Line at King Albert Park and the East-West Line at Clementi station. Source

September 27 at 05:06 AM

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Labour does back rail nationalisation, says shadow transport minister

BBC 25 September 2022 (UK) Labour Party policy is to take the railways back into public ownership, the shadow rail minister has confirmed. Tanmanjeet Dhesi told the BBC the "fragmented and privatised model is letting down the British people". In July, Sir Keir Starmer said he would take a "pragmatic" not "ideological" approach to nationalisation. This led to confusion about the party's position, although Sir Keir stressed rail was "different" as so much of it was already in public hands. Mr Dhesi told an RMT union fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool: "We believe that under a Labour government we should be taking rail back into public ownership." He added that this had been the party's policy since he became shadow rail minister in April 2020. Labour committed to bringing rail, mail, water and energy into public ownership in its 2019 manifesto under Jeremy Corbyn. However, in July, his successor as Labour leader Sir Keir said he wanted to take a "pragmatic" rather than "ideological" approach on nationalisation, adding that for most utilities "the answer is going to lie in regulating the market, changing the market, rather than simply taking things into public ownership". However, he told the Mirror: "Rail is probably different from the others because so much of our rail is already in public ownership... Pragmatically, that is the situation, and it's going to be the situation for some time to come." Network Rail, which runs railway infrastructure like tracks in England, Scotland and Wales, is publicly owned. However, trains and most smaller stations are split into franchises run by different companies. After the RMT event, Mr Dhesi told the BBC: "At the moment the failed, fragmented and privatised model is letting down the British people. "We need to make sure that we have an affordable, accessible and reliable system, a simplified system, and the best way of achieving that, I think, is taking that back into public ownership." Asked whether he wanted to see a bigger focus on rail nationalisation in the main conference hall, he said: "Many of those policies, they have been outlined. Many of those policies continue to be outlined in the main hall as well as in fringe meetings." Source

September 26 at 05:12 AM

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JR East to offer ‘random trips’ on Shinkansen at deep discounts

The Asahi Shimbun September 26, 2022 (Japan) When users enter the required information on an exclusive website, a random combination of four stations is shown: clockwise from top left, Shin-Aomori, Yonezawa, Niigata and Shiroishi-Zao stations. (Provided by East Japan Railway Co.) East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) will offer Shinkansen tickets at cheaper rates, with the catch being that the destination will be selected at random. “We hope passengers will visit places they normally wouldn’t and discover unexpected charms,” a JR East representative said. The discount service will start on a full-scale basis in December after a three-day trial run between Sept. 29 and Oct. 12. When users enter the departing station (Tokyo, Ueno or Omiya stations), the times for departure and return and other information on an exclusive website, four out of 47 Shinkansen stations under JR East’s jurisdiction at least 150 kilometers from Tokyo Station will be presented as candidate destinations. Users can restart the process until they come across their favorite combination. When they apply for the trip, one of the four stations will be chosen at random as their destination. Random-destination tickets will be available for members of the JRE Point reward service, which can be used for shopping and charging the Suica IC card. One JRE Point is equivalent to 1 yen (1.4 cent). For example, a round-trip Shinkansen ticket between Tokyo and Akita stations normally requires 24,220 JRE Points. But the random-destination ticket will cost only 6,000 Points. A regular one-way ticket for the same destination is sold for about 18,000 yen. West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) started a similar program in July for passengers traveling on a Shinkansen or limited express train to or from its stations in Osaka. The destination is determined by the roll of virtual dice. The round-trip ticket costs 5,000 yen, giving passengers a discount of about 50 to 80 percent off the regular prices. Source

September 26 at 04:52 AM

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More ScotRail staff will wear bodycams to keep crime down

The Times September 26 2022 (UK) ScotRail is to give body cameras to all public-facing staff to enhance security and gather evidence to be used in court cases. The decision follows reports of staff being groped as well as threatened with knives, fire extinguishers and makeshift flamethrowers. Three hundred employees took part in a pilot scheme in 2020 and the newly nationalised rail operator is seeking a contractor that can provide 1,200 devices for about £100,000. ScotRail’s tender document for a four-year contract says the aim is for every employee who deals with the public to have a body camera. It says the device must provide a “visible indication to ensure that potential data subjects are aware of recording”. Unions welcomed the move but said the cameras would be worn voluntarily Source

September 26 at 04:44 AM

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TfL cleaners, caterers and security staff to get free transport in London

The Guardian 25 September 2022 (UK) Sadiq Khan taking ‘unprecedented’ action to ease financial pressure for lowest-paid transport workers Workers who clean the underground and other public transport in London are to be given free travel, Sadiq Khan has announced. The mayor of London has asked Transport for London to extend free travel on the capital’s public transport for the lowest-paid contract workers, as well as for catering and security staff. The move will benefit about 5,000 workers who were not previously eligible for free travel. Khan said he was taking the “unprecedented” action to ease the financial pressure faced by the lowest-paid transport workers. He has also asked TfL to look into whether sick pay standards for low-earning workers could be improved, and to conduct work early next year to assess TfL’s ability to bring cleaning services in house. Khan said: “London’s transport workers, who did so much for us during the pandemic, continue to play an essential and much valued role in keeping our city’s transport network safe and operating. “I’m deeply concerned about the fact the spiralling cost of living is hitting those on lower incomes the hardest. That’s why I’m taking unprecedented action to support London’s lowest-paid transport workers by removing the cost of using public transport. “I will continue to do everything I can to help Londoners with spiralling costs, including providing targeted support directly to those on lower incomes, and to prevent financial inequalities widening further so we can continue to build a better, fairer and more prosperous city for all Londoners.” Source

September 26 at 04:31 AM

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Bullet trains start running on Kyushu Shinkansen Line's new Nagasaki route

The Mainichi  September 23, 2022 (Japan) Bullet trains on the Kyushu Shinkansen Line's new Nagasaki route in southwest Japan made their debut on the morning of Sept. 23 to the delight of railway fans. The new line connects Takeo-Onsen Station in the Saga Prefecture city of Takeo and Nagasaki Station in the city of Nagasaki. Kyushu Railway Co. (JR Kyushu) operates the country's shortest shinkansen line, which is not connected to other shinkansen lines because the construction of a section in Saga Prefecture has not started. By using limited express trains for that section and the new bullet trains, passengers now can travel between Hakata Station in the city of Fukuoka and Nagasaki Station in as little as one hour and 20 minutes, some 30 minutes shorter than before. Local officials celebrated the opening of the Nagasaki route at all five stations on Sept. 23. The very first "Kamome" (seagull) bullet train full of passengers departed Nagasaki Station at 6:17 a.m. The six-carriage Kamome trains were created based on Central Japan Railway Co.'s N700S series bullet trains by industrial designer Eiji Mitooka, who is known for having worked on the "Seven Stars in Kyushu" luxury sleeper trains. The Kamome bullet trains and the "Relay Kamome" limited express trains will run 44 times a day for the time being. JR Kyushu will operate more trains mainly on weekends depending on a boost in passenger numbers following the coronavirus pandemic. Passengers can transfer between the bullet trains and limited express trains on the same platform at Takeo-Onsen Station. The Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen Line was first planned in 1973. The national government proceeded to develop gauge-changing trains, which can run on both conventional lines and shinkansen lines, and initially planned to operate bullet trains between Hakata and Nagasaki stations including a conventional line section between Shin-Tosu Station in the Saga Prefecture city of Tosu and Takeo-Onsen Station. However, the central government gave up on the development of gauge-changing trains in 2018, and altered the plan to construct a shinkansen line with a standard gauge. The construction cost for the finally opened 66-kilometer section was 620 billion yen (roughly $4.36 billion). (Japanese original by Hiroshi Hisano, Kyushu Business News Department; Video by Hiroyuki Takahashi, Nagasaki Bureau, Hiroshi Hisano, Kyushu Business News Department, Noriko Tokuno, Kyushu Photo Department, and Keiichi Sugiyama, Isahaya Resident Bureau) Source

September 26 at 04:10 AM

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For greener transportation in Singapore, Thales and SMRT Trains have partnered on next-generation rail signalling technologies.

RailFactor Exclusive 21 September 2022 (Singapore) The  traction  power  used  by  Singapore's  Mass  Rapid  Transit  (SMRT)  systems  is  already  ecologically  friendly,  providing  citizens  with  a  more  environmentally  friendly  transportation  option. The  Thales-developed  Automatic  Train  Control  system  incorporates  Smart  and  Green  Communications-Based  Train  Control  (CBTC)  algorithms  during  the  re-signaling  of  the  North-South  and  East-West  (NSEW)  lines. The  oldest  rail  network  in  Singapore  has  become  more  dependable  and  sustainable  thanks  to  their  Green  CBTC  algorithms,  which  allow  an  automated,  driverless  train  to  follow  optimised  curves  while  reducing  energy  consumption. This  partnership  between  Thales  and  SMRT  Trains  to  develop  the  next-generation  Green  CBTC  aims  to  expand  the  potential  uses  of  such  intelligent  application  to  reduce  traction  energy  of  the  NSEW  lines  by  15%  while  also  evaluating  the  operational  effectiveness  of  its  green  features  using  data  analytics. In  2017,  the  SelTrac TM   CBTC  signalling  system  from  Thales  was  installed  for  the  first  time  on  the  NSEW  lines.  Since  then,  it  has  improved  passenger  comfort  and  signalling  system  dependability.  The  Automatic  Train  Operation  (ATO)  system  regulates  the  traction-related  operations  of  accelerating,  braking,  and  coasting  while  CBTC  signalling  controls  the  NSEW  lines. Since  it  was  put  into  operation,  Thales'  Automatic  Train  Operate  (ATC)  system  operating  on  these  lines  has  included  clever  algorithms  that  choose  how  to  control  a  train,  according  to  optimised  running  curves  to  obtain  the  optimum  energy-saving  benefits  with  minimal  impact  on  travel  time. Source

September 23 at 05:01 AM

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InnoTrans 2022: Emphasis on sustainable transportation

RailFactor Exclusive September 19, 2022 (Germany) More  than  a  thousand  guests  were  invited  to  the  inaugural  event  with  Federal  Transport  Minister  Dr.  Volker  Wissing  and  EU  Commissioner  Adina  Vălean. The  entire  fair  grounds  are  occupied  by  2,834  exhibitors  from  56  countries. 250  international  exhibitors  showcasing  world  innovations 124  cars  on  a  rail  distance  of  3,500  metres The  bus  display  shows  14  buses. Platform  for  supplemental  mobility  services  called  Mobility+ 21  recipients  of  Career  Awards  were  present. New  chances  for  virtual  networking  are  provided  via  the  InnoTrans  Plus  internet  platform. Two  postponements  of  the  trade  show  were  necessary.  This  is  the  first  time  the  sector  has  met  in  person  in  four  years. Adina  Vălean,  the  EU's  commissioner  for  transport,  sees  the  shift  to  new  modes  of  mobility  as  a  pan-European  endeavour. " “In the years to come rail transport will be the focus of European transport policy, and InnoTrans, the leading international trade fair for transport technology, provides a valuable insight into how our plans will become reality. I am looking forward to witnessing some of the 250 innovations on display at this year’s InnoTrans, which will contribute to making rail transport and public transport more sustainable and resilient.“ Adina Vălean  EU Transport Commissioner   InnoTrans  is  also  showing  124  new  cars  outdoors  and  on  3,500  metres  of  rail  track.  Trains  propelled  by  hydrogen  are  among  them.  The  Mireo  Plus  H,  the  newest  generation  of  hydrogen-powered  trains,  and  the  Mireo  Plus  B,  which  has  a  high-performance  flexible  battery  system,  are  being  introduced  by  Siemens  Mobility.  Alstom's  Coradia  iLint  hydrogen-powered  passenger  train  is  now  in  use  on  German  commercial  rail  lines  and  scheduled  to  run  twice  daily  between  Berlin-Spandau  and  Berlin-Ostbahnhof.  Selected  partners  and  guests  of  Alstom  will  be  able  to  take  a  test  drive.   The  double-decker  Coradia  Stream,  a  high-capacity  train  for  regional  services,  and  the  Traxx  locomotive  with  a  last-mile  option,  which  employs  the  European  Train  Control  System,  are  two  examples  of  the  exhibits  being  displayed  by  Alstom  in  the  outdoor  display  area .   This  year,  Stadler  is  participating  with  seven  vehicles.  The  business  is  introducing  its  hydrogen-powered  FLIRT  H2  multiple  unit  train  for  the  American  passenger  rail  market  to  the  public  for  the  first  time. Source

September 23 at 04:50 AM

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