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Indian Railways resumes Darjeeling-Ghum Joy ride services

Financial Express  August 17, 2021  From 16 August 2021, Indian Railways has resumed Joy ride services between Darjeeling - Ghum - Darjeeling. Darjeeling Himalayan Railways Joy Rides: Good news for tourists! Indian Railways has resumed Joy ride services in Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR) for the benefit of passengers. According to the Northeast Frontier Railway zone, from 16 August 2021, the national transporter has resumed Joy ride services between Darjeeling – Ghum – Darjeeling. Interested tourists or passengers can book tickets for DHR Joy trains online on the IRCTC website or at Passenger Reservation System (PRS) across the Indian Railways network, and at Darjeeling railway station (for joy rides).  Source https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/indian-railways-resumes-darjeeling-ghum-joy-ride-services-check-timings-here/2312401/

August 24 at 05:36 AM

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$5.7 Billion Budget Allocated for Metronet Projects in Western Australia | Thousands of jobs

9 September 2021 Project schedules adjusted to suit current economic conditions Today’s State Budget delivered a $5.7 billion investment in 15 METRONET projects over the next four years, with $1.5 billion to be spent in 2021-22, creating and supporting thousands of local jobs. With government projects competing for the same resources as the private sector, coupled with the height of the pandemic last year, project timelines have been adjusted to suit the current climate. As part of this, two METRONET projects have had their project schedules adjusted –  Thornlie-Cockburn Link  has been deferred by one year, with operations now to commence in late-2024, and the  Yanchep Rail Extension  has been deferred by one year with operations now to commence in late-2023. There are currently 15 METRONET projects planned, under construction or complete which have created local jobs, providing opportunities for local businesses, and transforming Perth's public transport network for all Western Australians. News Source: https://www.metronet.wa.gov.au/news/latest-news/project-schedules-adjusted-to-suit-current-economic-conditions

September 09 at 04:29 PM

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$7bn Philippine rail scheme attracts bids from 17 international contractors

Global Construction Review 23 July 2021 | By GCR Staff Seventeen big-hitting contractors from around the world have joined consortia to bid for the first of six work packages of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Calamba project, which has an expected cost of around $7bn. They are up against and six local firms also bidding. Arthur Tugade, the country’s transport secretary, said: “I believe the impressive turnout of bidders for the  PNR Calamba Project’s  contract packages is proof of the infrastructure sector’s trust in the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure programme.”  The 56km line will include 41km of viaducts, 13 elevated stations and 22ha of depots. When complete in 2028, it is expected to serve more than 500,000 passengers a day and cut travel time from Manila to Laguna from roughly four hours by car to one hour. The international bidders, by country, are: China Construction First Group Corporation, Chun Wo Construction and Leighton Contractors DL Engineering & Construction, Dong-ah Geological Engineering, GS Engineering & Construction, Hyundai Engineering & Construction, Lotte Engineering and Construction, Posco Engineering & Construction and Samsung Construction & Trading, all from Korea Adhi Kary, PP and Wijaya Karya from Indonesia Gülermak Ağır Sanayi from Turkey Acciona from Spain Italian-Thai Development Public Company from Thailand Sumitomo Mitsui Construction from Japan The domestic companies in the running are: DM Consunji, EEI Corporation, First Balfour, Megawide Construction, Prime Metro BMD and Santa Clara International. The project is part of the 147km North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR), which will stretch from Calamba in the south of the island of Luzon to the Clark International Airport in Pampanga, north of Manila. NSCR System will have a fleet of 58 trainsets, including seven for the Airport Express. The project is being financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Tugade commented that it was “the single largest project being financed by the ADB in its history, and is the longest commuter railway being financed by JICA”. He added that work on the northern segment of the NSCR was in “full swing”. This involves 90km of rail line and 16 stations. Image ©Image by  Eduardo Davad  from  Pixabay   News Source:  https://www.globalconstructionreview.com/news/7bn-philippine-rail-scheme-attracts-bids-17-intern/

August 24 at 02:44 AM

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'Derailment' at Wolverhampton causes disruption

BBC  14 November 2021 (UK) A derailed engineering train is set to cause disruption to rail services until the end of the day. The train has blocked the line immediately north of Wolverhampton station in the West Midlands. The issue is "causing major disruption to trains" due to call at the station and services may be cancelled or diverted, National Rail said. Avanti West Coast cannot get trains out of its depot near Wolverhampton and will have fewer trains in service.   Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-59280556

November 15 at 04:21 AM

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'Dramatically more powerful': world’s first battery-electric freight train unveiled

The Guardian  16 September 2021 (US) The train, known as the FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive, underwent successful trials in California earlier this year where it was found to have cut fuel consumption by 11%. Photograph: Courtesy of Carnegie Mellon (Photo) Wabtec shows off locomotive amid fresh attempt by some US lawmakers to slash carbon emissions from rail transport The world’s first battery-electric freight train was unveiled at an event in Pittsburgh on Friday, amid a fresh attempt by some US lawmakers to slash carbon emissions from rail transport in order to address the climate crisis. Wabtec, the Pittsburgh-based rail freight company, showed off its locomotive at Carnegie Mellon University as part of a new venture between the two organizations to develop zero emissions technology to help move the 1.7bn tons of goods that are shipped on American railroads each year. Perched upon a strip of rail at Carnegie Mellon’s technology campus on the banks of the Monongahela River, the cherry red, 75ft-long train provided a striking background to politicians, rail executives and academics who urged a swifter industry transition away from fossil fuels. Dignitaries were allowed to clamber up a vertiginous ladder on to the train to inspect its confines, which included a small driver’s cabin in front of 500 lithium-ion battery modules, arrayed in stacks in the heart of the vehicle. The new train, known as the FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive, underwent successful trials in California earlier this year where it was found to have cut fuel consumption by 11%, which meant reducing the amount of diesel used by 6,200 gallons .  Wabtec said that the next iteration of the locomotive, to be rolled out within two years, will be able to cut the consumption of diesel, the fossil fuel traditionally used in freight rail, by nearly a third. The company also said emissions will be entirely eliminated through the development of accompanying hydrogen fuel cells. If the technology is used worldwide, Wabtec estimates planet-heating emissions could be cut by 300m tons a year, with nearly half of those saved emissions occurring in the US. Source https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/sep/16/battery-electric-freight-train-wabtec-rail-transport-emissions

September 17 at 05:33 AM

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'Incredible' Roman statues unearthed in England's HS2 rail excavation

CNN  29th October 2021 (UK) Archeologists have uncovered a set of "incredible" rare Roman statues while excavating a site in England ahead of a high speed rail project, the rail company said in a statement. Two complete statues of a woman and a man, along with the head of a child, were found at the site of the old St Mary's Norman church in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, south east England, while archeologists were excavating a ditch around the foundations of an Anglo-Saxon tower.   As experts working on the High Speed 2 (HS2) project dug down, they found the three "stylistically Roman" busts, a discovery which archeologists have described as "astounding."   "For us to end the dig with these utterly astounding finds is beyond exciting," Rachel Wood, lead archaeologist for Fusion JV, who is working on the project, said in a statement.   "The statues are exceptionally well preserved, and you really get an impression of the people they depict -- literally looking into the faces of the past is a unique experience," Wood added.   "Of course, it leads us to wonder what else might be buried beneath England's medieval village churches. This has truly been a once in a lifetime site and we are all looking forward to hearing what more the specialists can tell us about these incredible statues and the history of the site before the construction of the Norman church."   Two of the busts were made up of a head and torso which had been split apart, which experts say "is not entirely unusual," because statues were commonly vandalized before being torn down.   Experts also retrieved an "incredibly well-preserved" hexagonal glass Roman jug -- which, though it is presumed to be over 1,000 years old, had large pieces intact -- as well as large roof tiles, painted wall plaster and Roman cremation urns.   The team believe that the site -- a natural mound, covered with soil to make a taller mound -- may have been a Bronze Age burial site. This was later replaced by a square building, which experts think is a Roman mausoleum.   "Roman materials found in the ditch around are too ornate and not enough in number to suggest the site was a domestic building," HS2 said in a press release.   The findings will be transferred to a specialist laboratory, where they will be cleaned and examined. Source https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/roman-bust-hs2-intl-scli-gbr/index.html

November 03 at 06:15 AM

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'Suez Canal on rails' - Egypt signs $4.5 bln high-speed rail deal

Reuters  September 1, 2021 (CAIRO, Egypt)  Siemens to build link with two Egyptian firms Line designed to carry freight and passengers Further links planned to connect southern Egypt Egypt has signed a $4.45 billion deal for a high-speed electric rail line to link its Red Sea and Mediterranean coasts that contractor Siemens (SIEGn.DE) dubbed a "Suez Canal on rails". The contract between Egypt's National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) and a consortium including Siemens Mobility, Orascom Construction (OC.DI) and Arab Contractors will cover design, installation and maintenance of the rail link over 15 years, a cabinet statement said on Wednesday. The 660-km (410 miles) link will include a main line designed to carry more than 30 million passengers annually as well as a freight line, and will run between the Red Sea port of Ain Sokhna and the Mediterranean ports of Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh. Ain Sokhna is a major port and industrial complex just south of the Suez Canal, the quickest sea link between Europe and Asia. Source https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/egypt-signs-445-bln-contract-high-speed-rail-link-2021-09-01/

September 03 at 04:48 AM

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(Bhanga-Payra Port Rail Line) Railway in search for investors--Delegation led by minister to hold talks with UK-based company

The Daily Star  November 22, 2021 (Bangladesh) In a bid to manage funds for the Bhanga to Payra Port rail line, railways authorities have started talks with a UK-based company -- IM Power PLC -- over the 214km line. During their UK tour slated to start from tomorrow, a delegation led by Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan will hold further discussions with the company. "They have shown interest for both investing and providing technology [for the rail line]. They have already met with us in Bangladesh, now we will hold a meeting with them there," the minister told The Daily Star yesterday. An eight-member delegation led by the minister will visit four European countries, including the UK, from tomorrow to December 5 to see developed railway systems there. Besides, they will hold talks with different government agencies and businesses that showed interest in investing in BR. They were scheduled to leave the country last night. PROJECT TIMELINE The development comes months after Bangladesh Railway (BR) has completed feasibility studies and detailed designs for the rail line. As part of the government's plans to bring the entire country under the rail network and establish a direct link between the under-construction Payra Sea Port and the capital, BR intended to construct the rail line from Bhanga to Payra. The line, which will have 19 stations, will cost around Tk 41,797.6 crores, or $4.93 billion. The proposed deadline of the project is June 2029. BR authorities expect the direct link between the sea port and the capital as a way to boost its income by operating freight trains on the line. BR has already sent the Preliminary Development Project Proposal to the Railways Ministry to forward it to the Economic Relations Division (ERD) to find financiers for the project, sources said. Bhanga has already been connected with the railway network from Faridpur and it will be linked directly with the capital once the ongoing Padma Bridge Rail Link Project -- under which a rail line from Dhaka to Jashore is being constructed -- is completed by June 2024. TRANSPORT EXPERTS SHED DOUBT However, transport experts have raised questions over the viability of the project, considering how much money is required for it. Prominent transport expert Prof Shamsul Hoque said the government has decided to build a sea port in Payra switching from its previous plan to build a deep sea port. This means even if previous feasibility studies have brought up the need for such a rail line, it will might less important considering the change in plans. "I have doubt over the viability of such a big project," he told this newspaper recently. FUNDING PROPOSALS Meanwhile, BR sources said different companies have expressed their interest to finance the project on several occasions. They mentioned Providus Investments, an Australian company, had expressed interest to fund and strike an EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) contract early this year. BR has sent a letter to the rail ministry seeking ERD's opinion in this regard. During a visit to Saudi Arabia in September this year, Prime Minister's investment adviser Salman F Rahman, also sought the country's investment in the project. In November 2019, while meeting the then chief of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Sirazul Islam, UK-based IM Power Plc and TenBroeke Ltd had proposed an integrated initiative involving the development of Bangladesh's power and railway sectors. Yesterday, the railways minister said they would talk with IM Power over their proposal to invest in the project. He said the Bangladesh High Commission in UK is also in touch with the company after they expressed interest in the project. "If necessary, we will provide partial funding along with the company's investment," he added. The minister said the company also expressed interest to get involved in a project for the electrification of Dhaka-Chattogram rail line, which will also be discussed during the meeting. IM Power is an independent power producer (IPP), providing comprehensive solution for customers by combining its expertise in financing power generation, integrated power and industrial infrastructure projects together with EPC, operation and maintenance services, according to their website. Source https://www.thedailystar.net/news/bangladesh/news/railway-search-investors-2235761

November 26 at 05:51 AM

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10 major transport projects to be inaugurated by late August

Tehran Times  June 8, 2021 (Iran) TEHRAN – The Transport and Urban Development Ministry plans to inaugurate 10 major projects including five roads and five railway projects across the county by the end of the fifth Iranian calendar month of Mordad (August 21), IRNA reported. Also, 41,000 affordable housing units are scheduled to be completed and handed over to the owners under the framework of the National Housing Plan and Mehr housing plan by the mentioned date. The railway projects that are going to go operational in the said period include Yazd-Eqlid, Zahedan-Khash, and Bostan Abad-Tabriz, while the road projects include Arak-Khorram Abad, Sanandaj-Marivan, and Tehran-Shomal highway. Back in May, Iranian Deputy Transport and Urban Development Minister Kheirollah Khademi had announced that 440 kilometers (km) of freeways and 1,200 km of highways are going to be added to the country’s road network by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 2022). The official noted that the ministry prioritized the completion of nine major freeway projects which would have the biggest impact on the country’s transportation and transit operations over the past two years and these projects have had average progress of more than 70 percent so far. Khademi, who is also the managing director of Iran's Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructures Company (CDTIC), stressed that the completion of 221 km of freeways in the previous year was achieved despite the fact that the annual freeway construction in the country has been 80 km. The development of the railway industry, on the other hand, has also been among the top priority plans of the governments in recent years. The country’s Sixth Five-Year National Development Plan (2016-2021) has envisaged that the railway will account for at least 30 percent of cargo transportation and 20 percent of passenger transportation in Iran. Such a target requires at least 850 trillion rials (about $20.238 billion) of investment. Source: https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/461755/10-major-transport-projects-to-be-inaugurated-by-late-August

July 23 at 06:08 AM

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11 once-in-a-lifetime train journeys for 2022

New Zealand Herald  1 November, 2021 ( New Zealand) An epic rail journey may be just the ticket when we are free to travel again, writes  Patricia Maunder Are you ready to blow that long-accumulated travel kitty on a bucket-list rail journey loaded with luxurious decor, five-star food and cinematic scenery? Get in quick for next year's departures as places are already selling out, or play it Covid-safe with a 2023 booking on one of these storied trains. Approximate per-passenger prices are in New Zealand dollars.   Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Where: Numerous European routes From: $5700 belmond.com Since the Express d'Orient first travelled from Paris to Istanbul in 1883, this name and its various permutations have been synonymous with luxury rail journeys. Today's Venice Simplon-Orient-Express comprises 17 restored carriages from the 1920s and 30s – the train's heyday. From Art Deco frosted-glass panels to white-gloved dining-car waiters, it's a nostalgic celebration of a slower, more glamorous era of travel. Limited, old-fashioned bathing and toilet facilities no longer cut it, so most journeys are now one night. However, once a year the Paris-Istanbul experience is revived across six nights, mostly spent in hotels (departing August 26, 2022), and Grand Suites complete with the train's first showers, introduced in 2018. Early this year, new Grand Tour routes taking in cities such as Amsterdam, Rome and Geneva added to the temptation of seeing Europe in vintage style.   Rocky Mountaineer Where: Mostly western Canada From: $2500 rockymountaineer.com Been there, done that? Think again, because North America's most celebrated train service offers four routes, and options have evolved since it began in 1988. An all-American journey was introduced for the first time in August. From Moab to Denver, Rockies to the Red Rocks takes in canyons and mountains, the Colorado River and dramatic desert rock formations including arches and hoodoos. The classic Canadian two-day journeys head from Vancouver up into the Rocky Mountains' jagged, snow-capped peaks, coniferous forests, wild rivers and glacial lakes. Less well known is the three-day Rainforest to Gold Rush, which lingers in this wild landscape, taking in Jasper National Park and Whistler. It's contemporary comfort and spaciousness all the way on all routes, especially aboard GoldLeaf Service glass-domed carriages, and nights are always passed on terra firma.   The Ghan Where: Australia, north to south From: $1200 Covering nearly 3000 kilometres between Adelaide and Darwin, this three-day outback adventure is one of the world's longest rail journeys. The train itself – named after Afghan cameleers formerly seen in Australia's deserts – is also long, at 747 metres. So there's ample room for passengers in sleek mid-century-meets-contemporary carriages fitted out in earthy tones. The Ghan's excursions include scenic flights over Uluru, and the Nitmiluk Gorge cruise to an Aboriginal rock-art site. To maximise such off-train experiences, including a visit to underground mining town Coober Pedy, book the four-day Expedition. There are also one-night journeys starting or ending in the Red Centre town of Alice Springs for minimalists. A new day trip between Adelaide and the Clare Valley wine region was recently announced, with limited departures until November 26. It's selling fast, so may return in 2022.   Maharajas' Express Where: North-west and central India From: $5500 the-maharajas.com Travelling in India can be grimy and chaotic. Not on this train, named the World Travel Awards' Leading Luxury Train seven times since it launched in 2010. Twenty-three carriages accommodate just 88 passengers, each of whom are treated royally with butler service and red-carpet welcome ceremonies at each stop. In the Presidential Suite, comprising an entire carriage, service is turned up to levels worthy of maharajas and maharanis. The four Maharajas' Express journeys focus on the state of Rajasthan, which means Land of Kings, so itineraries are rich with palaces, palatial forts and that famous palace for the dead, the Taj Mahal. Between cultural excursions in fabled cities such as Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur, relax in the lounge and restaurant cars among red-turbaned waiters, mirror mosaics and Limoges plates, ostentatiously edged with gold.   Royal Scotsman Where: Mostly Scotland From: $7900 belmond.com Scotland isn't a big place, but somehow time drifts by for up to eight days on this train reminiscent of an Edwardian country house. Rest and revel among shelves of books, marquetry and tasteful textiles, with subdued tartans only appearing here and there, including the waiters' waistcoats. From the welcome by a bagpiper in full regalia, to sipping single malts in the lounge-observation car as Highland scenery slips by, you're never in doubt this is Scotland though. There are also bonny excursions to castles, whisky distilleries and historic sites, or perhaps a round of golf. Among the Royal Scotsman's journeys are those dedicated to whisky, or heritage homes and gardens, and an annual Grand Tour of Great Britain (departing September 29, 2022) which also explores English cathedrals and a Welsh steam-train adventure. After all that, you may want to recuperate in the onboard spa.   The Blue Train Where: South Africa From: $4100 bluetrain.co.za Fancy taking a bath on a train with a flute of Champagne? Even The Blue Train's standard accommodation has baths, in en suites with gold-plated fittings and Italian marble. Among other decadent touches are butlers for all, complimentary Cuban cigars (smoking in the Club Car Lounge only) and heavy silverware, gleaming like fond memories of grand old hotels. From daily high tea to dinner that might include ostrich and oysters, it's the good life on wheels. The main 31-hour journey is between Cape Town and Pretoria, where masses of purple jacaranda flowers bloom in spring. In between see Table Mountain, vineyards, flamingos and the Big Hole during a stop at a Kimberley diamond mine and museum. A 19-hour overnight trip from Pretoria to Kruger National Park was introduced in 2016, bringing together five-star luxury and the safari Big Five.   Seven Stars in Kyushu Where: Japan From: $4700 cruisetrain-sevenstars.jp/english Best known for its bullet trains, Japan launched this much more sedate option in 2013. Exploring the large island of Kyushu, it's all about elegance and exclusivity with just 14 suites including two deluxe options larger than many Tokyo hotel rooms. Prospective passengers must apply for tickets and hope for a lottery allocation. Although constructed recently, Seven Stars in Kyushu evokes East-meets-West tradition with endless polished wood and golden lighting. Service is impeccable and meals, especially the exquisite Japanese dishes, are worthy of Michelin stars. Choose from two- and four-day journeys, with one night spent at a ryokan (Japanese inn) on the latter. Excursions along the way include a porcelain workshop, Edo-period castle and an active volcano.   Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express Where: Mainly Russia From: $26,000 goldeneagleluxurytrains.com The Trans-Siberian Railway is the world's longest train route, stretching 9289 kilometres, across eight time zones, from Moscow to Vladivostok. It has inspired travellers' tales about sharing cramped quarters with locals, who become friends over vodka during endless days crossing the Russian steppes. Or, you could take this once-in-a-lifetime journey on the Golden Eagle. It's like a high-end cruise on wheels, with a Bar Lounge Car pianist and fine food, including caviar served in a restaurant carriage with Imperial-inspired decor. Cultural lectures are offered during the 13 days on board. Excursions include a tour of the Mongolian capital, Ulaan Baatar (the one non-Russian stop), and drinking Champagne in the Ural Mountains, with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia. On the steam-powered Winter Wonderland journey introduced last year, off-train excitement includes horse-drawn sleigh rides and ice-fishing on Lake Baikal.   Eastern and Oriental Express Where: Southeast Asia From: $3400 belmond.com You may have travelled on this Japanese-built train in the 1970s when it was New Zealand's own Silver Star. Utterly transformed into the Eastern and Oriental Express in 1993, it's now an idyllic evocation of colonial Indochina with patterned silks, parquetry and a piano-bar car. Another pleasant spot for cocktails is the indoor-outdoor observation carriage, where vistas of lush jungle, tea plantations and temples are enhanced by tropical breezes. Back inside, air-conditioning is among this elegant train's many modern comforts. There are also en suite bathrooms with showers in all cabins, where passengers are gently rocked to sleep between Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The full three-day route stops at the Bridge on the River Kwai, where options include a floating Thai cooking class. The New Year's Eve package (departing December 29, 2022) pauses in Penang instead.   El Transcantábrico Where: Spain From: $9700 renfe.com/es/en You could be virtuous and walk the Camino de Santiago's northern route between San Sebastian and Santiago de Compostela like the pilgrims of old, or give into vice and take this indulgent train instead. For eight days, the El Transcantábrico gently wends its way along northern Spain's Atlantic coast. Excursions include Bilbao's Guggenheim Museum, prehistoric cave art and of course, the medieval cathedral town of Santiago de Compostela at the start or finish. Being a special Spanish experience, El Transcantábrico offers outstanding food from Asturias, Cantabria, Galicia and the Basque Country, fine local wines, live music and dancing. This train evokes the golden age of rail travel with a little modern Iberian brio, from restored 1923 Pullman lounge cars, to suites that offer another chance to soak in a bath while riding the rails.   TranzAlpine Train Where: Christchurch to Greymouth, New Zealand From: $110 - $150 greatjourneysofnz.co.nz/tranzalpine Sit back and relax for a 223km ride of the rails between Christchurch and Greymouth (or vice versa should you be wrapping up a holiday on the West Coast) aboard the acclaimed TranzAlpine Train. Just under five hours in total, settle into your bump-proof reclining seat and get ready for the show. You'll have plenty of time to press your forehead against the panoramic windows and gaze across the views. You know the ones - jaw-dropping NZ landscapes the rest of the world raves about. Kissing the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri River; the Southern Alps a constant (yet well-received) intrusion and up to eight stops at remote stations en route, once the locomotive pulls into Greymouth, we bet you'll be giddy with adoration, too Pack your comfiest noise-cancelling headphones for in-seat audio commentary as well as your spiffiest camera. The open-air viewing carriage always leaves a lasting impression and more so if you catch every highlight on "film". There's also a fully licensed cafe loaded with hot meals, sandwiches and because this is New Zealand, big pies and barista-made coffee. For extra special dining, The TranzAlpine's popular Scenic Plus Class is currently on hold while a brand new experience is fine-tuned for 2022. Rumour has it there will be an extended tasting menu featuring West Coast and Canterbury flavours. Source https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/11-once-in-a-lifetime-train-journeys-for-2022/YS2BFUV46X4LSBCEVDF6YGMUI4/

November 02 at 05:32 AM

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200 bursaries for engineering and computer science students

IOL  24 November, 2021 (South Africa) Train manufacturer Gibela Rail Transport Consortium is calling for applications for 200 bursaries in 2022. Study fields include engineering, manufacturing, computer science, supply chain and logistics, and various trade fields – for both universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions. Gibela’s bursaries include full tuition and a book allowance. The bursaries are granted for one year and are renewable on an annual basis based on academic performance. Bursary applicants must be: South African citizens with a South African bar coded identity document. Enrolled or intending to enrol at a South African TVET institution (current N3/N4 candidates are encouraged to apply). Enrolled or intending to enrol at a South African university or university of technology (current first- and second-year candidates are encouraged to apply). Able to demonstrate potential for academic success. In need of financial assistance. In a statement, Gibela said it was revitalising South Africa’s railway industry by manufacturing state-of-the-art commuter trains in the country. The company has a R51-billion contract with the South African government to manufacture 600 trains for Prasa. It is heavily committed to upskilling and training South Africans to be able to participate in this industry that has the potential to grow in South Africa. In addition, its core function of improving commuters’ experience through its trains. Gibela is very conscious of uplifting the communities in which it operates, as well as having a broader social impact across South Africa in terms of education, skills development, local content production and ultimately economic empowerment. Gibela bursaries for study at a university or university of technology are available in the following disciplines: Electrical, electronic, mechanical, metallurgical, and industrial engineering Computer science and information technology Accounting Supply chain and logistics management The prerequisites for applying for a Gibela bursary at a university or university of technology are: A matric with level 6 for Mathematics, Physical Science and Accounting, and level 5 for English Written proof of acceptance for admission to a South African university or university of technology Gibela bursaries to study at TVET institutions are available for the following professions: Boilermakers Electricians Mechanics Fitters and turners Millwrights Welders Pattern-makers Vehicle-builders Plumbers Control and instrumentation technicians The prerequisites for a Gibela bursary at a TVET institution are: A matric with Mathematics and Science, and English at level 4 Written proof of acceptance for admission to a South African TVET institution The bursary applications close on 15 February 2022. Interested applicants should send a short CV, a certified copy of their academic records and a certified copy of their South African identity document to gibelabursaries@communityrail.co.za or fax these to 086 246 2666. According to the statement, the group will respond only to applicants who make it through the first round of assessments. Applicants who have not been contacted by 26 March 2022 should consider their applications unsuccessful. Source https://www.iol.co.za/education/200-bursaries-for-engineering-and-computer-science-students-ef5cb29b-0c21-40f8-846b-e31a443d0c46

November 25 at 05:05 AM

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2032 Olympics could lead to huge infra Boom for Brisbane including Rail Infrastructure

Rail Factor  Brisbane 20/07/2021  Australia to host Olympics again after Brisbane confirmed for 2032 Olympics .Announcement made after meeting on Wednesday in Tokyo and Queensland bid was only one infront of IOC members .Climate policy had always formed a ‘key part ‘ of the proposal which included sustainable fuel sources .Games will bring 17 billion in economic benefit ,although the Olympic movement is famous for high expectations unmatched by economic reality .Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “My government is proud to be supporting this opportunity for Brisbane and South Queensland”  while making his case via video link from Australia .Australian and Queensland government are fully funding the infrastructure projects to be delivered in preparation for the games .A whooping $5 Billion is expected to be invested in infra alone and this could include possible sustainable mode of transportation to the proposed Olympic village .Infrastructure sector is excited with the news and what is in pipeline for the Rail Infra is yet to be known Source : Various Sources

July 22 at 05:11 AM

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3 Railroad Stocks to Watch as Industry Continues to Recover

Yahoo Finance  September 16, 2021 (US) When coronavirus gripped the United States last year, economic activities took a hit, which in turn, affected the railroad industry. However, following the gradual easing of restrictions, railroads began to stage a comeback and are continuing their recovery. Per a report by the Association of American Railroads published on Sep 15, for the first 36 weeks of 2021, the total combined U.S. rail traffic increased 10% from last year. The report further stated that for the first 36 weeks of 2021, the cumulative volume of U.S. railroads rose 8.2% year over year while intermodal volumes increased 11.5% from last year. In fact, total North American rail volume, including carloads and intermodal units, increased 8.9% during the first 36 weeks of this year. Per another report by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, North American transborder freight via railways in June 2021, increased 45.5% year over year. It’s also interesting to note that this marked an increase of 3.4% from the pre-pandemic levels witnessed in June 2019. The widespread availability of the COVID-19 vaccines has been instrumental in fueling the recovery in the U.S. railroad industry. In recent times, however, the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant has sparked concerns about a potential slowdown in economic recovery. But recent data can be regarded as a silver lining with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) reporting on Sep 10 that the current seven-day moving average of daily new coronavirus cases declined 12.7% from the previous seven-day moving average. Another positive is that 54.1% of the total U.S. population has been fully vaccinated, per the latest report by the CDC as of Sep 15. Such positive developments should continue to fuel the recovery in railroads. Besides, President Joe Biden’s proposed infrastructure plan will also look to overhaul the railway infrastructure in the country. The bill consists of $66 billion spending for passenger and freight rail, as mentioned in a CNN Business article. Reflective of these positives, IBISWorld expects the U.S. rail transportation market to grow 9.8% this year. Source https://finance.yahoo.com/news/3-railroad-stocks-watch-industry-111311884.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAFj0NHRqLipzNKPI19p9JZVSECLPuQyeDkgBkCN68eplpITvXHnzTGLForvxgpxqPtMWKytZa1hNPO5fMMXtXxHyff2Z7OUZiX4ts3oFp43PMFpgEopHiD3MNqbYmeO41AscejevQRHnKLqc2PVwY-YdKOy2XHdr77GcqJLcy3zY

September 20 at 05:29 AM

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300 bodies found on Pune railway tracks in past three years remain unidentified

Hindustan Times  September 22, 2021 (Pune, India) The railway police in Pune have recorded around 300 unidentified bodies found on the tracks in the past three years The railway police have recorded around 300 unidentified bodies found on the tracks in the past three years. In 2021, 132 cases of accidental deaths have been reported and of that 30 bodies are yet to be identified. The figure of unidentified bodies in 2020 was 79 in the 250 accidental death cases and it was 191 unidentified bodies of 206 accidental cases in 2019. “It is a major challenge to identify mangled bodies. Most of the cases are related to suicides. Sometimes the victims’ personal belongings that could help in identification are stolen by the time the police are alerted. Hence, it becomes difficult to term the death as suicide or accident or murder in case of such cases,” said railway police station incharge Maula Shaikh. Source https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/300-bodies-found-on-pune-railway-tracks-in-past-three-years-remain-unidentified-101632315697555.html

September 23 at 06:02 AM

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5 World’s most dangerous train routes, know how adventurous these are

Kalinga TV  September 27, 2021 (Photo: Chennai – Rameswaram Route, India) Most people like to travel through trains, it is both time and cost-effective. Many of us also like to capture the beauty of the nature that passes by throughout our travel. Scenic views, rivers, mountains, forests, food onboard, great time with family, friends, or other passengers, and a lot more we can think of- are possible during a train journey. However, certain railway tracks in the world can take our rail journey up a notch and leave you spellbound. Read more to know about these world’s most dangerous train routes. Cape Town Railway Track, South Africa There is a railway track in South Africa, that is popularly known for being stopped for loot and vandalism. Often the incidents of robbery and harm reportedly comes in news from Cape Town railway track. Each day, some of trains are also cancelled due to these dangerous event. Chennai – Rameswaram Route, India The Chennai – Rameswaram connecting railway track in India, is considered as one of the most dangerous and adventurous railway route in the world. This route is also known as ‘Pawan Bridge’. This bridge is located above the Indian ocean, and is about 2.3 kms long. Initiated at 1914, this route gets even more dangerous when the water level of the sea rises. Salta-Polvorilla, Argentina Situated in Argentina, Salta-Polvorilla is one of the most dangerous railway routes in the world.  The construction of the railway started in 1921, to connect the North of Argentina with Chile across the Andes, and to serve the borax mines of the area. This 217 km long railway track is not only dangerous but also adventurous. It took 27 years to complete this track, and from 1948 the trains started running on it. This train route consists of 29 bridges and 21 tunnels. Japan Aso Minami Route Aso Minami Route in Japan is one of the world’s most dangerous railroads owing to its proximity to Mount Aso – the nation’s biggest active volcano – passes through the region of Kumamoto, connecting Takamori to Tateno Station in Minamiaso. A beautiful adventure within the cusp of nature can be experienced while journeying in the Japan trains that crosses through this path. In this route, the trains takes an inclination of about 300 foot high, which itself is quite an experience. As dangerous as it seems, people with the spirit of adventure won’t go home disappointing. Devil’s Nose train Ecuador Located 9000 feet above the sea level, this railway track’s construction was completed 33 years ago. A  hair-raising trip down the rocky slopes of the Andes through some of Ecuador’s most breathtaking scenery, the so called “Devil’s nose” is an impressive section of the entire route. Source https://kalingatv.com/offbeat/5-worlds-most-dangerous-train-routes-know-how-adventurous-these-are/

September 29 at 03:58 AM

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6 amazing Asia train journeys for food, scenery and culture

CNN  17 November 2021  (Taiwan's historic Alishan Forest Railway travels to the island's highest train station.) The Covid-19 pandemic has derailed many family reunions, destination weddings and long-awaited trips. And while some would-be globetrotters miss the hyper pace of travel circa 2019, others plan to adjust their travel style completely.   According to the 2021 Global Travel Trends survey of 3,000 travelers worldwide by American Express, 68% expressed interest in more sustainable travel; 78% said they were looking for travel experiences that relieve stress; and 61% said they wanted slower, longer trips than in the past.   A train journey could be just the ticket for those who have their eyes on Asia for a 2022 trip.   From zig-zagging up the rugged mountains of central Taiwan to a Rajasthan rail journey fit for a maharaja, these scenic train routes showcase some of Asia's most beautiful landscapes and provide a much-needed opportunity to rest and reconnect with loved ones. Belmond Eastern and Oriental Express, Bangkok to Singapore You've probably heard of the Orient Express -- an oft-romanticized long-distance rail journey between Paris and Istanbul (though the route varied) that ran from 1883 to 2009.   After the rail service ceased operation, the Belmond hotel group purchased the train carriages and created its own collection of romantic rail adventures that channel the grace and splendor of the namesake.   In Asia, travelers can enjoy old-world charm aboard Belmond's Eastern and Oriental Express, which runs a four-day journey between Bangkok and Singapore with stops at the River Kwai (a poignant World War II landmark), Kanchanaburi and Kuala Lumpur.   The train feels like a roving hotel thanks to its fine-dining experiences, panoramic windows, handsome cherry wood-paneling and Malaysian silk embroidery.   The observation cart at the back of the train is another highlight. On this teakwood deck, guests can enjoy a cocktail in a rattan chair as the scenery glides past on this teakwood deck.   Day to day, the journey also weaves in many cultural experiences. One day, passengers might be admiring Peranakan architecture in George Town; the next, banana plantations or biking through Thai paddy fields.   Back on board, breakfast in bed starts the day on the right foot. Afternoon tea, cocktail hour with live piano music and four-course dinners evoke the romance and luxury of the original Oriental Express. Seven Stars, Kyushu, Japan There are several contenders for the best rail journey in Japan. But if it's scenery and comfort travelers are seeking, the Seven Stars is hard to beat.   Unlike Japan's famous bullet trains, Seven Stars takes a much slower pace, cruising gracefully across Kyushu's seven prefectures so passengers can take in the dramatic mountain and ocean views in peace.   The island lies just south of the Japanese mainland and is a treasure trove of natural beauty.   On the four-day journey, guests will get to warm up in an onsen (hot spring bath) in Beppu, experience a five-star ryokan (Japanese inn), learn about local crafts in the city of Oita, and much more.   Designed to be an intimate experience, the wine-red train can accommodate up to 26 people per journey, spread across 12 suites in five train cars.   Some find the suites charmingly retro; others would call them dated. But there's no arguing with the panoramic views from each cabin.   The other train cars host the "Blue Moon" bar and lounge and the "Jupiter" dining car, where master chefs celebrate Kyushu's bounty of fresh, seasonal ingredients.   In true Japanese fashion, the train serves as a living museum of art and craftsmanship. Guests will be surrounded by beauty and details, from elaborate kumiko woodwork to aritayaki, the art of Japanese porcelain.  Sri Lanka Main Line, Kandy to Ella The link between the former kingdom of Kandy and Ella, a mountain village to the south, lives up to its reputation as a must-do in Sri Lanka. And it's perfect for travelers who don't mind a little chaos.   The first-class carriage on the bright-blue train features air conditioning and panoramic windows so that passengers can relish the sweeping green views of rolling hills, stone bridges, cliffs, jungles and grand estates.   Second- and third-class cabins will be more crowded with no assigned seating. But it's in these cabins where travelers let their legs dangle out of an open train doorway or stick their heads out a window to feel the mountain breeze in their hair.   Along the journey, vendors squeeze between the crowds, offering an array of samosas, baked sweets and tea. The trip takes seven to nine hours, and tickets range from $0.80 to $20, depending on the fare class: all in all, an unforgettable way to spend a day.   Palace on Wheels, Rajasthan, India   Few rail experiences can compare with the Palace on Wheels, which rolls across the former princely states of northern India.   Let's start with the train itself: Launched in 1982, it features cars used privately by Rajasthan royalty pre-independence that were renovated in 2009.   Channeling the opulence of the Raj, guests can expect a tapestry of silk and gleaming wood, ornate furniture and silver tableware.   Two dedicated dining carriages, a Royal Spa, and a bar and lounge round out the luxurious experience in the common areas.   The 14 guest coaches, each named after a former princely state of Rajputana, give five-star hotels a run for their money when it comes to accommodations.   Each brims with regal details like chandeliers, oil paintings, handicrafts, intricate silver embroidery and plush carpets with enough room to include a mini pantry, library and lounge.   The majority of the cabins have twin beds, aside from the Super Deluxe Cabins, outfitted with queen-sized beds.   Operating between September and April each year, the eight-day itinerary begins in the capital of Delhi before heading into northwestern India, where historical forts, palaces, bazaars, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and sprawling national parks await.   Stops in Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and more ensure passengers have time to explore the history and heritage of the region.   It's all about slow travel and immersive experiences, offering travelers a chance to spot tigers in Ranthambore National park, enjoy a royal Udaipur's City Palace, sip sundowners in the dunes outside Jaisalmer and explore Keoladeo National Park.   Before circling back to the capital, the train makes a final stop in Agra, home to the Taj Mahal.   The train has been on hold since March 2020 due to Covid-19, but is slated for a major renovation in May 2022, followed by regular operations by September 2022. Alishan Forest Railway, Central Taiwan Rail journeys have long been a calling card in Taiwan, home to a stunning mix of forest, mountain and ocean scenery.   One of the most beautiful routes is the Alishan Forest Railway, a century-old line initially used by the logging industry but relaunched as a tourist experience in 1933.   The historic diesel locomotives run 44 miles from Chiayi city in central Taiwan into the Alishan mountains, zig-zagging up to Chushan Station, the highest station in Taiwan.   During the three-hour journey, passengers will pass through more than 50 tunnels, 75 bridges and varied natural gems, from rivers and waterfalls to dense cypress woodlands and misty mountain tops.   It's also a favorite among train enthusiasts, who praise the line's impressive route track, which essentially corkscrews up the mountain to ascend the steep gradients.   Unlike some train journeys, passengers can hop on and off independently for detours -- think short hikes to an observatory, a visit to an oolong tea plantation, or a lakeside picnic.   The Vietage, Vietnam  Travelers may have heard about the Reunification Express in Vietnam -- a 1,000-mile link that connects Ho Chi Minh City in the south with Hanoi in the north. What the 30-hour journey lacks in amenities and luxuries, it makes up for in scenery, passing through Hai Van Pass, the beaches of Lang Co and near-ubiquitous rice paddy fields.   But this bare-bones ride isn't for everyone. For travelers seeking a more comfortable experience, The Vietage offers a stark contrast -- and a price tag to match at $350 per person one-way.   Launched by Anantara Hotels in 2020, the six-hour train ride carries no more than 12 passengers through Central Vietnam between Da Nang and Quy Nhon, formerly the seat of the Cham Kingdom.   The scenery is as peaceful as it is lush: water buffaloes graze in wide-open fields, humble villages flit by and impossibly green fields beg to be photographed.   Onboard, marble tables, rattan screens and private booths evoke the romance of vintage rail travel.   Tickets also include a complimentary three-course French meal with Vietnamese influences, free-flow wine and beer, plus a head and shoulder massage. Source https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/asia-best-train-journeys-cmd/index.html

November 17 at 05:45 AM

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7 passengers on derailed train sue Amtrak, BNSF Railway

AP  04 October, 2021 (Helena, Mont., US) An Illinois law firm filed lawsuits Monday against Amtrak and BNSF Railway on behalf of seven passengers who were on an Amtrak train when it derailed in north-central Montana late last month, killing three and injuring dozens of others. The lawsuits were filed in federal court in Illinois on behalf of a Massachusetts couple, a Pennsylvania couple, an Indiana couple and a Montana man who were all injured in the Sept. 25 derailment of an Empire Builder train near Joplin, Montana, Clifford Law Offices said. The lawsuits allege negligence in failing to prevent the derailment and seek damages for injuries and psychological trauma suffered when the train went off the tracks. They also seek to challenge a mandatory arbitration agreement Amtrak put in effect in January 2019. Sean Driscoll, a partner at Clifford Law Offices, said the agreement denies passengers their constitutional right to a trial by jury if they are injured on an Amtrak train and sets a maximum of $295 million in damages per incident for Amtrak. Source https://apnews.com/article/business-massachusetts-illinois-pennsylvania-indiana-bf707c6eb3a56b3361150e21df1ca8f6

October 05 at 04:35 AM

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825km to be added to railway network by next March

Tehran Times July 27, 2021 (Iran) TEHRAN- Iranian deputy transport minister said 825 kilometers of railroads are going to be constructed across the country by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2022). This year, eight railway projects are in priority, and with their opening, 825 km will be added to Iran's railway, Kheirollah Khademi, who is also the managing director of Iran's Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructures Company (CDTIC), stated. One of the priority railway lines in the present year was the Khaf-Herat railway, 140 km of which was built inside Afghanistan and was put into operation in recent months, and the second is the Yazd-Eqlid 271-km railway, which is almost completed, the official explained. The Zahedan-Khash railway is also part of the north-south corridor, 150 km of which has been laid, and the process of adjusting its line is underway, and it seems that its operation will be final this year, he said, adding that the Bostan Abad-Tabriz railway with a progress of about 90 percent and a length of 44 km will be ready to open in the near future. The Rasht-Caspian Railway, as an important part of the 37-kilometer north-south corridor with a progress of about 70 percent can be put into operation as one of the country's rail priorities by the end of this year, he noted. Also, the Hamedan-Sanandaj railway line is 151 km long and has a physical progress of 76 percent, Khademi added. The development of the railway industry has also been among the top priority plans of the governments in recent years. The country’s Sixth Five-Year National Development Plan (2016-2021) has envisaged that the railway will account for at least 30 percent of cargo transportation and 20 percent of passenger transportation in Iran. MA/MA Source https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/463459/825km-to-be-added-to-railway-network-by-next-March

July 30 at 08:33 AM

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9 things you might not know about the TGV as France’s high-speed train turns 40

The Local  17 September 2021 (France) France's high speed intercity train is celebrating its 40th birthday, so here are some more unusual facts about the much-loved TGV. In 1981, President François Mitterrand officially inaugurated the first high-speed rail line connecting Paris and Lyon. A few days later, a bright orange TGV ( Train à Grande Vitesse , French for “high-speed train”) raced down the tracks at over 200km/h. In celebration of the TGVs landmark birthday, Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Pierre Farandou – President of the SNCF, France’s national railway company – were on Friday at the Gare de Lyon in Paris to unveil the ‘TGV of the future’. In front of a full-scale model of the new TGV M, Macron hailed a prime example of “French genius” and promised to unlock €6.5 billion to develop the TGV network, including new lines serving cities such as Nice and Toulouse. “We’re going to continue this grand adventure with new industrial commitments,” since more people are looking beyond metropoles to smaller cities – an apparent allusion to post-Covid prospects. “We see clearly that life and work are going to be restructured, and that our fellow citizens today want to organise their time for living and time for working differently,” he said. The streamlined version of the bullet train promises to carry more passengers – up to 740 passengers from 600 – while using 20 percent less electricity. It will continue to whiz people between cities at a top speed of 320 km/h, making most door-to-door trips shorter and cheaper than on airplanes. To celebrate the birthday of the TGV (which in French is pronounce  tay-shay-vay ) blowing out its 40 candles, here are a few fun facts about the super-speedy trains. Patrick   – That’s the name of the first TGV. Built in 1978 and set into action in 1981 on the Paris-Lyon line, the bright orange Patrick travelled some 13.5 million kilometres before taking his well-earned retirement last year. 574.8 km/h  – That’s the world rail speed record, held by the Alstom V150 TGV. Although Japan’s superconductor-powered Maglev (magnetic levitation) trains travel faster – with a record of 603 km/h – they technically don’t run on rails. 3  – That’s how many times the TGV has set the world rail speed record: in 1981 (380 km/h), 1990 (515.3 km/h) and 2007 (574.8 km/h).  2,734 km  – That’s the total length of France’s high-speed rail network, with even more lines set to be constructed in the future. This means France has the fourth-longest high-speed rail network in the world, behind China, Spain, and Japan.  0  – That’s how many passengers sit aboard the IRIS 320, which travels some 1,500 km every day. Laden with cameras and scanners, this 200-metre-long TGV rapidly inspects the state of the TGV’s train lines in order to ensure travellers’ safety and security. €7 –  That’s how much it costs to take a small pet – including a snail – on the TGV. Animals, even tiny ones, need their own tickets. In 2008 a TGV passenger fined for carrying live snails in his luggage without a ticket for his animals, although the fine was later waived after the story received national attention. 240  – That’s the number of stations served by the TGV network. 183 of these stations can be found in France. The others are located in Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.  3 billion  – That’s how many travellers the TGV had hoped to reach by the end of 2021. The pandemic may have derailed their plans slightly, but the service is still looking strong. The network served it’s 2 billionth passenger in 2012, just over 30 years after its launch. 1947  – the last year without a single recorded strike on the rail network in France. And that doesn’t necessarily mean that pre-1947 was a golden age of industrial relations – just that SNCF’s records are incomplete before then. Source https://www.thelocal.fr/20210917/9-things-you-might-not-know-about-the-tgv-as-frances-high-speed-train-turns-40/

November 09 at 06:16 AM

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A new golden age of British rail depends on total electrification

The Guardian  26 November, 2021 (UK) Charles EL Gilman  urges the government to   resume and complete electrification schemes,  Jim Grozier  fondly remembers on-board sightseeing booklets, while  Victoria Owens  recalls an ecclesiastical jewel seen from a train I was glad to read in Ian Jack’s article (The London to Edinburgh train ride was once a thing of wonder. Can it be again?, 19 November) that, on the trains operated by Lumo in the east coast mainline, “every part of the train is electric”. Even an exclusively diesel-powered train is better for the environment than flying, but a train with no onboard engine at all is the best of all. If only the same were true of the Azuma trains run by the line’s main operator, for it is not true of all of them. Those trains travelling through, to or from Aberdeen or Inverness – or turning off to places such as Hull – are “bi-modes”, which can take power either from electrification or from an onboard engine – a diesel one in this case, but a hydrogen or battery one would not be much better. A train engine is not like a stationary generator: being carried around means that it uses energy whether switched on or off. Carrying such an engine under the wires all the way from London to Edinburgh, for example, somewhat undermines the advantages of using electrification. The saddest thing is that when real railwaymen ran the railways, bi-modes were experimented with and ultimately abandoned because they were inefficient. Yet they are now being used on ever more lines – the Great Western lines are one example, thanks to the electrification scheme being left unfinished. If the government is serious about the environment, it needs to resume and complete electrification schemes, and encourage operators to strip out engines. Charles EL Gilman Mitcham, London  Thank you, Ian Jack, for reminding us of the little sightseeing booklets that railway companies used to produce. It’s sad that many train travellers now don’t even look out of the window, but instead spend their time stroking screens. I always took my Virgin Windowgazer Guides with me on long train journeys when they were available; they were also the only good thing I ever encountered that had Virgin in its name. Jim Grozier Brighton, East Sussex  Ian Jack’s article reminded me of travelling between King’s Cross and Aberdeen as a student in the early 1980s, and clocking the cathedrals along the way. But how strange that he omits to mention the ecclesiastical jewel of the route, which is surely the utterly beautiful lantern tower of St Nicholas in Newcastle upon Tyne, near Robert Stephenson’s resplendent High Level Bridge. Victoria Owens Long Ashton,  Somerset Source  https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/nov/26/a-new-golden-age-of-british-rail-depends-on-total-electrification

November 29 at 04:03 AM

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About 10,000 km of railway projects under study

Tehran Times  August 7, 2021 (Iran) TEHRAN- Iran's outgoing transport minister said that about 10,000 kilometers of railway projects are currently under study. Pointing out that the length of the country's railway network has reached 14,000 kilometers, Mohammad Eslami said, “Eight rail lines in three provinces will be connected to the country's railway network. The projects for connecting Kordestan, Ardebil, and Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari provinces to the national network have a noticeable progress at the moment and will be inaugurated in the coming months.” As the deputy minister has recently announced, 825 kilometers of railroads are going to be constructed across the country by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2022). This year, eight railway projects are in priority, and with their opening, 825 km will be added to Iran's railway, Kheirollah Khademi, who is also the managing director of Iran's Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructures Company (CDTIC), stated. One of the priority railway lines in the present year was the Khaf-Herat railway, 140 km of which was built inside Afghanistan and was put into operation in recent months, and the second is the Yazd-Eqlid 271-km railway, which is almost completed, the official explained. Source https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/463778/About-10-000-km-of-railway-projects-under-study

August 13 at 09:46 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.     Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/transportation/2021/06/03/amtrak-acela-new-trains/

July 09 at 07:33 AM

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ADBI study suggests India not yet ready for High Speed Railways

National Herald  15 September 2021 (India) Construction of one kilometre of high-speed railway track costs anything between Rs 100 to Rs 140 crore, 10 to 14 times higher than cost of laying standard railway tracks. COVID-19 struck India in early 2020, and the country was put under general lockdown on March 24. The passenger traffic on railway tracks was immediately stopped. On May 1, India restarted running first special passenger train for migrant workers. One by one, special trains restarted, but railways passenger trains are yet to open completely. It caused unprecedented damage to the growth of the railways. In such a situation, a reassessment is required on passenger traffic even for the proposed patchwork high-speed Mumbai-Ahmedabad route, not to talk about a high-speed railways network for the country. The “Frontiers of High-Speed Rail Development” just published by Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) is worth mentioning in this regard which gives insights into the various issues involving the high-speed railways (HSR). It has tried to answer three important questions: (i) When is a country ready to introduce HSR? (ii) What should be the total length of HSR? (iii) How can investment in HSR be justified? The empirical review indicates that when a country has a GDP per capita that is more than $5,000, it is suitable for HSR introduction. However, during 2014 general elections, BJP had voiced its desire to build the Diamond Quadrilateral high speed rail project, which would connect the cities of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai via high-speed rail. After Modi came to power, a high-speed project was approved between Mumbai-Ahmedabad, which was to be completed by December 2023, but it is now not likely to be completed before 2028. In 2014, India’s per capita GDP was $1,574, and in 2020 it was $1,901, a decline of 9.52 per cent from $2,101 in the pre-pandemic year 2019. It is clear from the first criteria that India was not ready when it was conceived, and it was not ready even in the pre-pandemic year. COVID-19 has exacerbated the economic conditions, and hence, we need a fresh assessment to know if we can even sustain our proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad HSR. Source https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/opinion/wasting-precious-public-money-on-high-speed-railways-is-unacceptable-when-most-trains-dont-even-run-on-time

October 11 at 05:58 AM

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Airline pilots switch from runways to railways

Deutsche Welle  24.05.2021 (Germany) Airline pilots switch from runways to railways The COVID-19 pandemic has not only idled thousands of airplanes but likely as many pilots. Around the world, some have traded a seat in the cockpit for one on the rails, as train drivers are desperately needed. The situation for global aviation, and especially for airline pilots, continues to be precarious. So far this month, in Europe alone a third of all commercial passenger planes have remained firmly grounded. The German flagship carrier, Lufthansa, announced on May 4 that it operated 81% fewer flights than on the same day in 2019. And most of the 306 flights were exclusively for cargo. During the pandemic, travel restrictions and airlines' thinned-out flight schedules have been a seemingly never-ending nightmare for captains and first officers, putting the jobs of thousands on the line. European pilot union EPA expects that out of about 65,000 cockpit staff in Europe prior to the pandemic, up to 18,000 could permanently lose their jobs. Lufthansa alone might be forced to make 1,200 cockpit staff redundant next year. A poll released at the beginning of this year of nearly 2,600 pilots worldwide, conducted by UK-based GOOSE Recruitment and industry news site FlightGlobal, found that only 43% were doing the job they had trained for. Another 30% were unemployed, 17% furloughed and 10% in nonflying roles. Some 82% of the participants were willing to take pay cuts to get a chance of landing a new job. Source: https://www.dw.com/en/airline-pilots-switch-from-runways-to-railways/a-57602148

July 09 at 05:45 AM

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All clear for Malaysia's coast-to-coast rail link after impasse resolved

Straits Times  1 December 2021 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) The federal and Selangor governments have finally agreed on a deal to end more than a year of impasse over the route that the RM50 billion (S$16.2 billion) East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) will take through Malaysia's richest state. Official sources told The Straits Times that an agreement will be inked on Thursday (Dec 2) to proceed with a revised northern alignment put forward by the Umno-led federal government. Source https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/all-clear-for-malaysias-coast-to-coast-rail-link-after-impasse-resolved

December 01 at 08:12 AM

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All seamless rails welded along China-Laos railway in Vietnam

Big News Network  17 September 2021 China Railway No. 2 Engineering Group (CREC-2) has welded the last two 500-meter seamless rails for the China-Laos railway in the southern suburb of the Lao capital Vientiane. The seamless rail, also known as continuous welded rail (CWR) which eliminates rail joints, can improve the duration of steel rails, reduce the maintenance costs of locomotives and tracks, improve the stability and speed of trains, as well as enhance travel comfort. According to the Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd. (LCRC), a joint venture based in Vientiane in charge of the railway's construction and operation, the CREC-2 has completed the welding of all the seamless rails along the over 400-km railway on Thursday, thus laying a solid foundation for the goal to complete the China-Laos railway construction by the end of this year. Xiao Qianwen, the LCRC general manager, told Xinhua on Friday that the Chinese engineers have welded the seamless rails across all the 75 tunnels, 165 bridges and 20 railway stations since May 2020. According to Xiao, most projects of the China-Laos railway are undergoing the final check and acceptance inspection, and the remaining engineering and preparation for operation are progressing steadily. The China-Laos Railway is a docking project between the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Laos' strategy to convert itself from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub. The over 400-km railway will run from Boten border gate in northern Laos bordering China to Vientiane with an operating speed of 160 km per hour. The electrified passenger and cargo railway is built with the full application of Chinese management and technical standards. The construction of the project started in December 2016 and is scheduled to be completed and operational in December 2021. Source https://www.bignewsnetwork.com/news/271185916/all-seamless-rails-welded-along-china-laos-railway-in-vietnam

September 21 at 04:06 AM

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All you need to know about UAE's National Rail Network - Etihad Rail Project

Gulf News  October 11, 2021 (Dubai, UAE) The railway will redefine logistics and transport in the region, providing a modern, safe, efficient and sustainable network which will connect the seven emirates of the UAE to its neighbouring GCC countries. The national railway system is expected to increase the country’s GDP by Dh3.5b by 2030 In a vision to bring all the emirates together, Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE National Rail Network, was launched in 2009. The rail network was instigated to connect all of the UAE’s major ports with distribution centres and will link industrial hubs with urban and suburban communities. Over the years, Etihad Rail has signed a series of agreements throughout the UAE to secure the rail network’s transport corridors in all the emirates. Emphasising the importance of developing the Etihad Rail network, Srinath Manda, programme manager for transportation and logistics practice for the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia at Frost and Sullivan's, said that the project can definitely be considered a "landmark" in the UAE's transportation sector with an estimated cost of Dh146.8 billion. Connecting the GCC "Once completed, it is expected to transform logistics and transport not only in the UAE but also the wider GCC region," said Manda, adding that Etihad Rail is expected to provide a safe, efficient and sustainable transport network that will link all corners of the country and eventually link the UAE to other countries in the GCC with 1,200 kilometre track. Source https://gulfnews.com/uae/year-of-the-50th/all-you-need-to-know-about-uaes-national-rail-network---etihad-rail-project-1.1630825366768

October 19 at 06:05 AM

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Alstom Chooses Accenture and Dassault Systèmes to Develop New Cloud Platform for PLM to Increase Competitiveness and Support Growth

AP (BUSINESS WIRE)  Jun 3, 2021 (France) Alstom has chosen Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and Dassault Systèmes (Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA) to develop a new cloud platform for product lifecycle management (PLM) that is designed to increase the company’s competitiveness and support its growth. The new cloud PLM platform will optimize collaboration among Alstom’s design offices, as well as better integrate and standardize the company’s engineering, manufacturing and maintenance processes. Accenture will draw on its deep expertise in large PLM and cloud solution deployments and build on Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform to develop the new cloud platform. Alstom will roll out the new platform to selected sites in 2021 and to sites worldwide in 2022. Alexandre Domingues, chief information officer at Alstom, said: “PLM is the backbone of our digital transformation journey and essential to our growth in an ultra-competitive global market. The new cloud-first system will allow us to work more efficiently and collaboratively, which perfectly meets our growth objectives.” Leading societies to a low carbon future, Alstom develops and markets mobility solutions that provide the sustainable foundations for the future of transportation. Alstom’s products portfolio ranges from high-speed trains, metros, monorail, trams and e-buses to integrated systems, customized services, infrastructure, signaling and digital mobility solutions. With Bombardier Transportation joining Alstom on January 29, 2021, the new Group’s combined revenue amounted to €15.7 billion for the 12-month period ended March 31, 2020(¹). Headquartered in France, Alstom is now present in 70 countries and employs 75,000 people. Source https://apnews.com/press-release/business-wire/europe-technology-business-89deae780c5d45c69231be41b68bf736

August 31 at 07:13 AM

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Alstom inaugurates Asia’s largest components manufacturing facility in Coimbatore; details

Financial Express  November 17, 2021 (India) The company's industrial presence in the city of Coimbatore has evolved across three sites since the year 1978. Boost to ‘Make in India’ initiative with new components manufacturing facility! Alstom, green mobility solutions major from France, has recently inaugurated its new components manufacturing facility in the city of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. The inauguration of the new facility was done in the presence of Emmanuel LENAIN, Ambassador of France to India and Alain SPOHR, Managing Director of Alstom India and South Asia. According to the French firm, this is Asia’s largest components manufacturing facility and it is dedicated to improving industrial efficiency in producing components for various prestigious national as well as international projects. The company’s industrial presence in the city of Coimbatore has evolved across three sites since the year 1978. Spread over a total area of 15 acres, this new site has an installed capacity of 2.1 million hours, that will offer a higher degree of production diversity and complexity – cubicles, auxiliary convertors, integration and testing of tractions, driver desks as well as Rolling Stock looms. The site will generate as many as 10,000 direct as well as indirect jobs. At present, the site has a gender diversity rate of 20 per cent. Currently, the Coimbatore site delivers to Alstom’s Indian sites. Besides, it delivers to major sites across five continents – Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Australia. Some of the key countries where the site delivers include – France, Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Germany, Belgium, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, etc. In line with the firm’s Sustainability Goals for the year 2025, this site has undertaken several sustainability measures such as targeting 80 per cent of regular activities to be run on green energy, rainwater harvesting, utilize 100 per cent of natural light during daytime, reusing 100 per cent of the sewage treated water, etc. Also, the factory boasts of a stellar record in safety. The factory has successfully achieved over 10 years of accident-free man days cumulatively. Alstom has also said that with the objective of reaching out to a total of over 100,000 direct beneficiaries, the firm has pledged Rs 3 crores for various CSR projects in the next three years. Some of these activities include – sustainable rural living, water conservation and youth skilling. Source https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/alstom-inaugurates-asias-largest-components-manufacturing-facility-in-coimbatore-details/2370931/

November 18 at 09:46 AM

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Alstom India eyes over Rs 8,600 cr revenue in next fiscal

The Economic Times  Sep 29, 2021 (India) French mobility company Alstom is eyeing over 40 per cent growth in its revenue to 1 billion euro (about Rs 8,650 crore) from India operations in the next financial year 2022-23, up from expected around USD 700 million (about Rs 6,055 crore) in the current fiscal. "India is the fastest-growing market for Alstom, and we are the only multinational supplier in the country to deliver a broad portfolio of rail solutions for urban and mainline. "In short, we grow when India grows. The demand for sustainable mobility solutions is increasing and this sector is bullish," Alain Spohr, managing director of Alstom India (NSE 2.14 %), told reporters here. The company's expected turnover in the current financial year is about 650 million-700 million euros. Source https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/indl-goods/svs/engineering/alstom-india-eyes-over-rs-8600-cr-revenue-in-next-fiscal/articleshow/86612199.cms

September 30 at 04:48 AM

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Alstom India offers world's fastest train for India's private rail ops

Business Standard  September 30, 2021 (India) Eyes EUR 1 billion revenue from India next year Alstom India had held discussions with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), and Megha Engineering, the only two contenders for private train operations in bids called by the Railway Ministry. According to Alain Spohr, Managing Director at Alstom India talks were also held with one more player that did not put in a bid. “We have decided to support private train operations as a partner if the opportunity comes back. We are proposing a special train based on the High Speed technology that is used in France,” Spohr told Business Standard. Spohr said that the proposed train is based on the TGV, a high-speed train that operates all over France. TGV stands for Train à Grande Vitesse (simply translated to high speed train in English). A certain type of TGV, called V150, holds the world record for the highest speed on any national rail system. The current world speed record for a commercial train on steel wheels held by the French TGV is 574.8 kilometres per hour. This record has been in place since April 2007. “We have developed a local solution corresponding to the speed segment in India...We have also started to talk to the Indian Railways if they would be interested in adding this to their fleet of long distance trains (above 1000 kilometres) High Speed Trains,” Spohr said. “They have said they would want some more information about the train and we are going to enter a discussion with them,” he added. Commenting on whether discussions have happened with any private players about these trains, Spohr said, “During the first round of bids, there were three parties which were interested. We had given our offer to Megha Engineering, IRCTC, and one more player that did not put in bids.” Responding to a query on the kind of support, he said, “We were offering only the rolling stock.” Commenting on the revenue outlook from India operations, Spohr said, “We are aiming to achieve a revenue of €1 billion by next year (2022-23), up from about €650-700 million revenue that will be achieved in the current financial year.” Spohr also said that Alstom India will bid for seven major projects worth over €1 billion by next month-end. In a statement, Alstom India said it has an order backlog of €4.1 billion as on March 2021-end. Alstom also released an India Impact Report in partnership with Ernst & Young. According to the report, Alstom India buys €331 million worth of goods and services, among which 75 per cent is made with Indian suppliers. The company has invested close to €142 million in the last five years and conducted 21 technology transfers across Alstom locations to its suppliers. Source https://www.business-standard.com/article/indian-railways/alstom-india-offers-world-s-fastest-train-for-india-s-private-rail-ops-121092900993_1.html

October 01 at 07:11 AM

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AMLO’s railway dreams: a shrewd calculation or another train wreck?

Mexico News Daily  January 7, 2021 (Mexico) A love affair with trains is given new life under Mexico's president Like millions all over the globe, Mexicans have a love affair with trains. Mexican President López Obrador, or AMLO, is no exception, with his at least temporarily stymied-by-environmental-concerns tourist train and a plan to unite northern Mexico with at least the center of the country via new rail routes. The love affair runs deep through Mexican culture from the romantic ballad El Tren de la Ausencia (The Train of Absence), whose lyrics include the heartstrings-tugging lines, “I’m leaving on the train of absence, I have no return ticket.” Of course there are heroics, too, as in Engine 501, the tragic ballad of brave brakeman Jesús García who left his mother on a Sunday only to perish trying to extinguish a fire on an explosives train. The pre-Revolution brings us a now-iconic photo of Pancho Villa riding on the cowcatcher of a locomotive with some mustachioed, bandoliered “revolutionaries;” and the camera in 1917 captures the same Villa dynamiting a train. The romance continues to the modern day, with the about-to-be-recalled-for-errors 100-peso bill featuring a powerful locomotive. There is no passenger service in 2021, except for a fully priced tourist train through the Copper Canyon and an informal “Beast” informally carrying would-be immigrants to drop-off points near the U.S. border. Historically, however, the love has not always been requited. The first concession in the 1830s for a line from the capital to Veracruz never produced a single chug, and repeated storm damage washouts in the late 20th century caused a U.S. concessionaire to abandon its right of way in the far southern area on the border with Guatemala. The biggest train wreck of all occurred in 1935 when Mexico nationalized the largely U.S.-owned entire rail system, an event from which at least passenger service arguably never recovered. The days have passed on since I could take a passenger train from Mexicali to DF (and return) or an overnighter from DF to Oaxaca. Enter AMLO. Whether from a disappointed childhood (“I wished for a train set at Christmas”) or a shrewd calculation that inexpensive labor-abundant Mexico could competitively build a new track system to relieve the pressure on the crumbling road infrastructure, AMLO has vowed to reverse the decline. Only time will tell if his departure ticket is accompanied by a return coupon. Carlisle Johnson writes from his home in Guatemala.   Source https://mexiconewsdaily.com/opinion/amlos-railway-dreams/  

July 30 at 06:58 AM

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Amtrak Defends Its Vision of U.S. Rail Service

The Wall Street Journal  Aug. 19, 2021  Expansion will create jobs, deliver economic benefits and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. “Amtrak’s $66 Billion Ticket” (Aug. 7) expresses the editorial board’s opinion on Amtrak’s vision for the future and how funds provided for rail from the infrastructure bill should be allocated. But it fails to address Amtrak’s recent operating and financial success, the economic opportunity, business competitiveness and quality of life Amtrak provides, and what this historic investment means for the future of America. Before the pandemic, Amtrak was setting records for ridership, revenue and financial performance. We were on our way to achieving operational break-even. Revenues equaled more than 99% of operating costs in financial year 2019, and our farebox recovery was the highest among U.S. passenger railroads. Amtrak’s vision to expand rail service and connect new city pairs across America, called Amtrak Connects Us, rises to the urgent challenges of our time and, in partnership with states, host railroads and the federal government, can provide new and improved train service to millions of additional passengers in 160 communities in over 25 states during the next 15 years. This expansion of service will also help create more than half a million well-paying jobs, deliver over $150 billion in economic benefits and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The reason that the U.S. doesn’t have the same train experience as Europe and Japan is simple: decades of underinvestment in infrastructure. The 19th- and 20th-century infrastructure we rely on wasn’t built to meet today’s demands. Source https://www.wsj.com/articles/amtrak-trains-rail-service-expansion-infrastructure-11629326769?mod=searchresults_pos4&page=1

August 25 at 05:49 AM

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Amtrak in the infrastructure bill: $66 billion in new funding, and an adjusted mandate.

The New York Times  Aug. 2, 2021 (US) The infrastructure bill provides $66 billion in new funding for the service. Credit... President Biden frequently mentions his fondness for Amtrak, which began in the 1970s, when he would travel home from Washington to Delaware every night to care for his two sons after his wife and infant daughter were killed in a car crash. Mr. Biden, who took an estimated 8,000 round trips on the line, has pledged to inject billions in rail. Rail advocates say he is now taking steps to fulfill some of those promises. The bipartisan infrastructure bill includes $66 billion in new funding for rail to address Amtrak’s maintenance backlog, along with upgrading the high-traffic Northeast Corridor from Washington to Boston. It also proposes several changes to the legal mission of Amtrak, which rail experts hailed as a win for passenger rail. The bill includes new language that would change Amtrak’s goal to “meet the intercity passenger rail needs of the United States” rather than achieving “a performance level sufficient to justify expending public money.” It would also add language that prioritizes service in rural areas in addition to urban ones. “That is a really significant change because implicit in that is that we’re not trying to make Amtrak into a profit-making venture,” said Jim Mathews, the chief executive of the Rail Passengers Association. “We’re using it to create services that are needed by the taxpayers of the country.” Source https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/02/us/politics/amtrak-trains-infrastructure.html

August 05 at 09:08 AM

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Amtrak train derails in Montana, killing three and injuring dozens

BBC  26 September 2021 (US) At least three people have been killed and 50 others hurt after a train came off the tracks in the state of Montana. Several carriages from the Amtrak Empire Builder passenger service derailed at about 16:00 local time (22:00 GMT) near the town of Joplin. Images on social media show train cars on their sides and luggage strewn on the ground with people standing nearby. Amtrak said there were some 141 passengers and 16 crew aboard the Chicago to Seattle service. Passenger Megan Vandervest, who was heading to see a friend in Seattle, told the New York Times she was woken up by the derailment, which felt like "extreme turbulence on a plane." Wayne Freed said that he was in the lounge car, one of those that flipped on its side, but was able to grab hold of a coffee table bolted to the floor. "I just held onto that, and my legs were dangling down below and the windows broke out down below and which is how we eventually escaped after the train stopped," he told CBS. "But I'd hate to think what would happen if I hadn't been able to hold onto my table." Rescuers have been working to evacuate passengers, Amtrak said. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-58696143

September 27 at 06:19 AM

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Amtrak’s Regional Rail Expansion Faces Hurdle From Freight Trains

The Wall Street Journal  June 20, 2021  (US) Freight carriers have long resisted calls to make more room on their tracks for passenger trains WASHINGTON—Amtrak and the Biden administration have a $75 billion plan to transform passenger train travel across America—but aside from funding, the biggest challenge might be getting the nation’s freight railroads to get on board. The seven major freight carriers have long resisted calls to make more room on their tracks for trains carrying people rather than coal, grain and steel. Current and former federal officials say the greatest impediment to Amtrak’s national expansion could be finding a way to work with freight carriers. Amtrak owns most of the tracks where it currently offers its flagship service—the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston—but it relies in most of the rest of the country on access to the tracks owned by freight railroads. That arrangement is a result of Amtrak’s DNA. Congress created the company in 1970 as railroads faced financial ruin. Amtrak bailed the railroads out of the least profitable portion of their business: moving people from place to place. By law, Amtrak trains can take precedence over freight when running over those networks. In practice, according to Amtrak, its customers frequently suffer delays caused by freight-train interference. The two sides have battled for years over new standards for on-time performance.   Source: https://www.wsj.com/articles/amtraks-commuter-rail-expansion-faces-hurdle-from-freight-trains-11624181404

July 09 at 05:45 AM

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Another section opens on 93-mile Vermont rail trail

AP  07 September 2021 (MONTPELIER, US)  Another section of trail is open on what will became a 93-mile (149.6 kilometers) recreation trail that will cross Vermont between Swanton and St. Johnsbury. On Tuesday, Gov. Phil Scott announced that a 6.3 mile (10.1 kilometers) segment of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail between Sheldon and Highgate is open to the public. The new project completes a 12.6-mile (20.3 kilometers) segment of the trail between Sheldon and Swanton. The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers had previously completed about 33 miles (53.1 kilometers) of the trail. Now a total of about 45 miles (72.4 kilometers) of trail is open to the public. Current plans call for completing the trail by the end of next year. Finishing the trail will include construction of three segments of trail and a major bridge. The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail is located on a rail line that was completed in 1877 and operated until the 1980s. In the 1990s the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, the statewide snowmobile organization, proposed transforming the line, owned by the state, into a four-season recreation trail. Source https://apnews.com/article/vermont-st-johnsbury-77bf582df34398ac28f55a12f1880f42

September 08 at 05:11 AM

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Anti-HS2 activists evicted from Wendover protest camp

BBC  12 October, 2021 (UK) Four people have been evicted from an anti-HS2 protest camp site in Buckinghamshire, campaigners said. The eviction at Wendover Active Resistance camp began on Sunday and is expected to last weeks. The environmental activists have dug a tunnel, built treehouses and erected a 15m high tower on the site. Veteran protester Dan Hooper, also known as "Swampy", said the eviction had been "quite chilled" so far. The camp, which features an unknown number of protesters, is on a narrow area of land between the A413 and the local Chiltern railway line south of Wendover. Heading north, the HS2 line will pass over the road and railway on a low viaduct before entering a tunnel to pass to the west of the town. Mr Hooper said he expected the eviction to take "quite a while" and estimated he and other activists would be there into December. Anglo-Saxon church found at HS2 excavation site Charges against women in HS2 tree protest dropped Next phase of HS2 rail network gets green light A HS2 spokesman said: "HS2 has a legal right to possession of this land which is needed for the safe construction of the railway. "We are currently working to safely remove a number of illegal trespassers who have put themselves into dangerous positions." Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-58873882

October 12 at 07:46 AM

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Arrive at railway stations one hour before travel-KRC

The Star  23 Novvember 2021 (Kenya) Corporation said this is due to an increase in the number of passengers and enhanced security checks. •There is an increased number of passengers. •There is enhanced security checks The Kenya Railways has urged customers who will be using the Madaraka Express train to arrive at the railway stations at least one hour before the scheduled departure time. This, Kenya Railways management said, is due to an increase in the number of passengers and enhanced security checks.  Any delays occasioned by these checks are therefore regrettable but unavoidable, it said in a statement on Tuesday. "Kenya Railways further assures the public that security checks are constantly run along all our lines to ensure the safety of all our services."  The corporation thanked all passengers for patronizing its services adding that it will continue to work with the relevant government security agencies to ensure all services run seamlessly and with utmost safety. Kenya Railways reminded members of the public that it is a major offence to interfere with its assets, operations and services. "As the Corporation continues to enhance safety in the provision of its services, we encourage members of the public to report any cases of suspicious activity to the Kenya Railways hotline, 0728787880 or to the nearest police station," it said. The corporation said while passenger safety remains its priority, members of the public are reminded that they have a personal responsibility to observe safety guidelines and obey rail traffic rules as required. It added that remains committed to delivering its mandate to the people of Kenya. As of April 6, 2020, over 4.3 million passengers had used the Madaraka Express passenger service launched on May 31, 2017. An economy coach has 118 seats while a First-class coach has 72 seats. Source https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2021-11-23-arrive-at-railway-stations-one-hour-before-travel-krc/

November 24 at 05:39 AM

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As fears about climate grow, Siemens CEO sees opportunities

AP  July 12, 2021 (DETROIT, US) As the world increasingly focuses attention on climate change, Roland Busch, the CEO of Siemens AG, says his company is well-positioned to help manage the challenges. Munich-based Siemens specializes in making buildings, factories and railroads more efficient through digitalization and automation. And its medical unit includes technology that could lead to faster treatments for stroke patients. Siemens has predicted 5% to 7% annual revenue growth for the next three to five years, based largely on its expectation that demand for its products involved in energy efficiency will steadily increase. Siemens’ stock is up roughly 14% this year. And 13 of 21 industry analysts who follow it give the company a buy rating, according to FactSet. Busch, who became CEO in February, has been with Siemens for more than a quarter-century. Source https://apnews.com/article/business-health-climate-climate-change-d54b8487d294e1e77f7a64598591b1d0

August 31 at 07:20 AM

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Auckland transport: Government unveils latest plan for light rail costing $15b

New Zealand Herald  28 October, 2021 (New Zealand) The Government's flagship light rail project in Auckland looks set to cost at least $15 billion, with a good chance the price tag will rise. Transport Minister Michael Wood has unveiled three shortlisted options for the 22km light rail route from the central city to the airport with indicative costs of between $9b and $16.3b. The options are light rail, which runs at street level and mingles with traffic; light metro that runs down a dedicated route above or below ground; and a tunnelled option which is a hybrid of the two. An establishment unit set up by Wood in March to get the troubled project back on track, has recommended the tunnelled option to the Government costing $14.6b, not light rail costing $9b and light metro costing $16.3b. These costs are "indicative" and have a 50 per cent chance of rising once detailed design work is undertaken. The unit also considered a number of alternative options for high-frequency rapid transit along the corridor, including heavy rail and trackless trams, but ruled them out. The proposal to tunnel from the central city and through the isthmus to Mt Roskill has several advantages. It gets around limited road space, avoids years of disruption to businesses and gives flexibility to connect with high-speed transit from the North Shore and West Auckland in future. The tunnelled option would begin at Wynyard Quarter, have stops in the central city and near the university campuses and a total of 18 stations, many of which will not be known until the detailed design stage. From Mt Roskill, the tunnelled option would run as a light rail line alongside State Highway 20 to Onehunga, Mangere and the airport. The establishment unit has presented an indicative business case for light rail to Wood and Finance Minister Grant Robertson, along with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and deputy mayor Bill Cashmore. Source https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/auckland-transport-government-unveils-latest-plan-for-light-rail-costing-15b/WW6EDSIBNJ3NU2U53CKCK362JM/

October 29 at 06:34 AM

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Aurizon buys One Rail freight group for $2.35b

Australian Financial Review  Oct 22, 2021 (Australia)  Rail group Aurizon has capped off another huge week of mergers and acquisitions with a $2.35 billion cash acquisition of freight rail group One Rail Australia that will help to haul more of the commodities used in a low carbon world, such as manganese and rare earths. “This actually puts us into a situation where we’re freighting the commodities that are talked about and play a part of the future in a low zero emissions-type environment,” Aurizon chief executive Andrew Harding said. Source https://www.afr.com/companies/infrastructure/aurizon-buys-one-rail-freight-group-for-2-35b-20211022-p5928a

October 25 at 06:05 AM

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Australia: Several injured after train derailment at Kembla Grange near Wollongong

New Zealand Herald  20 October, 2021 (Wollongong, Australia) A train has derailed south of Sydney leaving several passengers injured. The incident occurred in Kembla Grange, near Wollongong, after the derailed passenger train crashed into a car. Twelve people were evacuated and the driver, who was trapped for a short time, and at least three others including passengers were taken to hospital. The front carriage of the train has completely detached. NSW Police said emergency crews were called to the scene just after 4am. "Police have been told the train struck an unoccupied vehicle that was on the track, before the front carriage of the train rolled onto its side." Trains between Wollongong and Waterfall are still running but buses will replace trains in certain route with delays expected. "A shuttle train service is operating in both directions between Albion Park and Kiama," NSW TrainLink South tweeted. "Buses are on site and are operating a replacement service between Wollongong and Albion Park in both directions." "Passengers are also advised to allow plenty of extra travel time, listen to announcements and check information displays for service updates," Transport for NSW said. Source https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/australia-several-injured-after-train-derailment-at-kembla-grange-near-wollongong/YKHMSSXEBZ4ESVDPW6PQS4XIOA/

October 20 at 05:50 AM

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‘Anxiety relief’ train comes back to life in southern Taiwan

Taiwan News  22 September 2021(TAIPEI, Taiwan) The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) will honor vintage rail travel with the revival of a “blue-painted” tourist train in October. The train will run a route connecting Pingtung in the south and Taitung in the east that boasts picturesque coastal scenery of both the Bashi Channel and the Pacific Ocean, according to Lion Travel, the travel agency commissioned to operate the service. It is this fascinating and soothing landscape that has earned the rail service the sobriquet “anxiety relief” train. It will restart on Oct. 23 after an overhaul lasting a year and a half, reported CNA. A single trip costs a minimum of NT$299 (US$10.76). Source https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4294102

September 23 at 05:47 AM

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‘Honey pot’: Consultants charge $550,000 for six weeks’ work on NSW rail entity

The Sydney Morning Herald  August 23, 2021  The NSW government forked out $550,000 to a global consultancy for six weeks’ work last year to help devise a strategy for a controversial rail entity as the state battled COVID-19 and unemployment reached a peak. The fee pitched by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in July last year was a discount to its usual rate of $800,982 (excluding GST) because it was a “long-term relationship client”, internal documents reveal. Source https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/honey-pot-consultants-charge-550-000-for-six-weeks-work-on-nsw-rail-entity-20210819-p58kbr.html

August 24 at 04:55 AM

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‘It opens up our town’: Dartmoor line hopes to lead to rail renaissance

The Guardian  13 November 2021 (UK) Campaigners in Devon celebrate return of passenger trains after 50 years, a first step to reversing the Beeching closures On the rugged northern edge of Dartmoor, a small army of workers in high-vis vests is readying Okehampton station to welcome the first regular passenger train since 1972. The canopies and picket fences are being repainted in the original dark greens and warm yellows of the long-departed Southern Railway. It’s a historic moment for local campaigners, who have been fighting for decades to reconnect the Devon town to the national network and open up this lesser-visited part of the national park. “It’s quite extraordinary – almost unbelievable,” says Tom Baxter, 68, the secretary of the Dartmoor Railway Association ,  watching the painting from a gleaming green bench on the platform. “I used to travel on the line when it was British Rail and I was here when it closed in the 1970s. Local railways were seen as a bit of a nuisance at the time – they wanted to get rid of them.” The Exeter to Okehampton line – known as the Dartmoor Line – is the first reopening under the government’s £500m Restoring Your Railway programme, which aims to reinstate some of the services that were lost in the aftermath of the 1963 Beeching report commissioned by the Conservative government of the time, resulting in the closure of a third of the country’s track network and more than half of all stations. There are also plans to reopen the Northumberland line, which closed to passengers in 1964 as part of the Beeching era, when the automobile industry and roadbuilding lobby had the ear of successive governments. And there is a feasibility study on reinstating the Fleetwood-Poulton line in Lancashire. Overall, 38 schemes around the country have been given up to £50,000 to develop businesses cases, with further funding available if they are approved. On the other side of the track, Stuart Calvert, who has overseen the Dartmoor Line restoration for Network Rail, is checking the station before its reopening this week. “This is a real community project – and people are genuinely excited and delighted. It is opening up a part of the country that has not been well served: north Dartmoor rather than south Dartmoor,” he says. “For leisure or business travellers or school or college students, it creates a world of possibilities.” The £40m project, which has taken nine months, has involved the laying of 29,000 tonnes of ballast and 24,000 sleepers as well as the installation of five new radio masts and the clearing of miles of vegetation from the track. Although regular passenger services ended in the 1970s, freight trains continued to move stone from a quarry until 2011. Some passengers were able to travel on a limited Sunday service from the late 1990s. Source https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/nov/13/it-opens-up-our-town-dartmoor-line-hopes-to-lead-to-rail-renaissance

November 15 at 04:26 AM

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‘Lagos Blue, red rail lines will be ready in 2023 1st Quarter’

The Guardian  26 September 2021 (Nigeria) Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, promised that Lagos blue and red rail lines would commence operation between the last quarter of 2022 and first quarter of 2023. The Governor, who disclosed this, after inspecting the on-going blue and red line projects, said his administration is committed to realising the rail projects in the last two years.   He said work has commenced extensively on the red rail line at the Ikeja iconic station, which is the meeting point of the project, adding that the construction work has really progressed in Ikeja, the biggest station outside the Marina station. Source https://guardian.ng/news/lagos-blue-red-rail-lines-will-be-ready-in-2023-1st-quarter/

September 27 at 06:10 AM

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Bagpipes, soccer louts and zombies: all aboard the climate train

Australian Financial Review  October 31, 2021 (Glasgow, Scotland) A rail trip from London to Glasgow for COP26 had a lot more colour than just green, as our correspondent inadvertently discovers. When I booked my transport to head up to Glasgow for COP26, I just picked out the train that seemed the most convenient: the 1.30pm from London Euston on Saturday, for a breezy 4½-hour trip that would rock in just in time for dinner. As it turned out, though, this wasn’t just any old train. The 1.30pm from Euston was part of The Climate Train: it had been picked out by Youth for Sustainable Travel, a Dutch campaign group, as an official service of “Rail to the COP”, an itinerary for young activists to travel together from as far afield as Amsterdam. Source https://www.afr.com/world/europe/bagpipes-soccer-louts-and-zombies-all-aboard-the-climate-train-20211031-p594of

November 03 at 07:44 AM

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Bahrain Metro Expansion Attracts Seven Companies

The Daily Tribune- News Of Bahrain  11 September 2021 (Bahrain) Seven companies are competing to take up the feasibility study for extending the Bahrain Metro corridor. AECOM Middle East Limited Foreign Branches Company, IDOM Consulting Engineering Architecture SAU Foreign Branch Co., Rina Consulting SPA - Abu Dhabi, Consolidated Engineering Company Khatib & Alami Foreign Branch Company, SENER Ingenieria y Sistemas SA, IDOM Consulting Engineering Architecture SAU Foreign Branch Co. and Dar Al Handash consultants had made their bids. The bids range between BHD 165,528.000 and BHD 598,500.000. Rina consulting emerged as the lowest bidder. However, according to the tender board, the lowest bidder may not necessarily win the contract. Winning the contract depends on fulfilling technical and other requirements, following which price shall become the principal criterion. The tender was for determining the feasibility of extending the Bahrain Metro Corridor from King Hamad Railway Station at Al Ramli to the new Sports City and the International Exhibition Centre at Sakhir. According to the Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunication, the scope of work includes evaluation of alternative corridors, demand study and station allocation, concept and preliminary design of corridor and cost estimate of the project. According to MTT, Bahrain needs a 109km long metro network, which needs execution in phases.       Source https://www.newsofbahrain.com/bahrain/75158.html

September 13 at 06:25 AM

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Balloon tangled in wires delays trains near Tamworth

BBC  02/08/2021 (UK) A party balloon has disrupted train services in Staffordshire after getting tangled in electric cables. The helium inflatable became caught on Monday in wires near Tamworth that power trains on the West Coast Mainline. Network Rail said engineers had to close the railway and switch off electricity so the item could be removed. The closure delayed passengers on six trains by a total of 44 minutes. More than 600 balloon-related incidents have been recorded by Network Rail in England, Scotland and Wales in the last 10 years. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-58057895

August 03 at 10:16 AM

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Ban UK domestic flights and subsidise rail travel, urges transport charity

The Guardian  11 October 2021 (UK) Exclusive: Campaign for Better Transport calls on government to end ‘climate disaster’ of internal flights Domestic flights should be banned and long-distance train fares subsidised, transport campaigners have urged, highlighting the relative environmental and financial costs of air and rail travel. The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) called on ministers to outlaw internal UK flights if an equivalent train journey took less than five hours and to resist calls for any cut in air passenger duty. Mandatory emissions labels on tickets and a frequent flyer levy should also be introduced, the charity said. The demands came before the 27 October budget, in which the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, may decide to cut taxes on domestic flights in response to pressure from the aviation industry, a possibility mooted by the prime minister earlier this year. Such a move could, however, prove an embarrassment a week before the UK hosts the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow. The proposed ban would not affect isolated communities or the longest UK air corridors, but would hit flights such as Manchester to London, London to Edinburgh and Birmingham to Glasgow. Passengers should be offered cheaper train tickets, while anyone taking more than three international flights a year would be required to pay a frequent flyer levy, the campaign proposes. Paul Tuohy, the chief executive of CBT said: “Cheap domestic flights might seem a good deal when you buy them, but they are a climate disaster, generating seven times more harmful greenhouse emissions than the equivalent train journey. “Making the ​train cheaper will boost passenger numbers and help reduce emissions from aviation, but any cut to air passenger duty – coupled with a rise in rail fares in January – will send the wrong message about how the government wants people to travel and mean more people choosing to fly.” British Airways now offsets carbon emissions on all domestic flights and there are hopes that short-haul electric planes could operate internally within 15 years. However, “jet zero” ambitions remain some way from reality and CBT argues that major internal routes are feasible by direct train instead, with similar journey times once airport journeys and formalities are factored in. However, ticket prices are often prohibitive. In a staged “race” carried out on Friday from central London to Glasgow city centre, Tuohy took the plane and – including airport transfers and check-in – arrived in five hours 17 minutes, two minutes before the former transport minister Norman Baker, who travelled by train. CBT said the train journey emitted less than one-sixth of the carbon emissions of the flight – 20kg compared with 137kg – but cost twice as much at £109 v £52. Rail fares have risen steadily above inflation for well over a decade. A walk-up return ticket to travel on morning train services between London and Manchester now costs £369.40, while an off-peak return is £94.50 between the capital and northern England’s biggest city. The government has not announced a decision on further rail fare increases, but should they follow the RPI+1% formula the cost could increase by another 4.8% in January. Ministers are keen to reduce rail subsidy after spending an additional £8bn to cover lost revenue during the pandemic. Passenger numbers have returned to around 65% of pre-Covid levels, according to the latest Department for Transport figures. Source https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/oct/11/ban-uk-domestic-flights-and-subsidise-rail-travel-urges-transport-charity

October 12 at 07:28 AM

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Bang Na rail plan to be scrutinised

Bangkok Post  4 SEP 2021 (Thailand) The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is moving forward with its plan to conduct a feasibility study on a light double-track railway system between Bang Na district and Suvarnabhumi airport to alleviate traffic congestion on the Bang Na-Trat road. The road is one of the main roads used to travel to the airport and the eastern region of the country. Its surrounding areas consist of residential and commercial zones, but a rail service has yet to be constructed for residents. The BMA's Traffic and Transportation Department held a meeting on Friday to select consultants to carry out the study, which is to be part of a proposal to be submitted to the Transport Ministry. A market sounding is to be conducted in November or December. Prapas Luengsirinapha, director of the department, speaking remotely yesterday, said the 19.7-km project will cover 14 stations from Bangkok to Samut Prakan, which will be split into two phases. The department plans to allow the private sector to join a Public-Private Partnership initiative in the first phase to cover 14.6km, Mr Prapas said. The first phase is expected to cover 12 stations beginning at Bang Na intersection and ending in Samut Prakan. The route is to continue to the eastern Kanchanaphisek Interchange, passing through Kingkaew Interchange to reach Thana City. Another phase is to cover two stations at 5.1km in length from the city to the airport. The railway is expected to accommodate between 15,000 and 30,000 commuters per hour, Mr Prapas said. He said a company will be chosen by January to construct the railway. Source https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/2176231/bang-na-rail-plan-to-be-scrutinised

September 07 at 05:11 AM

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Bangkok to convert disused train carriages into COVID-19 ward

Reuters  July 27, 2021 (Thailand) BANGKOK, July 27 (Reuters) - Authorities in Thailand's capital Bangkok plan to convert 15 disused railway carriages into a 240-bed COVID-19 isolation ward for patients with less severe symptoms, the city's governing body said on Tuesday. Thailand has been battling its biggest coronavirus outbreak since the pandemic began. The Southeast Asian country reported 14,150 new cases and 118 deaths on Tuesday, bringing the total number of reported cases to 526,828 and 4,264 deaths so far. "Some modifications are still to be done such as removing the top bunk beds, installing window nets, as well as water and electricity systems," the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) said in a statement. "More toilets and bathrooms will be built outside the carriages." Source https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/bangkok-convert-disused-train-carriages-into-covid-19-ward-2021-07-27/

July 29 at 10:41 AM

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Bangkok’s Yellow Line skyrail starts test runs

The Thaiger (The Nation Thailand) November 30, 2021 (Thailand) The newest addition to Bangkok’s skyrail is here.The Yellow Line, which travels from Lat Phrao to Samrong in Samut Prakan, has reportedly begun its test run since last Thursday from the maintenance depot near Sri Iam station in Bang Na district. The Yellow Line, which is a joint venture worth 54,768.455 million baht between Thailand’s Mass Rapid Transit Authority and Eastern Bangkok Monorail Ltd., is an elevated mass rapid transit system that will run directly from Sri Iam station to Samrong, then back to the depot, passing through a slew of busy areas like Sri Lasalle, Sri Bearing, Thipawan, and the shopping complexes of Seacon Square and Paradise Park. The 30.4-kilometer line, which will have 23 stations, is slated to be finished in mid-2022, hoping to relieve traffic congestion on Lat Phrao Road and in the vicinity of the Airport Rail Link stations. At Lat Phrao station, it will connect to the MRT Blue Line, as well as the Airport Rail Link at Lam Sa Li station. Source  https://thethaiger.com/news/bangkok/bangkoks-yellow-line-skyrail-starts-test-runs

November 30 at 07:55 AM

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Bangladesh:- Govt establishing countrywide rail network to provide cheaper transportation: PM

The Daily Star  Nov 29, 2020 (Bangladesh) Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (today) said the government is working to establish a rail network across the country for providing transportation to people and goods at a cheaper rate. "There will be a rail line from Dhaka to Chattogram, Chattogram to Cox's Bazar and Ghundum. We'll build the Railways stronger and we have plans," she said. The Prime Minister said this while laying the foundation stone of the 4.8km long double-line dual-gauge Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge over the river Jamuna-- aimed at increasing the rail communication between the capital and Western zone of the Railway. She said that the government will set up a rail line from Dhaka to Payra Port via Barishal and Patuakhali. "We'll start a feasibility study, we've taken initiative in that regard," she said. More https://www.thedailystar.net/bangladesh-govt-establishing-countrywide-rail-network-2002981

July 22 at 10:00 AM

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Banyan trees and bulbuls: How Thomson-East Coast Line Stage 2 stations were inspired by nature

CNA  20 Aug 2021 (Singapore) SINGAPORE: Like the other 159 stations in Singapore’s rail network, six new MRT stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line are made of steel and concrete. But softer touches in the form of artwork - banyan trees, red-whiskered bulbuls and long-tailed macaques – are also to be found in Springleaf, Lentor, Mayflower, Bright Hill, Upper Thomson and Caldecott stations. The artwork depicts elements of nature found along the 13km-stretch of the rail line, which will begin operations on Aug 28. The six stations are part of the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) 24-year-old Art in Transit programme, which integrates works by leading Singapore artists into the rail network. LTA infrastructure design and engineering senior architect Ricky Lee said the nature theme was relevant to the stations, as they connect areas around Singapore’s Central Catchment Nature Reserve.  TREE OF MEMORIES At Springleaf station - which serves the neighbouring Springleaf and Thong Soon estates - commuters are greeted by a towering banyan tree, adorning the elevator shaft connecting the concourse and platform levels of the station.  Source https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/thomson-east-coast-line-mrt-stations-inspired-nature-2125766

August 26 at 06:24 AM

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Barnaby says Inland Rail good for the planet, keeps net zero alive

Australian Financial Review  August 31, 2021 (Australia) Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has badged the multibillion-dollar inland rail link a “great” carbon abatement project, raising hopes within the Liberal Party that the junior Coalition partner may yet agree to adopt net zero emissions by 2050. While defending the project in federal Parliament on Tuesday, Mr Joyce said each train on the 1700-kilometre link between Melbourne and Brisbane would remove from the road 150 semi-trailers, each of which uses about 600 litres of diesel. Source https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/barnaby-joyce-says-inland-rail-will-be-good-for-reducing-emissions-20210831-p58nky

September 17 at 05:45 AM

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Battle over $40b rail entity left Sydney network on knife edge

The Sydney Morning Herald  September 6, 2021 (About $40 billion of rail assets including trains are owned by the government’s Transport Asset Holding Entity.) Sydney’s rail network came within hours of being thrown into disarray last year because of safety concerns and the readiness of a controversial $40 billion corporation that had been set up to artificially inflate the state budget. The  Herald  can reveal that an operating licence for the Transport Asset Holding Entity (TAHE) was signed on June 30 last year, a matter of hours before the midnight transfer of $40 billion worth of trains and other public rail assets to the “independent for-profit” corporation devised by Treasury. Source https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/battle-over-40b-rail-entity-left-sydney-network-on-knife-edge-20210905-p58ow5.html

September 14 at 04:48 AM

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Bengaluru: K-RIDE ready to float suburban rail civil work tenders, says MD; first tender will be for Kanaka line

Times Of India  09 November 2021, (Bengaluru, India) Under fire for the delay in implementing the long-pending Rs 15,657-crore Bengaluru suburban rail project, K-RIDE MD Amit Garg said they are now ready to float civil work tenders. The Rail Infrastructure Development Company Karnataka Limited (K -RIDE), a special purpose vehicle formed by the Karnataka government and the railways ministry, is executing the 148-km project. Source https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/bengaluru-k-ride-ready-to-float-suburban-rail-civil-work-tenders-says-md-first-tender-will-be-for-kanaka-line/articleshow/87592117.cms

November 11 at 07:24 AM

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Bhutan exploring railway link to Bangladesh

Kuensel  April 3rd, 2021 (Bhutan) To help Bhutanese exporting commodities to Bangladesh overcome hurdles they face on the way today, Bhutan is exploring railway links to Bangladesh through India. The recently restored Haldibari-Chilahati railway link between India and Bangladesh is the potential route, according to officials at Royal Bhutan Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh. People exporting goods from Bhutan to Bangladesh by road faced multiple hurdles on the way starting from the point they entered India till they reached Bangladesh.    These problems comprise mostly informal tax collections on the way.    The problems, besides being time consuming, also lead to destruction of perishable goods like oranges and apples. Officials said that there were no problems at the government level but people posed endless problems.    Bhutanese exporters complained but governments could not do much about it. An official explained that loads also have to be shifted from one truck to another at Indian-Bangladesh borders at the moment. Trade attaché with the Royal Bhutan Embassy in Dhaka, Kencho Thinley, said a railway link connecting Bhutan to Bangladesh through India should not only address hurdles that exporters face but also cut down transportation time and cost. Source: https://kuenselonline.com/bhutan-exploring-railway-link-to-bangladesh/

July 09 at 04:36 AM

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Bidders should consider fire, floods: Infrastructure Australia

The Australian Financial Review  Aug 19, 2021  The NSW floods in March damaged ferry jetties, bridges and roads.  Getty State governments that pitch road and rail projects to Infrastructure Australia in coming years could be forced to detail how the developments will withstand natural disasters or face rejection. “There needs to be a shift in thinking,” IA chief executive Romilly Madew told  The Australian Financial Review,  adding that governments and industry needed to work together to incorporate infrastructure resilience in their project planning and business cases. “This needs to become business as usual.” The advisory body, which is required to evaluate business cases for infrastructure projects that receive more than $250 million in funding from the federal government, has released a new set of guidelines for states because they are failing to include the impact of climate change and other potential disasters. Ms Madew said while states and other project developers were making infrastructure more energy and water efficient, ensuring that new projects could also withstand natural disasters, as well as pandemics and cyber attacks, was still an “afterthought”. “We’re rushing with our projects, and it’s not considered,” she said. Source https://www.afr.com/companies/infrastructure/bidders-should-consider-fire-floods-infrastructure-australia-20210819-p58k6a

August 27 at 07:55 AM

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Biden Could Get the Railroads Back on Track

Wall Street Journal  September 16, 2021 (US)  Reciprocal switching can be a win for both railroads and shippers. “Regulator Tackles Competition on Rails” (U.S. News, Sept. 3) provides a solid account of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board’s efforts to tackle freight-rail issues and employ a remedy called reciprocal switching. As a former chairman of the STB, I learned the depth of the issues resulting from the STB’s regulation of the freight-rail industry. Over time, I realized shippers had a compelling case for updating STB policies and creating a more competitive environment. The STB issued a proposed rule more than five years ago that would allow a shipper served by a single railroad to use switching to access a second railroad. The proposal has been stuck in limbo until President Biden’s recent executive order. Source https://www.wsj.com/articles/railroads-reciprocal-switching-shipping-regulation-biden-supply-chain-logistics-11631741027

September 20 at 05:09 AM

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Biden restores $929 mln for California high-speed rail withheld by Trump

Reuters  June 11, 2021 (US) June 11 (Reuters) - The Biden administration late on Thursday restored a $929 million grant for California's high-speed rail that then-President Donald Trump revoked in 2019. Trump had pulled funding for a high-speed train project in the state hobbled by extensive delays and rising costs that he dubbed a "disaster." Trump repeatedly clashed as president with California on a number of policy fronts, prompting the state to file more than 100 lawsuits against the Republican Trump administration. Democratic President Joe Biden strongly supports high-speed rail and has vowed to ensure the United States "has the cleanest, safest, and fastest rail system in the world." Biden wants to dramatically increase funding for passenger rail networks, and in April touted high-speed trains that could eventually travel almost as fast as airplanes. Federal Railroad Administration Deputy Administrator Amit Bose said Friday the agreement follows "intensive negotiations between the parties and reflects the federal government’s ongoing partnership in the development of high-speed rail." California's lawsuit claimed the Transportation Department lacked legal authority to withhold the $929 million the administration of former President Barack Obama allocated a decade ago but had remained untapped. "The Biden Administration's restoration of nearly $1 billion for California's high-speed rail is great news for our state and our nation," U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said in a statement. The parties agreed to restore the grant within three days, according to the settlement agreement. The funding restoration occurs as the Biden administration tries to hammer out an infrastructure spending deal with lawmakers.  California's system, which is billed by the state as the first U.S. high-speed rail project, is estimated to cost from $69 billion to $99.8 billion and aims to be completed in the 2030s. Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom said the funding restoration will "move the state one step closer to getting trains running in California as soon as possible." California voters approved the initial $10 billion bond for the project in 2008, and $3.5 billion in federal money was allocated two years later. California previously received $2.5 billion.   Trump had threatened -- but ultimately did not see the return of the $2.5 billion. California State Treasurer Fiona Ma noted in a letter Monday that the Obama administration had allocated $10.5 billion for high-speed rail projects in 2009 and 2010 and that there are still no operational U.S. high-speed rail lines. "To be clear, a repeat effort that spends billions without getting any new lines operational after another decade will be the death of high-speed rail in America," Ma wrote to congressional leaders. "There is simply no way the public will continue to support such an agenda without seeing tangible results." Reporting by Derek Francis and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Schmollinger     Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/biden-administration-restores-929-mln-california-high-speed-rail-2021-06-11/

July 09 at 05:44 AM

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Biden to Target Railroads, Ocean Shipping in Executive OrderBiden to Target Railroads, Ocean Shipping in Executive Order

The Wall Street Journal  July 8, 2021 (US) President’s action is part of broad effort to blunt power of big business The Biden administration says the low number of players in the U.S. freight rail business has enabled companies to charge unreasonable fees. WASHINGTON—The Biden administration will push regulators to confront consolidation and perceived anticompetitive pricing in the ocean shipping and railroad industries as part of a broad effort to blunt the power of big business to dominate industries, according to a person familiar with the situation. The administration, in a sweeping executive order expected this week, will ask the Federal Maritime Commission and the Surface Transportation Board to combat what it calls a pattern of consolidation and aggressive pricing that has made it onerously expensive for American companies to transport goods to market. The administration says the relatively small number of major players in the ocean-shipping trade and in the U.S. freight rail business has enabled companies to charge unreasonable fees.   Source https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-to-target-railroads-ocean-shipping-in-executive-order-11625736601

July 22 at 05:49 AM

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Bids invited for suburban rail corridor

Deccan Herald  November 24, 2021 (India) The successful bidder has 27 months to complete the work In a step forward for the suburban rail project, bids have been invited for the construction of the 25.57-km-long corridor between Benniganahalli and Chikkabanavara (Corridor 2). The Rail Infrastructure Development Company (Karnataka) Limited issued a tender for the design and construction of the line under the two-cover system where companies have to qualify for the technical bid to become eligible for the financial bid. The line, named 'Mallige', comprises 8 km of the elevated corridor and 17.55 km of the at-grade corridor. The work includes the construction of ramps, formation of embankments, cuttings, blanketing, major and minor bridges, retaining walls, drains and utility diversions. The successful bidder has 27 months to complete the work. Source https://www.deccanherald.com/city/bengaluru-infrastructure/bids-invited-for-suburban-rail-corridor-1053941.html

November 24 at 06:12 AM

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Big Build swells: Andrews adds $2.5b, five new stations and 10 level crossing removals

The Sydney Morning Herald  July 29, 2021 (Australia) An additional 10 level crossings will be removed in Melbourne and five train stations will be revamped as part of new major works announced by the Victorian government on Tuesday. The renovations, to be completed by 2025, will be concentrated in the south-eastern and eastern suburbs, with no projects added to the west yet. Two train lines, the Lilydale and Cranbourne-Pakenham lines, will become free of level crossings as a result of the plans announced on Thursday. New train stations will be built at or near the existing sites of Narre Warren, Parkdale, Ringwood East, Croydon and Keon Park stations. In a similar design to the controversial sky rail projects in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs, rail bridges are set to be built in place of level crossings at Keon Park in the north and Parkdale in the south-east. Premier Daniel Andrews said the $2.5 billion investment would take the total number of level crossing removals to 85, above the 75 promised by his government in the 2018 election.   Source https://www.smh.com.au/politics/victoria/big-build-swells-andrews-adds-2-5b-five-new-stations-and-10-level-crossing-removals-20210729-p58e3b.html

August 04 at 07:22 AM

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Bolsonaro’s 1,000km Amazon railway will cause climate chaos. It must be stopped:- David Miranda

The Guardian  28 Jul 2021 (Brazil) ‘Today, almost 15% of the Amazon rainforest has already been deforested. When this number reaches 20%, the entire Amazonian system will collapse.’   This project would rapidly deforest large areas of the Amazon, which would wreak havoc on the planet Despite increasing global concern, Jair Bolsonaro is determined to expand his exploitation of Brazil’s crucial natural resources. His latest project, one of the most destructive yet, would rapidly deforest large areas of the Amazon. Bolsonaro’s plan? To construct a 1,000km railway system extending right into the heart of the Amazon rainforest – with trains passing within 500 metres of 726 official environmentally protected areas. The new railway, called Ferrogrão, would also entail construction within 10km of another 18 priority conservation areas established by the ministry of the environment. The pretext for Bolsonaro’s environment-destroying plan is a problem that, while real, could be easily addressed through far less harmful measures. Currently, soybeans and other grains grown in the Brazilian midwest must travel a considerable distance – 2,000km – to reach seaports in the states of São Paulo and Paraná. The proposed railway would reduce transport costs and increase the competitiveness of these products in the international or national market by roughly 8%. This underscores a key point of tension between Brazil and the international community. One reason the Amazon, a massive carbon bank, is so crucial to global climate policy is that countries in the global north became rich by exploiting their own natural resources, including through massive deforestation. Now that western European and North American countries are economically developed, they demand that Brazilians not do what they did: exploit our environmental resources so that we, too, can thrive economically. Many Brazilians, understandably, resent the hypocrisy. Source https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jul/28/bolsonaro-amazon-railway-climate-chaos-must-be-stopped

July 29 at 11:09 AM

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Bolton-Wigan £78m rail electrification project announced

BBC  01 September 2021 (UK)  The railway line between Bolton and Wigan is to be electrified in a £78m project, it has been announced. The upgrade will enable the Greater Manchester route to host longer electric trains with more capacity. The work, set to be completed by 2025, will electrify almost 13 miles of tracks and lengthen platforms between Lostock and Wigan. Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said the changes would provide a greener and more reliable railway. Upgrades are set to be made between Wigan North Western station and Lostock Junction, three miles north of Bolton, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said. The investment will ensure the current CO2 emitting diesel trains are replaced. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-58409047

September 02 at 05:20 AM

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Bombed freight train back in service

Bangkok Post  31 AUG 2021 (SONGKHLA,Thailand) The special freight train from Bangkok to Sungai Kolok, during a stopover at Hat Yai railway junction in Songkhla on Tuesday morning The freight train that was bombed and raked with gunfire on Saturday is now back in service on the Bangkok-Sungai Kolok route. On Tuesday, the train arrived at the Hat Yai railway junction in Songkhla at 7.30am. It departed Hat Yai for Sungai Kolok at 7.58am. Railway police and defence volunteers were aboard the train, providing security. The train, designated No 985 for the Sungai Kolok-bound trip and No 986 for the Bangkok-bound trip, is a special service carrying agricultural goods and parcels between Bangkok and Sungai Kolok in Narathiwat, to reduce transport costs for farmers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The special service is scheduled to operate from Aug 26 to Oct 1. On Aug 28, at 12.25pm, a bomb exploded on train No 986, heading for Bangkok from Sungai Kolok, when it was between Pa Phai and Tan Yong Mat stations in Narathiwat's Rangae district. After the explosion, gunshots were fired at one carriage. The train and the rail track were damaged, but nobody was hurt. The attack briefy halted all train services in the area, while track repairs were made. The special freight train resumed service on Tuesday. Source https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/2174063/bombed-freight-train-back-in-service

September 01 at 10:20 AM

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Borders Railway extension to Carlisle would be 'best solution'

BBC  06 October 2021 (UK) Extending the Borders Railway to Carlisle has been described as the "best solution" to the area's transport connectivity issues. A new prospectus from the Borderlands Partnership - made up of councils across the Scotland-England border - has backed the move. The route, opened in 2015, currently runs from Edinburgh to Tweedbank. The recommendation to extend it will form the basis of future talks with the UK and Scottish governments. The Borderlands Partnership - composed of the local authorities for Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders, Cumbria, Northumberland and Carlisle - has looked at the potential of extending the line. It found that taking the Borders Railway on from Tweedbank to Carlisle was the "best solution" to solve transport connectivity issues across the whole area. However, it stops short of saying where any stations on the extended route should be positioned. Scottish Borders Council (SBC) leader Shona Haslam said the re-establishment of a line between Edinburgh and her region had brought "immense and wide-ranging" benefits. "SBC has made a case for the extension of the line to Hawick and on to Carlisle for some time, and together with the other local authority partners we are reaffirming and strengthening that case in the prospectus," she said. The prospectus described the extension as the "missing link" in reconnecting the area. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-58814938

October 07 at 06:40 AM

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Brazil’s Bolsonaro gives go-ahead for monorail at São Paulo’s Guarulhos Airport

The Rio Times  September 8, 2021 (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil) President signs addendum to the contract of the country's largest airport, to authorize works of PeopleMover 2.6 km long, connecting all three terminals to the CPTM commuter train station. After participating in demonstrations of supporters with anti-democratic slogans on the September 7 holiday in Brasilia and São Paulo, President Jair Bolsonaro should sign on Wednesday, September 8, an addendum to the contract of the concessionaire GRU Airport, manager of the international airport of Guarulhos, the largest in the country. Source https://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/sao-paulo/brazils-bolsonaro-gives-go-ahead-for-monorail-at-sao-paulos-guarulhos-airport-on-wednesday/

September 15 at 05:12 AM

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Brazil’s Paraná projects US$5.4 billion railroad linking Mato Grosso do Sul to Paranaguá Port

The Rio Times  November 15, 2021 (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil) Ferroeste is a state-owned railroad that operates under a federal concession, from Cascavel (PR) to Guarapuava (PR). The new stretch should now expand the railroad, reform the current structure and be outsourced to a private party. The government of the state of Paraná is getting ready to launch an extremely ambitious project: the Nova Ferroeste, a railroad system from Maracaju (MS) to the Paranaguá Port (PR), with an investment forecast of R$29.4 (US$5.6) billion. It is not yet clear if any investor is willing to disburse a check of this size. The team expects to attract some foreign groups, even in an election year. In the financial market, however, there is little confidence that the plan will get off the drawing board at this point. Source https://www.riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/brazil/brazils-parana-state-projects-a-us5-4-billion-railroad-linking-mato-grosso-do-sul-state-to-paranagua-port/

November 26 at 05:43 AM

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Cable damage causes delays to Cambridge rail services

BBC  21 October, 2021 (UK) Rail passengers have had their journeys disrupted for much of the day after an overhead power cable was damaged at Cambridge. Cables have now been repaired and the disruption has ended, National Rail Enquiries said. Thameslink had advised people to delay travel from Cambridge to London as journey times were increased by about two hours. The power cable came down on Tuesday, leaving passengers stranded on trains. British Transport Police said it assisted Network Rail in "evacuating passengers from several stranded trains", working with operators Great Northern, CrossCountry and Greater Anglia. Network Rail repaired the damaged electrical cables and Greater Anglia apologised for the delay and inconvenience to passengers. Other services affected included cancelled trains between Cambridge and London Stansted Airport. No Thameslink trains were running between Cambridge and Royston, with a significantly reduced service between Foxton, Royston and London, until at least 13:00 BST, the operator said. An hourly train shuttle was offered between Cambridge North and King's Lynn, the rail firm added. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-58977469

October 21 at 06:03 AM

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Canada orders rail restrictions to reduce wildfire risk

Reuters  July 12, 2021 (Canada) OTTAWA, July 11 (Reuters) - Canada on Sunday ordered rail transport restrictions for areas where there is a high wildfire risk after a blaze wiped out the town of Lytton, British Columbia, and killed two people earlier this month. The order will require both Canadian National Railway Co (CNR.TO) and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP.TO) to take precautions against wildfires, including reducing train speeds, according to a Transport Ministry statement. On Friday, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra ordered a 48-hour stop to rail transport in parts of British Columbia that expired on Saturday at midnight.The new restrictions took effect on Sunday morning and will remain until Oct. 31. The order "will put in place interim measures while the department works with railway companies to incorporate these fire risk reduction measures on a permanent basis," the ministry said.   https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canada-orders-rail-restrictions-reduce-wildfire-risk-2021-07-11/

July 12 at 02:49 PM

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CANADA STOCKS-Rail merger news lifts industrial stocks to record high

Reuters  SEPTEMBER 1, 2021 (Canada) (Adds comments; updates prices) Sept 1 (Reuters) - Canada’s main index rose on Wednesday as railroad stocks jumped after regulators halted Canadian National’s deal to buy U.S. peer Kansas City Southern, potentially paving the way for rival Canadian Pacific to usurp the deal. At 10:39 a.m. ET (1439 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 0.57% at 20,699.87. The industrials index rose 2.1% to a record high, as both Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd and Canadian National Railway Co jumped about 4% following the rejection of a voting trust structure that would have allowed the latter to buy Kansas City for $29 billion. The two Canadian companies are competing to buy the U.S. railroad and Canadian Pacific initially fell 5% on Tuesday as investors priced in a greater likelihood of it having to make good on its own $25 billion offer for Kansas City. Source https://www.reuters.com/article/canada-stocks/canada-stocks-rail-merger-news-lifts-industrial-stocks-to-record-high-idUSL4N2Q332C

September 03 at 04:52 AM

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Canadian luxury scenic train line debuts its first US route

CNN 26 August 2021  (CNN) —  The United States' railroad system is getting a boost from its northern neighbor. One of Western Canada's most-decorated luxury scenic train lines, the Rocky Mountaineer, launched its first US route on August 15 through its namesake mountain range, running two-day, one-night trips back and forth between Denver, Colorado, and Moab, Utah. The new route, known as Rockies to the Red Rocks, joins the line's three rail offerings in Western Canada (Vancouver to Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper) and takes passengers through several distinct regions of Colorado before cruising into the heart of canyon country in Southern Utah. The US, while not known for its train travel, does already have a handful of dedicated scenic trains in the West. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Rail, for example, or Amtrak's Coast Starlight between Washington and California.   None, however, quite fit the same bill as the Rocky Mountaineer, whose unique operations, food and beverage program and luxury-focused service have made it a model for the industry. Since its inception in 1990, it has been honored by the World Travel Awards as the "World's Leading Travel Experience by Train" eight times, and in 2020, it won a Globe Travel Award for "Best Rail Company." Source https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/rocky-mountaineer-train-route-united-states/index.html

August 27 at 07:31 AM

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Canadian Pacific Plans New, Higher Bid for Kansas City Southern

The Wall Street Journal Aug. 9, 2021 (Canada) Kansas City Southern has been the subject of a takeover battle in recent weeks. Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. is planning to make a new, increased offer for Kansas City Southern , according to people familiar with the matter, reigniting a takeover battle with Canadian National Railway Co. for the coveted U.S. railroad. Canadian Pacific’s board of directors met Monday to authorize a bid that values Kansas City Southern near $300 a share, the people said, or about $27 billion. There is no guarantee Canadian Pacific will follow through with the plan; if it does, it is expected to do so soon. Kansas City Southern is the smallest of the nation’s major freight railroads. The company plays a big role in U.S.-Mexico trade, with a network stretching across both countries and contributing to its desirability as an acquisition target. Railroad takeovers are rare as regulators tend to view them warily, but Kansas City Southern is seen as one of the last operators of size that is potentially available for purchase. Its allure has only grown as the U.S. economy recovers from the slowdown triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. Source https://www.wsj.com/articles/canadian-pacific-plans-new-higher-bid-for-kansas-city-southern-11628539276

August 11 at 11:18 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.   Source: https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/high-speed-rail-project-cancellation-just-tip-of-the-iceberg-in-malaysias-recent-rail

July 09 at 07:36 AM

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Cando Rail & Terminals Is Said to Explore $800 Million Sale

Bloomberg  November 11, 2021 (Canada) Cando Rail & Terminals Ltd. is exploring a sale that could value the Canadian provider of railway services at about C$1 billion ($800 million), according to people familiar with the matter.  The Brandon, Manitoba-based company is working with an adviser to solicit interest from potential suitors, which include infrastructure and pension funds, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. Representatives for Cando and TorQuest Partners Inc., a private equity firm that has owned a stake in the company since 2018, didn’t respond to requests for comment. Cando comes to market just as global shipping gridlock heightens the focus on transportation and logistics firms that play a critical role in moving goods. It also follows a monthslong takeover battle for Kansas City Southern, a U.S. railroad that ultimately agreed to a $27 billion sale to Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. Founded in 1978, Cando Rail provides specialized rail services, helping shippers connect with railways. With eight terminals in Canada and 45 rail services locations, the company provides railcar staging, material handling, fleet management and train assembly, according to its website.   Cando Rail & Terminals changed its name in April from Cando Rail Services Ltd.  Source https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-11-11/cando-rail-terminals-is-said-to-explore-800-million-sale

November 15 at 04:47 AM

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Cause of Montana Amtrak derailment still under investigation

AP  October 27, 2021 (Helena, Montana,US) A preliminary report on an Amtrak train derailment in Montana last month that killed three people and injured dozens more offered no clues about what triggered the accident, but said the train’s emergency brakes were activated and that Amtrak estimated the damage at more than $22 million. However, one attorney whose client is suing Amtrak and BNSF Railway said he wanted to learn more about the crash-worthiness of the train’s observation car and an attorney for a crew member said she reported seeing a 30-foot dip along the railroad, where it appeared the track bed had given way. The National Transportation Safety Board issued its preliminary report Tuesday on the Sept. 25 derailment of the westbound Empire Builder just west of Joplin, in north-central Montana. It was mostly factual, saying there were 154 people on board and that 44 passengers and crew were taken to area hospitals with injuries. Passengers without serious injuries were bused to the nearby town of Chester, where residents provided food and other aid. Source https://apnews.com/article/business-montana-accidents-transportation-amtrak-c9ae69ffebb55ebeac0fc2d3a1664f7c

October 29 at 05:28 AM

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Central Railway to warn of ‘fatka’ thieves on rail tracks

Times Of India Aug 2, 2021 (India) MUMBAI: Passengers travelling on suburban locals will now be cautioned with the pre-recorded audio message in the compartment about the presence of fatka gang members as the train is about cross spots where the crime is most likely to happen. Fatka thieves sit on railway poles and hit commuters on trains, knocking down their phones and other valuables Central Railway’s chief public relations officer Shivaji Sutar said, “We have identified such vulnerable spots across main, harbour and trans-harbour line. The announcements will be made to caution commuters standing close to the door.” The announcements are done in Marathi, Hindi and English. Source https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/mumbai-cr-to-warn-of-fatka-thieves-on-rail-tracks/articleshow/84958356.cms

August 03 at 09:31 AM

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China flood terror as train carriage submerged

BBC  22/07/2021 (China) It was hard to breathe': China flood terror as train carriage submerged As floodwater crashed through a busy subway station in China on Tuesday, desperate passengers tried to flee while others were swept helplessly off platforms. In one train carriage, water seeped in and rose from ankle, to waist, to neck-height. Panicked commuters stretched upwards to breathe, while others lifted shorter people into the shrinking air pocket above. In terrifying videos shared on social media, some passengers can be seen standing on chairs and clinging to the ceiling as the floodwater creeps upwards. One tried to smash a window, before realising that there was even more water outside the carriage. Some filmed the unfolding tragedy, while others called loved ones or posted pleas for help. "I can't speak anymore," one woman wrote on the social media site Weibo. "If no rescue comes in 20 minutes, hundreds of us will lose our lives." "We were all standing on the seats, and the water was already on our knees," a woman who gave her name as Ms Li told Elephant News. "Some shorter passengers had water up to their necks," she said, adding that as time went on the air supply began to diminish. Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-57920412

July 22 at 05:57 AM

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China opens first road-rail transport link to Indian Ocean

The Hindu  AUGUST 31, 2021  It connects the logistics lines of Singapore, Myanmar, China The first shipments on a newly-launched railway line from the Myanmar border to the key commercial hub of Chengdu in western China, that provides China a new road-rail transportation channel to the Indian Ocean, were delivered last week, state media reported on Tuesday. A “test cargo” through what is being called the China-Myanmar New Passage arrived at the Chengdu rail port in Sichuan province on August 27, the official China News Service reported. The transport corridor involves a sea-road-rail link. Goods from Singapore reached Yangon Port, arriving by ship through the Andaman Sea of the northeastern Indian Ocean, and were then transported by road to Lincang on the Chinese side of the Myanmar-China border in Yunnan province. The new railway line that runs from the border town of Lincang to Chengdu, a key trade hub in western China, completes the corridor. “This passage connects the logistics lines of Singapore, Myanmar and China, and is currently the most convenient land and sea channel linking the Indian Ocean with southwest China,” the China News Service said, adding that "the one-way journey saves 20 to 22 days”. Source https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/china-opens-first-road-rail-transport-link-to-indian-ocean/article36210663.ece

September 01 at 08:54 AM

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China or Japan: Govt mulls over Jakarta-Surabaya railway plans

The Jakarta Post  September 20, 2021 (Indonesia) Indonesia’s plan to invite China to submit a proposal for the Jakarta-Surabaya railway project has caught some by surprise, as the project appeared to be earmarked for Japan. Questions emerged when Coordinating Economics Minister Airlangga Hartarto announced in May 2020 that the government had decided to extend the China-backed Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway project to Surabaya in East Java, along a route similar to one Japan had begun studying in 2018. In January, Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo wanted China to work on the extension. In May this year, Luhut was tasked with meeting representatives from China to discuss the project. Source https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2021/09/20/china-or-japan-govt-mulls-over-jakarta-surabaya-railway-plans.html

September 23 at 06:19 AM

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China Rail expands coal transportation for upcoming winter and spring

Global Times  October 24, 2021 (China) China State Railway Group said on Sunday that it has significantly expanded transportation of coal across the country ahead of the upcoming winter and spring seasons, as Chinese authorities stepped up efforts to ensure coal supply to address power shortages. As of October 20, 363 power plants across China had reserves of 35.04 million tons of coal directly transported by rail, an increase of 18 percent compared with the end of September, according to data released by China Railway. The data also showed that on average coal inventory could last 16.6 days, compared to 14 days at the end of September. Entering September, the country saw severe power shortages in some areas, caused by soaring coal prices and policies aimed at reducing energy consumption. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner, said on September 29 that rail operators and responsible authorities should prioritize coal transportation to secure supplies for domestic power generation. Since October, China Railway has opened green channels for fast loading and transportation, in order to guarantee supply for winter heating and normal operation of the economy and society, as the government has stepped up efforts to ensure a stable supply of coal and crack down on soaring prices. According to data, from October 1 to 20, China Railway loaded 52,357 cars of coal per day, an increase of 17 percent year-on-year. Moreover, rail operators have strengthened coal security for power generation and heating in the Northeast, as well as ensuring the transportation of imported coal via the ports of Manzhouli and Suifenhe in Northeast China. From October 1 to 20, coal loaded on average each day in Northeast China reached 11,145 cars, a year-on-year increase of 8 percent. On October 20, the State Council, the cabinet, called for an all-out effort to ensure coal production and transportation for residential heating, as well as cracking down on coal market speculation, a clear and firm signal to make livelihoods the national priority. Source https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202110/1237116.shtml

October 25 at 05:01 AM

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China railway operator denies suspending trains to Lithuania, though it’s an option

Globaltimes   Aug 18, 2021 (China) The China State Railway Group Co (China Railway) on Wednesday denied a Baltic media report that the Chinese railway operator suspended freight trains to Lithuania due to "political tension," saying  the freight trains are in normal service, after some media in Taiwan island hyped the fake news amid rocky China-Lithuania relations due to Lithuania's provocation of China on the Taiwan question. But experts noted that such a suspension of service could be an option for the Chinese side, and urged the Baltic country to act wisely rather than blindly follow the US' containment of China at the cost of its own interests.  The Baltic News Service, the largest news agency operating in the Baltic countries, claimed it obtained a letter from China Railway Containers - China Railway's subsidiary - to Lithuanian customers. The letter read that due to the political tension between Lithuania and China, the freight train originally scheduled to depart from China to Lithuania at the end of this month will be cancelled.  China Railway on Wednesday denied the report in a statement sent to the Global Times. It said that media reports on China Railway Containers suspending freight trains to Lithuania were false, and the China-Europe trains between the two countries are under normal operations.  Source https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202108/1231887.shtml

August 26 at 07:03 AM

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China unveils 600 kph maglev train - state media

Reuters  July 20, 2021 (China) China unveiled a maglev train capable of a top speed of 600 kph on Tuesday, state media said. The maximum speed would make the train, self-developed by China and manufactured in the coastal city of Qingdao, the fastest ground vehicle globally. Using electro-magnetic force, the maglev train "levitates" above the track with no contact between body and rail. China has been using the technology for almost two decades on a very limited scale. Shanghai has a short maglev line running from one of its airports to town. While there are no inter-city or inter-province maglev lines yet in China that could make good use of the higher speeds, some cities including Shanghai and Chengdu have started to conduct research. At 600 kph, it would only take 2.5 hours to travel from Beijing to Shanghai by train - a journey of more than 1,000 km (620 miles). By comparison, the journey would take 3 hours by plane and 5.5 hours by high-speed rail. Countries from Japan to Germany are also looking to build maglev networks, although high costs and incompatibility with current track infrastructure remain hurdles to rapid development. Source https://www.reuters.com/world/china/china-unveils-600-kph-maglev-train-state-media-2021-07-20/

July 20 at 11:53 AM

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China's first hydrogen fuel cell hybrid locomotive starts trial run

Global Times  October 29, 2021 (China) The first China-developed hydrogen fuel cell hybrid locomotive started a trial run on Friday on a railway line for coal transport in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The hydrogen energy locomotive project was jointly launched by the Inner Mongolia subsidiary of the State Power Investment Corporation Limited (SPIC), CRRC Datong Co., Ltd., and the Hydrogen Energy Co., Ltd. of SPIC. Compared with traditional diesel locomotives, the new-energy locomotive is expected to cut carbon emissions by about 96,000 tonnes a year running on the 627-kilometer coal railway linking the Baiyinhua coal mine in Inner Mongolia with the port of Jinzhou in northeast China's Liaoning Province. Li Lingtao, deputy chief engineer with CRRC Datong Co., Ltd., said that the hydrogen fuel cell hybrid locomotive has a design speed of 80 km per hour. It can run continuously for 24.5 hours when fully loaded with fuel and its maximum traction load on straight roads reaches 5,000 tonnes. The new-energy locomotive has broad market prospects for use in large factories, mines and ports. With the emission of water, the hydrogen-fueled locomotive can realize zero pollution during operation. Source https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202110/1237650.shtml

November 01 at 06:13 AM

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China's newest rail starts Europe service

Manila Times  September 1, 2021 (CHONGQING, China) A freight train loaded with 50 containers of machinery and equipment left southwest China's Chongqing municipality on August 29 for the capital of Ukraine, marking the launch of Chongqing's new freight train route. The freight train is scheduled to pass through the border port of Erenhot in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and will reach its destination in mid-September. Previously, exports from Chongqing to Ukraine had to go through Belarus or Poland rather than heading directly for Ukraine. The new route is the municipality's first direct international freight train route to Kyiv. It is expected to further facilitate trade between Europe and the western regions of China. Chongqing is a primary hub for China-Europe freight trains. The Yuxinou (Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe) railway, which was the first China-Europe freight train route, saw 1,359 trips in the first half of 2021, up over 50 percent year-on-year, according to the port and logistics office of the municipal government. Source https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/09/01/business/foreign-business/chinas-newest-rail-starts-europe-service/1813025

September 03 at 05:08 AM

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China-based infra bank lends $356mn for Chennai Metro rail system

Hindustan Times  September 30, 2021 (India) China and India are the top two shareholders in the 103-member bank, which was set up in 2016 at Beijing’s initiative, and seen as its answer to an international finance system dominated by western countries Pedestrians pass by a vehicle being used as a mobile clothes store in Chennai, India. The project involves the construction of an environment-friendly new corridor in Chennai’s metro network as part of Chennai Metro Rail Phase 2, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank said (Bloomberg) The Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved a $356.67mn loan to India for the expansion of the Chennai Metro rail system as part of efforts to expand green public rail transport options in the country. The project involves the construction of an environment-friendly new corridor in Chennai’s metro network as part of Chennai Metro Rail Phase 2, the AIIB said in a statement on Thursday. China and India are the top two shareholders in the 103-member bank, which was set up in 2016 at Beijing’s initiative, and seen as its answer to an international finance system dominated by western countries. The Chennai project is the latest in the transport sector-related loans from the multilateral banking institute. Source https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/chinabased-infra-bank-lends-356mn-for-chennai-metro-rail-system-101633003049362.html

October 01 at 06:39 AM

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China-Europe freight trains reach 11,343 from Q1-Q3, up 29%

Global Times  November 04, 2021 (China) Freight trains between China and Europe reached 11,343 trips in the first nine months of 2021, transporting 1.903 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), up 29 percent and 37 percent, respectively year-on-year, China Railway said on Thursday, emphasizing the key role of China-Europe rail in stabilizing international supply chains. China-Europe freight trains have become a component of cross-border logistics in ensuring the smooth operation of the supply chain in Central Europe and Central Asia, as well as providing one more option for enterprises suffering from the soaring prices of international sea and air freight, experts said. According to China's top economic planner, in September, China-Europe freight trains reached 1,291 trips, transporting 127,000 TEUs, representing a year-on-year increase of 9 percent and 16 percent, respectively. The data also showed that September marks the 17th consecutive month that bilateral freight trains surpass 1,000 trips. At present, the number of China-Europe freight trains in Ji'nan city, East China's Shandong Province approached the total number seen last year. On October 29, the first "Jinbo" China-Europe freight train arrived in Shanghai, transporting exhibits to be displayed at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) from Hamburg, Germany with a total of 35 containers. Source https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202111/1238116.shtml

November 05 at 06:45 AM

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China-Laos railway to open Friday, expected to inject impetus to local economy, benefit regional countries

Global Times  December 01, 2021 (China) Flagship BRI project brings friends even closer: observers Top leaders of China and Laos will meet via video link on Friday and jointly witness the opening of the China-Laos Railway, which is expected to not only boost connectivity between Laos and other countries, but also benefit regional development. As the docking project between the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Laos' strategy to convert itself from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub, the 1,035 kilometer-long China-Laos Railway will connect Kunming, capital of Southwest China's Yunnan Province, and Laos' capital city Vientiane.  Billed as a showpiece of Laos' participation in the BRI, the railway has 11 stations on the Chinese section and 10 on the 409-kilometer Laos section. With a designed speed of 160 kilometers per hour, the railway will shorten travel between Vientiane and the China-Laos border from two days to just three hours, and the trip from Vientiane to Kunming can be done overnight, according to the Xinhua News Agency. Speaking at a routine press conference on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told the media that as China and Laos, two socialist friendly neighbors, celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral ties, it is a grand and joyous milestone event to have the two heads of state witness the opening of the China-Laos Railway.  China believes that the railway could help Laos turn its strategy of turning from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub into reality, accelerate the joint construction of a community of shared future of the two countries, benefit the two peoples, boost regional connectivity and supply chain resilience, and make contributions to regional development and prosperity, Wang noted.  Chinese observers said that by delivering the railway on time, China will display its seriousness in carrying out BRI projects and in promoting regional economic unity that could withstand the test of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The railway will also establish a rapid transit and commercial link between the Southeast Asian country and China, the world's second largest economy, powering Laos' economic growth, they added. However, some Western media have reported otherwise.  The AFP reported on Tuesday that the project has already left 4,400 farmers and villagers reeling after they were forced to surrender land, and that many have faced long delays receiving compensation or have been paid inadequate amounts, citing a report by the Lao Movement for Human Rights. Some Western media also said that the project is more the work of China's political agenda to increase China's clout, than pure economic consideration.  "The railway will result in the growth of many industries like tourism, trade and investment, especially in the processing industry, and it's going to help a lot for Laos' post-pandemic recovery," said Valy Vetsaphong, vice president of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and advisor to Laos' prime minister during a recent interview with the Xinhua News Agency.  Valy said many local business operators will switch to exporting products by using the railway, which is expected to cut the cost of transport through Laos by 30 to 40 percent compared to traveling by road. The railway connects Laos with "not only China, but also the entire BRI network," according to a World Bank report in 2020. And it will bring a significant reduction in transport costs by some 30-50 percent depending on the method of calculation, and is expected to increase trade between China and Laos to 3.7 million tons of cargo by 2030, according to the World Bank. Xu Liping, director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, predicted that the railway will mostly handle cargo in its initial stage of operations, given the COVID-19 pandemic situation that has greatly stalled international travel. The completion of the railway marks a dream-come-true moment for local residents in the infrastructure-poor inland country, as it previously had only 4 kilometers of railway tracks, Gu Xiaosong, dean of the ASEAN Research Institute of Hainan Tropical Ocean University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.  Cargo, including raw materials and fresh agricultural products, could be transported to China and then even Europe via the railway network, which would inject new impetus to not only the local economy, but also other regional players such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar, Gu said.  Higher-level people-to-people exchanges, trade and investment, among others, will be flowing to the region with the opening of the railway, he noted.  Chinese observers also see the future development of the China-Laos Railway, as it could be part of the grand scheme of a rapid transit hopefully linking China, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and ultimately Singapore, to be known as the Kunming-Singapore Railway or the Pan-Asia Railway Network. By then, it would be possible to bypass the crowded maritime traffic in the Malacca Strait, enabling faster transport to and from Europe, they said.  For its contributions, the Laotian government awarded the China State Railway Group the 1st Class Medal of Development, the highest honor, at an award ceremony in Vientiane on Wednesday, according to a press release sent to the Global Times by the Chinese state railway operator. Source https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202112/1240416.shtml

December 02 at 05:18 AM

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China’s 1st high-speed Bullet train in Himalayan region reaches close to Indian border in Tibet!

Financial Express June 26, 2021 (India) The inauguration of 435.5 km long section Lhasa-Nyingchi of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway has been done ahead of the centenary celebrations of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) on July 1. On Friday, the first fully electrified bullet train was operationalized by China in the remote Himalayan region of Tibet, connecting Lhasa, which is the provincial capital, and Nyingchi, a Tibetan border town that is strategically located close to the state of Arunachal Pradesh. The inauguration of 435.5 km long section Lhasa-Nyingchi of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway has been done ahead of the centenary celebrations of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) on July 1, a PTI report said. On Friday morning, the electrified railway in Tibet Autonomous Region opened for the first time, linking Lhasa with Nyingchi as on the Himalayan plateau region, “Fuxing” bullet trains enter official operation. The news was reported by state-run Xinhua news agency. After the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the Sichuan-Tibet Railway will be the second railway into Tibet. The railway line will go through the southeast of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which is known to be one of the world’s most geologically active areas. In the month of November, China’s President Xi Jinping had instructed officials to expedite the new railway project’s construction, saying the new railway line would play a major role in safeguarding the stability of the border. Starting from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, the Sichuan-Tibet Railway will travel through Ya’an and enter Tibet via Qamdo, reducing the travel time from Chengdu to Lhasa to 13 hours from 48 hours. According to the report, Nyingchi is prefecture-level city of Medog, which is located adjacent to the border of Arunachal Pradesh. China claims that the northeastern state of India, Arunachal Pradesh is a part of South Tibet. However, India firmly rejects this claim. The dispute over the India-China border covers the 3,488 km long Line of Actual Control. Qian Feng, Director of National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University’s research department, had earlier told Global Times that if a crisis situation occurs at the China-India border, a great convenience will be provided by the railway for China’s delivery of strategic materials.   (representational image) Source: https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/chinas-1st-high-speed-bullet-train-in-himalayan-region-reaches-close-to-indian-border-in-tibet/2278144/

July 09 at 05:44 AM

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China’s CRRC approved to pilot integrated system R&D for maglev trains with speed of 200km/h, 600km/h

Global Times  Aug 27, 2021 (China) China's Ministry of Transportation (MOT) has approved the state-owned CRRC Corporation, the world's largest rail transit equipment supplier, to pilot technological research and development (R&D) of integrated system for medium-speed maglev train with a speed of 200 kilometers an hour and high-speed maglev train with a speed of 600 kilometers an hour, according to a statement on the ministry's website on Friday. CRRC will beef up R&D efforts in developing an integrated system for controlling, pulling, "floating" and guiding the maglev train, while also researching key technologies involving composite material, light-weighted train coach design as well as experiment and evaluation technique. The group will develop the prototype for medium and high-speed maglev trains. The approval is part of China's efforts to build itself into a global leader for advanced transportation.   Under the plan, the prototype for maglev train's integrated system is expected to be completed within one or two years, and technological breakthroughs on the experiment of key sub-systems will also be completed over this timeframe. The group will also set up a technological platform for integrating and coordinating the maglev train technology in a preliminary stage within the time frame. Over the next three to five years, core technologies and relevant standards on the design and manufacturing of maglev train are expected to be formulated. The comprehensive evaluation and joint test on medium- and high-speed maglev train system should also be basically completed.  Along the way, China's independent ability to develop maglev train system and equipment will continue improving, with a full domestically-developed industrial supply chain basically being formed and a workforce of international talent team being built up.  In addition to the R&D into medium- and high-speed maglev train and engineering application, MOT also approved a series of other tests to be piloted by CRRC, including the R&D into green intelligent transportation equipment, technological research of new energy vehicle and technological solution for high-speed train and intelligent high-speed trains with top speeds of 400 kilometers an hour.   In July, China unveiled the world's fastest maglev train, with a maximum speed of 600 kilometers an hour, in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province.  Source https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202108/1232640.shtml  

September 09 at 05:50 AM

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China’s first sea-crossing 350kmh high-speed rail project makes crucial progress

Global Times  Aug 08, 2021 (China) The Quanzhou Bay cross-sea bridge, a main bridge on a sea-crossing high-speed railway connecting the cities of Fuzhou and Xiamen in East China's Fujian Province were joined together on Friday, a major step toward the full completion of the construction and operation of a new rail artery.  The 20.29 km-long bridge, with its sea bridge measuring 8.96 km in length, is part of the 277-km Fuzhou-Xiamen high-speed railway, which connecting the provincial capital Fuzhou and the popular tourist city of Xiamen.  The main joist of Quanzhou Bay cross-sea Bridge uses a steel box girder form, which is divided into 13 types and 77 sections, of which the heaviest girder section weighs 365.18 tons.  The railway is scheduled to begin operations in 2022, according to a report from the Xinhua News Agency. The railway, China's first cross-sea high-speed railway with a designed speed of 350 kilometers per hour, is expected to slash the travel time between the two cities from two hours to one hour. The Fuzhou-Xiamen high-speed railway will also boost the development of the city clusters in Fujian through faster commuting. It is also an important part of China's eight vertical and eight horizontal high-speed railway network, a national medium and long-term rail blueprint. Source https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202108/1230906.shtml

August 12 at 10:57 AM

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China’s vast high-speed rail is a big emitter but down the line leads to greener freight: study

South China Morning Post  26 October 2021 (China) When passengers opted out of slower trains in favour of high-speed rail, road freight moved to fill the much greener conventional trains Beijing-Shanghai line led to the highest overall drop in greenhouse gas emissions – more than 3 million tonnes per year on average – according to paper China’s  rapid expansion of high-speed rail  has indirectly cut  greenhouse gas emissions  by creating capacity for freight on conventional trains, according to a new study. Electricity-powered high-speed rail (HSR) produces more emissions than cars on highways and conventional railway in China where  coal power  dominates  electricity production . However, the network’s massive growth between 2008 and 2016 has led to an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) equal to about 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide – or 1.33 per cent of China’s total transport sector emissions – compared with the pre-high-speed rail era. When passengers opted out of the slower conventional trains in favour of high-speed rail, road freight moved to fill the much greener conventional trains, causing a drop in emissions, according to the researchers. China, the world’s biggest energy user and greenhouse gas emitter, has been expanding its high-speed railway network in the past decade to connect major cities, with 38,000km of rail operating by the end of 2020, compared with 19,800km in 2015. The flow of passenger vehicles on highways dropped 18.5 per cent, while that of goods vehicles fell by about 14.5 per cent following high-speed rail connection, analysis of new passenger and freight traffic data from all highways and national roads in China from 2009 to 2016 showed. “Since HSRs are not designed for freight transportation, one likely explanation is that the opening of HSRs has helped relieve some of the capacity on conventional rail lines, which serve a mixture of both passenger and freight transportation,” the researchers wrote in an article published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature  Climate Change  on Monday. For example, the opening of the Wuhan-Guangzhou HSR line lifted the annual freight capacity of the parallel conventional railway by 87.6 million tonnes, and 84 million tonnes on the Shanghai-Nanjing HSR line, which combined translates to 5 per cent of national freight volume in 2010, according to the study. Among high-speed railways, the Beijing-Shanghai line led to the highest overall drop in greenhouse gas emissions – more than 3 million tonnes per year on average – the study found. Carrying the same weight over the same distance, the high-speed railway may emit more than twice as much as cars on highways, more than four times as much as road goods vehicles, or about 70 times as much as the conventional railway, according to the study. “At first glance, these estimates might appear counterintuitive, but they are less surprising if we consider the structure of electricity production in current China,” the researchers said. “The GHG-emission level of HSR is highly dependent on the supporting electricity grid system. However, GHG emissions from electricity production are very high in China because of the dominance of coal power,” they said, pointing out that thermal power accounted for around 70-80 per cent of total electricity production in China. “HSR’s potential in decarbonising the transport sector in China is constrained by the country’s current power-generation structure,” the researchers in mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore said. But the situation could change as China shifted towards generating electricity from cleaner sources, they said. The researchers predicted that if China adopted France’s electricity structure of 70 per cent nuclear power, the overall greenhouse gas emission reduction from the system could almost double to more than 26 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or about 3 per cent of China’s transport sector’s emissions. Similar hypothetical big reductions could also be seen when considering the electricity structures of Canada and Denmark, which are dominated by hydro and wind power respectively, according to the predictions. Corresponding author Qin Yu, an associate professor in the department of real estate at the National University of Singapore, said the high-speed rail network would continue to be key to China’s economy. “High-speed rail is more than an important form of transport in China. It also boosts the economy by encouraging investments and attracting talent to different parts of the country. As China expands the network it should take its environmental impacts into account, which our study shows are positive. “With cleaner electricity conditions, the network can contribute more to, rather than hinder, carbon reduction from the transport sector,” she said, referring to China’s goals of hitting peak carbon emissions by 2030 and  carbon neutrality by 2060 . Source https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3153767/chinas-vast-high-speed-rail-big-emitter-down-line-leads-greener

October 27 at 05:03 AM

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Chinese Companies to Build New Railway Line Between Belgrade and Budapest

Rayhaber  24 November, 2021 (Turkey) Chinese companies started the construction of the Belgrade-Budapest railway with a total length of 350 kilometers. The new rail line will allow people and goods to travel between the capitals of Serbia and Hungary in around two hours. The Serbian part of the railway will be completed in three years, while the Hungarian part will be completed and put into service before 2025. Construction of the new section of Serbia's Belgrade-Budapest railway began with a ceremony on Monday. The ceremony, attended by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto and Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo, took place in Novi Sad, Serbia. Work on the 108-kilometer section of the high-speed rail stretching from Novi Sad to the Kelebija border crossing in Northern Serbia was initiated by Vucic, Szijjarto, Chen Bo and a Chinese representative at the push of a button. Speaking at the ceremony, Vucic stressed the importance of the railway for Serbia's future development and praised the friendly relations with both China and Hungary. “We will enjoy it and it will benefit both with construction and with higher wages and pensions, higher living standards and a better future for our children,” Vucic said. Vucic said the Serbian part of the railway will be completed in three years, while Szijarto said the Hungarian section of the railway, which is 167 kilometers long, should be completed before 2025. In his speech via a video link, Ning Jizhe, Vice Chairman of the China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), congratulated both countries on the progress they have made in the construction of the Belgrade-Budapest railway. Ning said the project is “the flagship project of cooperation between China and the Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC) and an important part of the European transport corridor and the China-Europe Land and Sea Express Route.” Source  https://en.rayhaber.com/2021/11/Chinese-companies-will-build-the-new-railway-line-between-belgrade-and-budapest/

November 25 at 05:23 AM

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Chinese firm demands billions of shillings from Kenya before handing over railway project

The Guardian  18 August 2021 ( Kenya ) A Chinese firm has allegedly demanded billions of shillings in pending bills that Kenya borrowed to build the modern railway line from Mombasa to Nairobi. Africa Star Railway Operation Company Ltd (Afristar), the Chinese company contracted to run the train service, was said to have listed clearing of its debts as a condition before fully transferring operations of standard gauge railway (SGR) to Kenya in May next year. Parliament last year revealed that Kenya had not paid Sh38 billion to Afristar, which is majority-owned by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and was contracted in May 2017 to run the passenger and cargo trains on the SGR. KRC chairman Omudho Awitta stated “The negotiations between KRC and Afristar commenced in the year 2019 and an agreement has been reached that KRC (Kenya Railways Corporation) takes over obviously with some conditions including clearing of any outstanding payments,” The billions of shillings in pending bills add to the Sh 420 billion that Kenya borrowed to build the modern line from Mombasa to Nairobi and for the purchase of engines and coaches. The line, which started operations in 2017, was then linked with another new track, costing USD 1.5 billion (Sh 162.9 billion) and also funded by Chinese loans, to Naivasha, reported Business Daily.   Source https://guardian.ng/news/chinese-firm-demands-billions-of-shillings-from-kenya-before-handing-over-railway-project/

August 19 at 10:13 AM

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Chinese Private Security Firm Provides Security Services Along Laos-China Railway

The Laotian Times  November 25, 2021 (Laos) A private security firm based in China has won the contract to provide security services for the Vientiane to Boten section of the Laos-China Railway. Frontier Services Group, a Chinese private security firm providing security, logistics, insurance and infrastructure services for clients operating in frontier markets, has been chosen to monitor the security of the new railway. The company was founded by American businessman and former US Navy Seal, Erik Prince and has a major presence in Africa. The company has been deeply involved in the security consulting and supporting work of the Laos-China Railway during construction period, according to the company’s website, undertakng risk assessment along the construction line, security training for overseas employees, personal security of the Laos-China Railway headquarters, and security system design for the operation period. Frontier Services Limited Manager, Mr. Gua Jia Kai says the company has now begun implementing security measures along the railway, providing 160 people to guard each station as well as at freight stations and warehouses. “The company’s major role is railway safety, which is monitored on a regular basis to verify that no railway construction components have been stolen, as well as to ensure that there are no issues while trains are running on the tracks,” Mr. Gua Jia Kai told the media. “Security work is currently in the pilot phase, but will be ramped up with additional employees being added once the Laos-China Railway is fully operational,” he added. Residents have expressed concern about the safety of the railway after components have been stolen and cables cut in recent months. A man was been arrested in Vientiane Capital for stealing railway construction components along the Laos-China Railway in September, while two people have been electrocuted while attempting to cut electrified cables. Laos has announced that the Laos-China Railway is scheduled to officially open on 3  December this year. The Laos-China Railway runs some 426 kilometers, including 198km of tunnels, and traverses 62 km of bridges. It runs from the Boten border gate, connecting Northern Laos to China, down to Vientiane Capital, with an operating speed of 160km per hour. Source https://laotiantimes.com/2021/11/25/chinese-private-security-firm-provides-security-services-along-laos-china-railway/

November 30 at 08:03 AM

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Chow's suggestion to discontinue funicular train draws ire

Malaysiakini  November 17, 2021 (Malaysia) Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP) president Mohideen Abdul Kader has reacted with shock and dismay to the suggestion by Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow that the state government is considering shutting down the problematic Penang Hill funicular train service if it continues to break down. While Chow stressed on the importance of passenger safety, CAP said in a statement today that it was shocked at his announcement last week and it hopes that the shutdown will not be a permanent one. "The iconic Penang Hill Railway was opened in 1923 with work beginning in 1920. The last modernisation of the train was in 2011 which reduced the time of the whole journey to just 10 minutes. "Penang lost its iconic ferry in December last year. Are we going to lose another icon that has been operating for nearly 100 years?" asked Mohideen. He questioned if this announcement was made to favour the cable car project proposed by the state government. "This announcement of the possible shutting down of the Penang Hill Railway seems to be building up the logic of the need for a cable car, either as a replacement or an alternative to carrying people up the hill. "CAP is not against shutting down the Penang Hill Railway for repairs or servicing as the safety of the train is most important, but to give the excuse that the train continues to break down and is problematic, and therefore that it may be shut down is like giving up any hope on this iconic service which is both important for tourists and residents on the hill, he said. Source https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/599546

November 24 at 07:39 AM

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Chugging through the clouds in Argentina

Straits Times AUG 28, 2021 (Argentina) Train to the Clouds, or Tren a las Nubes, is a train service in Salta province, Argentina. It was originally built for transport, but is now a heritage railway train for tourists. The third-highest passenger railway in the world at more than 4,000m above sea level, this slow train makes for a spectacular experience as it moves at a leisurely pace from San Antonio de los Cobres to the end point at Viaducto La Polvorilla in a three-hour ride. The unhurried pace of the train gives passengers the chance to snap photos of the spectacular landscape of Salta, which is known for undulating hills formed from centuries of sediment that give it an amazing layering of colours and textures. https://www.straitstimes.com/multimedia/photos/chugging-through-the-clouds-0

September 06 at 04:54 AM

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Chugging to northeastern capitals: Railways on tough track

The Hindu AUGUST 17, 2021 Deadlines are being extended for a combination of terrain, six months of sloth due to rainfall and localised unrest such the Assam-Mizoram border dispute The story so far:  On August 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced from the ramparts of the Red Fort that the capitals of the northeastern States would soon be connected by railway. The revised target for completing the projects is 2026, which may not be realistic given the combination of tough terrain, weather-dictated slowdown and ethnic and political unrest. How many States in the northeast are connected by rail? The northeast comprises eight States. All barring Sikkim are connected by railway but only two State capitals are on the railway grid — Guwahati (the official Dispur is a small part of the city) in Assam and Agartala in Tripura. In the case of Arunachal Pradesh, the railway track terminates at Naharlagun, about 13 km short of capital Itanagar. Nagaland’s commercial hub Dimapur is a major railway station 75 km downhill of capital Kohima by road while a track each terminates just between the Assam-Manipur, Assam-Meghalaya and Assam-Mizoram border. Railway service in Manipur is up to Jiribam, about 200 km by road from capital Imphal. Source https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/chugging-to-northeastern-capitals-railways-on-tough-track/article35957524.ece

August 18 at 10:41 AM

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City Hall hires consultants to oversee new monorail

BANGKOK POST PUBLISHED: 9 AUG 2021   The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has hired consulting firms to provide analysis ahead of a public-private partnership (PPP) for the capital's new monorail project. The firms, whose commission was approved on July 15, are InfraTrans Consultants Co Ltd, PricewaterhouseCoopers FAS Co, TransConsult Co, Planpro Co Ltd and Daoreuk Communications Co. The hires were approved on July15. Speaking to the media on Sunday, Sakoltee Phattiyakul, deputy Bangkok governor, said the consultancy contract is expected to be signed on Monday. The project will be separated in three sections, with the first, worth 30 billion baht, being the 19-kilometre Grey Line running from Watcharapol to Thong Lor. The section will start from the Pink Line at Watcharapol Station heading southwards along Pradit Manutham Road through Soi Nuanchan to link with the Yellow Line at Lat Phrao 83 Station and the Orange Line at Rama IX station. The line will carry on to cross the Light Red Line (Bang Sue–Hua Mak) to Thong Lor station where it will connect with the BTS Sukhumvit station. The second section runs from Phra Khanong to Lumpini and then carries on to Tha Phra in the final leg. News Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/2162131/city-hall-hires-consultants-to-oversee-new-monorail Image Source: Image by  Paul Brennan  from  Pixabay  

August 28 at 09:54 AM

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CityLab Daily: Philadelphia Is Finally Getting a New Transit Map

Bloomberg  September 17, 2021 (US) Philadelphia’s rail system, SEPTA, hopes to shed its enduring moniker “Inepta” with a $40 million wayfinding improvement campaign. The sixth-largest U.S. transit system by ridership has navigational challenges that stem from the fact that it is an amalgam of technologies and vehicle types, including underground trains and remnants of the city’s legacy streetcar, writes Laura Bliss. The proposed masterplan includes a new map and better signage, redesigned based on international best practices, as well as a rebranding of SEPTA’s various offerings. And it comes as Philadelphia looks to lure riders back from a system that’s losing about $1 million in daily revenue. Source https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2021-09-17/citylab-daily-philadelphia-finally-gets-a-new-transit-map

September 21 at 04:55 AM

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Clean rail travel is vital to the UK’s future: now we need a government that can deliver it

The Guardian  24 October, 2021 (UK) Electrification of lines is key to a low-carbon system. Yet project after project has been scrapped orking on the railway, we see our industry as part of the solution to the climate emergency, as it provides one of the most efficient, low-carbon forms of transport. Right now in the UK, you can reduce the CO 2  output from a journey by roughly 70% by switching from car to train. On an electric train, you can save 90%. That’s pretty good, especially with road haulage struggling – and petrol prices spiking. I started my railway career as a teenager volunteering on the Mid-Hants steam railway and I’ve been a full-time railway employee for five years. I now work in a consultancy where we design everything from re-signalling schemes down to the connections in a control box. It’s a long way from my childhood playing trains on the kitchen table. Each major project needs dozens of engineers, project managers and trackside workers, most of them skilled specialists, and each project takes years of planning and the application of sustained political will. But for years now we’ve seen railway upgrades stalled and cut back, as Westminster shortchanges passengers and does away with the jobs needed for a just transition to a low-carbon industry. This transition needs a long-term national strategy, and Network Rail does make strategic plans over five-year blocks called control periods. Unfortunately, though, recent UK governments have preferred to announce grand transformations followed by drastic cutbacks and U-turns. For example, the Transpennine route upgrade between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York – announced in 2012 – was going to be a total route modernisation with better services running on new track, new signalling, and in particular electrification. But it was paused during 2015, and it’s  still  not been announced whether electrification will reach the section that actually crosses the Pennines. Despite its power to cut transport emissions, electrification has officially been cancelled on several other projects: the Midland Main Line between Kettering and Sheffield, the Windermere branch in Cumbria, and most infamously the Great Western route. The Great Western Electrification Project – GWEP to those in the know – was to have been Britain’s first significant electrification project since 1994. It was described as “the biggest overhaul of the Great Western route since Brunel started work on the line more than 175 years ago” by the government in 2018 – and more recently as “the project from hell” by Network Rail chair, Peter Hendy. The ambition was to electrify from Paddington to Swansea, Bristol and Oxford, taking polluting diesel trains off a swathe of the network. But the UK lacked the experience and the supply chain needed for such a huge project, and as a result it was poorly specified and planned. Costs rose until in 2017, the then transport secretary, Chris Grayling – having used the project to justify repeated fare increases – announced that electrification was “no longer needed” for most routes. Electrification stopped at Cardiff, and passengers and communities were saddled with the inefficient stopgap of bi-mode trains that run for long stretches on dirty diesel power. With GWEP stunted, and its companion projects largely cancelled, boom turned to bust. The newly developed skills and specialist workforce were surplus to requirement, including 150 of my industry colleagues at Swindon, who faced redundancy. Thankfully, the workers and organisers of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) and its sister unions averted mass layoffs as employers agreed to redeploy staff and offered voluntary redundancies. But even so, the skilled Great Western team was broken up and these jobs, central to the just transition to low CO 2 , abruptly ended. Planning one grandiose project every decade or two, training a workforce from scratch each time and then abandoning them halfway through is no way to invest in infrastructure. The Railway Industry Association’s (RIA) Electrification Cost Challenge, partly a response to the chaos of GWEP, contrasts this feast-or-famine approach with the successful rolling programmes of electrification in Germany and Scotland. These retain experience, skills and low-carbon jobs without the risk or spiralling costs that plagued GWEP. Long-term infrastructure strategy doesn’t excite many people. Apparently not everyone gets excited about trains, either. But steady investment and planning ahead are vital if we’re to see through the projects that will make a difference to the climate emergency. We all deserve that certainty – not least the people who are, quite literally, doing the groundwork. Aneurin Redman-White Source https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/oct/24/clean-rail-travel-uk-government-electrification-low-carbon

October 25 at 05:59 AM

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Cleanliness drive in Mysuru Rly. Division

The Hindu  October 02, 2021 (India) The Mysuru Railway Division on Saturday celebrated the 152nd birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi at Gandhi Vana near the Railway Sports Ground. Divisional Railway Manager Rahul Agarwal paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi by garlanding his bust. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Agarwal said that in recent years, the Ministry of Railways has been supporting the government’s cleanliness mission – Swachh Bharat Abhiyan – in many ways,.from introducing innovative sanitation in trains to green train corridors and making the tracks zero-discharge-free zone. Mysuru Division observed a special cleanliness fortnight drive – ‘Swachhta Pakhwada’ – across its entire network from September 16 to October 2. Each day was given a special ‘swachh’ theme such as clean food, clean water, clean residential colonies, clean stations, clean toilets, clean workplace, and cleanliness dialogue with the public. The start of the drive was with the theme of Swachh awareness, in which railway staff took the cleanliness pledge, and different activities were held across the division to raise awareness about Swachhta, said the DRM. Later in the day, the DRM administered the cleanliness pledge to officers and staff at Mysuru railway station. The housekeeping staff at the station were felicitated for their dedicated work. Cloth bags were distributed to rail passengers to reduce single-use plastics. Source https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/cleanliness-drive-in-mysuru-rly-division/article36793115.ece

October 04 at 04:54 AM

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Climate-driven train M&A goes off the rails

Reuters  October 22, 2021 (Melbourne, Australia) When the picks-and-shovels providers start departing, it’s usually a bad sign. That’s not the case with Aurizon’s (AZJ.AX) attempt to extricate itself from coal. The A$7.2 billion ($5.4 billion) Australian goods-train operator has unveiled two deals to reduce its reliance on transporting the fossil fuel  The first is an agreed A$2.35 billion purchase of One Rail Australia, which will increase the amount Aurizon’s so-called bulk division ships of commodities crucial to the global energy transition like copper and rare earths. Boss Andrew Harding is paying 10.5 times the target’s EBITDA, a lower multiple than plenty of recent deals. Second is a plan to offload a coal-freight unit, East Coast Rail. Trouble is, the net result only reduces coal revenue by around 7 percentage points to at least 50%. That comes at the expense of a couple of percentage points off the EBITDA margin, and takes the net debt load to 3.1 times EBITDA at the end of June, a fivefold increase. Meanwhile, Harding reckons bulk earnings will need a decade to double. That’s one slow-moving climate M&A train. (By Antony Currie) Source https://www.reuters.com/breakingviews/climate-driven-train-ma-goes-off-rails-2021-10-22/

October 25 at 05:51 AM

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Climate-friendly travel plans to COP summit hit by UK weather chaos

Reuters  31 October 2021 (Milton Keynes, England) Delegates, campaigners and journalists travelling by train to the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow fell victim to a weather-related delay on Sunday - a toppled tree on a railway line. All tracks on the main rail route between London and Glasgow were blocked near the town of Milton Keynes due to the tree which fell into overhead electric power lines as England was hit by stormy weather. London's Euston station was closed to people trying to enter as crowds built up inside and passengers were urged to delay their travel plans. A Reuters reporter on a cancelled train service said several passengers were instead booking flights to Glasgow in Scotland where the United Nations COP26 climate conference kicks off on Sunday. Claire Sheppard, a Green Party activist who was walking her dog near Luton Airport where frustrated rail travellers were trying to find flights to Scotland, said the chaos was an embarrassment for Britain as host of the summit. "We look great," she said, ironically. "Well done, the UK." Reporting by Mark John and Katy Daigle Writing by William Schomberg Editing by Alison Williams and Mark Heinrich Source https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/climate-friendly-travel-plans-cop-summit-hit-by-uk-train-chaos-2021-10-31/

November 01 at 05:55 AM

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CN Rail Sees Hydrogen Train Shipments Potentially Rivaling Crude

Bloomberg  October 21, 2021 (Canada) Canadian National Railway Co. expects hydrogen shipments in tank cars could grow to the size of the crude-by-rail business as energy companies plan to ramp up production of the clean-burning gas.  Companies including Air Products & Chemicals Inc., Suncor Energy Inc. and ATCO Ltd. have announced plans to build hydrogen-production plants in Alberta that would use carbon capture and storage to reduce or zero out carbon emissions.      Source https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-10-20/cn-rail-sees-hydrogen-train-shipments-potentially-rivaling-crude

October 21 at 04:36 AM

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CN railroad faces investor pressure after losing rail deal

The Washington Post  29 September, 2021 (Omaha, Nebraska, US) After walking away from its effort to buy Kansas City Southern railroad earlier this month, Canadian National Railway Co. continues to face investor pressure to make changes in its operation. The London-based investment firm TCI Fund — which owns about 5% of CN’s stock — is pressing CN to overhaul its board, get a new CEO and improve its own operations. TCI has said that the new strategic plan CN announced after breaking off merger talks isn’t enough to address its concerns about the railroad, so it is still pressing for a special meeting to elect four new directors who would help pick a new CEO. “CN is not realizing its full potential because of poor management and a lack of oversight from directors who are experienced in railway operations,” TCI said in a document outlining their concerns that it filed with regulators this week. “History has shown that with the right leadership – and a knowledgeable board that holds management accountable – the performance of a railroad can be improved quickly.” Source https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/cn-railroad-faces-investor-pressure-after-losing-rail-deal/2021/09/29/8ff5c37c-216c-11ec-a8d9-0827a2a4b915_story.html

September 30 at 05:56 AM

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ComfortDelGro joint venture lands $1.13 billion deal to operate rail services in Auckland

Straits Times  AUG 27, 2021 (Singapore)  Singapore-listed transport giant ComfortDelGro Corp has clinched a $1.13 billion deal to operate rail services in Auckland. This marks the group's first foray into the New Zealand land transport market, and its first move overseas as a rail operator. In an announcement on Friday morning, ComfortDelGro - which operates buses, trains and taxis in Singapore, and taxis and buses in places such as China and Britain - said it clinched the Auckland franchise with Australian rail operator UGL Rail Services after a 12-month tender process. Source https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/comfortdelgro-lands-first-overseas-rail-deal-in-new-zealand

August 30 at 05:22 AM

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ComfortDelGro joint venture lands $1.13 billion deal to operate rail services in Auckland

Straits Times  AUG 27, 2021 (Singapore) Singapore-listed transport giant ComfortDelGro Corp has clinched a $1.13 billion deal to operate rail services in Auckland. This marks the group's first foray into the New Zealand land transport market, and its first move overseas as a rail operator. In an announcement on Friday morning, ComfortDelGro - which operates buses, trains and taxis in Singapore, and taxis and buses in places such as China and Britain - said it clinched the Auckland franchise with Australian rail operator UGL Rail Services after a 12-month tender process. The pair formed a 50:50 joint venture - Auckland One Rail (AOR) - which will start operating the Auckland metro from Jan 16 next year. The contract is for eight years, with the possibility of extensions, ComfortDelGro said. The Auckland rail network is the largest in New Zealand, and comprises four lines with 185km of track, 42 stations and 72 electric three-car trains and eight diesel multiple-unit trains. This will grow to 44 stations and 95 trains with the opening of Auckland's new City Rail Link in 2024. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the network had an annual ridership of 21 million - or about one-tenth of the pre-pandemic annual ridership of Singapore's North East Line, which is operated by ComfortDelGro subsidiary SBS Transit. Source https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/comfortdelgro-lands-first-overseas-rail-deal-in-new-zealand

September 14 at 05:13 AM

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Commission proposes $117 bln to remake U.S. train corridor, cut travel times

Reuters  July 14, 2021 (US)  WASHINGTON, July 14 (Reuters) - A U.S. government commission on Wednesday proposed a $117 billion plan to remake the Northeast Corridor - the Boston-to-Washington train route that is the nation's busiest - by 2035, potentially cutting travel times and boosting capacity.   https://www.reuters.com/world/us/commission-proposes-117-bln-remake-us-train-corridor-cut-travel-times-2021-07-14/

July 16 at 11:25 AM

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Commuter rail service now in Bulawayo

The Herald  03 November, 2021 (Zimbabwe) Zupco and the National Railways of Zimbabwe have extended their peak-hour commuter rail services to Bulawayo after the successful launch in Harare and the first extension to Gweru, with commuters finding the services affordable and significantly quicker than bus services on congested rush-hour roads. Zupco on Monday launched the first Bulawayo route from the city centre to Siphaziphazi.  As with the other services, the train has the standard 10 coaches, with each coach having a carrying capacity of 100 passengers, which means the whole train can carry 1 000 passengers per trip. The fare for boarding the train is the same $80 which passengers pay when boarding Zupco buses and kombis. On its way to Siphaziphazi, the train stops at Westgate, Mpopoma, Nguboyenja, Luveve Cowdray Park Level Crossing and Green Roof Esigodweni before its final destination. The train leaves the Bulawayo Railway Station at 4:10am and arrives in Siphaziphazi at 5:25am, then returns at 7am. Source https://www.herald.co.zw/commuter-rail-service-now-in-bulawayo/

November 03 at 06:43 AM

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Commuters on first trains at new TEL2 stations reminisce inaugural 1980s MRT rides

Straits Times  28/08/2021 (Singapore) SINGAPORE - At 5.15am on Saturday (Aug 28), minutes before the Thomson-East Coast Line gantry at Caldecott MRT station officially opened to the public, a middle-aged man in a blue shirt and shorts walked to station personnel and said: "I want to take the first train." It was also a nostalgic trip for the school teacher, Mr Yap Siew Meng, 49, because in the 1980s, he was among the first to ride an MRT train when services for the mass rapid transit started and stations opened. On Saturday, Mr Yap joined at least three other passengers who were the first to be travel along the newly opened extended stretch of the Thomson-East Coast Line, spanning six stations from Caldecott to Springleaf. Source https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/commuters-on-first-trains-at-new-tel2-stations-reminisce-inaugural-1980s-mrt

August 28 at 10:49 AM

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Companies skittish about rail link between Poland, Belarus

Global Times  November 16, 2021 (China) As Poland considers cutting off its rail link to Belarus due to their heightened diplomatic tensions, many Chinese companies are concerned its knock-on effects because border crossings are a vital channel for China-Europe freight trains.  Following Poland's closure of the Kuznica border crossing and Belarus' threat to cut gas transit to the EU, Poland is reportedly to block railway traffic with Belarus, said the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration of Poland Mariusz Kamiński on the air of the radio station RMF FM. According to RailFreight.com, more than half of the cargo volume carried by Belarussian Railway was in transit between Europe and China last year. The losses arising from closing Belarus' rail link on the Polish border would be massive for China-Europe freight trains, and alternative routes would be time-consuming, companies warn.  "Over 300 China-Europe freight trains are currently en route to Brest, and more than 50 trains are waiting to cross the port," Tommy Tan, president of Shanghai EPU Supply Chain Management Co, a veteran agent of China-EU railway freight trains, told the Global Times on Tuesday. A prolonged cargo backlog would result at the border port if the railway traffic is cut, Tan said.  "What I am also worried about is the lower number of workers at border checkpoints, leaving cargo unloaded at the ports," he added.  Xu Yuanyuan, manager of Shaanxi Further Strategy Supply Chain Management Co, told the Global Times on Tuesday that some of his shipments had been halted in Kazakhstan for about 10 days for unknown reasons.  "Most of the China-Europe rail cargo goes through Minsk. If we cannot get through via this route, other options including transiting via Lithuania and Ukraine would mean going the long way round, and they are not good choices," Xu said, adding the Sławków rail terminal in southern Poland is the popular choice. From January to October, 12,605 China-Europe freight trains carried around 1.22 million standard containers of cargo, surpassing 2020's total annual volume, official data showed.  A person who has knowledge about China-Europe freight train operations, based in the world's largest small commodity market Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, said 24 percent of the cargo shipped from Yiwu to Europe goes through Belarus and Poland.  "So far, there is no big impact," the person said on condition of anonymity. "Right now, both Poland and Belarus are looking for bargaining chips and hopefully they will resolve the disputes through negotiations," Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday.  "There is little that we can do, but Chinese companies can make pre-arrangements and dispatch the trains in advance before cargo shipments," Cui suggested.  Tan noted that closing all rail links is unlikely, either from a political or economic perspective, and all the Belt and Road Initiative partner economies should have had contingency plans for cross-border cargo trains, should there be any disruptions. "If the ports are suspended, there are other alternatives for the trains, such as through direct shipment from Kaliningrad in Russia to West European countries, but the transportation capacity is limited," Tan said. Source https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202111/1239127.shtml

November 18 at 06:24 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.    Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/16/world/americas/mexico-city-train-crash.html

July 09 at 05:46 AM

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Construction of Loyang MRT station on Cross Island Line to start in Q4

CNA  13 September 2021(Singapore)  Artist impression of Loyang MRT station on the Cross Island Line. (Image: LTA) Construction of Loyang MRT station on the Cross Island Line is expected to start in the fourth quarter of this year, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Monday (Sep 13). Passenger service at the station is projected to start in 2030, it added.  The underground station will be located along Loyang Avenue, where there are many utilities under the road, said LTA. "Multiple traffic diversions" will hence be needed to realign the utilities. The completion of Loyang station will cut 35 minutes of travel time between Loyang Industrial Area and Hougang, reducing the commute to 20 minutes, said LTA. It will also save 50 minutes in travel time between Loyang Industrial Area and Serangoon North, bringing the commute down to 25 minutes. Source https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/loyang-mrt-station-cross-island-line-viaduct-2173816

September 16 at 06:08 AM

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Construction of major high-speed railway in NW China enters key phase

Global Times  Jul 12, 2021 (China)   Zhongwei section of the Zhongwei-Lanzhou high-speed rail line in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. A major high-speed railway in northwest China has entered a key phase recently, where the construction of overhead contact system has been rolled out. Source: https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202107/1228407.shtml

July 15 at 04:28 AM

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Construction starts on Egypt's $9bn first high-speed train project

Arab News  August 30, 2021 Egypt began implementing its first high-speed train project The Egyptian contracting companies are completing the preparation of the road Construction starts on Egypt's $9bn first, high-speed train project  RIYADH: Egypt began implementing its first high-speed train project from Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea coast to Marsa Matrouh on the Mediterranean coast, with a length of 660 km, and a cost of up to $9 billion, Al Youm Alsabea reported on Sunday. The Egyptian contracting companies are completing the preparation of the road path on which the high-speed train will run, while the construction of the stations on the track are also starting. Siemens will implement the project’s signaling and communication systems and supply the trains that will operate on it after its implementation. Source https://www.arabnews.com/node/1919611/business-economy

August 31 at 07:06 AM

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Cop26: Delegates face transport chaos after rail union rejects pay deal

The Times  October 26 2021 (UK) Crisis planning is taking place in an effort to keep train services running through the Cop26 climate conference after one trade union held out against a new pay offer. Delegates at the RMT’s annual meeting in Leeds rejected a deal for workers in Scotland to receive a 4.7 per cent pay rise over two years without balloting its members. The offer is equivalent to equivalent to between £1,700 and £2,600 over two years. Union officials said that delegates had "fully consulted" members before the vote. Three other unions - Aslef, Unite and TSSA - accepted the offer. Source https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/cop26-delegates-face-transport-chaos-after-rail-union-rejects-pay-deal-n0vqlsc2r

October 26 at 06:15 AM

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Coradia iLint: Alstom presents the world's first hydrogen passenger train in Poland

Press releases and news, Alstom  23 Jun 2021 (Poland)  23 June 2021  – The Coradia iLint, world's first hydrogen fuel cell passenger train, manufactured by Alstom, world leader in green and smart mobility, has made its debut on the Railway Research Institute's test track in Żmigród, near Wrocław in Poland. Over two days, Alstom teams are presenting the train to a variety of local stakeholders, including regional operators, transport authorities, government decision-makers and leading media, in order to highlight the potential of the Coradia iLint for sustainable transport in Poland. The showcase comes in the wake of the announcement of Poland’s National Recovery Plan, which includes provisions for the introduction of thirty low-emission trains for Polish regional operators by 2026. Alstom Coradia iLint is the world’s first and only operational passenger train powered by hydrogen fuel cells. This completely emission-free train is quiet and emits only water vapor and condensation. The train features several different innovations: clean energy conversion and efficient energy supply and storage system combined with intelligent energy management. Designed specifically for use on non-electrified lines, it enables clean, sustainable train operations. https://www.alstom.com/press-releases-news/2021/6/coradia-ilint-alstom-presents-worlds-first-hydrogen-passenger-train

July 20 at 06:01 AM

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Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: Auckland's City Rail Link work continues to avoid derailing the $4.4b project

New Zealand Herald  20 Aug, 2021 (New Zealand) The risk of derailing Auckland's $4.4 City Rail Link poject has led the Government to allow a small crew to continue working under level 4 lockdown. Source https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-coronavirus-delta-outbreak-aucklands-city-rail-link-work-continues-to-avoid-derailing-the-44b-project/7XUFDSCEYFFYJTAJGJQLEB6YXM/

August 26 at 06:44 AM

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Cracked trams take Sydney’s inner west light rail out of action for at least a month

The Sydney Morning Herald  November 2, 2021 (Sydney, Australia) Services on Sydney’s inner west light rail will be suspended for at least a month due to the extent of cracks found in all 12 tram sets which operate on the line from the city centre to Dulwich Hill. Transport Minister Rob Stokes also told a budget estimates hearing on Tuesday that an investigation by the state’s Office of Transport Safety Investigations into the cracked trams will begin shortly. “We’ll be asking them also to undertake a review into this incident. I’m obviously concerned because it affects the entirety of the fleet,” he said. Tram services were suspended on the light rail line on Thursday after cracks were discovered during routine maintenance inspections. Under questioning from Labor MLC Daniel Mookhey, Mr Stokes said it was “obviously a concern” when route maintenance had uncovered a problem with the entire inner west tram fleet. “We will hold Transdev to their contractual obligations,” he said of the private operator of the line. Significant cracks were discovered in the bogey box body – otherwise known as the wheel arch – of the trams after the floors of the vehicles were removed. It came after inspections in early October uncovered cracks in other areas of the trams which are more easily fixed. Transport for NSW secretary Rob Sharp said the timing of a return to full service on the 12.8-kilometre line would depend on feedback from engineers due later this week. Source https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/cracked-trams-take-sydney-s-inner-west-light-rail-out-of-action-for-at-least-a-month-20211102-p59570.html

November 02 at 05:05 AM

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D.C. to offer free Capital Bikeshare rides as reduced Metro service continues

Washington Post  October 25, 2021 (US) The news that the Metrorail system in the nation’s capital will continue to operate at reduced levels this week prompted the District to offer a transit perk to city residents: free bike rides. Starting Monday, all D.C. residents can get a free 30-day Capital Bikeshare membership, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) announced. Bowser said the offer should give residents another option to get around as the region navigates the ongoing Metro crisis. The transit agency said last week that it expects to continue operating with reduced service levels at least until Oct. 31, creating crowded conditions, and for a second week in a row, leaving many commuters in search of other ways to travel. Trains will be operating every 15 to 20 minutes on the Red Line and every 30 to 40 minutes on other lines. [Federal investigation into suspended rail cars puts focus on inspections, maintenance] The service reductions come after the transit agency pulled 60 percent of its rail cars from service because of problems with wheel assemblies implicated in a Blue Line derailment this month. The reduced rail service has caused disruption and anxiety in the region. Metro riders and elected officials, including Bowser, have expressed frustration over what the investigation could mean for the transit agency’s future and a lack of information about when service levels might be back to normal. “We encourage [Metro] leadership to clearly articulate their steps and timeline to fully restore Metrorail service,” Bowser said in a statement Friday, calling the service disruptions “deeply troubling” for the city and the region. She said the city needs a fully functioning transit system for workers, children and visitors. The mayor said D.C. residents should take advantage of the free one-month membership. To participate, users can go to the Capital Bikeshare or Lyft apps and select a 30-day membership for $0 on the “Ride Plans” section. Five hours after the free membership became available, more than 900 people had signed up, Bowser said at a news conference. “People who want to use the bikes should use the bikes and they will have a few extra dollars in their pocket," she said. "Some people haven’t tried the bikes and maybe they will try the bikes because they are free.” Capital Bikeshare is available in the District, Alexandria and Falls Church, as well as in Arlington, Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. The bikes and stations are public property, and jurisdictions subsidize them, contracting with Lyft to manage and operate the system. Bike use is on the rise in the Washington region, initially spurred by workers staying home during the pandemic. With employees looking to alternate methods of travel as they return to offices, officials have been touting Capital Bikeshare, the region’s public bike-share system, as an option. Bicycles have been widely used as an alternative during other Metro meltdowns. In 2016 when the rail system had a one-day emergency shutdown, many commuters took to bicycling. More than twice as many bicyclists and pedestrians as normal crossed the Key Bridge between Rosslyn and Georgetown that day. For some residents it may be a good option to avoid delays and other changes, city leaders say. The service cuts have created some of the most crowded Metro conditions since the start of the pandemic. With the membership, users can take 45-minute rides free on the distinctive red bicycles. Additional minutes cost 5 cents per minute. Members can also use the electric bikes at a discounted price of 10 cents per minute, which applies to the entire trip. Bowser said free bike rides aren’t a solution to having more than half of Metro’s railcars out of service, but she said the city is trying to do even “the little things” to ease the burden and inconvenience riders are experiencing. She said she expected to talk to Metro leaders Monday to get an update on how their rail car inspections are proceeding. [Capital Bikeshare raises fees, with eye on growth and e-bike maintenance] No one was injured in the Oct. 12 derailment, which prompted the evacuation of 187 passengers outside the Arlington Cemetery station. Metro pulled all 748 7000-series cars out of commission Oct. 17. The National Transportation Safety Board, which is leading the investigation of the derailment, said last week that wheels on a car that came off the tracks had shifted outward on their axle. The board is continuing to investigate. Source https://www.washingtonpost.com/transportation/2021/10/25/dc-metro-crisis-free-bike-rides/  

October 27 at 06:44 AM

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Danbury aims to connect to paved trail in NY - if it doesn't hurt plans for faster train ride to NYC

News Times  November 15, 2021 (Danbury, US) The city already hopes a faster train ride can connect Danbury to New York. Now, Danbury is exploring creating a recreational trail that would connect to an existing trail in Putnam County, N.Y. Danbury is applying for a state grant to cover the $50,000 cost to study the feasibility of linking New York’s paved Maybrook Trailway, which ends at the state line at Farrington Woods, to the Ives Trail and Tarrywile Park in Danbury. Part of what the study would explore is whether this trail could safely be built along the abandoned Maybrook train tracks — the same line that could be reopened to create that faster ride to New York City. Other routes would be considered. “We want to make sure a trail and a train can co-habitat without difficulties,” Mayor Joe Cavo said. “We don’t want the trail to jeopardize the rail.” Cavo expects the city will hear in a couple months the findings from a study on the feasibility of reopening the Maybrook line. If the project is viable, it could be one of the main priorities for the $5.38 billion Connecticut will receive in federal infrastructure funding. For Cavo, both the trail and rail line are priorities. “I would love to see both,” he said. “The recreational portion is valuable, and I think the train from Danbury to New York is extremely valuable, and I would hope that this study comes back and says the trail can certainly co-exist with the rail.” The Maybrook Trailway is part of New York’s Empire State Trail, while the Ives Trail extends 20 miles through Redding, Bethel, Danbury and Ridgefield. ‘Tremendous asset’ The project excited City Council members at a recent meeting, with members unanimously approving Danbury to apply for the grant. Council member Irving Fox said he uses the Maybrook trail often and described it as popular at all times. “Something like that extended into our city would be a tremendous asset for the community, especially with the large number of people moving in on the west side,” he said at last Thursday’s meeting. “Not only for people in the region, but locally, this trail will get an extensive amount of usage once it’s complete.” Danbury is seeking funding from the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Recreational Trails Grant Program to hire a consultant who would study the appropriate route and uses for the trail. The grant would cover 80 percent of the cost, so the city would contribute $10,000. Sharon Calitro, the city’s planner, told council that she expects the study could be complete by the early part of 2023. The study would include public outreach. The city would ask the consultant to explore the various ways a trail could go from Farrington Woods to Danbury’s downtown and Tarrywile Park, she said. This could mean the trail could go on Mill Plain Road, state land or even a right-of-way connected to the Interstate-84 project, she said. “So, how do you get from point A to point B?” Calitro said to the council. “That’s what we’re going to be looking at.” Officials with the Putnam County Department of Planning, Development & Public Transportation couldn’t be reached for comment. This is one of few trail projects connected to Danbury. Brookfield looks to bring its Still River Greenway to Danbury and New Milford. Brookfield is waiting to see whether it received a $229,000 state grant to study the project. New Fairfield is pushing for the Margerie Reservoir Trail to be built between that town and the Hat City. The state recently approved $484,000 to the project New Fairfield officials have said they want to create an advisory committee with Danbury for the effort. Cavo said he’s waiting to hear more information from New Fairfield before the city joins onto the committee. He said he’s excited about the opportunities to provide more recreational opportunities for residents. “Everywhere there are trails they seem to be widely used by many different groups, bicyclists, walkers, joggers, sightseers, bird watchers,” he said. Source https://www.newstimes.com/local/article/Danbury-aim-to-connect-to-paved-trail-in-NY-16616691.php#photo-21708279

November 17 at 06:26 AM

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Dartmoor train line is back after 50 years – here’s what to do and see along the route

The Guardian  8 November 2021 (UK) Later this month the line will deliver walkers, cyclists and wild campers to the northern edge of the national park. Here’s a brief guide to the area   Many are the legends of lost walkers tricked by swirling mists, pixies or ghosts on the northern edge of Dartmoor, one of Devon’s more isolated corners. In the 18th century, when stage coaches rattled over rough tracks, it was a harsh and dangerous place to travel. There is still a sense of remoteness - this is where the Atlantic winds arrive unhindered, and it is at once bleak and bracing, dramatic and drear. But if you haven’t got wheels, it has been harder to reach in recent times than it was for generations past. That is set to change on 20 November, when the Dartmoor Line will reopen almost 50 years after it was axed. Now local shoppers and workers, as well as walkers and climbers, cyclists and campers, will be able to travel from anywhere in the UK, via Exeter, and reach the top of Dartmoor easily and without driving. The £40.5 million line, the first to be reinstated as part of the Department for Transport’s “Restoring your Railway” initiative, is a significant national moment as well as great news for the tourism-reliant south-west. Stations at Ivybridge and Totnes have opened up the east and south moor. The new line to Okehampton – described by one campaigner as an “oasis in a rail desert” – could be a boon for the north moor as well as parts of Cornwall. It will also take some traffic off the often jammed A30. Locals campaigned for the reopening for more than two decades, working alongside councillors, railway experts and Great Western Railway, even running three special “protest” trains from Okehampton to Paddington, Stratford-upon-Avon and Weymouth to force the government’s hand. When it opened in October 1871, the 15.5-mile line from Exeter was the initial stage in a series of two major railway extensions that continued west to Launceston in Cornwall and, in 1890, down to Tavistock and Plymouth via the Tamar valley. Though not scheduled to close as part of the initial Beeching cuts of the 1960s, the last regular train ran back in 1972. A Sunday service operated in the summer months from the late 1990s but the line was largely for transporting – ironically enough – railway ballast from Meldon Quarry. West Devonians are still calling for a restoration of the complete route down to Plymouth, their case strengthened in 2014 when a storm destroyed the GWR tracks at Dawlish. For now, though, we’ll have to make do with the new line, which will make the journey from Exeter to Okehampton in 40 minutes with a single stop at the tiny bishopric of Crediton along the way. Trains will run every two hours (hourly from 2022). Source https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2021/nov/08/dartmoor-train-line-reopen-50-years-after-axed-walkers-cyclists-wild-campers

November 09 at 06:25 AM

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Daventry boy, 15, leads campaign for £20m new railway station

BBC News | 11/Sept/2021 A 15-year-old behind a projected £20m scheme to build a railway station has said his age was "on my side". Harry Burr started the  Daventry Parkway Project , in Northamptonshire, to provide a station in the area following closures in the 1950s and 60s. The two-platform station at Weedon Bec, near Daventry, would use the existing London Northwestern Railway line. Chris Heaton-Harris, Daventry MP, said the work Harry had carried out and the people he had spoken to was "spot-on".   Daventry and Weedon Bec stations closed to passengers in 1958. The teenager started the project in July 2020, aged 14, and is now chief executive of Sustainable Transport Midlands.   He hoped work on the station, expected to cost about £20m, could be started by the end of the decade. It was needed as the nearest existing railway station, at Long Buckby, was six miles (10km) away from Weedon Bec by road and 5.4 miles from Daventry, he said. He believed funding for the project would come from the private sector, government grants, enterprise partnerships and it was being supported by West Northamptonshire Council. Phil Larratt, Conservative cabinet member for transport, said West Northamptonshire Council supported new stations and a new facility at Weedon could "serve all the villages and communities between Daventry, Northampton and Towcester". "We will be doing everything we can in the background working with partners to lobby central government and Network Rail to make this and other opportunities a reality and supporting Mr Burr's vision," he said. The youngster said he was being "taken seriously" by the rail industry, had had meetings with Network Rail and the Mr Heaton-Harris, who was also a minster of state at the Department of Transport, who he described as being "as passionate about rail as I am". The Conservative MP said: "Harry took me through what he had done so far on his idea for a Daventry Parkway Station and we discussed the various stages every project needs to get past for it to secure funding and be delivered. "Harry's list of things he needs to achieve and people and organisations he needs to get onside was spot-on, and I look forward to seeing this project develop." The £5bn project that will join university towns 'This train line could tear our community apart' Can £25m transform Northampton town centre? The project's next step was a feasibility study, expected to cost £10,000. "I've been told, 'you should be playing with a Hornby train set'," said Harry Burr. "I think people are quite intrigued that I am running a major project at 15, but age is on my side. "If you were 30 years old, I don't think they would take so much notice." Julie Burr, his mother, said: "It shocked me that he's managed to do this and the contacts he's managed to make are incredible. "They're listening to my 15-year-old and he talks so much sense."   New and image Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-northamptonshire-58432976

September 12 at 05:56 AM

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DC Metro pulling 60% of trains out of service due to defect

AP  18 October 2021 (Washington,US ) Metro trains in Washington D.C. will only run every 30 minutes on Monday while local authorities investigate an issue with axles on its newest rail cars, officials said Sunday. A defect was discovered in a car that derailed on the Metro’s Blue Line last week, and the same issue was found in several other 7000-series railcars, according to a statement by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Because of the defect, described as an out of compliance axle, the Washington Metro Safety Commission mandated that all of the 7000-series railcars had to be taken out of service by 5 a.m. Monday. The National Transportation Safety Board said it would hold a news conference to give an update on the derailment at 10 a.m. Monday. The affected rail cars make up about 60% of the fleet, leaving 40 trains. According to the safety commission, the amount of time needed to inspect all other trains has not been determined. All lines will operate a “basic service pattern,” the transit authority said, meaning trains would only depart about every 30 minutes. Metro encouraged patrons to consider alternate forms of travel on Monday, and the D.C. public school system advised parents to expect impacts to school operations. “Please leave additional time for your journey to and from school,” DCPS wrote in a statement on Sunday. “Late student arrivals will be marked as excused.” Source https://apnews.com/article/baa94b1a3f9c5810388cf1339c31b966

October 18 at 04:28 AM

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Derailed South Western Railway Fratton train back on track

BBC  10/08/2021 (UK) A derailed train that led to a reduced timetable has been moved back onto the tracks. The South Western Railway (SWR) train had been manoeuvring at Fratton in Portsmouth at low speed when it came off the track. It was not carrying any passengers and no-one was injured when it derailed at about 01:30 BST on Thursday. The train operator apologised "for the impact this incident had on our customers' journeys". The derailed train and a large number of coronavirus-related staff absences led to cancellations and reduced services at the weekend. A SWR spokesman said: "The train has now been re-railed and the majority of repairs completed. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-hampshire-58145975

August 12 at 06:18 AM

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Despite S’gor MB statement, ECRL doesn't cut across Kuala Langat forest

Malaysiakini  September 14, 2021 (Malaysia) The current alignment of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) does not cut across the Kuala Langat (North) forest reserve. This appears to contradict the Selangor government’s move to consider maintaining a “small area” of the forest as a degazetted area for the ECRL project. Source https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/591257

September 14 at 05:28 AM

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Deutsche Bahn loses second appeal against rail strike

Deutsche Welle  03 september 2021 (Germany) Germany's Deutsche Bahn rail company has failed a second time to put an end to ongoing industrial action that has crippled train services. Three-quarters of long-distance trains are out of action. A Frankfurt court on Friday rejected Deutsche Bahn's (DB) second attempt to try and bring in an injunction against an ongoing train drivers' strike after its first legal challenge failed on Thursday. The strike called by the GDL train drivers union  entered its third day on Friday after a Frankfurt labor court upheld the legality of its labor action. "We were aware that the hurdles in summary proceedings are very high and that the right to strike in Germany is legally safeguarded with good reason," a Deutsche Bahn spokesperson told the German dpa news agency before the court gave its ruling.  "Nevertheless, we see it as our responsibility to leave no stone unturned in ending the strike in the interest of our customers," the spokesperson added. Source https://www.dw.com/en/deutsche-bahn-loses-second-appeal-against-rail-strike/a-59073563

September 07 at 05:40 AM

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Dhaka-Cox's Bazar train service to start Dec 16, 2022

The Financial Express  September 20, 2021 (Bangladesh) The much-awaited train service on Dhaka to Cox's Bazar section will be launched by December 16, 2022. “We hope that travel-loving people will be able to go to Cox's Bazar by train from next year as construction of the Cox's Bazar section railway line will be completed by December 2022,” Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan said on Monday. He said the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken 10 mega projects for expediting the country’s development as well as railway network, reports BSS. “Of the 10 mega projects, two are for railways–one is the rail link with the Padma Bridge and the other is the rail link with Myanmar and China under fast-track project,” he added. The project is scheduled to be completed by June next year but people will be able to travel to Cox's Bazar by train from December 16, 2022, the minister said. The railways minister will visit Cox’s Bazar to inspect construction works of Dohazari and Cox’s Bazar railway section tomorrow. According to ministry information, the 100.831-kilometer-long Dohazari to Cox's Bazar single line dual gauge railway line construction is a mega project of Bangladesh Railway and a sophisticated railway junction at Dohazari. The Dohazari-Cox's Bazar railway project will be extended from Cox's Bazar to Gumdum near Myanmar via Ramu, which will be extended to China in the future as part of the Trans Asia Highways, it added. Construction works for the building of nine stations including iconic stations in Cox's Bazar, at Dulhazra and Islamabad are going on. The overall progress of the project rose to 62 per cent, while financial progress reached at 32.22 per cent till August 31 this year. Ballast for railway tracks is partly imported from India and Malaysia, while necessary railways were brought from China, the information said. Source https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/national/dhaka-coxs-bazar-train-service-to-start-dec-16-2022-1632141904

September 22 at 05:11 AM

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Dhaka-Cox’s Bazar rail project: What's causing construction delay?

Dhaka Tribune  September 4th, 2021 Deadline likely to be extended to June 2023 Much to the dismay of travellers who were looking forward to visiting Cox’s Bazar by train next year, many impediments are yet holding up the rail project, which is a hint that it will not reach completion even by the end of 2022. Construction work of the single-line dual gauge railway track from Dohazari in Chittagong to Cox’s Bazar has been delayed not only due to the Covid-19 pandemic but also owing to a lack of coordination among the agencies concerned. Bangladesh Railway (BR) officials told Dhaka Tribune that they were still unable to resolve issues regarding land acquisition, electricity line transfer and import of construction materials from India, Malaysia and China. BR, the implementing agency of the 102km railway line project, has applied to the Planning Commission for an extension of the project deadline to June 2023. “We have already put in an application for the deadline to be extended as the pandemic and some other major challenges have been hindering the progress of the project,” said Md Mofizur Rahman, director of the rail project. Major challenges The 102km Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar rail link is being implemented under two lots, at a cost of Tk18,035 crore. China Railway Group Ltd (CREC) and Toma Construction JV are have been assigned Lot-1, from Dohazari to Chakaria (50km), while China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and Max Group JV are responsible for Lot-2, from Chakaria to Cox’s Bazar (52km). According to BR, overall progress of the project was 62% till August 31, far below the target. https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2021/09/04/dhaka-cox-s-bazar-rail-project-what-causes-construction-delay

September 06 at 07:39 AM

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Dhaka’s rail link with northern region restored after 3 hours

Dhaka Tribune  August 12th, 2021 (Bangladesh) An express train from Jamalpur derailed just before entering Dhirashram station in the morning Dhaka-bound Jamalpur Commuter train was rescued three hours after it derailed in Gazipur on Thursday Three wheels of the train’s engine slipped off the tracks just before entering Dhirashram railway station around 11:45am, cutting off communication with the country’s northern region. No casualties were reported in the incident.   “Train services between Dhaka-Mymensingh and Dhaka-Rajshahi-Khulna were disrupted,” Helal Uddin, the station master, said. Three other trains -- Chapai Express, Agniveena Express and Ekota Express -- remained stranded at different stations on both sides of the station. A rescue train removed the engine from the tracks around 3:50pm, Sub-Inspector Shahidullah, in-charge of Joydebpur railway junction police camp, said. Source https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/nation/2021/08/12/dhaka-s-rail-link-with-northern-region-restored-after-3-hours

August 13 at 03:44 AM

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DoTr-PNR, NLEX Corp. ink MOA for PNR Clark phase 2 project

The Manila Times  November 24, 2021 (Philippines) THE second phase of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) project continues to gain traction after the Department of Transportation-Philippine National Railways (DoTr-PNR) and the NLEX Corp. signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 for the construction of columns for the PNR Clark project. Under the agreement, columns for the PNR Clark project will be constructed at the shoulders and median island that will cross above the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) to allow the seamless operations of both the expressway and the railway. DoTr-PNR and NLEX Corp. will also coordinate on the project design, traffic management plan, safety plan and security plan. DoTr Undersecretary Giovanni Lopez said the government had gained the private sector's trust with the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program. "The signing of our MOA will benefit not only the private sector, but the millions of Filipinos, who would be using this infrastructure project," Lopez said during the signing of the agreement. Present during the MOA signing were DoTr Secretary Arthur "Art" Tugade, NLEX Corp. President and General Manager Luigi Bautista, Chief Finance Officer Maria Theresa Wells, and Bases Conversion and Development Authority Senior Vice President Joshua Bingcang. The second leg of the NSCR project, the 53-kilometer PNR Clark phase 2 will be connecting cities and municipalities in Central Luzon with Metro Manila and will link the railway system with the country's first airport express service, going to Clark International Airport. Once operational, PNR Clark phase 2 will reduce travel time between Makati City and Clark International Airport in less than 2 hours through the Airport Express Service. The project's current overall progress is at 32.21 percent. Meanwhile, Bautista said NLEX Corp. fully supports the NSCR project to help spur economic activity and revitalize the country's provinces by enhancing the country's transport approach to improve mobility of Filipinos. "We at NLEX believe that our shared purpose of helping our country's economy grow through infrastructure development has suited us for this partnership. We are pleased to support this undertaking that will make travel easier for kababayans (countrymen) in Bulacan, in Pampanga and more areas in North and Central Luzon," Bautista added. Bingcang said the PNR Clark project, being a part of the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program, was a "game changer" that would pave the way for opportunities for growth in Central Luzon. "The BCDA plays a part in the Build, Build, Build program of the government, and in this, we'd like to extend our support to this project to see its unimpeded, continued implementation. The project is a game changer, as we continue to develop business around Clark in Pampanga to provide more options to the Filipino public," Bingcang added. Source https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/11/24/public-square/dotr-pnr-nlex-corp-ink-moa-for-pnr-clark-phase-2-project/1823374

November 26 at 05:37 AM

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Downtown Line to transition to new rail financing framework from January 2022

The Straits Times  November 11, 2021 (Singapore) (The Land Transport Authority and SBS Transit had reviewed the Downtown Line's financing model.) From next January, the Downtown Line (DTL) will shift to a financing framework that will see the Government shoulder a portion of any losses made by operator SBS Transit and get a greater share of the profits. This will bring the DTL in line with the majority of Singapore's other rail lines, except for the new Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), which has a model where the Government collects the fares and bears the full revenue risk. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SBS Transit had reviewed the DTL's financing model to ensure it can continue to deliver reliable train services in a financially sustainable manner. Source https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/downtown-line-to-transition-to-new-rail-financing-framework-from-january-2022

November 19 at 06:46 AM

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Dream of Karachi Circular Railway revival inching towards reality

Dawn  October 17, 2021 (Karachi, Pakistan) The scheme to restart the 44-km Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) by constructing three underpasses, a flyover and an elevated 6.4-km structure along with the laying of new rail tracks on most part of the route for running electric trains at a revised cost of over Rs207 billion still looks like a pipedream. However, this highly ambitious plan, for which substantial ground work has already been done albeit on paper, may go a long way in transforming Karachi’s public transport problem. There are many sceptics, including those in the Sindh government, who believe the federal government is still not sincere in reviving the KCR, which has remained off track for well over 20 years. However, those like the prime minister, who had inaugurated the project earlier this month, railways minister and some senior officials of Pakistan Railways are pretty confident that they will be able to complete this project in three years. Initiated in 1964, the old KCR route started from Drigh Road and ended in downtown Karachi. After suffering losses for years, it ceased operations in 1999. Source https://www.dawn.com/news/1652421

October 20 at 05:38 AM

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Driver involved in Boston rail crash now facing charges

Toronto Star (The Associated Press)  September 24, 2021 (Boston, US) The operator of a light rail train that crashed into the rear of another train on the Boston area’s public transit system in July, sending more than two dozen people to the hospital, now faces criminal charges, according to court records. Owen Turner, 50, is charged with gross negligence of a person in control of a train and gross negligence of a person having care of a common carrier, The Boston Globe reported Thursday. Turner declined to comment to the newspaper. The crash on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Green Line B branch on July 30 near Boston University sent 27 passengers and workers to the hospital with minor injuries. According to a National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report released this week, Turner had his train on “full power” and was traveling 31 mph when he struck a train going 10 mph. According to court records, Turner told police that he received a signal light indicating he was cleared to proceed but that “he does not remember anything” before impact. Turner has a history of operating trains at excessive speed, according to the police report. An MBTA spokesperson said this week that the agency is moving to fire Turner. Source https://www.thestar.com/news/world/us/2021/09/24/driver-involved-in-boston-rail-crash-now-facing-charges.html

September 28 at 05:29 AM

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Dry ice to help cut train delays caused by leaves on tracks

BBC  04 October 2021 (UK) A new way of removing leaves more efficiently from railway lines to reduce delays is to be trialled across northern England. The technique, developed by University of Sheffield engineers, involves blasting tracks with dry ice from a passenger train. It will be trialled by operator Northern in the coming weeks. Leaves cause a slippery layer on railway lines, leading to delays as trains must run at slower speeds. Under the new method, pellets of dry ice are fired in a stream of air, making leaves frozen and brittle. The dry ice then quickly turns back into gas, causing it to expand and destroy the leaves. Leaves blamed for rail delay 'misery' New sensor could cut train delays caused by leaves At the moment, leaves are cleared by 61 special trains, which use high-pressure water jets followed by a gel containing sand and steel grains to help with braking. The engineers behind the new system say their method is significantly more efficient as it can be used by passenger trains, which can cover greater distances than the limited fleet of cleaning trains. It also does not leave a residue that can damage rails and train wheels, and can be used on the same stretch of track more than once a day. The method has previously been trialled on test tracks and could be rolled out more widely by 2023. Prof Roger Lewis, who is leading its development, said: "This technology will make a step change in train performance during autumn, improving safety. "It will provide more predictable braking and traction than current technology, and will help to improve train performance, reduce delays, increase passenger satisfaction and support the use of new technologies to enable greater network utilisation of the UK's railways." Rob Cummings, seasonal improvement manager at Northern, said: "One of the biggest risks to our performance during October and November is leaves on the line, but by helping to develop new technology we aim to deliver the very best service for our passengers." Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-58783589

October 04 at 05:19 AM

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Dubai Metro, Tram operations, maintenance taken over by Keolis-MHI

Gulf News  September 08, 2021 (Dubai, UAE) Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority, attending the transfer of the metro and tram operation to Keolis-MHI LLC Tayer: Dubai Metro has carried 1.7b riders through 3m journeys in 12 years The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced on Wednesday that Keolis MHI Rail Management and Operation LLC has taken over the responsibility of operating and maintaining Dubai Metro as well as the operation of Dubai Tram from Serco Middle East. The handing/taking over coincided with the 12th anniversary of Dubai Metro, which started operation on 09/09/2009. Since then, the metro services recorded highly successful global indicators in terms of safety and operational efficiency as reflected in trips punctuality of 99.7 per cent and ridership of more than 1.706 billion passengers until the end of last August. The handing/taking over of operations ceremony, which was held at Al Rashidiya Metro Depot, was attended by Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority. Attendees also included Serco Group Middle East CEO Phil Malem, Keolis Group International CEO, Bernard Tabary, Director of Transport Security at Dubai Police Brigadier Obaid Al Hathboor, Executive Vice President, Chief Regional Officer, Europe, Middle East and Africa of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd, Kentaro Hosomi, and Senior Vice President, Regional CEO, Middle East of Mitsubishi Corporation, Kenji Ohta. During the event, Al Tayer honoured Brigadier Al Hathboor and Colonel Mohammed Al Abbar, Deputy Director of Transport Security at the Dubai Police for the efforts of the Department in maintaining the security and safety of various mass transit means. He also Awarded Phil Malem and several officials of Serco Group in recognition of their efforts in running the operation and maintenance works of Dubai Metro over the past years Source https://gulfnews.com/uae/dubai-metro-tram-operations-maintenance-taken-over-by-keolis-mhi-1.82108860

September 09 at 10:29 AM

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Dubai Metro’s Route 2020 to Expo site wins sustainability award for saving resources

Gulf News  October 09, 2021 (UAE) RTA’s dedicated line to Expo 2020 Dubai achieves ‘LEED Gold Certification’ Dubai Metro has been recognised for sustainable construction practices for its Route 2020 to the Expo site Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has achieved ‘LEED Gold Certification’ for the seven stations of Route 2020, the dedicated Dubai Metro line to Expo 2020 Dubai. It was awarded under the rating system ‘LEED V4 BD+C’ following the US Green Buildings Council (USGBC), which is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) programme. Abdul Redha Abu Al Hasan, Executive Director, Rail Planning and Projects Developments at RTA’s Rail Agency, said: “The [USGBC] had confirmed that RTA has the world’s highest number of LEED v4 BD+C: NC certified Transit projects. This achievement reflects RTA’s standing commitment to leadership and excellence in delivering Route 2020 project for the region and the world over.” Reasons for the award He added: “This achievement is credited to the selection of the best locations for stations, and the implementation of strategies for saving the consumption of power and water. Such strategies are also aimed at curbing carbon emissions, using suitable and recyclable building materials, and reducing construction waste.” Al Hasan said the RTA is keen on implementing green building technologies as part of its endeavours for a sustainable urban environment for saving costs and preserving resources. Source https://gulfnews.com/uae/transport/dubai-metros-route-2020-to-expo-site-wins-sustainability-award-for-saving-resources-1.82834834

October 11 at 06:08 AM

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Dubai: Students who frequently use Metro, tram get free laptops

Khaleej Times  September 6, 2021 (UAE) The initiative coincided with the start of the new academic year last week Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has given away free laptops to students who are frequent users of the Metro and tram. The students use the services to reach their schools and universities. The initiative coincided with the start of the new academic year last week. “This initiative is part of the RTA’s commitment to encourage various segments of the community like the youth and students to use mass transit means like the Metro, tram, buses and marine transit means in their daily commute across Dubai,” said Rowdah Al Mehrizi, director of Marketing and Corporate Communication, Corporate Administrative Support Services Sector, RTA. Source https://www.khaleejtimes.com/news/dubai-students-who-frequently-use-metro-tram-get-free-laptops

October 13 at 06:57 AM

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Dutch rail traffic shut down over train control telephone outage; Limited restart could begin at 7 p.m.

NL Times  16 September 16, 2021 Most train traffic in the Netherlands ground to a halt on Thursday evening due to a telecommunications failure at the traffic control posts, national Dutch railway NS confirmed on its website. The failure with the telephone system meant that "very limited train traffic is currently possible," NS said just before 6 p.m. "Due to a telephone outage, we cannot reliably communicate with the drivers on the trains. As a result, train traffic in the country has come to a standstill," said railroad infrastructure firm ProRail. The complete disruption lasted about an hour, when some trains could begin moving again. The resumption of the train schedule was expected to happen gradually, causing delays through the evenings, ProRail said. The organization and NS both advised passengers not to travel Thursday night if possible, and to pay close attention to online travel planners before going to a train station.   Source https://nltimes.nl/2021/09/16/dutch-rail-traffic-shut-train-control-telephone-outage-limited-restart-begin-7-pm

September 17 at 04:47 AM

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Early works set to commence on the $1bn Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3

felix.net  July 6, 2021 (Australia) The more than $1 billion Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3 project in Queensland is progressing well with an agreement signed to get early works started.  Under this agreement, GoldlinQ and John Holland will be undertaking detailed construction planning as well as identifying and inspecting underground services. The two companies will also begin establishing site presence across the 6.7-kilometre corridor.   Delivering major infrastructure projects, such as the Gold Coast Light Rail, are being fast tracked towards construction to aid in the State’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.   “Building new infrastructure is vital to creating jobs on the Gold Coast.   “We’re working hard to bring forward construction on as many projects as possible to rebuild our economy and create jobs.   “Initiatives like light rail feature prominently in our COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.   “We’ll continue to invest in transport on the Gold Coast to take more cars off the road and cater for growth in the future,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.   Not only will this project deliver vital infrastructure, but it will also create “good quality construction jobs on the Gold Coast”.   According to Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey, the $1 billion Gold Coast Light Rail project will generate jobs and majority of wages and payments to workers as well as suppliers will be a welcome boost to the local and regional economy.   “We will ensure that this investment represents value for money for Queenslanders, including through more training to help build our future workforce, and better safety on our construction sites.   “Building the next stage of light rail presents opportunities over the next few years for local contractors, workers and suppliers on the Gold Coast.   “Previous stages of the light rail created significant employment opportunities, with 90 percent of workers on Stage 1 and Stage 2 coming from the Gold Coast and surrounding regions,” Minister Bailey said.   The project team from John Holland will be engaging directly with the community and businesses over the next six weeks to ensure that they stay informed prior to construction and during the delivery of Stage 3 works.   John Holland will also host a Local Industry Forum in September where they will present upcoming work packages to potential local suppliers and answer questions as well.   To date, many local suppliers and workers have already registered their interest in getting involved with project delivery and they are “eager to be part of this important project”.   “This project will be built by locals and will contribute significantly to the Gold Coast economy which is vitally important at this time.   “We understand the importance of working with the community throughout delivery, and the Stage 3 project team is committed to ongoing communication and minimising impacts to residents, businesses and motorists as much as possible.   “We will also be working with businesses along the Stage 3 route prior to major construction starting to ensure they are aware of the construction process and project opportunities available,” GoldlinQ Chairman John Witheriff said.   Source https://www.felix.net/project-news/early-works-set-to-commence-on-the-1bn-gold-coast-light-rail-stage-3

August 03 at 07:34 AM

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East Africa to seek Chinese funds for modern regional trains at Senegal summit

South China Morning Post  4 September, 2021 (China) The next stage of a regional railway project in East Africa is on hold China Eximbank asked Kenya to redo a feasibility study to prove its commercial viability before it extends financing When the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit is held in Dakar,  Senegal later this year, East Africa will be hoping Beijing will help revive the dream of building a modern regional railway. China has cumulatively committed US$120 billion in the past two FOCAC meetings, but analysts said China might not be as generous as in past events, meaning the project may once again miss out on Chinese funding. In 2014,  Kenya  , Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan agreed to build a standard gauge railway line from the coastal city of Mombasa to Malaba – the western border town with Uganda – to Kampala, the capital of Uganda. The Ugandan railway was then to link neighbouring countries of Rwanda, South Sudan and the mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo. Export-Import Bank of China (China Eximbank) initially agreed to fund the mega project as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, but it has since become more cautious in funding construction of the railway. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3147586/east-africa-seek-chinese-funds-modern-regional-trains-senegal

September 07 at 03:55 AM

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East Japan Railway Company launches hotel in Taipei

Taiwan News  2021/Aug/19 (Taiwan) TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The East Japan Railway Company (JR-East) will open the Hotel Metropolitan Premier Taipei in the Taiwanese capital Monday (Aug. 23). The new hotel will occupy the building that formerly housed the Westin Hotel, on Nanjing East Road, CNA reported Thursday (Aug. 19). The Westin, managed by the Leofoo Tourism Group, closed its doors in 2018, shortly before its 20th anniversary. The new hotel is the first JR-East venture outside of Japan, General Manager Fukunaga Kenji (福永健司) told reporters. Source https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4272911

August 22 at 08:55 AM

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Egypt is building a $4.5 billion high-speed rail line

CNN  17 September 2021 (Egypt) German company Siemens Mobility has signed a $4.5 billion contract with Egypt's National Authority for Tunnels to deliver the country's first high-speed and electrified train line (pictured in a rendering). The first 660-kilometer line will connect Cairo to new cities.  See   more Egyptian mega projects being built for the country's growing population. Passengers and cargo will soon be able to shoot through the Egyptian desert aboard a high-speed train, in a first for the country.   The high-speed and electrified main rail line will connect Cairo to the New Administrative Capital and surrounding new cities.   German company Siemens Mobility signed a contract with Egypt's National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) earlier this month to build the initial 660 kilometers out of the planned 1,800-kilometer network, creating "a Suez Canal type of link on the tracks." The first line will link the port cities of Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea to Marsa Matrouh and Alexandria on the Mediterranean. According to the company, the first section of this line will be operational in 2023. Siemens, which is partnering on the project with Orascom Construction S.A.E. and The Arab Contractors, says the total contract is worth around $4.5 billion, of which its share is approximately $3 billion.   Source https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/egypt-high-speed-train-spc-intl/index.html

September 21 at 04:36 AM

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Electric trains offer the best route to greener transport

The Guardian  Thu 29 Jul 2021 (UK) Trains could be greenest solution to a sustainable transport network in Britain The experiment with electric lorries on the M180 (UK government backs scheme for motorway cables to power lorries, 27 July) is laughable when compared with the lack of interest shown by the government in furthering railway electrification at a time of an HGV driver shortage. Just 8.5% of freight locomotives in the UK are electric. This lags lamentably behind mainland Europe, thanks in part to gaps as short as two miles in the electrified network. Aside from complete routes, there are merely 50 miles in total which, after electrification, could decarbonise over two million annual miles of freight haulage. Just 14 of these miles connect Britain’s busiest container port, Felixstowe, to the electrified network at Ipswich. The gaps exist thanks to electrified lines largely following radial passenger flows from London, whereas freight routes ignore these. Source https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/29/electric-trains-offer-the-best-route-to-greener-transport

August 04 at 09:30 AM

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Empty Blue Train derailed at Union station

IOL News  November 8, 2021 (Cape Town, South Africa) The luxurious Blue Train derailed at Union Station in Germiston, Gauteng. According to reports on Sunday, the train derailed overnight and had no passengers on board. Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) confirmed to Citizen that it was investigating the cause after 19 empty coaches of one of the Blue Trains derailed at the Union Station in Germiston, just after midnight on Sunday. “This was a staged (unmanned) train with no passengers on board. No injuries were reported on-site,” Transnet was quoted as saying. Source https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/gauteng/empty-blue-train-derailed-at-union-station-4f03d5b2-e87b-459a-be05-66fca82d0615

November 09 at 06:32 AM

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End of the line looms for hawkers, rough sleepers at Bangkok station

The Jakarta Post  August 31 2021 (Indonesia) An uncertain fate awaits the hawkers, drivers and rough sleepers who have made a second home under the ornate arched ceiling of Bangkok's century-old central railway station. The elegant Italianate columns and stained-glass windows of the station at Hua Lamphong will soon echo no more to the constant rattle of trains arriving and departing. The vast majority of services will move to a new rail hub on the capital's northern outskirts later this year, with plans for eventual fast services to China through neighboring Laos. The coronavirus pandemic has already bought a year's reprieve for the current station, near the city's Chinatown district — its replacement is almost finished but currently being used as a vaccination center. Source https://www.thejakartapost.com/paper/2021/08/30/end-of-the-line-looms-for-hawkers-rough-sleepers-at-bangkok-station.html

September 10 at 06:17 AM

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End of the line looms for hawkers, rough sleepers at Bangkok station

Channel News Asia  27 October 2021 (Bangkok, Thailand) An uncertain fate awaits the hawkers, drivers and rough sleepers who have made a second home under the ornate arched ceiling of Bangkok's century-old central railway station. The elegant Italianate columns and stained glass windows of the station at Hua Lamphong will soon echo no more to the constant rattle of trains arriving and departing. The vast majority of services will move to a new rail hub on the capital's northern outskirts later this year, with plans for eventual fast services to China through neighbouring Laos. The coronavirus pandemic has already bought a year's reprieve for the current station, near the city's Chinatown district - its replacement is almost finished but currently being used as a vaccination centre. But movement restrictions and a lack of foreign visitors have crippled the kingdom's tourism-dependent economy and the dozens of people eking out a living are already feeling the pinch. "We have to be very frugal - I'm using my savings to cover living expenses," said Boonkerd Khampakdi, who has sold food to hungry travellers at the station for the past 20 years. The 51-year-old told AFP she now makes only 1,000 baht (US$30) per day, a tenth of what she made before the pandemic and barely enough to cover monthly rent for her stall. Nearby, tuk-tuk driver Wutthisak Inthawat waits patiently for what few potential fares pass through the station's entrance. He said it had been increasingly difficult to cover the hire fees for his vehicle, pay rent and feed his family. "I have two young daughters - a three- and nine-year-old," said Wutthisak, 34. "If I can't manage to pay off my debts I will have to return to my home province." Source https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/hawkers-drivers-bangkok-hua-lamphong-train-station-move-2141531

October 28 at 05:47 AM

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Envoy: Turkey is keen to invest in Bangladesh Railway

Dhaka Tribune  October 10, 2021 (Bangladesh) Bangladesh is looking for foreign investment in the railway sector, says Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan Turkish Ambassador Mustafa Osman Turan on Sunday expressed his country’s keenness to invest in the railway sector in Bangladesh. The envoy expressed the willingness when he paid a courtesy call on Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan at the minister’s office at Rail Bhaban in Dhaka, said a press release. “Railway is an environment friendly, easy and affordable communication system in any country,”  Turan said and hoped that opportunities for investing in the railway sector would be created in the future as an important bilateral relation exists between Bangladesh and Turkey. Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan apprised the Turkish ambassador about the government projects and plans undertaken for development of the country’s railway sector and said: “We are looking for foreign investment in the sector.” Noting that there are many projects which are being implemented currently in the railway sector and more projects would be taken in the future, the minister said: “We have a master plan for the development of the railway sector and we are taking different projects as per the plan.” Railways Secretary Md Salim Reza, Bangladesh Railway Director General Dhirendra Nath Mazumder and Commercial Counsellor of Turkish Embassy Kenan Kalayci were present at the meeting. Source https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/foreign-affairs/2021/10/10/envoy-turkey-is-keen-to-invest-in-bangladesh-railway

October 12 at 07:36 AM

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Ethiopian inks partnership with AccessRail to provide intermodal transportation

Ajot  October 06, 2021 (Ethiopia) Ethiopian Airlines has signed Codeshare and Interline Agreement with AccessRail to widen connectivity options for its passengers destined to Western Europe, United Kingdom, Scandinavian, Japan and Canada. The agreement avails AccesRails’ wide rail destinations to passengers of Ethiopian Airlines through seamless connectivity with all journey segments contained on a single Ethiopian Airlines ticket. Regarding the partnership, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam said, “I am glad that we have entered into such a monumental agreement with AccessRail, the world’s leading provider of air-rail intermodal solutions. Each year, we are growing in terms of customer service excellence through collaboration with key partners across the globe. As rail travel is becoming popular, especially when traveling regionally or locally, our collaboration with the worlds renowned flight and rail connection provider helps our customers access extra convenience and better connectivity options. In view of expanding our service to markets where Ethiopian has no direct operations to, our partnership with rail services is a great strategic move in enhancing our customer service. I hope the success of the partnership between AccesRail and Ethiopian would be felt throughout our customers.” Ethiopian Airlines has further developed its air-rail strategy by partnering with the world’s leading provider of air-rail intermodal solutions, AccesRail (9B). This new partnership provides Ethiopian Airlines with the ability to expand its network of destinations and to feed ET flights in both interline and codeshare format. In addition, this partnership will offer agents as well as consumers’ new options to book Ethiopian Airlines journeys which include surface sectors via a single process and workflow thus enabling Ethiopian Airlines to extend its value proposition and offer greater content options. Andrew Popescu, Vice President Business Development, AccesRail, said: “We are excited about our Ethiopian-AccesRail intermodal cooperation which will enable Ethiopian Airlines to offer an important amount of entirely new destinations all over the world to their passengers. Ethiopian Airlines have embraced at a global level the concept of network expansion through air- rail partnership and we are thrilled to help make this strategic vision into a reality.” Intermodality is becoming a growing part of airline network planning and demand for the service is also increasing with the inception of high-speed rail services. AccesRail is the world’s leading provider of air-rail intermodal solutions that specializes in intermodal travel and GDS distribution for passenger railways. Source https://ajot.com/news/ethiopian-inks-partnership-with-accessrail-to-provide-intermodal-transportation

October 07 at 06:45 AM

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Etihad Rail: Laying of tracks between Abu Dhabi, Dubai begins

Khaleej Times  June 29, 2021 (Abu Dhabi) Sheikh Theyab reviewed the latest progress during a 10-kilometre trip aboard an inspection and supervision train. Etihad Rail has entered into an important phase by inaugurating a track-laying work at the Seih Shuaib site that is a strategic point to link Abu Dhabi and Dubai through a rail network. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and Chairman of Etihad Rail, on Tuesday inaugurated the track-laying work for an important phase of the 1,200km project that will connect all the emirates through passengers and freight services in years to come. Sheikh Theyab reviewed the progress during a 10-kilometre trip aboard an inspection and supervision train. The trip started from the operations centre at Seih Shuaib area and travelled in both directions towards Abu Dhabi and Dubai up to Al Maha Forest. “This strategic project will provide a safe, reliable and integrated mode of transport in the UAE, and will constitute a key component of the UAE’s integrated, world-class transport system, placing it among the world’s leading countries for quality transport and infrastructure,” Sheikh Theyab iterated. “It will also support the nation’s economic growth, connecting the UAE’s main ports with industrial, manufacturing and residential centres to positively impact the wellbeing of citizens and residents,” he added. Source: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/local/etihad-rail-laying-of-tracks-between-abu-dhabi-dubai-begins

July 09 at 05:40 AM

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EU giving away 60,000 free Interrail tickets

Deutsche Welle  12 October 2021 (EU) From Tuesday, 18- to 20-year-olds can apply for tickets that grant free train travel across Europe. The initiative is providing travel opportunities to young people as the pandemic wanes. The European Commission is handing out 60,000 Interrail tickets to young people from Tuesday. The ticket allows for free train travel across Europe for up to a month. During the coronavirus pandemic, young people "showed true solidarity and missed valuable and formative moments of their youth for doing so," Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas said, announcing the contest on Monday. The purpose of the initiative, he said, is to "rekindle mobility in Europe." How do I get a ticket? The application process opens at midday on Tuesday, October 12, and remains open until October 26. Applicants must be 18 to 20 years old and have nationality of a European Union member state. They will have to take a quiz with questions about the EU to be eligible. Winners will be able to travel around all EU countries for free for up to 30 days between March 2022 and February 2023. Ticketholders will also be able to take buses and ferries. The scheme is usually only open to 18-year-olds, but this time, 19- and 20-year-olds will get to apply because the last two rounds were suspended amid the pandemic. Young people from the United Kingdom will also get a chance to apply for one last time. Despite Brexit, UK nationals were eligible in 2020 when the round was canceled due to COVID-19. Funding for that year was moved to 2021. Why is the EU handing out free tickets? The initiative, called "DiscoverEU," started as a preparatory action initiated by the European Parliament between 2018 and 2020. The plan was to provide traveling and mobility opportunities to young people turning 18 years old, the age of legal adulthood. The action specifically targets 18-year-olds, "as this age generally marks a major step to adulthood and to European citizenship," the Commission states online. In the first round in 2018 and 2019, 350,000 young Europeans applied for 70,000 travel passes, according to the Commission. Around 66% of participants said they were traveling abroad by train for the first time. Additionally, two-thirds of respondents said they could not have financed the travel themselves. kmm/aw (dpa, KNA) Source https://www.dw.com/en/eu-giving-away-60000-free-interrail-tickets/a-59476656

October 13 at 06:46 AM

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European Sleeper Trains Make a Comeback

The Wall Street Journal  Aug. 25, 2021 (Germany, EU) The expansion has been fueled in part by concerns over climate change and flight shaming over short flights We all know the romanticized version of what it was like to tour Europe on sleeper trains: chance encounters with exotic strangers, late-night border crossings, and diner cars where mysterious passengers nursed cocktails and ate poulet de Bresse while rumbling across the Dauphine alps. The reality—2 a.m. whistle-stops, sketchy compartment companions, and a suite of funky smells and sounds that made the actual sleeping part a monumental effort—wasn’t quite that glamorous. (Sorry, Agatha Christie.) So when the rise of low-cost airlines in the 1990s gave travelers a faster way to get to European destinations, demand for night trains fell and operators started abandoning routes around 2005. But now Eurpean sleeper trains are making a come back. Source https://www.wsj.com/articles/european-sleeper-train-climate-change-11629832201?mod=searchresults_pos10&page=1

September 02 at 05:00 AM

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Even with a tunnel, new ECRL route will cost S’gor 11ha in forest reserves

Malaysiakini  8 October, 2021 (Malaysia) Selangor’s forest reserves will be 11ha smaller should the new proposed “northern alignment” of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) go ahead. Environmentalists are cautiously optimistic and commended the use of a long tunnel to avoid the need to clear more forests. They also noted measures in the project’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) report to mitigate the potential impact on wildlife and sources of drinking water. Source https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/594570

October 19 at 05:42 AM

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EXCLUSIVE Guinea rail builders blast in chimp habitat, no plan to protect apes

Reuters  August 17, 2021 (South Africa) JOHANNESBURG, Aug 17 (Reuters) - A Chinese-backed consortium building infrastructure for a massive iron ore mine in Guinea started blasting a railway tunnel in a habitat for a critically endangered chimpanzee species with no plan in place to manage the impact on the animals, company and government statements and satellite imagery show. The consortium is developing the mine in the West African country's Simandou mountains. Anglo-Australian mining company Rio Tinto PLC (RIO.L), (RIO.AX) has permission to mine an adjacent part of the deposit, the world's biggest, and has said it plans to export the ore using the railway and port being built by the consortium, Winning Consortium Simandou (WCS). The construction company hired by WCS to build the railway, China Railway 18th Bureau Group Co Ltd, said in a June 7 statement on its website that a shaft was blasted into the hillside "with a roar of cannons" on May 29, weeks before Guinean officials met to consider an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA). Source https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/exclusive-guinea-rail-builders-blast-chimp-habitat-no-plan-protect-apes-2021-08-17/

August 19 at 06:21 AM

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Farmers blocks roads, rail tracks in nationwide protest in India

Times Of Oman  27 September, 2021 Indian farmer unions launched a nationwide protest on Monday to mark one year since the parliament passed three contentious farm laws that they say threaten their livelihood. The 10-hour protest began early morning with tens of the thousand of farmers blocking state and national highways as well as train tracks, effectively bringing road and rail traffic to a halt. Source https://timesofoman.com/article/107241-farmers-blocks-roads-rail-tracks-in-nationwide-protest-in-india

September 28 at 05:23 AM

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Farmers’ protest hits coal trains

The Hindu  October 18, 2021 (India) Most rail disruptions were experienced in the Northern Zone, which saw about 150 locations affected by protests during the day At least 10 goods trains carrying coal to power plants were stuck, and about 25 passenger trains cancelled, as farm unions under the banner of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha held a nationwide rail roko agitation on Monday. Protesters squatted on rail tracks and hindered train movement to demand the immediate dismissal and arrest of Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra for his alleged involvement in the deaths of four farmers at Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh earlier this month. “About 10 rakes were affected due to untimely rains and rail roko,” Power Ministry officials told  The Hindu . They noted that despite the blockage, 290 coal rakes were loaded on Monday in comparison to 279 on the previous day. This comes at a time when the country is on the verge of a power crisis, with some power plants holding critically low reserve stocks of coal and some States already experiencing partial load-shedding. Most rail disruptions were experienced in the Northern Zone, which saw about 150 locations affected by protests during the day. According to a Northern Railways spokesperson, the operations of 60 trains were impacted and 25 short distance passenger trains were cancelled. By 5 p.m., train services were resumed. Source https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/rail-roko-affects-130-locations-in-northern-railway-zone-hinder-running-of-50-trains/article37050905.ece

October 19 at 05:58 AM

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Fast rail commitment for Sydney ‘megaregion’ urged by urban policy think tank

The Australian (NCA NEWSWIRE)  JULY 20, 2021 (Australia)  A fast rail network that would transport passengers between Sydney and Newcastle in an hour is part of a pitch to better connect the region surrounding Australia’s largest city. Committee for Sydney is calling on the NSW government to prioritise building the infrastructure to slash travel times in the “sandstone megaregion” encompassing Sydney, Wollongong, the Central Coast and Newcastle. The urban policy think tank’s chief executive Gabriel Metcalf wants the Berejiklian government to release a business case for a Sydney to Newcastle fast rail project by the end of the year. “We think a funding commitment to at least the first part of this - which would probably be between Sydney and Gosford - would be a great thing to put on the table going into an election,” Mr Metcalf said. “I know they’re thinking about doing this. “What we’re doing is trying to provide a supportive context for going ahead and doing this even though there are so many competing interests coming out of Covid-19.” To catch a train from Sydney to Newcastle currently takes about two-and-a-half hours. The idea of a fast rail network for the greater Sydney region and to Canberra has been floated for at least a decade and became part of a key re-election promise for the Coalition in 2018. Premier Gladys Berejiklian has since committed to faster rail of up to 200km/h on four key regional routes. Ms Berejiklian this year indicated her interest in rail capable of even faster speeds but the details on the scope of this work, and on which routes will take priority, are yet to be finalised. Source  https://www.theaustralian.com.au/breaking-news/fast-rail-commitment-for-sydney-megaregion-urged-by-urban-policy-think-tank/news-story/e1798971061211a380d795d7e139ecd3

July 22 at 05:38 AM

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Fast train concept plan linking Perth to WA's regions presented to state planners

ABC News  10 November 2021 (Australia) Fast trains connecting Western Australia's regional cities to Perth and each other are part of a bold rail concept submitted to state planners. The "rapid rail network" concept, which would stretch from Geraldton to Esperance with stops in major cities and small regional towns, has been submitted to Infrastructure WA by former PR executive, teacher at Edith Cowan University and self-declared "railway obsessive" Kevin McQuoid. Under the plan, the trains able to travel up to 180 kilometres per hour could deliver passengers from Bunbury to Perth in under an hour along the Forrest Highway corridor. Thousands of kilometres of railways would link the Midwest, metropolitan Perth, South West, Great Southern, southern Wheatbelt and southern Goldfields. Mr McQuoid told the ABC's WA Regional Drive program a paper on metropolitan rail he published a decade ago was the inspiration for the state government's Metronet plan. He said the idea would be an extension of Metronet into regional WA and should be built ahead of forecast population growth in the regions. "My sole purpose is to seed this idea, which I believe is years decades overdue in the regions, and a lot of people in the regions also believe that," he said. "I'm handing on the baton to the people in the regions if they get behind hit. They're the ones that can drive it." Mr McQuoid said WA was built around an automobile culture. "One of the problems is that Perth is getting so much bigger. When country people get to the edge of the metro area, it becomes a battle," he said. "I used to live in the Darling Range. Coming to Perth, you had to pick the times because it's difficult to get around." It comes amid a bid by some Great Southern local governments to reopen the former passenger service from Albany to Perth, which closed in 1978. Currently, the route is now solely used for freight.  Fast rail is a better option Curtin University sustainability expert Peter Newman said the rapid rail network idea would make travel much quicker to Perth than using the existing freight network. "I went on it before it closed in 1978, and it was an overnight trip," he said. "The way through Bunbury is quicker. I would think it would have other freight benefits as well. "The opportunity for creating it in WA is more likely because we're going to have a very fast-growing regional economy." The state government is investigating a fast rail link from Perth to Bunbury, with a spokesperson for WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti confirming $8 million is to be spent on viability studies over the next three years. "The outcomes of this work will help inform government around potential timing and priorities for further investigations and provide guidance about when such a significant initiative may be warranted," the spokesperson said. Source https://amp-abc-net-au.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/amp.abc.net.au/article/100607176

November 10 at 06:33 AM

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Fewer accidents and security incidents for SA rail in year of low traffic

Sunday Times 20 October 2021 (South Africa) The Railway Safety Regulator recorded fewer operational occurrences, such as derailments, on the country's rail network in 2020/21, but this is as rail operators produced significantly fewer kilometres as a result of lockdown restrictions. There were fewer operational occurrences and security-related incidents on the railways during the 2020/21 financial year compared to 2019/20. However, this should not be cause for celebration as the combined traffic levels of the train operators declined by 38% during that period compared to the previous year. Deputy transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga made this remark on Wednesday during the release of the Railway Safety Regulator’s (RSR) annual state of safety report. She said this year’s report was presented against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact which led to major operators producing significantly fewer rail kilometres in the 2020/21 year. Chikunga said during 2020/21, the combined traffic levels of Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) and Gautrain declined by 38% compared to 2019/20 and by 53% since 2010/11. While security-related incidents were also down year-on-year, the deputy minister denounced the ongoing destruction of rail infrastructure and highlighted the importance of implementing security plans aimed at curbing the scourge. She said 10,076 negative events were reported during the 2020/21 reporting period, with 2,024 relating to operational occurrences and 8,052 attributed to security-related incidents. Operational occurrences decreased by 40% in 2020/21 compared to 2019/20 and security-related incidents decreased by 19% compared to 2019/20. Operational occurrences include fatalities and injuries to employees, contractors, passengers and members of public. Chikunga said there was a 15% decrease in total train derailment and 13% decrease in level crossing occurrences in 2020/21 when compared to the previous year. Chikunga said long-term level crossing occurrences had decreased by 52% overall since 2010/11. “Even though collisions and derailments depict a year-on-year decrease, when you consider the normalised figures which take into consideration the train kilometres, this shows an increase.” She said people struck by trains and platform train interface indicated a significant decrease. “However this happens during the year when passenger activity was restricted across the railways.” For people illegally crossing railway lines, there was a reduction of of 84.79%, which translates to 426 incidents in 2020/21 compared to 2,801 incidents in 2019/20. “These numbers attest to the fact that we must stay focused and ensure that through our collective efforts, we concretely drive down the number of occurrences and prioritise the safety of both commuters and workforce in our operations,” Chikunga said. RSR chairperson Johannes Nobunga said when the lockdown was imposed early last year, there was a significant increase in security-related vandalism and theft of rail infrastructure. Gautrain Management Agency CEO William Dachs said the impact of the lockdown has largely been in terms of the lower number of passengers using its service. He said Gautrain has been able to keep its safety and security levels intact. Prasa Group CEO Zolani Matthews said the lockdown has seen it suffer large-scale incidents of theft and vandalism of its infrastructure. TFR CEO Sizakele Mzimela said although the service was affected during lockdown level 5, it was able to operate as it was moving essential goods and saw few incidents of theft and vandalism during level 5. However, TFR saw an increase in theft and vandalism when lockdown restrictions were lifted, she said. Mzimela said over the past five years TFR has seen an increase of 177% in theft and vandalism on its lines. In the past year, TFR spent in excess of R1.6bn to protect the lines. Source https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2021-10-20-fewer-accidents-and-security-incidents-for-sa-rail-in-year-of-low-traffic/

October 28 at 06:29 AM

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FG promises to expand rail transport infrastructure

The Guardian  05 November 2021 (Nigeria) The Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, has said that the government is committed to reviving multimodal transport infrastructure in the bid to boost the economy. Saraki, at the inauguration of the Transport Trade Group of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), said the government would continue to expand railway lines and other mode of transportation to further ease movement of persons and goods. The Minister, who was represented by the Assistant Director Rail Department, Ministry of Transportation, Ayodele Omole, said the government is focusing on bridging infrastructural deficit because no economy can grow sustainably without adequate infrastructure. “Presently, Kaduna-Abuja, Lagos-Ibadan and Itakpe-Warri railways are completed and fully functioning, while the ground breaking of Kaduna-Kano Railway, Kano-Maradi and Itakpe-Baro-Abuja have taken place and work has commenced on these routes.” While inaugurating Olawale Rasheed as Chairman of the Transport Trade Group, the President, ACCI, Dr. Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, recounted the good old days, noting that Nigeria has invested so much in the transport sector because that is the soul of the economy, adding that “we of the private sector are major partners of the government in this push to provide necessary trade and transport logistics for the economy to thrive.” “I commend the Ministry of Transportation, Aviation, Works, Digital Economy and other Ministries and Agencies handling logistics and transport sectors of this country. We remain your partner in progress while calling on relevant MDAs to partner with the Chamber of commerce for investment opportunities in the transport and logistics value chain. “Roads, Railways, Airports and Ports are strong economic facilitation platforms and we must develop the value chains along these sub-platforms, as a way of boosting our national economy.” The newly inaugurated Chairman of the Trade Group, and a Council member of ACCI, said the group is planning programmes in railway conference, aviation mart and blue economy in the nearest future. Source https://guardian.ng/features/travel/fg-promises-to-expand-rail-transport-infrastructure/

November 05 at 06:11 AM

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Film shooting in Darjeeling Himalayan Railway can now apply online

The Economic Times  Jul 06, 2021 (India) Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, A UNESCO World Heritage site is known all over the world for its fascinating journey through the hills of the Himalayas in narrow gauge Toy trains. This place has been attracting tourists from all over the world who never wish to miss the mesmerising romance of the toy train ride through the hills criss-crossing the Hill Cart road. Any film producer or enthusiast willing to undertake film shooting either using toy trains or a railway premises in Darjeeling Himalayan Railway can now apply online without physically coming to the shooting site concerned offices. Source: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/transportation/railways/film-shooting-process-on-toy-train-goes-digital/articleshow/84163605.cms

July 09 at 05:40 AM

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First metro stirs hope Vietnam can match regional peers

VnExpress  November 8, 2021 ( Vietnam ) The first metro route Vietnam has stirred hopes that the country will soon catch up with its regional peers, popularize public transportation and reduce traffic congestion. Experts, however remain cautious and skeptical, saying such optimism is unwarranted at the moment. "If I close my eyes I can’t tell whether I’m on a metro train in another country or in Vietnam," said Tran Ngoc Quynh, one of the first passengers to use the Cat Linh – Ha Dong Metro Route after it began operating last Saturday. Quynh, a 70-year-old engineer, couldn’t sleep the night before as he had been waiting for the metro to run for 10 years. His family and friends are among those who had been relocated during the land acquisition process for the project. "The train shows that Vietnam is not far behind other countries in development. We are moving in the right direction." The Cat Linh – Ha Dong Metro Route, the latest public transport addition in Hanoi, where 8.3 million people reside, has kindled hopes and desire among local residents that the city ups its public infrastructure to the level or other ASEAN countries. Nguyen Huu Khanh, who lives one kilometer away from a metro station, said that he was thinking about making metro his main means of transportation to and from work. "I arrived 10 minutes earlier than usual with the metro. There was no traffic jam, and it was warmer than riding the motorbike," said the 30-year-old, who works for a startup. The experience is similar to that of Thailand where he had worked for a couple of years, Khanh said. Several Southeast Asian countries have had a head start over Vietnam in establishing metro networks. Source https://e.vnexpress.net/news/business/economy/first-metro-stirs-hope-vietnam-can-match-regional-peers-4383013.html

November 12 at 07:16 AM

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FirstGroup to launch budget London to Edinburgh rail service next month

The Guardian  7 September 2021 (UK) The service, branded Lumo, says 60% of seats will cost £30 or less with a max fare of £69 one-way FirstGroup is to launch a budget direct London-Edinburgh rail service next month, which it hopes will lure air passengers to the train as a cheaper and greener alternative. The new service, branded Lumo, will have just one single class of travel and the company hopes it will carry more than 1 million passengers a year on the East Coast line – slightly more than currently fly between the English and Scottish capitals. First has pledged that fares will be substantially cheaper than the level of LNER, which operates most trains on the route, with singles starting at £14.90, roughly half the best lead-in rail fare currently available. It said 60% of seats on Lumo will cost £30 or less, with a maximum fare of £69 one way. Lumo will be run as an “open access” service on the route, in a similar arrangement to that of Grand Central and Hull Trains, limiting it to 10 trains a day. The few open access operators in the UK do not have the contractual obligations of LNER or other former rail franchises to run a full timetable, nor to charge fares as dictated by the government. The services will also call at Newcastle, Morpeth and Stevenage, giving potential alternatives to air passengers using Newcastle or Luton airports. Lumo will stress its green credentials, especially compared to flying, with carbon calculations published for passengers, and a more plant-based catering menu. Although the line from London to Edinburgh is fully electrified, Lumo argues its trains may be fractionally more carbon efficient per seat than rival operators’ – partly because LNER operates bi-mode electro-diesel trains to allow direct services on unelectrified railways in Scotland. Helen Wylde, the managing director of Lumo, said: “Travelling in the UK should not cost a fortune and it certainly shouldn’t be the planet that pays. Whatever your preferred mode of transport, we are likely to be more affordable and kinder to the planet. Source https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/sep/07/firstgroup-to-launch-budget-london-to-edinburgh-rail-service-next-month

September 30 at 05:47 AM

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Forest Department proposes more watch towers for elephants’ safety

The Hindu  November 30, 2021 (India) Other measures include foot patrols and use of drones The Forest Department has proposed to intall more watch towers in forest areas on the sides of the two railway lines that connect Kerala and Tamil Nadu via Walayar, for the safety of elephants. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden Shekhar Kumar Niraj instructed T.K. Ashok Kumar, District Forest Officer of Coimbatore Forst Division, to initiate work on setting up watch towers at the earliest after identifying a suitable location to monitor elephant movement. Source https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/forest-department-proposes-more-watch-towers-for-the-safety-of-elephants/article37763240.ece

November 30 at 07:48 AM

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Four colour-coded elevated rail tracks for Colombo

Daily News  March 31, 2021 (Sri Lanka) The Cabinet of Ministers granted their consent to construct four colour coded elevated railway tracks to serve the Colombo City limits, Co-Cabinet spokesman Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said. This proposal has been submitted by the Urban Development Authority with the intention of reducing traffic congestion in Colombo. He said the four elevated railway tracks have been colour coded as Red, Green, Blue and Purple. The Red railway track which is 42 Km long will be constructed from Ragama to Kottawa via Pita Kotte. The Green railway track (28 Km) will be constructed from Moratuwa to Kelaniya via Narahenpita.  The Blue railway track which is 23 km long will be constructed from Kottawa to Hunupitiya via Isurupaya, Pelawatte in Battaramulla. The Purple railway track will be constructed from the Port City in Colombo to Athurugiriya via Borella. Minister Gammanpila further added that this project is scheduled to be implemented as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project. This project will address the problem of heavy traffic congestion in morning and evening rush hours by luring motorists to use the comfortable, clean, speedy and punctual trains. The busiest travel corridors, some of which do not have existing train services, have been identified in conceptualizing the train services. It will drastically cut travel times, as motorists generally spend around 90 minutes to reach Colombo from some of the urban areas. Such elevated train systems are already in operation in many countries. The City Bus service, whereby motorists can park their cars at a designated location and then come to Colombo by comfortable SLTB A/C buses, has already become a success and the authorities expect to expand the service to cover more routes and cities in the near future. Source https://www.dailynews.lk/2021/03/31/local/245483/four-colour-coded-elevated-rail-tracks-colombo

September 01 at 10:33 AM

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Four northern trains suspended after flooding

Bangkok Post  3 October 2021 (Thailand) Four Bangkok-Chiang Mai trains have been suspended and routes of eight other trains on the northern line restricted after the rail tracks between Ban Mo and Nong Don stations in Saraburi were flooded, State Railway of Thailand (SRT) governor Nirut Maneephan said. The service suspensions and curtailments took effect from Oct 2 until further notice. The four suspended round-trip trains are: - Special express trains Nos 9/10 (Bangkok-Chiang Mai-Bangkok);  - Special express trains Nos 7/8 (Bangkok-Chiang Mai-Bangkok). The routes of eight other trains have been shortened: - Urban trains Nos 301/302 (Bangkok-Lop Buri-Bangkok) have been restricted to Bangkok-Ban Mo-Bangkok; - Rapid train No 109 (Bangkok-Chiang Mai) to Lop Buri-Chiang Mai; - Rapid train No 102 (Chiang Mai-Bang Sue) to Chiang Mai-Lop Buri; - Ordinary trains Nos 201/202 (Bangkok-Phitsanulok-Bangkok) to Lop Buri-Phitsanulok-Lop Buri; - Ordinary trains Nos 211/212 (Bangkok-Taphanhin-Bangkok) to Lop Buri-Taphanhin-Lop Buri. Mr Nirut said the rail tracks between kilometres 113/5-116/1 in Saraburi were on Saturday about 25 centimetres under water, the tracks and the traffic signal system had been damaged, and the water level was rising, forcing the service suspensions and restrictions. Affected passengers can seek refunds at all ralways stations nationwide or call the SRT's public relations centre at hotline number 1690 for more information, he said. Source https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/2191659/four-northern-trains-suspended-after-flooding

October 04 at 07:51 AM

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France's Alstom signs €300 million rail contract with Melbourne as submarine crisis deepens

RFI  20 September, 2021 (France Australia) French manufacturer Alstom has signed a contract to supply 25 commuter trains to Melbourne for €300 million. The contract comes amid the ongoing nuclear submarine row between France and Australia that erupted last week after Australia pulled out of a provision contract with France. Alstom said in a statement that it will supply 25 six-car X'trapolis trains to Australia's second most populous city in a €300 million deal. The trains will be built in the state of Victoria with at least 60 percent local content, the company said. Alstom has a manufacturing plant in Ballarat, near Melbourne. The order is part of a two-year design process with the Victorian Department of Transport, which includes Melbourne and Canberra. "Alstom is delighted to continue its long-term partnership with the Victorian Government and the local supply chain that will ensure we continue to build trains for Victoria, in Victoria," said the company's managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Mark Coxon. Source https://www.rfi.fr/en/international/20210920-france-s-alstom-signs-%E2%82%AC300-million-rail-contract-with-melbourne-as-submarine-crisis-deepens

September 22 at 06:24 AM

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France's Thales maintains 2021 targets as Q3 sales slip

Channel News Asia  26 October, 2021 (Paris, France) French defence group Thales reaffirmed full-year financial forecasts as it reported a 1.4per cent dip in underlying third-quarter sales, dampened by comparisons with the easing of a first wave of COVID-19 lockdowns a year earlier. The maker of radars for fighters and airport control towers, as well as biometric identity systems, also reported a 9per cent pick-up in quarterly orders on a like-for-like basis, led by its satellite business and a partial recovery in commercial flying. The gradual rebound in short-haul and domestic air travel helped push Thales' Aerospace unit sales up 4per cent in the third quarter, while its 'Digital Identity and Security' division also ticked higher as more people start to travel after shunning flights during the pandemic. "For long-haul, the recovery will take much longer," Chief Financial Officer Pascal Bouchiat told reporters. Overall, Thales' group sales slipped 1.4per cent to 3.555 billion euros (US$4.1 billion) in the third quarter because of a tough basis of comparison with the same period a year earlier, while new orders rose by an underlying 9per cent to 2.992 billion. Thales said it continued to implement the sale of its GTS railway signalling business after announcing advanced talks in August to sell it to Japan's Hitachi. The proposed deal values the division at 1.66 billion euros. On Tuesday, it said it expected to sign a definitive deal in the first quarter of 2022. For now, the group's 2020 and 2021 numbers have been adjusted to remove the outgoing unit. Thales expects 2021 sales between 15.8 billion and 16.3 billion euros based on its structure as of August 2021, and an operating margin of 9.8per cent to 10.3per cent, with orders topping revenues. The Paris-based company, which owns 35per cent of France's state-run Naval Group military shipyard, reiterated it did not expected a significant financial impact from the cancellation of a contract to supply Australia with French submarines. Australia last month said it would scrap a US$40 billion deal for Naval Group to supply conventional submarines and would instead build at least eight nuclear-powered subs with U.S. and British technology after striking a trilateral security pact. It remains unclear whether Thales could still pick up any business for the replacement subs via its presence in the UK. "As to what a new submarine contract would look like, and whether our activities could be involved, that's much too early to say," Bouchiat said. Asked about widespread concerns about growing labour shortages and logistical bottlenecks, Bouchiat said Thales faced "a battle for talent" alongside many other companies. He did not see significant supply chain bottlenecks, though a shortage of semi-conductors has cost the company some 20-30 million euros that it expects to recoup in the fourth quarter. (US$1 = 0.8593 euros) (Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta) Source https://www.channelnewsasia.com/business/frances-thales-maintains-2021-targets-q3-sales-slip-2269022

November 02 at 04:52 AM

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Freight services restored on Haldibari-Chilahati railway link between Bangladesh and India

The Tribune  Aug 01, 2021 (Bangladesh) Bangladesh and India on Sunday started regular operation of freight trains through the restored Haldibari-Chilahati rail route after over 50 years, which will strengthen railway connectivity and bilateral trade between the two countries. The restored rail link was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina on December 17, 2020. The rail route between Haldibari (India) and Chilahati (Bangladesh) has been defunct for over 50 years. It will also enhance rail network access to the main ports and dry ports to support the growth in regional trade to encourage economic and social development of the region, said the Indian High Commission in Dhaka on Sunday. The Haldibari-Chilahati rail link is the fifth rail link between Bangladesh and India that has been made operational, the Dhaka Tribune newspaper reported on Sunday. Source https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/freight-services-restored-on-haldibari-chilahati-railway-link-between-bangladesh-and-india-291428

August 03 at 09:18 AM

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French group Alstom wins EUR 262 mln contract in Romania for 20 electric trains

Romania Insider  05 November 2021 (Romania) Romania’s Railway Reform Authority (ARF) has designated French company Alstom Feroviaria as the winner of a public tender procedure for the purchase of 20 inter-regional electric trains. The value of this contract is RON 1.3 billion (EUR 262 mln) , without VAT, according to Ziarul Financiar. The financing of this project is ensured from the Large Infrastructure Operational Program - POIM and the state budget. The contract covers the purchase of 20 electric trains and their maintenance for 15 years, with the possibility of doubling the quantity and the maintenance period. The trains will be delivered within 31 months of signing the contract. Alstom will also provide staff training on train operation, operation and software applications. The Railway Reform Authority - a specialized structure subordinated to the Ministry of Transport – is responsible for implementing the reform in the railway sector under the General Transport Master Plan. Source  https://www.romania-insider.com/alstom-electric-trains-romania-contract

November 10 at 07:40 AM

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From fire to floods, climate change hits Canada's fragile supply chain

Reuters  November 19, 2021 (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) The massive rains that unleashed floods and mudslides in the Canadian province of British Columbia exposed the country’s supply chain vulnerability as crucial railways and roads were severed from the country's biggest port. That one storm could within hours shut down a key engine in one of the world's biggest exporting nations highlights Canada's unique economic fragility. The majority of Canadian exports, which account for nearly one-third of the country’s GDP, travel to the Pacific coast to reach Asian markets. But the supply chain route relies on two rail lines and a handful of highways through the Rocky Mountains and rugged British Columbia interior to the Port of Vancouver. "Geology did not give Canada a lot of options and funnelling a huge amount of exports down the Fraser Canyon increases our vulnerability," said Barry Prentice, professor of supply chain management at University of Manitoba. The Fraser Canyon, which stretches from B.C.'s high interior plateau through the Coast Mountains to the lower mainland, suffered some of the most severe highway washouts during the storm. It was also ravaged by a wildfire this summer that destroyed a town and closed road and rail routes.  Building a third track through the canyon, roughly 150 kilometres (93 miles) northeast of Vancouver, is not practical since the current tracks are "literally carved into the wall of the canyon," he added. Canada is developing a plan to adapt to climate change and this week's historic flooding underscored the need to protect export routes, Canadian Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said. "What this week has shown us is some of those issues around export routes, and around goods routes...are perhaps more important than many of us had even assumed," Wilkinson told Reuters. MORE DROUGHT AND FLOODS British Columbia is not equipped to cope with the increasingly extreme weather it faces, said Simon Donner, professor of climatology at the University of British Columbia. "These were rainfall totals you would expect to see in a tropical cyclone, not in November in Canada," he said. More such disruptions in B.C. will likely force Canada to export more commodities south and east, rather than west, receiving lower prices than Asian markets pay, said Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association. Some work is already underway to make Canada's export economy more resilient. The port at Prince Rupert in northern B.C. plans to increase its container capacity by one-third by 2023, offering a more viable, albeit much smaller, alternative for shippers to reach Asia. In 2017, Canada's Senate released a report on the feasibility of a 7,000-kilometer northern infrastructure corridor running from the Pacific Coast, across the boreal forest past Hudson Bay and into northern Quebec. The report concluded such a project could boost exports but take decades to complete. Climate change is causing problems for shippers, but it could also offer solutions. Churchill, Manitoba's seldom-used port on Hudson Bay near the Arctic may become more viable as melting glaciers open shipping lanes, Prentice said. The season for ships travelling through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway may also get longer before ice closes the route each winter, said Bob Ballantyne, senior adviser at the Freight Management Association, which represents shipping industries. The solutions provide no near-term fix, however. "We are in this weird place where climate change means both more drought and more flooding," said climate professor Donner. "The problem in British Columbia and across Canada and the world, is we are adapted to a climate of the past." Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg and Nia Williams in Calgary; Editing by Lisa Shumaker Source https://www.reuters.com/business/cop/fire-floods-climate-change-hits-canadas-fragile-supply-chain-2021-11-19/

November 22 at 05:17 AM

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Funding in State Budget for new METRONET operations control centre

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 Categories:  PTA News $50 million  for a new Metronet operations control centre in East Perth. Final contract negotiations underway to build new Public Transport Operations Control Centre Centre will support High Capacity Signalling project to enable more trains to run more often Funding for Public Transport Operations Control Centre and High Capacity Signalling projects allocated in 2021-22 State Budget Nine METRONET projects are currently under construction with one project completed A new state-of-the-art Public Transport Operations Control Centre (PTOCC) in East Perth is a step closer as final contract negotiations get underway with preferred proponent ADCO Constructions. As negotiations on the contract - which is worth about $50 million - near an end, the McGowan Government has allocated funding to build the new control centre in the 2021-22 State Budget, along with METRONET's High Capacity Signalling (HCS) project. The PTOCC is essential to support the HSC project - a decade-long transition to a network-wide digital signalling upgrade to enable more trains to run at a greater frequency on Perth's rail network. HSC is jointly funded by the State and Commonwealth governments. The PTOCC will include a centralized signalling equipment room, network control floors, and office space - directly north of the Public Transport Centre building in East Perth. It will house the infrastructure and personnel needed to manage the day-to-day operations of Perth's public transport network, which will expand by more than 72 kilometers in the coming years as various METRONET projects become operational. Construction is expected to start in early 2022. The McGowan Government has nine METRONET projects currently under construction, with one completed and another three in procurement.  Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti: "The new control centre is a key part of the puzzle to have more trains run more frequently and efficiently across our rail network. "It will be a hub of activity and is a key part of our plan to upgrade our existing analogue system to the new High Capacity Signalling program. "This will be undertaken over the next decade and will help manage and move more trains as they come online. "The state-of-the-art PTOCC is a vital piece of infrastructure which will use real-time data to monitor train speeds and locations, while housing the staff who work behind the scenes to ensure our integrated public transport is reliable, on time and safe." Minister's office - 6552 5500 Source: https://www.pta.wa.gov.au/news/media-statements/funding-in-state-budget-for-new-metronet-operations-control-centre Image Credit Image by  Thanks for your Like  from  Pixabay  

August 29 at 09:48 AM

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German company pips Chinese firm to win high-speed rail project in Egypt

Economic Times  September 26, 2021 (Germany) In what would raise hopes of avoiding Chinese debt trap in the developing world, a consortium led by the German engineering multinational Siemens NSE -0.72 % pipped the Chinese and has been awarded a 4.5-billion-euro contract to build a high-speed rail line in Egypt, a key state in the Arab world. The railway line will be built from Ain Sukhna at the southern end of the Suez Canal, to Alexandria and the port city of Marsa Matruh – from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt, according to a special report in the leading German magazine Der Spiegel. Siemens reportedly outsmarted a Chinese competitor for the project, according to Der Spiegel report. “The project, which is backed by a Hermes loan guarantee from the German government, has broad political support in Berlin…,” according to the report. There are millions of Egyptians who will benefit from this railway project. The line is scheduled for completion in 2027 and will later be extended upriver to Luxor and the resort city of Hurghada, according to Der Spiegel. It will also provide economic stimulus and create jobs for around 15,000 people in Egypt in the first stage, according to estimates provided by project leader Siemens. Two Egyptian companies have been commissioned with the construction of the route, and the project is progressing quickly, according to the report. Source https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/german-company-pips-chinese-firm-to-win-high-speed-rail-project-in-egypt/articleshow/86524064.cms

September 27 at 09:59 AM

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German railway resumes service to valley devastated by flood

AP  November 8, 2021 (Berlin, Germany) Germany’s national railway on Monday resumed train service to a western valley that was devastated by flooding in mid-July following extensive repair work. The narrow Ahr valley, near Bonn, suffered the worst destruction in the July 14-15 floods which left more than 180 people dead in Germany and also claimed lives in neighboring Belgium. Heavy rainfall turned small streams into raging torrents, sweeping away houses, bridges and cars. Railway operator Deutsche Bahn said that, starting Monday, two trains per hour are running each way between the valley’s main town of Ahrweiler and Remagen, on the Rhine river. A further section will be reopened in December, but Deutsche Bahn said it will take much longer to reopen the line as far as its terminus further upstream at Ahrbrueck — a stretch on which eight bridges will have to be replaced. The company said it had to replace a kilometer (over half a mile) of rails, 5 kilometers (over 3 miles) of cables and 1,500 ties to get one track open again. It is still working to repair the second track. The German government put in place a roughly 400 million-euro ($474 million) package of immediate aid for flood victims. In August, it agreed to provide 30 billion euros ($36 billion) in longer-term aid to help rebuild the affected regions. On Friday, the local administration in Ahrweiler said that more than 300,000 metric tons (330,000 tons) of bulky waste have been recovered from the area since the floods — equivalent to 40 years’ worth of junk under normal circumstances. Source https://apnews.com/article/floods-business-europe-germany-05a6f42eb0be52aecf2b5b03fd2bd82f

November 15 at 04:39 AM

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German train driver strike strands passengers and freight

Reuters  August 12, 2021 (Germany) BERLIN, Aug 11 (Reuters) - A strike by train drivers over pay severely disrupted services across Germany on Wednesday, adding to pressure on European supply chains and frustrating passengers at a time of high demand during the summer holiday season. With around 190 freight trains standing idle, Deutsche Bahn (DBN.UL) said in a statement the strike could have a major impact on industrial supply chains in Germany and across Europe, which have already suffered bottlenecks because of COVID-19. Passenger demand is also high as many people are on the move during summer holidays following an easing of coronavirus restrictions. Deutsche Bahn spokesperson Achim Stauss said the company was trying to keep one in four long-distance trains running and to have at least a trip every two hours between large cities. "We are doing our best to get people to their destination today," Stauss said, urging travellers to postpone unnecessary trips. The strike is due to run until the early hours of Friday. Source https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/german-train-drivers-decide-further-strikes-next-week-union-2021-08-11/

August 12 at 06:05 AM

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German train drivers to go on strike from Wednesday

Reuters  August 30, 2021 (Germany) BERLIN, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Germany's GDL train drivers' union said on Monday it would go on strike on Sept.1 for a week after wage talks with rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DBN.UL) failed to yield a compromise. The strike, the third and longest in the current wage dispute, will affect freight services from Wednesday afternoon while passenger traffic will be affected from the early hours on Thursday. The strike will run until Sept. 7. "This is one of our longest strikes," said GDL chief Claus Weselsky, ruling out open-ended industrial action. GDL, which has already held two strikes in August, is demanding a 3.2% increase for drivers in addition to a coronavirus bonus of 600 euros. Deutsche Bahn has said that it is ready to meet the wage rise demand but that the two sides could not agree on when the increase should go into effect. "A negotiable offer is on the table," Deutsche Bahn's HR chief Martin Seiler said in a statement. "Wage agreements cannot be dictated." Source https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/german-train-drivers-go-strike-wednesday-2021-08-30/

August 31 at 07:44 AM

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Germany's D.Bahn makes new offer to train drivers to avert rail strike

Reuters  September 11, 2021 (Berlin, Germany) German rail operator Deutsche Bahn made an improved offer to train drivers on Saturday in a bid to avert a fourth strike in a pay dispute that has already paralysed large parts of passenger traffic over the holiday season. The GDL drivers union ended its third and longest strike in this pay round on Tuesday in action that left passengers stranded and hit freight services in Europe's biggest economy. It threatened to call a new strike if state-owned Deutsche Bahn did not come up with a better offer by early next week. In addition to a 3.2% wage rise staggered over 36 months and a coronavirus bonus for 2021, both of which were already on the table, Bahn said it had offered an additional component and was ready to review the scope of the GDL union's collective bargaining arrangements. Source https://www.reuters.com/world/us/germanys-dbahn-makes-new-offer-train-drivers-avert-rail-strike-2021-09-11/

September 13 at 05:47 AM

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Germany's Deutsche Bahn sets up firm to strengthen China-Europe freight transport

Global Times  November 27, 2021 (Germany) (Staff members pose for photos with the first "Shanghai Express" in Hamburg, Germany) Deutsche Bahn's subsidiary DB Cargo established a new company to strengthen rail freight transport between China and Europe, the German state-owned rail operator announced on Friday. "Climate-friendly and reliable goods transport by rail is becoming increasingly important for global supply chains," Deutsche Bahn noted. That is why demand along the Belt and Road, the rail route between Europe and China, is booming. With the establishment of DB Cargo Transasia in Shanghai, Europe's largest freight railroad provider is "considerably strengthening" its services in the Far East, connecting 18 European countries, Deutsche Bahn noted. Chinese customers could be offered a variety of services from DB Cargo Transasia instead of having to contract multiple service providers as in the past, according to Deutsche Bahn. The German rail operator already opened several new routes between China and Europe this year, most recently the connection between Shanghai and Hamburg at the end of September. Last year, DB Cargo transported around 200,000 containers back and forth between Asia and Europe. By 2025, Deutsche Bahn was aiming to more than double the annual capacity to 500,000 containers. According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), goods worth 213.2 billion euros (240 billion U.S. dollars) were traded between Germany and China in 2020. Including exports and imports, China remained Germany's most important trading partner. Source  https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202111/1240043.shtml

November 29 at 04:17 AM

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Germany's Knorr Bremse expects annual growth of up to 6.5% until 2025

Reuters  Nov 29 (Munich, Germany) Knorr Bremse (KBX.DE) expects annual revenue growth of 5.5% to 6.5% till 2025, when revenues would likely reach 8.6 billion euros ($9.70 billion), the German auto and railway parts supplier said on Monday ahead of its capital markets day. Operating margins (EBIT) would come in between 14% and 16%, it added. The company, which is targeting growth opportunities in the rail and commercial vehicles sectors, said it expected revenues of 6.6 billion to 6.8 billion euros this year and a profit margin of between 13% and 13.5%. It, however, warned that semiconductor supply bottlenecks were weighing on its commercial vehicles business. Source  https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/germanys-knorr-bremse-expects-annual-growth-up-65-until-2025-2021-11-29/

December 01 at 08:24 AM

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Germany: Hamburg gets first fully automated tram

Deutsche Welle  11 October, 2021 (Germany) Deutsche Bahn and Siemens have premiered a new, digitally automated train, hailing it as a "blueprint for digitalizing the rails in Germany, Europe and the world." DB has promised that the new system will make service more reliable and efficient German rail company Deutsche Bahn (DB) and high-tech partner Siemens unveiled their new fully automated, "Digital S-Bahn Hamburg" tram on Monday. The premier coincided with the opening of this year's Hamburg-hosted installment of the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress, which showcases mobility solutions and ideas. DB said it plans to expand use of its new digital trams to service all of Hamburg, claiming that by 2030 and beyond many of its local, regional and national lines will use similar technology. The company said fully automating the trains and controlling them digitally will allow more to run at shorter intervals, as well as increase energy efficiency and cut operating costs. The €60-million ($69.4-million) project, financed equally by DB, Siemens and the city-state of Hamburg, combines two operating systems — Automatic Train Operation (ATO) and the European Train Control System (ETCS) — that can be retrofitted onto existing trains and tracks. These flexible systems allow a driver, who will still remain on board, to manually operate trains when they move to stretches of track that are not outfitted with corresponding control technology. All other operations, such as starting, accelerating, decelerating, stopping and shunting will be fully automated. At Monday's unveiling, Siemens CEO Roland Busch praised the new project as a "blueprint for digitalizing the rails in Germany, Europe and the the world." Source https://www.dw.com/en/germany-hamburg-gets-first-fully-automated-tram/a-59470896

October 13 at 07:26 AM

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Germany: Rail operator Deutsche Bahn to get multi-billion euro bailout

Deutsche Welle  01 November, 2021 (Germany) Germany's rail operated racked up over €3 billion in loses during the coronavirus pandemic. Now it's set to get a bailout, with most of the emergency funds expected to go to rail infrastructure subsidiary DB-Netz. Germany's rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, is set to receive some €2.1 billion ($2.4 billion) in bailout cash, the government confirmed on Monday. Most of the money is going to subsidiary DB-Netz, which handles rail infrastructure. The emergency funds come after a catastrophic 18 months for Deutsche Bahn, with the coronavirus pandemic resulting in plummeting passenger numbers. DB's losses reached €2.9 billion in 2020 and €1.4 billion for the first half of this year. The company had already announced a major fare hike as of December 2021 in an attempt to bridge the gap. Enak Ferlemann, parliamentary state secretary for transport, confirmed that an initial deal had been reached in July. Responding to a request for information from the neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP), Ferlemann said that DB-Netz had already received €537 million by mid-October. According to Ferlemann, the EU has approved a total of €3.77 billion if necessary. Aid not coming fast enough for unions Deutsche Bahn has a near total monopoly on Germany's rails, particularly for long-distance passenger travel. Competitors Flixtrain and Austrian national rail service ÖBB run just a tiny fraction of journeys in the country. The bailout is also expected to help Deutsche Bahn's competitors in the cargo and logistics branches, as their businesses also rely on the quality of rail infrastructure. For workers and unions, the aid is not arriving fast enough. They staged a walk-out in August in protest, which cost DB some €100 million euros a day and left millions of passengers stranded. DPA material contributed to this report . Source https://www.dw.com/en/germany-rail-operator-deutsche-bahn-to-get-multi-billion-euro-bailout/a-59683828

November 10 at 05:29 AM

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Ghana signs 600 mln euros loan agreements to build railway

Reuters  JUNE 29, 2021 (ACCRA,Ghana)    ACCRA, June 29 (Reuters) - Ghana has agreed two loans worth a total of 600 million euros ($714.54 million) to build a 100 km stretch of railway with lenders including Deutsche Bank and Investec, the finance ministry said on Tuesday. The line will transport agricultural produce and minerals from the Huni Valley to Takoradi Port in the south of the country, the government and the lenders said in a joint statement. ($1 = 0.8397 euros) (Reporting by Hereward Holland Editing by Bate Felix) Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/ghana-railways-loans/ghana-signs-600-mln-euros-loan-agreements-to-build-railway-idUSL5N2OB29K  

July 09 at 05:41 AM

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Glass-bottomed panda train debuts in China

CNN  6th July 2021 (China) (CNN) —  Chengdu is famous for being the home of China's panda breeding program, so it seems only fitting that the southwestern city should have a panda train to welcome international tourists when they return.   On June 26, the capital of Sichuan province debuted the Zhongtang Air Railway, a sky train with a "glass" bottom riders can see through. It has 270-degree visibility as the top is not transparent. Travelers who look at the train head-on will notice that it is painted to resemble a panda.   The Dayi Air Rail Project is the world's first new energy tourism air rail test line (translation: an aerial suspended rail train using lithium battery power packs as traction power), and is about 11.5 kilometers (about 7 miles) in length.   A maximum of 120 people can fit in each car. Because the glass can reflect the heat, the trains are air-conditioned to balance it out. It is made of lightweight carbon fiber materials.   The train can travel about the same speed as a subway, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour.   Source:   https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/glass-bottom-panda-train-chengdu-china-intl-hnk/index.html

July 09 at 10:14 AM

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GLIMPSES: Britain's Johnson rides rails to meet Amtrak Joe

Star Tribune (-Associated Press) (Washington, US)  September 21, 2021  Oh, the conversations that happen when powerful people meet. Could the "very special relationship" between the U.S. and the United Kingdom become even more secure now that President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have bonded over their shared love of trains? Biden famously rode Amtrak almost daily between his home in Wilmington, Delaware, and Washington during his 36 years as a U.S. senator. He rode the rails when he was vice president, too. Johnson hopped aboard an Amtrak train in New York City on Tuesday, after addressing the U.N. General Assembly, to get to a White House meeting with Biden. "Amtrak Joe" — a nickname the president earned for his regular commutes — took note as the leaders exchanged pleasantries while opening their meeting in the Oval Office. Source https://www.startribune.com/glimpses-britains-johnson-rides-rails-to-meet-amtrak-joe/600099500/?refresh=true

September 24 at 05:47 AM

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Global Tank Wagons Markets Report 2021: Crude Oil, Ethanol, Liquefied Gases, Bio Fuels, Milk, Chemicals - Forecasts to 2025 & 2030 - ResearchAndMarkets.com

Business Wire  August 24, 2021 (Ireland)  DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The "Tank Wagons Global Market Report 2021: COVID-19 Impact and Recovery to 2030" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering The global tank wagons market is expected to grow from $62.59 billion in 2020 to $68.74 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.8%. The growth is mainly due to the companies rearranging their operations and recovering from the COVID-19 impact, which had earlier led to restrictive containment measures involving social distancing, remote working, and the closure of commercial activities that resulted in operational challenges. The market is expected to reach $88.55 billion in 2025 at a CAGR of 6.5%. Major players in the tank wagons market are American Railcar Industries Inc., GATX, National Steel Car, The Greenbrier Companies, Trinity Industries Inc., Vertex Railcar, Union tank car company, American-Rails, Chongqing ChagnZheng Heavy Industry, and TrinityRail Products. Source https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210824005632/en/Global-Tank-Wagons-Markets-Report-2021-Crude-Oil-Ethanol-Liquefied-Gases-Bio-Fuels-Milk-Chemicals---Forecasts-to-2025-2030---ResearchAndMarkets.com

August 25 at 06:05 AM

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Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway marks 40th anniversary

BBC  25/07/2021 (UK)  A group that rebuilt a forgotten railway line and restored abandoned stations along the way, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) is a volunteer-led heritage railway line which runs between Cheltenham and Broadway. Several of the volunteers who started the project 40 years ago are still involved with its work today. An exhibition marking the milestone is being held at Winchcombe Station. "No other heritage railway has risen in such a way from, essentially, nothing," GWSR chairman Richard Johnson said. The exhibition, which runs until 5 September, was opened on Tuesday by GWSR volunteer director Col Mike Bennett OBE, who handed awards to volunteers who helped to rebuild derelict tracks, bridges and stations over the past four decades. He said: "We owe so much to you and your colleagues for your vision and determination to create the railway we enjoy today. "Indeed, without voluntary effort of this kind, we would not have a railway."   Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-57914924

July 27 at 11:37 AM

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Gloucestershire's Severn estuary rail line to get £25m upgrade

BBC  30 September 2021 (UK) A multimillion-pound rescue plan has been announced to revamp a vital rail line ravaged by extreme weather. The Newport to Gloucester line runs along the west bank of the River Severn and is a major artery connecting South Wales with the West Country. In recent years severe landslips have caused major disruption on the tracks. The £25m works, due to begin in summer 2022, will involve bolstering the cliff face along the railway line. The project will be the biggest investment in the Newport-Gloucester line since it was opened in the 1850s. Jess Lippett, senior route freight manager for Network Rail Wales & Western, said: "This is one the busiest and most important freight routes in Wales and Borders, so it's really important to the economy. "As we saw through the pandemic, this route really is a lifeline, and the current shortage in HGV drivers means it's playing an even more vital role." Running alongside the Severn Estuary, its location means the track is often exposed to more frequent extreme weather conditions. In the last two years alone, the line has been hit by five major landslips, leading to extended closures of the railway and temporary speed restrictions, delaying more than 200,000 trains. The works planned for the track are designed to prevent this from happening again. Bill Kelly, route director for the firm, said: "We've seen a huge increase in extreme weather events across our network in recent years. "Climate change is happening here and now, and across Wales and Borders - from the Conwy Valley to the Welsh marches and Severn Estuary - we're responding by building a more resilient railway." Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-58739274

October 01 at 07:00 AM

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Gold diggers damage railway lines

News Day  August 24, 2021 (Zimbabwe) THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has expressed concern over a surge in illegal mining activities along railway tracks throughout the country saying the activities were now posing a serious risk to rail traffic. NRZ acting public relations manager Martin Banda told  Southern Eye  yesterday that over 24 dams have been created by illegal artisanal miners along railway tracks. These have become death traps and cost NRZ millions of dollars to repair and replace damaged infrastructure, he said. “Railway reserve land throughout the country is under threat from illegal artisanal miners who are mining gold and chrome ore close to railway lines and in some areas they are digging to the detriment of track stability,” Banda said. “Digging trenches close to the railway line poses a risk to the travelling public and there is a risk of the railway collapsing. Over 24 dams have been created by these illegal artisanal miners who are digging into railway formation at times using heavy earth-moving equipment found within the mining vicinity.” He said the most affected areas were Hambakwe, Chomumvuri and Adams near Zvishavane. Railway tracks have also been damaged in Jumbo, Tatagura in Mazowe, Bindura, Shurugwi, Shamva, Ngezi River, Redfield and in Chiwundura. “The railway reserve land is a strip of 45m wide either side of the track on all main lines. The public must respect this strip of land and stop any farming and mining activities along the railway reserve as it is a violation of the Railway Act,” he said. Source https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/08/gold-diggers-damage-railway-lines/

September 22 at 05:44 AM

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Good news for Vegetarian passengers! Now enjoy fresh & pure veg food in Indian Railways

Financial Express  November 17, 2021 (India) The Sattvik Council of India along with IRCTC recently introduced the Sattvik Certification scheme as well as the first in the world and one of its kind "Passenger- Locomotive Continuous Audit Module". Enjoy fresh and pure Vegetarian food in Indian Railways like never before! For the first time, the Sattvik Council of India, an organization committed to providing a vegetarian experience to Indians, has joined hands with the catering arm of Indian Railways- the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Cooperation (IRCTC) to offer a veg certification to trains in India. The Sattvik Council of India along with IRCTC recently introduced the Sattvik Certification scheme as well as the first in the world and one of its kind “Passenger- Locomotive Continuous Audit Module” at the IRCTC Executive Lounge, located on Platform Number-16, New Delhi Railway Station. According to the Sattvik Council of India, starting with the Vande Bharat Express train, and eventually 18 other trains, this certification is primarily targeted to Indian Railways’ trains travelling to the country’s religious destinations. The certification ensures a truly vegan experience for veg travelers by making sure the food is pure vegetarian and also that the utensils as well as any utility that enters the kitchen have been washed with items that have been certified vegetarian. The Sattvik Council of India said that often, it is seen that “veg” food is not truly vegetarian because of multiple factors, so in order to ensure the purity of the food, there will be no non-veg food prepared alongside in the kitchen, which means there will be no mix-ups. Furthermore, in order to ensure that Vegetarian passengers are comfortable as well as to promote their cause, a handbook (operations manual) has been jointly developed by the IRCTC and the Sattvik Council of India on all the veg destinations as well as kitchens in association with Bureau Veritas- its Global Audit Partner. In order to ensure “vegetarian-friendly travel” the Sattvik certification is not just limited to Indian Railways’ trains, but also to IRCTC base kitchens, budget hotels, executive lounges, food plazas, tour and travel packages, Rail Neer plants, etc., the Sattvik Council of India claimed. Source https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/good-news-for-vegetarian-passengers-now-enjoy-fresh-pure-veg-food-in-indian-railways/2370939/

November 18 at 07:00 AM

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GORMICK: Feds on the wrong track with railway funding

Toronto Sun  August 30, 2021 (Canada) Correction: A earlier version of this column stated Export Development Canada was involved in the deal. It was the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC). Canada’s freight railways and its publicly owned passenger carrier, VIA Rail, have never been in worse shape, despite the frantic efforts of their flacks to tell us the opposite.  But have no fear. The Trudeau government has come up with a brilliant plan to fix this mess:  Loan $4.5 billion to Senegal to build a new double-track railway. The economic, social and environmental ramifications of this bizarre decision by Ottawa’s  Canadian Commercial Corporation (CDC) will be staggering. Canada can rarely get a freight or passenger train across the country on time, but we’re going to ship railway investment dollars to Africa. Senegal will now enjoy the fruits of a free-spending, taxpayer-funded policy first unfurled by Pierre Trudeau’s government in the 1970s. Back then, a steady flow of foreign railway loans and gifts made Canada look like a Sugar Plum Fairy on the international stage – and propped up begging Canadian firms with Liberal ties, especially Bombardier. Source https://torontosun.com/search/?search_text=Rail

September 08 at 06:40 AM

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Government ‘hopeful’ inner west light rail will return sooner than first feared

The Sydney Morning Herald  November 8, 2021 (Sydney, Australia) Sydney’s faulty inner west light rail could return far sooner than first feared, according to a senior transport official, but Premier Dominic Perrottet has acknowledged the service’s suspension could hinder the return of workers to the CBD as the government attempts to revive the city. Transport for NSW chief operations officer Howard Collins said he was confident the light rail would not be out of action for 18 months, with the government now looking at an alternative facility to repair the 12 cracked trams faster. “I’m hoping that it will be a lot less than 18 months, I’m pretty confident,” Mr Collins said. He added the system could resume in a reduced capacity between Lilyfield and Central Station once a handful of trams were repaired. “If we get four to six vehicles back, we’ll start to shuttle Lilyfield to Central, but we’re not sure when that will be yet.” The  Herald  revealed last month that cracks had been discovered on several trams, which forced the suspension of the service. Cracks were subsequently found on every tram, prompting the government to cancel the service for more than a year. The massive outage comes as the government works to entice workers back into Sydney’s suffering CBD after the months-long Delta-lockdown. Mr Perrottet on Sunday described the system-wide cancellation as “terrible” and said the government would provide ongoing bus services to the commuters impacted by the outage. “It’s not helpful, clearly, and it’s something that we will work through,” he said. “We do need people to come back to the Sydney CBD. I want a thriving city. “Obviously it’s unacceptable. But what I can do as premier what my team can do is ensure that there are public transport options available to minimise any disruption.” About 10,000 daily trips were taken on the service in mid-October, compared to 30,000 pre-COVID. About 5000 daily trips were taken on the replacement bus services last week, Mr Collins said. Cracks in the Spanish-built tram fleet have occurred across the world, with the West Midlands public transport network dealing with a similar problem in the United Kingdom. Transport for NSW is now exploring whether it can find other facilities where a production line can be set up to repair the trams in a more efficient way. The government also considered whether it could split the CBD light rail trams in half to be able to run on the inner west line, but decided it was too complicated to make the necessary changes, given the different wheelbase of the two vehicles. The floors of the trams needed to be stripped back to reveal the true extent of the cracking on the inner west trams. Mr Collins said once they were identified, the cracks could be seen moving once the tram was in operation. “The vehicle has been out on tests and the cracks have been seen to move. The vehicles weren’t unsafe at the time of operation, but the advice I’ve been given is if we’d left them as they are, the cracks would have propagated further,” Mr Collins said. “It looks like it wouldn’t have failed in a way that would have injured anybody, but it likely would have got lower and lower until the body scraped on the ground.” Transport Minister Rob Stokes last Friday said the serious flaws found in the inner west trams were likely to be “far broader in scope” than those in Sydney because thousands of the same tram types operated around the world, including Europe and the US, as well as in Newcastle and Canberra. The inner west trams were made by Spanish manufacturer CAF, whereas those used on the $3.1 billion eastern suburbs light rail line were built by French company Alstom. Opposition transport spokeswoman Jo Haylen said the light rail’s closure would likely deter inner west residents from returning to the CBD. “The inner west light rail line’s closure has become an economic handbrake on the post-COVID recovery across the inner west, Pyrmont, and Chinatown,” she said. “It’s now harder for workers to get to work, students to get to school, and for patrons to get to restaurants, bars and retail businesses all desperately in need of customers.” Source https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/government-hopeful-inner-west-light-rail-will-return-sooner-than-first-feared-20211107-p596qt.html

November 08 at 06:51 AM

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Government to finally drop plan for HS2 link to Leeds – reports

The Guardian  14 November 2021 (UK)  Ministers said to be poised to fund disparate projects that favour Tory constituencies instead The government has refused to confirm or deny reports that it will finally cancel plans for the HS2 link to Leeds this week, and instead fund a hodgepodge of disparate projects which favour Conservative constituencies and leave mysterious gaps in the rail network. The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, is expected to announce the outcome of the long-delayed integrated rail plan on Thursday. The Sunday Times suggested he would commit to building HS2 from Birmingham to Manchester but not Leeds, which has earmarked a large part of the city centre to accommodate a new station. To soften the blow, Shapps is expected to announce two shorter high-speed routes, the paper said. One would run between Leeds and Sheffield and another from Birmingham to East Midlands Parkway, which is in the Conservative constituency of Rushcliffe, 10 miles south of Nottingham. There would apparently be a puzzling non high-speed gap of 50 miles between the two new lines. According to the Mail on Sunday, Leeds will receive its own tram system “in consolation” for not being connected to HS2. The director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership thinktank, Henri Murison, said: “Without the benefits to areas such as Yorkshire and the north-east, HS2’s status as a project to drive the whole of the UK is undermined considerably. “Will this be a government that levels up, or levels down and walks away from the northern powerhouse they promised with city leaders across the north?” Behind the scenes in the northern mayoralties, there are also major jitters about Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR), a new trans-Pennine railway line from Liverpool to Leeds via Bradford. Details about the line were conspicuously absent from Sunday’s newspaper leaks, though building it was one of Boris Johnson’s first pledges as prime minister. Three days into the job in 2019, he gave a speech at Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum, saying: “I want to be the prime minister who does with Northern Powerhouse Rail what we did for Crossrail in London.” He committed in February 2020 to bringing HS2 to the north of England, building “a rapid connection from the West Midlands to the northern powerhouse, to Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds”. Crossrail is a new £18.6bn east-west rail line in London. It is currently three years behind schedule and £3.8bn over budget, but seen as a key driver of economic growth in the capital. NPR is the brainchild of Transport for the North (TfN) , a statutory body set up to advise ministers on the region’s transport needs. It says NPR would reduce road usage by 58,000 car trips per day, and create 100,000 jobs in the urban north. TfN has been adamant the line should include a new through-station in Bradford, which was named last week as Britain’s worst-connected major city. The Mail on Sunday said other announcements expected this week included the £78m electrification of the line from Wigan to Bolton, which now has two Tory MPs, and a reinstatement of a passenger service from Sheffield to Stocksbridge, which in 2019 elected its first Tory MP since 1935. Murison said the government’s priority should be to build HS2 south from Leeds “as well as securing a new station in Bradford on the critical new line across the Pennines”. The Guardian asked TfN what the point of its existence was, if the government ignored its key recommendations. Its chief executive, Martin Tugwell, said it would be premature to comment before Thursday. “What does remain clear though, is our commitment to securing the best possible rail connectivity for the 15.2 million people of the North, and fundamental to that connectivity is the work we have done to date on Northern Powerhouse Rail as a co-client with government and the way it integrates with the rest of the rail network, including with HS2,” he said. A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Work is continuing on the integrated rail plan. We will publish it shortly and do not comment on speculation.” Source https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/nov/14/government-to-finally-drop-plan-for-hs2-link-to-leeds-reports

November 15 at 04:12 AM

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Grand Central’s New Rail Hub to Be Managed by MTA Unit

Yahoo Finance (Bloomberg) October 20, 2021  (US) New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is creating a subsidiary corporation to oversee a new rail facility below Grand Central Terminal that will connect Long Island commuters to Manhattan’s east side. The East Side Access project is estimated to cut commuting times by extending the Long Island Rail Road into Grand Central. The commuter line runs between Long Island and Penn Station, located on midtown Manhattan’s west side. The MTA’s board voted to approve the new subsidiary at its monthly board meeting on Wednesday. The new rail terminal is set to open December 2022 as the MTA struggles to bring ridership back to pre-pandemic levels. The LIRR carried 153,700 riders on Monday, a 47% drop from 2019. “All signs seem to be pointing to expectations that work from home will have some -- we don’t know exactly how much, but it’s going to have some -- ridership impact and it’s going to be years before we work our way to 100%,” Janno Lieber, the MTA’s acting chief executive officer, said during Wednesday’s meeting. “So we do need to find new sources of revenue in tandem with our partners in the legislature and other major stakeholders.” The MTA is the largest public-transportation system in the U.S. and includes New York City’s subways and buses, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro North Rail Road, which connects the city to its northern suburbs. The MTA already has subsidiaries that manage those systems. This action would create another entity just for the new terminal underneath Grand Central. New Positions The subsidiary will oversee the new 350,000-square foot terminal, which includes eight new rail tracks and 25,000 square feet of retail space within a concourse below Grand Central. A private operator will manage and maintain the hub. Long Island Railroad employees will take care of the rail work, creating about 210 new positions. Source https://finance.yahoo.com/news/grand-central-transit-hub-overseen-123523380.html

October 22 at 06:44 AM

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Greater Christchurch could support Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, new report finds

NZ Herald 30 Jun, 2021 (NEW ZEALAND) A mass rapid transit (MRT) system was not pursued in Christchurch post-earthquake rebuild. A report investigating the possibilities of a Mass Rapid Transit system for a booming Greater Christchurch area has found it could be done but would need to be supported by more intensive population growth near stations along the route. A mass rapid transit (MRT) system was not pursued in Christchurch post-earthquake rebuild but in the run-up to the 2020 election, Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party campaigned to develop a rapid transport network for New Zealand's second biggest city.   Source: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/greater-christchurch-could-support-mass-rapid-transit-mrt-system-new-report-finds/EXZ7PYSIQWLW6SJHF5HBBYRP74/

July 09 at 05:38 AM

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Greater Jakarta LRT to continue trials despite ongoing crash probe

The Jakarta Post  October 26, 2021 (Indonesia) Mechanics examine a Greater Jakarta LRT carriage that crashed into a parked train between the between Harjamukti Station in Depok and Ciracas Station in East Jakarta on Oct. 25, 2021.(Antara Foto/Asprilla Dwi Adha) The Greater Jakarta LRT is set to continue operational trials, despite an ongoing probe into a recent non-fatal crash, as developers of the nationally strategic project race to meet deadlines. Budi Noviantoro, president director of state-owned train manufacturer PT Industri Kereta Api (INKA), said on Monday evening that the company would wait for the results of the National Transportation Safety Committee’s (KNKT) investigation before halting the trial process. The KNKT opened the investigation after a Greater Jakarta LRT carriage crashed into a parked train on the same rail line during a trial run on Monday. The incident happened in Cipayung, East Jakarta, between Harjamukti Station in Depok and Ciracas Station in East Jakarta. Source https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2021/10/26/greater-jakarta-lrt-to-continue-trials-despite-ongoing-crash-probe.html

October 28 at 05:12 AM

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Greater Manchester rail timetable aims to 'unclog bottlenecks'

BBC  12 October, 2021 (UK) A new rail timetable aimed at ensuring Greater Manchester stays connected while "bottlenecks become unclogged" has been approved by transport bosses. The timetable follows a consultation by the government to address the poor performance of the area's rail network. Government, council and rail operator representatives hope it will reduce passenger delays in the region by 25%. Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said the new timetable was part of the work "to fix Manchester's railways". The core of the new services will be rolled out across the area by December 2022. 'Cutting delays' The timetable was produced by the cross-industry Manchester Recovery Task Force, which includes representatives from the Department for Transport, Transport for the North (TfN), Transport for Greater Manchester, Network Rail and operators Northern and TransPennine Express. TfN said the improvements will ensure "the wider Manchester area remains closely connected whilst bottlenecks become unclogged" in a number of congested "hotspots" such as Castlefield in Manchester. It said the changes will benefit about 150,000 passengers returning to the region's rail network in the coming months. The new timetable will include retaining direct routes from Manchester Airport to Liverpool, Chester and North Wales and hourly daytime service between Southport, Wigan and Manchester Oxford Road and Southport, Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-58886535

October 13 at 07:15 AM

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Green hydrogen hub in Mississippi to be largest in US

AP  20 October, 2021 (Jackson, Mississippi, US) A Jackson-based company has announced plans to build a green hydrogen hub in Mississippi it says will be the largest of its kind in the U.S. and create an easier pathway for hard-to-decarbonize manufacturing industries to move away from fossil fuels. Connected across multiple sites traversing approximately 200 miles (320 kilometers) in southern Mississippi, Hy Stor Energy’s Mississippi Clean Hydrogen Hub will produce, store and deliver green hydrogen that is 100% carbon-free and can be used to create green electricity, substitute or complement natural gas and replace diesel or other gasoline for heavy-duty trucks, ships, and trains, said Laura L. Luce, Hy Stor Energy’s CEO. In addition to regularly producing and delivering to customers across Mississippi and surrounding states, Hy Stor will house green hydrogen in caverns developed in Mississippi’s naturally occurring salt domes that can be stored for months and years at a time, Luce said. That way, it can be used when needed, such as during extreme weather events, like hurricanes, when power can be out for days and weeks, she said. It can also be accessed at times when renewables like solar panels and wind turbines can’t produce energy. Source https://apnews.com/article/technology-business-environment-and-nature-mississippi-jackson-957015f59f50d4c34fd8acc5fd841570

October 21 at 06:09 AM

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GT Voice: Russia’s railway upgrade a boost to trade with China

Global Times  Aug 02, 2021 (Russia) A cross-border China-Russia railroad bridge is under construction on Sunday in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. The bridge will link Heihe in Heilongjiang Province with the Russian Far East city of Blagoveshchensk across the Heilongjiang (Amur) River. The construction of the bridge started in 2016, and it is scheduled to start carrying traffic this October. The whole route covers 19.9 kilometers, with 6.5 kilometers in China and 13.4 kilometers in Russia, media reports said. Photo: VCG Russia is engaged in the upgrade of its Trans-Siberian railway and other Far East rail network infrastructure, a strategic move that Voice of America(VOA) said in a Monday report Russia has taken to strengthen ties with China against the background of the latter's souring relations with the US and Australia. The regional economic impact and significance of an improved Far East railway network will be enormous. Thus, a reading of the reported plan to remodel Russia's rail network simply from a political perspective seems far-fetched and misleading. For starters, increased transportation capacity as a result of upgraded Far East railway infrastructure will directly promote the economic and trade cooperation between China and Russia. Ever since the deterioration of the China-Australia relationship, Russia has been widely seen as a potential supplier replacing Australia when it comes to exporting resource products to China. But the shortage of rail transportation capacity makes it hard for this potential to be fully released. If the reported upgrade of Far East rail infrastructure could help Russia export more coal and agricultural products to China, the Russian economy will certainly receive a boost and China will also see a remarkable progress in its supply-chain diversification push. Source https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202108/1230338.shtml

August 05 at 11:56 AM

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Gunfire on Amtrak Train: D.E.A. Agent Killed, 2nd Agent Is Critically Wounded

The New York Times  October 4, 2021 (US) A suspect was dead and a Tucson officer wounded in the shooting, which erupted during a drug sweep of the train at a stop in Arizona, the police said. A federal drug enforcement agent was killed and another was critically injured in a chaotic scene of gunfire aboard a crowded Amtrak train while it was stopped at a station in Tucson, Ariz., on Monday morning, the city’s police chief said. A city police officer was also shot and was in stable condition, Chief Chris Magnus of the Tucson police said at a news conference on Monday afternoon. The three law enforcement officers, members of a joint task force from the Drug Enforcement Administration and local police, were conducting a routine sweep of the train when two people on board reacted to their presence and one opened fire, the chief said. “They were checking for illegal guns, money, drugs,” Chief Magnus said. “This is something they do, as I said, routinely at pretty much all transit hubs.” Source https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/04/us/tucson-shooting-amtrak.html

October 05 at 05:13 AM

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HCM City receives more trains for Metro Line No 1

Viet Nam News June, 21/2021 (Vietnam) HCM CITY – HCM City now has five out of its planned 17 trains for Metro Line No 1, after six carriages for two trains arrived on Sunday from Japan. The train carriages from Japan arrived at Khánh Hội Port in District 4 on Sunday. On Monday morning, one three-carriage train was transported to Long Bình Depot in Thủ Đức City by road for assembly and testing. The other train will be transported to the site on Wednesday. The city is importing a total of 17 trains for its Metro Line No 1 from Japan. It began importing the trains last October, with two three-carriage trains arriving on May 10. Each train can carry 930 passengers and travel at a speed of 110km per hour on elevated rail and 80km per hour on underground rail. The Management Authority for Urban Railways of HCM City finalised the train’s design based on public feedback gathered a few years ago when a life-size model of a metro train was exhibited at Long Bình Depot. The VNĐ43.757 trillion (US$1.9 billion) route, from Bến Thành Market in District 1 and Suối Tiên Theme Park in District 9, is 19.7km long and will have 14 stations, three of them underground. It was built using official development assistance (ODA) and funds from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Nearly 86 per cent of the work on the line has been completed. The metro line is the first of eight metro lines to be built in the city and aims to ease traffic congestion. HCM City originally planned for the metro line No 1 to begin operating by the end of this year, but it has been delayed until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since construction began in 2012, the line has faced numerous problems such as slow fund disbursement and staff turnover, and has had to be delayed many times. – VNS   Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/society/978532/hcm-city-receives-more-trains-for-metro-line-no-1.html

July 09 at 05:39 AM

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Helsinki Eyes New 6-Hour Bullet Train to Moscow

The Moscow Times  Jan 20, 2020 (Russia) The Moscow-Helsinki high-speed project would be an extension to a new high-speed railway between Moscow and St. Petersburg. Finland has expressed interest in a new high-speed train that would connect its capital Helsinki to Moscow in just six hours and boost tourist traffic between the cities, the RBC news website reported Monday. The project would be an extension to a new high-speed railway between Moscow and St. Petersburg that is expected to be built by 2026. Russia’s government has previously estimated the planned railway’s costs at 1.5 trillion rubles ($24 billion).  Finnish foreign trade minister Ville Skinnari discussed the Moscow-Helsinki project with Russian Railways head Oleg Belozerov during an official visit to Russia’s capital last week. “Finland is interested in such a project that would help increase the flow of tourists in both directions, and we are ready to continue discussing [this initiative] with your government,” Skinnari was cited as saying by RBC. The Finnish official also met with Russia’s interim deputy prime minister Dmitry Kozak and interim economic development minister Maxim Oreshkin during his two-day visit to Moscow. “We discussed prospects for cooperation in the spheres of trade, business and digitization — spheres in which Russia is showing strong progress,” he said. Source: (Moskva News Agency)/ https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/01/20/helsinki-eyes-new-6-hour-bullet-train-to-moscow-a68962

July 09 at 05:38 AM

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Here’s the current state of transit in the New York region.

The New York Times  Sept. 3, 2021 (US) At the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway station in Brooklyn on Thursday. Service on the system was gradually improving by Friday morning.(photo) Two days after the remnants of Hurricane Ida brought torrential flooding and deadly downpours to New York, much of the region’s transit system was back up and running Friday evening. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority conducted round-the-clock repairs to get the nation’s largest subway system fully running again after the storm damaged tracks and turned platforms and stairwells into water slides. A majority of subway lines were back in service Friday with few delays and partial suspensions. Source https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/03/nyregion/nyc-trains-amtrak-hurricane-ida.html

September 08 at 04:45 AM

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Heritage NZ backs down over colour of Wellington train station ticket machines

New Zealand Herald  19 September, 2021 (New Zealand) Greater Wellington Regional Council wants to trial contactless Snapper cards on one of the city's train lines. Heritage New Zealand has backed down over its concerns new ticketing machines at Wellington's central train station are not in keeping with the building's colour palette. Greater Wellington Regional Council wants to trial contactless Snapper cards on the Johnsonville train line. Currently a paper ticket system is used and only cash is accepted on board, which some have labelled a Victorian payment system. For the 18-month-long trial to go ahead, temporary validator posts need to be installed at the train station so passengers can tag on and off for their journeys. Correspondence previously released under the Official Information Act showed Heritage New Zealand kicked up a fuss during consultation. Concerns were raised in June about the posts being intrusive and too bulky. The heritage recommendation was for any new elements to be in keeping with the railway station's historic colours and "recede in prominence ie dark brown, black". But in a letter from July, obtained by the Herald, area manager Alison Dangerfield said Heritage New Zealand fully supported the installation. "Heritage New Zealand has looked at the proposed validators for the Wellington Railway Station and is of the view that there will be no adverse heritage effects from their installation, size, design or colour." Source https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/heritage-nz-backs-down-over-colour-of-wellington-train-station-ticket-machines/WOG26F643EIBGMIUFY3RHTVJCI/

October 27 at 06:26 AM

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Heritage steam engines trade rail for road to get to new home

Times Live  27 August 2021 (South Africa) Motorists on the road between Bloemfontein and Ficksburg in the eastern Free State on Wednesday would have witnessed the spectacle of a 160-ton steam locomotive rattling eastward on the back of a 19-axle lowbed trailer. The locomotive, one of four owned by the Sandstone Heritage Trust, a private collection of locomotives and vehicles based on a farm near Ficksburg, was heading to its new home on the farm after two decades of languishing outside Bloemfontein's former steam locomotive depot. While Transnet's national collection of heritage locomotives and other rolling stock is kept at Bloemfontein behind locked gates, the four locomotives were outside the property and vulnerable to scrap thieves, said Sandstone marketing manager Dave Richardson. “We felt the assets would be safer at the farm,`" he said. With their copper pipes, brass controls and other valuable metal components, many of SA's surviving steam locomotives have been stripped for scrap by metal thieves in recent years. In 2013, locomotives owned by the now-defunct SA National Rail and Steam Museum, kept at unprotected sites near Krugersdorp, had to be scrapped after suffering irreparable damage at the hands of metal thieves. Source https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2021-08-27-heritage-steam-engines-trade-rail-for-road-to-get-to-new-home/

September 17 at 06:01 AM

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Hi-speed rail work delayed over curbs

Bangkok Post  27 JUL 2021 (Thailand) The government's ban on moving construction workers during the latest Covid-19 uptick has adversely impacted the progress of the Thai-Chinese high-speed rail project, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) said on Tuesday. A number of construction work for the project — which are subdivided into 14 separate contracts — have to be put on hold because of the stricter restrictions, which means the previously agreed deadline won't be met, according to SRT governor Nirut Maneephan. The project will see the construction of a 250.8km high-speed rail link at a cost of 179.4 billion baht between Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima.  Source https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/2155687/hi-speed-rail-work-delayed-over-curbs

August 10 at 07:25 AM

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High Localisation, Job Creation: Here's How Alstom Contributed To India's Economy

NDTV  September 30, 2021 With its sustainable mobility solutions, Alstom helped in reducing carbon-di-oxide emissions by over 10 times compared to other modes of passenger and freight transport. Multinational rolling stock manufacturer Alstom contributed €438M indirectly to the Indian economy in the last five years, according to a recent Ernst & Young report. Alstom has been involved in several Indian Railway and urban metro transport projects for the production and induction of electric locomotives, rolling stock, and trainsets. By the end of March 2021, Alstom has an order backlog of €4.1 billion from its India operations. (Also Read: Alstom Begins Manufacturing Of Trains For India's 1st Rapid Rail Corridor ) In the last five years, Alstom helped in supporting more than 161,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs supported in the country and aims to increase women employees to 28 per cent, according to the report. With its sustainable mobility solutions, Alstom helped in reducing carbon-di-oxide emissions by over 10 times compared to other modes of passenger and freight transport. Here are some of the major contributions by Alstom to the Indian economy:   High localization, building a supply chain ecosystem:  Alstom India buys €331 million worth of goods and services, out of which 75 per cent is manufactured with the suppliers in India. Overall, the company has invested ₹ 12,556 million locally in the last five years. The company has also conducted 21 technology transfers across Alstom locations, to suppliers and other partners.   Job creation: By March 2021, Alstom had 7,634 direct employees in India. The company has supported around 71,340 indirect and 27,770 induced jobs across the country. Alstom seeks to include 28 per cent women in the management, professional, and engineering roles by 2025.  Reduction in carbondioxide (CO2) emissions: Alstom's metro trains in India emit 7.9 gCO2/ passenger kms, compared to high CO2 emissions from cars which is around 79.5 gCO2/passenger km. Similarly, the electric locomotives deployed for the high-speed freight transportation emit 13.4 gCO2/ton.km of carbondioxide, while goods trucks account for 92.3 gCO2/ton.kms.   Sustainable products and services: Alstom follows an environment friendly approach in manufacture of transport and mobility solutions. For example, the materials and components used in manufacturing the rolling stock for Mumbai Metro Line 3 are 96 per cent recyclable and 99 per cent recoverable. Reducing environmental impact of installations: Alstom is investing in linking renewable energy production systems to its locations, such as at the Sri City facility - where 1 MW of solar energy generation capacity has been built. The project will result in an annual reduction of 1,132 tonnes of CO2 emissions and reducing non-renewable energy consumption by 30 per cent by the end of this year, according to the report. In the current line of projects, Alstom recently delivered the fist trainset for Kanpur Metro. It is also involved in manufacturing trains for the country's first regional rapid transit system (RRTS) project coming up in the national capital region.  In 2020, as part of the biggest foreign direct investment (FDI) project in the Indian Railways sector, Alstom delivered the 100th electric locomotive of 12,000 horsepower (HP) to the national transporter.  Source https://www.ndtv.com/business/multinational-rolling-stock-manufacturer-alstom-contributed-438m-in-indirect-to-indias-economy-gdp-report-2558559

October 07 at 09:14 AM

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High-frequency rail announced for Quebec City-Toronto corridor

Montreal Gazette  Jul 05, 2021 (Canada) Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced Monday there will be a high-frequency passenger rail service between Quebec City, Ottawa and Toronto. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced Monday the federal government is moving ahead with procurement for a high-frequency passenger rail service between Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. The minister made the announcement on board a VIA Rail train bound for Montreal. He said the project will allow for dedicated tracks to be built between the cities, and that will allow more train departures each day, as well as maximum speeds of 200 kilometres per hour. Currently, frequency and speeds on VIA Rail trains are limited because the service must share tracks with freight trains. Source: https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/high-frequency-rail-announced-for-quebec-city-toronto-corridor

July 15 at 04:29 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.” Source: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/2021/06/17/high-speed-dallas-to-houston-train-moves-forward-with-16-billion-contract-construction-team/  

July 09 at 05:45 AM

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High-speed rail dreaming is a fast track to nowhere

Australian Financial Review  November 24, 2021 (Australia) Giving a leg up to the numbers on wish-list projects simply sidelines better ideas that might pass the cost-benefit test. There’s no surer sign of an imminent federal election than a fast-train promise. Labor is pledging that if it wins next year’s federal election, it will create a new High Speed Rail Authority and get cracking on building the 1750km railway from Brisbane through Sydney to Melbourne. And who doesn’t love the idea of a bullet train zipping along Australia’s coastline? We like to imagine it would be nation-building, bring us in line with the rest of the world, and give a major economic boost to regional communities. Source https://www.afr.com/policy/economy/high-speed-rail-dreaming-is-a-fast-track-to-nowhere-20211123-p59bgc

December 03 at 04:57 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) Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/2123427/high-speed-rail-hits-bump-in-ayutthaya

July 09 at 07:30 AM

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High-Speed Rail Route May Adversely Impact Low-Income and Minority Property Owners, Critics Say

The Texan  JULY 26, 2021 (US) As the federal government pursues equity in formulating policies, affected landowners raise concerns that the Texas Central High-Speed Rail project will have negative impacts on minority communities. Not long after taking office, President Joe Biden issued an executive order: “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.” Based on that order, the federal Department of Transportation (DOT) will “assess whether, and to what extent, its programs and policies perpetuate systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people of color and other underserved groups.” The DOT sought comments from the public on how to implement these equity goals in its policies and programs and received over 300 comments, many of which were related to the high-speed rail project planned by Texas Central between Dallas and Houston. Delta Troy Interests, LTD, a real estate development firm active in the greater Houston area, believes that the project will have a disproportionately negative impact on residents of Waller County, a majority minority county northwest of Houston whose population consists of 54 percent minority residents. “By dividing and isolating some areas and neighborhoods from others, the proposed high-speed rail project will reinforce and in many cases exacerbate geographic, racial, and income disparities along its path,” Delta Troy wrote to DOT.  “At its very essence, the proposed project serves affluent travelers and business executives at the expense of the rural residents in areas in between who must bear the brunt of the environmental, economic and social degradation and segregation wrought by the project.”   Source https://thetexan.news/high-speed-rail-route-may-adversely-impact-low-income-and-minority-property-owners-critics-say/

July 28 at 07:00 AM

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Hillwalkers rail against crossing closure

The Times  August 09 2021 (UK) Railway chiefs have been criticised for the “unacceptable” closure of a main line crossing that has cut off a popular hillwalking route in the Highlands. Network Rail said that for safety reasons it had padlocked the private crossing connecting the village of Dalwhinnie and the Ben Alder estate and its munros to the west. Walking groups, community leaders and local businesses said that locking the crossing would make it more dangerous, and reduce visitor numbers. Source https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/hillwalkers-rail-against-crossing-closure-zzk6tlzl7

August 13 at 09:29 AM

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Hitachi train cracks due to fatigue and corrosion, report says

BBC  9 September 2021 (UK) 182 Hitachi trains were withdrawn from service due to cracks Cracking that led to high-speed trains being withdrawn from service was down to fatigue and stress corrosion, a government report has found. Around 180 Hitachi trains were taken out of service after cracks were found on trains used by Great Western Railway (GWR) and London North Eastern Railway (LNER). The Office of Rail and Road came to the finding in an interim review. A full report to find the "root cause" of the cracking will come in December. In May, the withdrawing of the trains led to delays and cancellations for travellers. The ORR report said the cracks found in the Hitachi Class 800 and 385 series lifting plates were the result of stress corrosion, and cracks in shock absorbers called yaw dampers were a result of fatigue. GWR previously said the hairline cracks were "in areas where the suspension system attaches to the vehicle body on two trains". ORR's report added the industry moved quickly to withdraw the trains once the problem was identified, and trains that were able to return to service have performed as expected with no unsafe conditions or harm arising from cracking. Source https://www-bbc-co-uk.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-58494275.amp

September 10 at 06:35 AM

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Hochul tests rail route from Long Island to Grand Central

AP  31 October, 2021 (New York, US) The long-anticipated and long-delayed rail route from Long Island to Grand Central Terminal is nearing reality. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority took a 27-minute test ride on the train Sunday morning from the Jamaica station into Grand Central. The MTA’s East Side Access project links the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central. Currently, the LIRR terminates at Penn Station on Manhattan’s west side, forcing Long Island commuters who work on the east side of town to backtrack on other modes of transportation to get to work. More than 150,000 customers per day are expected to use the service when it begins next year. Opening up access to Grand Central had been talked about since the 1950s, and construction finally began more than a decade ago. The project was initially estimated about $2 billion but has wound up costing more than $11 billion. Crews have blasted eight miles of tunnels through prehistoric-era bedrock and built a 350,000-square-foot concourse under the terminal. Hochul spoke Sunday about how the new service would address quality of life issues. The Democrat also talked about the need to improve Penn Station to match the adjacent Moynihan train hall, a project championed by her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo. “Now you get to Penn Station and you kind of put your head down,” Hochul said. “I want people to look up. Everybody deserves to have that type of experience.” Source https://apnews.com/article/technology-lifestyle-business-nyc-state-wire-new-york-5a4e6a95c53a73c48afdbcf45f8ef855

November 01 at 06:30 AM

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Hong Kong leader to ‘unveil plans for new rail link’ with Qianhai in policy address

South China Morning Post  16 September, 2021 (Hong Kong) Project will serve as an extension of planned HK$62 billion Northern Link to cater for eightfold expansion of Qianhai Source says order for a new rail link came from Beijing and chief executive is expected to roll out study on it as soon as possible Hong Kong leader  Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is expected to announce the construction of a rail link connecting the northern New Territories and Shenzhen’s burgeoning  Qianhai economic zone in her policy address next month, the  Post  has learned. The rail project, estimated to cost billions of dollars, will serve as an extension of a planned HK$62 billion (US$8 billion) Northern Link to cater for the newly announced eightfold expansion of Qianhai. Source https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3149055/hong-kong-leader-unveil-plans-new-rail-link-qianhai-policy

September 20 at 05:19 AM

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How big data helping transform public transport system

The Jakarta Post  Aug 19, 2021  The affordability of public transport in Indonesia makes it the go-to option for millions of citizens. But for some passengers, such as women, the elderly and people with disabilities, the journey is not always seamless. For instance, the lack of barrier-free walkways and other elderly-friendly infrastructure often makes movement between the waiting area and boarding point challenging for elderly passengers. Understanding the diverse needs of Indonesia’s passengers is crucial to operating an inclusive transport system. But until recently, obtaining deep insights into rider experience involved prohibitive time and resource costs. That’s especially the case across a geography as complex as Indonesia’s, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands that span three time zones. Today, technologies such as smart cards and online ticketing offer an efficient means of gathering big data on riders’ travel patterns and behavior on public transport. Disaggregating that data—filtering it by categories that can reflect experiences by gender, age, ethnicity or marginalized groups, amongst others —can inform a more people-centric approach to transport. Making transport more inclusive is good for business, but it also accelerates progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. “Apart from having to generate profits, state-owned enterprises (BUMN)  must also become agents of development,” Erick Thohir, the Indonesian state-owned enterprises minister, said in his keynote speech at this year’s UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit in June. “Their mission is to specifically serve the Indonesian people and protect their welfare.” The recent data analytics research collaboration between the UN Global Pulse office in Jakarta (Pulse Lab Jakarta), the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), and PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI), Indonesia’s national railway company is part of this mission. The collaboration sought to use big data to better understand the behavior and needs of PT KAI’s customer base, and especially the needs of vulnerable populations who use its railway. The scale and reach of PT KAI—which has been serving the Indonesian public since 1945 and operates across Java and Sumatra—means that enhancing its service offering not only improves social welfare, it also helps grow the economy in some of Indonesia’s most densely populated regions. The pandemic has impacted human mobility across the country’s archipelago, particularly given the  recent expansion of COVID-19 related restrictions on movement in some provinces. Transport services that are safer, more efficient, and more inclusive can play a vital role in the ability of the population to get back to work after the pandemic. But making transport more inclusive in Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, is a logistically complex undertaking. Almost 50 percent of Indonesian population are women, more than 16 million citizens are above the age of 64, and more than 20 million are people with disabilities. A recovery from the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic requires improved access to economic opportunities for all. Through our collaborative research that analyzed big data garnered from users of PT KAI’s services in 2019, we found that half of all passengers that year were female, with a significant number of them travelling in the evening hours. Furthermore, whilst more than 1.5 million trips were completed by passengers over 60 years old in 2019, the data shows that only 4 percent of  elderly passengers used the government's travel subsidy. PT KAI and the Government have since been raising public awareness of this subsidy, as well as simplifying the process for travelers wishing to avail themselves of it. Our research shows that both women and the elderly face certain challenges in transit and require assistance and supportive infrastructure to improve their comfort and safety. Pulse Lab and UN Women’s prior 2019 After Dark social research, which sought to understand how women in Indonesia navigate public transport, indicated that women’s consideration of safety is complex—existing on a spectrum rather than being a dichotomy of safe or unsafe. Still, the After Dark research suggests the quality of public infrastructure, efficiency of transport services, and women’s own sense of familiarity with their surroundings all factored into women’s experience of travelling at night. Source https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2021/08/18/how-big-data-helping-transform-public-transport-system.html

August 27 at 06:29 AM

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How Italy's high-speed trains helped kill Alitalia

CNN  14 October, 2021 (Italy) Over a decade ago, when Francesco Galietti had to travel from his native Rome to Milan for work, he used to fly the nearly 400-mile route. Today, he takes the train. Galietti -- CEO of Rome-based political risk consultancy Policy Sonar -- is not alone. Figures released in 2019 by Italy state railway company Ferrovie dello Stato show that the number of passengers taking the train on the country's main business route, between Rome and Milan, has almost quadrupled in a decade, from 1 million in 2008 to 3.6 million by 2018. Over two thirds of people traveling between the two cities now takes the train. It's a remarkable endorsement of Italy's high-speed rail network, which debuted in 2008.   Traveling those near-400 miles between Milan and Rome takes as little as 2 hours and 59 minutes. And, of course, the train stations are in the city center, and there's no need to turn up long before your train -- the doors close two minutes before departure.   Contrast that to a minimum half-hour drive to Rome's Fiumicino, checking in 90 minutes before departure, an hour in the air and then landing outside Milan -- Linate airport, the closest, is about 20 minutes' drive into town -- and it's obvious why people are opting for the train. Which leads you to wonder, as Italy's national airline prepares to shut down on October 15 -- did the high-speed railways kill Alitalia? Galietti thinks so. "Alitalia was a bird with its wings very much clipped from the start -- for an international carrier, it was very much focused on the domestic market," he says. Source https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/italy-high-speed-trains-alitalia/index.html

October 18 at 11:28 AM

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HS2 asks government to help it deal with rising number of protests

The Guardian  24 June 2021 (UK) Boss of high-speed rail line says it is struggling to counter direct action that has cost £75m to date HS2 has sought support from across government to counter a growing number of protests, as the boss of the high-speed rail project said it was struggling to deal with direct action that had cost it £75m to date. Mark Thurston, the chief executive of HS2, said “violent and disruptive” protests were spreading north and he had urged ministers to use “all the agencies of government” to help it. Direct action against the £100bn rail network has ranged from camps in woodland in the Colne Valley, west of London, to the 100ft tunnel dug at Euston station to hold up construction work. Thurston told MPs on the public accounts committee that HS2 had held “productive meetings” with the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, and senior civil servants to formulate a cross-agency response. To date, he said police forces had made about 300 arrests and brought nine prosecutions. Protests had been significant on phase 1 of the route, from London to Birmingham, and were starting on phase 2 to Crewe and Manchester, Thurston said. “We understand at HS2 that people along the route who didn’t choose to live alongside the work that we’re doing have every right to peacefully protest. The action we’re seeing is anything but lawful. It’s becoming violent and disruptive. “We need to protect our workforce, as well as the protesters, and local people in some cases. We are very exercised about this.” Thurston added: “There’s only so much HS2 and its suppliers can do, we’re not really geared to deal with the extensiveness of this. We’ve done a reasonable job of protecting the programme but we don’t expect this issue to go away soon and we need to set ourselves up with all the agencies of government.” Large numbers of security guards are employed around works, and police have been joined by the privately operated National Eviction Team to close down protest sites. Climate activists were removed from the Euston tunnel in February, around the same time as the first and longest-running protest camp against HS2, in the Colne Valley, near the major construction site for the railway running through the Chilterns, was closed down. Protesters are about to embark on a 100-mile walk on the planned route from Lichfield to Wigan to “spread awareness about the true impact” of its construction. Campaigners say the line will destroy or damage 108 ancient woodlands and the railway will never be carbon neutral. An HS2 Rebellion spokesperson said: “It is our human right to peacefully protest and it is our responsibility to witness and document the wildlife crimes that are being committed by HS2 every single day. “If public bodies and government agencies, such as the police and Natural England, were doing their jobs properly and holding HS2 to account for their crimes, there would be no need to protest.” Major construction works on HS2 started last year after the government decided to pursue the controversial line, after a review ordered by Boris Johnson. Tunnelling through the Chilterns began earlier this year. Construction of Old Oak Common station was formally started on Wednesday, a £1.7bn hub that will be the initial London terminus and one of four new stations built along the southern leg.  This article was amended on 25 June 2021 to remove a reference to “ancient woodland” in the Colne Valley.   Source: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jun/24/hs2-asks-government-help-rising-number-protests

July 09 at 05:43 AM

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HS2 rail extension to Leeds set to be scrapped

BBC  16 November, 2021 (UK) The government is set to scrap the eastern leg of HS2 between the Midlands and Leeds, sources have told the BBC. The Transport Department will instead announce a new rail plan on Thursday, involving £96bn of funding for new routes in the North and Midlands. Sources said the impact of scrapping the Leeds leg of HS2 would make journeys longer by 20 minutes. But the government is set to argue the new plans will deliver comparable benefits more quickly and cheaply. A source told BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley they would show an "enormous amount of common sense". High Speed 2 is a planned new high-speed railway line, originally meant to connect London with the city centres of Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/business-59292120

November 18 at 06:12 AM

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Hua Lamphong to get a makeover

Bangkok Post  17 SEP 2021 (Thailand) The Transport Ministry is conducting a study to develop Hua Lamphong railway station and its adjoining areas for commercial purposes, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said. He said the ministry has a policy to develop the Bang Sue Grand Station into Thailand's rail system hub, replacing Hua Lamphong which will be relegated to a lesser role. He was speaking after meeting state agencies which discussed a plan to develop Hua Lamphong station and areas along the Bang Sue-Hua Lamphong rail route. However, Hua Lamphong and its vicinity have a long history, located in the heart of Bangkok and easily accessible by the MRT Blue Line and the Red Line which is under construction, Mr Saksayam said, adding the areas should be developed and optimised to their full potential. Source https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/2183059/hua-lamphong-to-get-a-makeover

September 20 at 04:25 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. Source: https://www.wsj.com/articles/hydrogen-powered-trains-have-arrived-11622025494

July 09 at 07:38 AM

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Iberdrola teams up with AECOM on hydrogen rail link in Italy

Reuters  August 24, 2021 (Italy) MILAN, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Spanish renewables group Iberdrola (IBE.MC) said on Tuesday it was teaming up with U.S. infrastructure consultant AECOM (ACM.N) and others on plans to convert an Italian railroad to run on green hydrogen. The 300 kilometre (186 mile) railway link, which crosses four central Italian regions, is only partially electrified and is currently used by old diesel-powered trains, Iberdrola said in a statement. "Besides having a big environmental impact, (the project) aims to have significant economic and social effects," Iberdrola Italy manager Lorenzo Costantini said. Iberdrola, a global leader in wind energy production, is working on several projects worldwide to produce hydrogen from renewable electrolysis and supply it for various uses including heavy transport and the chemicals industry. The agreement with AECOM also includes a feasibility study to develop a hydrogen-powered rail link connecting the seaside town of San Benedetto del Tronto on Italy's eastern coast to Rome. Source https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/iberdrola-teams-up-with-aecom-hydrogen-rail-link-italy-2021-08-24/

August 25 at 06:36 AM

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In Indian mining hub, farmers bring polluted land back to life

Sunday Times  20 September, 2021 (India) Freight trains are loaded with iron ore at a railway station at Chitradurga in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. Iron ore mining blights farmland, hitting food production, but pilot project helps revive degraded fields to grow crops For years, Indian farmer Chape Hanumaiya struggled to grow anything on his tiny plot of land - it was caked in the thick, red dust drifting from the iron ore mines that surrounded it. But today, Hanumaiya and his wife are about to harvest pearl millet and sesame crops, thanks to a pilot project that seeks to fight migration and boost food security around the southern city of Hosapete, the heart of India’s iron ore industry. “My father grew millet and cotton on this land decades ago,” said Hanumaiya, 46, sitting in the shade of a tree near his 0.4-hectare (1 acre) smallholding. “Then the mining grew and over the years, when we came to the field, our clothes, the grains and everything would be covered with mine dust. We slowly gave up farming.” India is the world’s fourth-biggest producer of iron ore, the key ingredient in steelmaking, and demand for the commodity is expected to grow as the global construction sector rebounds from Covid-19. That could prompt a surge in output, putting additional strain on local farmers and fuelling environmental damage in mining areas. More than 6,000 hectares (about 15,000 acres) of private and community-owned land have been blighted by iron ore mining in India, affecting nearly 30,000 people, according to data research agency Land Conflict Watch. Hanumaiya’s land was revived under a sustainable co-operative agriculture scheme led by the Sakhi Trust non-profit, which works with communities affected by mining in the area and encourages organic farming. So far, it has helped bring more than 200 hectares of barren farmland back into production, creating a safety net and shielding local people from the ups and downs of mining. “When the mines closed and agriculture failed, it forced people to migrate,” said Nagesh R Sannaveer, a coordinator at Sakhi Trust. “People were looking for food security and we started helping them get back to farming - from getting plots ready to cultivate to organising collective farming for the landless,” he added. The mineral-rich, red earth in the twin districts of Ballari and Vijayanagara, where Hanumaiya lives, has been mined since colonial times. But a decade ago, the supreme court banned mining in the region in an effort to stem illegal mines. Many pits closed, including those near Hanumaiya’s plot, though villagers said activity was slowly picking up again. Conveyor belts ferrying ore from the pits to factories cut across the hills and long lines of trucks snake in and out of the mines. Like hundreds of other farmers from his district, Hanumaiya went to work in the iron ore mines when business was booming. Many found jobs as loaders, drivers or machine operators, leasing their fields to mining companies to build factories, dump debris or for use as storage yards. But when the court ruling led to a huge slump in activity, some found their degraded land could no longer support their food needs, forcing them to join the ranks of India’s migrant labour force. “Mining was booming, both legally and illegally, and it swallowed up fertile land,” said M Bhagyalakshmi, founder of Sakhi Trust. “People had no choice but to join the workforce at these mines. But when the illegal mines were suddenly closed after court orders, it left thousands jobless. It triggered a livelihood crisis that still haunts many families.” Bringing contaminated agricultural land back into production is a slow process, said G V Ramanjaneyulu, executive director of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, a research organisation. Source https://www.timeslive.co.za/sunday-times-daily/world/2021-09-20-in-indian-mining-hub-farmers-bring-polluted-land-back-to-life/

October 06 at 06:02 AM

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In Pictures: Sweden’s worst railway bottleneck given new lease on life

The Local  17 August 2020 (Sweden)  One of Sweden's worst bottlenecks for rail traffic has been given a makeover in what has been described as one of the most complex and crucial railway construction jobs in the near future. Almost all trains heading between northern and southern Sweden have to pass through Stockholm via the so-called Getingmidjan – the famously narrow railway linking together Stockholm's Central Station and the Södermalm island via a bridge that passes right by the capital's historic Old Town. But it has been completely closed to all traffic north and southbound three summers in a row, meaning that all long-distance trains from the south have had to terminate south of the city, forcing passengers to get off and change to Stockholm's underground commuter train to reach or get through the city centre. Source https://www.thelocal.se/20200817/swedens-worst-railway-bottleneck-given-new-lease-on-life-thanks-to-makeover/

July 30 at 09:21 AM

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In the Herald: September 28, 1953

The Sydney Morning Herald  September 23, 2021 (Australia) Locomotive derailed “Wooden props were used to support a locomotive which was derailed and almost crashed on to the road near Auburn railway station yesterday. The locomotive, which was hauling a railway workers’ special, jumped a set of points. Train services were disrupted for eight hours until two o’clock, and passengers travelling from Liverpool, Parramatta, Granville and Auburn were provided with bus transport.” Source https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/in-the-herald-september-28-1953-20210923-p58u4n.html

September 24 at 05:49 AM

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India, Nepal sign agreements to boost cross-border train services

Hindustan Times  October 07, 2021 (India) The two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a final location survey (FLS) for a proposed broad gauge railway line between Raxaul and Kathmandu. This proposed link is aimed at boosting connectivity between the two countries, the external affairs ministry said in a statement on Thursday. India and Nepal have signed two agreements aimed at boosting cross-border train services and reviewed ongoing railway projects as part of efforts by the two countries to improve regional connectivity and trade.   The agreements were inked as the two sides held the fifth meeting of a joint working group and the seventh meeting of a project steering committee in New Delhi during October 6-7 to review the implementation of cross-border railway links and bilateral cooperation in the railways sector. The signing of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for starting passenger train services on the Jaynagar-Kurtha section will help finalise the technical aspects of running passenger trains in this region. The SOPs will also serve as a guiding document for the early start of services in upcoming cross-border railway links. The two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a final location survey (FLS) for a proposed broad gauge railway line between Raxaul and Kathmandu. This proposed link is aimed at boosting connectivity between the two countries, the external affairs ministry said in a statement on Thursday. Source https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-nepal-sign-agreements-to-boost-cross-border-train-services-101633627744104.html

October 08 at 08:11 AM

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India-Bangladesh railway line likely to be completed by next year; details here

Financial Express  November 15, 2021 (India) The railway project will link Gangasagar under the Akhaura sub-division of the Brahmanbaria district of the neighbouring country with Nischintapur in India, and from there to the Agartala railway station. India-Bangladesh Railway Line: The much-awaited Agartala-Akhaura rail line, which is 15.6 kilometres long, connecting the Northeast region of India with Bangladesh, is likely to be completed by September-end of 2022. To review the work underway for the project, which was taken up in the year 2013 after the two countries inked a memorandum, Northeast Frontier Railways’ Divisional Manager, J S Lakra visited Nischintapur yard on Friday. The Divisional Manager said that goods will be shipped from one nation to another via the network, and later, the service can also be availed by people to travel. The railway project will link Gangasagar under the Akhaura sub-division of the Brahmanbaria district of the neighbouring country with Nischintapur in India, and from there to the Agartala railway station, a PTI report said. Nischintapur in India has a transshipment yard. It is the first one in the country’s northeastern part, and the passengers coming from the neighbouring country, Bangladesh would be de-boarded there. Also, the incoming goods will be offloaded at Nischintapur. The railway project work on the Indian side is almost complete. On the Bangladesh side, construction of the rail project has resumed after a long gap due to Covid induced lockdown, an official of IRCON International Limited was quoted saying in the report. Source https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/india-bangladesh-railway-line-likely-to-be-completed-by-next-year-details-here/2369632/

November 16 at 09:17 AM

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India: No relief in sight for Bengaluru traffic snarls at Minsk Square

Khaleej Times  August 31, 2021 (India) Karnataka chief minister Bommai adds a new twist to commuters' woes Minsk Square, which is located at the nerve centre of the south Indian state of Karnataka’s capital Bengaluru, has been at the centre of a raging controversy — and just got a fresh twist on Monday following an announcement by new chief minister Basavaraj Bommai. The matter has come to a head because a six-feet protrusion bang in the middle of the busy junction has been leading to massive traffic snarls during peak hours for several years. The protrusion, which is part of a traffic island, measuring six feet, was built a few years ago above Cubbon Road Metro Station, and remains a bone of contention because the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) has refused to either shift or demolish it. Now, plans are afoot to proceed with a new high-speed Metro connection from the Cubbon Park underground station, which is below the square, to the Kempegowda International Airport that is located at Devanahalli. On Monday, Bommai announced plans to build a high-speed rail link to the airport from Bengaluru. The proposed 37-kilometre-long project will cut down travel time to the airport to just 20 minutes. At present, it takes up to two hours to reach the city centre from the airport. Rajkumar Dugar, founder and convenor, Citizens for Citizens (C4C), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), told Khaleej Times on Tuesday that though the issue over protrusion-induced traffic snarls was taken up with several authorities over the years, the efforts were in vain. “The protrusion at the traffic island has obstructed the smooth flow of traffic. Even the traffic police have repeatedly urged the BMRCL to remove it,” he said. Source https://www.khaleejtimes.com/world/rest-of-asia/india-no-relief-in-sight-for-bengaluru-traffic-snarls-at-minsk-square

September 01 at 12:07 PM

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India:- French MNC Alstom begins local manufacturing of train cars for Regional Rapid Transit System

The Economic Times  Jul 16, 2021 (India) French multinational Alstom has begun local manufacturing of technologically advanced train cars for the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut semi-high-speed corridor of the Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS), the company said in a statement Friday. The company was awarded the contract in May 2020 to design, build and deliver 210 regional commuter and transit train cars along with comprehensive maintenance services for 15 years.   As per the contract, Alstom will deliver 30 regional commuter trainsets of six cars each and 10 intra-city mass transit trainsets of three cars each. These RRTS trains are 100 per cent indigenously manufactured, with over 80 per cent localisation and are being manufactured in Alstom's factory in Savli (Gujarat). The Savli facility will produce the bogies, car bodies and undertake train testing. The propulsion systems and electricals are being manufactured at the company's factory in Maneja (Gujarat). “We are happy to begin local manufacturing of these technologically advanced trains for the country's first semi high-speed commuter service," said Alain Spohr, Managing Director – Alstom India.   Source https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/transportation/railways/alstom-begins-making-regional-commuter-transit-trains-in-gujarat/articleshow/84476952.cms

July 22 at 09:40 AM

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Indian government is expanding surveillance

India Times  Aug 29, 2021 (India) Facial recognition cameras are now being used by Indian Railways to keep track of the millions of people who use its services each day.  A new report by Financial Times claims that a network of 500 cameras with facial recognition abilities have been deployed in India.  The facial recognition apparatus was developed by a Russian start-up "NtechLab" and has been operational across 30 railways stations in the Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra , including the country's economic hub Mumbai.  Source https://www.indiatimes.com/technology/news/indian-railways-face-recognition-cameras-gujarat-maharashtra-548157.html

September 08 at 05:16 AM

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Indian Railways creates milestone; runs 1st electric train between Pipavav Port-Bhagat Ki Kothi on High Rise OHE

Financial Express  September 23, 2021 (India) On 21 September 2021, Western Railways operated the first electric train from Pipavav Port of Bhavnagar Division, making it the country's first Indian Port connected with High Rise OHE. In continuation with the Modi government’s prestigious mission of 100 per cent electrification of the Indian Railways network, the Western Railway zone has made another historical achievement. On 21 September 2021, Western Railways operated the first electric train from Pipavav Port of Bhavnagar Division, making it the country’s first Indian Port connected with High Rise OHE. According to Western Railways, with the flagging off this train, a new customer, i.e., Pipavav Rail Corporation Limited has been added as Container Operator. It further said the first rake was loaded from Pipavav Port siding to Bhagat Ki Kothi in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Now, this port is directly connected with the Dedicated Freight Corridor with AC Traction of High Rise OHE. Source https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/indian-railways-creates-milestone-runs-1st-electric-train-between-pipavav-port-bhagat-ki-kothi-on-high-rise-ohe/2336288/

September 28 at 04:42 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. Source: https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/indian-railways-narrow-gauge-trains-to-chug-in-the-kangra-valley-again-check-here-for-details/2271597/

July 09 at 07:29 AM

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Indian Railways re-evaluating bidding process worth Rs 30,000 crore for private passenger trains; here’s why

Financial Express  August 19, 2021 (India) Last year in July, the Railway Ministry rolled out bids for the participation of the private sector in operations of passenger trains in twelve clusters. The ongoing bidding process for private passengr trains worth 30,000 crore, is being re-evaluated by Indian Railways. This is being done as it failed to receive any interest from private players for the tender, which was floated last year for the operation of such train services in 12 clusters across the rail network. Source https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/indian-railways-re-evaluating-bidding-process-worth-rs-30000-crore-for-private-passenger-trains-heres-why/2313534/

August 19 at 07:59 AM

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Indian Railways supplies state-of-the-art passenger coaches to Sri Lanka; details

Financial Express  September 22, 2021  This consignment is a part of USD 82.6 million contract, to supply as many as 160 passenger coaches to the island nation of Sri Lanka, funded under an Indian Line of Credit of USD 318 million. Assisting Sri Lanka in the development of its railway infrastructure, Indian Railways supplied a consignment of 20 passenger coaches to Sri Lanka Railways recently. According to a statement issued by the High Commission of India in Colombo, the state-of-the-art coaches have been transported to the neighbouring country by Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES). On 17 September 2021, these 20 passenger coaches reached Colombo Port. This consignment is a part of USD 82.6 million contract, to supply as many as 160 passenger coaches to the island nation of Sri Lanka, funded under an Indian Line of Credit of USD 318 million, it further said. So far, 60 out of 160 passenger coaches have been supplied to Sri Lanka Railways while 20 more passenger coaches are ready to be shipped from India. These ‘India-made’ coaches have been custom made and manufactured as per the requirements of Sri Lanka Railways by Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai. The PSU- RITES Limited is also scheduled to supply two air-conditioned DMUs to Sri Lanka under the Indian Line of Credit of USD 318 million. The first air-conditioned DMU set consisting of 13 coaches is ready to be shipped from India and is waiting for nomination of ship by Sri Lanka. Some of the other projects under this line includes railway line’s upgradation from Maho to Omanthai (128 kilometres long), Signalling project from Maho to Anuradhapura, Double Tracking of rail line from Polgahawela to Kurunegala, etc. Source https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/indian-railways-supplies-state-of-the-art-passenger-coaches-to-sri-lanka-details/2335065/

September 23 at 05:33 AM

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Indian Railways to train 2,500 youths under Rail Skill Development Scheme; details here

Financial Express  August 25, 2021 (India) The training of youths will be imparted in electrician, welding and fitter trades at Electric Loco Sheds in Angul and Visakhapatnam, Diesel Loco Shed in Visakhapatnam, as well as Carriage Repair Workshop in Mancheswar. Rail Kaushal Vikas Yojana: Indian Railways to train youths under rail skill development! The East Coast Railway zone has announced that it will train 2,500 youths as part of the rail skill development scheme, an official statement said on Tuesday. According to a PTI report, youths, who are in the age group of 18 years to 35 years and have passed at least matriculation, will be given free training in three years in the East Coast Railway zone. The training of youths will be imparted in electrician, welding and fitter trades at Electric Loco Sheds in Angul and Visakhapatnam, Diesel Loco Shed in Visakhapatnam, as well as Carriage Repair Workshop in Mancheswar, the statement said. It further mentioned that the course will consist of 100 hours of training, spanning across three weeks. On weekdays, training classes will be held from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and on Saturdays, training classes will be held from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. The application form for these rail skill development training classes is available on the website of East Coast Railways and also at the respective training centres. The last date for submission of application form for Electrical Loco Sheds at Angul and Visakhapatnam is 31 August 2021, and for Carriage Repair Workshop at Mancheswar and Diesel Loco Shed at Visakhapatnam is 3 September 2021, the statement added. Source https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/indian-railways-to-train-2500-youths-under-rail-skill-development-scheme-details-here/2317205/

September 02 at 04:13 AM

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Indian Railways’ another eco-friendly step! Bids invited for Hydrogen Fuel Cell-based Train; details

Financial Express  August 09, 2021 (India) Bids have been invited by Indian Railways' Green fuel vertical- Indian Railways Organization of Alternate Fuel (IROAF) for Hydrogen Fuel Cell-based Train on the rail network. Indian Railways takes another big step to become eco-friendly mode of transport! To reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emission under the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 as well as “Mission Net Zero Carbon Emission Railway” by the year 2030, “National Hydrogen Mission” as well as “Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Batteries” are two flagship programs of the Indian Government. Accordingly, in a bid to kick off the concept of Hydrogen Mobility in India, there has been a recent budgetary pronouncement, the Railway Ministry said. Thus, bids have been invited by Indian Railways’ Green fuel vertical- Indian Railways Organization of Alternate Fuel (IROAF) for Hydrogen Fuel Cell based Train on the rail network. According to the ministry, the project shall commence in 89 kilometres long Sonipat – Jind section, which falls under the Northern Railway zone. Source https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/indian-railways-another-eco-friendly-step-bids-invited-for-hydrogen-fuel-cell-based-train-details/2306977/

August 10 at 07:40 AM

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Indian Railways’ big achievement towards sanitation; Equips all passenger coaches with bio-toilets

Financial Express  July 02, 2021 (India) As many as 73,078 passenger train coaches have been fitted with 2,58,906 bio toilets. Bio-Toilets in Indian Railways: In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mission of Swacch Bharat, Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways has fulfilled the pledge of bio toilets in passenger trains. According to the national transporter, 100 per cent of passenger coaches have been fitted with bio toilets. This has ensured that no human waste is discharged from coaches of passenger trains on rail tracks. With this effort of the Railway Ministry, around 2,74,000 litres per day of excreta on rail tracks are being avoided. Indian Railway had said that with this move, human waste led corrosion of rails and fittings costing an amount of Rs 400 crore per annum, is also avoided. As many as 73,078 passenger train coaches have been fitted with 2,58,906 bio toilets. Further, the national transporter has planned to supplement the existing system of bio toilet with vaccum flushing system toilet (bio vaccum toilets), which substantially reduces the requirement of water for flushing, while ensuring effective flushing of fecal matter from the pans. According to Indian Railways, bio vaccum toilets have been provided in a total of 1,372 LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) coaches and also, it has been decided to provide bio vaccum toilets in air-conditioned LHB train coaches. Besides, sanctions for 8,500 coaches are also available, Indian Railways said. Earlier, the Railway Ministry had said that the Indian Railways Bio-Toilet project is an innovative and indigenous development of technology. According to the ministry, this technology is a first of its kind, that has been used by any rail road in the world for on-board accelerated digestion of human waste. The bio toilets’ technology has been innovated, designed and developed under the Modi government’s ‘Made in India’ initiative. It has been created jointly by Indian Railways’ engineers and Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) scientists. The adaption and deployment of the bio toilet technology in large scale has been facilitated by collaboration between RDSO, DRDO and Indian Railways’ field units. Source: https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/indian-railways-big-achievement-towards-sanitation-equips-all-passenger-coaches-with-bio-toilets/2282624/

July 09 at 05:40 AM

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Indian Railways’ doubling of Rajkot-Kanalus & Nimach-Ratlam rail lines approved; see benefits of these projects

Financial Express  September 30, 2021 (India) The existing goods traffic handled on the section primarily comprises POL, Cement, Coal, Food grains and Fertilizer. PM Modi chaired Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the doubling of Rajkot-Kanalus and Nimach-Ratlam railway lines. According to the Railway Ministry, the total estimated cost of Rajkot-Kanalus railway line doubling project will be Rs 1,080.58 crore and its escalated / completion cost is Rs 1,168.13 crore. The total length of the Rajkot-Kanalus line is 111.20 kilometres. The railway project is scheduled for completion in four years’ period. The existing goods traffic handled on the section primarily comprises POL, Cement, Coal, Food grains and Fertilizer. Besides, future substantial freight traffic is projected by big industries such as ESSAR oil, Reliance Petroleum and Tata Chemical. Presently, the single line BG Rajkot-Kanalus section has become over saturated. The ministry said there is a need for additional parallel Broad Gauge line to ease out operational working. As many as 30 pairs of passenger or mail express trains are plying on the section and existing line capacity utilization with maintenance block is up to 157.5 per cent. Detention to both Freight and Passenger traffic will be significantly reduced after doubling. Once the doubling of the Rajkot-Kanalus section is over, it will increase the capacity, thus, more traffic can be introduced on the system. From Rajkot to Kanalus, the proposed doubling would lead to all round development of Saurashtra region. Source https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/indian-railways-doubling-of-rajkot-kanalus-see-benefits-of-these-projects/2340915/

October 01 at 06:52 AM

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Indian Railways’ game-changing Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project in J&K to be completed by 2023

Financial Express  October 04, 2021 (India) The Udhampur - Srinagar - Baramulla rail link project is the most ambitious railway project in the country post-Independence and the national transporter is working at full capacity to meet all deadlines, Jardosh said. Indian Railways’ Udhampur – Srinagar – Baramulla rail line project is all set to be a game-changer for Jammu and Kashmir! So far, 80 per cent of the work on the ambitious Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link has been completed while the rest of the work will be completed by the year 2023, Union Minister Darshana Jardosh said on Saturday, on her visit to Kashmir as part of the central government’s public outreach programme. The Udhampur – Srinagar – Baramulla rail link project is the most ambitious railway project in the country post-Independence and the national transporter is working at full capacity to meet all deadlines, Jardosh was quoted saying in a PTI report. According to the minister, other than providing relief to the people, the rail line, from the security point of view, is of strategic importance especially in a place like Kashmir. Jardosh said that Kashmir is a challenging terrain because of its topography but Indian Railways is fully equipped to meet all challenges with the latest technology as well as a dedicated workforce. As the route is mountainous, the Udhampur – Srinagar – Baramulla rail link project is challenging. Several bridges as well as tunnels had to be made to complete the project, she said. The minister examined the work progress at the ground and said the work has been going at a faster pace. Source https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/indian-railways-game-changing-udhampur-srinagar-baramulla-rail-link-project-in-jk-to-be-completed-by-2023/2343193/

October 19 at 05:34 AM

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Indo-Nepal rail connectivity

Financial Express July 20, 2021 (India) Indo-Nepal rail connectivity: Indian Railways completes trial of 110kmph between Jayanagar-Kurtha   The 68.72 kilometre long Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas railway project has been funded by the Indian Government entirely. Indo-Nepal Rail Connectivity: In the first phase of Indian Railways’ Jayanagar-Bardiwas rail project, recently a speed trial was completed successfully at a speed of 110 km per hour on the 35 kilometre long newly-gauge converted section between Jayanagar and Kurtha in the neighbouring country, Nepal. The 68.72 kilometre long Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas railway project has been funded by the Indian Government entirely. According to the Railway Ministry, train operations on the Jayanagar-Kurtha section will facilitate movement between the two nations, as well as boost trade and develop the surrounding regions   Source: https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/indo-nepal-rail-connectivity-indian-railways-completes-trial-of-110kmph-between-jayanagar-kurtha-watch-video/2294246/

July 22 at 04:58 AM

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Indonesia Turns to State Budget for Rail Project on Cost Overrun

Bloomberg  13 October, 2021 (Indonesia) Indonesia plans to allocate the budget to help fund the Jakarta-Bandung fast train project as investment costs jump, reversing a decision six years ago to not use state money when it granted the contract to a China-led consortium. Source https://www.bloomberg.com/search?query=Indonesia%20Turns%20to%20State%20Budget%20for%20Rail%20Project

October 18 at 06:40 AM

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Industry calls for railway rehab

The Herald  12 November 2021 (Zimbabwe) Industry players have challenged government to prioritise resuscitation of the country’s dilapidated railway network — one of the key economic enablers — if the country is to realise meaningful industrialisation and export business. Despite being at the heart of the North-South corridor, a dilapidated railway network in the country has lately prompted transporters of merchandise to resort to move their goods by road, to the detriment of roads whose life span is being shortened due to heavy cargo. Good road and rail networks are vital for efficient transportation of manufactured goods, as the former is the cheapest mode of cargo transportation that enhances competiveness of local produce at the export markets. While presenting her concerns to Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza at the ongoing Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry (CZI) conference running under the theme upper middle-income industry for an upper middle-income economy “a time for industrial transformation,” Beitbridge Bulawayo Railway (BBR) chief executive officer Thembi Moyo, lamented lack of attention being given to the management of the country’s railway network. He argued railway networks strengthened roads lifespan. “Transport is key to industrial transformation, we cannot leave this topic outside as we talk of industrialisation. We need to seriously capacitate our railways so that we are not left out as Zimbabwe. Railway network is not getting enough attention, there is room for both rail and road to co-exist but the challenge we are having is we now think road is the only way for transportation. “More support is going towards roads than to rail, which in turn is causing shortened lifespan for our roads. We can all see what is happening to our roads in terms of damage,” said Moyo. Source https://www.herald.co.zw/industry-calls-for-railway-rehab/

November 19 at 06:29 AM

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Infrastructure: Light rail gathers speed

New Zealand Herald  30 Nov, 2021 (New Zealand) The options that are on the table for the city centre to Māngere light rail route. The Auckland light rail proposal, christened the City Centre to Mangere project, is a lot more than a swish public transport system to ease congestion and quicken people's commuter journeys. The multi-billion-dollar project, planned to be operating within 10 years, will speed up urban development as Auckland heads towards a population of 2.4 million by 2050 — an additional 720,000 people from today's population. The project will transform communities along the 24km light rail corridor from Wynyard Quarter to the airport, particularly at the Dominion Rd junction on the city centre fringe, at Wesley and neighbouring Mt Roskill, at Onehunga and at the Mangere town centre. Transit-oriented developments or zero-carbon neighbourhoods of sustainably-designed apartment, office and retail buildings, even urban schools and other services, will pop up along the way. Owning a car won't be necessary because the locals will be within 500 metres walking distance of the rapid light rail system. At the recent Building Nations 2021 symposium, Minister of Finance and Infrastructure Grant Robertson was asked whether the Auckland light rail project would ever progress. He replied: "It's important it does. We need to continue to develop the network in Auckland with different modes of public transport. We want to see work start rapidly." Source https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/infrastructure-light-rail-gathers-speed/BLDIRWNOZKRNN362ENSKSJLLYY/

December 01 at 08:06 AM

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Infuriating train announcements will terminate here

The Times  June 27 2021 (UK) Shapps promises to give railway passengers some peace by introducing curbs on tannoy messages Grant Shapps promised a reduction in the number of annoying messages It may come as a surprise to anyone who has sat through the recorded announcements on a British train, but there are people who actually like them. Trainspotters have been joined by train audiophiles, who collect recordings of safety, security and timetable announcements and post them on social media. A recent recording of “Great Western Railway on-board announcements” posted to YouTube has been listened to more than 7,000 times. Others do not find the barrage of safety, security, timetable, platform, ticket, refreshment and apology announcements a helpful addition to their journey. Many people long to travel in peace and quiet, and it turns out that the government agrees. Source https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/infuriating-train-announcements-will-terminate-here-9qqnl0tk3

July 23 at 06:54 AM

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Inner West light rail services suspended after cracks discovered in trams

The Sydney Morning Herald  October 28, 2021 (Sydney) Sydney’s Inner West light rail service has been suspended for several days amid safety concerns after cracks were discovered in several trams. Buses are set to replace trams along the entire L1 Dulwich Hill Line until Sunday, according to a Transport for NSW alert, while staff were told “minor cracking to welding on a limited number of vehicles” was the reason for the suspension. “We do not believe that the identified cracks pose an immediate threat or major risk to the network,” the memo, seen by the  Herald , said. “As a precaution we will be suspending all services on the line while more detailed inspections take place.”   The cracks were found during a routine maintenance inspection, according to the memo. A spokesman for Transdev, the private operator of the light rail network, confirmed a mechanical fault had been found on the vehicles during recent inspections. “We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused by this issue and thank customers for their patience during this time,” the spokesman said, adding the fault posed little risk. “Buses are replacing light rail services on the L1 Dulwich Hill Line. Extra customer service staff are on hand to advise passengers of the service disruptions and guide them to replacement buses. We have made the decision to suspend services on the line while more detailed inspections are undertaken by the maintenance teams.” Opposition transport spokeswoman Jo Haylen criticised the government’s overseas procurement of public transport assets. “Once again, the NSW government’s overseas built transport infrastructure has broken down and failed passengers, leading to safety issues and delays across the light rail network,” she said. “Years of poor purchasing decisions by the NSW government means new trains don’t fit the tracks and new ferries can’t operate at night. Now we’ve got light rail carriages that are cracked.” Source https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/inner-west-light-rail-services-suspended-after-cracks-discovered-in-trams-20211028-p5944d.html

October 29 at 06:28 AM

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Iran Cyber-attack

The Guardian  11 Jul 2021 (Iran) ‘Cyber-attack’ hits Iran’s transport ministry and railways Message boards in train stations show cancellations though rail operator denies disruptions Websites of Iran’s transport and urbanisation ministry went out of service on Saturday after a “cyber-disruption” in computer systems, the official IRNA news agency reported. On Friday, Iran’s railways also appeared to come under cyber-attack, with messages about alleged train delays or cancellations posted on display boards at stations across the country. Electronic tracking of trains across Iran reportedly failed. The Fars news agency reported “unprecedented chaos” at stations with hundreds of trains delayed or cancelled. In the now-deleted report, it said the incident followed “a widespread disruption in … computer systems that is probably due to a cyber-attack.” Sadegh Sekri, a spokesman for Islamic Republic of Iran Railways, told ISNA news agency on Saturday that “there has been no disruption or cyber-attack for passenger, cargo or intercity trains”. But the Fars report had included a picture of a station’s departures and arrivals board showing rows of cancelled trips with a message reading “long delays due to cyber-attacks”. Iran has been the source as well as the target of attempted cyber-attacks in recent years – some of them apparently state-sponsored attacks hampering its nuclear fuel production efforts. On Saturday the minister of telecommunications, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, warned about possible cyber-attacks though ransomware. With Associated Press and AFP https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/11/cyber-attack-hits-irans-transport-ministry-and-railways

July 12 at 03:11 PM

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IRCON International gains on emerging L-1 bidder for Rs 5142-cr tender

Business Standard  November 9, 2021 (India) IRCON International added 2.90% to Rs 49.70 after the company emerged L -1 bidder in a tender valuing approximately Rs 5142 crore floated by National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL). The tender involves design, supply and construction of track and track related works including testing and commissioning for double line high speed railway between Zaroli village at Maharashtra-Gujarat Border and Vadodara in the State of Gujarat and the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli for the project for construction of Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail. "The completion period of the project is approximately 6.5 year, the company said in a statement. Letter of award (LoA) is yet to be issued by NHSRCL, it added. IRCON International is an engineering and construction, specialized in transport infrastructure and is wholly owned by the Ministry of Railways. As of 30 June 2021, the Government of India held 73.18% stake in the company. On a consolidated basis, the company posted a 158% rise in net profit to Rs 88.99 crore on a 116% rise in net sales to Rs 1,140 crore in Q1 FY22 over Q1 FY21. Source https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-cm/ircon-international-gains-on-emerging-l-1-bidder-for-rs-5142-cr-tender-121110900990_1.html

November 11 at 06:39 AM

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IRCTC plans series of Shri Ramayana Yatra train tours to promote religious tourism

Financial Express  November 06, 2021 (India) "IRCTC has planned the train tour packages utilising its Pilgrim Special Tourist Trains and Deluxe Tourist Trains duly understanding the requirement of the budget and premium segment tourists,” it said in a statement. To promote religious tourism, the IRCTC has planned a series of Shri Ramayana Yatra Tours, which will mark a gradual resumption of domestic tourism by trains in view of the improved COVID-19 situation. One such tour will begin from November 7, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) said on Saturday. “IRCTC has planned the train tour packages utilising its Pilgrim Special Tourist Trains and Deluxe Tourist Trains duly understanding the requirement of the budget and premium segment tourists,” it said in a statement. “The first departure on the Ramayana Circuit train will commence on November 7 from New Delhi followed by four other departures in the subsequent month,” the IRCTC said. Other packages include 12 nights / 13 days Shri Ramayana Yatra Express-Madurai, which will depart on November 16. To meet the requirement of the pilgrim tourist market of south India, IRCTC will be operating Shri Ramayana Yatra Express-Madurai with its budget-segment train comprising of sleeper class coaches, the statement said. The train will start from Madurai with boarding points at Dindigul, Tiruchchirappalli, Karur, Erode, Salem, Jolarpettai, Katpadi, Chennai Central, Renigunta, and Cuddapah. It will cover Hampi, Nasik, Chitrakoot, Allahabad, Varanasi and will return to Madurai. The statement said that there is also the 16 nights / 17 days package of the Shri Ramayana Yatra Express-Sri Ganganagar and the train will depart on November 25. For budget segment tourists of North India, the IRCTC is operating the Shri Ramayana Yatra Express-Sri Ganganagar with its pilgrim special tourist trains, it said The train will start from Sri Ganganagar with boarding and de-boarding points at Abohar- Malout, Bhatinda, Barnala, Patiala, Rajpura, Ambala Cantt., Kurukshethra, Karnal, Panipat, Delhi Cantt, Gurgaon,Rewari, Alwar, Jaipur, Agra Fort, Itawah and Kanpur, the statement said. It will cover Ayodhya, Sitamarhi, Janakpur, Varanasi, Prayagraj and Chitrakoot, Nasik, Hampi and Rameswaram, Kanchipuran and will return to Sri Ganganagar. Source https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/irctc-plans-series-of-shri-ramayana-yatra-train-tours-to-promote-religious-tourism/2364142/

November 08 at 07:10 AM

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Ireland’s newest railway station opens in Dublin

The Irish Times  September 26, 2021 (Ireland) Pelletstown station will help State achieve climate goals, Eamon Ryan says Louis O’Donoghue and Mary Rose Murphy could hardly be happier that Ireland’s newest railway station has opened at Pelletstown, Co Dublin. Located on the westward Dublin to Maynooth line, between the Ashtown and Broombridge stations, the station “will give great access for walks in the Dublin mountains, for instance”, said Mr O’Donoghue, “and to Howth. Mary Rose likes to go swimming in Howth on Sundays.” A Tipperary man, he is partial to Dublin’s southside. “We can [now] get out to Bride’s Glen with just one switch on the line,” he said. Both Mr O’Donoghue and Ms Murphy are members of the Irish Ramblers Club, and the new station will make it “much easier to access the Dublin mountains, than by car or bus”, he said. On Sunday afternoon the two took the train “from Pelletstown to Broombridge and walked back by the canal. It’s a great facility,” Mr O’Donoghue said. Source https://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/ireland-s-newest-railway-station-opens-in-dublin-1.4684251

September 28 at 05:16 AM

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Is there a dark side to China’s high-speed rail network?

South China Morning Post  10 October 2021 (China) Researchers say bullet trains could mean lower economic activity in some western parts of the country The conclusion is based on analysis of satellite data showing changes in night light High-speed rail could be hurting rather than helping local economies in western China, with some cities becoming darker at night after a station comes to town, according to new research. In a study published in the peer-reviewed domestic journal  Geographical Research  on Friday, the researchers said that on average, each high-speed rail station in western China corresponded to a more than 1.5 per cent drop in the intensity of local economic activity. Source https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3151775/there-dark-side-chinas-high-speed-rail-network

October 11 at 08:30 AM

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Isle of Wight rail line set to reopen after 10-month closure

BBC 22 September 2021 A railway line is expected to reopen 10 months after its closure for a £26m overhaul, following delays due to the pandemic and flash flooding. The Isle of Wight's Island Line service closed on 4 January and had been expected to reopen in March. Its trains have been replaced by London Underground trains, and tracks and platforms have been upgraded. South Western Railway (SWR) said it would reopen on 1 November if its final train safety tests were successful. Claire Mann, managing director of South Western Railway, said: "We are sorry that this project has taken longer to deliver than we first hoped, with a series of complications sadly delaying re-opening. "However, we are confident that the transformed Island Line will be worth wait, and we are so excited to welcome locals and visitors back onboard." Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-hampshire-58651466

September 23 at 04:55 AM

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Italian police guard train stations as Covid pass rolled-out

BBC  01 Sptember 2021 (Italy) Police have stepped-up checks at Italian stations amid threats from protesters to disrupt high-speed trains on the first day of a Covid pass. The "green pass" is now compulsory for domestic flights, ferries and long-distance or fast trains as well as schools and universities. Increased security was reported at stations at Rome, Milan and Florence. Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio has condemned a climate of hatred over the launch of the pass. He is one of several public figures to have been targeted by anti-vaccination protesters in recent days. Journalists and medical experts have complained of being stalked while Mr Di Maio faced death threats online. 'This measure is right' The pass, both digital and on paper, provides proof of at least one Covid-19 vaccination, recent recovery or a negative test. It is already required for entering cinemas, restaurants, gyms and swimming pools, but it is not needed on local buses. Passengers arriving for travel on Wednesday had their passes checked by rail staff, although children under 12 are exempt. "This measure is right, indeed it should also apply to regional trains," Rome passenger Alessia Colombi told Reuters. School staff are also required to show a pass and two teachers were turned away by the head of a Turin school, local reports said. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-58408470

September 02 at 06:49 AM

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Italy braces for train track protests against covid-passes

News Nation USA  03 September 2021 The Italian government vowed to crack down on demonstrators threatening to block train tracks throughout the country on Wednesday as a rule requiring COVID-19 tests or vaccines takes effect for long-distance domestic public transport. In a bid to rein in transmission of infections now that many have returned from summer holidays, domestic travelers in Italy must now show a so-called “Green Pass.” This certifies that they have received at least one dose of the vaccine more than 15 days ago, have tested negative in the past 48 hours or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months.  The rule, announced weeks ago, applies to domestic flights, train travel between regions and sea travel. Some ferries are exempt, notably those serving many tiny islands which have no other connections to the mainland, and those used by commuters between Sicily and and the southern tip of the mainland in Calabria. Source https://newsnationusa.com/news/usanews/washington/italy-braces-for-train-track-protests-against-covid-passes/

September 17 at 04:38 AM

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Italy quashes crash conviction for ex-rail boss

The Local  9 January 2021 (Italy) People watch the site where two gas-filled rail tankers exploded after derailing overnight on June 30, 2009 in the seaside resort of Viareggio, northern Italy. Photo: STR/AFP Italy's highest court on Friday quashed the manslaughter conviction of the former head of the Italian railways over a freight train disaster that killed 32 people in 2009. It sent the case back to the appeals court, ordering new trials for rail chief Mauro Moretti and another top executive, Michele Mario Elia.     A freight train carrying liquid petroleum gas derailed and exploded on June 29, 2009, while transiting through the Tuscan seaside town of Viareggio.     The force of the blast brought down two small blocks of flats where many of the victims lived, in Italy's deadliest rail accident in more than 30 years. Source https://www.thelocal.it/20210109/italy-quashes-conviction-for-ex-rail-boss-over-crash/

July 30 at 08:41 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.   Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/21/japan-bullet-train-driver-disciplined-for-leaving-controls-to-go-to-toilet

July 09 at 07:33 AM

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Japan offers 'office cars' on bullet trains for people to work

New Straits Times  November 23, 2021 (Japan) JAPAN has started offering "office cars" to allow people to work onboard some of its bullet trains that connects the capital Tokyo and the country's northern and central parts. Officials said this was to meet growing demand for a new work style amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to a Kyodo News report, East Japan Railway Co. launched the service on its shinkansen bullet trains on Monday and its available on weekdays only for free of charge. The service is available on one of the coaches in the Tohoku, Joetsu, and Hokuriku lines. Passengers will be able to talk on the phone and participate in online meetings from their seats - activities that are discouraged on the rest of the train. "We want to support a new way of working that is not bound by time and place," said a JR East official. Passengers will also be able to borrow "smart glasses" that project the content of their laptop screens before their eyes. On bullet trains on the Tohoku line, they will also be able to use free of charge small dividers to put around their seat tables, with a similar measure being considered for the Hokuriku and Joetsu lines. Kyodo said the remote work spaces onboard the shinkasen are also available on a different railway operator's shinkansen line in Hokkaido, which connects directly to the Tohoku line. JR East hopes the new service will help people go on "workation" trips in which they combine working online with travel. Central Japan Railway Co. and West Japan Railway Co. have also been testing similar onboard work spaces since October on the Nozomi super express trains on Sanyo Shinkansen and Tokaido Shinkansen lines that run through the major Japanese cities of Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka. Meanwhile in another development, Kyodo reports that children will be allowed to ride bullet trains that run through most of Japan's biggest cities for free as part of a campaign to revive domestic tourism. The campaign until Dec 19 will cover Nozomi super express services that stop at major stations including Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka and Hakata, Central Japan Railway and West Japan Railway said. Child passengers must be between six and 11 years old and accompanied by an adult, with up to five children able to travel for free per adult passenger. It will be the first such campaign by the two major railway operators, which in March will mark the 30th anniversary of the launch of Nozomi services. Following a recent sharp decline in coronavirus infections in Japan, the government is aiming to stimulate domestic travel demand by restarting the "Go To Travel" subsidy programme around February. The programme was suspended in December last year due to the spread of the virus. Source https://www.nst.com.my/world/region/2021/11/747887/japan-offers-office-cars-bullet-trains-people-work

November 23 at 05:14 AM

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Japan railway firm targets 'workationers' with Shinkansen train with footbaths

The Straits Times  AUG 2, 2021 (Japan) The Toreiyu Tsubasa bullet train to be used for the service is equipped with 2.4m-long tubs for passengers to soak their feet while enjoying the view outside The East Japan Railway and a local government have come up with a package tour aimed at "workationers" that will give participants the chance to work and enjoy a footbath aboard the Shinkansen. The package, to be launched in October, also includes a one-night stay at a hotel in Yamagata City or a hot spring inn in Tendo, both in Yamagata Prefecture. The Toreiyu Tsubasa bullet train to be used for the service is equipped with 2.4m-long tubs for passengers to soak their feet while enjoying the view outside. The train also has a bar and a tatami mat area. Source https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/japan-railway-firm-targets-workationers-with-shinkansen-train-with-footbaths

August 05 at 06:13 AM

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Japan train driver sues over 49 cents in docked wages

BBC  10 November 2021 (Japan) A Japanese train driver is suing his employer after he was docked 56 yen ($0.49; £0.36) in wages for causing a brief delay to the country's famously punctual rail system. Train company JR West fined the man after a work mix-up in June 2020 caused a one-minute delay to operations. It argued that no labour had been performed during the stoppage. The employee is seeking 2.2 million yen ($19,407; £14,347) in damages for mental anguish caused by the ordeal. According to the Japanese news site, Soranews24, the unnamed man was scheduled to pilot an empty train to Okayama station in the south of the country, but arrived at the wrong platform while waiting to take over from the previous driver. By the time he realised his mistake and had rushed to the correct platform, the transfer between the two drivers had been delayed by two minutes, leading to a one-minute delay in the train's departure and a one-minute delay in warehousing the train at the depot. JR West initially docked the man 85 yen ($0.75; $0.55), but later agreed to reduce the fine to 56 yen after the driver took the case to the Okayama Labour Standards Inspection Office. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-59232785

November 11 at 07:34 AM

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Japan's railway danger zone: 1,900 km of track face mudslide risk

Nikkei Asia  July 17, 2021 (Japan) Workers tend to a train that derailed after sediment covered tracks on the Geibi line in Japan's Hiroshima Prefecture in 2020. (Photo courtesy of the Japan Transport Safety Board)  TOKYO -- When the mudslide triggered by torrential rain came crashing down the hillside in Japan's coastal city of Atami this month, it made what witnesses described as a "horrible sound." The river of earth and debris, which left at least 10 dead and 17 missing as of Tuesday, came perilously close to taking out the railway used for by the Tokaido  shinkansen , the bullet train line that links Tokyo and Osaka, running under an elevated tracks. Those tracks also serve the Tokaido main line for conventional trains linking Tokyo with Kobe. The close call underscored the need for Japan to disaster-proof its sprawling rail network, which will be costly as more than 1,900 km of railway in Japan run through areas designated by the government as risk areas for mudslides, Nikkei has found.   Experts have warned the affected area in Atami was at risk for mudslides. The home prefecture of Shizuoka designated the stretch of land as a sediment disaster prone area in 2012. To evaluate the extent that railway companies are exposed to mudslides, Nikkei partnered with the Tokyo-based Nikken Sekkei Research Institute to compare rail maps with danger zones. The railway data, provided by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, is current as of 2019 and stretches nearly 28,000 km. The legally designated sediment disaster prone areas are current as of 2020. The results show that over 1,900 km of rail lines fall within a danger zone. The lines operated by West Japan Railway tops the list with 529 km of track at risk of mudslides. East Japan Railway comes in next at 417 km while Kyushu Railway is third at 212 km. Among just the seven shinkansen lines, a total of 113 km of track fall within the disaster-prone areas. Source: https://asia.nikkei.com/Economy/Natural-disasters/Japan-s-railway-danger-zone-1-900-km-of-track-face-mudslide-risk

July 19 at 04:37 AM

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Japan’s 1937 gasoline-turned-diesel train car to be important cultural property

The Japan News (The Yomiuri Shimbun) October 16, 2021 (Japan) A train car built in 1937 has been recommended for designation as one of the nation’s important cultural properties. Displayed at the Kyushu Railway History Museum in Kitakyushu, the 19-meter-long passenger train car bears lettering and numbers indicating it as unit 41 of the diesel-powered KiHa 07 series. The original unit number when it was powered by gasoline was KiHa 42055. The body, interior design and mechanical transmission have been preserved as they were. The train car was evaluated as an important record of the technological development of diesel cars in Japan’s railway history. In the wake of Friday’s recommendation by the Council for Cultural Affairs, the train will soon be designated an important cultural property by the education, culture, sports, science and technology minister. Regarding other properties that show the development of transportation, the council also recommended that a passenger bus from the early Showa era (1926-89) operated by the then railway ministry be designated as an important cultural property. Source https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0007884777

October 20 at 05:01 AM

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JB-Singapore RTS Link project will be finished by 2026, says Malaysian transport minister

Straits Times (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK)  November 23, 2020 (Johor Baru, Malaysia) Malaysian Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong has assured Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, that the Rapid Transit System Link (RTS) between Johor Baru and Singapore will be completed within the stipulated time frame. In a video presented during the virtual ground-breaking ceremony of the mega project and posted on his Facebook page on Sunday (Nov 22), Datuk Seri Wee said that the project would bring maximum positive impact to the people of Johor. "As the representative of the Transport Ministry, which is the overseer of the project, I assure the commitment of the government in making sure that the project would be carried out effectively and in an organised manner, while also being completed by the set time, which is by 2026,"  he said. He said the ministry hoped the project would bring positive economic impact to industries such as tourism and real estate, especially in Johor. In a separate Facebook post, Mr Wee said that the 4km RTS Link functions as a cost-effective transportation system that promises to boost connectivity. He said it would also provide easy, fast and comfortable access to the people who travel across the Malaysia-Singapore border. "This would also solve the traffic congestion problem faced at the entry points of both countries that has been going on for years," he said. Once completed, the journey between Bukit Chagar station in Johor and Woodlands North station in Singapore will take only five minutes. The RTS can ferry up to 288,000 people per day. Malaysia - through the Transport Ministry - will be forking out RM3.715 billion (S$1.22 billion) or 39 per cent of the total cost of the 4km link project, with the balance to be borne by Singapore.   Those commuting with the RTS Link would have to go through Immigration clearance only once, at the point of departure - either at Bukit Chagar in Johor Baru or Woodlands in Singapore. Meanwhile, Johor residents are excited that the project has finally started, as many have been waiting for it for more than a decade. Businessman S. Sures, 48, is glad to see the project progress. "It will really help improve connectivity and allow Johor, especially its city Johor Baru, to benefit from the higher number of visitors from Singapore entering through the RTS. "Most local businesses are highly dependent on visitors from Singapore. The RTS will definitely bring positive economic growth to the state, including for small businesses like mine," said the owner of a shop selling clothes and textiles. "Easy access to public transportation across the border will help the state recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It will probably take years for us to recover. "If the project is completed as scheduled, which is by 2026, it can help us rebuild the economy," he said. Restaurant owner Tan Kim Hock, 58, anticipated the RTS Link would bring more customers from the island republic to his shop, as well as make it easier for him to visit his family members in Singapore. "The congestion at the Causeway and Second Link has been a huge problem. I have, at times, cancelled trips to Singapore due to the traffic. I hope the RTS Link can end my travel woes," he said. Taxi driver Abdul Razak Abd Rahman, 57, said the RTS would help boost the tourism industry in Johor. "I think it would not only bring positive spillover impacts on Johor Baru but also other districts in the state, such as Mersing and Kota Tinggi, that are famous for its beaches and islands, " he said. Primary school teacher Ngoi Fee Min, 38, said the RTS is highly anticipated, as it means that those working in Singapore can come home more often without having to sit through hours of traffic on the Causeway. She said her husband, a technical team manager, commuted to and fro between Johor Baru and Singapore daily but decided to stay in the island republic, as he got tired of the traffic jam. "Hopefully with the RTS, my husband can move back home and we can spend more time together as a family. "Besides that, students who study in Singapore can also benefit from this, as they do not need to wake up at 3am or 4am just to beat the jam to travel across the Causeway," said Ms Ngoi, a mother of two. Source  https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/johor-residents-all-on-board-for-jb-singapore-rts-link-project

December 01 at 07:59 AM

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JICA Supports India For Capacity Development On Railway Safety

India Education Diary  Sep 16, 2021 (New Delhi, India) 5th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting held in New Delhi Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Ministry of Railways (MOR), Government of India (GOI) held 5th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting for Technical Cooperation (TC) project of Capacity Development on Railway Safety to discuss the ongoing progress and future activities. This TC project commenced in December 2018, being jointly implemented by Indian and Japanese side, is expected to result in enhancing capacities of the Indian Railways (IR), Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) and Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) with respect to safety of railways network in India. The Indian railway network is one of the largest in the world, therefore maintenance of safer and reliable operations is of utmost priority. In 2019, before the Covid-19 outbreak, JICA invited officials from IR, DFCCIL and CRS to attend training programs in Japan, focusing on Track Maintenance, Rail Welding, Rolling Stock Maintenance and Accident Investigation. These training programs in Japan organized by JICA highlighted good practices of Japanese railway maintenance works and Japanese knowledge and experiences for Indian officials. Due to current Covid-19 restrictions, it is difficult for Indian and Japanese side to physically meet and implement the activities together, hence the both sides have been maintaining online discussions. For the same, this JCC meeting was also held on a virtual platform. Source https://indiaeducationdiary.in/jica-supports-india-for-capacity-development-on-railway-safety/

September 20 at 04:13 AM

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Job aspirants duped of Rs 40 lakh in fake railway recruitment drive

Times Of India  November 7, 2021 (Nagpur, India) Around half-a-dozen job aspirants were duped to the tune of Rs 40 lakh in a fake railway recruitment racket which came to fore following the registration of FIR at Sonegaon police station. The racketeers had promised the aspirants a hassle-free employment after greasing the palms of their “good contacts” in the railways. Source https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/job-aspirants-duped-of-rs40l-in-fake-rly-recruitment-drive/articleshow/87560104.cms

November 08 at 07:29 AM

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JR group offers all-you-can-ride passes for older couples in 'Full Moon Couple Green Pass' deal

Japan Today  1 October, 2021 ( Tokyo, Japan) The JR Group has announced special passes for older married couples available for a limited time. The Full Moon Couple Green Pass gets you and your loved an all-you-can-ride pass to use the Green cars on the JR lines (with some exceptions) for five, seven, or ten consecutive days. If you’re not familiar, Green cars are considered premium train cars with slightly more perks than your average seating, and so they come with a higher price tag. Not all Green cars are the same, though. While a shinkansen Green car has perks like fewer seats for a more spacious and peaceful riding experience, other express trains simply guarantee you an assigned seat in a train that may not otherwise have assigned seating. Either way, though, in the end they’re supposed to offer you a more comfortable riding experience. To be eligible for the Full Moon Couple Green Pass, you must be a married couple with a combined total of at least 88 years of age. You can even get a slightly sweeter deal if at least one of you is over 70 years old! Each pass if usable by two people, with the five-day pass costing 84,330 yen, the seven-day pass 104,650 yen, and the 10-day pass 130,320. If you qualify for the Silver Pass (at least one of you is over 70 years old), they’ll cost you 79,330 yen, 99,650 yen, and 125,320 yen, respectively. That may seem like a lot upfront, but let’s put it into perspective: a round-trip for two Green car tickets from Shinagawa Station in Tokyo to Sendai Station in Miyagi Prefecture will cost you 30,140 yen, per person. That means a round-trip for two would be 60,280, which means you’d get more than your money’s worth with just a pair of two-person round-trip journeys on the Full Moon pass. It is important to note that the Nozomi and Mizuho shinkansen routes aren’t applicable, so you’ll still have to pay full price if you want to ride in the Green car to places like Osaka or Hakata in Fukuoka. If you’re looking for a special deal to celebrate your love in your “full moon” phase of life, consider getting the pass! You can purchase tickets at JR train stations or travel centers until May 31, 2022, and you’ll be able to use it between October 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. Sources: Net Lab, JR Group Source https://japantoday.com/category/features/travel/jr-group-offers-all-you-can-ride-passes-for-older-couples-in-%27full-moon-couple-green-pass%27-deal

October 27 at 05:20 AM

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JR West operates bullet train for vaccinated passengers and those with negative tests

The Japan Times  November 20, 2021 (Japan) West Japan Railway Co., or JR West, on Saturday operated a bullet train exclusively for passengers vaccinated against the novel coronavirus or those who have provided negative COVID-19 test results. The train on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line left Shin-Osaka Station in Osaka Prefecture in the morning for Hakata Station in Fukuoka Prefecture. The bullet train is for those participating in an overnight tour organized jointly by JR West and Nippon Travel Agency Co. It is the first time that a chartered bullet train that limits passengers to those fully vaccinated against the virus or with negative test results has been operated. Some 200 passengers were required to submit a health check sheet. They disinfected their hands and took their temperatures before boarding the train. JR West and Nippon Travel capped the number of passengers at 300 when advertising for participants, in order to prevent the train from being crowded. The tour costs started at ¥17,800, including accommodation fees, per passenger. The companies said that they have not decided if a similar chartered bullet trains will be operated in the future. “I’m traveling to Hakata to see my relatives for the first time in three years,” a participant in his 80s said, adding that he felt safe since only vaccinated people and those who have tested negative for the virus were on the train. JR West is considering offering some cars of its bullet trains for exclusive use by fully vaccinated people or those with negative test results during the year-end and New Year period. Source https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/11/20/business/vaccine-negative-bullet-train/

November 26 at 06:15 AM

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Kansas City Southern to accept CP Rail offer

The Star  14 September 2021 (Dallas, US) Kansas City Southern (KCS) said it is backing out of a merger agreement with Canadian National Railway Co and plans to accept a competing offer from Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP Rail), the latest step in the fight over which railroad would become the first to operate in Canada, the United States and Mexico. CP Rail’s proposal was declared superior even though at about US$27bil (RM112bil), it’s lower than Canadian National’s US$30bil (RM124bil) offer, which began to unravel last month amid questions over whether it would win regulatory approval. Canadian National has about five business days to negotiate terms that could change the US railroad’s decision, KCS said in a statement. Canadian National said it is continuing to evaluate its options and “will make carefully considered decisions in the interests of all Canadian National shareholders and stakeholders and in line with our strategic priorities.” The months-long saga has now come full circle, after CP Rail and KCS initially agreed to a deal in March, only for Canadian National to swoop in with a higher offer. Source https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2021/09/14/kansas-city-southern-to-accept-cp-rail-offer

September 14 at 05:22 AM

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Kenya returns to colonial rail after Beijing hits buffers

The Times  November 29 2021 (Kenya) A stretch of colonial-era railway is being untangled from the bush in a realisation of Kenya’s most ambitious infrastructure project since independence. The line, known as the Lunatic Express for its huge cost both to the British government and a workforce preyed on by disease and lions, appeared to have had its day with the unveiling in 2017 of a new high-speed line, mostly built and funded by China. That project, intended to connect central Africa with the Indian Ocean, has been left languishing, however, after Beijing put a brake on lending. Source https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/kenya-returns-to-colonial-rail-after-beijing-hits-buffers-p8flr2jwj

December 03 at 04:53 AM

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Kintetsu express train used by Emperor Showa to make last run

The Asahi Shimbun  July 25, 2021 (Japan) Kintetsu 12200-series limited express trains will make their last run on Aug. 7. Trains of the same type once carried Emperor Showa and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. (Akihito Usui) OSAKA--The Kintetsu 12200-series model used as limited express trains that once carried Emperor Showa and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will make their last run Aug. 7, operator Kintetsu Railway Co. announced. The company had been running the model famed for its signature navy blue and orange colors for special services after it was retired from regular use in February. The 12200-series model was introduced in 1969 for use as limited express trains on the company's main routes. In total, 168 trains were manufactured until 1976, making it Kintetsu's most produced model. It was designed to offer better comfort to compete with high-speed bullet trains running on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line, which opened in 1964 when Japan hosted the Olympics Games for the first time in Tokyo. It offered reclining seats with a wider seat pitch (98 centimeters between seat rows) than bullet trains. Source: https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/photo/40063137

July 29 at 07:34 AM

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KL-Johor Baru HSR route without Singapore not viable, says Umno leader

The Straits Times (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK)  October 23, 2021 (Johor Bahru, Malaysia) Reviving the high-speed rail (HSR) project without Singapore would be a waste of resources and has no economic value, says a former Johor mentri besar. Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, who is also the Umno vice-president, said that the government's plan to implement the HSR project to Johor Baru was not viable as the city was not an economic powerhouse like its island republic neighbour. "During the pandemic, Johor Baru sat still in terms of growth and resilience, without tourists, investors and (economic) players from Singapore. "I hope that the government will not waste time and money with unviable plans such as implementing the Kuala Lumpur-Johor Baru route for the HSR with the exclusion of Singapore," he said in a statement on Saturday (Oct 23). He said this in response to the government's consideration about going ahead with the HSR project, linking Kuala Lumpur to Johor Baru, replacing the earlier planned Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR project. Singapore and Malaysia announced the termination of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore project after both countries were unable to reach an agreement on changes proposed by Malaysia, The Straits Times reported in January. The agreement had lapsed on Dec 31 last year. Mr Mohamed Khaled criticised Malaysia's economic planners, saying that they "did not possess an overreaching strategy to implement a high-impact, cross-country and exceptionally successful project such as that". "Meanwhile, in various international trade forums and negotiations, Malaysia has been going on and on with its rhetoric of regional economic integration through trade connectivity, and consumer and labour mobility. "However, we cannot even link Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, both metropolises being the most dynamic in South-east Asia," he said, adding that the excuses of cost and government abilities were those given by the unimaginative. "When Malaysia built the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Putrajaya and the North-South Expressway, we were not a rich country then. "But we still did it with economic planners who had vision and were ahead of their time," he added. Mr Mohamed Khaled reiterated that in the era of fast connectivity, high-speed rail infrastructure was what Malaysia needed - whether it was Kuala Lumpur-Singapore or Kuala Lumpur-Bangkok. "The country also needs economic planners who can unearth Malaysia's true strength and our economic plans can no longer be inward looking. "I hope that the Prime Minister will not repeat the mistakes made by Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional. I am confident that he wants to revive the country's economy through competitive and fruitful projects. "Otherwise, Malaysia will become a third-world country that is only slightly better than other third-world countries," he said. Source https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/kl-johor-baru-hsr-route-without-singapore-not-viable-says-umno-leader

October 26 at 05:18 AM

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Kolkata's 'fairy tale' trams, once essential, are now a neglected relic

Straits Times  SEP 3, 2021 (KOLKATA, India) (NYTIMES) - The tram rattled along College Street, passing dozens of book stalls and announcing itself with the quaint chime of a bell. A gentle breeze from its open windows and antique ceiling fans cut the humid summer heat. Sounds and smells from the streets wafted in - fresh fish splayed out on the sidewalk, the muezzins' call to prayer - as the tram passed vegetable wagons and ornate colonial buildings. "You get all the flavours of Calcutta here, so it's the best way to travel," said a medical student, Megha Roy, riding the tram with two friends. She used the Anglicised version of Kolkata, which residents deploy interchangeably with its current spelling and pronunciation. The three friends had jumped on board spontaneously, with no clear idea of where the tram was going or when it was scheduled to get there. But it did not really matter. The ride itself was an unexpected treat. "It's like a fairy tale," Ms Roy said. But in reality, Kolkata's trams - the first in Asia and the last still operating in India - are in trouble. Source https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/south-asia/kolkatas-fairy-tale-trams-once-essential-are-now-a-neglected-relic

September 06 at 07:52 AM

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Labour attacks ‘Whitehall power grab’ over northern rail policy

The Guardian  19 November 2021 (UK) Shadow minister and Manchester mayor criticise removal of powers from Transport for the North Ministers have been accused of a “massive power grab” and silencing leaders in the north of England by stripping powers from Transport for the North (TfN), the statutory body set up to advise the government on the region’s transport needs. A senior official from the Department for Transport wrote to TfN’s chief executive, Martin Tugwell, on Thursday saying that it would stop paying the body to develop Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR), a hotly contested train line across the Pennines. TfN, which is overseen by a board of all the northern mayors and council leaders, had proposed a £36bn scheme to build a new line between Manchester and Leeds with a stop in Bradford. But on Thursday the government said it would only build a bit of new track, with most of the route running on the existing transpennine line via Huddersfield rather than Bradford, which has no through station. The government’s approach cut costs in half but disappointed its own MPs, particularly those in Bradford, which – despite being home to more than half a million people – was recently found to have the worst rail connections of any British city. Robbie Moore, who became the MP for Keighley in 2019, told parliament: “In my view the Bradford district has been completely shortchanged. We are one of the most socially deprived parts of the UK and we must get better transport connectivity.” In a letter sent the day after the government’s rail review was published, David Hughes, the director general of the rail infrastructure group that is overseen by the Department for Transport, told Tugwell it would stop paying TfN to develop NPR. “This work will instead be funded within the normal arrangements for the rail network enhancement portfolio, directly by the department,” he wrote. The shadow transport secretary, Jim McMahon, said: “It’s a massive Whitehall power grab. When George Osborne set out plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail and signed the first devolution agreement with Greater Manchester in 2014, I was the leader of Oldham council and I believed in it, even if it was a Tory government, because it was far better that we control our own destiny rather than be beholden to Whitehall, which would always put us second best. “I just feel like we’ve gone backwards. The complete architecture that’s meant to support devolution has been dismantled.” Andy Burnham, the metro mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “It’s worrying. There’s clearly a number of people in Whitehall who don’t like the idea of the north having a stronger voice. They want to dictate rather than work in partnership. The minute the north starts to come up with solutions and positive interventions, it tries to rein us in. Not only did we lose out on infrastructure, we got silenced as well.” He insisted TfN must not fold. “I will fight for it. This is the one formal structure in the British machinery of government that allows the north to come together with one voice.” The economist Jim O’Neill, who was a northern powerhouse minister under Osborne, criticised TfN’s board for not developing clear priorities. “One of the challenges of TfN was they appear to find it difficult to prioritise and there’s generally too much compromise and not enough conciliation,” he said. Sarah Longlands, the chief executive of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, said the denuding of TfN called into question the whole northern powerhouse concept, as envisaged by Osborne as chancellor. “I think it’s probably dead from a government point of view,” she said. “It has been clear, particularly through Covid, that this government has a centralising agenda … The verdict is out on whether they want to be associated with the northern powerhouse, but if it’s not dead it’s on life support.” A rail expert said until now TfN had received about £60m a year to pay consultants, Network Rail (soon to become Great British Railways) and HS2 Ltd to develop NPR, but now this money would go straight to Network Rail to develop it. The government cut TfN’s core funding by 40% earlier this year, from £10m to £6m, and cancelled a project to introduce smart ticketing across the north. TfN’s chief executive, Barry White, left shortly afterwards. The Guardian understands TfN will continue to receive a core grant from government in 2022-23 as well as limited funds to act as a “co-sponsor” of NPR. That means TfN will offer government strategic direction and advice on a range of issues including integration with local transport and infrastructure and opportunities for local development and regeneration. In a statement Tugwell defended TfN’s “demonstrable track record in developing evidence-led, cost-effective solutions that reflect the needs of the north’s communities”, and added it was essential NPR “continues to be shaped by the knowledge, insight and constructive challenge that underpins TfN’s work”. A spokesperson for the Department of Transport said: “As we deliver Northern Powerhouse Rail, as part of our £96bn investment into the railway, we must ensure there is clear accountability and oversight which provides significant benefits for passengers as quickly as possible. As with all major projects, the programme will be managed by the government.” Transport for the North will “continue to provide important strategic direction and advice”, they added. Source https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/nov/19/labour-attacks-whitehall-power-grab-over-northern-rail-policy

November 22 at 04:02 AM

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Laos high speed rail brings buzz to Thai border town

The Straits Times  November 27, 2021 (Nong Khai, Thailand) (The First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge crosses the Mekong River to link Thailand's Nong Khai province with Laos' Vientiane prefecture. Laos can be seen on the opposite bank) The sky is a cloudless shade of cobalt when I catch my first glimpse of the Mekong River. Above its deceptively still waters stands the First Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge, which connects the Thai province of Nong Khai to the Laotian capital of Vientiane. The two locales are linked by a rail shuttle that used to ferry 1,200 passengers daily. But the Covid-19 pandemic brought this service to a halt. The border was shut last year to curb transmissions, though freight was allowed through. Source https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/laos-high-speed-rail-brings-buzz-to-thai-border-town

November 30 at 06:02 AM

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Laos hopes for economic boost from Chinese-built railway but some question its viability

The Japan Times  November 28, 2021 ( Bangkok ) A new $6 billion Chinese-built railway line opens in Laos this week, bringing hopes of an economic boost to the reclusive nation, but experts are questioning the benefits of a project that has seen thousands of farmers evicted from their land. The 414-kilometre route, due to open on Dec. 3, took five years to construct under China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road initiative, which funds infrastructure projects aimed at increasing Beijing’s clout globally. Struggling strawberry farmer Anouphon Phomhacsar is hoping the new railway will get his business back on track. His farm usually produces up to two metric tons of the red heart-shaped fruits a year, but the pandemic has hit the 2021 harvest hard. It currently takes Phomhacsar three to four hours to send his strawberries to Vientiane by road, but he hopes the new railway will cut this delivery time in half. And he says it will also be easier for tourists to travel to camp under the stars and pick berries. “In the future, foreign tourists coming to the farm could be in the tens of thousands,” he said. The train route will connect the Chinese city of Kunming to the Laos capital, with grand plans for high-speed rail to ultimately snake down through Thailand and Malaysia to Singapore. Infrastructure-poor Laos, a reclusive communist-run country of 7.2 million people, previously had only 4 km of railway tracks. But now sleek red, blue and white bullet trains will speed along the new line at up to 160 kph, passing through 75 tunnels, across 167 bridges and stopping at 10 passenger stations. Economic boost Despite registering only dozens of COVID-19 cases until April, Laos’ economy took a pandemic battering — economic growth declined to 0.4% in 2020, the lowest level in three decades, according to the World Bank. Hopes for a 2021 rebound were dashed — Laos locked down as it logged roughly 70,000 infections in the past eight months. And while the railway could boost tourism, freight and agriculture, according to a World Bank report, the government needs to undertake substantial reforms, including improving border clearance processes. “The new railway is a major investment that has the potential to stimulate the Lao economy and allow the country to take advantage of its geographical position at the heart of mainland Southeast Asia,” said Sombath Southivong, a senior World Bank infrastructure specialist. The tourism industry is desperate for a pick-me-up after the pandemic caused an 80% downturn in international visitors in 2020 — 4.7 million foreign tourists visited the previous year. Before the pandemic, young nomads crammed onto buses at Vientiane for the four-hour ride to adventure capital Vang Vieng — a journey that will now take about an hour by train. The town, which has a former CIA airstrip, was notorious for backpackers behaving badly at jungle parties before it re-branded as an eco-tourism destination. But the kayaks, rafts, ziplines and hot air balloons have been empty of late. Inthira — a boutique hotel nestled on the banks of the Nam Song River — shifted from a full occupancy rate to only a trickle of domestic travelers on weekends, says general manager Oscar Tality. Tality hopes the railway and reduced travel times will give the industry a shot in the arm. “Along the way people will see magnificent views of the mountains and will cross over bridges and tunnels. It will be a wonderful trip for those on the train,” Tality said. White elephant? Despite local optimism, some Laos watchers are concerned about the long-term viability of the project. “The issue for Laos though is whether their economy … their private sector is positioned to take advantage of this transport system,” Australian National University lecturer Greg Raymond said. Two-thirds of Laotians live in rural villages toiling on the land, and the minimum wage is around $116 a month — a reported $13.30 train fare from Vientiane to the border town of Boten has attracted some social media criticism for being too expensive. “When you look at the juxtaposition of this super modern railway and the countryside it is passing through — it’s very stark. One does wonder whether the Laos people will be the beneficiaries?” Raymond said. The project has already left some 4,400 farmers and villagers reeling after they were forced to surrender land. Many have faced long delays receiving compensation or have been paid inadequate amounts, the Lao Movement for Human Rights said in a report. “The compensation rate is very low. If you are asking villagers to move, how can they afford new land?” Laotian MP Vilay Phommixay told parliament in June last year. But for others it’s all aboard. “There’s great anticipation … there’s a source of pride for the Laos people,” Tality said. Source https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/11/28/business/laos-train-project/

December 01 at 07:23 AM

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Laos to join meetings on rail link

Bangkok Post  27 JUN 2021 (China) Thai-China system to be discussed Thailand and China have agreed to seek to hold a monthly tripartite meeting with Laos to review updates on the progress on their plan to connect the Thai-Chinese high-speed rail system in Thailand with Vientiane. The agreement was reached at the 29th meeting of the joint committee on Thai-Chinese rail cooperation, held online on Friday. The meeting was co-chaired by Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob and Ning Jizhe, vice chairman of the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission. After discussing a proposal made by the Thai side to seek a tripartite meeting with Laos to provide regular updates on the progress of the proposed connection of the new line with Laos -- between Nong Khai and Vientiane -- both sides agreed that it should become a monthly feature, said a source at the Transport Ministry. Also discussed on Friday was the implementation of the construction plan for the Bang Sue-Don Muang section as well as the associated high-speed project to connect Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi airport and U-Tapao airports. At the end of discussions both sides agreed they will have to adjust certain aspects of the design details to ensure it meets Chinese standards, while China agreed to assist with any technical problems that may arise during the construction of this section of the rail route, said the source. The 276-billion-baht airport link will run along the same track as the Thai-Chinese project's 1st phase, between Don Muang and Bang Sue. Operators of these two projects are still in talks as to who should build the overlapping part of their rail routes. "The high-speed train project to connect the three airports will likely have to build that specific section of the rail route while being required to use the standards set by China," said a the same source at the ministry. Although both sides agree that the standard speed of trains should be 250 kilometres per hour, the operator of the airport link is negotiating for the speed to be lowered to 160km/h between Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports.   Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/2139031/laos-to-join-meetings-on-rail-link

July 09 at 05:44 AM

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Laos-China Railway on Track for December Opening: Official

The Diplomat  August 16, 2021 (China) The completion of the railway will deepen China’s influence over the landlocked nation of seven million. The multibillion-dollar Laos-China railway is set to begin operations by the end of the year as scheduled, a Lao official said last week, completing the first link of a long-envisioned rail line connecting southwest China with Singapore. The announcement was made by Minister of Planning and Investment Sonexay Siphandone on August 11 during a meeting of 10th Laos-China Railway Project Construction Committee, according to Pasaxon, the newspaper of the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party. Sonexay said that as of July 25, construction of the railway, which runs from the town of Boten on Laos’s border with China to the capital Vientiane, was 93.82 percent complete. “The Laos-China Railway will be completed in November, and will be open and ready for use by Laos National Day on 2 December,” he said. Sonexay also told the meeting that Chinese operators are bringing in locomotives, electric multiple unit trains, and other equipment to conduct the first trial run of the railway in October, before opening it to the public on December 2. Source https://thediplomat.com/2021/08/laos-china-railway-on-track-for-december-opening-official/

August 18 at 06:12 AM

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Large fire rips through south London railway arch

Reuters  June 28, 2021 (UK) Fire sends plumes of black smoke into the London sky Fire ripped through railway arch Incident is not terror related, police say LONDON, June 28 (Reuters) - A large fire ripped through a railway arch beside Elephant and Castle station in south London on Monday, sending a ball of flame and plumes of black smoke billowing up high into the sky above the capital. Police said the incident was not terror related. There were no immediate reports of anyone being injured. The London Fire Brigade said 10 fire engines and 70 firefighters were tackling the blaze which raced through three commercial units, causing trains to be diverted. "Road closures are in place and people are advised to avoid the area and keep windows and doors closed," the fire brigade said.   Video footage released by the fire brigade showed black smoke rising high into the sky and then a ball of fire blasting out from the archway.   Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/large-fire-breaks-out-south-london-railway-arch-2021-06-28/

July 09 at 05:42 AM

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Lawsuit claims CN, CP railways at fault for sparking fire that wiped out B.C. town

National Post  Aug 18, 2021 (VANCOUVER, Canada) A proposed class-action lawsuit alleges Canadian Pacific and Canadian National railways caused or contributed to the wildfire that destroyed the Village of Lytton, B.C. The B.C. Supreme Court statement of claim filed Wednesday alleges the fire was set off by heat or sparks emanating from a CP freight train operated by CN employees on tracks owned by Canadian National. It says the fire started at about 4:15 p.m. on June 30, where the CN bridge crosses the Fraser River, and winds of up to 70 km/h carried the flames into Lytton, burning the town in less than two hours. With temperatures nearing 50 C, the lawsuit alleges the railway companies should have know conditions were unsafe to operate and that they failed to protect the town. “The Province of British Columbia notified the defendants of extreme risk of wildfires, which was the highest possible rating according to the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System,” the lawsuit says. The RCMP, BC Wildfire Service and Transportation Safety Board are still investigating the cause of the fire. The safety board said in July that it sent rail investigators to the scene after receiving new information about the cause of the fire from the Mounties and wildfire service. The lawsuit says the fire wasn’t caused by a nearby forest fire or lightning strike. Source https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/lawsuit-claims-cn-and-cp-railways-at-fault-for-sparking-fire-that-wiped-out-b-c-town

September 13 at 05:35 AM

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Lhasa-Nyingchi line records 106,000 passenger trips in first month of operation

Global Times  Jul 26, 2021 (China) Lhasa-Nyingchi line records 106,000 passenger trips in first monthof operation The Lhasa-Nyingchi railway carried 106,000 passenger trips with a daily average of 3,500 during its first month of operation, according to a statement sent by China Railway to the Global Times on Monday. The 435-kilometer rail line connecting Lhasa with the city of Nyingchi in Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region entered into service on June 25. It is Tibet's first bullet train line, allowing travelers to enjoy remarkable landscapes at high speeds, and the majority of the line is more than 3,000 meters above sea level.  According to the statement, the railway has cut travel times within Tibet. It takes only about3 hours and 29 minutes to travel from Nyingchi to Lhasa via the railway, almost half the time it takes to travel between the two regions by road. Passengers are mostly tourists, students, workers and those visiting family and friends. Tickets are easily available for the new route.  The Qinghai-Tibet Railway Co said that it had increased check-ups and maintenance for Fuxing bullet trains that run on the line. Technicians will conduct comprehensive checks on the trains' service facilities including oxygen machines, seats and semiconductors. In the railway line's first month of operation, 100 percent of the facilities were rated as excellent. Conductors also provide services like translation, guidance and medical assistance on the Fuxing bullet trains that run along the train line. The railway serves an area of 226,000 square kilometers, 18.4 percent of Tibet's entire land mass. More than 1.3 million people directly benefit from the latest extension of China's rail network. According to media reports, the railway has a maximum speed of 160 kilometers per hour, slightly slower than some similar lines in China. Source https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202107/1229643.shtml

July 28 at 08:05 AM

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Light Rail Manila Corp. receives safety seal for LRT-1

The Manila Times  October 25, 2021 (Philippines) PRIVATE operator of LRT-1 Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) recently received the Safety Seal for its train stations and depot from the local government unit of Pasay City, highlighting the commitment of the company to provide a safe transportation system by using best-in-class safety protocols. The Safety Seal certification assures the public of the establishment's compliance with the minimum public health standards set by the government to effectively contain the spread of Covid-19. "In LRMC, safety is part of our mission for our dear commuters and employees. We are not just their partners in efficient and comfortable journey, but for safety as well. The Safety Seal that we received from the City of Pasay is just a testament that we are one with the government's effort in encouraging safety of the public as the country gradually opens the economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic. We treat this as a milestone putting on top of mind the safety of our commuters as we slowly increase the capacity of our trains in line with guidelines set by the government," said LRMC Head of Health, Safety, Environment, and Quality Department Louernie De Sales. The ceremonial installation of the Safety Seal at the LRT-1 Baclaran Station was led by LRMC Head of Health, Safety, Environment, and Quality Department Louernie De Sales; LRMC Head of Operations Andrea Madrid together with DILG Local Government VI Rommel Cena; Pasay City Business Permits & Licensing Office (BPLO) Officer-in-Charge Michelle Talavera-Pardo; Acopo Lt.Col. Lepron Platon; and Fire Inspector Alejandro Ramos of the Pasay City Bureau of Fire and Protection. Source https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/10/25/public-square/light-rail-manila-corp-receives-safety-seal-for-lrt-1/1819574

October 26 at 05:03 AM

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Llangollen Railway trains vandalised with graffiti

BBC  27-08-2021 Two railway coaches have been vandalised with graffiti at a heritage railway's yard near Llangollen. The damage occurred early on Wednesday morning after fencing was broken, the Llangollen Railway said. The 60-year-old coaches, owned by Llangollen Railcars, had been restored by volunteers. It is estimated the damage will take thousands of pounds to repair, and many volunteer-hours to restore the original paint job. The coaches are used on a mid-week service on the Dee Valley railway. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-58339546

August 30 at 05:44 AM

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Local trains to resume for fully vaccinated: Mumbai begins allotment of passes

Hindustan Times  AUG 11, 2021 (India) The team first verifies the vaccination certificate of the applicant, scans the QR code on it and also verifies and collects a photocopy of the ID card. They then stamp the documents before sending the applicant to the railway counter to get the pass The process for verification of documents and allotment of railway passes for local trains begain in Mumbai today. This comes in the wake of the Maharashtra government’s decision to resume local train services for fully vaccinated commuters in the city from August 15. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) set up 358 helpdesks at 53 railway stations in its jurisdiction for the verification of vaccine status. Source https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/local-trains-to-resume-for-fully-vaccinated-mumbai-begins-allotment-of-passes-101628659829559.html

August 11 at 11:49 AM

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London hit by biggest Tube strike in three years

Reuters  November 26, 2021, (London, UK) Central London shops and businesses hoping to receive a much-needed boost from Black Friday sales were hit by disruption to the tube network as drivers held their biggest strike since 2018. The 24-hour strike, which started at 0430 GMT, led to the suspension of the Piccadilly, and Waterloo and City lines, and delays on the Jubilee, Central, Victoria and Northern lines. Transport for London (TfL) said it was running 58% of its usual services. The walkout of 2,000 Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) members came after disagreements over TfL's plans to make tube drivers take on shifts at night. The strikes targeted the five lines where TfL used to employ dedicated Night Tube drivers, with the Waterloo and City line also suspended as it shares many of its drivers with the Central line. The Friday and Saturday Night Tube service was suspended during the pandemic. It was due to restart with a limited service on Saturday. Source  https://www.reuters.com/business/retail-consumer/london-hit-by-biggest-tube-strike-three-years-2021-11-26/

November 29 at 03:57 AM

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Low-cost high-speed AVLO to run Madrid-Valencia route for 'Fallas' fiesta

Think Spain  26 October, 2021 (Spain) A CUT-PRICE no-frills version of Spain's express AVE train, launched earlier this year, is set to run a new route ahead of spring 2022 – between Madrid and Valencia. High-speed AVE rail links, covering long distances in less than half the time it would take to drive them – the 350 kilometres between Valencia and Madrid, for example, takes just 90 minutes – is very convenient and comfortable, but quite expensive for those who simply want to get from A to B without ceremony; these passengers would be more likely to take the  Larga Distancia  'snail rail', which makes this same journey in six hours with a change midway and costs around half the price. Now that Spain's train services have been opened up to competition for the first time in their history, rail board RENFE will have to work harder to keep customers, and one of its key strategies is the AVLO, or low-cost AVE. The first-ever AVLO train set off on June 23 from Figueres-Vilafant station in the province of Girona at 05.35, stopping at Barcelona Sants station en route to Madrid Atocha, whilst another left Atocha for Figueres via Barcelona at 06.20. One-way tickets back then started at €7, and have barely risen since, although full-facility peak-time trips can cost as much as €65. AVLO trains have no buffet car, although they do have vending machines, and the fare covers a small cabin bag and personal bag. Extras, such as on-board Wi-Fi, seating with plugs for charging phones and laptops, flexible travel times and dates, and additional luggage attract a further fee. At present, the AVLO only runs on the Madrid-Barcelona route – Spain's busiest long-distance commuter trek by rail, road and air – with four connections in either direction daily which stop in Guadalajara, Calatayud (Zaragoza province), Zaragoza, Lleida and Tarragona. One train daily runs from Madrid as far as Girona and Figures, and one other starts from Figueres and stops at Girona on the way to the capital. The journey takes around two-and-a-half hours. Next year, though, a second route will be added, between Madrid and Valencia, in time for the latter's huge mid-March  Fallas  fiesta. This is celebrated all over the province of Valencia and in a handful of towns in those of Alicante and Castellón, ending late at night on March 19, although the events and monuments in Valencia city are on a much larger scale than elsewhere in the region and the festival runs for about a week, rather than four days as in other towns. It is not yet clear whether the AVLO  Fallas  link will only be in place for the duration of the fiesta, or whether it will continue – albeit at a reduced frequency – year-round. Minister for mobility, transport and urban agenda, Raquel Sánchez, presented a preliminary analysis report on the high-speed line from Madrid to Valencia, which takes in Castellón, this week, but more details are expected to be revealed nearer March. Two other low-cost express rail connections are set to cover the Valencia-Madrid route from next year – one of which is Ouigo, the French no-frills line owned by the SNCF, due to start operating from spring 2022, and the other is Ilsa, although no dates have as yet been confirmed. Source https://www.thinkspain.com/news-spain/33110/low-cost-high-speed-avlo-to-run-madrid-valencia-route-for-fallas-fiesta

November 10 at 05:39 AM

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Madrid-to-Galicia high-speed AVE to open by Christmas: Tickets on sale for €15

Think Spain  23 November, 2021 (Spain) IF YOU missed your chance to get an early 'Black Friday' cut-price rail ticket for travel in 2022, you can still get one from today (Tuesday, November 23) – although this time, only for trips between Madrid and the far north-eastern region of Galicia. That's because the high-speed AVE network has now added another route, which is set to open on December 21. Highly-efficient, typically about double the price of the Long Distance ( Larga Distancia ) 'snail rail', although about a third to a quarter of the journey time, the AVE is still thin on the ground in Spain, limited to the largest cities and mainly via Madrid; where it is in operation, though, the service is of a similar level of comfort and facilities as major cross-border rail connections such as the EuroStar. As an idea of how quickly it gets passengers from A to B, the Valencia-Madrid AVE covers the journey in just 90 minutes, compared with about three to four hours by motorway or six hours by  Larga Distancia  including changing trains halfway. The brand-new Madrid-to-Galicia AVE service runs to Ourense, the only one of the region's four provincial capitals without a coast, but from here, other rail links run regularly to the other capitals of Lugo, A Coruña and Pontevedra and to key cities such as Santiago de Compostela, Ferrol and Vigo. According to transport minister Raquel Sánchez, who took the first 'test trip' in the soon-to-be-launched AVE link, the journey from Madrid to Ourense takes two hours and 15 minutes. Tickets bought over the next two weeks are valid for travel on the new connection any time from its opening date of December 21, through to September 12, 2022. A quarter of a million tickets costing just €15 one-way are now up for grabs, from the website for rail board RENFE, by telephone, or from physical ticket offices in stations. Source https://www.thinkspain.com/news-spain/33148/madrid-to-galicia-high-speed-ave-to-open-by-christmas-tickets-on-sale-for-15

November 25 at 05:28 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) Source: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/maharashtra-woman-lying-near-railway-tracks-survives-suicide-bid-as-train-passes-1816986-2021-06-19

July 09 at 05:46 AM

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Making tracks across the border

BBC  19 November, 2021 (UK) Give and take in the new rail plans for the north of England and Midlands have created winners, losers and disappointment. High-speed rail plans as they affect Scotland are not much changed - with reduced travel times almost entirely because of improvements to tracks and capacity in the south. But choices are yet to be made on how fast London trains will be, depending how often they have to stop. The UK government is yet to set out its plans for improved transport connections across the UK's internal borders, but they could be arriving soon. In terms of "levelling up" the left-behind bits of Britain, rail is a test case of what that means and whether it's serious. With some give and some take, one of the more generous assessments is that UK ministers' "integrated rail" plan has delivered a very British outcome - "a half-built railway".   Without managing expectations and by pulling back on past plans, a lot of money is being deployed in the building of a lot of disappointment.   There were expectations of high speed services reaching Leeds and transforming the grim infrastructure that has long failed to link northern mill towns to the modern world.   Past plans have now been revised and costs cut.   And in the small print, note that plans will still have to go through the financial gateways, which the Treasury controls like fortifications. HS2 rail extension to Leeds scrapped What is HS2 and where will it go? So what does it mean for Scotland and links to the south?   As with air connections, remember not just to see this as a means of getting out of Scotland. Transport also brings in visitors for business and leisure, and rail is a travel option that cuts down on aviation and road emissions.   That environmental rail advantage is more important for Scotland because speed and length of journey makes the aircraft a serious competitor to the long-distance train, in a way that it rarely does in England.   Cancellation of the new high speed link between Leeds and points south could diminish the range of options for travellers linking further north with Edinburgh and the east of Scotland, particularly if journeys are to the the north of England and Midlands.   Journeys between Scotland and England have seen faster growth for destination Manchester and Birmingham than the growth for London. All of them have been growing a lot in recent decades. The Victorian rail network that built spokes in and out of London is unlike the modern demand for services that aren't about the metropolis.   And that growth in passenger numbers is why capacity - and particularly in the southern portions of the journey, as population becomes more dense - is a constraint that has to be addressed. That can be done with more tracks, longer trains and smarter signalling, as well as faster trains. Parallel tracks Apart from Leeds, the impact on Scottish links with English cities is not as great as the change that will or won't take place across the north of England.   It remains the case that a journey that typically takes four and a half hours from London to Glasgow should be cut by about 50 minutes, once HS2 has reached a point near Wigan. At that point, a northbound train will transfer off high-speed tracks, and as it continues north, it won't be able to go as fast.   The east coast line, from Edinburgh through York and Peterborough to London, is to get an upgrade. That is badly needed. Rail campaigners point to ageing overhead gantries and the failure to provide sufficient electric power for the newest trains north of Newcastle, meaning that at least some of them have to switch to diesel.   If the new plans for "integrated rail" do as promised on the east coast line, that could cut journey times by 20 minutes between Newcastle and London. But the plans give no indication of improvements north of the Tyne.   Rail campaigners say there could be improvements to speed up these long-distance services on tracks north of the border. Most of these would use existing line, in some cases and places adding parallel tracks so that slower trains don't get in the way of the fast ones. That could cut Glasgow to London journeys to only three hours, but that depends how often they stop.   If the priority is to link Scotland with London in order to reduce demand for air travel, then the priority should be very few stops and the minimum possible journey time. 'Union connectivity' A rough reckoning by the rail industry is that a cut in journey time from 4 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours 40 should knock out about half of the demand for London air links with Scotland's central belt. Taking it down to three hours could replace air travel.   But there are other priorities in the north of England. "Levelling up" means services that stop and don't hurtle past English towns in order to suit Scottish travellers.   It was recently reported that a Scottish government official had admitted to a transport conference that plans for improving rail connectivity with England have been shunted into a siding for the past couple of years. That appears to reflect a lack of co-operation between Whitehall and St Andrew's House.   Even if it has stopped its own work in high speed rail, the Scottish government remains keen on the UK government pushing on. Said a spokesperson at Transport Scotland: "We have consistently supported HS2 from the outset and called for it to extend further north to Scotland, recognising the benefits this will bring from the improvements in the connectivity, capacity and resilience of the rail network, in addition to a welcome reduction in journey times.   "It is therefore disappointing that the ambition for HS2 has been scaled back rather than expand by bringing it north of Border." A strategic transport projects review is expected this winter, with a 20-year time horizon.   Boris Johnson's government wants to be seen to be improving cross-border links of all sorts, and on its own terms for political reasons. A "union connectivity review" has been long-awaited. Its first draft pointed to improvements to the road links to Northern Ireland through Scotland. It could also take on the hopes of a railway that links the new Edinburgh-Border railway with Carlisle.   Stand by for a tannoy announcement that the review will be arriving at a UK government platform in the next few weeks.   Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-59339381

November 22 at 04:30 AM

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Malaysia pledges spending, green goals in 5-year economic plan

Reuters  September 27, 2021 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) PM Ismail Sabri tables 12th Malaysia Plan Expects 4.5%-5.5% average annual GDP until 2025 Govt to spend over $95 bln on developments in 2021-2025 Carbon tax, no more coal power to reach 2050 carbon neutral goal Malaysia's Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Monday tabled a new five-year economic plan, boosting infrastructure spending and committing to a carbon tax under climate change goals as the country looks to chart its way out of a pandemic-induced slump. Launching the 12th Malaysia Plan in parliament, Ismail Sabri said the country's financial position was expected to improve in 2023, with the economy targeted to grow 4.5%-5.5% per annum in the next five years. Malaysia posted average annual growth of 2.7% between 2016-2020, dragged down by a 5.6% contraction last year due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the premier said. Gross national income per capita rose to 42,500 ringgit ($10,150) in 2020, about 20% lower than the level required to become a high-income country. Malaysia now expects to reach that target by 2025, Ismail Sabri said. Plan includes new highways and rail networks linking rural areas with urban and industrial hubs, more affordable housing, as well as improvements in health, education, and broadband connectivity. Source https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/malaysia-targets-gdp-growth-45-55-per-annum-until-2025-pm-2021-09-27/

October 05 at 04:58 AM

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Malaysia's US$1.8 billion mega project with China Railway falls through

Channel News Asia  15 Jul 2021 (Malaysia) KUALA LUMPUR: An equity deal for a planned mega project near Malaysia's capital involving the government, developer Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) and its Chinese partner will not proceed by mutual agreement, the parties said in a joint statement. The agreement on an RM7.41 billion (US$1.77 billion) acquisition for 60 per cent equity in the Bandar Malaysia mixed commercial project by IWH and its partner China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC) lapsed on May 6 after a failure to meet conditions, the statement issued on Wednesday (Jul 14) said. Bandar Malaysia was due to house the terminal for the now-scrapped high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The project - owned by TRX City, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Finance - was initially announced in 2011, cancelled in 2017 and reinstated in April 2019. The statement said parties had been working to find solutions to preserve the partnership. Source: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/malaysia-china-railway-bandar-project-iskandar-waterfront-cancel-15224636

July 15 at 08:32 AM

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Many railway schools likely to be closed in 2022

The Hindu  October 31, 2021 (India) Move to close down decades-old schools follows recommendations of Principal Economic Adviser When the academic year begins in 2022, many railway schools across the country are likely to be closed. The Indian Railways has decided to go ahead with the closure of its schools and merge students with either Kendriya Vidyalayas or State Government schools as feasible. General Managers of Zonal Railways have been told to identify schools with a relatively smaller number of railway wards that could be merged with and intimate the probable date of closure. Where it is absolutely essential to retain the schools, a detailed justification would have to be furnished to the Railway Board. In an official communication issued early this week, the Railway Board, while asking its General Managers to assess the situation and take a call, said that efforts should be made not to cause discomfort to the families of the children studying in the schools that would be closed/merged. It was also emphasised that no promotions in the Group-B/Senior Scale/Junior Administrative Grade be processed where rationalisation of schools were being done. No further indents should be placed to the Railway Recruitment Board as regards the schools planned for closure. The move to close down the decades-old railway schools follows the recommendations of Principal Economic Adviser Sanjeev Sanyal on the rationalisation of government bodies under the Ministry of Railways. The action on the recommendations got expedited after the Cabinet Secretariat, Rashtrapati Bhavan, called for a monthly update on the PEA’s report. In his report, Mr. Sanyal said the railways were running 94 schools providing education for children of not only railway employees but others too. However, as of 2019, only 15,399 railway wards were enrolled in these schools which was less than half of other non-railway students who constituted 34,277. The Railways also supported 87 Kendriya Vidyalayas where 33,212 railway wards and 55,386 other students were enrolled. Of the total eight lakh children of railway employees in the 4-18 age-group, less than 2% were enrolled in railway schools. Mr. Sanyal noted that operating railway schools consumed a large amount of time of the railway management whose core competence was in operation and maintenance of trains. “Thus, we recommend minimising the time of railway management in running schools, except where absolutely necessary…” he said. Source https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/many-railway-schools-likely-to-be-closed-in-2022/article37273754.ece

November 02 at 05:13 AM

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Mass Spending for Mass Transit

The Wall Street Journal  July 26, 2021 (US) Democrats want the GOP to rescue big-city rail and public unions. Democrats are accusing Republicans of holding up the Senate infrastructure deal over funding for mass transit. Here’s what’s really going on: Republicans have bowed to most Democratic demands. But now Democrats are also insisting that they acquiesce to spending ever more to rescue broken rail and bus systems in big liberal cities. Mass transit typically receives $13 billion in federal funds each year, and Congress provided an additional $70 billion for urban transit last year in the myriad pandemic spending bills. That’s more than six times the normal transit budget and more than the annual operating and capital spending of every transit agency in the U.S. combined. The air drop was intended to make up for lost revenue during lockdowns. But most mass transit systems face a larger structural budget problem that pre-dated the pandemic: Ballooning operating costs from generous labor contracts and pension payments, which are siphoning off money from system improvements and repairs. Many systems have also been losing riders due to lousy service, and more people are taking rides with Lyft and other app car services. So Democrats want Republicans to bail out those cities and their public unions. Republicans have agreed to a $48.5 billion supplemental appropriation for mass transit in the deal. But in addition Democrats are demanding that 20% of transportation spending from the highway trust fund—financed by gas tax revenues—go toward transit. Source https://www.wsj.com/articles/mass-transit-spending-senate-infrastructure-deal-democrats-republicans-11627333592

July 28 at 11:28 AM

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Melbourne rail project cost tipped to hit $100bn

The Australian  AUGUST 20, 2021 The first two sections of the ­Andrews government’s signature Suburban Rail Loop are likely to cost $50bn and will not be completed until 2053, according to an investment case released on Thursday. Details of the largest infrastructure project ever proposed by a state government came on the same day Victoria’s Auditor-General warned major Andrews government projects were not being properly planned to cater for skyrocketing demand for ­materials and labour, and were at risk of critical shortages. They also came a week after toll road company Transurban confirmed a cost blowout of at least $3.3bn on the beleaguered West Gate Tunnel, and coincided with the release on Thursday of Infrastructure Victoria’s 30-year blueprint, which recommended an extra rail tunnel as part of a $100bn plan to cater for a population forecast to grow from 6.6 million to 10.8 million by 2051. Source https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/melbourne-rail-project-cost-tipped-to-hit-100bn/news-story/519afe9a3413313e6f4f354888e1d55c

August 30 at 04:34 AM

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Merger creates first rail network connecting the United States, Mexico and Canada

The Rio Times March 21, 2021 (BRAZIL) The merger between Canadian Pacific Railway Limited and Kansas City Southern will power the first rail network connecting the U.S., Mexico and Canada. RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (CP) and Kansas City Southern (KCS) announced today that they have entered into a merger agreement, in which CP agreed to acquire KCS in a stock and cash transaction representing an enterprise value of approximately US$29 billion and including US$3.8 billion of outstanding KCS debt. Upon approval by the Surface Transportation Board (STB), the two railroads will create the first rail network connecting the United States, Mexico and Canada. The union between Kansas City, CP and KCS will connect customers through a single network of transportation options between CP . . . Source: https://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/mercosur/mexico/this-will-be-the-first-rail-network-connecting-the-united-states-mexico-and-canada/

July 09 at 05:40 AM

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