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200 new train drivers poised to be graduated in next three years in Western Australia.

June 15,2022 (Pilbara, Western Australia) Western Australia is facing severe rail skill shortage and government is yet to address this critical skill shortage issue. Realising this issue in advance Mining Giant has taken the bold decision to set up own rail academy to address this issue. Decision was made last year and the  first batch of 60 new graduates are ready  by now and the academy welcomed the first recruits August last year. BHP Billiton  is investing $20 million AUD in the academy program. BHP WA Iron Ore Asset President Brandon Craig said: “We are excited to see the first round of recruits coming through BHP’s Pilbara Rail Academy and joining our high calibre rail team in Western Australia. “Through our $20 million investment in the academy, we hope to ease the squeeze of rail driver availability in WA and create new pathways for people to join our team and pursue a rewarding career in mining. We can make our business and the mining sector more resilient, create training and job opportunities in regional WA, and continue to deliver value to communities and the economy.”    More than 70 per cent of the 60 trainee drivers are women and about 20 per cent are indigenous, as BHP works to increase diversity and strengthen the capability of its workforce.   The academy recruits have a range of life skills and experiences, including former Uber drivers, ex-military personnel and mums looking for a career change after raising children.  After undergoing a 10-month intensive program at BHP’s Port Hedland and Newman operations, the graduates will receive nationally recognised qualifications in a Certificate IV Train Driving.  They will join BHP’s experienced team of drivers responsible for operating the company’s WA iron ore train fleet of more than 180 locomotives, which deliver ore across more than 1000 kilometres of track from its Pilbara mines to Port Hedland for export.  A fully laden BHP WA iron ore train typically comprises four diesel-electric locomotives pulling approximately 270 cars carrying 40,000 tons of iron ore and can be up to two kilometres long.  By doing so BHP has proven their social responsibility, RailFactor wish this academy will grow into multi-disciplinary skill set development academy  including track ,signalling, communication,maintenance of the infrastructure. Source :BHP, Western Australia

2 years ago

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In a first, some CSX railroad workers to get paid sick leave

News Nation (Associated Press) February 8, 2023 (Omaha, US) Several thousand workers at CSX will soon get one of the things that pushed the U.S. railroad industry to the brink of a strike last fall: paid sick time. CSX announced a deal Tuesday with two of its 12 unions, becoming the first major railroad to offer that benefit that most U.S. workers take for granted. About 4,000 track-maintenance workers in the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division union and another 1,000 mechanical workers in the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen union will get four days of paid sick leave as part of the agreements. The workers will also be able to convert three of their personal leave days into sick-leave days. Quality-of-life concerns about the lack of paid sick time and demanding schedules that keep many rail workers on call 24-7 dominated contract talks with all the major railroads last fall. More than half of all the roughly 115,000 rail workers involved voted to reject five-year contracts that included 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses because of those concerns. Ultimately, that contract was imposed on all the workers at CSX, BNSF, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern railroads after Congress and President Joe Biden stepped in to block a strike because of concerns about the potential dire economic consequences. Tuesday’s deal is especially welcome to rail workers who remained frustrated after the contract was imposed because the new contract didn’t resolve most of their quality-of-life issues. Many workers say their jobs became unbearable after more than one-third of all railroad jobs were eliminated over the last six years as the railroads retooled their operations. Source https://www.newsnationnow.com/business/in-a-first-some-csx-railroad-workers-to-get-paid-sick-leave/

one year ago

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"Celebrating 111 Years of Transport, Happy Ride with MRTA" is a celebration organised by the MRTA

29 June 2023 (Thailand) Miss  Jiratha  Wattanapradit,  Director  of  the  Office  of  Corporate  Communications  for  the  Mass  Rapid  Transit  Authority  of  Thailand  (MRTA),  presided  over  the  meeting, Thursday,  June  29,  2023 at  9:00  a.m. 111  pupils  from  schools  along  the  routes  of  the  electric  train  project  participated  in  the  event  "Celebrating  111  Years  of  Transport,  Happy  Rides  with  MRTA"  in  honour  of  the  ministry  of  transportation's  111th  birthday. Visit  the  yellow  line  electric  train  repair  centre  in  Bangkok  and  do  a  test  run  of  the  MRT  Yellow  Line  between  Sri  Iam  Station  and  Samrong  Station. Source https://www.mrta.co.th/en/news-release/13757

8 months ago

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"SAR" Affirms Readiness of Haramain High-speed Train

Saudi Press Agency 06 July 2022 (Mina, Saudi Arabia) The Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR) has successfully completed the preparatory operation for the Haramain High-speed Train before the actual operation of the Hajj season 1443H, which will start next Thursday (Al-Tarwiyah Day), with the start of transporting pilgrims from Mina to Arafat. During the recent months, the SAR has carried out maintenance and testing operations for the readiness of trains and stations in line with the highest standards of safety and quality to ensure the operation of the train among nine stations in the holy sites. Haramain High-speed Train aims to provide a fast, convenient, reliable and safe way to travel among Makkah, Madinah and the holy sites while utilizing state-of-the-art technologies. --SPA Source https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewstory.php?lang=en&newsid=2368332

2 years ago

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$3.5b to be spent on Queensland rail projects in state budget

The Sydney Morning Herald June 19, 2022 ( Australia) The Queensland government plans to pump $3.5 billion into rail projects as part of the state budget, which will be unveiled in full by Treasurer Cameron Dick on Tuesday. The Treasurer announced the budget teaser at Cross River Rail’s Woolloongabba site on Sunday following the laying of the first section of track for the $5.4 billion underground project. The $3.5 billion will include $924 million for stage three of the Gold Coast Light Rail, from Broadbeach South to Burleigh Heads; $876 million for the Logan and Gold Coast faster rail upgrade from Kuraby to Beenleigh; and $489 million towards the Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade. The package will also allocate $789 million towards the New Generation Rollingstock program, including new signalling and train control systems; $212 million towards the Queensland Train Manufacturing Program; $107 million towards building three new Gold Coast stations – at Pimpama, Hope Island and Merrimac; $92.5 million towards the Loganlea train station relocation; and $30 million for the Loganlea train station park ‘n’ ride upgrade. Dick said these projects would create more than 5000 jobs over their lifespan and include the building of 65 new trains in Maryborough. “Our rail investment is not just for the south-east, it is for all of Queensland. In particular, it will support manufacturing jobs in regional parts of the state, particularly Maryborough and Rockhampton,” he said. “By making trains here in Queensland, it also supports traditional manufacturing and skilled jobs in the many small and medium businesses that are part of the supply chain.” Dick’s announcement followed the laying of the first section of track, spanning 50 metres, at Cross River Rail’s Albert Street station in Brisbane’s CBD, part of the 5.9-kilometre twin-tunnel project. Transport Minister Mark Bailey said that project would greatly benefit crowds watching games at the Gabba, and during the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. “Trains will arrive every three minutes at the Gabba, clearing 900 people at a time. Can you imagine how much better that is going to be getting out of the Gabba, compared to the current schemozzle?” he said. “You can throw as many buses as you like at it, but it is still very difficult to get away from the Gabba. “This [Woolloongabba] station will not only be fantastic to get away from the Gabba when it is open, it will also be essential to moving people about for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2032.” The Gabba is set to host the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies. Cross River Rail workers aim to lay 50-100 metres of track every day for the next year or so, before moving into the mechanical and electrical work phase, followed by the station fitout process. The majority of the construction work should be done by 2024. There will then be a period of testing before the first trains start taking passengers some time in 2025. Source https://www.smh.com.au/national/queensland/3-5b-to-be-spent-on-queensland-rail-projects-in-state-budget-20220619-p5auuk.html

2 years ago

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$640m train testing centre delayed by a year, first phase to open in 2023

Straits Times November 4, 2022 (Singapore) The opening of a dedicated train testing facility in Tuas – the first of its kind in South-east Asia – has been delayed   by a year. The Integrated Train Testing Centre (ITTC) is being built in two phases, and was slated to be fully operational by end-2024. The first phase, which includes the construction of a high-speed test track, was supposed to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2022. It is now expected to be completed in 2023, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Friday. Phase two, which involves the building of two other test tracks, workshops, an operations control centre and an administration building, will be ready only in 2025. The ITTC is the latest rail project here to face setbacks. Other rail projects, such as the Thomson-East Coast Line and Circle Line 6 (CCL6), were delayed by up to a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. When ready, the ITTC will allow train and rail systems testing to be performed round the clock, freeing up limited engineering hours at night for other maintenance and renewal works. The delay means commuters may need to continue to bear with the late opening and early closure of stations, should more engineering hours be needed to conduct such tests. The testing centre is located on a 50ha site at the former Raffles Country Club, which was acquired for the terminated Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project. South Korean firm GS Engineering clinched a $639.5 million contract to design and build the centre in 2020. Civil construction work started in March 2021. The ITTC’s three test tracks are designed to be interoperable and can accommodate all types of signalling and communication systems used across the MRT network. One is a looped endurance track with an uphill gradient section to test train performance; the second is a looped performance and integration track with a branched S-shaped track; and the third is a straight high-speed track that allows for tests at up to 100kmh. When fully operational, the centre will be among the first in the world that can test different trains and rail systems at the same time, without disrupting regular passenger services. LTA previously said the ITTC will support the testing and commissioning of trains and railway systems for both new and existing rail lines, including CCL6 and the mid-life upgrades of trains. Testing is currently done at depots and on the main MRT lines when trains are not in service. With the ITTC, new trains can be tested here while an MRT line is still being developed and the depots are not yet ready. Such tests typically take years and are currently done overseas. The ITTC will also help build up local rail engineering capabilities, the authorities earlier said. On Friday, LTA inked an agreement with the Global Centre of Rail Excellence in the United Kingdom to collaborate on the development of train testing centres in both countries. Under the memorandum of understanding, signed during the Singapore International Transport Congress and Exhibition, LTA and the global centre will share best practices in areas such as design and engineering, among other things. LTA deputy chief executive for infrastructure and development Chua Chong Kheng said the partnership will “help develop and grow mutual capabilities in operating such testing facilities”. Source https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/640m-train-testing-centre-delayed-by-a-year-first-phase-to-open-in-2023

one year ago

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'Culture Train' links Germany and Poland

Deutsche Welle 8 January 2023 (Germany) This train service from Berlin to Wroclaw is more than a means of transportation — it also offers a culture program. The "Culture Train" between the German capital, Berlin, and the southwestern city of Wroclaw in Poland has been on the move since 2016. The trip between the cities on the Spree and Oder rivers takes 4 1/2 hours — plenty of time to inform passengers about the culture that awaits them at the end of their journey and provide them with entertainment. On board, passengers encounter writers, musicians, creative artists, a library and a permanent exhibition. The project was originally designed for a six-month period, but it was so successful that it was never discontinued. It has become a respected institution that is known far beyond the German-Polish border region. Poland, Berlin cooperate to boost culture Rafal Dutkiewicz, former mayor of Wroclaw, said he was one of the driving forces behind the idea. "Someone from city hall came up with a name right away: 'Pociag do kultury' — Culture Train," he said, adding that the aim was to develop Poland's cooperation with Berlin and the state of Brandenburg in the culture sector while at the same time reviving a train link between the two cities that had been discontinued two years earlier. On the German side, a "group of young creative people" played a major role in putting the idea into action and aiding its success, he said. Long before the project was launched, Ewa Strozczynska-Wille, who specializes in theater and German studies, and Natalie Wasserman, a translator, got together with director and producer Oliver Spatz to work toward this joint German-Polish endeavor. Spatz, who was director of the Kleist Forum in Frankfurt an der Oder from 2015 to 2016, is still project manager for the Culture Train. "We'd had the idea of offering culture on a train for quite some time," said Wasserman. When Wroclaw was chosen as European Capital of Culture in 2016, that was a unique opportunity to make a dream come true, she said, adding that a "conglomeration of ideas" had come together. Maiden trip sold out  When the Culture Train set off on its maiden voyage from Berlin's Lichtenberg station on April 30, 2016, Spatz's team held their breath. "We were afraid that no one would take the train because of the long journey," he recalled. In the end, they were taken completely by surprise. "Many more people wanted to travel than we could fit," he said. "We had planned a capacity of 420 seats. After two weeks, every seat was sold. That blew us away." The organizers had faced the difficult challenge of coming up with a cultural program that appealed to a wide range of people. They devised a basic scheme aimed at a broad audience, with a quiz and a mobile library on board. Passengers were asked simple questions, such as giving the number of states or voivodeships in both countries. "The point was to get people talking with one another," Wasserman remembered. Source https://www.dw.com/en/polandberlin-cooperate-to-boost-culture/a-64288376

one year ago

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'Cycle train' services taking off across Japan

Japan Times March 28, 2023 (Osaka, Japan) So-called cycle trains, or trains on which passengers can carry their bicycles without having to fold or disassemble them, are spreading across Japan. Faced with a decline in passengers due to the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to a rapidly aging population, railway operators in the country hope to attract more users by utilizing the popularity of cycling and taking advantage of tourism resources along their train lines. East Japan Railway, or JR East, has been operating a cycle train connecting Tokyo’s Ryogoku Station with stations along the Pacific coast in Chiba Prefecture since January 2018. Reflecting its good reputation among cyclists, the 99-seater train used for the service is sometimes fully booked. West Japan Railway Co., or JR West, started a cycle train service on a section of the Kisei Line in December 2021. It also added a train car for bicycles to its Kuroshio express train last October. The company does not charge an extra fee for taking bicycles onboard. The Kisei Line section, which links Shingu and Shirahama stations in Wakayama Prefecture, is one of the lines that JR West has revealed to be unprofitable. “We hope that many customers will use the service, leading to the revitalization of areas along the line,” a JR West public relations official said. Kintetsu Railway introduced a cycle train service on its lines, including the Shima Line in Mie Prefecture, last September, with no extra charge for bringing bicycles onboard. With the service making it easier for passengers to visit sightseeing spots that are far from stations, Kintetsu gets more than 60 users per day on busy days. Keio launched a trial cycle train service in January to attract tourists to areas around Mount Takao in Hachioji, western Tokyo. It is currently conducting a second trial. Shikoku Railway, or JR Shikoku, launched a cycle train service on an irregular basis on a section of its Yosan Line in 2009. The service was a pioneer for train services targeting cyclists, taking advantage of a bicycle path that crosses the Seto Inland Sea near the line. Passengers are currently allowed to bring their bicycles onto certain regular trains on JR Shikoku’s Yosan and Yodo lines during weekends and on holidays. The railway operators’ respective cycle train services have been well-received, with requests to expand them to more routes. Whether companies can make investments on equipment such as specialized train cars and get cyclists to travel on trains together smoothly with ordinary passengers is likely to be key to the success of cycle trains. Yuko Yamamoto, chief of the nonprofit CycloTourisme Shimanami, which was involved in the Yosan Line cycle train, said that growing awareness of health and environmentally friendly values has been behind the expansion of cycle train services across the country. “(The services) can serve as the core of regional branding, and promote tourism trips to visit multiple sites,” she said. Source https://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2023/03/28/general/cycle-trains-popularity/

11 months ago

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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

2 years ago

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'Huge support' for new Manchester to Lancashire rail link

BBC 2 July 2022 (UK) A survey has revealed overwhelming public support for a new rail link between East Lancashire and Manchester. Some 86% of those who completed the Rossendale Council poll backed reinstating the Rawtenstall to Manchester train corridor. Rejuvenating the line could offer a 45-minute trip to the city and cut car journeys on nearby roads by three million, planners believe. The Rawtenstall to Bury line closed to passengers in 1972 and freight in 1980. About 55% of working age residents in Rossendale commute to work from the area each day, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said. Council leader Alyson Barnes and local Conservative MPs Jake Berry and Sara Britcliffe said the survey results gave the campaign a real head of steam. However, Mike Kelly, chairman of the East Lancashire Railway, which would be incorporated into the link, has repeatedly aired his concerns that it could threaten the future of the heritage line. Options for the project include building an integrated train shuttle service connecting to Metrolink trams in Bury or a direct train to Manchester Victoria, via Heywood. Both would create stations at Rawtenstall, Ewood Bridge with a park and ride for Haslingden, Stubbins, Ramsbottom and Bury. Ms Barnes said: "I have always championed the Rossendale rail link. It is vital to our continued sustainable growth. "We are the only borough in Lancashire without a rail link and we cannot afford to miss out any longer. "Whichever solution is chosen will also ensure the continued success of the heritage railway so it is disappointing that the operating company is still unwilling to see this as a solution to their long-term future." Rossendale MP Mr Berry said he was pleased with the survey results. He added: "I will be speaking to the Department of Transport to push for this to be considered further. I would urge the East Lancashire Railway to engage with talks, as without them this plan will fall at the next stage." Last year an idea was mooted for electric trains made from London tube trains could run on the new link. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-lancashire-61993575

2 years ago

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'Serious' safety faults in Greek rail network: Watchdog

Straits Times March 17, 2023 (Athens, Greece) Greece’s rail watchdog on Friday said a probe had uncovered serious signs of poor training among staff on duty during the country’s deadliest train tragedy, which killed 57 people last month. The Regulatory Authority for Railways (RAS) in a statement said the shortcomings constituted an “immediate and serious” threat to public safety, after finding “lack of proof” that recently hired stationmasters had completed the required basic training. It blamed the state-owned Hellenic Railways Organisation that owns the network for “inadequate” training of “critical” personnel. “The training provided by OSE... to staff conducting critical safety duties was lacking and therefore inadequate,” the independent authority said. The investigation was launched on March 3, three days after two trains collided, killing 57 people, RAS said at the time. The stationmaster on duty on the night of the accident has admitted mistakenly allowing the passenger and freight trains to run on the same track for several kilometres. But railway unions had long been warning about problems on the underfunded and understaffed train network. The disaster has sparked weeks of angry and occasionally violent protests. It has also piled major pressure on the conservative government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis ahead of elections expected in May. Some 40,000 people protested in cities around Greece on Thursday, with many calling on the government to resign. Another protest with some 65,000 people nationwide was held last week. AFP Source https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/serious-safety-faults-in-greek-rail-network-watchdog

11 months ago

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'Severe weather' cancels West Midlands Railways services

BBC 15 August 2022 (UK) Rail commuters faced further travel chaos as West Midlands Railways cancelled services and blamed the weather. Passengers were advised there were no trains were running between Lichfield Trent Valley and Birmingham New Street. The rail operator cited "severe weather" as the reason for the cancellations which lasted until about 09:00. Full services have now resumed. Overhead line problems at Birmingham caused severe delays on Sunday. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-62549487

2 years ago

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