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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

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:

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:

August 24 at 02:44 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

September 17 at 05:33 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

September 03 at 04:48 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:

July 23 at 06:08 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

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

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

September 29 at 03:58 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

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

July 30 at 08:33 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

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:

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

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:

July 09 at 05:45 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

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

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

August 31 at 07:13 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

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

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  

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

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

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

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:

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

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

October 12 at 07:46 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

August 31 at 07:20 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

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

August 24 at 04:55 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

September 27 at 06:10 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

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

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

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

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

July 29 at 10:41 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

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

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

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

September 14 at 04:48 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:

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

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

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:

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

July 22 at 05:49 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

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

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

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

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

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

September 15 at 05:12 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.

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

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

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

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:

July 09 at 07:36 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

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:

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

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

September 23 at 06:19 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

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

July 20 at 11:53 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

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

October 01 at 06:39 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:

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  

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

August 12 at 10:57 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

August 19 at 10:13 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.

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

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: 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

September 21 at 04:55 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

October 04 at 04:54 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

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

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

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.

July 16 at 11:25 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

August 28 at 10:49 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:

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

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:

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

August 31 at 07:06 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.

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

August 26 at 06:44 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:

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

August 13 at 03:44 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

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

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

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

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

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

September 17 at 04:47 AM

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

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.

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

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

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

August 04 at 09:30 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

September 10 at 06:17 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

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

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:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 22 at 05:38 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:

July 09 at 05:40 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

September 30 at 05:47 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

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

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

September 22 at 06:24 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

August 03 at 09:18 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: 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

September 27 at 09:59 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

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

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

September 13 at 05:47 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

October 13 at 07:26 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:  

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:

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

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 -

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'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

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:

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

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

September 22 at 05:44 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

September 08 at 06:40 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:

July 09 at 05:38 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

October 13 at 07:15 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

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

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:

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)/

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

September 08 at 04:45 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

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

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/ 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

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:

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:  

July 09 at 05:45 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:

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

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

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

September 10 at 06:35 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

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

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

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:

July 09 at 05:43 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

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:

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

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

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

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

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

October 08 at 08:11 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

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

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

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

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:

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

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

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

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

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:

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

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

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:

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

October 18 at 06:40 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

July 23 at 06:54 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

July 12 at 03:11 PM

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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:

July 09 at 07:33 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

August 05 at 06:13 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:

July 19 at 04:37 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

September 20 at 04:13 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

September 14 at 05:22 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:

July 29 at 07:34 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

September 06 at 07:52 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:

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

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:

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

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

July 28 at 08:05 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

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

August 11 at 11:49 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:

July 09 at 05:46 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

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:

July 15 at 08:32 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

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

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:

July 09 at 05:40 AM

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Mersin Metro Tender Won by the Firm Submitting the 3,3 Billion Bid

Rayhaber  26 August, 2021 (Turkey) Mersin Metro, which is one of the vision projects that Mersin Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Vahap Seçer will bring to the city in the field of transportation, has reached the most important stage. On April 13.4, 11, the technical and financial qualification phase of the underground metro construction tender between the "Mezitli Old Town Hall-Train Station", consisting of 28 km and .2021 stations, was completed The winner of the tender has been announced As a result of the examinations made by the Metropolitan Municipality Transportation Department Tender Commission, Dillingham Cont. int. Inc + Kiska- Kom İnş. Inc. won the joint venture. The second most advantageous offer in the  .tender is Doğuş İnş. ve Tic. Inc. and Yapı Merkezi İnş. and San. Inc. was a joint venture Source

October 07 at 05:12 AM

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Metro Rail Project: Formal test runs kick off today

The Daily Star  Aug 29, 2021  The formal test run of the country's first metro rail service will start from today when a metro train will run on the elevated rail track connecting the depot in the capital's Diabari and the first four stations. The test run in the Uttara North, Uttara Centre, Uttara South and Pallabi stations will be inaugurated by Obaidul Quader, the road transport and bridges minister, at the depot at 10:00 am today. On Friday, as part of the preparation, the authorities operated the train between four stations at a very slow speed to check safety issues and take different technical measurements ahead of today's programme, said ABM Arifur Rahman, project manager (CP-8) of Mass Rapid Transit Line-1 project. A fifth station at Mirpur-11 will also be kept ready today as when the train reaches the Pallabi station it will get power from the power sub-station at Mirpur-11. After the performance test, the authority would move on to integrity tests for synchronisation and then on to trial run. Dhaka city dwellers, however, may have to wait more than a year to ride the metro train because of the host of testing required to be eligible for commercial operation. Source

September 01 at 09:19 AM

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Metro, Capital Bikeshare want to lure back riders: Sign up for mobile SmarTrip and get free bike rides

The Washington Post  August 3, 2021 (US) The promotion, available through December, is one more incentive that the region’s leaders are using to get residents back. If you ride Metro and want to give the region’s rental bicycles a try, Metro and Capital Bikeshare have a deal for you: Those who sign up to pay their Metro fare virtually will get 10 free Capital Bikeshare rides. The promotion, available through December, is one more incentive that the region’s leaders are using to get residents back onto public transportation after 16 months of slow ridership because of the coronavirus pandemic. In recent months, local transit agencies have announced reduced or free fares, service adjustments and new amenities such as WiFi and allowing bikes aboard trains. Metro plans to lower the cost of weekend Metrorail trips and to increase bus and train frequencies in the fall. Capital Bikeshare, which has stations across the region, is planning a multimillion-dollar expansion. Source

August 05 at 10:39 AM

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Mexico City prepares criminal charges, urges settlements in probe of Metro collapse

Reuters  October 15, 2021 (Mexico) Mexico City officials on Thursday said they were opening criminal cases against people and companies involved in building a stretch of Metro rail that collapsed, killing 26 people, and urged the firms to quickly come to settlement deals. The accident occurred in May when an overpass and train carriage on Metro Line 12 plummeted onto a stream of cars in the southeast of the city. An independent auditor found that missing bolts and poor welding contributed to the crash, findings confirmed in a separate investigation by the Mexico City Attorney General's Office. "This prosecutor's office has the evidence to charge a number of people and companies who were in charge of ensuring there would never be cause for a collapse," Mexico City's Attorney General, Ernestina Godoy, told a news conference. The suspected people will face charges of homicide, causing injuries and property damage, she added, without providing details. She urged companies to reach agreements with the city to avoid legal processes and help provide reparations to victims. "Some companies that participated in Line 12 showed from the very beginning their interest in participate in the mitigation and repair of effects from the collapse," Godoy said. Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has said his construction firm, Grupo Carso, which helped build the section that collapsed, will repair the line at no cost to the government. Without naming Grupo Carso, Godoy said she hoped companies would contribute to a fund to support people injured in the accident and the families of victims. Source

October 18 at 06:47 AM

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Milk transportation from Renigunta to Delhi: Indian Railways Doodh Duronto trains cross 10 crore litres mark

Financial Express  August 11, 2021 (India) Transportation of milk by Doodh Duronto special trains from Renigunta to the national capital has been very important and crucial to meet the country's essential requirements. Transportation of milk by Indian Railways from Renigunta in Andhra Pradesh to New Delhi through Doodh Duronto special trains has crossed the mark of ten crore litres. According to the Railway Ministry, since their introduction on 26 March 2020, these special train services were operated on an uninterrupted basis by the South Central Railway zone and till date, as many as 2502 milk tankers were transported through 443 train trips. Transportation of milk by Doodh Duronto special trains from Renigunta to the national capital has been very important and crucial to meet the country’s essential requirements, the Railway Ministry stated. Source

August 11 at 11:28 AM

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Mission: Impossible films Derbyshire quarry train crash

BBC  22 Aug, 2021  A scene involving a steam locomotive crashing into a quarry for the latest Mission: Impossible film has been filmed in Derbyshire. The scene was shot at Stoney Middleton - where teams had been building the set for months - on Friday, with the black train plunging from a track on a cliff. Local photographers posted images of the moment from the latest Mission Impossible film on social media. They also reported the film's star Tom Cruise was there to witness the crash. Source

August 24 at 05:13 AM

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Moscow Metro to Equip 1,500 Train Cars With Facial Recognition By 2021

The Moscow Times  July 22, 2020 (Russia) The Moscow metro plans to equip around 1,500 subway cars with facial recognition technology by the end of 2020, BBC Russia reported Tuesday. A public contract posted earlier in July states that the metro system will spend 1.4 billion rubles ($20 million) on the controversial cameras and software. The Moscow metro announced trials of facial recognition cameras on trains and in stations in 2018. Around one-quarter of all Moscow metro cars will each be equipped with eight facial recognition cameras by year-end, according to BBC Russia.  Each of the 12,300 cameras linked to 398 servers will be able to identify 15 faces per second, according to the Kommersant business daily. Cameras with neural network image processing capacities are currently installed at entrance turnstiles at metro stations, but not inside the subway cars themselves. Authorities in Moscow have already deployed facial recognition technology across a network of almost 200,000 surveillance cameras to identify criminal suspects.  The Russian capital deployed its “Safe City” facial recognition surveillance program earlier this year to track and order into self-isolation potential carriers of the coronavirus. Source

August 31 at 08:34 AM

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Mott MacDonald, SNC-Lavlin in race for Bahrin Metro corridor work

Trade Arabia News Service  17/Aug/2021 (Bahrain) Leading global engineering majors Mott MacDonald, SNC-Lavlin Major Projects and Esbi Engineering and Facility Management have submittd bids for providing consultancy services for utility diversions of Bahrain Metro Project corridor. This comes in response to the request for proposals (RFPs) issued by Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications for enabling work design for Phase One and Phase I A of the metro project, according to the Bahrain Tender Board website. The scope of work includes planning and designing the utilities diversion conflicting the corridor and also proposing new corridors for the diverted utilities by co-ordinatioon and approval of the relevant authorities such as Electricity and Water Authority (EWA), Ministry of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning, Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) and all relevant authorities, stated the kingdom's tenders site. Phase One of Bahrain Metro Project is approximately 28.6km long with 20 stations, while I A will be 8km long and 4 stations. Source

August 18 at 05:13 AM

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Moving cargo on rail must make sense for importers

Business Daily  September 27 2021 (Kenya) Linking the Standard Gauge Rail (SGR) to the old metre gauge railway will create a critical line that offers the multi-billion shilling project a lease of life. The 23.5 kilometre rail connecting the standard gauge railway (SGR) line to the old track in Naivasha is complete and will allow seamless travel between the Mombasa port and Kisumu. Rehabilitating the Naivasha-Malaba line and building another short track connecting the SGR at Naivasha was a quicker option than building another SGR. The government abandoned plans to extend the SGR line to Kisumu and later on to the Ugandan border after failing to secure a multi-billion-shilling loan from China, which had funded the first and second phases of the line. However, the issues that have been plaguing SGR will still exist even with the connection to the port city of Kisumu. Since its launch in 2017, the new railways has struggled to earn enough revenues to sustain the business after the Jubilee administration spent billions of shillings on the project. The State resorted to forcing importers to use the railway to enhance revenues. Source

September 27 at 07:01 AM

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MRT operations back on track after fire incident

Manila Times  October 11, 2021 (Philippines) THE Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3) resumed full operations on Sunday, hours after one of its cars caught fire on Saturday. All 17 trains are running, the MRT management said. At least four passengers were injured on Saturday when a coach caught fire between Buendia and Guadalupe stations. In a statement, MRT's maintenance provider Sumitomo Corp. said it is investigating the cause of the incident. It assured the public it is taking countermeasures to ensure the safety of MRT 3 operation. "All angles are being thoroughly examined. Again, we express our apologies for those injured and wish for their speedy recovery," it said. In November 2019, an MRT 3 train car emitted smoke while moving south from the Santolan station. Over 500 passengers had to be unloaded. Source

October 12 at 05:47 AM

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MRT Train Testing Facility to be fully operational by 2024

Rail Factor  20/07/2021 (Singapore)  The  Integrated Train Testing Centre  (ITTC) will be fully operational by the end of 2024.   The  Integrated Train Testing Centre (ITTC)  is a proposed railway testing facility in Singapore, commissioned by the Land Transport Authority (LTA). The 50 Hectare site is planned at the former site of the Raffles Country Club.  ITTC  would enable testing, commissioning of rolling stock, rail subsystems for both new and existing rail lines.   The construction which began on 17th March 2021 is expected to be opened in two phases; During the first phase, it will receive new trains and systems for Circle Line 6. Full completion is expected by  end of 2024 .   The facility is expected to enable more robust integrated testing of new railway systems before their implementation on operational lines. Such a facility would also deepen local engineering capabilities in the railway industry.   The ITTC is designed as a common facility for all train testing services. The test tracks are designed to be interoperable and they can accommodate all types of signalling and communication systems used across the MRT network. It will also be equipped with both third-rail and overhead catenary power systems allowing concurrent testing of trains and systems from different MRT lines.   To facilitate a comprehensive range of testing modules, ITTC will house three separate types of tracks for specific safety-critical tests: Endurance Test Track Loop track with gradient changes for train performance testing Performance and Integration Test Track Looped track with a branched ‘S-shaped’ track High-speed Test Track  – opening 2022 Straight high-speed track with minimal curvature and gradient, for dynamic speed testing of up to 100km/h In addition to the roughly 11 km of test tracks, ITTC includes the following facilities: Administration Building Operations Control Centre (OCC) Train Maintenance Workshop Train Refurbishment Workshop ITTC was designed by GS Engineering in cooperation with Korea’s state-run Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI). It is modelled after similar rail testing centres in Germany, Korea, and Japan, all of which have extensive rail networks. As indicated from site plans, ITTC is a standalone facility not connected to the existing rail network, despite having proximity to Tuas MRT Depot.     Key Benefits   ITTC supports ongoing efforts to renew, upgrade and expand the rail network in Singapore. The project will help learn rail reliability and deepening core rail engineering capabilities in Singapore. ITTC allows for robust integrated testing of trains and their associated systems before being deployed on operational lines. This approach frees up precious engineering hours for other activities, such as railway maintenance, and reduces the need for Early Closures and Late Openings in the future. LTA can expect to speed up the diagnosis and rectification of faults much faster as available locally.Over time, ITTC would grow into a hub for LTA and the local rail industry to develop deeper Operations and Maintenance competencies and achieve engineering excellence. The facility also would provide railway workers with training opportunities, allowing for a first-hand understanding of the intricacies of new rail systems before being deployed. The rolling stock facility at the ITTC can carry out mid-life train refurbishment projects. Furthermore, ITTC can also serve as a testing ground for the local rail industry to evaluate new railway infrastructure, develop proofs-of-concept, conduct research, and development into railway technologies.   Trains for Testing The facility will start receiving Alstom Metropolis C851E in early 2023. 11 trainsets are being delivered to support the Circle Line Stage 6.   Railway Testing Centres in other countries were built for the same reasons; as a way to rigorously test new railway technologies without the constraints of commercially-used rail lines. Apart from rolling stock, testing centers can accommodate all sorts of railway technologies, such as track or catenary components. They can be either privately-owned or state-owned.   Source: Land Transport Authority of Singapore /and other sources

July 20 at 03:29 PM

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Mum calls for early train to be reinstated for schoolgirls

Knutsford Guardian  19th September SCHOOLGIRLS are struggling with exhaustion because they have to get up too early to catch a train, say mums. Pupils travelling from Knutsford arrive at Altrincham an hour before classes start because an earlier service was cancelled during the pandemic. Mum Amy Hayes has now launched a campaign to get the 8.04am Northern Rail train service reinstated. She will be handing out flyers on the platform urging commuters to support her appeal. Her 11-year-old daughter Alice and friends, all former pupils at St Vincent's Catholic Primary School, have to get up at the crack of dawn to catch a train to get to Loreto Grammar on time. Source

September 24 at 04:32 AM

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Munich-Prague train collides with Czech commuter service, three dead

Reuters  August 4, 2021 (Czech Republic) A Munich-to-Prague express train ran through a stop signal and collided with a local commuter service in the Czech Republic on Wednesday and three people were killed including both train drivers, authorities said. Eight passengers were seriously injured and several were taken by helicopter to hospital from the crash site near the western Czech village of Milavce, according to the regional rescue service. Ten German passengers with lighter injuries were taken by ambulance to hospitals in Germany, a Czech medical service coordinator said. About 50 passengers in all suffered minor injuries not requiring immediate treatment. Source

August 05 at 06:13 AM

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Murad seeks federal funding for $160m Islamkot-Chhor railway line project

Dawn  August 17, 2021 (KARACHI, Pakistan) Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday urged the federal government to construct a 105-kilometre railway line between the Thar Coalfield in Islamkot and Chhor for transportation of coal to the upcountry areas. He was speaking to Khalid Mansoor, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on CPEC affairs, at CM House. The meeting was attended by Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh, Special Assistant to the CM on Investment Qasim Naveed, Investment Secretary Zahid Abbasi and Energy Secretary Tariq Shah. “Thar’s coal is a great national treasure; it should be used in all coal-fired power generation and other projects being developed in different parts of the country,” the chief minister said. He said that through a private firm, a feasibility study for the construction of the proposed 105km railway line from Islamkot to Chhor had been conducted. The study revealed that the railway line will cost $160 million and the cost of rolling stock will cost $127 million.

September 10 at 06:00 AM

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Musk's Boring Company bids to build transit tunnel in Florida

Reuters  July 8, 2021 (US)  BERKELEY, California, July 7 (Reuters) - Elon Musk's tunneling enterprise, Boring Company, has submitted a bid to build an underground transit system between downtown and the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the city's mayor said. "This could be a truly innovative way to reduce traffic congestion," Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean J. Trantalis tweeted on Tuesday, adding that other firms have 45 days to submit competing proposals. Terms of the bid were not disclosed, and Boring Company had no immediate comment. The company retweeted the mayor's tweet. In June, Boring Company opened its first commercial tunnel project in Las Vegas to transport visitors through the city's Convention Center using human-driven Tesla vehicles.   Source:

July 09 at 10:44 AM

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My £185 thello refund has been derailed by Rail Europe

The Guardian  16 Aug 2021 (France) It accepts no liability for the money I paid for my cancelled tickets At the start of 2020 I bought, through the train ticket agency Rail Europe, two tickets for the sleeper train from Paris to Venice, travelling on 9 June 2020. The train was run by an Italian train operator, thello, and the tickets cost £185. In March 2020, thello cancelled all trains on that route. Rail Europe’s website stated that refund requests should be made direct to the train companies, so I sent my claim to thello in May 2020, in line with the requirements on its website. Thello has emailed me a number of times – the last time on 30 December - to say that it was dealing with queries as quickly as it could. It is now 14 months since the journey did not take place. Thello is, apparently, no longer running any trains. Rail Europe accepts no liability for the money which I paid to them for my tickets. I would be really grateful for your advice, please. CW, by email Source

August 18 at 10:29 AM

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Mysterious Hacker Group Suspected in July Cyberattack on Iranian Trains

The New York Times  14 August 2021 (Iran) An investigation by a cybersecurity company has concluded that a little-known group opposed to the Iranian government was most likely behind the hack that caused chaos on the railway system TEL AVIV — When a cyberattack on Iran’s railroad system last month caused widespread chaos with hundreds of trains delayed or canceled, fingers naturally pointed at Israel, which has been locked in a long-running shadow war with Tehran. But a new investigation by an Israeli-American cybersecurity company, Check Point Software Technologies, concluded that a mysterious group opposed to the Iranian government was most likely behind the hack. That is in contrast to many previous cyberattacks, which were attributed to state entities. The group is known as Indra, named after the god of war in Hindu mythology. “We have seen many cyberattacks connected with what are believed to be professional intelligence or military units,” said Itay Cohen, a senior researcher at Check Point. “But here, it seems to be something else entirely.” The company’s report, which was reviewed by The New York Times, said the attack was a cautionary tale: An opposition group without the budget, personnel or abilities of a government could still inflict a good deal of damage. Source

August 16 at 09:58 AM

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N.Korea says it tested new railway-borne missile system to strike 'threatening forces'

Reuters September 16,2021 (SEOUL,South Korea) A missile is seen launched during a drill of the Railway Mobile Missile Regiment in North Korea, in this image supplied by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency on September 16, 2021. KCNA via REUTERS The missiles fired by North Korea on Wednesday were a test of a new "railway-borne missile system" designed as a potential counter-strike to any forces that threaten the country, state news agency KCNA reported on Thursday. The missiles flew 800 km (497 miles) before striking a target in the sea off North Korea's east coast, KCNA said. Source

September 16 at 06:19 AM

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Nearly 3,000 Indian Railway employees died due to covid-19

Mint  31 Jul 2021 (India) Out of a total of 1,57,496 cases found covid positive after RTPCR test, 2,952 Railway employees have died due to covid-19. NEW DELHI: Indian Railway lost 2,952 employees to covid-19, and at least 157,496 staff tested positive for the virus, according to Union government data, reflecting how the pandemic affected the human resource of the national transporter. Of the staff who have died, in 1,931 cases the government has given jobs to their eligible family members on compassionate grounds. “Out of a total of 1,57,496 cases found covid positive after RTPCR test, 2,952 railway employees have died due to corona disease. As per records available, 98 of the 2,952 deceased railway employees had taken corona vaccine," according to Indian Railway. Source

August 03 at 08:17 AM

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New chief of controversial rail corporation pockets $575,000 a year

The Sydney Morning Herald  October 1, 2021 (Australia) About $40 billion of rail assets including trains are owned by the government’s Transport Asset Holding Entity. The third chief executive of a controversial rail corporation in just over 14 months is paid $575,000 a year, it was revealed at an inquiry on Friday as NSW public servants came under pressure to explain the rationale for the entity. Under questioning on the first day of a parliamentary inquiry, the new chief of the Transport Asset Holding Entity Benedicte Colin revealed she is paid about the equivalent of the NSW Treasury secretary’s salary. She began as TAHE’s permanent chief executive last month, replacing David Jurd who had been interim CEO since April. The state-owned corporation, which has just 20 staff, is under  serious scrutiny  from both the inquiry and the NSW Auditor-General who is conducting two separate reviews. Labor tabled documents to the inquiry showing that Mr Jurd was paid “towards the maximum end” of the pay scale proposed in a report by adviser Mercer due to the short-term nature of his role, while Ms Colin was expected to receive a lower salary as his permanent replacement. The government had previously refused to reveal what the TAHE chief executives were paid, saying it would be disclosed in the corporation’s annual report later this year. Ms Colin, a former boss of public transport group Keolis Downer, was approached for the role at TAHE in about February this year, shortly before its inaugural CEO Anne Hayes took planned sick leave. The revolving door of CEOs at TAHE since July last year has raised questions about its future, as internal documents have shown the government has considered winding up the entity which owns nearly $40 billion of the state’s trains, stations and other rail assets. A  Herald  investigation revealed in June that TAHE was set up in 2015 to enable the government to hide the costs of the rail system by shifting billions of dollars of expenses off the books and into the state-owned corporation. Source

October 08 at 08:17 AM

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New shinkansen design revealed for Nagasaki extension

Japan Today  Aug. 4, 2021 (Japan) For many years, Japan’s high-speed shinkansen rail system could only take you as far from Tokyo as Fukuoka, on Japan’s southwest island of Kyushu. The line eventually got extended to south to Kagoshima, but people traveling to or from western Kyushu, including Nagasaki, still have no bullet train service in the region. That’s going to change soon, though, and with an eye towards the future rail operator JR Kyushu has unveiled the visual design of its new Shinkansen trains that will be running on the upcoming West Kyushu Route next year. Utilizing KR Kyushu’s bright red image color on its exterior, the train will be called Kamome, which translates as “Seagull,” with its stylized emblem evocative of a bird in flight and brush calligraphy logo carrying a similar feeling of freedom in motion. The six passenger cars that make up the train have room for 396 travelers, with a total of 163 reserved seats in Cars 1, 2, and 3. Seats in Car 1 have an auspicious chrysanthemum design on their upholstery. Source

September 09 at 05:33 AM

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New train rolls off line

Global Times  September 27, 2021 (China) A new urban fast rail train developed by CRRC's subsidiary in Tangshan, North China's Hebei Province is displayed on Monday at a transit industry summit in the city. The train will use fully autonomous driving technology, and its materials and components can be recycled and reused up to the 96 percent level. Source

September 29 at 04:03 AM

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Newcastle Central Station revamp finally to begin

BBC  15/08/2021 (UK)  The £4m redevelopment of Newcastle's Victorian Central Station is finally due to begin next month. The revamp was approved in February 2019 with completion expected this year but it has been significantly delayed. The plans include two new entrances for the Grade I-listed building, a new concourse and relocated taxi rank and car parks. North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which is funding the work, said it was "vital" for the future. LEP investment board chair Andrew Moffat said: "Newcastle Central Station is one of the busiest transport hubs in the North East and the latest round of works will ensure people and goods can continue to travel fast and efficiently across our region, and the country." "The Central Gateway project is vital in ensuring Newcastle Central Station can accommodate growing passenger numbers and the introduction of new lines and services in the future." Source

August 16 at 05:19 AM

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Next administration must keep up railway development

The Manila Times  June 24, 2021 (Philippines) LAST week, Vivencio "Vince" Dizon, the presidential adviser on flagships projects and chief of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), provided a summary of the Duterte administration's accomplishments in infrastructure development. Among the 119 "flagship projects" under the administration's multiyear Build, Build, Build program are a number of rail transport developments. Most of these have already been initiated, but a few will be left to the next administration to undertake. It has typically been the practice of new administrations to review and modify plans left behind by their predecessors, and while there is some continuity, there is never a guarantee that any of the priorities of an outgoing administration will be taken up by its replacement. While the next administration, regardless of whether it is supportive of or opposed to President Duterte's policies and outlook, will certainly want to pursue its own priorities and build its own legacy, we believe it should maintain and if possible, increase the momentum toward development of rail infrastructure. Source  

July 22 at 07:33 AM

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Nigeria looking to mix of Chinese and European lending for rail projects

Reuters  July 2, 2021 (Nigeria) ABUJA, July 2 (Reuters) - Nigeria is negotiating a mix of loans from Chinese and European lenders to fund railway projects in the country, transportation minister Rotimi Amaechi said on Friday. Amaechi said Standard Chartered had agreed to fund $3.02 billion for the ongoing Port Harcourt-to-Maiduguri railway project. He had previously told Bloomberg that the government was in talks with Standard Chartered Plc to replace earlier plans to get loans from Chinese banks for two rail projects. But Amaechi said they had always been seeking funding from any source available. “We are waiting for the Chinese for only Ibadan-to-Kano” railway, he said, adding, “If the Chinese don’t turn up in the next few months, why shouldn’t we approach the European banks to fund Ibadan to Kano? I will put that before the minister of finance.” Standard Chartered declined to comment. Amaechi also said they also expect Credit Suisse to fund the Kano-to-Maradi line, which will connect northern states Kano, Jigawa and Katsina. (Reporting by Felix Onuah; writing by Libby George; editing by Jonathan Oatis) Source:  

July 09 at 05:41 AM

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No decision yet on proposed Mount Faber rail system 2 years after plans announced

The Straits Times  JUL 12, 2021 (SINGAPORE) SINGAPORE - Two years after plans for a new rail system for Mount Faber were announced, no decision has been made on whether to proceed with its construction. A funicular system - two cars attached to each other by a cable - at Mount Faber was among the highlights for the Greater Southern Waterfront included in the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) master plan in 2019. The agency said then that One Faber Group - the corporate brand of attractions operator Mount Faber Leisure Group - was studying the new system to "bring visitors from the foothills to the hilltop and cable car station by 2023". "This provides easy access to Mount Faber and the rest of the 10km-long Southern Ridges," said URA.

July 13 at 07:31 AM

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No more flooding of tracks! Indian Railways’ micro-tunnelling work completed at Masjid railway station

Financial Express  September 13, 2021 (India) In February 2021, a meeting was conducted in coordination with Divisional Railway Manager and Municipal Commissioner where it was decided to go ahead with the project to prevent tracks' flooding during monsoon. Indian Railways completes micro-tunnelling at Masjid station! In a bid to avoid flooding on rail tracks, the Central Railway zone has recently completed micro-tunnelling work at Masjid railway station in Mumbai without disturbing normal train movement. A press release issued by Central Railways said Masjid station is situated at a lower level than the ground level. Thus, to overcome flooding of tracks, the national transporter decided to lay an RCC pipe of 1000 mm diameter by micro-tunnelling method without disturbing the movement of trains, as this tunnelling method has given very good results at Sandhurst Road station area, where an RCC pipe of 1800 mm diameter was laid for 425 meter length, linking west side to east side across rail tracks. In February 2021, a meeting was conducted in coordination with Divisional Railway Manager and Municipal Commissioner where it was decided to go ahead with the project to prevent tracks’ flooding during monsoon. According to Central Railways, the situation worsens during high intensity rainfall coupled with high tide, culvert’s inadequate capacity, lower storm water drainage network carrying capacity. Source

September 15 at 04:59 AM

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NSW rail network to go green by 2025, smaller ferries to go electric

The Sydney Morning Herald  June 11, 2021 The state’s train network will be powered by renewable energy within four years under an ambitious plan outlined by NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance, who is also pushing to retrofit some harbour ferries with electric engines. Mr Constance said state and federal governments needed to lead the way in Australia’s transition to renewable energy as he outlined a vision for a greener public transport fleet. The plan would see smaller harbour ferries – including the River Class fleet – retrofitted with electric engines within five years, while Sydney’s train network would achieve net zero emissions by 2025. Source:

July 09 at 05:41 AM

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NSW train strike disrupts rail services

Canberra Online News  September 28, 2021 NSW train services are being disrupted throughout the state as drivers strike and commuters are told to make alternative arrangements. Commuters can expect massive disruptions to all regional and city services on Tuesday as drivers strike for better pay and conditions.  Train drivers will stop working across Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink from 9am until 1pm as part of ongoing industrial action, but services are expected to be affected from 7am until at least 3pm. Commuters can also expect delays on Sydney’s Inner West Light Rail as workers at the Pyrmont depot stop work between 7am and 9am and 3pm and 5pm. Unions say they planned the action for weeks, especially around getting essential workers to and from work.  The strike comes during negotiations for a new enterprise agreement, where the parties remain at loggerheads over pay and safety issues. Rail, Tram and Bus Union NSW secretary Alex Claassens said there could be more industrial action in the next month if the government continued to workers’ demands. Transport for NSW chief operations officer Howard Collins urged Sydney commuters to avoid using all public transport if possible. “Please find alternative means to travel, if you don’t have to travel tomorrow please ensure you stay at home or use alternative means,” he said on Monday. Mr Claassens said the enterprise agreement expired in May. “All we’re asking for is a clean, safe and efficient transport system to work in and to be paid fairly for the work we’re doing,” he said. “At the moment, the NSW government is refusing to even send someone to the negotiating table to discuss our concerns.” The union is asking for a 3.5 per cent wage rise while the NSW government is offering 0.3 per cent for the first year of a new enterprise agreement. Other issues include restructuring people into other roles, outsourcing of COVID-19 cleaning jobs, and the absence of mandatory on-site virus testing. AAP Source

September 28 at 06:04 AM

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Offices and schools about to reopen - but will commuters return?

The Guardian  Aug 29, 2021 (UK) Service levels and jobs at risk as ministers, rail firms and health officials fret over passenger numbers on the railways In all the change and loss during the pandemic, few have mourned the disappearance of the daily commute. Many rail passengers, battered in preceding years by strikes on Southern, the timetabling fiasco on Northern and technical woes on Great Western, have welcomed a break. But leisure rail travel is booming again – and with schools set to return next week and many offices expected to fill up again for the first time since Britain lifted Covid restrictions, train operators are anxiously waiting to see whether commuting will follow. The Treasury committed an extra £10bn to cover the railway’s lost income in the pandemic, but will not continue to pay such sums for the long term. Transport for London (TfL), which owns and runs the capital’s underground and buses, is being propped up with handouts from Westminster. Amid talks about service levels and jobs, the return – or not – of commuters has urgent implications for the railway’s future. Source

August 30 at 05:53 AM

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Old rail jinxes latest bid to revive Nanyuki line

Business Daily  JULY 06 2021 (Kenya)   The government’s bet on a century-old technology now risks derailing the revival of railway transport even before it is fully rolled out. Still very much in its pilot stage, the metre-gauge railway line from Nairobi to Nanyuki has suffered multiple mishaps, casting doubts over its long-term viability. Barely a year after the line was revived, it has emerged that it's too old and too weak to operate optimally as envisioned during its rehabilitation. Veteran staffers at Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) have intimated that technical factors and the design of the Nanyuki line could hamper its operations. “The rails are narrower and support less loads because it has lower poundage,” an employee of the corporation told  Business Daily . In just under six months, the train has derailed twice, stalled four times and caught fire once. In one of those incidents in January, passengers had to spend part of the night in the bushes, prompting Kenya Railways to dispatch buses to take them to their destinations.   Source:  

July 09 at 10:28 AM

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Oman plans countrywide passenger railway network

Times Of Oman  27/July/2021 (Oman) Muscat:  Plans are being drawn up for a rail network connecting Seeb in Muscat to Sohar, to help boost connectivity between the two cities. The passenger railway is part of the Oman National Spatial Strategy (ONSS), a blueprint that looks at the planning of Oman’s cities for the next 20 years. The strategy is a framework to control and direct urban growth, to improve connectivity between cities, and maximise opportunities to invest in the potential of governorates. The rail line will also feed directly into a metro, which has been planned for Muscat, where it is expected to ply from Muttrah to Seeb. The upgraded transport facilities are part of the ONSS plan of developing “multiple means of transportation, and to encourage movement without using private vehicles,” said a recent report. “Muscat is an urban city of global importance with sustainable qualities, based on Omani values and culture,” added the report, which said the capital will have an “urban pattern alternating between medium and high density areas.” As part of the redevelopment of the capital, Ghala will be the centre of its commercial activities, with revitalisation for Muttrah and Ruwi also planned. Source

July 29 at 11:23 AM

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On a bridge in the South African bush, an old train is reborn as a luxury hotel

FINANCIAL TIMES  APRIL 21 2021 (South Africa) A hotel in a train. On a bridge. Over a river (full of crocodiles), in one of the world’s most famous wildlife parks. When word began to spread about Kruger Shalati (with its no-nonsense tag line: The Train on the Bridge), there was a mixture of excitement and consternation in safari tourism circles. Excitement at the sheer chutzpah of the thing: 12 sleeper carriages, remodelled into 24 luxurious rooms. They stand shacked up on the century-old Selati rail bridge just north of Skukuza, headquarters of the Kruger National Park. And consternation that this high-concept boutique hotel might be out of place, even a little kitsch, in a place known more for spartan rest camps and thatched rondavels. Kruger Shalati’s mid-bridge centrepiece is a photogenic lounge car and deck where you can sip cocktails in an electric blue plunge pool that dangles over the Sabie River.   Source:

July 09 at 05:02 AM

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

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

July 09 at 07:31 AM

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Oxygen Expresses

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

July 23 at 09:32 AM

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P777-B railway project to generate jobs

Manila Times  September 25, 2021 (Philippines) THE P777.55-billion Philippine National Railway Clark Phase 2 project has been envisioned to stimulate further development in Central Luzon's economic climate as growth and recovery are expected to happen when its operations begin. This was announced recently by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, who assured the North-South Commuter Rail (NSCR) project will create needed jobs that will augment the region's economic growth and recovery efforts in light of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. "The DoTr (Department of Transportation), in all of its projects, has always aimed to revitalize the country's economy," he said, noting the project will improve transport connectivity and mobility across the Central Luzon region and spur employment in various sectors. "A transport infrastructure project like the NSCR will spur economic growth in Central Luzon, particularly the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga," Tugade added. Source

October 05 at 05:08 AM

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Pakistan: Imran Khan performs groundbreaking for Rs250 billion Karachi Circular Railway project

Gulf News  September 27, 2021 (Pakistan) Infrastructure for the project is likely to be completed in next two years Karachi: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the Rs250 billion Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project that will provide modern electric-powered intra-city metro rail services to the residents of the provincial capital. Khan was accompanied by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Federal Railways Minister Azam Khan Swati, and Federal Information & Broadcasting Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain. Speaking on the occasion, Khan said the mega development projects like the KCR required political will of the government to complete them in time. He said that any delay in implementing these projects would also increase their cost and ultimately the project could become financially unfeasible to complete them. He said that both the federal and Sindh governments were required to pay full attention to the KCR project. Khan reiterated that the federal government had the resolve to undertake the project, hoping that the provincial government would also extend due cooperation. Source

September 29 at 04:12 AM

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Panel to look into the death of elephants on rail lines

The Hindu    JULY 11, 2021 (INDIA) NGT asks Central Monitoring Committee to handle the issue in coordination with Railways, WII, Tamil Nadu and Kerala The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has tasked a committee constituted by a Union Ministry with looking into the death of wild elephants on the rail tracks that link Tamil Nadu and Kerala through the forest areas of Coimbatore and Palakkad districts. The Central Monitoring Committee, constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), is dealing with Project Elephant. The NGT took  suo motu  cognisance of the death of elephants on the basis of the report, ‘Night, early morning trains cause most elephant deaths,’ published in  The Hindu  on May 29, 2021. The report said trains that plied between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. had caused the death of seven out of eight elephants on the two lines, A and B, between the Kottekad and Madukkarai stations in the last five years. The Bench, headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, judicial members Justices Sudhir Agarwal, M. Sathyanarayanan and Brijesh Sethi and expert member Nagin Nanda, asked the committee to look into the issue in coordination with the Railways, the Wildlife Institute of India and the States of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

July 13 at 07:57 AM

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Passenger rail service in full throttle

The Herald  21 September 2021 (Zimbabwe) The commuter service introduced by the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) in partnership with the National Railways of Zimbabwe is now in full throttle. The Mufakose train is leaving the station with all its coaches full whilst the Ruwa and Tynwald trains are still building capacity. Zupco is now also providing shuttle services to commuters from bus terminuses in the Central Business District (CBD) to the railway station. Zupco acting chief executive Mr Evaristo Mudangwa said they were happy with the commuters’ response to their rail services. Source

September 22 at 06:09 AM

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Payday for train leasing giant Porterbrook despite pandemic hit to railways

The Times  October 03 2021 (UK) One of Britain’s biggest train leasing companies paid out £80 million in dividends to its largely foreign-based investors last year as it made profits despite the skeleton service on the rails during the pandemic. Porterbrook, owner of about a quarter of the UK’s rolling stock, shrugged off the effects of Covid-19, reporting a mere 6 per cent dip in turnover to £454 million. Leasing companies are paid by the train operating companies (TOCs) regardless of whether their trains actually run. Source

October 04 at 07:56 AM

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Perth’s billion-dollar train deal linked to exploited Uighur workers in China

The Sydney Morning Herald  June 28, 2021 A billion-dollar train deal between Western Australia and manufacturing giant Alstom is the latest government contract in Australia to face scrutiny for its use of Chinese suppliers linked to exploited Uighur workers. It comes weeks after revelations Melbourne’s transport authority advised the Victorian government to continue buying parts from a contractor using Muslim workers to avoid additional costs and delays in its $2.4 billion train project. However, Alstom is adamant its supply chain is free of exploitation and has updated its contracts with suppliers and contractors to include modern slavery clauses. The McGowan government signed a $1.3 billion contract with Alstom to build and maintain Perth’s next fleet of trains in December 2019 in what was hailed as a milestone for its flagship Metronet project. It has since been revealed the French multinational will build the network’s C-Series railcars using parts produced by a Chinese firm which sourced workers from Xinjiang through a controversial government program to re-educate minorities. KTK Group is a major supplier of train fittings headquartered in Changzhou, near Shanghai, and supplies parts to projects in Victoria, NSW, and Queensland. The company was blacklisted by the US Commerce Department last year for its role in China’s “campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labour, and high technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups”. In correspondence with Bombardier, another train manufacturer that has since merged with Alstom – obtained by  WAtoday  under Freedom of Information laws – KTK confirmed it had employed almost 80 workers from Nilka province in Xinjiang between 2018 and 2019 for its factory in Jiangsu, about 4000 kilometres away, through Beijing’s Xinjiang Aid program. The Nilka County is situated within the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, and is largely made up of Kazakhs, who are also a persecuted minority group. The Australian Strategic Policy Instituted reported that the Chinese government’s “re-education” policies have mainly targeted the Uighurs but also other Turkic speaking Muslim minorities such as the Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Tartars, Tajiks, Kyrgyz and Hui. But it claimed the workers had voluntarily signed contracts that complied with China’s labour laws. “KTK has employed one dedicated cook in order to respect and satisfy the tradition of Muslim food and provided new decorated dormitories to them free of charge,” the supplier said. The number of workers from Xinjiang currently employed by KTK is unclear and the company did not respond to requests for comment from this masthead. Source:

July 09 at 05:42 AM

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Phelophepa: Cable theft delays ‘vaccination train’ reaching hot spots

The South African  24-06-2021 (South Africa) Phelophepa Healthcare Train has suffered delays in providing COVID-19 testing and vaccinations in under-resourced parts of South Africa. The Phelophepa Healthcare Train   has been deployed to assist the country’s COVID-19 vaccination programme. The train will deliver healthcare services to under-resourced communities that lack adequate healthcare resources. South Africa is in the grips of a third wave of COVID-19 infections. Gauteng accounts for more than 60% of all new cases in the country over the past two weeks. The pace of vaccine rollout in Gauteng has been slower than that of other provinces. Phelophepa which translates from Sotho to “good, clean health”, is an 18-carriage mobile clinic aboard a train that transports approximately 20 resident healthcare workers to various sites across South Africa. PHELOPHEPA USED IN FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19 Healthcare workers on the train offer eye, dental, health, and psychology clinics to South Africans in under-resourced locations. Staff on the train are equipped to diagnose illnesses, treat minor ailments, and administer medication.   Souce

July 30 at 07:12 AM

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Plan to privatise Kalka-Shimla rail track for 30 years: Report

Tribune India  August 26, 2021 (Chandigarh, India) Niti Aayog, as part of its plan to monetise public sector assets, proposes to provide the Kalka-Shimla railway track to a private concessionaire for a period of 30-50 years, according to a report by the Centre’s public policy think tank. The plan for the 118-year-old railway track — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — has been prepared in Niti Aayog’s report ‘Volume II: Asset Pipeline’. According to the report published this month, the concessionaire will be responsible for operation, maintenance and development of the railway track. The report has a similar plan for the remaining mountain rail tracks of India, which are World Heritage Sites — Darjeeling Himalayan Railway located in the foothills of the Himalayas in West Bengal and the Nilgiri Mountain Railways located in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu. “These locations are domestic tourism hubs with a heritage-based appeal to these railways,” said the report. The proposal, however, has a word of caution for interested parties and has said they will also be responsible for preserving the heritage status of the tracks. “Any development/upgrade will be subject to concessionaire provisions,” it added. However, even as the plan has been prepared, officials in the Ambala division said they were unaware of any communication being sent in regard to the report in the recent past. “In August 2020, the Ministry of Railways had included Chandigarh among 12 clusters for passenger trains to be operated as private entities through the public-private partnership,” said GM Singh, railway manager, Ambala division, under which the Kalka-Shimla section falls. Source

September 06 at 07:48 AM

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PNR Calamba segment to be operable by 2025

The Manila Times  July 14, 2021 (Philippines) The 56-kilometer Philippine National Railways (PNR) Calamba Project or the PNR Clark Phase 3 is targeted to be partially operable by 2025, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said on Tuesday. The PNR Calamba segment which starts from Solis, Tondo to Calamba, Laguna is one of the segments of the massive North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Project. "Dahil sa train system ng PNR, ang pagbiyahe niyo from Calamba papuntang Clark airport ay magiging isang oras at kalahati," Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said during his inspection of Alabang and Mamatid stations, the future sites of the Calamba Depot and PNR Calamba Central Station. With its 19 stations, 19 commuter trains sets and seven airport express train sets, the NSCR is also projected to cut travel time from Manila to Laguna, from the usual three-hour ride to just 1 hour. Once fully operational, it is also seen to accommodate 340,000 to 550,000 passengers. Source:

July 15 at 04:29 AM

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

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

July 09 at 07:30 AM

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President goes to Kanpur on special train

The Hindu  JUNE 25, 2021 (India) After a gap of 15 years, Mr. Kovind has revived tradition of the Head of State travelling in presidential saloon   President Ram Nath Kovind, accompanied by First Lady Savita Devi Kovind, boarded a special train from the Safdarjung railway station on Friday to travel to his native place Kanpur. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Chairman of the Railway Board Suneet Sharma were present at the station to see him off. “President Kovind boards a special Presidential train from Safdarjung railway station to Kanpur. The train will make two stop-overs, at Jhinjhak and Rura of Kanpur Dehat, and will reach Kanpur Central in the evening,” the official handle of the Rashtrapati Bhavan tweeted. The two stop-overs, at Jhinjhak and Rura of Kanpur Dehat, have been organised to facilitate Mr. Kovind’s interaction with his old acquaintances from his school days, a statement from Rashtrapati Bhavan said. “On June 28, the President will board the train at Kanpur Central railway station to reach Lucknow for his two-day visit to the State capital. On June 29, he will return to New Delhi on a special flight,” a statement said. Kalam’s travel After a gap of 15 years, President Kovind has revived the tradition of the Head of State travelling in presidential saloon. The last time an incumbent President used a presidential saloon was in 2006 when APJ Abdul Kalam travelled from Delhi to Dehradun to attend a passing out parade of cadets at the Indian Military Academy (IMA). Beginning with the first President of India, Rajendra Prasad, train travel used to be a common feature for the first citizens until the late 70s. However, the tailor made air-conditioned two-coach presidential saloon got decommissioned in 2008 as train travel came down substantially. Source:

July 09 at 05:43 AM

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Protesters Block Ethiopia Rail Link After Clashes Leave 300 Dead

Bloomberg  July 27, 2021 (Ethiopia)  Protesters in eastern Ethiopia blocked and damaged a vital trade artery linking the landlocked African nation to a port in neighboring Djibouti, a government official said. The railway between the two eastern African nations has been closed since the demonstrations took place Monday, Mohamed Rooble, a spokesman for the government of Ethiopia’s Somali region, said Tuesday. The protest followed an attack by special forces and militia fighters from neighboring Afar region carried out on the town of Garbaiisa, where many ethnic Somalis live. Source

July 29 at 06:32 AM

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Punggol LRT system resumes after signalling fault disrupts train services

The Straits Times  17 October, 2021 (Singapore) Train services on the Punggol LRT line were disrupted by a signalling fault for about 45 minutes on Sunday (Oct 17) morning. The disruption was first announced by rail operator SBS Transit in a tweet at 12.02pm. In a follow-up tweet at 12.14pm, it announced that train services had resumed. At 12.25pm, SBS Transit said bridging buses and free bus rides at designated bus stops had ceased. It apologised to all passengers for the inconvenience caused. Senior vice-president of SBS Transit corporate communications, Ms Tammy Tan, said that five light rail vehicles (LRVs) had stalled on the tracks due to the fault.  Passengers could not be evacuated via the tracks to get to the station due to lightning warnings, said Ms Tan. She added that air-conditioning and lighting continued to be available on board the LRVs and that SBS Transit staff had remained in contact with the passengers. The cause of the fault is being investigated. Ms Diantha Chong, 24, a market research associate, was on her way to a fitness class when her train stopped. "My ride to Punggol MRT station is usually only 10 minutes. They said the delay would only be 15 minutes, but I was stuck on the LRT train for almost an hour and missed my fitness class," she said. "There were no clear instructions given during the disruption - it made me pretty upset as my fitness studio charges fees for missing classes," she added. Source

October 18 at 06:54 AM

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Queensland Rail releases new safety campaign after record near misses

Sydney Morning Herald  August 9, 2021 (Australia) A new advertisement from Queensland Rail is hoping to spread awareness on the dangers of train crossings after 81 people pedestrians were nearly hit across the state last year, more than 2019. Source

August 10 at 07:10 AM

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Questions arise two years after rail car manufacturer leaves Roanoke

The Roanoke Times  18/07/2021 (US) (File Photo) It has been two years since FreightCar America took the last train out of Roanoke, closing a rail car manufacturing plant that employed about 200 people. But recent actions by the Chicago-based company — moving all of its production jobs to Mexico and receiving a $10 million loan from a federal pandemic assistance program — have reopened old wounds. “In my opinion, this entire situation is a travesty,” said Rich Johnson, president of the division of the Transportation Communications Union that represented many of the plant’s workers. In July 2019, FreightCar said it would close down its operation in the former Norfolk Southern East End Shops, just across the railroad tracks from downtown Roanoke. Two months later, it announcing the opening of an assembly plant in Mexico. Source:

July 19 at 04:46 AM

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R3bn plus 28 new trains will put Cape Town back on track, says Prasa

The Times  23 June 2021 (South Africa) Cape Town commuter trains are running at 34% of capacity compared to 2019, when they were already on their knees due to arson attacks, theft of infrastructure, vandalism and mismanagement. Five out of 12 trains operated by Metrorail in 2019 are no longer running, according to a Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) presentation to the Western Cape legislature transport committee on Tuesday. And the central line, once Metrorail’s busiest in Cape Town when it provided cheap transport for most of the Cape Flats’ poorest areas, is inoperable. According to Prasa, 56ha of railway line and stations are now covered by 7,844 illegal informal dwellings. (Photo: Shacks built on the railway in Langa, Cape Town.) Source:

July 09 at 05:16 AM

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RAI takes new steps for domestic railway signaling

Tehran Times  July 3, 2021 (Iran)  TEHRAN - The Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (known as RAI) has inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with two local entities namely Iran Khodro Company (IKCO) and Farab Industrial Group for equipping a railway line near capital Tehran with signaling systems. The MOU was signed by the RAI Head Saeed Rasouli and the managing directors of the mentioned companies on Saturday in Tehran, IRIB reported. Based on the mentioned MOU, the consortium comprised of the said companies will carry out the design, construction, and financing for the signaling of the Tehran-Garmsar suburban railway over a 24-month period. The signing ceremony was also attended by the Transport and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Eslami. Speaking at the signing ceremony, Eslami noted that following the implementation of the mentioned project, the signaling of other railway lines in the country will be put on the agenda of the ministry and RAI. Suburban railways near large cities will be the priority for the signaling, Eslami said. Source:

July 15 at 04:28 AM

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Rail bidding comes under microscope

Bangkok Post  3 JUL 2021 (Thailand) Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has appointed a panel to look into the e-bidding process by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) to find contractors for two of its double-track rail projects, valued at 128 billion baht, according to the Isra news agency. The move follows a petition demanding Gen Prayut to review the bidding process in which the bid winner's offer is 0.08% lower than the reference price and raises suspicions about possible price collusion. Among critics are Warong Dechgitvigrom, acting leader of the Thai Pakdee Party, and Mana Nimitmongkol, secretary-general of the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT), who questioned its transparency and called for public scrutiny. According to Isra news, Gen Prayut signed an order appointing the inquiry panel on June 17 and named Danai Musa, a specialist attached to the Prime Minister's Office, as its chairman. Mr Danai served as a deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council before for two years before his transfer to the PM's Office in April last year. The two projects are the 323-kilometre northern section worth 72.9 billion baht from Den Chai to Chiang Rai-Chiang Kong and the 355-kilometre northeastern section, worth 55.4 billion baht, between Mukdahan and Nakhon Phanom. Mr Danai has reportedly sent a letter to Dr Warong asking him to give information to the investigation committee on July 5, according to the Isara news agency. Dr Warong posted on his Facebook yesterday saying he and others have been asked to provide information about the e-bidding process of the two rail projects. Source:

July 09 at 05:41 AM

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Rail freight should be ‘front of the queue’ for vaccines

Australian Financial Review  September 8, 2021 (Australia) Pacific National chief executive Paul Scurrah says some rail freight workers in regional NSW are waiting up to two months to get their first Pfizer jab and that they should go to the front of the queue. “The vaccination needs to be prioritised for those that are keeping the supply chains of Australia running as the pandemic spreads throughout NSW,” Mr Scurrah told  The Australian Financial Review. Source

October 08 at 05:31 AM

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Rail industry urges workers not to spurn the train

BBC  10 September 2021 (UK) Unless workers start taking the train again, there could be long-term adverse effects on city centres and High Streets, the rail industry has warned. Train commuting is still just 33% of its pre-Covid rate, while car journeys have reached pre-pandemic levels, said the Rail Delivery Group (RDG). If workers continued to go by road rather than rail, there would be more pollution, it added. Cities could be hit by a double whammy of traffic jams and business closures. A 20% shift from rail to road would lead to 300 million extra hours of traffic congestion, the RDG said. "With more workers set to return to offices this month, encouraging people to take the train for their commute will be vital to avoid empty shop fronts and polluting traffic jams in cities across the country," it added. The RDG said rail journeys to and from work were expected to increase during September, but could take years to return to numbers seen in 2019. It added that train commuters were vital to city centres and High Streets. Research carried out by WPI Economics for the RDG indicated that these commuters spent a total of £30bn a year on food and drink, shopping, entertainment and culture, boosting local businesses. Source

September 16 at 06:09 AM

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Rail Safety Week: Train driver recounts close calls at level crossings

New Zealand Herald  8 Aug, 2021 (New Zealand) Freight train driver Liz Cooper has learned to pick which drivers will try to play chicken with her at level crossings. "They'll come flying into a crossing, half-pie hesitate and then just shoot across in front of you." Some even speed up as they drive alongside, trying to race her to the crossing. She'll often mutter "Don't do it, don't go" as they approach, and ease on the brakes, but there's not much else she can do to stop them getting hit by her 2000-tonne freight train. The worst is when they hoon across the tracks with children in the car. "That's what upsets me the most. The kids don't have a choice." Source

August 12 at 08:17 AM

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Rail ticket machines in northern England hit by ransomware attack

Reuters  July 20, 2021 (UK) July 19 (Reuters) - Ticket machines operated by the British government-run Northern Trains have been put out of action by a suspected cyber-attack intended to extort money, the company said on Monday.

July 20 at 05:17 AM

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Rail union suspends planned London strikes after talks

Reuters  August 20, 2021 LONDON, Aug 20 (Reuters) - A planned strike by London underground train drivers has been suspended after progress was made in talks, the Rail, Maritime and Transport union said on Friday. "We remain in dispute and will be engaging in further discussions with a view to reaching a settlement," the RMT's General Secretary Mick Lynch said in a statement. London's transport operator had warned customers that the strike planned between Aug. 24 and Aug. 27 would cause major disruption across the network.  The RMT is threatening to strike over changes to London's night Tube service. The separate pool of designated night-time drivers is to be abolished, which the union said would cut part-time jobs. Source

August 24 at 04:40 AM

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Rail workers threaten to strike over legionella toilet outbreak

The Guardian Rail workers threaten to strike over legionella toilet outbreak RMT union calls for urgent meeting after ‘potentially lethal’ bacteria found in Thameslink trains A union has declared a dispute with a rail operator, claiming there has been a “potentially lethal” legionella outbreak on its trains. The National Union of Rail, Maritime and  Transport  Workers (RMT) said it has prepared its members on Thameslink for strikes if urgent action is not taken to resolve the issue. The company said a low level of legionella had been found in a small number of toilets, which had been drained and bleached. The  RMT  said seven toilets on four trains had actionable traces of the bacteria, which can cause legionnaires’ disease. The union claimed that, after the latest discovery, toilets were isolated, describing it as a “half-hearted and inadequate” approach, and called for an urgent meeting of the company’s safety committee. The RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “RMT has been raising concerns for weeks now, and the latest cavalier approach from the company is pitifully inadequate and is an outright gamble with passenger and staff health. “We have now declared a dispute and, be in no doubt, if we don’t get serious action we will ballot our members and do whatever is required to end this reckless approach to a potentially lethal situation on these increasingly busy trains.” Rob Mullen, the train services director at Thameslink, said: “A very low level of legionella was found to be present during testing in a small number of our Thameslink Class 700 train toilets. “While it is extremely unlikely this would cause any harm to passengers or colleagues, the toilets affected were immediately locked out of use. “The trains were taken out of service and these toilets have now been drained, bleached and had their tanks completely refilled. “There is no recorded case of anyone, ever, having contracted [legionnaires’ disease] from a train.” The company added in a statement: “Legionella can potentially be spread through atomised water droplets in the air in enclosed spaces, but water in our toilets is gravity-fed, which makes this extremely unlikely and further lowers the already very low risk. However, as a precaution, we immediately closed the affected toilets and took these trains out of service. “The toilets affected have been completely drained, bleached and re-filled to rectify this situation.” Source: Image by  Hands off my tags! Michael Gaida  from  Pixabay  

August 24 at 03:12 AM

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Rail workers threaten to strike over legionella toilet outbreak

The Guardian   23 Aug 2021 (UK) RMT union calls for urgent meeting after ‘potentially lethal’ bacteria found in Thameslink trains A union has declared a dispute with a rail operator, claiming there has been a “potentially lethal” legionella outbreak on its trains. The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) said it has prepared its members on Thameslink for strikes if urgent action is not taken to resolve the issue. The company said a low level of legionella had been found in a small number of toilets, which had been drained and bleached. The RMT said seven toilets on four trains had actionable traces of the bacteria, which can cause legionnaires’ disease. The union claimed that, after the latest discovery, toilets were isolated, describing it as a “half-hearted and inadequate” approach, and called for an urgent meeting of the company’s safety committee. The RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “RMT has been raising concerns for weeks now, and the latest cavalier approach from the company is pitifully inadequate and is an outright gamble with passenger and staff health. “We have now declared a dispute and, be in no doubt, if we don’t get serious action we will ballot our members and do whatever is required to end this reckless approach to a potentially lethal situation on these increasingly busy trains.” Rob Mullen, the train services director at Thameslink, said: “A very low level of legionella was found to be present during testing in a small number of our Thameslink Class 700 train toilets. “While it is extremely unlikely this would cause any harm to passengers or colleagues, the toilets affected were immediately locked out of use. “The trains were taken out of service and these toilets have now been drained, bleached and had their tanks completely refilled. “There is no recorded case of anyone, ever, having contracted [legionnaires’ disease] from a train.” The company added in a statement: “Legionella can potentially be spread through atomised water droplets in the air in enclosed spaces, but water in our toilets is gravity-fed, which makes this extremely unlikely and further lowers the already very low risk. However, as a precaution, we immediately closed the affected toilets and took these trains out of service. “The toilets affected have been completely drained, bleached and re-filled to rectify this situation.” Source

September 07 at 04:57 AM

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Rail, road, waterway links being developed with B’desh: Tripura CM

The Statesman  August 15, 2021 (India)  He said that a Special Economic Zone is being set up in Sabroom along the Bangladesh border and that would provide favourable infrastructure to the investors to further boost the trade with the neighbouring country. Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Sunday said that the Centre, following the persuasions of the state government, has been developing rail, road and waterway connectivities with neighbouring Bangladesh to boost the economy of the Northeastern state. After hoisting the National flag, the Chief Minister while addressing the gathering at the Assam Rifles ground here said that with the constructions of the “Maitri Setu” (friendship bridge) over river Feni between southern Tripura’s border town Sabroom and Bangladesh’s Ramgarh, Tripura and other Northeastern states would get access the facilities of Chittagong International seaport (in southeast Bangladesh) to ferry essentials, numerous goods and heavy machinery. Source

August 19 at 08:08 AM

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Railroads Brace as Regulator Signals Willingness to Take On Industry

The Wall Street Journal  Sept. 2, 2021 (US) The STB has lately made clear its willingness to upset railroad industry players as it pushes to broaden competition Biden-appointed Surface Transportation Board chairman says aim is to ensure competition, not just ‘maximizing profits for railroads’ The obscure federal regulator that threw a wrench into a $30 billion railroad merger this week could have more in store for the nation’s freight railways—with implications for both business and consumers. Like other federal agencies, the five-member Surface Transportation Board has been tasked by President Biden to root out what it considers to be corporate monopolies that hurt smaller companies and consumers. Source

September 08 at 04:31 AM

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Railway corridor linking Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil proposed

The Rio Times  August 30, 2021 (RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL) Mining companies in northern Argentina are interested in establishing a rail corridor to transport their products to midwestern Brazil using Bolivian railroads, a route that would also benefit Chile, which now exports minerals to Brazil by sea around the southern part of the continent. This would entail the rehabilitation of an unused section in Argentine territory, with a low investment. Source

September 03 at 05:25 AM

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Railway corridor linking Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil proposed

The Rio Times  August 30, 2021 (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil) Mining entrepreneurs from northern Argentina are proposing the renovation of the C-15 railroad, about 80 kilometers long, which could link Salvador Mazza, Yacuiba, Santa Cruz and Corumbá. Mining companies in northern Argentina are interested in establishing a rail corridor to transport their products to midwestern Brazil using Bolivian railroads, a route that would also benefit Chile, which now exports minerals to Brazil by sea around the southern part of the continent. This would entail the rehabilitation of an unused section in Argentine territory, with a low investment. Source

September 15 at 05:30 AM

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Railway engineers build beaver pass on Highland line

BBC  24/07/2021 ( Scotland ) Railway engineers have built what they believe is Scotland's first ever 'beaver pass', to allow the animals to go under the Highland mainline. The tunnel near Gleneagles will help prevent flooding issues caused by beavers building dams in the line's drainage culverts. The area around Perth has a growing population of beavers. A pipe has been fitted for the protect animals in an existing culvert, with mesh either side to prevent blockage. The culvert had previously been home to a beaver lodge, which led to flooding. Working with beaver specialists at NatureScot, the Network Rail team pumped the water out over a number of days before removing the 5m dam by hand. Network Rail Scotland ecologist James Morrison said: "To a beaver, a culvert probably looks like a hole in a dam, so they are very popular damming spots. "The action we took near Gleneagles is the first beaver pass installed in the country that we are aware of." Mr Morrison said the expansion of beavers across Scotland could also lead to them felling trees onto the line or burrowing into railway embankments. He said: "However, they are an important keystone species and we need a proactive approach and sensitive solutions that allow us to co-exist."   Source:

July 25 at 05:39 AM

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Railway revenue hits all-time low in August

Viet Nam News  September 14, 2021 (HÀ NỘI, Vietnam) Vietnam Railways Corporation (VNR) reported its revenue fell to an all-time low in August as the COVID-19 social distancing measures dragged on its passenger transport. Revenue of the state-owned railway operator was just VNĐ114.7 billion (US$5 million) in August. The number of passengers boarding trains reached more than 8,600 in August, equalling just 6.5 per cent of the same period last year. The situation worsened when the company was forced to stop the daily trains on the North-South route since end-August due to complicated disease developments, the company reported. Freight transport slightly improved, reaching nearly 414,000 tonnes, up 5.4 per cent year-on-year. However, this segment also showed signs of a slowdown due to the shortage of goods and more complex transportation. Source

September 15 at 04:59 AM

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Railway runs with rundown engines

The Daily Star   Aug 25, 2021 (Bangladesh) 175 out of 263 locomotives overaged; 78 of them more than 50 years old Bangladesh Railway (BR) is trudging along because of its excessive reliance on outdated locomotives caused by the failure to add new engines to its fleet in time. Poor planning, lengthy procurement process, contractors' failure to deliver shipments as promised, and lately the Covid-19 pandemic have left the BR with 67 percent of its locomotives overaged, experts and engineers pointed out. As a result, the state-run transport agency is failing to live up to the expectations in terms of services and run trains on schedule. At the same time, its operational costs are going up, they said. Currently, the BR has 263 locomotives in its fleet. Of them, 175 -- 67 percent of all the locomotives -- are overaged, according to the latest data. Among the overaged locomotives, 78 locomotives are over 50 years old. Nine locomotives procured in 1953 are still in service. Source

August 25 at 07:22 AM

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Railway trackman fatally hit by train

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

July 09 at 07:29 AM

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Railway west zone to get 40 new locomotive engines from US

Dhaka Tribune  October 8, 2021 (Bangladesh) The new engines are being purchased at a cost of Tk1,123 crore The West Zone of Bangladesh Railway will be given 40 new locomotive engines aimed at improving the standard of passenger services through infusing dynamism into railway services. Chief Mechanical Engineer of the zone Kudrat-E-Khuda said the engines will be procured from the US. Eight of those have already reached the country and the remaining 32 will be brought in four phases. Only the broad gauge (BG) locomotives operate in the zone and there are 92 engines with a 20-year life span. Of those, economic lives of 43 have already expired. Engineer Khuda said the operation cost of the outdated engines is more compared to the good ones. Besides, spare parts of the old engines are not available in the local markets. To remove the existing problems, the new engines are being purchased at a cost of Tk1,123 crore under the Bangladesh Railway's Rolling Stock Operation Project. Each of the engines costs TK28.39 crore. Taking the overall situation into special consideration, the railway authorities signed an agreement with the US-based "Progress Rail Locomotive Incorporation" related to the purchase of 40 new BG engines in January 2019. The engines are being purchased with the joint financial collaboration of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Bangladesh government.  Project Director Mijanur Rahman said each of the diesel-electric engines contains 3,250 BHP along with 18.8 tonnes of excel load and they are capable of commercial running speed at 130-kilometer per hour. He said they are very much hopeful of adding all 32 engines to the WZ railway by June next year. Engineer Kudrat-E-Khuda said the WZ will enter a new era of ensuring quality passenger services with addition of the new engines. He said the WZ, covering Rajshahi, Rangpur and Khulna divisions, has been operating 159 trains, including 50 intercity and some inter-country ones, on different routes, including the capital city of Dhaka and Kolkata of India at present. Forty-six local or shuttle and sixty-three commuter or mail trains are also being operated on various routes which are very popular among the passengers, he added. He stated that the number of passengers of intercity trains on various routes has increased significantly in the last couple of years. Considering the benefit of the passengers in general, he said 31 major stations have been brought under the modern computerized seat reservation and ticketing system. Some of those including Rajshahi have launched ticket selling and seat reservation through online systems. Source

October 11 at 08:24 AM

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Railways liable to compensate for late arrival of trains unless proved delay beyond control: SC

The Economic Times  Sep 08, 2021 (India) In a significant order, the Supreme Court has said that every passenger's time is "precious" and the Railways is liable to pay the compensation for "delay and late arrival of trains' unless it proves that the delay was due to the reasons beyond their control. A bench of justices M R Shah and Aniruddha Bose, refused to allow the appeal of Northern Western Railway against the verdict of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC). Source

September 10 at 05:39 AM

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Railways promote development of logistics services

Viet Nam News  August, 05/2021 (Vietnam) In the context of complicated developments of the COVID-19 epidemic and difficulties in passenger transport, the railway industry is accelerating logistics services to reduce challenges for business. Nguyễn Hoàng Thanh, Deputy General Director of Railway Trading and Transport Joint Stock Company (Ratraco) under the Việt Nam Railways Corporation told the Vietnam News Agency about the issue. Source

August 26 at 05:54 AM

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Railways' contribution to carbon neutrality

The Korea Times  2021-July-15 (South Korea) The 127th anniversary of National Railroad Day was celebrated on June 28 at the Millennium Hilton Hotel, with dignitaries from the railway industry participating. This year's event attracted attention with two commentaries. One is Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung's comment that he hopes we will be able to launch an era of a "unified railway" running through the Eurasian continent from the Korean Peninsula, as soon as possible. The other is that Korea's railway system will take the lead in achieving carbon neutrality for the country. Today's railway system is an environment-friendly mode of transportation, powered by electricity. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the transport sector accounts for about 24 percent of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Among these emissions, road traffic accounts for approximately 75 percent of all transport sector emissions, while the railway subsector accounts for only 1 percent. Railways are widely regarded as a sustainable means of transportation, with their ability to transport a large number of people with an energy efficiency much higher than that of roads. Class I freight trains are two to 5.5 times more fuel-efficient than trucks, while high-speed railways are eight times more energy efficient than civilian aircraft and four times more efficient than vehicular transportation. As such, railways are a more environment-friendly and sustainable form of transportation, but they have been neglected in Korea for some time. Even though the country has recently set up a presidential committee on carbon neutrality to push ahead with net zero policies, railways are still considered as not so important. The presidential committee has eight subcommittees ― climate change, energy innovation, economic industry, green life, process conversion, science and technology, international cooperation, and public participation ― however, none of these is directly related to green transport or railways. As a result, it is not discussing policies related to these two areas. Therefore, the committee should set up a Green Transport Subcommittee to achieve carbon neutrality in the transportation sector with a focus on the railway system. In retrospect, the Lee Myung-bak government also pushed forward a "green growth policy." I have experience working for the transportation division of UNESCAP from 2011 to 2012. At that time, I drafted out transportation sector policy, as part of a low carbon green growth roadmap for Asia and the Pacific. We should start with the 127th National Railroad Day celebration ― although it's a bit late, it is a good thing ― to declare that railways will take the lead in helping the country reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Furthermore, the Korea National Railway has launched a Carbon Neutral Railway Strategy Committee to implement the government's net zero policy actively, which is desirable and indeed carries high expectations. There are many policies that can be implemented to realize net zero in the railway sector in the future. First of all, it is necessary to expand investment in the railway system. It is a green industry, the most environment-friendly means of transportation and the epitome of "low carbon, green growth," and thus we cannot stress too much the importance of such an investment. Next, there is the "Conversion Transport Subsidy" plan, which provides subsidies to logistics operators who convert their freight transport method from roads to railways. The plan, has been in effect since 2010 to establish a low carbon, green traffic logistics system, but it is not well-known. The total amount of subsidies provided is not so much at 28.8 billion won. In the future, there should be a lot more publicity for the subsidy plan and an increase in the amount provided. In addition, there is a solar energy project utilizing railways. This project will expand renewable energy use and implement low-carbon, eco-friendly railways to achieve carbon neutrality. In April 2021, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was concluded between the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Korail and the Seoul Metropolitan Government regarding a "Solar Railroad Green New Deal Project," to build solar power facilities using railways. This project is expected to develop into a new growth engine for future rail systems. In addition, we can promote the Green New Deal project to implement low-carbon, eco-friendly railways by utilizing facilities such as railway stations, platforms and tracks, and resources, such as old railway properties. Lastly, we should further promote the KTX-EUM, a multiple-unit, high-speed, electric train called the "low-carbon and eco-friendly train," which President Moon took a ride on. There are countless things that railways can do to realize carbon neutrality. In the coming years, the government should take the lead in recognizing the importance of the railway industry in the realization of carbon neutrality. We look forward to the strong promotion of green transportation with a focus on railways. Ko Chang-nam is a former economic affairs officer in the transport division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). Source

September 09 at 05:43 AM

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Ravin Group bags ₹50-cr. railways’ order to supply fire survival cables

The Hindu  October 06, 2021 (India) Ravin Group said it has bagged a ₹50-crore order for supply of specialised fire survival cables for the Indian Railways’ Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link, which was declared as a national project in 2020. The group will provide 33 kV and 11 kV medium-voltage specialised fire survival cables along with low-voltage cables and control cables to the longest tunnel (T13), which has a length of 9.3 km, located in the Katra-Dharam section, near to the Chenab Bridge. Vijay Karia, CMD, Ravin Group said, “We are committed to providing safe and advanced technology with a greater range of cables. We are thankful to the Indian Railways and Tata Group for showing their trust in us. It is a matter of pride to be associated with such a prestigious project.” Source

October 07 at 05:33 AM

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Reject unsolicited transport projects, says Grattan Institute

Australian Financial Review  May 16, 2021 (Australia) Governments can slash the cost of big road and rail projects by refusing to stump up cash to fix problems after contracts have been signed and rejecting unsolicited proposals, the Grattan Institute has found. Melbourne’s $6.7 billion West Gate Tunnel is an example of a transport project that has ended up with problems that were not foreseen when contracts were signed but “perhaps could have been with more work”, said Marion Terrill, Grattan’s transport and cities director.

July 16 at 11:52 AM

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REUTERS IMPACT Tesco lets UK-Spain train take the strain to counter trucker crisis

Reuters  September 29, 2021 (London,UK) Britain's biggest retailer Tesco (TSCO.L) plans to expand its use of a train service to bring goods from Spain into the country which helped it cut emissions and protect deliveries through a truck drivers' shortage, its CEO told Reuters. Ken Murphy said in an interview for the upcoming Reuters Impact conference that the last three months had been "quite challenging" but that the supermarket had coped well due to its close ties with suppliers and detailed planning. The group has also started using a chilled rail service to bring fruit and vegetables into the country from Spain, helping to cut the number of trucks it has on roads and guarantee deliveries. From 65,000 containers a year on rail, Tesco has an ambition to increase that to 90,000 containers by November or December. Source

September 30 at 05:13 AM

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Riding high: Prasa’s ‘useless’ engines find new purpose up north

Sunday Times Daily  15 August 2021 (Tanzania) FULL STEAM AHEAD  Two of Traxtion's Afro 4000 locomotives on a freight train in Tanzania. The locomotives, which had been found to be 'too tall' top operate on much of SA's rail network, have found new purpose on the 1,400km Tazara railway that links Zambia and Tanzania. SA’s trash turns into treasure for a private locomotive operator in Tanzania  There is a happy ending for some of the leading characters in the famous “too tall” locomotive saga that cost the Passenger Rail Agency billions of rand and hastened the demise of SA’s long-distance passenger trains. Six of the Spanish-built AFRO 4000 locomotives that were found to be too high for parts of SA’s rail network are now working flat-out on freight trains for a private operator on the 1,400km Tazara Railway that runs between Tanzania and Zambia. James Holley, CEO of private locomotive operator Traxtion, which bought the seven engines at auction in 2019, said the locomotives were already proving to be a success. “Apart from some electrical issues, none of which caused train failure, they have been performing very well,” he said. Traxtion, a well-established rail business that supplies locomotives, crews and rail services to South African industry and state-owned railway companies in Africa, has a concession to generate freight traffic for another third-party private operator on the Tazara. Funded and built by China in the late 1970s, the Tazara — also known as the “Uhuru” or Freedom Railway — has long struggled to be viable. Now, with private operators attracting new freight, the line is finally earning money from the access fees paid by private operators, Holley said. The route involves a dramatic crossing of the Rift Valley where the single-track line winds over mountains, through numerous tunnels and across dozens of high bridges. The arrival of the powerful ex-Prasa engines in Tanzania had allowed the company to reduce the number of locomotives and crews it needed to haul freight trains across the steep passes of the Rift Valley.  Previously, the company had been operating 36-wagon trains — pulled by two less powerful locomotives — which had to be reduced to a 24-wagon train for the steep grades of the escarpment while a third locomotive followed with the remaining 12 wagons. “With the Afros, we’ve been running trains of two locomotives and 32 wagons all the way through,” said Holley. “So we’re getting another eight wagons straight over the escarpment, which is great.” Train times had also become faster as there were no longer any of the delays caused by stopping and cutting the train. “Instead of having eight locomotives deployed, we’ve got six,” Holley said. The sheer power of the AFRO 4000s meant the company was planning to increase the train consists to 48 wagons carrying a total of 96 containers.  “To have 96 containers on a train on the Tazara is very cool,” he said. The six locomotives were the first of 13 such engines delivered to Prasa from Spanish locomotive builder Vossloh in 2015. Prasa, which had been hived off from freight train operator Transnet in 2008, was desperately short of reliable locomotives to haul its long-distance passenger trains which were hobbled by breakdowns and train delays that sometimes lasted for days. Under the terms of the R2.5bn deal — in which little-known SA company Swifambo Rail placed the order with the Spanish firm on behalf of Prasa — Vossloh would supply 20 AFRO 4000 diesel-electric and 50 AFRO-Dual electro-diesel locomotives. The AFRO 4000 locomotives are diesel-only while the AFRO Dual engines can be powered either by their own diesel engines or draw current from the overhead wires in electrified sections of SA’s rail network. Shortly after the first AFRO 4000 locomotives landed in Cape Town in early 2015, however, there were rumblings of a problem It turned out the 4.14m-high locomotives exceeded the minimum 3.965m height restriction on SA’s rail network. While the locomotives could run without restriction on parts of the network where there were no overhead wires, and could even run on the 25,000 volt network where clearances are higher, there were fears that they would foul the wires on the 3,000 volt network. Test trains operated on the Western Cape’s 3kV network without any problems but tests on the section running east from Johannesburg on the so-called “Benrose Corridor” showed that the locomotive body would possibly touch the overhead wires, causing “flashovers” which could destroy electronics and potentially harm the crew. Just 13 AFRO 4000s had been delivered when they were sidelined pending modifications. Meanwhile, the Prasa board went to court to challenge the deal on the grounds that the procurement process was corrupt. Source

August 27 at 07:29 AM

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Right on Track for MRT7

The Manila Times  September 11, 2021 (Philippines) Brand new trains from South Korea are laid on the tracks of the newly constructed MRT 7 along Commonwealth Ave in Quezon City, on Sept. 11, 2021. The trains will run from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan up to the North Triangle Common Station in North Avenue in Quezon City. Source

September 15 at 05:03 AM

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Rio Tinto’s iron ore rail cars to be built in WA to boost local jobs

Business Wire  October 02, 2021 (Melbourne, Australia) Rio Tinto is supporting iron ore rail car manufacturing in Western Australia with a commitment to use local suppliers to build ore rail cars for its Pilbara mining operations. A tender will soon be released to the local market for an initial purchase of 50 ore rail cars, followed by an ongoing commitment of 10 ore cars a year for the next five years. The tender will be released through the Rio Tinto Buy Local portal, a resource dedicated to making local suppliers aware of opportunities to partner with Rio Tinto and be part of our supply chain. Western Australia has been an important part of Rio Tinto’s history for more than 50 years as the company built a world-class iron ore business. In 2020, the company spent AUD$7.5 billion with more than 2,000 local businesses based in Western Australia. Rio Tinto is also part of the WA Government’s iron ore rail car action group, launched as part of the WA Recovery Plan to develop a competitive iron ore rail car manufacturing industry in Western Australia. Rio Tinto’s commitment to bring ore rail car manufacturing back to WA supports the action group’s vision to develop WA’s ore rail car manufacturing capability and support the State’s economic recovery. Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Simon Trott said: “Building Rio Tinto’s ore rail cars here in WA will support local manufacturing and create jobs for West Australians. “Rio Tinto is proud to lead the way in building iron ore rail cars in WA, in line with the vision of State Government’s iron ore rail car action group. “I look forward to partnering with local businesses to support and grow the local manufacturing industry in WA. “Ore cars are a critical part of our mining operations and building capacity to manufacture ore cars locally in WA will deliver significant benefits for Rio Tinto and the WA economy.” Premier Mark McGowan said: “This is a pleasing outcome and I commend Rio Tinto for taking the first step and committing to our local steel manufacturing industry which will support more jobs for Western Australians. “Rio Tinto’s commitment is a positive result off the back of the State Government’s independent pre-feasibility study, which identified initiatives for the manufacture, refurbishment and maintenance of iron ore railcar wagons. “This was about securing an ongoing pipeline of work for the long term manufacture of iron ore wagons and critical rail wagon parts, which will deliver jobs and economic benefit for the State into the future. “Rio Tinto’s purchase of Western Australian made railcars that will be used right here in our State is something I encourage other iron ore companies operating in WA to get on board with and increase local content and local jobs.” Source

October 04 at 05:56 AM

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Road and rail noise linked to dementia

The Times  September 09, 2021 (Denmark) Transport noise is deemed to be Europe’s second worst environmental risk factor for public health The noise from living next to a busy road or railway could raise the risk of dementia, research suggests. A study found that exposure to rail or road traffic sounds was linked to an increase in the risk of dementia by more than a quarter. The Danish researchers estimated that as many as 1,216 out of the 8,475 cases of dementia in a single year could be attributed to it. After air pollution, transport noise is considered the second worst environmental risk factor for public health in Europe. About 40 per cent of the population is exposed to road traffic noise above 55 decibels (dB), the EU threshold for excess exposure. Source

September 16 at 04:52 AM

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Rolling Stocks Market is anticipated to Grow at a Steady Growth Rate over the Forecast Period, Key Players – Hebei Huaxu,Naturesupplies,Douglas,Hebei Kanlong

Global Banking And Finance Review  24 September, 2021 (UK) The Rolling Stocks Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.2 % and is poised to reach $XX Billion by 2027 as compared to $XX Billion in 2020 New York, United States :  As one of the most valuable additions to  Decisive Markets Insights,  the  Rolling Stocks Market  covers a broad range of topics. Analyzes key components of the global market in a comprehensive way. In this report, analysts describe the growth drivers, challenges, trends, and opportunities for each market segment, and provide detailed information about these drivers, constraints, and challenges. Analysis of market dynamics can help participants prepare for future challenges and formulate effective advanced strategies. Market analysts carefully analyze and study every trend in this market. Source

September 24 at 06:06 AM

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Russia’s First Female Train Driver

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

July 09 at 07:33 AM

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Russian Prisoners to Build Siberian Railway Line

The Moscow Times  June 11, 2021 Planned railroad track spans over 4,000 kilometers running from Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia to the Sea of Japan in the Far East. Russia's prison service on Thursday said that convicts would be sent to construct a new section of the Baikal-Amur Mainline track (BAM) in Siberia, a railway partially built by Gulag prisoners. Amid labor shortages Russian government officials have discussed plans to use prison labor for major construction projects but they insist there are no plans to revive the Stalin-era Gulag practice. The BAM track spans over 4,000 kilometers running from Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia to the Sea of Japan in the Far East. Conceived in the 1930s, it was one of the largest and most costly projects of the Soviet Union that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Gulag prisoners sent to the labour camps under dictator Joseph Stalin. "An agreement was signed on the intent to use convict labour and create a site that functions as a correctional facility," state news agency RIA Novosti quoted a spokesman for Russia's Federal Prison Service (FSIN) as saying. Alexander Tchernoyarov, who heads one of the main companies involved in the project, pointed to a "serious shortage of manpower," with many migrant workers unable to enter Russia due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Russian military said in April that it would contribute to the modernisation of the BAM track but more manpower was needed to fill the 15,000 vacant positions. Around 40,000 prisoners died when building the railway in the 1930s, but many researchers consider this figure to be an underestimate. "It will not be a Gulag," FSIN head Alexander Kalashnikov told rights officials in May, speaking of plans to use prison labor. He added that the labourers would enjoy "decent conditions" and receive a salary. The new section of the BAM railway will be 340 kilometers long and work is set to begin in the spring.  In March, the prison service said it was considering whether to mobilise convicts to clean up pollution in the Arctic.   Source:

July 09 at 05:43 AM

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Safety system problem delays opening of Potomac Yard Metro station in Alexandria

The Washington Post  July 26, 2021 (US) Metro said the extra months will allow the agency to complete the design and implementation of the system The opening of the Potomac Yard Metro station in Alexandria, Va., is being pushed back to the fall of 2022 after a problem was identified with a critical safety system at the station, Metro said Monday. The transit agency said the design of the automatic train control (ATC) system did not meet requirements to ensure safe train operations, adding that it needs to be redesigned. Metro said the problem was a result of “management decisions for which Metro is accountable.” The ATC system relies on track circuits to transmit speed commands so that trains maintain a safe distance and stop when the track ahead is occupied. The Potomac Yard station had been scheduled to open in April 2022. Metro said the extra months will allow the agency to complete the design and implementation of the safety system.   Source

July 29 at 06:38 AM

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Saudi minister: KSA keen to invest more in Bangladesh

Dhaka Tribune  September 20, 2021 (Bangladesh) The prime minister's Private Industry and Investment adviser proposed setting up a special economic zone for Saudi investors Saudi Arabian Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Sunday said there is potential for more Saudi investment in Bangladesh due to the latter’s investment-friendly climate. The Saudi minister made the remark during a meeting with Salman F Rahman, visiting Private Industry and Investment adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. During the meeting, Salman F Rahman apprised the Saudi minister of the steps taken by the current government to attract foreign investment, read a press release.  He also proposed to set up a special economic zone for Saudi investors, as committed to by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.  The Saudi investment minister welcomed Bangladesh's proposal. The adviser also requested that the minister finalize a draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at creating opportunities for Saudi investment under public-private partnerships. Al-Falih informed the advisor that the draft MoU is in its final phase and he hoped it would be signed soon. Source

September 22 at 05:15 AM

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São Paulo Guarulhos airport to get monorail connecting airport with local subway and trains

The Rio Times  August 7, 2021 (Brazil)  RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Construction of the monorail, which will connect the terminals of Guarulhos International Airport with Line 13 - Jade of the São Paulo Metropolitan Trains Company (CPTM), is scheduled to begin in 90 days. Currently, after getting off at the platform, you have to take a bus to get to the neighboring city of São Paulo. This announcement was made by the Secretary of State for Urban Transportation, Alexandre Baldy, during a lecture for entrepreneurs at the headquarters of the Association of Commerce of São Paulo (ACSP). Source:

August 12 at 05:55 AM

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ScotRail engineers plan strikes during Glasgow climate summit

The Guardian  5 October, 2021 (UK) Union lines up strikes during Cop26 over pay and says rail firm risks national embarrassment ScotRail engineers are planning strike action that they say is likely to severely disrupt travel to the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow next month, as unions accuse management of risking “national embarrassment”. Unite said workers had been left with no choice by the Abellio ScotRail management’s failure to make what it called a meaningful pay offer despite repeated action short of a strike since 24 September. The planned 24-hour stoppages will take place on 18-19 October and 1-2, 10-11 and 12-13 November, and will affect stations including Glasgow Queen Street, Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley. Global leaders and campaigners are due to gather in Scotland for the UN climate summit from 31 October. Pat Mcilvogue, Unite’s industrial officer, said: “The talks have been spun out and cynically used as a delaying tactic to avoid the national embarrassment of having strike action during the Cop26 climate change conference, which is being held in Glasgow. “We want the Scottish public to know that we have exhausted the process. Unite’s members have been holding action short of strike in an attempt to get Abellio ScotRail to wake up and to recognise the storm that they have created, to no effect. Now strike action will severely disrupt events and the Cop26 climate change conference due to this shambolic company.” There are continuing disputes over pay, lack of investment and services cuts, and the RMT is also balloting on industrial action against ScotRail after a lengthy dispute over conductors’ pay. On Monday Aslef, the RMT, the TSSA and Unite issued a joint statement saying that investment in Scotland’s railways, valuing staff, expanding services and making rail travel more affordable were essential to meeting environmental targets. The Scottish government’s transport secretary, Graeme Dey, told BBC Radio Scotland that he was “actively encouraging” a resolution and that unions needed to “step back from some of the rhetoric dominating the agenda”. He said: “I understand that later today the unions and ScotRail are meeting and a fresh offer is likely to be tabled. It’s one I hope that the unions will view in the spirit that it is going to be made and consider settling these disputes.” A ScotRail spokesperson said: “We’re seeing customers gradually return to Scotland’s railway, but the scale of the financial situation ScotRail is facing is stark. We will continue to engage with the rail trade unions to find an agreement on pay and conditions.” Source

October 06 at 05:03 AM

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Shortage of Railroad Workers Threatens Recovery

The Wall Street Journal  July 22, 2021 (US) Low-wage work is in high demand, and employers are now competing for applicants, offering incentives ranging from sign-on bonuses to free food. But with many still unemployed, are these offers working? Photo: Bloomberg News Struggle to bring crews back draws scrutiny from regulators, who were already concerned about lean operations America’s freight railroads are struggling to bring back workers, contributing to a slowdown in the movement of chemicals, fertilizer and other products that threatens to disrupt factory operations and hinder a rebound from the pandemic, according to shippers and trade groups. The problems have attracted scrutiny from federal regulators, who have been concerned that cost cuts and new operational plans implemented across most freight railroads that have been celebrated on Wall Street have resulted in lackluster service for some customers. “The railroads cannot strip down to bare-bones operations,” said Martin Oberman, chairman of the Surface Transportation Board. “It’d be like a professional football team only having one quarterback.”   Source  

July 27 at 02:22 PM

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Siemens lands $3.4 billion hybrid train order from U.S. Amtrak

Reuters  July 7, 2021, (MUNICH, Germany) MUNICH, July 7 (Reuters) - Siemens Mobility (SIEGn.DE) said on Wednesday it had landed a $3.4 billion order from U.S. national rail transportation company Amtrak for 73 trains that will be powered by hybrid engines. The order for the trains, which will play a transport corridor in the U.S. northeast, has an option to be expanded by up to 140 more units, Siemens Mobility said in a statement. "The new trains will fundamentally change travel by rail. We will replace our 40- to 50-year-old fleet with modern U.S.-made trains and systems," said CEO Bill Flynn of Amtrak. Siemens Mobility said the order, its largest ever in the United States, would include maintenance and service. "We believe that battery hybrid drives and dual-power trains will play an important role in reducing emissions and protecting the environment in the United States," said Michael Peter, CEO of Siemens Mobility.   Source:

July 09 at 05:38 AM

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Siemens to buy rail software company Sqills in 550 million euro deal

Channel News Asia  05 Aug 2021 (Switzerland) ZURICH : Siemens is buying rail software company Sqills, the German engineering and technology company said on Thursday, its latest acquisition to expand into high growth markets outside its core activities. The trains-to-industrial software maker will pay an initial 550 million euros (US$651.09 million) for Sqills, a software as a service provider, whose cloud-based products include inventory management, reservation and ticketing software. Sqills has forecast revenues of around 40 million euros in 2022 and provides services to 33 operators, with customers including France's state-owned railway company SNCF, channel tunnel operator Eurostar and Irish Rail. The Netherlands-based company has developed a platform that enables rail and bus operators to replace their old reservation systems with an online booking system that increases the utilization and availability of passenger transportation, Siemens said. Source

August 11 at 02:27 PM

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Sirajganj-Bogura Rail Link Project: BR inks deal with Indian firm for preparatory work

The Daily Star  September 27, 2021 (Bangladesh) Bangladesh Railway (BR) today signed a contract with an Indian joint venture firm for preparatory work on Sirajganj-Bogura Rail Link Project. Under the Tk 97.56 crore contract, the firm led by RITES Ltd of India will work for updating the project's feasibility study, detailed design, and preparing tender documents. They will also provide construction subversion services when the physical work of the project will start. Representatives of BR and the Indian joint venture firm signed the contract in presence of Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan and Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami at Dhaka's Rail Bhaban. BR is implementing Tk 5,579.70 crore project to establish 86km direct link between Sirajganj and Bogura. Source

September 29 at 04:34 AM

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Smart Mobility Market to Generate $70.46 Billion By 2027 | Major Companies, Strategies and New Trends

EIN Presswire August 19, 2021 (US) Global smart mobility market technology and distribution channels, This study presents market analysis, trends, and future estimations. PORTLAND, ORAGON, UNITED STATES, August 19, 2021 / -- According to the report published by Allied Market Research, the global smart mobility market generated $34.04 billion in 2019, and is estimated to reach $70.46 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 20.2% from 2020 to 2027. The report offers an extensive analysis of changing market dynamics, key winning strategies, business performance, major segments, and competitive scenarios. Growing trend of on-demand transportation and government initiatives for development of smart cities drive the growth of the global smart mobility market. However, threat associated with hacking of data and low rate of internet usage in developing economies restrain the market growth. Furthermore, growing adoption intelligent transport system is expected to provide new growth opportunities for the market player in the near future. Source

August 22 at 08:47 AM

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South Africa’s vaccine train takes doses to poor areas

AP  September 25, 2021 (SWARTKOPS, South Africa) When Wongalwethu Mbanjwa tried to get a COVID-19 vaccination and found his local center closed, a friend told him there was another option: Get one on the train. So Mbanjwa did. Not any train, but South Africa’s vaccine train — which has now made its way to the small town of Swartkops on the country’s south coast. Carrying doctors, nurses and, crucially, vaccine doses, it has a mission to bring vaccines closer to people in small towns and poorer parts of South Africa, which has the continent’s highest number of coronavirus infections at more than 2.8 million. The train is parked at the Swartkops rail station, the first stop on a three-month journey through the poor Eastern Cape province. It will stay for about two weeks at a time at seven stations in the province to vaccinate as many people as possible. State-owned rail company Transnet launched the program to aid the government’s rollout. The initiative aims to meet head-on two of the government’s biggest challenges: getting doses out beyond big cities to areas where health care facilities are limited and trying to convince hesitant people in those areas to get vaccine shots. Source

September 27 at 06:14 AM

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South African train brings COVID-19 vaccines closer to people

Reuters  September 2, 2021 (JOHANNESBURG, South Africa) At Springs train station in South Africa's biggest city Johannesburg, Simphiwe Dyantyi and her partner wait their turn to board. But they are not going anywhere, instead they are getting COVID-19 jabs inside a stationary train. The initiative by South African state logistics firm Transnet is meant to bring vaccines closer to people and save them from travelling long distances as the government ramps up its COVID-19 vaccination drive. From the Springs station, the Transvaco train will in the first week of September move to rural Eastern Cape province. Once there, it will make stops in different places in the province, bringing relief to poor villagers who are often without basic health facilities. It will be stationed there until November.

September 06 at 05:02 AM

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South Commuter Railway to increase access to jobs

The Manila Times  August 18, 2021 (Philippines) The South Commuter Railway (SCR) will not only lessen the travel time for workers but also increase access to jobs, a report released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said. In a blog released on Tuesday, the ADB said that workers in cities and municipalities with SCR stations will gain access to more than 300,000 jobs on average, an increase of 15.3 percent in the south and 8.5 percent in Metro Manila. ADB Young Professional South Asia Department Liming Chen, Economics Officer, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department Eugenia Co Go, and Principal Economist, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Yi Jiang said that "residents of at least 48 cities and municipalities stand to benefit from a faster and more reliable mass transit system once the railway becomes operational." "On average, households will have access to 300,000 more jobs within an hour's commute," the authors said. Source

September 09 at 05:21 AM

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South Korea and Paraguay sign MOU to boost commuter train project

The Rio Times  September 10, 2021 (RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL) Paraguay's Minister of Public Works and Communications, Arnoldo Wiens Durksen, considered this an important day for Paraguayans, "who know the importance of a railroad today with such congested traffic" South Korea and Paraguay signed today in Seoul a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in infrastructure that will promote the commuter train project between Asunción and Ypacaraí, whose works could start next year. The document was signed today in the South Korean capital in the presence of a large Paraguayan delegation that has traveled there, including the Minister of Public Works and Communications, Arnoldo Wiens Durksen, the President of the Senate, Óscar Salomón, and the President of Ferrocarriles de Paraguay (FEPASA), Lauro Ramírez López. Source

September 10 at 04:55 AM

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Southeastern train services taken over by government

BBC  17 October 2021 (UK) Southeastern's train services have been taken over by the government (UK). Franchise holder Govia was informed of the decision last month after failing to declare more than £25m of taxpayer funding. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Operator of Last Resort would take over the running to protect taxpayers' interests. Passengers are unlikely to see any immediate changes as trains, timetables and fares will stay the same. Southeastern's vast network includes London, Kent, East Sussex and the High Speed 1 line. The franchise was owned by Govia - a joint venture between Go-Ahead Group and Keolis. The government stepped in after an investigation by the Department for Transport (DfT) identified Govia had not declared millions of pounds of historic taxpayer funding. The DfT said the money had since been reclaimed. Further investigations are being conducted and the government is considering more action, including financial penalties. Anthony Smith, chief executive of passenger watchdog Transport Focus, said: "Passengers will want a punctual, reliable, clean train, with enough room to sit and stand, and value for money fares." Cat Hobbs, director of public ownership campaign group We Own It, said "privatisation is failing our railway" and called for the whole rail network to be brought into public hands "where it belongs". Source

October 18 at 04:33 AM

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Spain's high-speed railway revolution

CNN  7th September 2021 (Spain) When travelers think of European high-speed rail travel, France's iconic Trains a Grande Vitesse (TGV) or Germany's elegant white ICE trains tend to come to mind. Those who've visited Italy will no doubt have encountered Trenitalia's Frecciarossa (Red Arrow) or the stunning scarlet trains of its strong competitor Italo. But Europe's longest network of high-speed railways is not in Italy, Germany or even in France.   That honor is held by Spain, where billions of euros have been invested into new railways radiating from Madrid over the last 30 years. At 3,567 kilometers, it's the second longest high speed rail network in the world, although still less than 10% of that built by China over the last decade. When compared with the lightning progress made by China, the construction of new high-speed railways in Spain has been comparatively glacial, a hostage to volatile national and regional politics, wildly ambitious targets and inconsistent decision making, especially after the 2008 global financial crisis. However, new sections of railway are continuing to open thanks to significant support from the European Union as Spain works towards realizing the dream of providing fast links between Madrid and its regional capitals. Source

September 08 at 10:10 AM

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Spain's train maker CAF plans a bid for Thales's train signalling business, Expansion reports

Reuters  MAY 20, 2021 (Spain) MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish train maker CAF plans to make a bid for the signalling arm of French technology group Thales in a transaction possibly worth 1.6 billion euros ($1.95 billion), Spanish newspaper Expansion reported Thursday, citing unidentified financial sources. Given the size of the deal, CAF is seeking a partner to buy the unit, the newspaper reported. The train signalling arm is a crucial technology business that allows railways operators to increase the number of trains circulating on rail lines and includes driverless train technology. A CAF spokesman declined to comment and no one was immediately available at Thales for comment. ($1 = 0.8210 euros)   Source

July 23 at 07:04 AM

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Spain’s dying railroad towns: Trying to catch a new train to prosperity

Elpais  17 JAN 2020 (Spain) A setting sun casts oblique rays over the hamlet of Algodor. In this spur of Madrid territory that bites into Toledo province, a solitary building made in the neo-Mudejar style rises over the reddish-greenish plain. The old train station with its arched windows was erected in 1929 to replace an older, more humble building. The pillars still show the acronym MZA, for the railway company that built it. The railroad tracks, rusty and overrun with weeds, are lined with two rows of low houses, around 60 in total. An old engine sits sleepily on a siding, still coupled to two dozen freight cars. The deep calm of this place is almost unsettling. In was in 2005 that silence descended on Algodor. That’s the year that trains stopped passing through on their way to Madrid, after having done so for nearly a century and a half. In 2005, a new high-speed AVE link between Madrid and Toledo was inaugurated, making Algodor station, and the town that grew around it, obsolete. Source

July 30 at 08:52 AM

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ST Engineering to collaborate with LTA unit for overseas rail projects

Straits Times (THE BUSINESS TIMES)   October 12, 2021 (Singapore) Singapore Technologies Engineering (ST Engineering) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with MSI Global - a wholly owned subsidiary of the Land Transport Authority - to collaborate in rail projects around the world. Both companies will jointly provide rail electronics solutions and services for rail projects overseas under the collaboration, they said in a joint press statement on Tuesday (Oct 12). The MOU also includes developing joint go-to-market activities to grow Singapore's rail global footprint. ST Engineering will contribute its technical and domain expertise in advanced smart metro solutions, while MSI Global will provide its expertise in ticketing and payment systems software solutions, systems integration for rolling stock, signalling, power supply systems, depot planning and project management. Mr Chew Men Leong, president of urban solutions at ST Engineering, noted that the MOU serves as a platform for the group to extend its smart mobility expertise - which is also its key focus area in its smart city growth strategy - to new international markets. "The complementary capabilities and synergies that both organisations intend to forge will further strengthen our combined rail offerings and position us as a strong contender amongst global competition," he said. The MOU will relate only to collaboration outside Singapore, said MSI Global chief executive Sim Wee Meng. Shares of ST Engineering were trading at $3.90 as at 10.33am on Tuesday, down one cent or 0.3 per cent. Source

October 13 at 07:08 AM

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Stadler Rail wins 2 bln Sfr order from SBB

Reuters  October 5, 2021 (Berlin, Germany) Swiss train manufacturer Stadler Rail won a contract to deliver trains worth 2 billion Swiss francs ($2.16 billion) to Switzerland’s national railway group SBB, SBB said on Tuesday. Stadler had been competing for the order to supply 286 new single-decker regional trains against rivals Alstom and Siemens, SBB said in a statement, adding that the first trains are expected to enter operation from December 2025. ($1 = 0.9262 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Zuzanna Szymanska Editing by Riham Alkousaa) Source

October 06 at 05:28 AM

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Stage 2 of Thomson-East Coast MRT Line to open on Aug 28

Straits Times  30-06-2021 (Singapore) SINGAPORE - The long-awaited second stage of the Thomson-East Coast MRT Line will start running on Aug 28. Transport Minister S. Iswaran on Wednesday (June 30) said the new six-station stretch - connecting Springleaf, Lentor, Mayflower, Bright Hill, Upper Thomson and Caldecott stations - "would not have been possible without the hard work, adaptability and personal sacrifices of our technicians, engineers and ground staff". Delayed in part by the Covid-19 pandemic, TEL2 will have two interchanges - Caldecott with the Circle Line and Bright Hill with the future Cross Island Line. Mr Iswaran said the TEL will enhance the resilience of the rail network. When fully opened in the latter half of the decade, the TEL will interchange with five existing MRT lines (North-south, East-west, North-east, Circle and Downtown) as well as the Cross Island Line. When TEL is fully completed, more than 240,000 current and future households will be within a 10-minute walk from a station along the line, he added. TEL1 and TEL2 alone will benefit about 100,000 households, he said. The first stage of the TEL - a three-station stretch from Woodlands North to Woodlands South - opened in January 2020. Speaking at Caldecott station, Mr Iswaran pointed out that the station is located near the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped and Lighthouse School. "To better support visually impaired commuters, TEL's lift buttons, platform seats and signs will have greater colour contrasts," he said. Source:

July 09 at 05:42 AM

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State-owned Namibian rail operator to cut a quarter of workforce

NASDAQ  September 20, 2021 (Namibia) WINDHOEK, Sept 20 (Reuters) - State-owned Namibian rail operator TransNamib will cut roughly a quarter of its 1,309 workers in a bid to cut costs amid a slowdown in business, the company's CEO said in a letter seen by Reuters. In a letter to the public enterprises minister, Leon Jooste, TransNamib CEO Johny Smith said the company wanted to make 340 employees redundant, including 154 nearing retirement. Another 186 employees in "non-core business units" have also been targeted for voluntary redundancy. The non-core business units include the former road operations, vehicle maintenance, service delivery and terminals section. "Most of these employees are therefore currently being carried by the company in redundant capacities and can be considered excess to requirements to the core business which is train operations, properties and engineering together with supporting services," Smith said. Source -20

September 21 at 04:29 AM

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Station in Tokyo becomes first in the city to install an inclined elevator

Japan Today  Aug. 26, 2021 (Japan) Inclined elevators are usually found on slopes in the great outdoors, where single cars ferry people up steep inclines on the sides of mountains and hillsides to areas that would otherwise be hard to access. Now, the inclined elevator is being used to enhance accessibility inside a Tokyo train station for the very first time, making news when it opened to the public at Akasaka-mitsuke Station in July. This is the first time for an inclined elevator to appear at a train station in Tokyo, so we swung by to see it in action, finding it on the third floor basement level next to a set of stairs. While there are a number of elevators next to stairwells like these at stations throughout the city, they’re all vertical, unlike this one, which clearly travels on a slope, following the same incline as the stairs. Source

September 09 at 05:57 AM

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Still no arrival time for €1 billion-plus rail project

The Times  October 05, 2021 (UK) An opening date has still not been set for the government’s flagship rail project. The multibillion-euro MetroLink connecting Swords with Dublin Airport and the city centre was due to be completed by 2027, but Eamon Ryan, the transport minister, said last week that it could be delayed by up to 2034. In the government’s revised National Development Plan (NDP), launched yesterday, the Dublin metro project is listed in the €1 billion-plus price band but has no cost estimate or completion date. The blueprint sets out a record €165 billion in capital spending over the next ten years including €35 billion on transport projects, with the government allocating a 2:1 spending ratio in favour of sustainable transport over new roads. Source  

October 05 at 05:19 AM

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Struggling railway operator asks for $34.5 million interest-free loan

Viet Nam News  June, 26/2021 (Vietnam) HÀ NỘI — The Việt Nam Railways Corporation (VNR) has asked for a loan package worth VNĐ800 billion (US$34.5 million) with zero interest to overcome the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic. The State-owned operator of the railway system is facing the risk of temporary closure due to the pandemic. The proposal was recently submitted to the Committee for Management of State Capital at Enterprises to help VNR maintain its operation. Vũ Anh Minh, VNR’s chairman, said although the corporation had made efforts to slash costs, it incurred losses of more than VNĐ1.3 trillion in 2020 and anticipated another loss worth VNĐ942 billion in 2021. VNR said the loan would be added to its working capital while it was facing the risk of not having enough cash to pay employees if the pandemic is prolonged into 2022. VNR also proposed policies to support its 13,000 employees who could lose their jobs. Source:

July 15 at 04:29 AM

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Study begins on rail line along Bang Na-Trat Road

Bangkok Post  19 AUG 2021  Consulting firms are carrying out a feasibility study on a light-rail link between Bang Na intersection and Suvarnabhumi International Airport, which the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration intends to build and operate under a public-private partnership model. The firms, which were contracted to carry out the study on May 14, are TEAM Consulting Engineering and Management Public Co Ltd, Avantgarde Capital Co Ltd, InfraTrans Consultants Co Ltd, Daoreuk Communications Co Ltd and PSK Consultants Co Ltd. The study, which began on June 11, is intended to analyse the costs and benefits of building the light rail project, which is intended to boost local economic activity along the route. Source

August 24 at 05:22 AM

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Support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water

The Guardian  29 September 2021 (UK) How do we avoid an expensive winter? Take energy back into public ownership Cat Hobbs Pressing ahead with a green new deal that reverses decades of privatisation is the key to better utilities Cat Hobbs is the founder of We Own It, an organisation that campaigns for public ownership of public services hen Keir Starmer stood for election as Labour party leader, he pledged to continue the party’s support for public ownership. One of the 10 promises he set out was that “public services should be in public hands, not making profits for shareholders. Support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water; end outsourcing in our NHS, local government and justice system”. The privatisation of public services is a 40-year failed experiment that voters have had enough of. Recent polling shows that 74% of potential Labour voters now support a greater commitment to public ownership. Evidence suggests that Labour’s public ownership policies were always popular with the general public, and became even more so from 2017 to 2019. Brexit and the party leadership were the stated factors that stopped people from voting Labour. Even Conservative voters support public ownership of railways and water utilities. That’s because in general, people want to see profits reinvested into better services rather than leaking out to shareholders. On Sunday, Labour conference delegates voted for a green new deal motion that included support for public ownership of energy and public transport. They were backed by shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband, who has repeatedly confirmed Labour’s support for public ownership, as has shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon. Source

September 30 at 05:30 AM

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Sydney Metro, which will connect new airport at Badgerys Creek, approved for construction

The Western Weekender  July 26, 2021, 11:19 (Australia) The Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project has reached a major milestone with planning approval having been granted by the New South Wales Government and major construction set to commence soon. Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher said the approvals are a major step forward for the new Metro rail line, which will transform the way western Sydney connects to the rest of the city. “The Morrison Government is providing a once-in-a-generation level of funding in a range of major infrastructure projects across western Sydney, to transform the region and foster the creation of Australia’s future industries,” Mr Fletcher said. “This includes working closely with the NSW Government to deliver this new multi-billion dollar Sydney Metro line, which will provide a critical link to the new Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport and improve connectivity for local residents. “Once operational, the new Metro is expected to transport up to 7,740 passengers each hour in each direction, while also taking about 110,000 vehicles off local roads every day, significantly reducing local traffic.” New South Wales Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said the 23-kilometre driverless metro will service western Sydney and the new Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport, delivering major benefits for the region. “This city-shaping infrastructure will deliver a vital boost to the NSW economy, with the construction of Sydney’s newest Metro rail line expected to support around 14,000 jobs, including 250 apprentices,” Mr Constance said.   Source:

July 27 at 11:12 AM

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Taiki the steam engine draws mass crowd in Waiuku

New Zealand Herald  5 Jul, 2021 (New Zealand) The iwi of Ngāti Te Ata in Waiuku has collaborated with the Glenbrook Vintage Railway Charitable Trust to bring on an exciting new project that the whole whānau can enjoy. Taiki the tank engine showed his face to the public for the first time, and to more than 2,000 people recently in Waiuku. Mana whenua say Taiki is a vehicle for locals to learn more about Matariki and to cultivate te reo and mātauranga Māori. Taiki is one of the founding ancestors of Ngāti Te Ata in Waiuku and, in honour of Matariki and in celebration with the Glenbrook Vintage Railway, the local iwi has decided to name the train and Matariki event, "Taiki". Source

July 29 at 07:21 AM

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Taiwan train crash that killed 49 people didn't have to happen: Experts

The Straits Times  JUL 19, 2021 (Taiwan) TAIPEI (NYTIMES) - It seemed at first like a freak accident. A contractor was navigating a sharp turn on a sand-packed road. He had been hired to shore up a steep hillside on Taiwan's east coast - any falling debris could be a safety hazard to the trains that rushed by below. At the edge of the embankment, his truck got stuck. He and another worker tried to pull it free, using a cloth strap and an excavator. The strap snapped, and the truck tumbled down the hill onto the railway tracks. About a minute later, Taroko Express No. 408 collided with the truck, killing 49 people and injuring more than 200. In an instant, the picturesque oceanside slope became the site of Taiwan's deadliest railway disaster in seven decades. The tragedy on that April morning is one of several crises that have shaken this island democracy of 23.5 million people, which prides itself as a well-managed and accountable society. It has undermined confidence in the government at a time when Taiwan has struggled with a surge in coronavirus cases and rolling electrical blackouts. While prosecutors have accused the contractor, Lee Yi-hsiang, and others of negligent homicide, the roots of the disaster go much deeper, revealing systemic failures at the government agency that runs the train system, the Taiwan Railways Administration. A close examination of the crash by The New York Times, based on interviews with current and former officials, railway employees, contractors and safety experts, found that the agency suffered from a culture of complacency and weak oversight. Contractors like Lee were mismanaged, maintenance problems festered, and officials missed or ignored safety warnings - creating conditions that contributed to the crash. A government adviser told officials in 2017 that the line on which the crash occurred was an accident waiting to happen. Earlier this year, a local worker for the agency twice warned about the risk of heavy equipment manoeuvring around that same turn. No one did anything. Authorities are investigating whether the agency should have done more to follow up, Mr Chou Fang-yi, a prosecutor on the case, told the Times. Lee should never have been awarded the project under the agency's rules. According to the indictment, he illegally misrepresented his company on the application, using the credentials of a larger, more experienced company to qualify for the project. The agency did not do enough due diligence to uncover the problem. "This accident could have been avoided," Mr Li Kang, a member of the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board, a government agency investigating the crash, said in an interview. Since the disaster, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has vowed to address long-standing complaints about the Taiwan Railways Administration, which provided more than 500,000 rides per day before the pandemic. A report by Taiwan's transportation ministry released on Sunday cited failings in the railway agency's safety processes and management of construction projects. The railway agency said it was undertaking reforms. In May, it reprimanded 12 employees for "inadequate supervision and management" of the project at the crash site, though none were dismissed. In a written response to questions, the agency said the reprimands were a "warning and a chance for public servants to reflect on their failure to properly fulfil their duties". Past promises to improve have had little result. Ms Tsai's government called for reforms in 2018 after a train crash in the northeast killed 18 people. Although some recommendations were instituted, structural changes were not. Since 2012, the agency's trains have experienced 316 major incidents, including collisions and derailments, according to a review by the Times of data from Taiwan's Transportation Ministry. The accidents have killed 437 people. By comparison, Taiwan High Speed Rail, the newer, public-private high-speed system on the island's west coast, had no major incidents during the same period. "Typically when there is an accident, TRA's response is to hold a meeting, discuss, organise a lecture and an exercise and tell workers that this is the correct protocol," said Mr Lu Chieh-shen, who worked at the agency for 38 years and served as general director from 2016 to 2018. "Then they go back to their routine." Source

July 23 at 07:14 AM

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Telework cars to be set up on Tokaido, Sanyo Shinkansen trains

The Yomiuri Shimbun  August 28, 2021 (Japan)  Central Japan Railway Co. and West Japan Railway Co. announced Thursday they will operate cars exclusively for teleworking passengers on Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen line trains from October. The companies hope to lift passenger demand that has sagged amid the coronavirus crisis. Car No. 7 of all Nozomi trains between Tokyo and Hakata stations will become teleworker-only. The railways will accept seat reservations from Sept. 1 via the online booking services Express Ride and Smart EX. The fare is the same as that for ordinary reserved seats. Teleworking car passengers can borrow smartphone battery chargers and mini-mouses free of charge on some trains between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka stations. From September, a private booth will be set up in waiting rooms at Tokyo Station and elsewhere. Smoking areas set between the cars No. 7 and No. 8 on some Shinkansen trains will be refurnished as nonsmoking meeting spaces from spring next year. Speech Source

September 03 at 05:17 AM

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Texas bullet train group inks deal with Milan design firm

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

July 09 at 05:46 AM

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Thailand will gift Cambodia with 140 km of rail for stronger link

Cambodia Daily  July 24, 2020 (Cambodia) Cambodia will soon welcome another 140km of northern railway to connect to the Thai border to better facilitate the transportation of goods between the two countries. Cambodia and Thailand officially launched rail reconnection link in late 2018. Vasim Sorya, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, told The Post on Wednesday that Thailand promised to provide the new rail after the launch that year. Source

August 12 at 08:27 AM

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Thales shortlists bidders for signalling business -sources

Reuters  JUL 7, 2021 (Germany) FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Thales has shortlisted Japan's Hitachi Rail, Switzerland's Stadler Rail and Spain's CAF in the sale of its rail signalling business, people close to the matter said. The French defence and aerospace group, partially owned by the French state, is seeking to streamline its operations, after investors often questioned the diversity of its portfolio of assets. The proceeds will help bolster the finances of the maker of equipment ranging from anti-jamming devices for fighter jets to airliner navigation beacons after the pandemic dented sales and profits last year. Thales has asked for binding bids to be submitted by the end of this week and if its price expectations are met it could select a buyer in late July or early August. Source:

July 09 at 04:15 AM

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Thales to sell signalling business to Hitachi in $2 bln deal

Reuters August 4, 2021 (France) PARIS, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Thales (TCFP.PA), Europe's largest defence electronics company, confirmed on Wednesday it was in advanced talks to sell its railway signalling business to Japan's Hitachi (6501.T) in a deal that values the division at 1.66 billion euros ($2 billion).  The sale comes as the French firm looks to streamline its sprawling operations and reassure investors of its focus on the core business of making high-tech equipment for the defence and aerospace industries. Reuters reported the talks last week.  The price tag of 1.66 billion euros corresponds to the enterprise value, including debt, of Thales' unit, dubbed Ground Transportation Systems. It reflects a multiple of 13.8 times of the unit's twelve-month earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), Thales said in a statement, adding that it expected the deal to close by the end of 2022 or the start of 2023. The signalling unit, which also offers train control systems and fare collection services, is small compared with competitors. The sale comes at a time of consolidation in the industry as independent players align themselves with bigger industrial groups. In January, French train maker Alstom (ALSO.PA) closed its 5.5-billion-euro acquisition of Bombardier's rail business, making it the industry's No. 2 worldwide, after China's CRRC (601766.SS). Source

August 04 at 06:53 AM

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Thales' shares climb after French company raises 2021 sales goal

Reuters  July 23, 2021 (Germany) PARIS, July 23 (Reuters) - France's Thales (TCFP.PA) raised its full-year revenue target after posting first-half revenues up by 9.8% on a like-for-like basis, helping to lift the company's share price. Europe's largest defence electronics company, whose systems range from radar to rail, and biometric sensors to satellites, said the increase reflected a broad rebound compared with the worst stages of the pandemic, except for civil aerospace. New orders rose 37% to 8.244 billion euros ($9.70 billion), led by major satellite contracts in Europe and Indonesia. Chief Executive Patrice Caine said the order boost lent confidence, while warning the business climate "continues to be disrupted." Thales' overall operating income more than doubled to 768 million euros in the first half from 348 million a year earlier, as half-yearly sales reached 8.423 billion euros. Thales now expects 2021 sales of 17.5-18.0 billion euros, compared with a previous target of 17.1-17.9 billion. Thales's shares were up 1.4% in early session trading. Thales' new sales outlook assumes no major new economic or public-health disruptions and a return to normal in the global semiconductor supply chain, the company said. In May, it said it had seen no significant impact from a global shortage of chips used by its identity and bank payments businesses, but was adding new suppliers. Caine declined comment on speculation surrounding the potential sale of the company's rail signalling business. Reuters reported this month that Thales had shortlisted Japan's Hitachi Rail (6501.T), Switzerland's Stadler Rail (SRAIL.S) and Spain's CAF for the business, which analysts have valued between 1.5 billion and 2.5 billion euros. The French aerospace group, partially owned by the French state, is seeking to streamline its operations after investors often questioned the diversity of its portfolio.   ($1 = 0.8498 euros) Source

July 25 at 05:29 AM

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Thameslink, Great Northern and Southern reinstate 1,000 train services

BBC  6 September 2021 (UK) About 1,000 train services are being reinstated by Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink on Monday. Govia, which operates the companies, has introduced the new timetable, which runs until December, as more people return to work after the pandemic. In July, it introduced a reduced timetable due to a number of employees having to isolate. It said the latest changes were designed to fit customer needs while it was still "severely affected" by Covid. A statement on the operators' websites said: "These changes are designed to provide a service that best fits the requirements of our customers while we, in common with other industries, continue to see the impact of coronavirus on our workforce." Govia said the changes included running more trains compared to last month, and increasing services for schools and colleges. Source

September 07 at 04:22 AM

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The ‘Orient Express’ is a real train — and taking a ride is not cheap

CNBC   October 7, 2021 (EU) Before the dawn of private jets and business class flights, royalty and high society members traveled through Europe onboard luxury trains. Now anyone can do it — if they are willing and able to spend £1,700 ($2,300) for a one-night trip.   That’s the starting rate to go from Florence to Paris aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, a historic luxury train operated by the LVMH-owned Belmond travel brand. Other routes cost more — much more.   The prices, however, don’t seem to deter rail enthusiasts. Many journeys sell every seat.   “2019 was a record year for Venice Simplon-Orient-Express that saw our revenue increase by 70% compared to those in 2015,” said Gary Franklin, vice president of Belmond’s trains and cruises. When passenger journeys restarted in June, travelers again booked some routes solid.   “We are certainly seeing a revival of rail travel post-pandemic,” Franklin told CNBC. “With more and more travelers discovering ... slow travel, we anticipate that this rise in demand and interest will continue. The historic Orient Express service The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express comprises 11 sleeping cars, three restaurant cars, one bar car and two staff cars, making it the longest passenger train in Europe, said Franklin.   But it’s not just an ordinary train. Each of the 17 carriages was once part of Europe’s iconic Orient Express, a train service that connected Paris to Istanbul beginning in 1883. The service later expanded to cities across Europe, reaching its “heyday” between World War I and World War II, said Franklin.   Source  

October 08 at 08:05 AM

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The Cause of the Derailed Amtrak Train Remains Unclear

The New York Times  September 28, 2021 (US) Five were still hospitalized on Sunday following the crash in Montana that killed three passengers. Steve Glaser was in sleeper car No. 730 on Saturday, watching “The Great British Baking Show” on his cellphone and looking forward to the moment his Amtrak train would leave the flat prairie of central Montana for the high mountain passes of Glacier National Park, when the train jerked violently. Instantly, he realized it had derailed. “If it stays upright,” he thought to himself, “I’m OK.” His car did, but others toppled over, sending passengers flying through the cars. When the train, which also included two locomotives, came to a stop, Mr. Glaser, 66, and another passenger worked together to pry open a window. He grabbed his briefcase and stepped outside to find train cars strewn along the track and other passengers injured. Eight of 10 passenger cars had jumped off the tracks when the train carrying 145 passengers and 13 crew members derailed near Joplin, Mont., killing three people and injuring dozens more. As of Sunday afternoon, five people from the crash remained hospitalized at Benefis Health System in Great Falls, all in stable condition. Officials have not released any information on what they suspect caused the train to derail as it was traveling through an apparently flat and straight section of the route. The wreck is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. Source

September 29 at 04:20 AM

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The Chinese Express Train Running in East Africa

Global Times  September 14, 2021  "My friend, please listen to my long story of the railway. It cements friendship and it brings hope. My hometown is more beautiful day by day, My compatriots are more high-spirited day by day." The railway that Kenyan singer Sudi Boy sings about is the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). Spanning from the port city of Mombasa in the east to the capital city of Nairobi in the west, the SGR is Kenya's first railway since independence. Though the construction took only less than three years, Kenya had awaited it for a long century. I. A railway of development running through East Africa Mombasa and Nairobi were previously connected by a narrow-gauge railway (1-meter gauge) built in 1896. Due to disrepair and aging of equipment, the railway could run at a mere 22 km/h on average and the entire journey would take 21 hours. Besides, its operation was unstable. Any breakdown would keep it out of service for days and there were frequent accidents such as derailments and collisions with animals. The narrow-gauge railway couldn't meet the development needs of the Port of Mombasa, either. Being the biggest port in East Africa, the port of Mombasa has 17 international sea routes and business ties with 80 ports around the world. Most of the cargo going in and out of East Africa is handled here. Yet due to the limited capacity of the narrow-gauge railway, most of the cargo had to be transported by road. To some extent, frequent road traffic overload and cargo delays at the port strained the development of Mombasa and Kenya at large. A new railway was a century-old dream for the country and people of Kenya. Since its operation, the SGR has promoted the growth of the local logistics industry. Goods loaded in Mombasa in the morning will arrive in Nairobi in the afternoon, with logistics costs slashed by up to 40 percent. Transportation of goods from the port to the hinterlands of East Africa has become much more efficient. As the railway network and supporting infrastructure in East Africa improve, the logistics industry throughout the region will be galvanized, and economic cooperation and cultural exchanges between countries will reach a new height. The integrated development of the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, the Port of Mombasa and the Mombasa Special Economic Zone is unveiling an exciting scene of industrialization. As President Uhuru Kenyatta said emotionally, the SGR will "reshape the story of Kenya for the next 100 years."  Source

September 16 at 05:57 AM

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The Eastern Main Line will connect the voivodship capitals of eastern Poland

Logistyka  09/09/2021 (Poland) The Eastern Magistrala, i.e. Rail Carpatia, will connect Olsztyn, Białystok, Lublin and Rzeszów. The Ministry of Infrastructure asked the European Commission to extend the TEN-T network so that Rail Carpatia (RC) would connect Olsztyn, Białystok, Lublin and Rzeszów.   The ministry assumes that Rail Carpatia would run southwards from the Białystok station via a single-track and non-electrified railway line no. 32 via Bielsk Podlaski to Czeremcha. Next, the route would lead south along the railway line No. 31, while on this section of the Czech Republic (like the Polish proposal to supplement the TEN-T comprehensive network) it would have two variants. The proposal of the Department of Rail Transport of the Ministry of Infrastructure concerns the modernization and electrification of the railway line No. 31 to Siedlce with the simultaneous addition to the TEN-T network and the priority electrification of line No. 31 along the entire route, so as to fully use the Siemianówka-Swisłocz railway border crossing (ultimately it would be a variant dedicated to handling freight traffic from Belarus), The CPK proposal assumes that a new railway line no. 631 Fronołów - Biała Podlaska - Milanów would be built from Fronołów on line 31, after the construction it will be used for passenger trains.   The implementation of this project will enable, among others achieving  shorter travel times on the Lublin - Białystok section (by approx. 90 minutes to the current  travel time) and the inclusion of Biała Podlaska in rail connections on the north-south route. Source

September 13 at 05:28 AM

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The Guardian view on restoring the golden age of rail: green glamour

The Guardian  Sun 25 Jul 2021 (UK) (Photo: ‘In a village high in the Pyrenees, Europe’s most stunning railway station is to be restored to its former glory.’ Photograph: Alamy) The restoration of a Spanish ‘railway cathedral’ reminds us how seductive train travel can be arlier this month, a 12-metre-long model train carriage was deposited at Barcelona’s El Prat airport, which the Spanish airports authority controversially plans to expand. “More trains, less planes” was the accompanying message from Greenpeace activists, who intend to take their model on a European tour in the coming months. As they do so, a celebratory stop-off at the French-Spanish border might be in order. In a village high in the Pyrenees, Europe’s most stunning railway station is to be restored to its former glory, and the line it majestically served reopened. Completed in 1928, Canfranc international station was conceived as a railway “cathedral” as grand as anything that the world’s greatest cities could offer. Overlooked by mountains, the vast edifice is 240 metres in length and has 365 windows and 156 doors, dwarfing London’s St Pancras; but mere numbers cannot convey the sense of grandeur evoked by its architecture and ravishing setting. Intended to combine in one building the French and Spanish border stations, Canfranc is a moving monument to the internationalist spirit and pride in architectural achievement that marked the golden age of rail. Sadly neglected since the cross-border line was closed in 1970, Canfranc witnessed pivotal episodes in 20th-century history. During the Spanish civil war, General Francisco Franco sealed the tunnels to prevent the transport of arms to Republican forces. The traffic of goods and people throughout the second world war saw the village become known as the “Casablanca of the Pyrenees”; spies, agents and desperate Jewish refugees fleeing Vichy France passed through, including, by some accounts, the artists Max Ernst and Marc Chagall. But for five decades, as cheap flights have transformed travel across the rest of the continent, Canfranc’s faded beauty has served mainly as a melancholy object of wonder for historians of the industrial past. The plan, masterminded by the regional government of Aragon, France and the European commission, is for Canfranc to become a five-star hotel, alongside a new smaller station. All being well, the cross-border line will reopen in 2026, though work so far has been delayed by the pandemic. It would be stretching the truth to say that environmental concerns are driving the project, although the restored line on the French side will reduce the need for freight-carrying lorries. Reviving Canfranc is more about regional memory and identity. But almost 100 years after the station was first opened, the imagination and ambition that went into its construction is a salutary reminder of how glamorous and seductive rail travel could be. From the Belle Epoque restaurant that graces Paris’s Gare de Lyon, to the early 20th-century modernism of Florence’s Santa Maria Novella, Europe’s great train stations offer an aesthetic experience and a history lesson, as well as a greener travel option. If the objective of carbon neutrality by 2050 is to be met, more of us will need to pass through them more of the time. Canfranc may be coming back to life as a hotel, but its renaissance can still inspire us to take “more trains, less planes”. Source

July 27 at 11:45 AM

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The new railway station in Brno

Prague Daily Monitor  JULY 21, 2021 (Czech Republic)  A new railway station in Brno has already been one of the city’s priorities for a long time. Now, the architectural plans for the building have been selected and their visualisations were shared. The company selected for the job is Benthem Crouwel Architects, a company with plenty of experience with such large projects. They have designed the railway station in Rotterdam and worked on the reconstruction of the railway station in Amsterdam. The company claims that the new building will bring a positive impulse for the growing city and become its welcoming gateway. The city’s mayor, Markéta Vaňková (ODS), has declared that this building will become a milestone in the future development of the city. “It is the first step towards the beginning of the growth of a neglected district of the city. There will be new buildings, flats and parks for recreation.” she said. Other city officials have also shared their positive feelings about the future of the project. Now they have to obtain the last few pieces of privately owned land and begin construction, which is now set to be finished between 2032 and 2035 and cost around 45 billion crowns making it the most expensive station in Czech Republic. Source

September 13 at 05:40 AM

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The story behind the Trans-Iranian Railway, one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century

CNN  15th August 2021 (Iran) One of 33 sites added to the UNESCO World Heritage list this year, the 1,394-kilometer Trans-Iranian Railway is an engineering marvel. (CNN) —  It may not be as long or as well-known as Russia's iconic Trans-Siberian Railway. But international recognition is long overdue for the 1,394-kilometer (865-mile) Trans-Iranian Railway. On July 25, the railway was one of 33 new sites awarded World Heritage status by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), joining world famous locations such as Venice, Machu Picchu in Peru, Yellowstone National Park in the US and Ecuador's Galapagos Islands. Linking the Persian Gulf with the Caspian Sea, the strategically important project was a relative latecomer in railway terms. It opened in 1938 after 11 years of hugely challenging construction.   Source