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Your travel time might reduce, local trains to run at 110 kmph

Economic Times  Aug 24, 2021 (India) Your travel time will be cut short soon as the Railways puts in motion a plan to increase maximum speed of local trains from 100 kmph to 110 kmph. A trial of an 8-coach Mainline Electric Multiple Unit at the top speed of 110 kmph has been concluded by the railways, as per the officials. Three trains will soon be operational in the Delhi Division. Source https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/transportation/railways/your-travel-time-might-reduce-local-trains-to-run-at-110-kmph/articleshow/85585428.cms

August 26 at 04:44 AM

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York to bid for Great Britain Railways headquarters

BBC  05 October 2021 (UK) York is to bid to become the home of a new national body for the country's railways. The city's council leader Keith Aspden said it would make "perfect sense" for Great British Railways (GBR) to be based there. A competition to find a host for the new body was announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Monday. The headquarters would go to a place "with a rich railway history", said the government announcement. Mr Aspden and the leader of North Yorkshire County Council, Carl Les, had already written earlier this year to Mr Shapps about York's potential. The new, state-owned GBR was announced in May in a plan to reform the railway system. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-58799571

October 06 at 04:22 AM

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World’s Longest Undersea Rail Tunnel Back on Agenda in Estonia

Bloomberg  January 25, 2021 Estonia’s incoming government plans to restart talks about building the world’s longest undersea rail tunnel, a move that may revive the $17 billion Chinese-backed deal. The incoming government agreed on the plan as part of its agenda on Sunday. The cabinet still needs to be confirmed by a vote in parliament. The government is seeking “positive” talks with Finland on the national level on the plan to link the two nations with the tunnel, it said in its program. Estonia, a member of the European Union and NATO, rejected a planning application from a Chinese-backed Finnish venture for the rail tunnel for reasons including security concerns. Finland’s government said in 2020 it had no plans to back the project with public funds. Finnish entrepreneur Peter Vesterbacka had received a promise of about $17 billion from China’s Touchstone Capital Partners Ltd. for a tunnel between the two capitals. The project would span more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) and require the construction of at least one artificial island. Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-25/world-s-longest-undersea-rail-tunnel-bank-on-agenda-in-estonia

July 09 at 05:42 AM

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World's first all-electric freight locomotive to be used in western PA

Yahoo News  November 12, 2021 (Australia) Roy Hill, an iron ore mining, rail and port operation in western Australia, was the first announced buyer of Wabtec's new FLXdrive, a battery-electric locomotive built in Erie. The company's second order, however, promises to put the innovative new locomotive — which creates a hybrid train when paired with one or more diesel locomotives — on a stage closer to home. Canadian National has announced plans to purchase Wabtec's 100% battery-electric locomotive to operate on its Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad, which runs from the PIttsburgh suburb of Penn Hills to Conneaut, Ohio. Noi sale price was announced for the purchase, which was supported in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. While Wabtec has tested a FLXdrive with a capacity of 2.4 megawatt-hours, CN is expected to take delivery in 2023 of a model with a capacity of 7 megawatt-hours. CN expects the addition of the battery-electric locomotive to reduce fuel consumption and emissions on its trains by up to 30%. Rafael Santana, CEO of Wabtec, said in a statement that the FLXdrive represents a defining moment for the freight rail industry. "Wabtec is proud to partner with CN to accelerate the industry toward low- to zero-emission locomotives,” he said. Source https://news.yahoo.com/worlds-first-electric-freight-locomotive-030018885.html

November 16 at 09:58 AM

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World's fastest diesel locomotive will run again at Ruddington

BBC  17/07/2021 (UK)  A record-breaking diesel locomotive is being brought back into service after sitting in storage for two years. In its glory days 43159 achieved a world record speed of 148mph, which has never been beaten since being set in 1987. Many of the same type of locomotive - known as a Class 43 power car - are at risk of being scrapped. However, 43159 has gone to Nottingham, where it will transport passengers on a heritage railway. It arrived at the Great Central Railway in Ruddington on Thursday evening. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-57863949

July 19 at 06:04 AM

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With US$2.3 billion investment, Mato Grosso state will have first state railroad

The Rio Times  July 23, 2021 (Brazil) Private companies have 45 days to present proposals for the construction of 730 kilometers of rail connecting the capital Cuiabá to the cities of Lucas do Rio Verde, Nova Mutum and Rondonópolis. RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Responsible for over 70 million tons of grain production in the 2020/2021 harvest, Brazil's State of Mato Grosso on Monday, July 19, announced a public call for tenders for the construction of the first railroad authorized by a Brazilian state by 2028. Currently, virtually all railroads in Brazil operate under a concession regime, i.e., a private company takes over the operation and pays a fee to the federal government to operate the asset. Source https://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/rio-politics/with-a-us2-3-billion-investment-mato-grosso-will-have-its-first-state-railroad/

August 05 at 11:27 AM

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Wiltshire's recycled railway sleepers a UK first

BBC  28-June-2021 (UK) Railway sleepers made of recycled bottles, food packaging and unwanted plastics have been installed on a mainline railway for the first time. Network Rail said the use of the new materials in Wiltshire will help it to become carbon negative by 2050. The rectangular supports are used to hold up rails and to keep them the correct distance apart and are normally made of concrete or wood. The government has praised the sleeper scheme for its sustainability. The new railway sleepers are designed to be used for 50 years as they do not split, rot or degrade, and can resist water, oil, chemicals and fungi. They were recently installed across Sherrington Viaduct, between Salisbury and Warminster. Government rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: "I am proud to see such a positive innovation being used for the first time on the mainline railway. "Not only are these sleepers made from locally-sourced plastic waste, they need less maintenance and will last longer, underlining our commitment to create a greener, cleaner and more efficient rail network." Network Rail's Wessex route director Mark Killick said: "Use of these recycled sleepers on the Network Rail Wessex route is a first for the overground railway network in Britain." The composite version will have a longer service life and reduced maintenance, Network Rail said.   Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-wiltshire-57628901

July 09 at 05:43 AM

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Why we need a new golden age of European rail : Timothy Garton Ash

The Guardian  27 October, 2021 (UK) About half of flights around the continent are short-haul, with a heavy cost in carbon emissions. Trains are the answer As we approach the start of the Cop26 conference in Glasgow, I have been considering what I can do to help combat the climate crisis. Eat less meat? Buy an electric car? Swap the old gas boiler for a heat pump? Take the train instead of a short-haul flight? All of the above, to be sure. But as someone who has spent much of his life flying around Europe, the last seems especially pertinent. About half of all flights in Europe are short-haul, defined by the EU as journeys of less than 1,500km. One detailed study showed that short flights on selected routes across Europe can cause up to 19 times the CO 2  emissions of the equivalent train journey. (Nineteen is Zurich to Milan: the shorter the flight, the greater the excess). Britain’s Campaign for Better Transport recently staged a “race” from central London to Glasgow city centre. The train passenger arrived just two minutes later than the person who came by plane, and the CO 2  emissions were an estimated 20kg, compared with 137kg for the flight. But, this being Britain, the train ticket cost twice as much. That is not true everywhere. For example, in December I have to get from Bremen, in north Germany, where I am speaking on a Thursday evening, to Bavaria, where I have an engagement the following night. Until recently, I would automatically have booked a flight. Now I find that there is an excellent intercity train connection which gets me from Bremen to Munich in under six hours. Yes, it takes a little longer than the flight, which would be just one and a quarter hours – and Lufthansa offers no fewer than five direct flights that day. But that does not take into account the car journey to the airport, check-in and waiting time, and then the long drive into town from Munich’s faraway airport. Unlike London to Glasgow, the train is also cheaper: €27.99 at the supersaver price. Moreover, the train journey will almost certainly be more enjoyable. None of those traffic jams on the way to the airport. No sweaty striptease at airport security, and weary standing around waiting for your flight to be called. No need to cram yourself into a narrow seat, packed into a metal tube filled with pressurised, recycled air. From the train, I will be able to watch the gradually changing German landscape pass by my window; to read and write comfortably, with good wifi (although a patchy mobile signal); to get up, take a stroll and have lunch in the restaurant car. Then I can step out at journey’s end, straight into central Munich. I recently came across notes I made at a meeting of the parliamentary party of the then youthful German Greens in October 1984. Green MPs, I recorded, would in principle not use domestic flights inside Germany. “Here we are, protesting against Startbahn West [a new runway at Frankfurt airport],” said one, “and then we fly from it!” My notes have a tone of mild amusement, especially when someone confesses: “I do take a Bundestag-chauffeured car to the pub in the evening!” But now I think to myself: if only the Greens’ approach had prevailed 40 years ago. Imagine that we had spent the past four decades prioritising European rail connections over short-haul flights. Today, as the Greens prepare to take their place in a new German government, you can bet your bottom euro that airlines are quietly lobbying away, explaining the cost – also in lost jobs – of too rapidly slashing all those short-haul flights. Italy shows what can be done and the possible cost. In the past two decades, it has  built up  an impressive network of comfortable, high-speed intercity trains. You can do Rome to Milan in two hours and 59 minutes. The old national airline, Alitalia, however, is no more. (Yes, I know the story of Alitalia is more complicated – but you get the point.) In a public opinion poll conducted last year for my research team in Oxford, respondents across the EU27 and the UK were asked: “To help combat climate change, would you support a ban on short flights to destinations that could be reached within 12 hours by train?” Almost two-thirds (65%) agreed. One reason for the high level of support may be that relatively few Europeans actually do much intra-European flying: 76% said they fly within Europe once a year or less. It’s the frequent travellers like me who are the problem. On our project website, we have a map showing how far you can get from Berlin, Brussels and Paris in a train journey of up to 12 hours, including transfer time: from Brussels to Barcelona, for example, or from Paris to Berlin. That 12-hour goal may be overambitious. But a radius of, say, six hours time distance, established as a norm by individual travellers and employers, is surely not unrealistic. To move more rapidly from short-haul plane to train we need change on the demand side (that’s us), the supply side and the regulatory framework. The EU is trying to play some role here. I bet you didn’t know that 2021 is the European Year of Rail. Brussels recently sent a Connecting Europe Express around the EU, although this rather highlighted some of the problems, since it needed three different trains, one for the main European gauge, another for the Iberian gauge, and a third for the Baltic (ie post-Soviet) gauge in the Baltic states. At least as important will be train operators, booking agencies and consumer pressure groups. It is still much easier to book flights across Europe than it is to book train journeys. However, one of the best places to start is a mildly eccentric website, seat61.com, run by a British train fanatic called Mark Smith. It tells you where to go online to make your reservation for almost any trip across Europe, adding some connoisseur’s advice on the actual trains. For pan-European train bookings you could try raileurope.com and trainline.com, but both have significant geographical limitations. All too often, you end up having to book on the individual national rail sites, with the attendant sign-up hassle. Another positive development would be to revive long-distance overnight trains. The night train was once part of the great romance of European travel (brilliantly and amusingly evoked in the Stephen Poliakoff-scripted film Caught on a Train). There are few of them left. Bring back the night trains – and make those couchettes more comfortable while we are about it. “Let the train take the strain” was a great advertising slogan of the 1980s. Forty years on, the condition of the planet urgently requires us to do it – and, by and large, it should also be a pleasure. Source https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/oct/27/why-we-need-a-new-golden-age-of-european-rail

October 29 at 06:56 AM

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What Happened To China’s BRI Projects in Malaysia?

The Diplomat  October 05, 2021 (Malaysia) Of the slew of BRI megaproject deals signed over the first five years of the initiative, most have either been canceled or come to a standstill. It has been nearly a decade since China’s first Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project gained a foothold in Malaysia, and despite the slew of megaproject deals signed in the initial five years, many have either come to a standstill or were cancelled. Among the few BRI projects left standing is the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), which Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the country’s third premier since Najib Razak was voted out of office in May 2018, vowed to resume and complete under the 12th Malaysia Plan. The 50 billion Malaysian ringgit ($11.9 billion) rail project linking the east and west coast of the Malaysian peninsula was subjected to multiple renegotiations and realignments following its suspension in 2018 by then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. The ECRL was one of many BRI projects put on ice amid allegations that Najib’s administration intentionally agreed to lopsided deals with China at inflated prices to bail out debt-laden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Both China and Najib have denied the bailout claim. The suspicions, however, were later confirmed after Mahathir’s Pakatan Harapan government gained access to classified documents, known as the “red files,” which indicated that a number of China’s BRI projects, such as the ECRL and two pipeline projects, contained dubious terms. Mahathir made it clear that the ECRL was inflated by up to 30 billion ringgit to pay down 1MDB’s debts, and that only 15 percent of the project’s construction had been completed while 20 billion ringgit or 33 percent of the railway link’s initial 60 billion ringgit price tag had been paid. Source https://thediplomat.com/2021/10/what-happened-to-chinas-bri-projects-in-malaysia/

October 06 at 04:16 AM

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What could a light rail offer to Belmont? Project leaders looking at options

The Gaston Gazette  July 13/2021 (US) Charlotte officials who are proposing a 29-station light rail line stretching across Charlotte into Gaston County met with Belmont residents Monday evening to gauge their interests and concerns surrounding the project. Folks looking to learn more about the proposed LYNX Silver Line reported to the parking lot of The Pointe Church along Wilkinson Boulevard, where stations of poster boards and banners – detailing the hopes, concepts and other potentials of the mammoth-sized public transit initiative – were located.  Source: https://www.gastongazette.com/story/news/2021/07/13/light-rail-leaders-exploring-potential-development-belmont/7938758002/

July 15 at 04:28 AM

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Water conservation by Indian Railways: First Automatic Coach Washing Plant in MP started at Habibganj

Financial Express  August 16, 2021 (India)  With the help of this washing plant at Habibganj, provided with modern equipment, high quality cleaning of train coaches is being done using 90 per cent less water in just a duration of 10 minutes. Indian Railways takes big step towards water conservation! Recently, the first automatic coach washing plant in the state of Madhya Pradesh has been started by the national transporter at Habibganj, provided with modern equipment, high quality cleaning of train coaches is being done using 90 per cent less water in just a duration of 10 minutes. This move by Indian Railway is helping in the conservation of water, the Ministry of Railways has said.  Source https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/water-conservation-by-indian-railways-first-automatic-coach-washing-plant-in-mp-started-at-habibganj/2311720/

August 16 at 09:20 AM

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Washington subway to continue reduced service through at least Nov. 15

Reuters  October 28, 2021 (Washington, US) The Washington-area subway system said on Thursday subway service will stay sharply reduced through at least Nov. 15 as it works on restoring railcars to service after a derailment on Oct. 12. On Oct. 17, the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission ordered the subway system to indefinitely remove about 60% of its railcars following inspections after the derailment. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), known as the Metro, serves the U.S. capital and parts of Maryland and Virginia. It has urged commuters to take buses or use other transit modes. WMATA said it was working to boost the number of trains available for daily service from 31 to 50. WMATA general manager Paul Wiedefeld said he did not want to put out a date for improving service. "That's going to be ready when it's safe," Wiedefeld said on Thursday. Average Metrorail weekday ridership fell about 25% in the days after the reduced service began, WMATA said last week. The commission ordered WMATA's 748 7000-Series trains removed from service after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) "identified safety concerns related to the spacing of wheels on 7000-Series railcar axles." The NTSB said WMATA had been aware of wheel assembly issues since 2017. It was a 7000-Series train that was involved in the derailment two weeks ago outside Washington in Arlington, Virginia. The derailment did not injure any of the 187 passengers onboard, but NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy said the incident could have been "catastrophic." WMATA has had sharply lower ridership during the pandemic. It said on Thursday it estimates in the 2023 budget year it will see total ridership at about 53-55% and total revenue at 47-48% of pre-pandemic levels. WMATA predicts current year ridership will be about one-third of pre-COVID levels and forecast usage returning to pre-pandemic levels by 2025. Reporting by David Shepardson Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio Source https://www.reuters.com/world/us/washington-subway-continue-reduced-service-through-least-nov-15-2021-10-28/

October 29 at 06:49 AM

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Washington oil-train derailment

AP June 8, 2021 (SEATTLE) Images -kuow.org Rail union: Sabotage caused Washington oil-train derailment SEATTLE (AP) — A rail union official reportedly told investigators that a fiery oil car train derailment north of Seattle late last year was caused by sabotage. Seven train cars carrying crude oil derailed and five caught fire in Custer, Washington, on Dec. 22, 2020, sending a large plume of black smoke into the sky close to the Canadian border. There were no injuries in the derailment about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of Seattle. KUOW reports that an official with the union representing the driver has told authorities the derailment was not an accident. “We know from the FBI investigation, from how trains operate, how trains work, how the couplers work, how the pin lifters work, that this incident was caused without a doubt by sabotage,” Korey McDaniel with the union’s safety team told BNSF Railway investigators, according to a hearing transcript obtained by the station. The incident happened near where two people had been arrested a month before and accused of attempting a terrorist attack on train tracks to disrupt plans for a natural gas pipeline. KUOW reports the cause of the derailment won’t be officially declared until the FBI, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the National Transportation Safety Board finish their inquiries. Two people were on board the 108-car train headed from North Dakota to the Ferndale Refinery, owned by Phillips 66.   Source: https://apnews.com/article/wa-state-wire-washington-sabotage-business-9e56918250cd14c46251f9818a1ceed1

July 09 at 07:32 AM

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Vulnerability of Sukkur division track

Dawn  June 8, 2021 (Pakistan) Railways knew about vulnerability of Sukkur division track: official HYDERABAD: Much before Monday’s train crash near Daharki, Pakistan Railways authorities were informed about the vulnerability of the 900-kilometre-long up and down tracks of the Sukkur division, but to no avail. The vulnerability of the entire track could be gauged from the fact that the point where the tragic accident took place on Monday was welded and PR authorities conducted a forensic audit of that joint of the track just two years ago and cleared it. Speaking to  Dawn  over the phone from the scene, PR Sukkur division’s superintendent Mian Tariq Latif said he had time and again brought into the notice of the top railways authorities the vulnerable condition of the entire track within his jurisdiction. “There are around 6,000 joints on both up and down tracks in the Sukkur division and the point where the tragedy has occurred is one of the welded joints,” Mr Latif said, adding that the entire track in Sukkur division had welded joints.   Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1628208

July 09 at 07:32 AM

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Visualizing the Fastest Trains in the World

Visual Capitalist  October 8, 2021 The World's Fastest Trains Japan’s L0 Series Maglev is the fastest train in the world, with a speed record of  374 mph  or  602 km/h . It could go the distance from New York City to Montreal in less than an hour. China has  half  of the eight fastest trains, and the world’s largest high-speed railway network. Visualizing the Fastest Trains in the World Ever since the invention of the steam locomotive in 1802, trains have been a driving societal force. Invented in  Britain  at the height of the Industrial Revolution, steam trains gave the empire an unparalleled advantage in transporting goods and people. Soon it spread around the world as other nations scrambled to build their own railway networks to facilitate growth and commerce. But just as nations rushed to build more railways, they also tried to build faster trains.  Japan ’s Tōkaidō Shinkansen or “bullet train” in 1964 was the first high-speed rail system, achieving a speed above  124 mph  or  200 km/h . How do other countries and trains compare? Let’s dive into the fastest trains in the world using data from Travel and Leisure magazine. Who Has The Fastest Trains in the World? Japan started the high-speed train revolution in earnest, and it’s still at the top of the charts. Though it’s fastest regular operating bullet trains (the N700A Shinkansen) can reach a top speed of 186 mph or 300 km/h, the country’s new development in magnetic levitation (maglev) is breaking speed records. In fact, the top two fastest trains in the world are maglev, using two sets of magnets to elevate the train and propel it forward without friction to slow it down. Japan’s L0 Series Maglev is still in production, but with a land speed record of  374 mph  or  602 km/h  it is the fastest train in the world. China’s Fastest Trains Look to Pass Japan Japan is facing stiff competition from  China , which already has the world’s longest high speed railway network and is investing heavily in infrastructure. China already has a maglev train in operation, the Shanghai Maglev, which connects the city center with the international airport. The country’s latest unveiled train in July 2021 achieved a land speed of  373 mph  or  600 km/h . When it was unveiled, the new maglev train was announced as the fastest operating train in the world as it enters full production. But until full operation actually begins, its test speed record is still under that of the L0 Series. In fact, China has  half  of the eight fastest trains in the world. Including Japan and South Korea, Asia accounts for the bulk of high-speed rail networks and record speeds. Though it’s not all maglevs and Asia dominance. Conventional electric trains in Europe also made the list, with  France ’s TGV POS and  Italy ’s Frecciarossa 1000 reaching speeds of 357 mph (575 km/h) and 245 mph (394 km/h) respectively. Source https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-the-fastest-trains-in-the-world/

October 11 at 06:24 AM

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Vietnam: 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 https://vietnamnews.vn/economy/1003619/railways-promote-development-of-logistics-services.html

August 05 at 11:38 AM

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Vietnam-Europe freight train launched

VnExpress  July 21, 2021 (Vietnam) A freight train left Hanoi for Belgium for the first time on Tuesday, carrying containers of garments, textiles and leather shoes. The new route will take trains between Yen Vien Railway Station in Hanoi and the Belgian city of Liege, where the containers would be unloaded and sent by trucks to the final destination, the Dutch city of Rotterdam, the Vietnam Railways said. Each train with 23 forty-foot containers will arrive at the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, and be connected to the Asia-Europe train bound for Belgium through Russia and Central Asian countries. A trip will take 25-27 days. The Transportation & Trade Joint Stock Company (Ratraco) has tied up with forwarders in various countries to provide logistics services to customers using the new train to transport goods. Ratraco and its European partners plan to run eight trains a month. Cargo transport by train has grown considerably in recent times even as passenger transport has declined due to Covid-19, Vietnam Railways said. More https://e.vnexpress.net/news/business/economy/vietnam-europe-freight-train-launched-4328117.html

July 22 at 09:38 AM

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Vietnam urban rail projects fall years late as payments lag

Nikkei Asia  October 6, 2021 (Hanoi, Vietnam) Stalled Ho Chi Minh City line leaves Hitachi and other contractors hanging Vietnam's first urban rail projects have fallen years behind schedule as payments to contractors are held up by risk-averse political decision-making. Construction began in 2012 on the first section of Ho Chi Minh City's planned rapid transit network, with service originally slated to start in 2018. But the opening of the Japanese-funded Line 1 eventually was pushed to the end of 2021, and further delays to late 2023 or 2024 are now expected. Two lines in Hanoi -- one funded by China -- were expected to open in 2015 but have not begun service. One may open this year, while the other is expected to debut in 2023 or later. Japanese contractors that saw the Ho Chi Minh City project as a can't-miss opportunity have contended with repeated delays. "We hope to overcome the various problems and complete it as soon as possible," said a manager at civil engineering company Nippon Koei, which heads the consulting consortium for the rail project. Source https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Transportation/Vietnam-urban-rail-projects-fall-years-late-as-payments-lag

October 07 at 05:17 AM

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Victorian ticket ledger found at March railway station

BBC  23 September, 2021 A Victorian ticket ledger has been discovered at a railway station by contractors after it fell through a ceiling they were repairing. The luggage ledger dated back to April 1885, when March Railway Station in Cambridgeshire first opened. Other Victorian items found in the unused loft included a Great Eastern Railway sack and three small log books. Greater Anglia customer service manager Anita Stuart said it was "lovely to have uncovered this link to the past". The contractors were removing rotten woodwork when the hand-written ledger, detailing entries of all the passenger luggage and parcels sent from the station, dropped out of the loft. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-58657984

September 24 at 04:48 AM

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Vegetable oil-powered train will transport Toyota hybrid cars

BBC  29/07/2021 (UK) Hybrid cars built by Toyota in Derbyshire will soon be transported to the continent by a locomotive that runs on used vegetable oil. Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris unveiled the locomotive, named "I'm A Climate Hero", at a depot in Toton in Nottinghamshire. The Department for Transport said the locomotive can cut carbon emissions by up to 90% compared to diesel. It will transport hundreds of cars a week to France and the Czech Republic. The locomotive is owned by rail freight operator DB Cargo UK, which has been trialling the use of hydro-treated vegetable oil, known as HVO. Chief executive Andrea Rossi said: "We are very excited at the prospect of working with Toyota to trial the use of HVO on its services to and from Europe. "This will be the first time we have used HVO on an automotive service and one bound for the continent." DB Cargo UK previously announced that HVO would be used to power all of its freight trains running between Tarmac's site in Leicestershire and an asphalt plant in Birmingham. The rail freight operator, which is the largest in the country, currently has a fleet of 176 operational diesel locomotives and is hoping to convert more to use HVO. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-58014366

July 30 at 11:57 AM

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Uzbekistan balances India-backed & Pak-backed connectivity routes

The Economic Times  Jul 14, 2021 (Uzbekistan) TASHKENT: India will pitch for sustainable, secure, transparent and viable connectivity route between landlocked Central Asia and the wider Indian Ocean Region (IOR) through Chabahar Port and International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) at the mega meet here as key regional power Uzbekistan backs a proposal for connectivity to IOR via Pakistan simultaneously with the Indian initiatives. The Uzbek-backed proposal of a connectivity link via Kabul and Peshawar to the Karachi Port will get a leg-up with the presence of Pakistani PM Imran Khan at the mega meet. India, represented by the foreign minister S Jaishankar, is expected to pitch for connecting Central Asia via both Chabahar route as well as the INTSC — in which India play key role. Uzbekistan, organiser of the mega connectivity meet, in a class diplomatic balancing act backs both the routes led by India as well as through Pakistan, ET has learnt. In an effort to ensure a broader international consensus, Uzbekistan, which in many ways view it as the Heart of Central Asia, invited delegations from the UN, SCO, Afghanistan, Iran, India, China, Pakistan, Russia and other states to take part in the international conference “Central Asia and South Asia regional connectivity: Challenges and opportunities” being organised under the initiative of President Mirziyoyev. Source https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/uzbekistan-balances-india-backed-pak-backed-connectivity-routes/articleshow/84412378.cms?from=mdr

July 23 at 05:44 AM

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Uttarakhand: Elephants block railway track after 2 in herd killed in train-hit

Hindustan Times  AUG 18, 2021 (India)  Body of the female elephant lying on railway track after she and her calf were hit by a speeding train in Uttarakhand on Wednesday morning. (Sourced Photo) After it hit the elephants, the train had to be reversed to Rudrapur Sidcul halt and its passengers were de-boarded and sent to Bazpur, Kashipur, and Ramnagar in buses A furious herd of elephants blocked railway traffic on Lalkuan-Kashipur section in Uttarakhand’s Kumaon region after a female elephant and her male offspring were hit by a train on Wednesday morning. Passengers of the train had to be sent to their destinations in buses and few other trains were suspended till noon, when the track was finally cleared after the herd calmed down and was driven into the wild by forest officials. Source https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/dehradun-news/uttarakhand-elephants-block-railway-track-after-2-in-herd-killed-in-trainhit-101629277897177.html

August 19 at 09:34 AM

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UPDATE 1-Hedge fund TCI up 17% over first nine months Of 2021, helped by CN Rail stake -source

Reuters  October 20, 2021 (Toronto,Canada) Chris Hohn’s hedge fund firm TCI Fund Management rose over 17% in the first nine months of year, a source close to the firm told Reuters on Wednesday, as the activist investor benefited from its stake in Canadian National Railway Co. TCI, which owns a 5% stake in CN, has been agitating for change at Canada’s biggest rail road operator since August after it entered into a bidding war with Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd for U.S. rail operator Kansas City Southern. CP finally clinched the $27 billion deal for Kansas last month after CN bowed out. On Tuesday, CN’s Chief Executive Officer Jean-Jacques Ruest announced he would retire at the end of January after facing consistent pressure from TCI. TCI’s double-digit returns exceeded the average hedge fund gains of 9.8% over the same period, according to data from Hedge Fund Research. TCI managed $40 billion in assets under management at end-June. The source declined to be identified as the information is not public. Shares in CN have risen 16.2% since TCI first suggested a change of senior management and a shake-up of the board, advocating for former Union Pacific executive Jim Vena to helm the company. But TCI on Tuesday said despite the success of the campaign, the firm will continue to advocate for further changes. The hedge fund had also advocated for more railroad experience on the board, suggesting former Illinois Central Railroad Chairman Gilbert H. Lamphere be appointed as director. While TCI has held a position in CN since 2018, the campaign marks the hedge fund’s first foray into shareholder activism in Canada. A spokesman for TCI declined to comment. (Reporting by Maiya Keidan; editing by Diane Craft) Source https://www.reuters.com/article/hedgefunds-tci/update-1-hedge-fund-tci-up-17-over-first-nine-months-of-2021-helped-by-cn-rail-stake-source-idUSL1N2RG1WU

October 21 at 05:58 AM

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Union Pacific cuts 2021 volume, operating ratio growth forecast

Reuters  December 2, 2021 (US) Union Pacific Corp (UNP.N) cut its full-year forecast for volume and operating ratio growth on Wednesday, as supply chain logjams pressure the U.S. railroad operator's volumes. The Nebraska-based company, in a regulatory filing, said it expects 2021 volumes to grow about 4% from around 5% growth it had forecast in October. It had expected a volume growth of about 7% earlier in the year. Union Pacific's intermodal and automotive shipments, which are key revenue drivers, have been hit by supply chain problems, such as logjams at ports, truck driver and chip shortages.  Operating ratio, a key profitability metric, is expected to rise about 150 basis points, down from the 175 points Union Pacific had forecast earlier. Shares of Union Pacific, which operates in 23 states and connects East Coast ports to key terminals like Chicago, pared gains to trade about flat in the afternoon session. Source https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/union-pacific-cuts-2021-volume-operating-ratio-growth-forecast-2021-12-01/

December 02 at 06:02 AM

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Union Pacific and Progress Rail Partner to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

PR Newswire  Aug 19, 2021 Locomotive Series' Approved to Use Higher Biodiesel Blends OMAHA, Neb. ,  Aug. 19, 2021  /PRNewswire/ -- Union Pacific locomotives will be getting a boost of biodiesel fuel. Progress Rail, a Caterpillar company, approved the use of up to 20% biodiesel blend in specific EMD locomotive series operated by the railroad. Previously, the locomotives were approved to operate at 5%. "Union Pacific is dedicated to reducing its carbon footprint, and this is another step toward achieving our long-term goal to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 26% by 2030," said Union Pacific Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer  Beth Whited , who oversees the railroad's environmental, social and governance-related efforts. "We continue to identify opportunities to increase low carbon fuel usage in our locomotives and appreciate Progress Rail's partnership in our efforts." The updated fuel recommendation comes after testing high-horsepower locomotives, used for hauling freight long distances, and monitoring performance for things such as fuel consumption, as well as impact on engine oil and fuel filters. Progress Rail is currently undergoing additional testing and development. "At Progress Rail, we are committed to offering sustainable solutions by providing products that facilitate fuel transition, increase operational efficiency, and reduce emissions," commented  Marty Haycraft , President & CEO of Progress Rail. "Through continually investing in new products, technologies, and services, we offer a wide range of fuel flexibility, making a meaningful, positive impact on the environment and supporting our customers in achieving their GHG reduction goals." Union Pacific and Progress Rail's efforts can also help our partners reduce their own environmental footprint. Moving freight by rail instead of truck reduces GHG emissions by up to 75%, and one train can carry the freight of hundreds of trucks, reducing congestion on the nation's already gridlocked highways. Source https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/union-pacific-and-progress-rail-partner-to-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions-301359366.html

August 25 at 06:28 AM

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Ukraine, Switzerland sign memo of cooperation in Ukrainian railway transport development

Kyiv Post  August 26, 2021 (Ukraine) The Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure, JSC Ukrzaliznytsia and Stadler CIS AG, Stadler Rail AG (Switzerland) and the Swiss Export Risk Insurance (SERV) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which defines the basis for cooperation and a mechanism for joint work of the parties on the development of the railway transport sector in Ukraine, according to the presidential press service. It is noted that the signing of the document gives a start to the opening of export financing of the Swiss Confederation for Ukraine. Funds in the amount of up to 500 million euros will be used to develop the Ukrainian railway transport sector. “The cooperation involves not only the purchase of trains, but also the localization of Stadler production due to the construction of a new plant on the territory of Ukraine,” the President’s Office said. It specifies that within the cooperation with Stadler, it is planned to purchase 30 suburban electric trains produced by this company for Kyiv, another 30 will be distributed between Kharkiv and Dnipro. “In addition, the memorandum speaks of 20 new regional electric trains and 10 long-distance electric trains produced by Stadler to renew the rolling stock of Ukrzaliznytsia,” the President’s Office said. Source https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/ukraine-switzerland-sign-memo-of-cooperation-in-ukrainian-railway-transport-development.html

November 09 at 06:08 AM

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UK: South Western Railway launches 10 minutes’ notice assistance scheme

The Guardian  5 Aug 2021 (UK) Disabled or elderly passengers will no longer have to book hours or a day in advance to travel Disabled or elderly passengers who need assistance to board trains will be able to turn up and travel rather than book six hours ahead, under a scheme launched by South Western Railway. The launch of “assisted boarding points” at stations on SWR, one of Britain’s biggest networks, allows passengers to contact a customer service team who then alert the guard on the next available train to ensure assistance is provided. SWR said the service would require only 10 minutes’ notice. Standard industry practice is usually to request bookings the day before travel if possible to guarantee assistance. Source https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/aug/05/south-western-railway-launches-10-minutes-notice-assistance-scheme

August 05 at 06:12 AM

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UK sets up Great British Railways

Reuters May 20, 2021  (UK) UK sets up Great British Railways but ‘without the terrible sandwiches’ Britain will create a new public railway operator called Great British Railways (GBR) in the biggest reform in a quarter of a century of a network plagued by expensive fares, packed commuter carriages and blunders over timetables. After the privatisation of British Rail from 1994-1997, the rail sector was fragmented into a bewildering array of different companies, fares and bosses - often leaving passengers angry at the poor service. The first stage of the multi-year plan will see flexible season tickets introduced next month to cater for increased working at home that has become the norm for many commuters during the coronavirus lockdown. "I want the ticketing to be straightforward and simple and we won't be going back to the days of British Rail with terrible sandwiches and all the rest of it," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.   Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/uk-sets-up-great-british-railways-without-terrible-sandwiches-2021-05-20/

July 09 at 07:32 AM

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UK seizes control of Go-Ahead's Southeastern rail franchise

Reuters  September 28, 2021 (London, UK) Go-Ahead repays 25 mln stg to UK due to financial errors CFO Elodie Brian steps down immediately UK says could be further fines for Go-Ahead Shares down 11% Britain said it would seize control of Go-Ahead Group's (GOG.L) Southeastern rail contract after the transport company admitted financial errors and repaid 25 million pounds ($34 million) to the government, the latest failure of the UK's franchise system. Go-Ahead postponed its annual results that were due on Thursday, announced the immediate departure of its finance director, Elodie Brian, and apologised for its conduct on the London & South Eastern Railway contract (LSER). The Department for Transport (DfT) said the government's operator of last resort would take over the running of the service from Oct. 17, criticising the company for its conduct and threatening further action, including fines. Shares in Go-Ahead, which also operates bus services and the Govia Thameslink Railway service, traded down 11% to 947 pence on the news. Source https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/uk-take-control-go-aheads-southeastern-rail-franchise-2021-09-28/

September 29 at 04:29 AM

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Uganda, Kenya team up on old metre gauge rail project eyeing Congo, S. Sudan

The EastAfrican MAY 15 2021 The inland container depot in Naivasha, Kenya, where an interchange linking the standard gauge and metre gauge railway lines is being developed to create a seamless passage of goods from the port of Mombasa to the Great Lakes region through Uganda. With an eye on the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan markets, there is renewed vibrancy on the Northern Corridor, as Uganda and Kenya join forces to push the rehabilitation and seamless connection of the old metre gauge railway line, over which the two countries’ officials met this week to thrash out operational details. It is understood that Kenya, which is revamping its metre gauge railway line from Naivasha to Malaba, wants a reliable mode of transport for onward transit of cargo into the hinterland to make its logistics infrastructure operational, particularly the Naivasha inland container depot. Besides putting its logistics infrastructure to use, Kenya is also eyeing the $92.3 million Congolese market for its manufactured goods and is apparently keen to see a link with Uganda actualised in the shortest time possible. “Kenya is interested in a seamless connection immediately,” said Stanley Sendegeya, Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) managing director. On the sidelines of President Yoweri Museveni’s inauguration on May 12, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure James Macharia told The EastAfrican that he met his Uganda counterpart Gen Edward Katumba Wamala to discuss the metre gauge railway operations. The EastAfrican also understands that Chinese embassy officials attended the meeting. This meeting was part of the concessions talks between China Roads and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and URC to have the Chinese firm rehabilitate the Malaba-Kampala railway line. “We came here to assist them conclude this deal. It has been done,” CS Macharia told The EastAfrican from Kampala. “The idea is to make sure we have a seamless operation of the metre gauge railway line from Naivasha all the way to Kampala.”   Source: https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/tea/news/east-africa/uganda-kenya-team-up-on-old-metre-gauge-rail-project-eyeing-congo-s-sudan-3401034

July 09 at 05:42 AM

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UAE: Etihad Rail trains zip across the desert as project completes new milestone

Khaleej Times  29 September 2021 (UAE) The rail project, launched in 2009, had its stage one operational in 2016. Each day, two trains capable of transporting up to 22,000 tonnes of sulphur, run across the country. Each can haul up to 110 wagons on any one journey The latest phase extends 139KM and is connected through Al Ghuwaifat on the border of Soudi Arabia The UAE national railway network project, Etihad Rail, marked a key milestone with the completion of work on Package A of Stage Two. “This significant step brings the company closer to completing the 1,200-kilometre rail project, initially estimated to cost Dh40 billion, on schedule,” the company said. The rail project, which has been designed to connect the hubs of trade and industry in the UAE, will form a vital part of the GCC railway network, connecting the seven emirates to the five neighbouring Gulf nations. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and Chairman of Etihad Rail, and the company’s Board of Directors held a virtual meeting to review the progress of the construction works. Sheikh Theyab praised the Etihad Rail team for their achievement, in spite of the challenges they faced due the coronavirus pandemic. Source https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/uae-etihad-rail-trains-zip-across-the-desert-as-project-completes-new-milestone

October 01 at 08:43 AM

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UAE: Etihad Rail completes excavation works of 9 tunnels

Khaleej Times  21 Nov 2021 (UAE)  The 6.9-km stretch of tunnels are being constructed across Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah Etihad Rail, the UAE’s national rail network, on Sunday said it had completed excavation work on all nine tunnels of the Package D of Stage Two ahead of its schedule and the work on the project is proceeding according to schedule. His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Fujairah, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, visited the Sakamkam area in Fujairah, in the presence of Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Etihad Rail, to announce the completion of excavation works of all the nine tunnels extending over 6.9 kilometres. The tunnels are being constructed across Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah as part of Package D of Stage Two, two months ahead of schedule. The completion of the excavation of the nine tunnels recorded one million working hours. The project was supervised and carried out by more than 600 experts, specialists, and workers using the latest tunnelling machinery and modern technologies. Source https://www.khaleejtimes.com/transport/uae-etihad-rail-completes-excavation-works-of-9-tunnels

November 25 at 04:47 AM

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UAE Etihad Rail: Excavation work complete on Middle East's longest tunnel

Khaleej Times  July 26, 2021 (Dubai) This is part of the country's efforts to establish a national railway. Excavation work on the Middle East's longest tunnel, being built as part of the Etihad Rail project, has been completed. China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) has completed the excavation work on the 1.8-kilometre tunnel. It was tunnelled through difficult geological conditions with softer blasts, Rail Journal said. In December 2019, Etihad Rail had awarded a Dh4.6 billion tender for the civil works and construction of Package D of Stage Two of the UAE's national railway. The 145-kilometre Package D includes the construction of 15 tunnels through the Hajar Mountains. The tunnels boast a total length of 16 kilometres, in addition to the construction of 35 bridges and 32 underpasses. This will connect Fujairah and Khorfakkan ports with a rail network at the Dubai-Sharjah border. Etihad Rail had earlier awarded contracts for the design and build of Package A to a joint venture between the China State Construction Engineering Corporation and South Korea's SK Engineering and Construction. Packages B and C were awarded to a joint venture between the China Railway Construction Corporation and the Ghantoot Transport & General Contracting Company. This came as part of the company's mandate to establish a 1,200 km national railway network, which will also form an integral part of the proposed GCC Railway. In June, Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and Chairman of Etihad Rail, inaugurated the track laying at the railhead in Saih Shuaib, towards Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Etihad Rail has built factories to manufacture sleepers locally. The first of the two sleeper factories is located in Al Mirfa in the Al Dhafra region. The factory is able to produce 45,000 sleepers each month, manufacturing all units required for Stage One of the project. Source https://www.khaleejtimes.com/news/uae-etihad-rail-excavation-work-complete-on-middle-easts-longest-tunnel  

July 27 at 12:08 PM

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U.S. to tell critical rail, air companies to report hacks, name cyber chiefs

Reuters  October 6, 2021 (US) The Transportation Security Administration will introduce regulations that compel the most important U.S. railroad and airport operators to improve their cybersecurity procedures, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on Wednesday. The upcoming changes will make it mandatory for "higher-risk" rail transit companies and "critical" U.S. airport and aircraft operators to do three things: name a chief cyber official, disclose hacks to the government and draft recovery plans for if an attack were to occur. The planned regulations come after cybercriminals attacked a major U.S. pipeline operator, causing localized gas shortages along the U.S. East Coast in May. The incident led to new cybersecurity rules for pipeline owners in July. "Whether by air, land, or sea, our transportation systems are of utmost strategic importance to our national and economic security," Mayorkas said. "The last year and a half has powerfully demonstrated what’s at stake." A key concern motivating the new policies comes from a growth in ransomware attacks against critical infrastructure companies. "It’s the first of its kind with respect to the cyber focus," said a senior homeland security official, who declined to be named, about the railway security directive and an update to aviation security programs. Rafail Portnoy, Chief Technology Officer with the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it is "constantly vigilant against this global threat, and will ensure compliance with any TSA regulations." The industry group Airlines for America said the issue is important to them and noted they already work closely with the TSA and other agencies on cyber security and noted they want to "reduce any potential duplicative reporting." Source https://www.reuters.com/technology/exclusive-us-tell-critical-rail-air-companies-report-hacks-name-cyber-chiefs-2021-10-06/

October 08 at 05:43 AM

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U.S. Democrats ride trains, buses to spotlight spending push

Reuters  August 17, 2021 (US) WASHINGTON, Aug 17 (Reuters) - U.S. Democrats are riding buses and trains and holding roundtable discussions this summer as they make the case that a government spending blitz backed by President Joe Biden is improving voters' lives ahead of 2022 congressional elections. In New Jersey last week, Representative Tom Malinowski rode a train with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to highlight the benefits of a $1 trillion infrastructure package that he said would upgrade train service, roads and bridges and water pipes in the state. Source https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-democrats-ride-trains-buses-spotlight-spending-push-2021-08-17/

August 18 at 05:26 AM

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U.K. Business Condemns Talk of Scaling Back High-Speed Rail Plan

Bloomberg  August 27, 2021 Britain’s biggest business lobby said speculation about a scaling back of the country’s High Speed 2 rail project is becoming damaging and the government should commit to completing the plan on time and in full. Media reports suggesting the eastern arm of HS2 will be scrapped as costs spiral above 100 billion pounds ($137 billion) risk undermining confidence and investment decisions, the Confederation of British Industry said Friday. HS2 is “a cornerstone of government and business ambitions,” CBI Chief Policy Director Matthew Fell said in an emailed statement. “It’s too important a project to downgrade. Reductions in road emissions and congestion will benefit the environment, and improved transport links can forge new collaborations between businesses, cities and regions.” Source https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-08-27/u-k-business-condemns-talk-of-scaling-back-high-speed-rail-plan

August 30 at 04:18 AM

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Two carriages of Te Huia commuter train become separated, KiwiRail investigating

The New Zealand Herald 19 Jul, 2021 (NEW ZEALAND) Two carriages of the Te Huia train got separated from the rest while travelling between Papakura and Hamilton. KiwiRail acting chief operating officer Walter Rushbrook said the train was carrying 56 passengers plus three crew when the mechanical incident occurred. Tuesday's 5.46am service from Hamilton had been cancelled and the 6.25pm Te Huia services from Papakura would be replaced by buses. "Between Papakura and Paerata the last two carriages detached from the front two carriages and locomotive," he said in a statement. "Automatic braking stopped the carriages and the front of the train a short distance apart. A train attendant was in the separated carriages. "KiwiRail apologises to the Te Huia passengers and to those affected by subsequent disruption on the Auckland network." Rushbrook said KiwiRail was investigating the circumstances of the incident and until that investigation was complete, it would be premature to speculate on the cause. "No-one was injured and passengers in the separated carriages were moved into the front carriages and the train has been re-connected and is continuing to Pukekohe where passengers will be transferred to continue their journey." Delays on the network can be expected, Rushbrook said. A passenger told Newshub half of the train had been left behind and the conductor had been checking tickets in the carriage "unaware" of the separation. Source https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/two-carriages-of-te-huia-commuter-train-become-separated-kiwirail-investigating/BMUWCP6LBBAXZ2Q4MWCJQAZMG4/

July 22 at 10:11 AM

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Trying to cut carbon emissions with trains in Kenya

Deutsche Welle  26.08.2021 (Kenya) The new railway line from Mombasa to Nairobi is a step in the right direction for better public transportation. It has shifted traffic from the roads to rails, but it cuts through important corridors in national parks. Source https://www.dw.com/en/trying-to-cut-carbon-emissions-with-trains-in-kenya/av-58978076

September 02 at 04:33 AM

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TRC receives 44 freight wagons for central line

Daily News  07 October, 2021 (Tanzania) Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) on Wednesday received 44 freight wagons as part of a project to upgrade the country's central line to improve cargo transportation. Works and Transport Minister, Prof Makame Mbarawa, said at a ceremony to receive the wagons in Dar es Salaam that the wagons will streamline TRC services and make its operations more efficient. The 44 wagons were procured with a World Bank soft loan, as part of the Tanzania Intermodal and Rail Development (TIRP) project to revamp the central line, for which, the Bank has provided a loan of approximately 680bn/-, he stated. He noted that the project entails rehabilitating the railway line as well as purchasing locomotives, wagons, and tamping machines, stating that wagons will boost freight services and reduce loading and offloading times from Dar es Salaam port to Isaka dry port to 24 hours. “Like past government phases, the sixth phase government is focused on improving various infrastructures, especially railway transportation, to promote the country's economy,” he stated. Prof Mbarawa emphasized the necessity of TRC taking proper care of the wagons for them to be used by future generations, as well as the corporation's increased efforts in collecting revenues. The TIRP project that involves the rehabilitation of Tanzania meter gauge railways includes, among other things, the rehabilitation of railway tracks from Dar es Salaam to Iskar (970 km) to increase freight capacity from 13.5 tonnes axle load to 18.5 tonnes axle load, the construction of new 80-pound rail covering 312 km, the rehabilitation of 658 km of railway, and the replacement of 442 bridges and culverts. According to the Minister, the project has resulted in the completion of a 326-kilometre railway upgrade from Dar es Salaam to Isaka, 374 bridge renovations, architecture work for the Dar es Salaam railway upgrade, Isaka dry port, and Ilala yard. TRC Director-General, Mr Masanja Kagosa said the wagons were made in China by CRRC International Corporation Limited with each having a capacity for 46 tonnes.  “Since one locomotive can pull 20 wagons at once, one trip will carry 920 tonnes, which is equivalent to 30 trucks with a capacity of 30 tonnes each. “As a result, we are confident in our ability to use these 44 newly purchased wagons to expand TRC's capacity to transport and unload cargo at the port. Furthermore, rail freight movement will greatly reduce road damage,” he added. According to him, the agreement's implementation began on October 9, 2019, and the contract was due to be completed on June 5, 2020, but the execution was impeded by the outbreak of Covid-19, which forced the CRRC factory to close and then slow operations. Mr Kadogosa further said under the projects seven locomotives for cargo trains have been refurbished at the TRC workshop in Morogoro for 13bn/- by local engineers. He said earlier TRC did not have the freight locomotives; however, it was compelled to use larger locomotives for hauling freight thereby increasing operational costs. Currently, Tanzania has two railway systems: a central line extends towards Kigoma and Mwanza on Lakes Tanganyika and Victoria respectively, run by TRC and a southern route extends from Dar es Salaam into Zambia, operated by the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority  Source https://dailynews.co.tz/news/2021-10-07615e99107f02b.aspx

November 17 at 05:13 AM

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Traveling and consumer consumption show positive signs during Mid-Autumn Festival

Global Times  September 20, 2021 Staff members of Hankou Railway Station remind passengers to follow epidemic prevention rules in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Sep 19, 2021, the first day of the 3-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday.Photo:Xinhua The number of passenger trips across China's railways were recorded at 10.48 million on Sunday, the first day of the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday in China this year. A total of 10,067 trains running on regular timetables, according to data provided by the China Railway. The data however is down 29 percent compared to the first day of last year's Mid-Autumn & National Day holidays. The number is projected to reach 7.3 million on Monday. The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region saw a railway traveling peak on Sunday, accommodating around 950,000 passenger trips on Sunday, local news site YNET.com reported, citing data from China Railway Beijing Group Co. Before the Mid-Autumn Festival, cross-provincial tourism had already seen improvement, with the number of registered tourists rising steadily, according to a report sent to the Global Times by the online travel booking platform Ctrip on Monday. As of Thursday, short-distance trip bookings for the Mid-Autumn Festival had surpassed the number in 2019 before the outbreak of the COVID-19, with ticket booking number increased about 30 percent over that in 2019, data from Ctrip showed. Source https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202109/1234679.shtml  

September 21 at 05:05 AM

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Transport chaos predicted for Sydney ahead of train strike

The Sydney Morning Herald  October 19, 2021 (Australia) Sydney’s public transport network will be thrown into disarray on Wednesday with rail workers refusing to staff close to 70 per cent of the city’s trains amid an ongoing industrial dispute with the state government. NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union members will not staff any privately built trains on the state’s rail network on Wednesday, meaning more than two-thirds of the rolling stock will be taken out of service. Transport for NSW chief operations officer Howard Collins warned the strike would result in serious delays and disruption across the train network, and would likely have a knock-on effect for bus services. “There’s probably only going to be about 30 per cent of the train service running,” Mr Collins said, urging commuters to avoid the peak hour.   “There will be delays. We’ve got a few extra buses on board, but we need thousands of buses to replace a train service.” Rail, Tram and Bus Union NSW secretary Alex Claassens said the government had refused to rule out further privatisation of transport services, prompting the latest industrial action. “We don’t want to have to take any action, but rail workers have absolutely no choice but to try to make management listen to them, and industrial action is the only tool they have,” Mr Claassens said. “This state government has a shocking record of dismantling, privatising and selling off our public transport, a policy they have enthusiastically continued under cover of the COVID pandemic. The union is also calling for a 3.5 per cent pay increase, while the government is offering 0.3 per cent in the first year of the new deal, and 2.5 per cent thereafter. Source https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/transport-chaos-predicted-for-sydney-ahead-of-train-strike-20211019-p591b6.html

October 19 at 05:54 AM

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Transit And Ground Passenger Transport Global Market Report

AP  Jul 16, 2021 (Ireland) DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul 16, 2021-- The “Transit And Ground Passenger Transport Global Market Report 2021: COVID-19 Impact and Recovery to 2030” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering. The global transit and ground passenger transport market is expected to grow from $412.97 billion in 2020 to $460.48 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5%. Transit and Ground Passenger Transport Global Market Report 2021: COVID-19 Impact and Recovery to 2030 provides the strategists, marketers and senior management with the critical information they need to assess the global transit and ground passenger transport market as it emerges from the COVID-19 shut down. Major companies in the transit and ground passenger transport market include Transport For London; Metropolitan Transportation Authority; MTR Corporation; Guangzhou Metro and Madrid Metro. 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 $634.99 billion in 2025 at a CAGR of 8%. Source: https://apnews.com/press-release/business-wire/business-health-coronavirus-pandemic-12ce4710ef12478091beea9d0b43567a

July 16 at 11:40 AM

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Trans-Iranian Railway gains UNESCO World Heritage status

Tehran Times  July 25, 2021(Iran)  TEHRAN – Trans-Iranian Railway that reaches a length of 1400 km has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The UN body accepted Trans-Iranian Railway during the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee, which will be running through July 31 in China’s Fuzhou. The railway can be regarded as a turning point for comprehensive developments in Iran. These developments include a wide spectrum of various economical, commercial, social, cultural, and even political aspects in a sensitive and important period of contemporary world history. Under the Pahlavi regime, the process of moving towards modernism gained momentum and the railway became the main pedestal of development in Iran. Consequently, the 1394 kilometers long Trans-Iranian Railway was built with a width of 1435mm and 90 working stations along its route. It starts at a point north of Torkaman port located southeast of the Caspian Sea. After going through Sari and Qaem-Shahr cities, the railway enters the mountainous region of Alborz through the high Firooz-kooh Pass which is linked with Tehran and Varamin Plain by numerous bridges and tunnels. Further on after crossing the flatlands of Qom and Arak, the Trans-Iranian Railway penetrates Zagros highlands in Lorestan Province and passing through a large number of tunnels and bridges reaches Andimeshk situated in the low Kuzestan Plain. Finally extending to the vicinity of Dezful, Ahwaz, and its grand bridge on Karoon, the Trans-Iranian Railway is divided into two branches ending separately at Khoram-Shahr and Imam-Khomeini ports on the Persian Gulf. AFM Source https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/463393/Trans-Iranian-Railway-gains-UNESCO-World-Heritage-status

July 28 at 06:45 AM

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Trains on Delhi-Mumbai route to run at 130 kmph! Indian Railways executes Gangapur City Yard remodelling

Financial Express  August 02, 2021 (India) To enhance speed on the railway route between Delhi and Mumbai, Gangapur City Yard remodelling was executed in the month of July 2021. Indian Railways to run faster trains on Delhi – Mumbai route! In a bid to enhance speed on the railway route between the national capital and the financial capital, Gangapur City Yard remodelling was executed in the month of July 2021. According to the Railway Ministry, this will enhance the speed of trains to 130 km per hour on the Delhi – Mumbai Golden Quadrilateral railway route. The Gangapur City Yard is located on a 130 km per hour speed route. However, while passing through this yard, trains had to slow down due to a Permanent Speed Restriction (PSR) of 70 km per hour, because of reverse curves in this yard for the last 40 years. The Gangapur City Yard remodelling work involved: Source https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/trains-on-delhi-mumbai-route-to-run-at-130-kmph-indian-railways-executes-gangapur-city-yard-remodelling/2302514/

August 05 at 08:31 AM

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Trains far greener but much more costly than planes, analysis finds

The Guardian  14 Jul 2021 (UK)  Passengers face ‘near impossible’ choice between low prices and climate-friendly travel, says Which? Train fares on popular UK routes are 50% more expensive than plane fares despite rail journeys causing 80% lower carbon dioxide emissions, according to analysis by the consumer group Which?. It said passengers face a “near impossible” choice between low ticket prices and climate-friendly travel. More people are taking holidays in the UK due to coronavirus and airlines have launched dozens of new domestic routes. The Which? study examined 10 routes within the UK and found that eight were cheaper by plane. The biggest price difference was from Birmingham to Newquay where the return plane fare was £67 and the train fare was £180. The train fare from Bristol to Newcastle also cost more than double the air ticket. This route had the biggest difference in CO2 emissions, with the return plane journey resulting in 203kg of CO2 per person, compared with 33kg for the train. More: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/14/trains-far-greener-but-much-more-costly-than-planes-analysis-finds

July 19 at 07:12 AM

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Train takes 137 Covid patients to lower Northeast

Bangkok Post  27 JUL 2021 (Thailand) Special train No.971 to Ubon Ratchathani departed from Rangsit railway station on Tuesday morning taking 137 Covid-19 patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms to their homes in the lower Northeast. Under a cabinet resolution on July 20, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Public Health were instructed to arrange transport to return Covid-19 patients to their home provinces. The ministries were told to cooperate with the National Health Security Office and National Institute of Emergency Medicine.  At 9.50am, the special train departed from Rangsit railway station in Pathum Thani, where the 137 patients boarded. The train was scheduled to drop patients off at Nakhon Ratchasima station at 1.29pm, Buri Ram station at 3.05pm, Lam Chi station in Surin at 3.38pm, Nong Waeng station in Si Sa Ket at 5.17pm and Warin Chamrap station in Ubon Ratchathani at 6pm. The patients were to be picked up at the stations by local health officials and taken to designated hospitals.   Source https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/2155547/train-takes-137-covid-patients-to-lower-northeast

July 27 at 02:23 PM

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Train operators face calls to publish research on Covid risks

The Guardian  Sat 17 Jul 2021 (UK) Rail industry resists calls from passenger groups to release data on risk of contracting Covid on trains Train operators have been urged to release research showing the risk of contracting Covid on trains, with the chances now believed to be substantially higher than the figure publicised by the rail industry last year. The industry-funded Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) said in July 2020 that the risk was just one infection in 11,000 average journeys in Great Britain. Figures showing the risk climbing significantly have been issued to senior rail executives and Department for Transport officials at fortnightly team briefings throughout the year. However, the RSSB has not shared the latest numbers with the travelling public. Although the RSSB says the risks of transmission on trains are “tolerably low”, the risk is understood to be much higher on long-distance journeys and with growing passenger numbers, and are likely to double without face coverings.   Source https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jul/17/train-operators-face-calls-to-publish-research-on-covid-risks

August 05 at 06:13 AM

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Train maker Alstom's shares surge as cash hit softer than feared

Reuters  November 10, 2021 (France) Alstom's(ALSO.PA) shares soared on Wednesday after the French train maker reported a softer-than-expected cash hit as it integrates projects inherited as part of its deal with Canada's Bombardier (BBDb.TO). The shares jumped as much as 10% in early trading and were on track for their best performance since March 2020, boosting the company's market value by more than one billion euros, based on Refinitiv data. Analysts from Credit Suisse and JP Morgan welcomed Alstom's the cash outflow as "reassuring" and "better than feared". Alstom had finalised its purchase of Bombardier Transportation early this year - a 5.5 billion euro deal that should make the French train maker the second-biggest player in its sector behind China's CRRC (601766.SS). But stabilising some legacy projects had caused Alstom to predict "significant" cash outflows for its current financial year. Alstom reported a negative free cash flow of 1.46 billion euros ($1.69 billion) for April to September 2021, beating consensus forecasts and the negative 1.6-1.9 billion euros it had guided in July.   A year earlier, Alstom had reported half-year outflows of just 253 million euros. In a call with analysts, Chief Executive Henri Poupart-Lafarge said the group's cash had benefited from more downpayments and a ramp-up in production. Alstom reported "no material impact" from supply chain problems in its first half, but Poupart-Lafarge said that delays could have an impact in the next six months. The CEOadded the integration of the rail business and stabilisation of its projects was "fully on track" and that projects were now being managed at a local level, following a period of central assessments. The company, which makes trains and signalling systems for urban and regional rail networks, confirmed its forecast that it would begin to generate cash from the second half onwards, as well as its mid-term financial targets. It reported a 14% increase in half-year sales, adjusting for acquisitions and foreign exchange rates, while its adjusted net profit for the period edged up to 172 million euros. ($1 = 0.8655 euros) Reporting by Sarah Morland. Editing by Jane Merriman Source https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/train-maker-alstoms-half-year-cash-outflow-smaller-than-expected-2021-11-10/

November 11 at 06:53 AM

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Train driver shortage forces Renfe to cancel 28 local passenger services

Sur in English  8 November 2021 (Spain) This Monday, 8 November, some 28 trains on the Fuengirola and Álora lines will not operate "for technical reasons" according to the national rail operator The problem of local train cancellations and delays on the Renfe Cercanías service in Malaga is on the way to becoming chronic if the necessary staff are not soon put in place to allow trains to return to normal service. Despite complaints from users, the Diputación de Malaga provincial government and the Junta de Andalucía regional government there has been little improvement and passengers continue to suffer the daily cancellations of trains and altered timetables. To illustrate the situation, this Monday, 8 November, Renfe will cancel "for technical reasons" a total of 28 trains on the lines between Malaga and Fuengirola and Malaga and Álora. Although it is common for there to be cancellations every day, such a high number is not normal on a day on which no workers' strike is called. The company has announced the cancellations on its app, a new service that it launched recently in response to passengers’ demands, who previously could only obtain information on cancellations on the information panels or through the public address announcements in the stations, so they didn't know in advance whether their train was going to leave or not. Source https://www.surinenglish.com/malaga/train-driver-shortage-20211108102125-nt.html

November 10 at 07:31 AM

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Train driver dies in Queensland after locomotive and coal train crash near Rockhampton

The Guardian  Fri 18 Jun 2021 (Australia) Two other drivers were injured in the crash, with authorities suggesting one of the trains was stationary when hit from behind A Queensland Rail train driver is dead and two others have been injured after a locomotive and a loaded coal train collided west of Rockhampton. The three drivers were all on the locomotive – which wasn’t pulling any coal cars – when it collided with the coal train on the Aurizon rail network before midday on Friday, the Queensland Rail chief executive, Nick Easy, said. Police say the driver who died was a 49-year-old man from Margate, north of Brisbane. Another driver, 43, suffered a broken leg and was flown to Rockhampton hospital. The third driver, 41, sustained minor injuries and was taken to the hospital by road. Police have said both trains were westbound but it’s unclear if both were moving at the time of the crash. The RACQ CapRescue helicopter service, which attended the scene, said it appeared one train was stationary and was hit from behind by the other. “We are deeply saddened and distressed by the incident and our priority is the welfare of our people and the families of the drivers involved,” Easy said in a statement. He said the rail safety regulator and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland would investigate the cause of the crash. “Given the nature of the incident, it is not appropriate to comment or speculate further on the potential cause,” Easy said. The Capricorn Highway was closed for two hours so the rescue helicopter could access the crash site.   Source:       https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/jun/18/train-driver-dies-in-queensland-after-locomotive-and-coal-train-crash-near-rockhampton

July 09 at 05:45 AM

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Train drama offers lesson

Bangkok Post  13 September 2021 (Thailand) The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has decided to pay 42.5 million baht for shipping 17 diesel locomotive trains, donated by Japanese Hokkaido Railway Co (JR Hokkaido), to Thailand. The decision stirred public controversy as many raise the question of why the debt-ridden railway state enterprise has to spend such a large sum in exchange for "scrap metal". The SRT insists the donated trains, which are 40 years old, remain in good condition. Thailand is getting these trains for free, and they can offer better services to local travellers, it says. SRT's supporters said the donation helps the SRT save money as it will not have to buy new trains which cost a lot more. However, the SRT admitted it needs to invest 16 million baht to modify and refurbish each donated train before it is operational with a total budget of 272 million baht set aside for the 17 trains. The width of Thai railways is 1 metre while the Japanese gauge is 1.067 metres: that causes another problem. Although buying new trains is the best scenario for offering services and convenience to passengers, it is undeniable that a more economic way is to modify the trains donated by the SRT's Japanese counterpart. Most of the SRT's trains and facilities are widely acknowledged as old, uncomfortable and defective. The question is why the SRT has to wait to get donated trains before it can offer better services to travellers? The answer concerns efficiency. The SRT celebrates its 124th anniversary this year but it still ranks among the least efficient of the country's state enterprises. The debt-ridden agency is unable to improve its efficiency and performance unless a major restructuring takes place. This is not the first time JR Hokkaido has donated trains to the SRT. In 2018, the Japanese railway company donated 10 locomotives to Thailand. To date, the SRT has yet to complete modification and refurbishment. This reflects how inefficient the organisation is. Several restructuring plans have been floated in the past two decades to solve the SRT's problems. A key factor behind the failure is internal resistance. There are two solutions which could still offer a way out for the SRT: partial privatisation and commercialising non-core assests, particularly land plots. The SRT is among the largest landlords in the country with an estimated 39,000 rai of land nationwide. The commercial value of the land could be as high as 300 billion baht. The idea of developing land owned by the SRT for commercial purposes has been floated for decades but has not materialised. In April, the SRT set up a subsidiary, SRT Asset Co, to handle this matter. As for privatisation, the SRT has enjoyed a monopoly on the sector since the day it was established. So its current debt-laden position isn't impressive, and plans to partially privatise the agency or grant concessions to the private sector have been raised time and again. Unfortunately, such plans have never been put into practice, once again due to internal resistance. Yet without changes, the SRT will be unable to provide better services or ensure safety to passengers. Thais don't want to see the agency having to rely on train donations just so it can offer better services. Source https://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/2180719/train-drama-offers-lesson

September 14 at 06:20 AM

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Train derails and spills coal into Mississippi River

AP  November 15, 2021 (Montrose, Iowa, US) A train struck a barge in southeast Iowa late Saturday night, knocking several cars off the tracks and spilling coal into the Mississippi River. BNSF railroad officials told the Burlington Hawk Eye that two coal cars landed in the river and three others were partially in the water after the collision near Montrose, Iowa that also knocked over two locomotives. One other car that left the tracks remained upright. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said several hundred gallons of diesel fuel also spilled out of the locomotives. No injuries were reported, but the train’s crew was taken to an area hospital as a precaution, said Jason Dinwiddie, director of Lee County Emergency Management. The railroad said it will work to remove any coal that ended up in the river. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said it is working with local emergency responders and the Environmental Protection Agency to monitor the cleanup effort. Source https://apnews.com/article/mississippi-river-iowa-c46f220beece68ea5408628983a4cd66

November 17 at 06:44 AM

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Train collision in southwest Britain injures several people

Reuters  31 October, 2021 (London, UK) Two trains collided at Fisherton Tunnel in the southwestern English city of Salisbury on Sunday, injuring a number of people, police said, declaring the crash a major incident. "A number of people have been injured, but thankfully no one has died," British transport police said. While most of the people are "walking wounded", a small number of injured people, including the driver, have been taken to the hospital, the police said in a statement. Fire trucks and ambulances were at the scene near Salisbury station, police said. The Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said it has helped evacuate approximately 100 people. The BBC quoted a spokesman for Network Rail, a track operator, as saying the rear carriage of one train derailed after striking an object on its approach to Salisbury station and the incident disabled all signalling in the area. The second train then collided with the first one. The collision involved a South Western Railway and a Great Western service, according to the BBC report. Great Western Railway (FGP.L) said the crash involved a train travelling between Portsmouth and Bristol and another travelling from London's Waterloo Station to Honiton. The operator added that it would cooperate with the police in their investigation. South Western Railway said in a post on Twitter that train service disruptions were expected to last until Nov. 2. "Officers are continuing to respond to the incident alongside our emergency service colleagues and the line is expected to be shut for some time," police said.   Reporting by William Schomberg in London and Jahnavi Nidumolu in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Peter Cooney and Himani Sarkar Source https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/trains-collide-southwestern-england-police-2021-10-31/

November 03 at 07:19 AM

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Track-laying under Sydney harbour finished in key Metro tunnel

The Sydney Morning Herald  June 17, 2021  Commuters have been given a glimpse of the new metro train lines under Sydney’s harbour which will connect the future Barangaroo and North Sydney stations. The 800-metre section of track in the northbound harbour tunnel is now complete while tracklaying on the southbound tunnel is expected to finish by July. The NSW government’s flagship rail project will be composed of a line from Chatswood to the CBD, traversing under Sydney harbour, and then onto Sydenham and Bankstown. “Around 50,000 people will have worked on this incredible city-shaping project by the time services start in 2024, with about 800 involved in the tunnel fit-out and 5000 currently working on the project,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said. “It will take just three minutes to travel between the new Victoria Cross Station at North Sydney or Barangaroo Station using the tunnels, transforming the way we travel around our great city.” Transport Minister Andrew Constance and Ms Berejiklian on Thursday visited the completed tracks on the Blues Point side of the tunnel 40 metres below the harbour surface.   https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/track-laying-under-sydney-harbour-finished-in-key-metro-tunnel-20210617-p581pd.html

July 16 at 11:31 AM

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Toy train to be built in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

Economic Times  Aug 12, 2021 (India) The toy train will be an added attraction in the tourist spot of Tawang, situated at an elevation of approximately 3,048 metres in western Arunachal Pradesh, and 448 km from state capital Itanagar and close to Indo-China border. The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) will build a 'toy train' in the picturesque hilltop town of Tawang, home to the world's biggest Buddhist monastery outside Tibet. Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu gave his nod to the project proposal during his meeting with NFR general manager Anshul Gupta on Thursday morning, a statement issued by Khandu's office said. The toy train will be an added attraction in the tourist spot of Tawang, situated at an elevation of approximately 3,048 metres in western Arunachal Pradesh, and 448 km from state capital Itanagar and close to Indo-China border. Source https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/transportation/railways/toy-train-to-be-built-in-tawang-arunachal-pradesh/articleshow/85279991.cms

August 16 at 10:26 AM

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Tourists climb aboard to visit scenic unstaffed train stations

The Asahi Shimbun  September 23, 2021 (Japan) Shimonada Station in Iyo, Ehime Prefecture, is an unstaffed, single-track train establishment, which seems to be off the beaten path.   However, on a recent evening, a total of 50 individuals in couples and families showed up at the tiny station.  Just in front of the platform is a broad expanse of the Seto Inland Sea. Gazing upon the ocean from a bench, one feels as if time is passing slowly. What the visitors sought most is the “magical hour” when both the sky and sea are lit up in a beautiful color gradation of blue and red. A pair of female visitors who described themselves as college students were staring at the scenery with dazzled eyes. They said they were stunned by “such a beautiful sunset that can be enjoyed from this site very close to the ocean.” It takes about an hour by train to travel to Shimonada Station from Matsuyama, the prefectural capital, and only a single train stops there every hour. Despite the difficult-to-reach location, the students were rapidly shooting photos to record “the most picturesque landscape worth visiting.” Shimonada Station is among a growing number of unstaffed stations nationwide that rail operators and residents are rediscovering as tourist spots and regional bases. Having no staff members throughout the day, those train stops boast various attractions such as magnificent views and a camping site directly linked to a station. Still, many challenges remain given the current situation facing unmanned stations at which ensuring safety and securing ways for disabled people to travel freely is difficult. SHIMONADA BECAME UNSTAFFED 35 YEARS AGO According to Shikoku Railway Co. (JR Shikoku), Shimonada Station was completed in 1935. Although it once flourished with passenger traffic and also as a center for mikan fruit shipping, the station became unstaffed in 1986 amid the decreased number of riders resulting from the spreading use of automobiles. Source https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14436283

September 24 at 05:53 AM

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Tokyo trains crowded but little other damage day after strong quake

Reuters  October 8, 2021 (Tokyo, Japan) Tokyo area commuters faced packed trains on Friday on some lines due to delays, but there was little other impact after a strong quake rocked the Japanese capital late the night before, although authorities warned of aftershocks for up to a week. The quake struck at 10:41 p.m. (1341 GMT), centred just east of Tokyo and registering as a "Strong 5" on Japan's intensity scale, which can cause power cuts and damage to buildings. The Japan Meteorological Agency revised down the magnitude to 5.9 from an initial 6.1. There were scattered reports of water main breaks and about 250 buildings in downtown Tokyo briefly lost power. One of the biggest commuter train stations, Shinagawa, lost power as well, forcing people into long lines for cabs as they tried to get home on Thursday night. Several dozen people were injured, mainly by falls or being struck by falling objects. Most of the injuries were minor. By Friday morning everything was back to normal except on some train lines that were running late or with limited capacity. Waiting commuters overflowed into the streets outside due to crowding. The Japan Meteorological Agency said aftershocks, possibly of similar strength, could occur for up to a week. The hashtag "Because of the Quake", in Japanese, was trending on Twitter as Tokyoites, normally inured to tremors, tried to put the quake behind them by jokingly blaming it for everything from missing glasses to terrified cats. Many, though, said they hadn't slept. Source https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/tokyo-trains-crowded-little-other-damage-day-after-strong-quake-2021-10-08/

October 12 at 07:40 AM

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Tibet's new bullet train that travels so high that they provide extra oxygen to passengers

La Nacion  July 1, 2021 (China) 90% of the route is above 3,000 meters above sea level, so the wagons have oxygenation equipment EIJING.- The Chinese state railway company has just inaugurated  a line of high-speed trains in Tibet, nicknamed the “roof of the world”, whose route of 435 kilometers runs 90% above 3,000 meters above sea level. from the sea  , so it was necessary to equip the wagons with an  automated system to keep the oxygen supply stable, normally scarce at this point. The line launched last Friday connects the Tibetan capital Lhasa with the city of Nyingchi, giving mainland China's 31 provincial-level regions access to high-speed rail travel. The Lhasa-Nyingchi line has  47 tunnels and 121 bridges, representing approximately 75% of the entire route.  This includes the 525-meter-long Zangmu Railway Bridge, the largest and tallest arch bridge of its kind in the world. The state-owned China State Railway Group invested the equivalent of $ 5.6 billion to build the line. The automated air supply system  keeps oxygen levels at a constant 23.6%  , slightly higher than the 21% average found in normal atmospheres. Source https://www.lanacion.com.ar/el-mundo/el-nuevo-tren-bala-del-tibet-que-viaja-tan-alto-que-les-proveen-oxigeno-extra-a-los-pasajeros-nid01072021/

July 19 at 05:16 AM

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Three male teens accused of entering railroad tracks

The Japan News (by Yomiuri Shimbun) 4:55 pm, June 08, 2021 3 teens sent to family court for entering train tracks to take photos Three male teens accused of entering railroad tracks to take photos of an express train had their case sent to the Sagamihara Branch of Yokohama Family Court on Monday. The Kanagawa prefectural police sent the case on the youths, who allegedly trespassed on the tracks of Odakyu Electric Railway Co.’s signature limited express train Romancecar. The three are charged with violating the Railway Operation Act. According to police, the three said that they wanted to take photos of the train’s wheels and other parts and could do so only from the tracks. The accused minors are a university student and part-time worker, both 19, from Tokyo, and an 18-year-old university student from Yokohama. The trio is suspected of trespassing on the tracks at the Odakyu Line’s Sagami-Ono Station in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, early on the morning of Oct. 25, 2020. Police said the three hid under the platform and when the train pulled into the station, went out on the tracks to take photos. Speech   Source: https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0007470683

July 09 at 07:31 AM

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This suspended train could be the future of travel in Dubai

Khaleej Times June 7, 2021 (UAE) The RTA is signing agreements with specialist companies to develop suspended transport systems. Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has inked an agreement to explore developing suspended transport network in the Emirate. The agreement was signed with Zhong Tang Sky Railway Group, a leading company in the suspended railways. Abdul Mohsen Ibrahim Younes, CEO of Rail Agency, said: “The signing of this MoU is part of the RTA’s ongoing efforts to increase public transportation trips to 26 per cent by 2030. “Realising this objective requires developing advanced futuristic transport systems and improving the sustainable transport network in Dubai.” The RTA is signing agreements with specialist companies to develop suspended transport systems. This will help the authority identify the relevant technologies used in this kind of mass transit means. “We will be able to screen and obtain the best technologies and select the best systems for implementation in Dubai,” added Younes. “The use of this type of transport in Dubai aims to accelerate the mobility of people, provide affordable mobility solutions, encourage community members to use them, and curb traffic congestion.”   Source: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/news/this-suspended-train-could-be-the-future-of-travel-in-dubai

July 09 at 05:44 AM

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The tram disaster in Frankfurt (DUE TO CORONA, EXPANSION OF 4 LINES IS DELAYED BY 1 YEAR)

Bild  07/27/2021 (Germany)  Frankfurt / Berlin - Apparently nothing is safe from Corona - not even Frankfurt's expansion plans for its tram. They are delayed - as of now - at least a year! Problem: The 45 trains of the “T” series ordered in 2018 and 19 from the French group “Alstom” (also builds the high-speed train TGV) will not be finished on schedule. "This is how Corona hit us too," says VGF spokeswoman Aleksandra Malczewski (34). “As a result, plants around the world were closed, which apparently delayed the delivery of parts.” With that, the trains were completed. Source https://www.bild.de/regional/frankfurt/frankfurt-aktuell/wegen-corona-verzoegert-sich-ausbau-das-tram-desaster-von-frankfurt-77210152.bild.html

July 29 at 08:02 AM

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The train will shortly be arriving in 1983: a boyhood rebuilt in Britain’s biggest model railway

The Guardian  24 October 2021 (UK) Six years, £250,000 and 5,000 brass leaves: how Simon George’s lockdown project took on a life of its own As lockdown projects go, it doesn’t get much bigger than a 60-metre long model railway. When Simon George set about re-creating his favourite childhood spot from 1983, he had no idea it would expand to become the biggest of its kind in Britain. “I suppose all of us as kids always had somewhere that we’d go to, whether outside a corner shop or in a park,” said 53-year-old George, who lives in Ripon, North Yorkshire. “But where I used to go when I was a kid was a railway junction, just near Mirfield in West Yorkshire. I used to spend a lot of time there, watching the trains go past, and it left an indelible impact on my memory.” Six years and an estimated £250,000 later, this image has been translated in minute detail into model form – including a miniature version of 12-year-old George – and will be exhibited in Wakefield Market Hall from 4 to 19 December. Having never built a model railway before, George began the model in 2015 as a hobby. But after selling his share of a supercar driving experience company two and a half years ago, he threw himself into the project and worked on it doggedly during lockdown. He said: “I don’t think there’s anybody daft enough to go to the extremes I’ve gone to in some of the detail that’s built-in.” To get it exactly right, he downloaded hundreds of images of that stretch of the line in the 80s and used them to create a map that became his guide for the project, called Heaton Lodge Junction, built in O gauge or 7mm to 1ft. The detail that came from that includes a tiny 1980s Tesco carrier bag caught in a tree and 5,000 custom-made brass fern leaves, which were individually put in place and bent to the right shape. The model trains even emit fake diesel fumes and have speakers that produce the sound of real trains. “I think if you’re going to do something, you’ve got to give it 100%,” he said. Those who have seen it so far have been “gobsmacked”. “As people walk through the door, they’re confronted by a really well-lit basement with an enormous model as far as the eye can see. It does knock them back sometimes. It’s a nice reaction,” he said. “It’s funny because when it’s up and running and you glance up, it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up because it’s just like being back in 1983.” After Wakefield, George plans to take the layout on the road to cities all over the UK, although it needs three articulated trucks to transport it. “It’s just finding somewhere big enough,” he added. George Dent, the editor of  Model Rail  magazine, said that although the Yorkshireman’s model is likely to be the biggest of its type in the UK, lots of people are shy about their passion for the hobby, and there may be larger ones in barns or large houses all across the country. He said: “We know of some very famous people who have a closet interest in model railways, but they don’t seem to be keen on sharing it. Rod Stewart might be open about his passion, but not everyone else is willing to admit to it, which is a real shame – especially in the present climate, when we’re all realising the benefits of crafts and hobbies.” George kept his own project secret, he said, and for a long time did not even tell his girlfriend what he was up to. But he is keen to do his bit to dispel the idea that the hobby is only for nerds. “I just really want to play a very small part to improve the image of the hobby, which has suffered. It’s been a bit of a figure of fun the last few decades,” he said. Source https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/oct/24/the-train-will-shortly-be-arriving-in-1983-a-boyhood-rebuilt-in-britains-biggest-model-railway

October 26 at 05:11 AM

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The Times view on rail ticket price rises: Not Fare

The Times  August 19, 2021  Rail passengers face paying almost 5 per cent more for their season tickets next year A sharp increase in rail fares deters commuters and rewards poor service Although inflation as measured by the consumer price index (CPI) fell from 2.5 per cent in June to 2 per cent in July, this moderation will provide scant comfort to the country’s rail travellers when they fork out for new season tickets in January. That’s because it is July’s retail price index, the not the CPI, that is traditionally used to calculate the following year’s ticket increases. The RPI, acknowledged as not providing a fair indication of inflation to consumers, last month rose by 3.8 per cent. The fare hike in 2022, if based on RPI plus 1 per cent, which was the formula used to set this year’s increase, could thus be almost 5 per cent. Source https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-times-view-on-rail-ticket-price-rises-not-fare-5fwfl0njr

August 27 at 07:42 AM

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The Times view on HS2 and the new rail plan: Broken Promises

The Times  November 18, 2021 (UK) Whatever the merits of the government’s new integrated rail plan, Boris Johnson’s U-turn on HS2 is the latest in a series of failures to deliver on election pledges When you spend £96 billion, you expect to get something for it. Grant Shapps may be right that the government’s new integrated rail plan announced today will bring faster rail travel in shorter order to many parts of the Midlands and north of England than under the previous plan. The transport secretary insists the combination of three new stretches of high-speed rail lines, between Birmingham and Nottingham, Manchester and Warrington and Crewe and Manchester, plus 180 miles of electrification and other upgrades, will significantly shorten some journey times. London to Manchester, for example, will fall from 126 minutes to 71 while Birmingham to Nottingham will drop from 74 minutes to 26. Source https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-times-view-on-hs2-and-the-new-rail-plan-broken-promises-bm6vfz50x

November 23 at 05:05 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 https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/trans-iranian-railway-cmd/index.html

August 18 at 06:51 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 https://praguemonitor.com/culture/21/07/2021/future-railway-station-in-brno/

September 13 at 05:40 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 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jul/25/the-guardian-view-on-restoring-the-golden-age-of-rail-green-glamour

July 27 at 11:45 AM

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The gleaming metro system built under the desert

CNN  3 November, 2021 (Qatar) It's fast. It's driverless. It has a Gold Class for premium passengers. And it's one of the most advanced metro train systems ever built.   This is the Doha Metro, a gleaming transportation system that will carry fans to their destination in next year's soccer World Cup and, it's hoped, will go on to revolutionize transport in Qatar.   Constructed mostly underground and across the Qatari capital and its suburbs, the network has been operational since 2019, providing a reliable transportation alternative in a rapidly expanding city where residents have long relied on cars and traffic is frequently gridlocked.   Phase one of the project saw the creation of 37 stations, with three lines -- Red, Green and Gold -- running along a 76-kilometer (47-mile) network.   The fully automated, 60-meter-long trains have a 416-passenger capacity and are divided into three sections: Standard, Family (for lone females and males or females commuting with children aged 11 or younger) and Gold (Goldclub Travel Card holders) class. Clean and spacious, the trains can cruise at up to 100 kilometers per hour (60 mph) and are fully equipped with CCTV and public Wi-Fi systems. They even have USB ports so that Gold class travelers can charge mobile phones and tablets while in transit. The stations were all designed to represent a vision of both modernization and preservation, fusing traditional features of regional architecture with a contemporary approach.   "It was important that the design would relate to its context, to the city of Doha and to Qatar," Ben van Berkel, co-founder of UNStudio, a Dutch architecture firm that joined forces with the Qatar Rail Architecture Department to create the stations, tells CNN Travel. Source https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/qatar-doha-metro/index.html

November 05 at 06:06 AM

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The gleaming metro system built under the desert

CNN  3 November, 2021 ( Doha, Qatar ) It's fast. It's driverless. It has a Gold Class for premium passengers. And it's one of the most advanced metro train systems ever built.   This is the Doha Metro, a gleaming transportation system that will carry fans to their destination in next year's soccer World Cup and, it's hoped, will go on to revolutionize transport in Qatar.   Constructed mostly underground and across the Qatari capital and its suburbs, the network has been operational since 2019, providing a reliable transportation alternative in a rapidly expanding city where residents have long relied on cars and traffic is frequently gridlocked.   Phase one of the project saw the creation of 37 stations, with three lines -- Red, Green and Gold -- running along a 76-kilometer (47-mile) network.   The fully automated, 60-meter-long trains have a 416-passenger capacity and are divided into three sections: Standard, Family (for lone females and males or females commuting with children aged 11 or younger) and Gold (Goldclub Travel Card holders) class.   Clean and spacious, the trains can cruise at up to 100 kilometers per hour (60 mph) and are fully equipped with CCTV and public Wi-Fi systems. They even have USB ports so that Gold class travelers can charge mobile phones and tablets while in transit. Source https://www-cnn-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.cnn.com/travel/amp/qatar-doha-metro/index.html

November 11 at 06:31 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 https://logistyka.rp.pl/szynowy/art18900451-magistrala-wschodnia-polaczy-stolice-wojewodztw-wschodniej-polski

September 13 at 05:28 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 https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202109/1234204.shtml

September 16 at 05:57 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 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/26/us/derailed-amtrak-train-cause-unclear.html

September 29 at 04:20 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 https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/07/where-does-the-orient-express-go-train-has-new-european-routes.html  

October 08 at 08:05 AM

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The $3.50 go-anywhere ticket to fight climate change

CNN  27th October 2021 (Austria) You wake up in suburban Innsbruck, the snowcapped peaks of the Austrian Tyrol glistening in the distance. After breakfast you hop a tram to Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof, the city's main railway station and climb aboard an Austrian Railways ÖBB Railjet bound for Vienna.   After more than four hours crossing some of the prettiest scenery in central Europe, you arrive beneath the undulating zig-zagged roof of Wien Hauptbahnhof, from where you head down into the curving tunnels of Südtiroler Platz metro station.   After rumbling through six stops of the city's U1 metro line, you reach Praterstern, not far from the shores of the Danube River. From there, it's a short stroll to catch a regional train on the S4 line, heading north a further nine stops to Korneuburg. We're not done traveling yet.   Here you climb aboard bus 853 for the final leg, a gentle 20-plus minute trundle through quiet, leafy streets, past compact one-story homes, until it's time to finally disembark beside the plain clocktower in the village of Enzersfeld.   Give or take the occasional stop for refreshments -- perhaps a bosna sausage and a cream-topped Viennese coffee -- you've been on the go, on public transport, for more than eight hours, clocking up hundreds of miles across bus, rail, tram and metro services.   And how much has this epic ride cost you? Just $3.50 (or €3).   Fifteen years after it was first proposed, Austria's new Klimaticket, or climate ticket, goes live on October 26. Offering seamless travel across all modes of public transport it is intended to galvanize the Alpine nation's fight against climate change.   The annual pass, priced at $1,267 (€1,095), works out at just $24 (€21) per week or $3.50 a day. If all goes according to plan, it should encourage people to swap their cars for more climate-friendly forms of getting around. Source https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/austria-klimaticket/index.html

October 28 at 05:35 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 https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-58460572

September 07 at 04:22 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 https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/french-company-thales-raises-2021-sales-goal-after-solid-h1-2021-07-23/

July 25 at 05:29 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 https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/frances-thales-confirms-talks-sell-ground-systems-unit-hitachi-rail-2021-08-04/

August 04 at 06:53 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: https://mobile-reuters-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN2ED17H

July 09 at 04:15 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 https://english.cambodiadaily.com/business/thailand-will-gift-cambodia-with-140-km-of-rail-for-stronger-link-167114/

August 12 at 08:27 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: https://apnews.com/article/tx-state-wire-ct-state-wire-europe-milan-texas-7d2cb36c769446baaab3c5a8bb6e6200

July 09 at 05:46 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 https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0007716842

September 03 at 05:17 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 https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/taiwan-train-crash-that-killed-49-people-didnt-have-to-happen

July 23 at 07:14 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 https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/taiki-the-steam-engine-draws-mass-crowd-in-waiuku/NMDC73J75FQMHHDRUXRMUTPTRI/

July 29 at 07:21 AM

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Sydney rail network goes green with renewable energy deal

The Sydney Morning Herald October 21, 2021 (Australia) Sydney’s train network has become the first in Australia to transition to net zero emissions after the NSW government moved to power the massive transport system with renewable energy. The government has committed to a four-year agreement with Snowy Hydro-owned Red Energy for the electricity used by the network, which produced close to 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide last financial year. Former transport minister Andrew Constance in June revealed the government would push to power the train network with green energy by 2025. His successor, Rob Stokes said the latest agreement means the state will have “smashed” the target by more than four years in “becoming the first heavy rail network in Australia to transition to completely green energy”. The Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink networks represents about 1.3 per cent of the state’s electricity usage, with the government now purchasing renewable energy certificates from Red Energy, which generates clean energy from wind and solar. The certificates provide evidence that the source of the energy is renewable. Sydney Trains chief executive Matt Longland said the agency was preparing to go to market in 2024 to “test solutions” to maintain net zero into the future. A Sydney Trains spokeswoman said the certificates were identified as the best available strategy for the agency to achieve net-zero, though that could change “following further engagement with the market”. Sydney Trains will also reduce energy consumption by at least 10 per cent by 2025 through solar energy generation at close to 30 locations across the network. While the government seeks to offset its public transport network, a $500 million budget commitment it made to incentivise the take-up of electric vehicles will come into effect from November after new laws passed Parliament on Wednesday. Source https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/sydney-rail-network-goes-green-with-renewable-energy-deal-20211020-p591n1.html

October 21 at 04:58 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: https://westernweekender.com.au/2021/07/sydney-metro-which-will-connect-new-airport-at-badgerys-creek-approved-for-construction/

July 27 at 11:12 AM

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Suspended Metro trains are rolling through the transit system, but it’s only a test

Washington Post  November 8, 2021 (US) Two of the 7000-series trains will run empty as the agency tries to get the series reinstated. Metro riders saw a familiar sight Monday as a pair of 7000-series trains made their way through the system during service hours for the first time since Oct. 17, when the series was sidelined for a safety issue that has caused a severe train shortage. The trains are stopping at stations but not picking up passengers, part of a test to get all 748 of the series’ cars reinstated. Train doors are marked with stickers that say, “No passengers, test train.” Inside, heavy boxes sit in rail car aisles meant to simulate the weight of passengers. Metro officials have indicated testing could run about two weeks. If successful, the data will be part of a plan that transit officials will submit to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission to request reinstatement of a series that makes up about 60 percent of Metro’s fleet. When that could happen, however, isn’t known. “We haven’t put a time frame on any of this,” Metro spokeswoman Kristie Swink Benson said. “Again, it’s about safety. It’s about doing this right.” Source https://www.washingtonpost.com/transportation/2021/11/08/metro-trains-test-ntsb-investigation/

November 12 at 07:03 AM

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Surge in goods from China strains Russia's railway network

Reuters October 19, 2021 (Moscow, Russia) Explosive growth in sea shipping costs is prompting Chinese manufacturers to send more goods to Europe by rail across Russia, but the growth in demand is creating bottlenecks and straining network capacity. With countries frantically replenishing stocks and exporting finished goods as they recover from the pandemic, global sea ports are snarling up, making rail an attractive alternative. State monopoly Russian Railways said total container traffic transiting Russia jumped 40% in the first nine months of 2021 to 782,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit), and could hit a record 1 million TEU this year. "At the beginning of the year the cost of shipping goods in containers by rail between Asia and Europe was twice as low as by sea. Now it is 3.5 times (lower)," the rail company said. Most of the growth has come along the China-Russia-Europe route, where transit volumes for the first nine months rose 47% to 568,700 TEU. But transport operators and analysts say the rapid growth has exposed infrastructure problems that could limit transit flows significantly. These include shortages of staff - including managers and crane operators - and of rolling stock, said Alexey Bezborodov, head of Infraproject, a consultancy that analyses data and trends in transport and infrastructure. "No one believed in such a sharp increase in transit traffic before the pandemic, and no one was ready for it," he said. Transport and logistics group Delo told Reuters cargo flows were constrained by low capacity on the main railway lines and bottlenecks near ports and border checkpoints. Another container transport source cited bureaucratic delays and technical problems at border crossings where containers have to be transferred from one train to another because of differences in the gauge of the track. LONG-TERM PLAN The government has set a long-term plan to increase rail capacity. In 2018, President Vladimir Putin ordered it to boost container transit to 1.7 million TEU by 2024, a four-fold increase from 2017 levels. A draft transport strategy seen by Reuters sees flows rising to 3.7 million TEU by 2035, raising Russia's share in Asia-Europe cargo traffic to 15% from 4%. To achieve these goals Russian Railways is investing 200 billion roubles ($2.8 billion) from 2019 to 2024 in its "Transsib in 7 days" project, which aims to reduce cargo transit time from the eastern to western borders of the world's biggest country to a week, compared with the usual 11-14 days. This is part of a bigger project worth more than 700 billion roubles which Russian Railways and the government are financing from 2013, aimed at boosting exports of coal, metals and other commodities to Asian countries by expanding the BAM and Transsib lines that run across Siberia. This money is being spent on additional tracks needed to bypass slow-moving or oncoming trains, on building and increasing the capacity of stations and on strengthening electricity supply, the monopoly explained. In a statement in response to questions from Reuters, transport operator Delo welcomed the investments. "But for objective and subjective reasons the implementation of these measures is not carried out as quickly as we would like," a company representative said. ($1 = 71.3230 roubles) Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; additional reporting by Maria Vasilyeva; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Andrew Cawthorne Source https://www.reuters.com/business/surge-goods-china-strains-russias-railway-network-2021-10-19/

October 22 at 06:51 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 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/sep/29/expensive-winter-energy-public-ownership-green-new-deal-privatisation

September 30 at 05:30 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 https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/2167687/study-begins-on-rail-line-along-bang-na-trat-road

August 24 at 05:22 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: https://vietnamnews.vn/economy/980407/struggling-railway-operator-asks-for-345-million-interest-free-loan.html

July 15 at 04:29 AM

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Struggle to save Bulgaria's narrow-gauge railway: Baltic roller coaster

New Zealand Herald  22 November, 2021 (Bulgaria) The Rhodope Narrow-Gauge Railway would seem like an esoteric tourist attraction. Winding between 27 stations between Bulgaria and the borders of the Greek Hinterland, it is one of a kind. Rolling on narrow-gauge 760 mm, it's even a peculiarity among railways. The thin gauge allow the carriages to take narrow turns and steep mountain tracks, more like a rollercoaster than a passenger train. Or at least it would be, if it weren't in such bad need of repair. At the time it was constructed in the early 1920s the train line was a source of pride for the region. It was intended to run as far as the Aegean, connecting Bulgaria to the Mediterranean. However, as time rolled on, communism came and went, and so did many of the hardy mountain communities it served. Since the 1990s the country's main rail arteries were ripped out and replaced with the European standard of 1435 mm. With direct train links through to Turkey and Serbia, such as the Istanbul-Sofia Express, the mountain trains are a bit of an oddity. 16km of the Varvara-Pazardhik branch was closed in 2002. Now Septemvri to Dobrinishte is the last hold out of 760 mm gauge. But it is in terrible condition. There are still four passenger locomotives on the Septemvri–Dobrinishte, taking tourists and the last few hangers on to traverse the mountains. Source https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/struggle-to-save-bulgarias-narrow-gauge-railway-baltic-roller-coaster/TPBF2UW7HNBFKQCCDDBQADUFRQ/

November 23 at 06:38 AM

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Storm Arwen: Snow and falling trees disrupt West Midlands rail services

BBC  28 November 2021 Snow and high winds have caused disruption to trains, road closures and power cuts in the West Midlands. Rail services on the Cross City line from New Street to Lichfield stopped running, as trees fell on overhead power cables and blocked the line. Between Ledbury and Hereford the line was blocked, but later reopened, London Northwestern Railway said. Services between Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury were also disrupted, after a train hit a tree on the line. Birmingham New Street station tweeted that it was "sorry to passengers in the Midlands" delayed by the storm, saying gales and snow had "caused widespread problems". West Midlands Railway tweeted that it expected the Cross City line north between Lichfield Trent Valley, Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham New Street to remain closed until start of service on Sunday morning. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-59443298

November 29 at 03:48 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 https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/still-no-arrival-time-for-1-billion-plus-rail-project-8b6cbpmgr  

October 05 at 05:19 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 https://japantoday.com/category/tech/station-in-tokyo-becomes-first-in-the-city-to-install-an-inclined-elevator

September 09 at 05:57 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 https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/state-owned-namibian-rail-operator-to-cut-a-quarter-of-workforce-2021-09 -20

September 21 at 04:29 AM

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Start of final Crossrail trials in London raises hope of early 2022 opening

The Guardian   22 November 2021 (UK) Volunteer passengers will be aboard central TfL section of Elizabeth line as part of final testing phase Hopes that Crossrail will open in central London in early 2022 – this time on schedule – have been boosted as the troubled £19bn scheme moved into its final phase of testing at the weekend. The start of months of trial operations, which will involve thousands of volunteer passengers to test how the system will function, including in emergencies, was described as a “significant milestone” by Transport for London and the mayor. TfL bosses have committed to open the line in full in the first half of next year, after the former Crossrail leadership downplayed problems that escalated into vast overspending and delay from its planned 2018 launch. Initially, passengers will need to change trains between the new central underground section and the services already running from Reading in the west and Shenfield in the east, but TfL hopes that some trains could run from suburbs across the city centre by next autumn, ahead of a May 2023 deadline. Testing of the railway started in May with up to 12 trains an hour running underground. The trial operations phase will involve more than 150 exercises over three to six months to ensure that the Elizabeth line, as Crossrail will be known, is ready for full passenger service. TfL said the tests would continue until the railway was “at the highest levels of safety and reliability”, before an exact opening date would be given. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Reaching the start of trial operations is a significant milestone in the delivery of the Elizabeth line. The next few months are crucial to making sure the railway can open safely next year, and everyone is working incredibly hard to reach that goal.” Andy Byford, TfL’s commissioner, said there had been “huge progress … it is great to now enter this final stretch”. He said he believed the controversy and past problems would be forgotten once the line opened, as “a stunning addition, the jewel in the UK’s crown”. Costs will be minimised by an early opening date. Byford has pledged to deliver within the final budget specified by the outgoing board, although £275m of that money has yet to be made available from the government or Greater London Authority. Even before the pandemic, Crossrail’s opening was regarded as critical to ensure TfL’s finances could remain on budget. The line will increase total passenger capacity by 10% and expand the potential revenue for the capital, whose transport system has been heavily reliant on tube fares. The importance was underscored by fresh warnings over TfL’s precarious position before a key budget meeting on Wednesday, with London’s emergency funding deal from the government set to expire on 11 December. TfL has said it will need an extra £1.7bn until March 2023 to run services, with passenger numbers only at about 60% of pre-pandemic levels on the tube. Talks have yet to start on extending financial support from central government – and although previous deals during Covid have been agreed at the 11th hour, there are fears in London that the Treasury, which slashed planned rail spending on HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail last week, will withhold funds. TfL said the lack of confirmed funding would force it to prepare for “managed decline” of the transport network. London’s finances have been worsened, it revealed, by the success of the recently expanded ultra-low emission zone in encouraging drivers to sell polluting vehicles. Drivers of older petrol and most diesel vehicles are charged £12.50 or more daily under the clean air scheme. About 90% of vehicles are now exempt – up from 39% in February 2017 when plans for the expanded area were made public – improving air quality but reducing expected revenues by up to £600m over the next three years. Source https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/nov/22/start-of-final-crossrail-trials-in-london-raises-hope-of-early-2022-opening

November 22 at 04:16 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: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/stage-2-of-thomson-east-coast-mrt-line-to-open-on-aug-28

July 09 at 05:42 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 https://www.reuters.com/article/stadler-rail-wins-2-bln-sfr-order-from-s/stadler-rail-wins-2-bln-sfr-order-from-sbb-idUSL8N2R124P

October 06 at 05:28 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 https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/st-engineering-to-collaborate-with-lta-unit-for-overseas-rail-projects

October 13 at 07:08 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 https://english.elpais.com/elpais/2020/01/17/inenglish/1579258309_541808.html

July 30 at 08:52 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 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-thales-m-a-caf/spains-train-maker-caf-plans-a-bid-for-thaless-train-signalling-business-expansion-reports-idUSKCN2D10JY

July 23 at 07:04 AM

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Spain's Renfe plans to run high-speed trains between Paris and London

Reuters  October 27 (Madrid, Spain) Spanish state-owned railway operator Renfe said on Wednesday it plans service on the Paris-London high-speed link and has started talks with Getlink which operates the cross-Channel tunnel. Renfe said slots are available to run high-speed trains though the tunnel to compete with Eurostar, a unit of French state-owned rail operator SNCF. The monopoly enjoyed by Eurostar on transporting passengers through the tunnel linking Britain and the continent since 1994 is set the end as France is gradually opening its rail industry to competition. Some 7 million travellers boarded Eurostar trains between Paris and London in 2019, Renfe said, adding it is confident the demand, which collapsed with the pandemic, will recover in 2022 making the route “viable and profitable” for its service. In a second phase, Renfe also plans service to “new French and international destinations”, (Reporting by Corina Pons; editing by Jason Neely) Source https://www.reuters.com/article/renfe-getlink/spains-renfe-plans-to-run-high-speed-trains-between-paris-and-london-idUKL1N2RN0J0

October 28 at 06:03 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  https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/spain-high-speed-rail-network/index.html

September 08 at 10:10 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 https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-58939209

October 18 at 04:33 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 https://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/mercosur/paraguay/south-korea-and-paraguay-sign-mou-to-boost-commuter-train-project/

September 10 at 04:55 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 https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/08/18/business/top-business/south-commuter-railway-to-increase-access-to-jobs/1811391

September 09 at 05:21 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. https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/south-african-train-brings-covid-19-vaccines-closer-people-2021-09-02/

September 06 at 05:02 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 https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-business-africa-health-coronavirus-vaccine-601ac7f397fe20562505b9b1f5bc3b32

September 27 at 06:14 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 /EINPresswire.com/ -- 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 https://www.einnews.com/pr_news/549257068/smart-mobility-market-to-generate-70-46-billion-by-2027-major-companies-strategies-and-new-trends

August 22 at 08:47 AM

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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 https://www.thedailystar.net/news/bangladesh/transport/news/sirajganj-bogura-rail-link-project-br-inks-deal-indian-firm-preparatory-work-2185121

September 29 at 04:34 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 https://www.channelnewsasia.com/business/siemens-buy-rail-software-company-sqills-550-million-euro-deal-2093366

August 11 at 02:27 PM

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Siemens on track for long-range hydrogen-powered trains

Reuters   December 2, 2021 (Zurich, Germany) Hydrogen-powered trains with ranges of up to 1,000 km are being trialled by Germany's Siemens (SIEGn.DE) which sees them as a emissions free solution on routes without overhead power cables. Trains which use hydrogen to charge an onboard battery extend the range from around 100 km for battery only-trains, making them viable for long distance routes without overhead lines, Michael Peter, head of Siemens Mobility, said. "We have the tools in our hands in transportation to reduce emissions to zero, and then you cannot just talk about the cheapest operating cost," said Peter. "You have to talk about the cost of allowing CO2 into the atmosphere which is gigantic." Hydrogen-powered are also cheaper and quicker to introduce than hydrogen trucks because they do not need a broad network of fuel stations to support them, Peter said in an interview for the Reuters Next conference. Today's trains running over long distances where overhead powerlines are not present rely on diesel engines, which produce harmful emissions, including carbon dioxide. "In Europe there are 20,000 rail vehicles which could be replaced by hydrogen in the next 15 years," Peter said. "We think the future of transportation in the U.S. is by slowly electrifying," Peter added. "But 60% of the line is electrified and 40% is not." Siemens trains work with a hydrogen generator which charges an on-board electric battery that powers an electric motor. The battery is only used to deliver high peak power for fast acceleration, and reach speeds of up to 160 km per hour. The technology, which is being trialled by Siemens in Germany next year, will make a significant contribution to environmental goals, Peter said. "Around 80% of railway traffic already runs on electrified lines, that is 100% green. For the remaining 20%, mass transportation is cleaner - even if it is diesel - than an individual car," Peter said. "If we want to meet our climate targets, transport in general should strive to be 100% clean." Siemens Mobility declined to give details of the costs of the trains, although hydrogen-powered ones are usually more costly than electric-only versions. But over the long term, this can be reduced by their long lifespan, with trains that can cover 400,000 km a year for 40 years and can also be recycled. Source https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/siemens-track-long-range-hydrogen-powered-trains-2021-12-02/

December 03 at 05:20 AM

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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:   https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/siemens-lands-34-billion-hybrid-train-order-us-amtrak-2021-07-07/

July 09 at 05:38 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 https://www.wsj.com/articles/shortage-of-railroad-workers-threatens-recovery-11626953584  

July 27 at 02:22 PM

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Shanghai Electric Announces Metro Train Turnback Time Record Achieved Using TSTCBTC®2.0

TASS  1 November 2021 (Shanghai, China) Oct. 29. /PRNewswire/ Shanghai Electric (the "Company") (SEHK: 02727, SSE: 601727) announced that the record for the turnback time of metro trains has been smashed by the TSTCBTC ® 2.0 signaling system in a live demonstration carried out by THALES SEC Transport (TST), Shanghai Electric's joint venture with Thales. The new record in a verified test was 86 seconds, 26 seconds shorter than the average turnback time of trains operating on Shanghai Metro Line 5.   "Though 26 looks like a simple number, it represents a huge technological innovation in urban rail transit. The shorter turnback time allows higher frequency of train services, shorter headway, as well as increased stability and safety, making the overall metro system more energy efficient. It not only fulfills the need to increase the operational capacity of urban rail systems fueled by ever-growing passenger volumes but also marks a milestone of TST's innovation in CBTC signaling," said Liu Huiming, CTO of TST. A solution tailored to the needs of Chinese markets and users, the TST-developed TSTCBTC ® 20 is a disruption-free mobile blocking system with high operational efficiency and low cost. It can drastically boost the departure density of metro trains and help them operate at the highest speed, bringing the efficiency of metro lines to a maximum level. As the first signaling system featuring a dual CBTC (Communication Based Train Control) architecture with full redundancy ever deployed in China, TSTCBTC ® 2.0 inherits the key advantages of the SelTrac™ CBTC signal system, including true moving block, two-way ATP/ATO and the ability to provide flexible operational support, while the high availability and reliability of its unique dual CBTC architecture greatly reduces life cycle costs and facilitates maintenance. On top of applying the highest safety standards, TSTCBTC ® 2.0 eliminates the need for a traditional backup system, therefore, removing the potential safety risks posed by the switchover between the different systems. Certified by Bureau Veritas and TÜV SÜD and China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), the system has also received the China Urban Rail Certification, making it the first certified CBTC product in China. The high stability and efficiency of TSTCBTC ® 2.0 have been tested and proven in the operation of Shanghai Metro Line 5. Since it was commissioned as a new signalling system for the metro line in 2018, it has helped the trains of Shanghai Metro Line 5 achieve Grade-of-Automation 3 (GoA3) with zero operational interruption. Liu Huiming said in the demonstration that the new record means that the CBTC signal system and the "resource-centric" RET technology have become two crucial breakthrough points when it comes to upgrading and transforming transportation capacity. Building upon the groundbreaking achievements in the development of urban rail transport, Shanghai Electric will continue to make audacious moves to explore the applications of smart trains as well as the next-gen "resource-centric" signal system in an effort to boost the safety and efficiency of urban rail transit. Shanghai Electric is committed to becoming a pioneer in China's urban rail CBTC signal system, providing world-leading solutions to improve urban mobility. About Shanghai Electric Shanghai Electric Group Company Limited (SEHK: 2727, SSE: 601727) is principally engaged in the design, manufacture and sale of power equipment and industrial equipment. It focuses on new energy business, including the manufacture and sale of wind turbines and components as well as nuclear power equipment; clean energy business, including the manufacture and sale of thermal power equipment, power transmission and distribution equipment; industrial equipment, including the production and sale of elevators and electric motors; and modern service industry, including the contracting of construction of power generation plants, power transmission and distribution projects as well as other businesses. Source https://tass.com/press-releases/1356407

November 05 at 06:40 AM

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Several injured in knife attack on German train

Reuters  November 6, 2021 (Frankfurt, Germany) Several people were injured in a knife attack on an express train between the south German cities of Regensburg and Nuremberg on Saturday and a male suspect has been arrested, police said. "There has been an attack on an ICE (Intercity-Express) train and police shortly afterwards arrested a male person, and several people were injured," a spokesman for the Oberpfalz police authority said. The online edition of the daily Bild said earlier that three people were injured on the train. There was no evidence that other attackers were at large, the police spokesman said. Police said the attack happened around 0800 GMT in the district of Neumarkt and the train was stationary at Seubersdorf southeast of Regensburg. Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Gareth Jones and Giles Elgood   Source https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/three-injured-knife-attack-german-train-2021-11-06/

November 09 at 06:39 AM

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Section in Henan of Zhengzhou-Jinan high-speed railway undergoes final check

Global Times  November 16, 2021 (China) Staff members inspect a section of Zhengzhou-Jinan high-speed railway, in central China's Henan Province, Nov. 15, 2021. The Zhengzhou-Puyang section in Henan Province of Zhengzhou-Jinan high-speed railway are undergoing the final check and acceptance Source  https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202111/1239044.shtml

November 16 at 09:21 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 https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/oct/05/scotrail-engineers-plan-strikes-during-glasgow-climate-summit

October 06 at 05:03 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: https://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/sao-paulo/life-sao-paulo/sao-paulo-guarulhos-gets-a-monorail-to-connect-the-airport-with-metro-network/

August 12 at 05:55 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 https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2021/09/20/saudi-minister-saudi-arabia-keen-to-invest-more-in-bangladesh

September 22 at 05:15 AM

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Salisbury train crash: Service ran through red light after wheel slip

BBC  03 November 2021 (UK) Investigators say "low adhesion" between the track and train wheels was the most likely cause of the crash between two trains in Salisbury. The trains collided on the approach to a tunnel near Salisbury station at about 18:45 GMT on Sunday. One of the drivers is believed to have suffered "life-changing" injuries. Investigators say the GWR train was "protected by a red signal" before being hit by a South Western train. Andrew Hall, from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, said the South Western train was "required to stop" but "it did not stop". Initial evidence was that the driver did attempt to brake at a red signal before the train suffered "wheel slide". "Unfortunately, it did not stop and struck the side of the Great Western train at an angle such that both trains derailed and ran alongside each other into the tunnel. "We are continuing to pursue this as a line of investigation amongst others," he added. The Rail Delivery Group said low adhesion can be caused by "moisture on the rail mixing with the film produced by 'leaves on the line' or other contaminants, such as rust or grease." They add the problem can be worse in autumn and that "it can also cause safety risks, such as signals passed at danger and station overruns". Mr Hall said the initial results of the investigation would be made public later in the week. The crash has caused major disruption, with lines through the city expected to remain closed until at least the end of Monday. Of the 92 passengers on board the two trains, 14 required hospital treatment for minor injuries. The South Western Railway (SWR) train was running from London to Honiton, Devon, while the Great Western Railway (GWR) service was travelling from from Southampton to Cardiff as they both collided at Fisherton Tunnel. Both trains had passed a Y-shaped junction, close to the entrance of the tunnel, before the collision. Martin Frobisher, Network Rail's safety and engineering director, said: "Sunday's accident was incredibly frightening for everyone involved and our thoughts are with everyone injured or affected in any way. "Initial findings suggest that low adhesion played a key part in causing the collision. "It's an issue that affects railways across the world and is something that we, and our train operator colleagues, work hard to combat - so that we can run trains safely and reliably throughout autumn, and why incidents such as the one in Salisbury at the weekend are incredibly rare." Transport minister Chris Heaton-Harris paid tribute to those injured in the crash. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-wiltshire-59130769

November 05 at 06:31 AM

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Salisbury train crash: Major incident as two trains collide

BBC  01 November 2021 (UK) A major incident has been declared after two trains collided in Salisbury, leaving several people injured. The collision happened near London Road and involved a South Western Railway and a Great Western service. A train driver, who was trapped, was treated by paramedics. In total, 17 people were taken to hospital. The crash happened at 18:46 GMT when one train hit an object in a tunnel, and the second train then collided with it due to signalling problems. Angela Mattingly, who was on the train, said: "Everything went black and there were red flashes and everything. "There was suddenly a lot of jostling, possessions being thrown around and I think a few people went forward and hit their heads. You just don't know for a couple of seconds what's happening. "People started to panic but nobody was seriously injured." Lucy Gregory added: "We were just pulling into Salisbury station and the train felt a bit juddery. "I'd just stood up and put my coat on and my phone in my pocket when there was this massive impact and I fell across the table. "The table came off the wall and I ended up underneath another table. They smashed the windows and we got out of the window. It was really scary." Corinna Anderson, 51, from Derby, was on the train from London Waterloo to Salisbury, where she was due to visit a friend. She said: "I was thrown against the wall and there was a massive rumbling. "The first thing I was worried about was is anybody hurt. I'm a trained first aider, so I wanted to help. "There was a lady in the carriage I was in and she was thrown off her seat and into the wall by the door. "I did hear and see that on the Temple Meads train there was a three-week-old baby that was rescued off the train by the fire service and thankfully she is doing ok. "As I climbed off my train I saw the fireman cradling the baby in his arms and then I saw the mother get given the baby and they were escorted away for medical attention." Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-59114569

November 01 at 06:04 AM

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Salisbury train crash: Driver suffers 'life-changing injuries'

BBC  02 November, 2021 (UK) The driver of one of two trains involved in a crash has suffered injuries believed to be "life-changing", police have said. Passengers described being thrown from their seats when the Great Western and South Western Railway services crashed in Salisbury on Sunday evening. Thirteen people were taken to hospital with minor injures, while a passenger said a three-week-old baby was rescued. The injured driver remains in hospital, along with one other person. Rail services continue to be disrupted, with more cancellations going ahead in the next few days. The crash involved the Great Western Railway (GWR) service from Southampton to Cardiff and the South Western Railway (SWR) train running from London to Honiton, Devon, British Transport Police (BTP) said. It happened as the trains entered the Fisherton Tunnel, close to London Road, at 18:46 GMT as many families were out trick or treating nearby. The trains were travelling in the same direction on different tracks but collided at a Y-shaped junction approaching the tunnel, with one hitting the side of the other causing it to derail, BTP said. A carriage was initially thought to have derailed after hitting something, and the second train then crashed into it, but Supt Lisa Garrett, of BTP, told a press conference "there was nothing to suggest" the train had struck an object. Passengers: 'A lot of people were looking out for our safety' She said of the 92 passengers on board the two trains, 30 people attended a casualty centre set up in a nearby church, with the majority "walking wounded". Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-wiltshire-59116800

November 08 at 06:58 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 https://www.washingtonpost.com/transportation/2021/07/26/potomac-yard-metro-construction-alexandria/

July 29 at 06:38 AM

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Safety investigators warn questions remain over $40b rail corporation

The Sydney Morning Herald  November 18, 2021 (Australia) (About $40 billion of rail assets including trains are owned by the government’s Transport Asset Holding Entity.) Transport investigators have warned that questions remain over what will happen if conflicts arise between Sydney Trains and the state’s controversial rail corporation at the centre of concerns over safety. A review of the Transport Asset Holding Entity underscores the delays in finalising measures to manage risk more than a year after the corporation took ownership of $40 billion worth of the state’s trains, tracks and other assets. The Office of Transport Safety Investigations also said it was unclear whether TAHE’s operating licence and other arrangements “will stand up to scrutiny in the event of a major incident”. The release of OTSI’s two-month review comes three days after former NSW Transport chief Rodd Staples warned of potential safety risks posed by TAHE to the state’s railways in the medium to long term. Mr Staples told an inquiry into TAHE that the for-profit corporation could present safety risks in the coming years because of potential conflicts over how much is spent on rail assets, such as a new signalling system, versus money invested in property developments which offered higher returns. While “preliminary indications” were that it should have the desired effect, OTSI said the framework for managing rail assets vested in TAHE had “not yet been fully developed and implemented, making it difficult to understand how well it will deliver in practice on what was intended”. “The review demonstrates that more time is needed to implement and test the framework,” it said. “Questions remain as to what happens if conflicts arise between TAHE and [Transport for NSW], or TAHE and transport operators and how they will be managed.” It has listed a range of “issues to watch” including how competing priorities are managed, the effectiveness of governance systems when conflicts arise, and tensions over when to replace rail assets. OTSI chief investigator Natalie Pelham said the mitigation measures had reduced potential risks, but questions remained about how the new framework would work in practice. “A lot of these are still under development or not fully implemented, so they need to test how these will work in practice,” she said. “They have carved TAHE out of accountability for rail operations and that is important because that is where the risk is.” Investigators will carry out another review of TAHE about six months before its two-year operating licence expires in July 2023. Transport Minister Rob Stokes said the people who looked after safety before the establishment of TAHE were the same people still looking after it. “We have added an extra layer of assurance and Transport for NSW is still required to meet safety standards set by the national regulator,” he said. But Labor finance spokesman Daniel Mookhey said OTSI’s findings endorsed Mr Staples’ fears about the dangers that the TAHE model poses to rail safety. “The risk is that in a worst-case scenario, the confusion about who is responsible for what leads to another tragedy like Waterfall,” he said. “TAHE is no startup – it’s had more than five years to prove it can run the state’s assets safely.” TAHE chief executive Benedicte Colin said the entity’s new operating licence was “very clear on accountabilities” and its agreements with the rail operators made it “absolutely clear that safety is our number-one priority”. Ms Colin said she would have asked the same questions as Mr Staples during the development of TAHE, but insisted that she was “extremely comfortable” with the safety measures now in place. TAHE’s operating agreements with Sydney Trains and NSW Trains came into effect in July, after it was granted a one-year transition period. The  Herald  has previously reported that senior transport officials feared the creation of TAHE could repeat the 1990s carve-up of NSW railways and the resulting gaps in safety and investment accountabilities, key factors in the 1999 Glenbrook and 2003 Waterfall rail disasters Emails tabled at the inquiry have also revealed conflict between Treasury and Transport for NSW over who would have responsibility for maintenance in the months after TAHE was fully established in July last year. After a meeting with Treasury and TAHE executives in September last year, then KPMG partner Brendan Lyon warned several colleagues “Treasury are dangerously unclear about maintenance”. Source https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/safety-investigators-warn-questions-remain-over-40b-rail-corporation-20211117-p599p3.html

November 19 at 05:44 AM

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RZD-REC ‘Agro Express’ Train Departs Russian Federation for Uzbekistan

Sputnik News  17 November, 2021 (Russia) First Agro Express, an accelerated container train service for the swift shipments of agro-industrial goods between Russia and Uzbekistan, departed Russia on Monday, with a return run expected in late November, Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov said at the Russia-Uzbekistan Interregional Cooperation Forum.   “On Monday, the first batch of products left for Uzbekistan; we expect a return trip with fresh fruit by the end of November,” Reshetnikov said. He noted that the main task of the project is to increase rail freight turnover between the countries to 1 million tonnes by 2030. Reshetnikov recalled that the Agro Express project is implemented by the Russian Export Centre JSC jointly with JSC Russian Railways Logistics, and integrates the railways of Uzbekistan, Russia, and Kazakhstan.   “This project covers not only the development of agricultural enterprises in our countries but also specific territories,” Reshetnikov added. According to him, a route is created at the governmental level and all the procedures are worked out. Next, regions of both countries will have opportunities to build logistics, distribution centres, to involve the maximum chain of suppliers and to build up volumes.   In turn, Russian Railways said on Wednesday that JSC Russian Railways Logistics jointly with REC sent by Agro Express train from Tambov to Tashkent frozen poultry meat produced by Resource Group of Companies, one of the largest Russian exporters of the agro-industrial complex. The cargo will travel in refrigerated containers on a freight train from Tsna railway station (South Eastern Railway) to Sergeli station (JSC Uzbekistan Temir Yullari), transiting through Kazakhstan.   “Plans are to work out the technology and cut down on formalities during the test delivery. In the future, the participants expect to reach regular traffic on this route,” the press release stated.   Agro Express, a special-purpose container train service of RZD Logistics and REC for the swift delivery of agro-industrial goods to China, Turkey and CIS countries. The service is constantly being improved by expanding the list of routes and applying modern transportation solutions, using refrigerated containers and flexitanks. In June, RZD Logistics, the Russian Export Centre and Uzbekistan's agro-logistics operator Uzagrologistics Centers have signed an agreement to implement this service. Transportation of goods according to the “green corridor” principle ensures a maximum delivery time of no more than five days for products from Uzbekistan to the Russian Federation.   “This is the sixth route of the Agro Express project, which operates according to the ‘green corridor’ principle and shortens the delivery time for agricultural products. Regular 'Agro Express' trains now deliver agribusiness products of Russian exporters from Moscow and Russian regions to major Chinese cities, as well as from Moscow to Vladivostok and on to ports in China, Japan, and South Korea,” REC Chief Executive Veronika Nikishina said.   Source https://sputniknews.com/20211117/rzd-rec-agro-express-train-departs-russian-federation-for-uzbekistan-1090807137.html

November 18 at 06:19 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: https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2021/06/10/russian-prisoners-to-build-siberian-railway-line-a74186

July 09 at 05:43 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: https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2021/03/08/russias-first-female-train-driver-gets-behind-the-wheel-a73159

July 09 at 07:33 AM

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Russia should use its potential to lay railways in Africa — Afreximbank president

TASS  October 27, 2021 (Moscow) Professor Benedict Oramah also noted Russian companies' great potential in mining, information technologies, medicine and industry Russian companies have a number of advantages over their competitors in Africa in a number of fields, such as the construction of railways, the President of Afreximbank, Professor Benedict Oramah told TASS in an interview. "There is quite a number of areas where we believe Russians have capacities and, we believe, comparative advantage. Let me take the railway network. Russian Railways is a solid company with long experience in rail construction. Africa because of the AfCFTA is building its railway network. Sometimes it is difficult to understand why the Russians are not taking advantage of it? Because today you have the Chinese, you have the Americans, you have the Germans who are in all these projects…That is a very, very promising area," Oramah said. He sees Russian companies' great potential in mining, information technologies and medicine. Vast opportunities exist in industry as well. Oramah said Africa in the near future would be moving towards value addition and this will require investments in processing facilities. "The era of commodities is disappearing. Everywhere you go engineering services are required, Africa is building its infrastructure. It is very much behind and it’s trying to catch up," Oramah said. In this connection, he stressed, Russian businesses may enjoy the benefits of the Russian industrial zone the Russian Export Center is creating on the Suez Canal in Egypt. It is a special territory with lax taxation for Russian resident enterprises, which will be entitled to preferential lease terms and tariffs and sites ready for operation. Goodwill and new relations of partnership Oramah said one of Russia's major advantages was goodwill. He remarked that even young people in Africa knew how Russia helped African people fight for independence. "So an emotional link is there," he said. "You have the political will demonstrated through the actions of HE Vladimir Putin. And of course, our relationship that EXIAR (the Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance - TASS) has with Afreximbank. Afreximbank is a key player on the African market. That's a big advantage for Russia," Oramah stressed. The full text of the interview is available at: https://tass.com/economy/1354969 Source https://tass.com/economy/1354921

November 01 at 06:25 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 https://www.globalbankingandfinance.com/rolling-stocks-market-is-anticipated-to-grow-at-a-steady-growth-rate-over-the-forecast-period-key-players-hebei-huaxunaturesuppliesdouglashebei-kanlong/

September 24 at 06:06 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 https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/road-and-rail-noise-linked-to-dementia-bn0hml38b

September 16 at 04:52 AM

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RIPTA gets $900,000 grant to help develop transit corridor

AP  21 November 2021 (Providence, Rhode Island,US) The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority is getting a $900,000 federal boost to develop plans for a high-capacity transit corridor to connect Central Falls to Warwick via Providence, according to the state’s congressional delegation. The corridor was one of five goals included in RIPTA’s Transit Master Plan for the next 20 years. The planning grant could enable RIPTA to complete the preliminary work needed to eventually bring a bus rapid transit or light rail project to the region. The $900,000 planning grant is made available through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity grant program, for capital investments in surface transportation that will have a significant impact or that directly benefit areas of persistent poverty. The state’s congressional delegation and RIPTA CEO Scott Avedisian have scheduled a news conference for Monday at the agency’s Chafee Transportation Center in Providence to discuss the study and its potential impacts. Source https://apnews.com/article/business-rhode-island-providence-transportation-congress-7089da2e00e60d5c726d08f5ca7a626c

November 22 at 04:10 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 https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211002005001/en/Rio-Tinto%E2%80%99s-iron-ore-rail-cars-to-be-built-in-WA-to-boost-local-jobs

October 04 at 05:56 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 https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/09/11/news/watch-right-on-track-for-mrt7/1814363

September 15 at 05:03 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 https://www.timeslive.co.za/sunday-times-daily/news/2021-08-15-riding-high-prasas-useless-engines-find-new-purpose-up-north/

August 27 at 07:29 AM

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Revival of rail travel a potential weapon to combat climate change

Irish Times  November 11, 2021 (UK) Italian example shows how investment in rail can drastically cut traffic on air routes In the 19th century, rail travel rapidly supplanted most other forms of transport. Could it be about to do so again? With all eyes on Glasgow and the Cop26 summit, British chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a tone-deaf budget that slashed tax on domestic flights and declined to fund an eastern leg of the already beleaguered High Speed 2 train line. Sunak’s decision to incentivise air travel over rail is all the more confusing when contrasted with the experience of another European nation of similar size, population and geography. Last month, Italy’s former flag carrier Alitalia made its last flight. Having struggled for a decade, Alitalia was eventually renationalised and liquidated during the pandemic. Although various factors are responsible, one leaps out: the rise of high-speed rail. In 2008, Italy’s high-speed trains carried 6.5 million passengers. By 2018, they carried 40 million. Government investment in rail infrastructure has been vital to this, but so too has market liberalisation. Private operator Italo now competes with government-owned Trenitalia, and prices have become competitive with low-cost airlines. Passengers travelling from Rome to Milan now make the journey by rail 80 per cent of the time, compared with 36 per cent in 2008; flights account for just 14 per cent of journeys on the route, down from 50 per cent. Remarkably, this could be the second time that rail has supplanted another established mode of transport. In the 18th century, rapid industrialisation created demand for new modes of transport that could cope with large amounts of materials and goods. In 1731, work began on canals to link the Tyrone coalfields to the Irish Sea and to Dublin, so that local collieries could compete financially with imported British coal. The Grand Canal (completed in 1804) and Royal Canal (1817) linked Dublin with the Shannon. By 1820, Ireland’s major industrial and commercial centres were connected to each other and to the sea by a network of inland waterways. Source https://www.irishtimes.com/news/science/revival-of-rail-travel-a-potential-weapon-to-combat-climate-change-1.4718229

November 12 at 06:38 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 https://www.reuters.com/business/retail-consumer/reuters-impact-tesco-lets-uk-spain-train-take-strain-counter-trucker-crisis-2021-09-29/

September 30 at 05:13 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. https://www.afr.com/companies/infrastructure/reject-unsolicited-transport-projects-says-grattan-institute-20210513-p57ril

July 16 at 11:52 AM

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Regulators seek to suspend Trump rule on railway natural gas

The Seattle Times  November 16, 2021 (Omaha, Nebraska, US) Federal regulators have proposed suspending a Trump administration rule that would have allowed railroads to haul liquefied natural gas while they take a closer look at the potential safety risks. The rule, which was backed by both the natural gas and freight rail industries, had already been on hold because several environmental groups and 14 states filed lawsuits challenging it. The federal Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said the uncertainty about the rule also kept companies from investing in the specialized rail tank cars that were required, so railroads haven’t actually handled any shipments of the flammable and odorless liquid known as LNG since the rule was issued last summer. The rule would have required enhancements — including a thicker outer tank made of steel with a greater puncture resistance — to the approved tank car design that, for decades, has been approved for shipments of other flammable cryogenic materials, such as liquid ethylene and liquid ethane. But in their lawsuit, environmental groups argued that those new railcars, which have yet to be built, were untested and might not withstand high-speed impacts, increasing the threat of an explosive train derailment along rail lines that cross directly through the heart of most cities. “We don’t believe that LNG by rail should have ever been authorized in the first place, so we look forward to the authorization being suspended,” said Bradley Marshall, who is a senior attorney with Earthjustice which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the environmental groups. A spokesman for California Attorney General Rob Bonta also praised the Biden administration’s decision to suspend the rule. Bonta’s office said he would continue the challenge to the rule started by his predecessor because he believes “this rule is unlawful” and regulators didn’t properly evaluate all the environmental risks. Besides California, the other states that challenged the rule included Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Washington D.C. was also part of the lawsuit. The lawsuits have all been put on hold while federal regulators review the rule, which could take until the summer of 2024. Before this rule was issued last summer, federal hazardous materials regulations allowed shipments of LNG by truck, but not by rail, except with a special permit. The move to abandon the rule allowing LNG shipments by rail comes as natural gas prices and exports are surging in the United States. And ongoing court and regulatory battles have slowed development of pipelines that would help deliver the nation’s world-leading gas production to markets. The long-term growth in LNG exports has continued to set records, according to the latest federal figures. U.S. LNG exports averaged 9.6 billion cubic feet per day during the first six months of this year as the economy continued to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. A spokeswoman for the Association of American Railroads trade group defended the rail industry’s safety track record and said railroads would be able to handle LNG shipments if given the opportunity. “Railroads continue to be the safest way to move hazardous materials over land with 99.99% of all hazmat shipment arriving at their destination without incident,” said Jessica Kahanek with the railroad group. “The rail industry remains confident that DOT’s ongoing research will affirm that with the right precautions rail is a responsible transportation solution for moving LNG if their customers request it.” One of the industrial backers of the idea of shipping LNG by rail included a proposed project from a subsidiary of New Fortress Energy that wanted to use rail to haul LNG from northern Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale natural gas fields to a yet-to-be-built storage terminal at a former explosives plant in New Jersey, along the Delaware River near Philadelphia. The Trump administration had issued a special permit to that project in 2019. If it were built, most of that LNG was expected to be exported to foreign markets for electricity production. Source https://www.seattletimes.com/business/regulators-seek-to-suspend-trump-rule-on-railway-natural-gas/

November 17 at 06:18 AM

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Red wall commuters to get rail revolution

The Times  November 14, 2021 (UK) High-speed lines and upgrades will cut journey times between cities in the Midlands and the north in ‘levelling up’ Nearly £100 billion will be spent on England’s railways outside London, including the construction of three new high-speed lines that will cut journey times in half. The investment, due to be announced later this week, is intended to make good on Boris Johnson’s “levelling-up” pledge — despite confirmation that the 120-mile eastern leg of HS2 from Birmingham to Leeds will be scrapped. Rather than focusing on quicker links from northern England to the capital, a 20-year programme of new lines and upgrades will halve journey times between cities such as Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield. Source https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/red-wall-commuters-to-get-rail-revolution-qd3nqjcb9

November 16 at 09:43 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 https://www.thehindu.com/business/ravin-group-bags-50-cr-railways-order-to-supply-fire-survival-cables/article36865927.ece

October 07 at 05:33 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 http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/opinion/2021/07/137_312184.html

September 09 at 05:43 AM

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Railways U-turn highlights Westminster’s contempt for the north

The Guardian  23 November 2021 (UK) ‘However prosperous cities such as Leeds [pictured], Manchester and Liverpool become, it seems that, for some policymakers at least, it’s grim up north.’   People in the north of England have every right to feel angry about the railways (Labour attacks ‘Whitehall power grab over Northern rail policy’, 19 November). Here in Oxford there has been a welcome but embarrassing level of investment in the railways, and more is planned. In 2015, the brand new Oxford Parkway station was opened just outside the city, on a new route to central London using mainly existing lines. The track infrastructure around Oxford railway station itself has seen significant investment recently, and last week I attended a briefing on a planned expansion to make the station “fit for a world-class city”. According to Network Rail, the station is almost at full capacity and needs to be increased in size to accommodate planned new services. Yet the through platforms at Manchester Piccadilly were at capacity for years, with dangerous overcrowding. Here we have world-class manufacturing, but then so does the north of England. And we have excellent academic and research facilities, but so do the cities in the northern powerhouse corridor. So what’s the difference? Snobbery. Down here, we are seen as posh. But however prosperous cities such as Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool become, it seems that, for some policymakers at least, it’s grim up north. Tim Treuherz Oxford Binning plans for the Northern Powerhouse Rail line between Leeds and Manchester and, in the process, sidelining transport for the north, highlights yet again the contempt that Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and their colleagues have for the people of the north of England and their political leaders. They are able to treat the north in this way because the region has little real political or financial power. In this sense, current forms of devolution to the north’s sub-regions – in the shape of elected mayors, for instance – simply don’t cut it. Had the north (the north-east, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the north-west) had its own regional government – as part of a Britain reformed as a modern federal state – then other options could have come into play. With the high levels of financial autonomy and control typically associated with regional states, the north could have waved the proverbial two fingers to the Westminster government and opted to fund the rail line itself. Until the north has the autonomy and control that a federal state would provide, the idea of “levelling up” will remain a joke. Prof Jeffrey Henderson Hannah Mitchell Foundation  Your report on the cancellation of the eastern leg of HS2 and the new line between Leeds and Manchester (‘A betrayal of the north’: Tory MPs frustrated at downgraded rail plan, 18 November) makes reference to a Treasury source expressing “surprise at how badly the announcement had been received”. In that one metropolitan utterance lies the most compelling case yet for moving the Treasury to Sheffield, Leeds or Bradford. Were that to happen, the north would suddenly find itself with more cash than it knew what to do with. Glyn Turton Emeritus professor,  University of Chester  For some months I have tried to work out the meaning of “northern powerhouse”. I think I now understand – it’s a typical Guardian misprint. It should be “northern poorhouse”. Lyn Summers Lancaster Source https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/nov/23/railways-u-turn-highlights-westminsters-contempt-for-the-north

November 24 at 06:30 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 https://vietnamnews.vn/economy/1003619/railways-promote-development-of-logistics-services.html

August 26 at 05:54 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 https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/transportation/railways/railways-liable-to-compensate-for-late-arrival-of-trains-unless-proved-delay-beyond-control-sc/articleshow/86043670.cms

September 10 at 05:39 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 https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/development/2021/10/08/bangladesh-railway-west-zone-to-get-40-new-locomotive-engines

October 11 at 08:24 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: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/railway-trackman-fatally-hit-by-train/article34824421.ece

July 09 at 07:29 AM

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Railway to connect Laos to China, world

Manila Times  October 13, 2021 (Vientiane,Laos) The sunshine in October is still burning in a railing base in the northern outskirts of Lao capital Vientiane, but what Sida Phengphongsawanh, a trainee for China-Laos railway train driver, cares for is the jingle of the train maintenance which sounds like music. The crisp sound in the China Railway No. 2 Engineering Group (CREC-2) of the China-Laos railway seems to celebrate her for one more step closer to fulfilling her wish. The 22-year-old looks gentle while holding a determined "steel locomotive dream": being a train driver. To this end, as soon as she heard that the China-Laos railway was to be built, she thought about working on it in the future. The China-Laos Railway, which connects Kunming in China's Yunnan Province with Lao capital Vientiane, is the first railway project built with Chinese investment, jointly operated by China and Laos and directly connected to China's railway network. As the project enters the completion acceptance phase, Sida is getting more and more excited and earnest. "I heard about the Laos-China railway for the first time in 2015. In 2016, I went to Kunming to study the knowledge of railways. After returning home, I went straight to the Laos-China Railway Co. Ltd. to apply for a position. I hope to be an excellent female driver on the Laos-China railway," Sida told Xinhua recently. Source https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/10/13/business/foreign-business/railway-to-connect-laos-to-china-world/1818180

October 20 at 04:51 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 https://www.thedailystar.net/news/bangladesh/transport/news/railway-runs-rundown-engines-2160041

August 25 at 07:22 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 https://vietnamnews.vn/economy/1030734/railway-revenue-hits-all-time-low-in-august.html

September 15 at 04:59 AM

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Railway plan delays efforts to create bike trail in Maine

AP  October 22, 2021 (Portland, Maine) An agreement with the Maine Department of Transportation and a railway company could delay community efforts to create a multi-purpose trail between a 25-mile stretch of railroad connecting Portland and Auburn. The state wants to extend an abandonment agreement it has with the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad to use the railroad line for transportation. The stretch of track is a key location that is in a plan to link cities and towns in part of a loop-like trail, The Portland Press Herald reported. Richard Woodbury, a leader with the Casco Bay Trail Alliance, said the Maine DOT allowed permissions for the bike trail to move forward. But Transportation Commissioner Bruce Van Note said the department has to keep future options for the land open, including potentially extending an abandoned agreement. Source https://apnews.com/article/business-lifestyle-maine-portland-transportation-320fe5459f81efd988455710b3052719

October 25 at 05:10 AM

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Railway goods transport between Vietnam, China surges

Vietnam Plus  November 15, 2021 (Hanoi, Vietnam) The total volume of goods traded between Vietnam and China going through the two border-gate railway stations of Lao Cai and Dong Dang reached more than 838,000 tonnes in the first nine months of 2021, up 43 percent year-on-year, according to statistics of the Vietnam Railways Corporation (VNR). The total volume of goods traded between Vietnam and China going through the two border-gate railway stations of Lao Cai and Dong Dang reached more than 838,000 tonnes in the first nine months of 2021, up 43 percent year-on-year, according to statistics of the Vietnam Railways Corporation (VNR). In the third quarter, although the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in many provinces and cities, affecting the volume of domestic freight transported on the North - South railway route, the volume of goods transported by rail between Vietnam and China reached more than 258,000 tonnes, a rise of more than 57 percent against that of the same period in 2020. Pham Duc Khai, head of Dong Dang Railway Station in the northern border province of  Lang Son , said that despite the complicated situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, freight trains run normally between Vietnam and  China , so the volume of international freight imported and exported through  Dong Dang  station reached more than 400,000 tonnes in the first ten months of 2021. Dieu Khac Minh, an official at Lao Cai station in the northern border province of Lao Cai, stated that the average volume of goods transported by railway between  Vietnam  and China is about 650,000 to 700,000 tonnes each year. During January-October this year, the station’s freight volume rose by 17 percent year-on-year. The growth was attributed to close coordination between Vietnamese and Chinese railways, Minh stressed. Vietnam Railways is working with Kunming Railways of China in order to increase the railway market share, and handle about 1 million tonnes of import and export goods a year between the two sides through Lao Cai station. Nguyen Hoang Thanh, Deputy General Director of Railway Transport and Trading Joint Stock Company (Ratraco), stressed the need to invest in infrastructure in order to achieve good growth in international railway goods transport./. Source https://en.vietnamplus.vn/railway-goods-transport-between-vietnam-china-surges/215495.vnp

November 16 at 09:32 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: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-57934140

July 25 at 05:39 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 https://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/mercosur/argentina/railway-corridor-linking-chile-argentina-bolivia-and-brazil-proposed/

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 https://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/mercosur/argentina/railway-corridor-linking-chile-argentina-bolivia-and-brazil-proposed/

September 15 at 05:30 AM

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Railway construction puts 7,000-year-old hill at risk: MP

Tehran Times  November 2, 2021 (Iran) Damghan’s Tepe Hesar, a 7,000-year-old archaeological hill in northcentral Iran, is on the verge of destruction due to the passage of the railway through it, an Iranian parliamentarian has said.  One of the oldest civilizations of Iran, Tepe Hesar, exhibits urbanization, but the railway runs through the heart of this complex, Ali Akbar Alizadeh, who represents Damghan city in Majlis, said on Tuesday, IRNA reported. Plans have been made for the relocation of the railway, but a final decision and a decisive order from the President is needed, he said.  Among the main demands of the people of Damghan and all history lovers is the preservation of this ancient hill, and it is hoped that the government will prevent further destruction of this valuable historical complex as soon as possible, the MP added.  Situated on the southern outskirts of Damghan, Tepe Hesar is one of the world’s five archaeological hills of the Iron Age, and the hill is also considered as of the oldest prehistorical sites in the Iranian plateau. Identified in 1880, Tepe Hesar was excavated in 1925 and 1931-1932 when the construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway cuts through the main mound. It was one of the first Chalcolithic and Bronze Age excavations in this area, and the stratigraphy has been very important to date similar sites. In 1976, research was briefly resumed and radiocarbon measures were taken. The oldest layer, Hesar I, belongs to the Copper Age (Chalcolithicum; after 3800 BC); it is about as old as Susa and resembles Sialk III, by which it appears to have been influenced, according to livius.org, a website on ancient history written and maintained since 1996 by the Dutch historian Jona Lendering. Hesar II, which starts in about 3600 BC, is marked by the appearance of burnished grey pottery and the first objects made of bronze. Among the finds are long-shaped bottles. The next phase, Hesar III, began in about 2800 BC and saw nice metal work and grey pottery similar to Turan Tepe, which is on the other side of the Alborz mountain range. Some three centuries later, when Hesar IIIb ended, a part of the town was violently destroyed. The ruin that is now known as the "Burnt Building", situated in the western part of the hill, is the most recognizable remainder of this catastrophe. Archaeologists have found stone arrowheads and charred battle victims. After this period, the site was abandoned and there was a hiatus for about five or six centuries. After about 1350 BC, people returned and settled on smaller mounds in the neighborhood of the ancient mound. If the main hill was occupied, those recent layers have eroded. ABU/AFM  Source https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/466603/Railway-construction-puts-7-000-year-old-hill-at-risk-MP

November 03 at 07:39 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 https://www.wsj.com/articles/railroads-brace-as-regulator-signals-willingness-to-take-on-industry-11630584002

September 08 at 04:31 AM

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Rail-Yard Congestion Holds Down Shipping Volumes

The Wall Street Journal  October 21, 2021 (US) CSX and Union Pacific say higher prices are helping revenue, but shortages of workers and equipment have them turning down business The chief executives at CSX Corp. and Union Pacific Corp. say a lack of truck drivers, equipment and warehouse workers are causing congestion in their yards, forcing the railroad operators to turn down some business during a time of high demand for shipping companies. The railroads are also facing issues within their own operations, from damaged bridges to difficulty hiring conductors, that they say are hampering them from transporting more goods. Source https://www.wsj.com/articles/rail-yard-congestion-holds-down-shipping-volumes-11634843056

October 22 at 06:32 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 https://www.thestatesman.com/india/rail-road-waterway-links-bdesh-tripura-cm-1502994947.html

August 19 at 08:08 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: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/aug/23/rail-workers-threaten-to-strike-over-legionella-toilet-outbreak 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 https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/aug/23/rail-workers-threaten-to-strike-over-legionella-toilet-outbreak

September 07 at 04:57 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 https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/rail-union-suspends-planned-london-strikes-after-talks-2021-08-20/

August 24 at 04:40 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. https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/uks-northern-rails-self-service-ticket-machines-hit-by-ransomware-cyber-attack-2021-07-19/

July 20 at 05:17 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 https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/rail-safety-week-train-driver-recounts-close-calls-at-level-crossings/4QXLT5NMMKYYLXQRAS7PYHPVTM/

August 12 at 08:17 AM

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Rail investment is only a priority for the elites

The Times  November 26 2021 (UK) Last month, I spoke at a business breakfast in Manchester discussing all sorts of economic and social issues faced by the government. The room was full of business people and civic leaders, and they had mostly had a nightmare journey. The trains from York to Manchester had been delayed. They weren’t sure how to get back. Northern transport was a mess. For the business community — dare I say it, the elite — trains matter. There is no dominant city outside London, so travel between the cities is important. This chimes with London's own views - trains and the tube network are the most important way to getting into and around the city. Source  https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rail-investment-is-only-a-priority-for-the-elites-m3wqm8lh0

November 26 at 06:09 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 https://www.bbc.com/news/business-58502589

September 16 at 06:09 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 https://www.afr.com/companies/infrastructure/rail-freight-should-be-front-of-the-queue-for-vaccines-20210908-p58psg

October 08 at 05:31 AM

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Rail commuting in Great Britain at less than half pre-pandemic level

The Guardian   30 October, 2021 (UK) Number of commuter trips made in mid-October was just 45% of pre-Covid figure, industry says The number of train journeys made by commuters in Great Britain remains at less than half of pre-pandemic levels, figures show. The industry body Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said in mid-October the number of railway journeys made by those going to work was just 45% of what it was before the coronavirus crisis. That represents an increase from 33% in late August but highlights the difficulty city centre businesses face in attracting customers as many people continue to work from home. The slowest recovery in commuting trips was in the capital, with demand in London at just 41% of pre-Covid levels compared with 54% across the rest of Great Britain. Meanwhile, leisure journeys are at about 90% of what they were before the pandemic, accounting for 55% of all rail journeys, compared with 33% in autumn 2019. The rail industry is running a marketing campaign with the strapline “let’s get back on track” to encourage more people on to trains. It is aiming to create a “sustainable, more passenger-focused future” for the railways, particularly within the commuter market. Operators were continuing to conduct enhanced cleaning of trains, the RDG said. They are also providing information to help passengers avoid the busiest times to travel. It added that four out of five carriages on the railways had systems that refreshed the air every six to nine seconds. The RDG commissioned research by the consultancy firm WPI Economics, which estimates that before the pandemic, train passengers travelling for leisure or work spent an average of £94 a trip excluding their train fares, such as in shops, restaurants, hotels and galleries. That totalled an estimated £133bn a year. Andy Bagnall, the RDG director general, said: “Rail connects people to jobs and opportunities, helps tackle congestion, and leaves the air in towns and cities cleaner than other forms of transport, so we’re keen to welcome more people back onboard. “Train companies are working hard to meet the changing needs of our passengers, including new flexi season tickets to give commuters more choice, while continuing to prioritise ventilation and extra cleaning, because as Britain recovers, every passenger delivers more than a journey.” People in England have been told they no longer have to work at home, but concern has been raised that this could change if there is a Covid surge this winter. If the NHS struggles, the government’s Covid plan B could start, including advice to stay out of offices again for “a limited period”. Source https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/oct/30/train-rail-commute-great-britain-less-than-half-pre-pandemic-levels

November 02 at 04:59 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: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/2142571/rail-bidding-comes-under-microscope

July 09 at 05:41 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: https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/462703/RAI-takes-new-steps-for-domestic-railway-signaling

July 15 at 04:28 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: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2021-06-23-r3bn-plus-28-new-trains-will-put-cape-town-back-on-track-says-prasa/

July 09 at 05:16 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: https://roanoke.com/business/local/questions-arise-two-years-after-rail-car-manufacturer-leaves-roanoke/article_d122ab4e-e4bd-11eb-8972-97137eefefcb.html

July 19 at 04:46 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 https://www.smh.com.au/national/queensland-rail-releases-new-safety-campaign-after-record-near-misses-20210809-p58hbi.html

August 10 at 07:10 AM

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Qatar Tourism signs MoU with Qatar Rail

Gulf Times  November 22, 2021 (Doha, Qatar) (HE Akbar al-Baker and HE Abdulla Abdulaziz al-Subaie witness the MoU signing.) Qatar Tourism signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Qatar Railways Company (Qatar Rail), it was announced Monday. Furthering Qatar Tourism’s Service Excellence programme, this MoU outlines the partnership, whereby Qatar Rail’s customer facing staff will be trained in order to streamline customer service and maintain the highest standards for the same, providing for the onsite placement and dissemination of touristic information. Chairman of Qatar Tourism, and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker, stated: “We are pleased to partner with Qatar Rail as we further our promise of promoting Service Excellence across consumer touchpoints in Qatar. As we prepare to welcome the world to Qatar, Service Excellence places the consumer at the heart of our offerings, working closely with partners such as Qatar Rail to provide seamless experiences while showcasing Qatar’s award-winning hospitality.” HE Abdulla Abdulaziz al-Subaie, Qatar Rail’s managing director & CEO stated: “The Doha Metro plays an instrumental role in supporting the tourism sector by providing a network that connects different tourist destinations. We are pleased to sign this Memorandum of Understanding which covers various aspects of collaboration, as we are keen to further enrich the tourist experience in Qatar. This collaboration will equip our front-line staff with the required knowledge and training to act as ambassadors to promote tourist destinations on Doha Metro network.” He added: “We look forward to working closely with Qatar Tourism on this partnership which will undoubtedly contribute to advancing the State of Qatar as a tourist destination and support hosting international events such as the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.” Qatar Tourism works with stakeholders across the public and private sectors, and its Service Excellence programme aims to elevate customer-facing experiences by providing training and certifications for frontline staff, improving performance, and enabling Qatar to offer best-in-class service across every customer touchpoint. Source https://www.gulf-times.com/story/704968/Qatar-Tourism-signs-MoU-with-Qatar-Rail

November 23 at 05:24 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 https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/services-resume-after-signalling-fault-disrupts-punggol-lrt-services

October 18 at 06:54 AM

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Public Transit Use Must Double to Meet Climate Targets, City Leaders Warn

Bloomberg  November 10, 2021 (US) As COP26 events focus on electric vehicles, a new report calls for $208 billion in annual public transit investments to decarbonize transportation.  With the transition to zero-emission vehicles headlining a slate of transportation-related events at the COP26 conference in Glasgow on Wednesday, a chorus of city officials, labor leaders and policy experts are urging climate negotiators not to lose sight of public transit as a key tool for decarbonizing the transport sector.  “If national governments do not back mayors and invest to protect and expand public transport then they won’t be able to meet their own carbon targets,” Mark Watts, executive director of C40 Cities, a network of sustainability-focused global mayors, said in a statement.  Underscoring that warning is a new report by C40 Cities and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) that states global public transit use must double by 2030 if nations are to meet the 1.5°C emissions targets necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change. To meet that goal, the organizations are calling for $208 billion   in annual investments for the nearly 100 cities in the C40 network, which together make up about 25% of global GDP. The report highlights how electrifying transit fleets, expanding bus and rail infrastructure, and improving system accessibility would not only slash transport emissions and air pollution but also boost quality of life and economic opportunities, particularly for low-income urban residents. It estimates that those investments would create 4.6 million new jobs in a sector badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. And it points to examples of ambitious infrastructure expansions in several C40 member cities, including Austin, Texas, where last year voters approved a $7.1 billion plan to add new rail lines, bus rapid transit and all-electric vehicles to the city’s transit offerings; and Jakarta, Indonesia, which is on track to provide access to transit within 500 meters of 95% of residents’ homes by 2022. “Without a revolution in public transport the world will miss the bus on tackling climate change,” Anies Baswedan, governor of Jakarta, said in a statement. “Time is running out.” Source https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-11-10/transit-use-must-double-to-meet-1-5-c-goal-mayors-warn

November 12 at 05:36 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 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-27/protests-block-djibouti-ethiopia-railway-somali-guardian-says

July 29 at 06:32 AM

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President's Approval for Bursa High Speed ​​​​Train Project Foreign Loan

Rayhaber  22 November, 2021 (Turkey) President's Approval for Bursa High Speed ​​​​Train Project Foreign Loan While the project, which will bring Bursa to a high-speed train, almost turned into a snake story, two developments took place one after the other. The foreign loan, which was found by the main contractor of the high-speed train project, was approved by the President after the approval of the Treasury. The Treasury did not approve the first foreign loan found by Kalyon İnşaat, the main contractor in the high-speed train project, due to the high cost, and a new process started on the subject. Editor-in-Chief of Olay newspaper Ahmet Emin YılmazAccording to the latest development, the process regarding the new loan from Sweden and Denmark has been completed. While it was stated that the process was prolonged due to the environmental sensitivity of the creditor institutions, the file was first approved by the Treasury. A few days after the Treasury's approval, the file was approved by the President. Thus, the financing problem of the Osmaneli-Yenişehir-Bursa-Bandırma High Standard Railway project was solved. Source https://en.rayhaber.com/2021/11/Presidential-approval-for-bursa-high-speed-train-project-foreign-loan/

November 25 at 05:01 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: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/president-goes-to-kanpur-on-special-train/article34971794.ece

July 09 at 05:43 AM

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Prasa’s bid to restore Cape Town commuter trains comes off the rails

Sunday Times  28 November 2021 (South Africa) The rail agency was supposed to have relocated about 1,300 people from the central line tracks by end of last week Shacks on the tracks have taken the steam out of efforts to revive commuter trains on what was once Cape Town’s busiest railway line.  Thanks to a high court eviction order, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) was supposed to have moved about 1,300 people from the central line tracks in Langa by Friday Source  https://www.timeslive.co.za/sunday-times-daily/news/2021-11-28-prasas-bid-to-restore-cape-town-commuter-trains-comes-off-the-rails/

December 03 at 05:03 AM

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Post COVID-19, Pakistan restores rail link to Sindh’s town near India border

Gulf News  October 16, 2021 (Karachi, Pakistan) Pakistan Railways has restored the service of Marvi Express to connect Mirpurkhas city in Sindh with Khokhrapar Railway Station in the province that is situated near the Pakistan-India border. The rail link with the border town in Sindh has been restored in view of the repeated demands of the people of desert area of Thar. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Sindh Affairs, Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, re-launched the Marvi Express service at the Mirpurkhas Railway Station. The service of the Marvi Express was suspended on March 24, 2020 when a complete lockdown was imposed in Sindh against the spread of coronavirus infection. The Marvi Express train was especially decorated while rose petals were showered on its passengers and sweets were distributed on the occasion of revival of the passenger rail service. The Marvi Express was originally launched in 2005 jointly by the then railways minister and Dr Rahim, who was Sindh chief minister at that time. Earlier, the passenger rail service was used between Hyderabad and Khokhrapar. The Marvi Express after its revival contains five economy class carriages that have the capacity to carry 500 passengers. The one-way journey from Mirpurkhas to Khokhrapar will cost Rs160. Some 17 passenger stations will come on the 125km-long railway track. The Marvi Express will start its journey from Mirpurkhas Station at 5pm and will reach Khokhrapar at 8.40pm. The return journey of the train from Khokhrapar will begin at 6am and the train will end its journey at 9.40 am. The railway link to the border town has been vital for the supply of essential goods and services to the people of Thar, including water, due to absence of road network in the underdeveloped desert regions of Sindh. Source https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/pakistan/post-covid-19-pakistan-restores-rail-link-to-sindhs-town-near-india-border-1.82990691

October 26 at 06:07 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: https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/05/25/latest-stories/pnrs-north-south-railway-to-cut-travel-time-by-more-than-50-dotr/1800565

July 09 at 07:30 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: https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/07/14/news/regions/pnr-calamba-segment-to-be-operable-by-2025/1806882

July 15 at 04:29 AM

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PM to present proposal for HSR project revival to cabinet on Friday

Malaysiakini  01 December 2021 (Malaysia) Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob will present to the cabinet this Friday about the proposed revival of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR), said Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong. Ismail Sabri had reportedly proposed the HSR project’s revival in a bilateral meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Nov 29. Source https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/601419

December 02 at 06:07 AM

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Plante pledges to kick in $500 million for REM de l'Est light-rail line

Montreal Gazette  October 25, 2021 (Canada) By promising more cash up front, Montreal administrators will expect to have more say in how it is developed, the incumbent mayor says. Projet Montréal leader Valérie Plante pledged that, if elected , her party will invest at least $500 million in the REM de l’Est light-rail project to ensure the city has more say in how it will cut through Montreal. While the city welcomes the $10-billion, 32-kilometre system and its transit benefits, there’s a growing chorus of citizens and municipal politicians concerned the raised tracks perched on concrete pylons could disfigure parts of the city and separate neighbourhoods rather than bring them together, Plante said. The project is being run by the CDPQ Infra, the arm of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec responsible for building the Réseau express métropolitain. “For the REM to integrate into a neighbourhood, it’s going to need a lot of reflection on the planning,” Plante said at a campaign news conference Monday. “It’s going to take moving streets and sidewalks, sewers, creating intermodal stations. … What we want is that these new developments be exceptional, and that they make the lives of citizens easier and make them proud.” The city has been pressing for more of the rail line to be built underground to minimize disruption of the cityscape and neighbourhoods through which it will run. Roughly nine kilometres, or one-third of the line is slated to be underground. The city will contribute close to $200 million for the first 67-kilometre REM light-rail line, which will connect downtown to the west of the city and to points north and south of the island, Plante said. Contrary to the first REM, which runs mainly alongside existing train lines and highways, the REM de l’Est will carve through residential neighbourhoods in the eastern and northern sectors of the city, having far more impact on the urban landscape. The city has called for the creation of an advisory committee of experts to oversee the integration of the project and has organized citizen consultation sessions. “We want to replicate the model used in Quebec City, where the city is an involved party in the new tramway system (being built there)”, Plante said, noting that the developers involved in that project ceded to pressure to put some of the tram line underground. Quebec City is contributing $300 million toward the $3.3-billion price tag. While developers at CDPQ Infra are experts in transit projects, the city of Montreal is experienced in urban development and needs to be involved, Plante said. By promising $500 million, city administrators will expect to have more say in how it’s developed, she said. Some of the changes the city wants to see include: Building more of the train line underground in the downtown core. Putting the line on Sherbrooke St. E. in Mercier underground or using an alternative route that would connect with Radisson métro station. Extending the tunnel leading to Montreal North as far as Rivière-des-Prairies, to reach the 55,000 people living there who are poorly served by public transit. Source https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/plante-pledges-to-kick-in-500-million-for-rem-de-lest-light-rail-line

October 27 at 06:20 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 https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/chandigarh/plan-to-privatise-kalka-shimla-rail-track-for-30-years-report-302625

September 06 at 07:48 AM

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Pipavav Rail Corp begins independent container train operation in India

Economic Times  October 19, 2021 (India) Pipavav Rail Corporation Ltd (PRCL) has commenced its independent container train operation in India with the launch of a direct container train service to Jodhpur Inland Container Depot (ICD) on the electrified route, according to a statement by APM Terminals Pipavav. To ensure faster delivery of cargo and return of containers, Pipavav Rail Corporation Ltd has sought to relieve the congestion with this commencement of a weekly direct regular service from Pipavav Port to Bhagat Ki Kothi on on electric traction, it said. PRCL is a joint venture between Gujarat Pipavav Port Ltd and the Indian Railways. Jodhpur imports solar panels and white cement clinkers. The recent surge in imports at the city has seen the trade experience congestion-linked backlogs at various points of the supply chain, according to the statement. Source https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/transportation/railways/pipavav-rail-corp-begins-independent-container-train-operation-in-india/articleshow/87139339.cms

October 20 at 05:28 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 https://www.thesouthafrican.com/search-results?q=train

July 30 at 07:12 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: https://amp-smh-com-au.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/amp.smh.com.au/national/western-australia/perth-s-billion-dollar-train-deal-linked-to-exploited-uighur-workers-in-china-20210616-p581id.html

July 09 at 05:42 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 https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/payday-for-train-leasing-giant-porterbrook-despite-pandemic-hit-to-railways-j6cgpgz3p

October 04 at 07:56 AM

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Passengers asked not to open doors on trains, except if assailant near

The Asahi Shimbun  November 18, 2021 (Japan) Although most train cars in Japan have an emergency lever to manually open their doors, passengers are advised to not pull it in a crisis and leave it to railway workers instead.  However, as a recent stabbing rampage on a Keio Corp. train showed, even some railway operators concede there may be an exception if passengers feel their lives are in danger.  During the panic on the Keio train on Oct. 31 as an assailant stabbed one person and tried to set fire to the train, one passenger pulled the lever. However, in this instance, the action trigged an unexpected result.  Passengers were forced to open windows and climb out to flee the attacker. Seventeen people were injured in the incident and a 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. Two minutes after the Keio train departed Chofu Station, a passenger pulled the emergency call button to inform the driver of the assailant. A minute later, a passenger pulled the emergency lever. The levers are located on the lower part of the passenger seat near a train car door. According to Keio officials, once a door is manually opened at least 1.6 centimeters, a device on the train recognizes that a door has opened and automatically makes it impossible to accelerate. No one on the Keio train tried to leave while the train was still moving, but the train came to a stop about two meters short of its designated spot at Kokuryo Station because pulling the lever slowed the train. The driver did not immediately open the train doors to prevent passengers from falling where there was no station platform, but in the meantime, some passengers opened the train windows and climbed out. As a result, it took about 10 minutes to evacuate all passengers after the train stopped at Kokuryo Station. Railway companies do not recommend passengers use the emergency lever because of the possibility people could fall from the train or be struck by other trains in the area. For example, East Japan Railway Co. only foresees use of the lever during natural disasters when trains come to a stop between stations. Company employees have been instructed to first confirm no other rail traffic and then use a ladder to help passengers climb down. In most locations between stations, there is about a one-meter drop from the train car floor to the tracks. One JR East official said, “The precondition is that a train staffer operates the lever, not a passenger, and we want passengers to obey the instructions of staff.” But other companies also admit to a dilemma that may force passengers to operate the lever. A similar stabbing incident occurred in August on a train operated by Odakyu Electric Railway Co. A company official said it was difficult to say to never use the lever especially when passengers feel threatened. Keio officials also said there was no ban, but they hoped the lever would not be used “needlessly.” All train companies agree that the emergency call button should be the first option for passengers. Seiji Abe, a professor of transportation policy at Kansai University, said the emergency levers were installed primarily for use during earthquakes and fires and not to flee from criminals. “There is a need for railway companies to compile manuals about when passengers can use the emergency lever, including for situations of having to open the door because their lives are in danger from an approaching assailant,” Abe said. (This article was written by Takashi Ogawa, Masanori Isobe and Natsuki Edogawa.) Source  https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14484154

November 19 at 05:30 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 https://www.herald.co.zw/passenger-rail-service-in-full-throttle/

September 22 at 06:09 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. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/panel-to-look-into-the-death-of-elephants-on-rail-lines/article35260122.ece

July 13 at 07:57 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 https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/pakistan/pakistan-imran-khan-performs-groundbreaking-for-rs250-billion-karachi-circular-railway-project-1.82564780

September 29 at 04:12 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 https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/09/25/news/regions/p777-b-railway-project-to-generate-jobs/1815956

October 05 at 05:08 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: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/transportation/railways/oxygen-expresses-delivered-26281-tonnes-of-liquid-medical-oxygen-across-15-states/articleshow/83282997.cms?from=mdr

July 23 at 09:32 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: https://montrealgazette.com/opinion/opinion-quebecs-misplaced-loyalty-to-concrete-a-rigid-sponge

July 09 at 07:31 AM

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Operator admits staff put light rail performance before safety of passengers

The Sydney Morning Herald  November 22, 2021 (Australia) The private operator of Sydney’s light rail system told staff they had put service performance ahead of safety when introducing the trams that shut the line down this month. The revelation comes as the government tries to work out how cracks formed on all 12 trams servicing the Central to Dulwich Hill line before being noticed, while it is under growing pressure over Treasury’s attempt to shift its train network’s costs onto a corporation despite multiple warnings about safety and budgetary risks. An internal Transdev Sydney note said there was a rise in the number and severity of safety incidents in the three months before it brought the now-cracked trams into service in July 2014. “Our investigations into what and why these incidents have occurred show that, on many occasions, we’ve put network demand ahead of the safety of our staff and passengers,” the note, obtained by the  Herald , said. These concessions were made the same year Transdev Sydney was selected by Transport for NSW to operate and maintain the new CBD and South East light rail. Two years later, it was awarded the contract to supply, operate and maintain stage one of the Parramatta Light Rail due in 2023. Transport Minister Rob Stokes said the idea of putting network demand ahead of safety was “unacceptable and outrageous”. “It would have been unacceptable in 2014 and it remains so today,” he said. Tram expert and former government light rail adviser Greg Sutherland said the priority of private operators was to make money for their shareholders, so the government must make sure the services it was paying for remained safe. Source https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/operator-admits-staff-put-light-rail-performance-before-safety-of-passengers-20211119-p59acs.html

November 24 at 06:48 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: https://www.ft.com/content/dd46af6c-1312-49a5-af05-002e15ebeea3

July 09 at 05:02 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 https://timesofoman.com/article/104662-oman-plans-countrywide-passenger-railway-network

July 29 at 11:23 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: https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/bd/news/counties/old-rail-technology-jinxes-latest-bid-to-revive-nanyuki-line-3462706  

July 09 at 10:28 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 https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/aug/28/rail-firms-not-alone-in-crossing-fingers-on-the-return-of-commuters

August 30 at 05:53 AM

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NTSB issues safety alert to subways, rail over wheel defect

Associated Press  1 December, 2021 (US) [Photo: A Washington Metro train pulls into Dupont Circle station, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Washington. The regional train system serving the District of Columbia area will remain on drastically reduced service levels through at least the end of this year, as authorities grapple with a safety problem that has forced the majority of the trains out of service.] The National Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday issued a safety alert to subway systems and commuter railroads over a wheelset problem that led to a derailment in the nation’s capital, saying the defect is difficult to detect and potentially devastating. The investigative agency released a preliminary report of its ongoing probe into the Oct. 12 accident involving the Washington subway system that ruled out other factors such as speed. The NTSB said the flaw in the rail car’s wheel and axle assembly is “not easily identifiable” with a routine visual check, and urged transit agencies to comply with a recent Federal Transit Administration directive to conduct inspections for misaligned wheels — something that NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy urged early in the investigation. The NTSB broadened its alert to include commuter rail, which isn’t fully covered under the FTA order. Several transit and rail agencies have said they have made checks and the problem does not appear to apply to them, but NTSB underscored the need for vigilance. “A derailment due to wheel movement could be catastrophic,” according to the safety alert. The bulk of Washington’s Metro fleet has been suspended from service since mid-October after a train car slipped off the tracks on the Blue Line near Arlington National Cemetery. According to NTSB’s report on Wednesday, the car derailed and then reconnected with the rails by itself on two occasions during that trip, before derailing a third time. Some passengers were trapped in a tunnel in a dark train car and had to be evacuated on foot. Following that mishap, the NTSB found chronic problems in which the wheels on Metro’s 7000-series line, its newest rail car, spread too wide on the axles, allowing the carriage to slip off the tracks. The issue had been apparent to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority since 2017, but neither the NTSB nor the WMATA board had been informed. At the place of derailment, the NTSB said the maximum authorized speed was 59 miles per hour. Preliminary data from an onboard event recorder showed the train speed was below that at about 33 mph. “The NTSB is concerned that car 7200 operated with a wheelset that did not meet specifications for an undetermined time as the car derailed three times on the day of the accident ... without any noticeable indication of the problem to alert the train operator,” the alert said. “The derailment likely occurred due to movement of the wheel on its axle, which should never happen.” Washington Metro is expected to operate sharply reduced service at least through the end of the year. “The safety alert identifies the issue of wheelset movement on transit railcars and commuter railroads as a serious problem,” said Robert Hall, director of NTSB’s office of railroad, pipeline and hazardous materials investigations. “As we continue to conduct the investigation of this derailment, it is imperative that the safety issues identified are addressed immediately to protect the American public traveling daily on our transit system.” The agency said its investigation will examine whether the flawed wheelsets were a result of a design defect or assembly error, evaluate the response from rail traffic controllers and try to identify if there are similar problems in other types of rail cars. The safety concerns come as public transit agencies work to win back passengers and build out expanded transportation routes under President Joe Biden’s new infrastructure law after a crushing year of drained ridership due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Washington, overall rider numbers remain at about 30% of pre-pandemic levels but were expected to increase with office reopenings and renewed tourism. Source https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-health-business-national-transportation-safety-board-accidents-b914fc5a761d8a858f79f3b3aafb0700

December 02 at 05:42 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 https://canberraonlinenews.com.au/nsw-train-strike-disrupts-rail-services/

September 28 at 06:04 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: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/entire-nsw-rail-network-to-go-green-by-2025-smaller-ferries-to-go-electric-20210610-p58013.html

July 09 at 05:41 AM

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NSW calls in KPMG, BCG, PwC, EY to create new agency

Australian Financial Review  16 November, 2021 (Australia) The NSW government has forked out at least $6 million to four consulting firms as the professional services industry cashes in on the state’s continuing push to create a multibillion-dollar rail asset agency. KPMG, Boston Consulting Group, PwC and EY have completed, or are doing work, for the new Transport Asset Holding Entity, as well as for Transport for NSW concerning the entity. This is alongside continuing KPMG advice to NSW Treasury about TAHE. Source https://www.afr.com/companies/professional-services/nsw-calls-in-kpmg-bcg-pwc-ey-to-create-new-agency-20211116-p599a2

November 18 at 07:13 AM

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NRZ solar-powers coaches

News Day  November 16, 2021 (Zimbabwe) THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has begun installing solar power on its coaches to ensure uninterrupted power supply and improve safety of passengers. Most of its coaches have been vandalised by criminals who advantage of the poor lighting system in the trains. NRZ acting spokesperson Martin Banda yesterday told  NewsDay  that four coaches were already solar-powered. “We started the project last year and we have fitted solar panels on one of the cabooses used for cross trippers as a pilot project. “We replaced the generators used by the crew for lighting by solar-powered ones. Installation of the solar panels will allow crews on cross trippers to have power throughout the year without fear of breakdowns,” he said. “The panels on each caboose can provide enough power to run a refrigerator, lighting, fan, television and microwave ovens. In the past, there were instances where crews worked in the dark after a generator failed.” Banda said the solar power project would cost US$64 000 for the eight cabooses earmarked to be fitted with panels. He said they would be harvesting solar during the day and it would be stored in batteries for use during the night. However, he said the challenge the rail company could face would be unavailability of parts for refurbishment of coaches. Banda told  NewsDay  that NRZ was experiencing a lot of accidents, particularly at level crossings. “Once accidents happen, it means we have to pull out all damaged property from the business and try to replace it with new parts.” Recently, police pledged to work closely with the NRZ to combat vandalism of railway infrastructure. Source https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/11/nrz-solar-powers-coaches/

December 03 at 05:08 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 https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/no-more-flooding-of-tracks-indian-railways-micro-tunnelling-work-completed-at-masjid-railway-station/2329192/

September 15 at 04:59 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. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/no-decision-yet-on-proposed-mount-faber-rail-system

July 13 at 07:31 AM

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Nigeria rail company says explosion damages passenger train

Reuters  October 21, 2021 (Kaduna, Nigeria) Nigeria's national rail company said on Thursday an explosion had rocked one of its passenger trains, damaging its fuel tank and forcing it to stop but there were no casualties or injuries. The Nigerian Railways Corporation (NRC) said the explosion occurred on its passenger train on the Abuja-Kaduna line on Wednesday night and that the damaged train had been taken for assessment and repairs. "We are also pleased to inform the public that there were no reported casualties on either the passengers or the train crew," NRC said in a statement. Pictures circulating on social media showed a shattered front window of the train, damages to the coaches and people who were inspecting destroyed parts of the rail line. Some travellers are opting to travel by rail after several people were kidnapped by armed bandits on some of Nigeria's highways, especially in the northwest of the country. A Reuters witness on board the train said he heard a loud bang, which forced the train to stop and lights and the air conditioning system immediately went off. Writing on Twitter, Shehu Sani, a Nigerian senator who said he was on the train, attributed the explosion to the work of "terrorists" but did not provide evidence. Nigeria is battling an Islamist insurgency in the northeast and armed bandits who have kidnapped hundreds of students, travellers and villagers for ransom, leaving the population terrified. Reporting by Garba Muhammad in Kaduna and Tife Owolabi in Yenagoa; Writing by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Sandra Maler Source https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/nigeria-rail-company-says-explosion-damages-passenger-train-2021-10-21/

October 22 at 06:26 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: https://www.reuters.com/article/nigeria-railway-funding-idUSL5N2OE43A  

July 09 at 05:41 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 https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/06/24/opinion/editorial/next-administration-must-keep-up-railway-development/1804363  

July 22 at 07:33 AM

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Newcastle light rail suspended due to fault with Spanish-built trams

The Sydney Morning Herald  November 26, 2021 (Australia) The Newcastle light rail has been suspended after a mechanical issue was identified in the trams, which were built by the same Spanish manufacturer behind the cracked inner western Sydney fleet. The Newcastle service was suspended from 5pm on Thursday after the mechanical problem was uncovered, with work still being carried out on Friday afternoon. “The fleet has been suspended temporarily as a precaution until inspections are completed. This issue is unrelated to the cracking issues identified in the inner west light rail fleet,” a Transport for NSW spokeswoman said. “Obviously, as investigation works progress over the weekend we will be able to provide customers with a more accurate update in coming days.” While the six trams that service the Newcastle light rail are the same model as the cracked inner west fleet, they are newer and have some different components. Transport for NSW expects the Newcastle service to return on Monday. “The six CAF Urbos 100 vehicles which are operated in Newcastle are the same baseline tram as those operated in the inner west L1 line, however these are newer and have some differing components and systems,” the spokeswoman said. “Keolis Downer is working to urgently investigate and repair the fleet to restore passenger service as soon possible and at this stage the aim is to have some trams back in services by Monday.” Sizeable cracks were discovered last month in all 12 trams servicing the inner west light rail, which runs from Dulwich Hill to Central Station, forcing the closure of the line for up to 18 months. Transport Minister Rob Stokes on Thursday said he still did not have a timeline for when the inner west service would return, with the government working with manufacturer CAF on an engineering solution to the cracking. Source https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/newcastle-light-rail-suspended-due-to-fault-with-spanish-built-trams-20211126-p59ckx.html

November 30 at 04:58 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 https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-tyne-58223595

August 16 at 05:19 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 https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202109/1235241.shtml

September 29 at 04:03 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 https://japantoday.com/category/features/travel/new-shinkansen-design-revealed-for-nagasaki-extension

September 09 at 05:33 AM

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New plan for old rail hub

Bangkok Post  23 November, 2021 (Thailand) The State Railway of Thailand's (SRT) plan to close the 105-year-old Hua Lamphong Station in Bangkok is facing growing public resistance. Starting Dec 23, all train services to and from the capital will be moved to the newly completed Bang Sue Grand Station. Then, the debt-ridden state enterprise will auction off parts of the station's land for commercial development. According to Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, whose ministry oversees the SRT, all of the station's infrastructure, including the tracks, train depot and office buildings, will be cleared to make way for shopping malls, hotels and condominiums. He has repeatedly promised that the old station's architecture -- especially its iconic facade and atrium -- will be kept as is, as the station will be turned into a public museum. The SRT also promised to build public amenities around it, such as park-and-ride facilities, a connection with the nearby Klong Lot and cycling lanes. These promises seem to be just a load of hot air, after a virtual rendering of a cone-shaped high rise planned behind the historic station began circulating on the internet. Fortunately, the image -- which was dubbed an eyesore by critics -- wasn't real. It was made by SRT Asset, the SRT's property development arm that was established by Mr Saksayam last year. SRT Asset has said it will hire an architectural firm of "international calibre" to lead the station's transformation, though it remains to be seen how the subsidiary would be able dictate the design once the SRT awards the concession to a developer. Make no mistake. The grand old station's days are numbered, as rail systems and services are gradually being moved to Bang Sue Grand Station, which is located on a much larger plot of land. Businesses around the station are feeling the impact of the move, with many moving or closing down completely. Even so, the station -- designed by Mario Tamagno, the Italian architect behind the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall and other royal palaces -- needs to be placed in the good hands of someone visionary and with the aesthetic refinement to bring the station into the modern era. It needs more than just the SRT and the transport minister, which are both consumed by rescuing the SRT from its toxic debt. Hua Lamphong station should have a future that is more than just being a museum. There are plenty of older rail terminuses which are still operating regular services, the best known of which is probably New York City's Grand Central Station, which serves as both a heritage landmark and a major transport hub. The transport minister seems to be committed to preserving the old train station, but the SRT, with its massive debt burden, simply can't do it alone. It needs to work with conservationists, historians, architects and developers to maximise the station's value. There have been some interesting suggestions, including one from former deputy Bangkok governor, Samart Ratchapollasit, who asked the SRT to maintain limited regular services from the station. Others have proposed turning Hua Lamphong station into a terminus for high-end luxury trains to promote tourism. SRT and Mr Saksayan need to consult the public about any decision on the station's future. By law, the station might be state property, but Hua Lamphong is a Bangkok landmark that belongs to the people. Instead of putting it up for a quick auction, Mr Saksayam can use this opportunity to maximise the value of Hua Lamphong's heritage. To do so, he must listen before making a decision. Source https://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/2219843/new-plan-for-old-rail-hub

November 23 at 05:51 AM

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New London to Edinburgh rail service begins

BBC  21 October, 2021 (UK) A new train operator says it wants to offer an alternative to cheap flights with a new London to Edinburgh service. From Thursday morning, Lumo will run on the East Coast mainline and offer two services a day with fares starting from £15. The first Lumo journey to Edinburgh Waverley left London King's Cross at 10:45 BST. It will take about four-and-a-half hours, stopping at Newcastle and Morpeth. The full London to Scotland route on the East Coast mainline is currently served only by the existing state-owned operator London North Eastern Railway (LNER).   Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-58992509

October 22 at 06:55 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 https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/new-chief-of-controversial-rail-corporation-pockets-575-000-a-year-20211001-p58wgj.html

October 08 at 08:17 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 https://www.livemint.com/news/india/nearly-3-000-indian-railway-employees-died-due-to-covid19-11627722831229.html

August 03 at 08:17 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 https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/nkorea-launches-were-test-new-railway-borne-missile-system-kcna-2021-09-15/

September 16 at 06:19 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 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/14/world/middleeast/iran-trains-cyberattack.html

August 16 at 09:58 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 https://www.theguardian.com/money/2021/aug/16/my-185-thello-refund-has-been-derailed-by-rail-europe

August 18 at 10:29 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: https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/musks-boring-company-bids-build-transit-tunnel-florida-2021-07-08/

July 09 at 10:44 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. https://www.dawn.com/news/1641091

September 10 at 06:00 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 https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/two-dead-after-trains-collide-czech-republic-news-agency-ctk-2021-08-04/

August 05 at 06:13 AM

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Mumbai: Central Railway track staffer detects rail fracture, prevents mishap

The Times Of India  Nov 28, 2021 (Mumbai, India) The presence of mind shown by a Central Railway (CR) staffer working on tracks as a keyman helped detect a major rail fracture on Sunday morning. The keyman, Bhausaheb Kangne was posted on duty on Sunday morning near the Parsik tunnel which comes after Thane station. During his inspection around 10.20 am, he noticed a major rail fracture and alerted his superiors who in turn informed the control room to stop trains along the route. While the trains on Down fast were halted, they were subsequently given diversions to the Down slow line. During this period, the technical staff arrived at the spot and repaired the fracture before the trains were allowed to run on the Down fast line. Source https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/mumbai-central-railway-track-staff-detects-rail-fracture-prevents-mishap/articleshow/87966645.cms  

December 02 at 05:32 AM

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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 https://www.knutsfordguardian.co.uk/news/19587802.mum-calls-early-train-reinstated-knutsford-altrincham/

September 24 at 04:32 AM

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MRTA readies bidding for for Purple Line extension

Bangkok Post  12 November 2021 (Thailand) The Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) is gearing up to invite companies to submit a tender for the extension of the Purple Line electric rail services, which will connect Tao Poon and Rat Burana. The process will be carried out under International Competitive Bidding (ICB) procedures, and bid envelopes can be purchased until Dec 24, the MRTA said. The decision to start the bidding process was taken after the MRTA assessed the public's opinion on the project, as well as recommendations from the Comptroller General's Department. The project, which will see the Purple Line extended by 23 kilometres, is worth 78 billion baht. Work on the extension will be divided into six phases, the first of which will see the line extended by three stations, or 4.8km, beyond its current terminus in Tao Poon to the National Library of Thailand. In the second phase, three more stations will be built between the National Library of Thailand and Phan Fa, over a distance of 2.4km, while the next phase of work will see three additional stations built between Phan Fa with Phra Phuttha Yodfa Bridge. The fourth and fifth phases will see the line further extended to Dao Khanong and Khru Nai, while work on the sixth phase mainly concerns the railway signalling system along the extension. Once completed, the line will connect Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan, via Thon Buri and Phra Nakhon districts. While construction is expected to begin next year, the extension is projected to open in 2027. Source https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/2213959/mrta-readies-bidding-for-for-purple-line-extension

November 12 at 06:11 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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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 https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/10/11/news/national/mrt-operations-back-on-track-after-fire-incident/1817955

October 12 at 05:47 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 https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/bd/opinion-analysis/editorials/moving-cargo-on-rail-must-make-sense-for-importers-3563960

September 27 at 07:01 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 http://tradearabia.com/touch/article/CONS/385891

August 18 at 05:13 AM

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Motorbike-clogged Hanoi rolls out first urban railway

Straits Times (AFP)  November 6, 2021 (Hanoi, Vietnam)  It is a city of more than five million motorbikes, but Hanoi on Saturday (Nov 6) opened its first ever urban railway line as the authorities try to cut traffic and pollution that have long dogged the Vietnamese capital. After years of delays and a near-doubling of construction costs, a train eased out of Cat Linh station, close to the centre of the city, to begin its 13km journey towards the densely populated east. "I decided to give this a try because I was curious," Ms Nguyen Thi Thu told AFP inside a busy carriage of the Chinese-made train. "I am very happy to be able to take a ride after all the postponements." Other passengers showed up early to strike a pose in front of the shiny new train, while young children on board stared in wonder out of large windows at the Hanoi skyline rushing past. The buzzing capital of nine million people is known the world over for its dense crowds of motorbikes that fill the city's streets and make life perilous for pedestrians attempting to cross. The number of bikes on the roads has soared from two million in 2008 to 5.7 million last year, according to the police. Source https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/motorbike-clogged-hanoi-rolls-out-first-urban-railway

November 08 at 07:48 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 https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/07/22/moscow-metro-to-equip-1500-train-cars-with-facial-recognition-by-2021-a70948

August 31 at 08:34 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 https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-58271871

August 24 at 05:13 AM

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Minister: 3214 acres of railway land under illegal occupation

Dhaka Tribune  November 16, 2021 (Bangladesh) Drives are being conducted to recover the grabbed railway land, he says Some 3,214 acres of land of Bangladesh Railway are now under the clutches of land grabbers across the country, Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan told Parliament on Tuesday. “The amount of unused (fallen) land of Bangladesh Railways is 10,843.15 acres and 3,213.78 acres of land remain under illegal occupation,” he said replying to a written question from BNP MP Aminul Islam (Chapainawabganj-2). Of the illegally occupied land, the highest 620 acres are in Rajshahi district, 321 acres in Rajbari, 282 acres in Sirajganj, 280 acres in Bagerhat, 210 acres in Kurigram, 183 acres in Chattogram, 154 acres in Faridpur, 143 acres in Pabna, 128 acres in Gaibandha, 113 acres in Nilphamari, 106 acres in Lalmonirhat, 103 in Jhenaidah and 56 acres in Kushtia. The amount of illegally occupied land is less than 50 acres in other districts, according to the statistics placed by the Minister in the House. Source https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/nation/2021/11/16/railway-minister-3214-acres-of-ministry-land-under-illegal-occupation

November 19 at 06:37 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 https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/milk-transportation-from-renigunta-to-delhi-indian-railways-doodh-duronto-trains-cross-10-crore-litres-mark/2308440/

August 11 at 11:28 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 https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/mexico-city-prepares-criminal-charges-urges-settlements-probe-metro-collapse-2021-10-15/

October 18 at 06:47 AM

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Mexican regulators approve $31 billion railroad merger deal

 AP  29 November 2021 (Kansas City, Missouri) Mexican regulators have approved Canadian Pacific’s $31 billion plan to acquire Kansas City Southern and create a railroad linking Mexico, Canada and the United States. The deal could close as soon as mid-December if shareholders of both companies approve it. Then Kansas City Southern would be held by a voting trust while the U.S. Surface Transportation Board conducts its lengthy review of the transaction but its shareholders would be paid right away. The $31 billion deal includes 2.884 CP shares and $90 in cash for each shareholder and Canadian Pacific would assume roughly $3.8 billion of Kansas City Southern’s debt. The railroads said Friday that the STB’s review of the deal is expected to continue into the fourth quarter of next year. U.S. regulators haven’t approved any major railroad mergers since the 1990s, so it’s not clear yet whether this deal will ultimately be approved. But executives at Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern have said they expect the deal will be completed. “This historic combination will add capacity to the U.S. rail network, create new competitive transportation options, support North American economic growth, and deliver important benefits to customers, employees and the environment,” CP CEO Keith Creel said. Earlier this year, Canadian Pacific beat out Canadian National’s $33.6 billion bid to acquire Kansas City Southern, even though that railroad offered more money, because the STB refused to approve part of CN’s plan to acquire the Missouri-based railroad. Source https://apnews.com/article/business-canada-mexico-united-states-kansas-city-5227ec66b451d3750573c0bd2e8cf09b

November 29 at 04:27 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 https://www.washingtonpost.com/transportation/2021/08/03/metro-capital-bikeshare-deal/

August 05 at 10:39 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 https://www.thedailystar.net/news/bangladesh/transport/news/metro-rail-project-formal-test-run-kicks-today-2163186

September 01 at 09:19 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 https://en.rayhaber.com/2021/08/mersin-metrosu-ihalesini-33-milyarlik-teklifi-veren-firma-kazandi/

October 07 at 05:12 AM

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

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

July 09 at 05:40 AM

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Melbourne rail project cost tipped to hit $100bn

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

August 30 at 04:34 AM

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Mass Spending for Mass Transit

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

July 28 at 11:28 AM

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Many railway schools likely to be closed in 2022

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

November 02 at 05:13 AM

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

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

July 15 at 08:32 AM

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

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

October 05 at 04:58 AM

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Making tracks across the border

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

November 22 at 04:30 AM

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Maharashtra: Woman lying near railway tracks survives suicide bid as train passes

India Today June 19, 2021 (India) The woman's mother said her daughter had left the house without informing anyone on Friday morning. A 30-year-old woman who tried to kill herself by lying beside the tracks at Badlapur railway station in Maharashtra's Thane district survived miraculously even though a train passed the platform, a police officer said on Saturday. Prima facie, the woman, mother of a three-year-old child, was mentally unstable, he said. “The woman lied down near the railway tracks below the platform of the Badlapur railway station on Friday morning. At 9:30 am, Udyan Express passed the platform, but the woman survived without a scratch. When the train guard noticed the woman, the train was halted just before the last bogie was passing the tracks," Kalyan GRP inspector Walmik Shardul told reporters. He said it was sheer luck that the woman survived. The woman was later reunited with her family members, he said. While speaking to reporters, the woman's mother said her daughter had left the house without informing anyone on Friday morning. "She is mentally unstable,” she added.   (PTI) Source: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/maharashtra-woman-lying-near-railway-tracks-survives-suicide-bid-as-train-passes-1816986-2021-06-19

July 09 at 05:46 AM

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

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

November 25 at 05:28 AM

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

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

November 10 at 05:39 AM

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London hit by biggest Tube strike in three years

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

November 29 at 03:57 AM

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

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

August 11 at 11:49 AM

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Llangollen Railway trains vandalised with graffiti

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

August 30 at 05:44 AM

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

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

October 26 at 05:03 AM

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

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

July 28 at 08:05 AM

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

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

September 13 at 05:35 AM

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Large fire rips through south London railway arch

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

July 09 at 05:42 AM

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Laos-China Railway on Track for December Opening: Official

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

August 18 at 06:12 AM

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Laos to join meetings on rail link

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

July 09 at 05:44 AM

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

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

December 01 at 07:23 AM

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Laos high speed rail brings buzz to Thai border town

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

November 30 at 06:02 AM

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Labour attacks ‘Whitehall power grab’ over northern rail policy

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

November 22 at 04:02 AM

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

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

September 06 at 07:52 AM

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

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

October 26 at 05:18 AM

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Kintetsu express train used by Emperor Showa to make last run

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

July 29 at 07:34 AM

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Kenya returns to colonial rail after Beijing hits buffers

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

December 03 at 04:53 AM

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Kansas City Southern to accept CP Rail offer

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

September 14 at 05:22 AM

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

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

November 26 at 06:15 AM

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

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

October 27 at 05:20 AM

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

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

November 08 at 07:29 AM

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JICA Supports India For Capacity Development On Railway Safety

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

September 20 at 04:13 AM

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

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

December 01 at 07:59 AM

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

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

October 20 at 05:01 AM

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

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

July 19 at 04:37 AM

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Japan train driver sues over 49 cents in docked wages

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

November 11 at 07:34 AM

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

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

August 05 at 06:13 AM

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

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

November 23 at 05:14 AM

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Japan bullet train driver disciplined

The Guardian  Fri 21 May 2021 06.19 BST (Japan) Japan bullet train driver disciplined for leaving controls to go to toilet A conductor, who was not qualified to drive the train, sat in the driver’s seat during his three-minute absence, in breach of the rules A driver on one of Japan’s  shinkansen  bullet trains is facing disciplinary measures after he abandoned his cab to go to the toilet while the train was carrying passengers and travelling at 150km/h. The 36-year-old driver, who has not been named, reportedly had a stomachache and asked a conductor to take his place while he went to the toilet. The conductor, who was not qualified to drive the Hikari-series train, sat in the driver’s seat during his three-minute absence, but did not touch the controls, according to the Kyodo news agency. The incident happened last weekend as the train carried 160 passengers at high speed along the busy Tokaido line, which links Tokyo and Osaka.   Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/21/japan-bullet-train-driver-disciplined-for-leaving-controls-to-go-to-toilet

July 09 at 07:33 AM

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Italy quashes crash conviction for ex-rail boss

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

July 30 at 08:41 AM

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Italy braces for train track protests against covid-passes

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

September 17 at 04:38 AM

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Italian police guard train stations as Covid pass rolled-out

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

September 02 at 06:49 AM

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

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

September 23 at 04:55 AM

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

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

October 11 at 08:30 AM

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Ireland’s newest railway station opens in Dublin

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

September 28 at 05:16 AM

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

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

November 08 at 07:10 AM

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

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

November 11 at 06:39 AM

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Iran Cyber-attack

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

July 12 at 03:11 PM

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Inner West light rail services suspended after cracks discovered in trams

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

October 29 at 06:28 AM

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Infuriating train announcements will terminate here

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

July 23 at 06:54 AM

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Infrastructure: Light rail gathers speed

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

December 01 at 08:06 AM

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Industry calls for railway rehab

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

November 19 at 06:29 AM

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Indonesia Turns to State Budget for Rail Project on Cost Overrun

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

October 18 at 06:40 AM

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Indo-Nepal rail connectivity

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

July 22 at 04:58 AM

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

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

October 19 at 05:34 AM

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

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

October 01 at 06:52 AM

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

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

July 09 at 05:40 AM

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

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

August 10 at 07:40 AM

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

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

September 02 at 04:13 AM

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

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

September 23 at 05:33 AM

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

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

August 19 at 07:59 AM

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Indian Railways narrow gauge trains to chug in the Kangra Valley again!

Financial Express  June 15, 2021 (India) Travelling passengers must follow all COVID-19 pandemic related guidelines and protocols issued by the state and central governments in the trains as well as at railway stations. Restoration of Indian Railways Trains: For the convenience and smooth movement of passengers, Indian Railways is resuming several special train services, which were temporarily cancelled or suspended due to the COVID-19 crisis. According to the national transporter, travelling passengers must follow all COVID-19 pandemic related guidelines and protocols issued by the state and central governments in the trains as well as at railway stations. The Northern Railway zone has recently issued a list of special trains that are being restored from today (15 June 2021) in the Kangra Valley Railway Section. Here are the special train services that are being restored from today: Train number 04601 Pathankot Junction – Joginder Nagar Special Express will resume services from 15 June 2021 Train number 04602 Joginder Nagar – Pathankot Junction Special Express will resume services from 16 June 2021 Train Number 04647 Pathankot Junction – Baijnath Paprola Special Express will resume services from 15 June 2021 Train Number 04648 Baijnath Paprola – Pathankot Junction Special Express will resume services from 15 June 2021 Meanwhile, the Northern Railway zone has also announced that Train Number 04647/04648 Pathankot Junction – Bajinath Paprola – Pathankot Junction Special Express has been provided with additional halts at Nupur Road, Guler, Kangra Mandir railway stations. Train Number 04647 will arrive Nupur Road at 9:19 AM and depart at 9:20 AM, arrive Guler at 11:05 AM and depart at 11:06 AM, arrive Kangra Mandir at 12:05 PM and depart at 12:06 PM. While Train Number 04648 will arrive Kangra Mandir at 5:51 PM and depart at 5:52 PM, arrive Guler at 6:53 PM and depart at 6:54 PM, arrive Nupur Road at 8:24 PM and depart 8:25 PM. For any kind of enquiry or information such as arrival/departure timings and enroute halts, passengers have been advised to contact Rail Madad helpline number 139 or visit Indian Railways website. Source: https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/railways/indian-railways-narrow-gauge-trains-to-chug-in-the-kangra-valley-again-check-here-for-details/2271597/

July 09 at 07:29 AM

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

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

September 28 at 04:42 AM

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Indian government is expanding surveillance

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

September 08 at 05:16 AM

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

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

July 22 at 09:40 AM

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

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

September 01 at 12:07 PM

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

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

November 16 at 09:17 AM

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

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

October 08 at 08:11 AM

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In the Herald: September 28, 1953

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

September 24 at 05:49 AM

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

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

July 30 at 09:21 AM

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