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Zim plans to construct railway line to link Zambia

News Day  21 December 2021 (Zimbabwe) THERE are plans to construct a railway line linking Harare and Kafue in Zambia to decongest roads, Transport minister Felix Mhona said during his tour of Kariba on Saturday. “We got a very good investor willing to partake in the construction of a railway line that will connect Harare and Kafue, Zambia,” Mhona said. The purpose of the railway line is to decongest the roads and for an easier and cheaper model of transportation. Instead of moving cargo by roads, we will move them by rail and in terms of budgetary issues; the feasibility study is in process. The technical team was supposed to come this December but because of COVID-19, we now expect it in the first quarter of 2022.” Meanwhile, there is noticeable improvement in the state of roads in Mashonaland West province. Under Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme Phase 2, government through the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration is rehabilitating roads in Karoi, Kariba, Chinhoyi, Chegutu, Kadoma and other towns in the province. Source https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/12/zim-plans-to-construct-railway-line-to-link-zambia/

December 24 at 06:55 AM

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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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Work on JB-Singapore RTS Link almost 10% completed, says Malaysia's transport minister

Channel News Asia  14 March 2022 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) The Malaysian transport ministry also said that it is ready for preliminary discussions with Singapore on reviving the terminated KL-Singapore HSR project. Malaysian Minister for Transport Wee Ka Siong said that work on the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link has reached “almost 10 per cent”.  Dr Wee said this during a speech in parliament on Monday (Mar 14) when winding up the debate on the motion of thanks for the Royal Address by the Ministry of Transport.  “Presently, the progress of work for the RTS project has reached almost 10 per cent, where the land acquisition process has already been completed and the infrastructure design has also been finalised,” said Dr Wee.  “Currently ground work, movement of utilities and piling works are underway,” he added.  The RTS Link aims to connect Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru to Woodlands in Singapore, serving about 10,000 passengers per hour each way to help ease traffic congestion on the Causeway.  RTS Link tunnels will be connected to a viaduct running 25m above the Straits of Johor, connecting the Woodlands North station in Singapore to the Bukit Chagar station in Johor Bahru. The project had originally been scheduled for completion in 2024, with the Malaysia and Singapore governments signing a bilateral agreement to build the link in 2018.  However, the project was suspended a number of times after the Pakatan Harapan government came to power in Malaysia. The project officially resumed in July last year, with a ceremony to mark the occasion held on the Causeway. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his then-Malaysian counterpart Muhyiddin Yassin were both in attendance.  The project is estimated to cost RM10 billion (S$3.25 billion), with Singapore bearing 61 per cent of the cost.  In November, Mass Rapid Transit Corp (MRT Corp), the developer and owner of the civil infrastructure for the Malaysian section of the rail project, said the project was on track to commence commercial operations in January 2027 despite facing two minor setbacks.  MRT Corp outlined that construction of the Bukit Chagar station in Johor Bahru was “still pending” to facilitate the relocation of water pipes within the station’s vicinity to a new location.  MRT Corp added that construction of the RTS Link Project Maintenance Depot in Wadi Hana had also been disrupted by one household that is refusing to move out of the area.  DISCUSSIONS ON NEW TERMS FOR HSR "STILL AT AN EARLY STAGE" In his speech on Monday, Dr Wee added that the Malaysian Transport Ministry is ready for preliminary discussions with Singapore on reviving the terminated KL-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project in the second quarter of 2022.  “As for the HSR Project, MOT has been given the responsibility to initiate discussions with the Government of Singapore on the new terms, and discussions are still at an early stage,” said Dr Wee. “At this point, the ministry is prepared to hold preliminary talks with Singapore in the second quarter of this year,” he added.  Dr Wee added that the Malaysian government was also exploring possibilities of an HSR project linking Kuala Lumpur to Thailand’s capital Bangkok.  “In line with the (Malaysian) Prime Minister’s recent visit to Thailand on Feb 25, 2022, MOT is also exploring the possibility of launching a study to evaluate implementing the HSR from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok,” he added.  In December 2021, Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Economy) Mustapa Mohamed said that discussions between Malaysia and Singapore on the possibility of reviving the terminated Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project are still in the early stages and the matter of reducing its costs have not been raised yet. On Nov 29, 2021, after a meeting with his Malaysian counterpart Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that Malaysia has suggested reviving discussions on the terminated Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR project. Mr Lee said that Singapore and Malaysia had previously reached an agreement to terminate the HSR project, and this has been amicably settled and closed. “Nevertheless, Singapore is open to fresh proposals from Malaysia on the HSR project," said Mr Lee then. The HSR project, which aimed to reduce travel time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to about 90 minutes, was discontinued after the agreement lapsed on Dec 31, 2020. In September 2018, both sides agreed to postpone the construction of the HSR until end-May 2020, after then-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said he had considered Malaysia's financial situation and how it would not benefit from the project. Malaysia later requested a further seven-month extension to allow both sides to discuss and assess Malaysia’s proposed changes to the project. But both sides could not agree on new terms, including Malaysia's request to remove an assets company that would run the railway, and the agreement lapsed. Malaysia paid more than S$102 million in compensation to Singapore for the terminated project. Since the termination of the agreement, Malaysia’s federal government has conducted research to study the viability of a domestic HSR project between Iskandar Puteri in Johor and Kuala Lumpur.  Source: CNA/am(mi) Source https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/work-jb-singapore-rts-link-almost-10-completed-says-malaysias-transport-minister-2563321

March 16 at 05:29 AM

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Work begins on Bristol's first railway station since 1927

BBC  February 3, 2022 (UK) Construction work has begun on Bristol's first new railway station in 95 years. Portway Park & Ride will open in the Summer, linking Shirehampton with the Severn Beach railway line. The £4.2m project forms part of the West of England Combined Authority's (WECA) wider plans to enhance the local rail network through the MetroWest programme. The work will see the Severn Beach line closed from 19 to 27 February. The new station is being jointly funded by WECA, Bristol City Council and the government and is the first in the city since Parson Street was opened in Bedminster in 1927. Dan Norris, West of England Metro Mayor, said WECA was investing more than £1m in the project. "Improving our public transport network is crucial so local people can get more easily to work, study and enjoy our great region and is vital to meet our ambitious net zero targets," he added. Network Rail completed preparatory work in December, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service. (LDRS). 'Major milestone' The first stage of construction includes replacing the safety fencing along the railway line, installing a ramp down to the tracks, and excavating the area of the new platform. While much of the work will be carried out overnight, the Severn Beach line will close from 19 to 27 February to allow engineers to make changes to the signalling system, build the concrete foundations for the platform and improve drainage. During this time, trains will not call at stations between Bristol Temple Meads and Filton Abbey Wood, or between Severn Beach and Stapleton Road, with a rail replacement bus service in operation. Cllr Don Alexander, Bristol City Council's Cabinet Member for Transport, called the start of construction "a major milestone" for the project. He said the station will "help us to ease congestion on the roads in a sustainable way and reduce air pollution, as we work towards our ambitious goal to be carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2030". Bristol City Council is also planning improvements to its Park & Ride facility, including more parking spaces, following the opening of the new station. The temporary Covid testing facility has been moved to a different area on the same site. Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-bristol-60241946

February 04 at 05:34 AM

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Woman sentenced for Washington railroad track sabotage

Associated Press  December 18, 2021 (Bellingham, Washington, US) A woman convicted of sabotaging railroad tracks near the U.S.-Canada border in Washington state just before a train carrying crude oil was due to pass through has been sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison. Ellen Brennan Reiche, 28, of Bellingham was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle for committing an act of violence against a railroad carrier. In addition to prison time, she must also complete 100 hours of community service while on federal supervision. She was convicted in September for placing a device that interferes with train signals on the tracks apparently as part of a campaign to protest construction of a pipeline across British Columbia. Her co-defendant, Samantha Brooks, 24, pleaded guilty in July to a terrorist attack and violence against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway as part of a plea agreement. The duo was spotted on video surveillance on BNSF tracks near Bellingham late on Nov. 28, 2020. When Whatcom County sheriff’s deputies detained them, Reiche was carrying a paper bag with wire, a drill and magnetic adhesive inside. Deputies found a shunt buried nearby under rocks on the tracks. Shunts are comprised of wire that is stretched between the rails and frequently fastened with magnets, disrupting the systems that indicate a train is on the tracks. It was one of dozens of shunts placed on the tracks last year, apparently to slow the delivery of oil and supplies in protest of a natural gas pipeline through Indigenous land in British Columbia. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force worked with BNSF police to investigate the placement of 41 shunts on the BNSF tracks since 2020. On Oct. 11, 2020, multiple shunts were placed in three locations in Whatcom and Skagit counties. They triggered an automatic braking system on a train that was transporting hazardous material, causing part of the train to decouple from the engine — risking a derailment of tanker cars of flammable gas in a residential area, prosecutors said. On Dec. 22, 2020, a train carrying Bakken crude oil to the Phillips 66 refinery at Cherry Point did derail, with five tanks catching fire, north of Bellingham. No injuries were reported, but the fire sent a large plume of black smoke into the sky and 120 people were evacuated. No cause has been publicly identified. “Placing a shunt on active railroad tracks puts lives in danger – to drivers preparing to cross the tracks who may not get any warning lights of an approaching train, and to the homeowners in the area who could be endangered by a train derailment,” U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said in a statement Friday. “In this case ... the device was discovered and removed before it could cause a tragedy.” Source https://apnews.com/article/business-environment-and-nature-british-columbia-seattle-washington-14a7126442508317c8f9c043fc9332a7

December 20 at 05:02 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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