EIB is lending €776m to Albali Señalización, the special-purpose vehicle formed to design, install and maintain signalling and telecommunications equipment on the Albacete – Alacant high speed line under a 20-year PPP contract. Albali is owned by investment funds CDC Infrastructure and Fond-ICOinfraestructuras, ADIF and suppliers Alstom, CAF, EMTE and Isolux.
Australia’s states and territories have agreed to the creation of a National Rail Safety Regulator, replacing seven separate organisations from January 2013.
On May 29 Russian Railways introduced REX Regional Express branded services from Moscow Belorusskaya to Mozhaysk and Zvenigorod, using ED4M EMUs modernised by TMH’s Demikhovo works.
The final 5·9 km of the Gautrain line to Park station in Johannesburg opened on June 7, having been delayed from March 2011 because of problems with a leaking tunnel.
Tenders have been invited for the final 70 km of Namibia’s Aus – Lüderitz railway rehabilitation. N$480m has been spent over 10 years but there has been no progress recently due to financial constraints and serious flooding in 2011. N$75m has been made available for the current financial year.
Russian Railways is trialling a microcredit scheme offering passengers loans to buy tickets with a 55-day interest free repayment period.
Austrian Federal Railways and Ferrovie Udine Cividale have launched MiCoTra, a cross-border passenger service between Villach and Udine
On June 1 a joint funding grant accord for regional railway modernisation was signed by the East African Community, Indian Trust Fund and Nepad-Infrastructure Preparation Project Facility,. US$1·8m is allocated to regulatory and legal harmonisation, appraisals of proposed links and the creation of a Railway Co-ordination Unit. The Indian government has provided US$428000.
Passenger services have been restored between Salta and General Güemes on the metre-gauge Belgrano network in northwest Argentina, operated by federal agency Sofse with ex-FEVE DMUs. Demand for the single service operating in each direction on weekdays has been such that an increase in frequency is now being contemplated.
A UIC working group is drafting recommendations to eliminate the need for passport stamps for railway staff regularly crossing the external borders of the Schengen area. An identity card was approved last December, and the next step will be the ratification by the European Parliament of an agreement similar to those covering sailors and air crew.
On June 29 Ferrobaires restored passenger services between Buenos Aires and Tandil after an absence of 15 years. Trains run twice a week in both directions, usually formed of one standard class car, two first class vehicles and a Pullman car equipped with air-conditioning.
Jindal Steel & Power Ltd of India has terminated its contract with the government of Bolivia to develop iron ore deposits at El Mutún, citing ‘non-fufillment’ of contractual obligations on the part of the government and an unwillingness to do so. The project would have involved what Jindal describes as the ‘largest foreign investment in Bolivia’, a US$2·1bn package including construction of a new railway to Puerto Busch (RG 4.07 p191).
Paderborn district authority has bought the 26 km Paderborn – Büren railway for €1 to ensure its long-term future, and is hoping to reach an agreement for neighbouring authorities to contribute to the cost of maintenance.
Los Angeles County MTA has selected Gruen Associates and Grimshaw Architects to develop a master plan for the long-term future of Union Station and its surroundings.
News in Brief - September 2012
15 September 2012
Germany’s federal Railway Authority has approved the regular operation of 835 m long freight trains between Padborg in Denmark and Maschen in Niedersachsen.
After 25 expressions of interest, the only bids for a $1bn contract to operate Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad services from July 2013 came from Keolis and the incumbent which is majority owned by Veolia.
As part of a €20m investment programme funded by the Spanish Ministry of Development, a new rail terminal has been opened to serve the Isla Verde Exterior container terminal within the Port of Algeciras Bay. A total of 3898 m of new track has been laid, including three terminal roads capable of accommodating 750 m trains.
The US Federal Railroad Administration is contributing $100 000 to study plans to reinstate Amtrak passenger services between Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile in Alabama.
UK passenger operator Greater Anglia has introduced tickets giving supporters of three football teams a 25% discount on travel to any 10 home games during the 2012-13 season; tickets for all home matches are also offered.
Mining company Anglo American is undertaking a R$38m programme of track renewals on 30 km of the Amapá Railway in Brazil, which runs for 194 km from iron deposits at Serra do Navio to the port of Santana on the Amazon.
Genesee & Wyoming Australia has bought a rail-served intermodal terminal in Alice Springs from Asciano Services for A$9m.
News in Brief - September 2012
18 September 2012
The government of Ghana has proposed a US$303m public-private partnership to rehabilitate the 977 km rail network.
Amtrak, HOK, Parsons Brinckerhoff and developer Akridge have produced a 20-year master plan for a $7bn redevelopment of Washington Union station, which would triple passenger capacity.
The governments of Tanzania and Zambia are to set up a joint committee to review the 1975 agreement governing Tazara. Zambia has agreed to inject US$10m into the railway.
PwC, D&B and George Butunoiu Group have been appointed to recruit private-sector CEOs and board members for 10 companies owned by Romania’s transport ministry, including CFR Calatori and Metrorex.
The government of Mozambique has approved an agreement for the CLIN joint venture of Vale (80%) and CFM (20%) to lease rail infrastructure planned to link the Sena line to a new coal terminal on the coast at Nacala, transiting Malawi.
A 35 km metre-gauge line from the Bangabandhu Bridge to Tarakandi has been opened by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Built at cost of 2·1bn taka, it is the first new line since independence, other than the route across the bridge.
The government of Brazil has allocated railway construction company Valec an additional R$140m, including R$122m towards the cost of building the Anápolis – Uruaçu section of the North-South Railway (RG 7.12 p12). A further R$28m is expected to be provided for completing the Uruaçu – Palmas section.
The Tata Steel Minerals Canada JV has appointed Genesee & Wyoming subsidiary KeRail to build and operate a 21 km rail link from a 4·2 mtpa mine being developed near Schefferville, Québec.
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