from Revista Ferroviária, Brasil
Government modifies Airport Express bid rules
The São Paulo state government has changed the rules for choosing the best proposal among the groups interested in participating of the bidding of the train project which comprises the connection between the centre of São Paulo and the Cumbica airport, in Guarulhos, known as Trem Expresso Guarulhos. Now, the group or company offering the government the highest grant value shall win the bid, and no more the one who offers the lowest fare for the service, as previously planned. The change is in decree of the Metropolitan Transport Department, published on 22nd in the state’s Gazette.
According to the document, the amendments reflect suggestions made by interested groups in a public hearing held in August of last year, and also deliberations of the Council of the State Program of Privatization (PED). The document does not give information on when it should be published the bid rules, which will be international.
In addition to the taxed grant, the project also includes yet the payment of a variable grant corresponding to 1% of the fare revenue, as remuneration for management and supervision of the concession contract, which will take 35 years.
Singular companies or the ones assembled in consortium may take part in the process, which will be driven by Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM). The execution of the infrastructure works will be under the winner’s responsibility, as well as the necessary expropriations for the implementation of the works.
Another responsibility of the company that wins the bid is to obtain the environmental permits for installation and operation. However, the granting authority will have to obtain the prior environmental license. The decree limits in three years the maximum term for completion of the infrastructure works.
The decree still lays down in R$ 35.00 the fare for the service. It shall raise annually based on the variation basis in the Índice Nacional de preços ao Consumidor Amplo (IPCA/IBGE). The basis date shall be the month of October 2008.
Source Revista Ferroviaria
Latter Cariri LRVs are ready
One of the two latter units of the Cariri Train are ready and awaiting for the construction of the stations
Two more units of the Cariri Train formed by four coaches each are ready. The last two cars constructed by Bom Sinal Indústria e Comércio, located in Barbalha (Ceará State), are already on rails, in Muriti district, Crato (Ceará State), waiting for the construction of stations to come into operation. The transport units are being monitored by a team of eight guards who change places during 24 hours.
The Metropolitan Transport Company of Ceará State (Metrofor) informed that the construction of eight stations and a maintenance workshop are in the bidding process final phase. The Metrofor reporter Fernando Mota anticipated that the conclusion is scheduled for seven months after the signature of the service order. The expectation is that the Cariri Train comes into operation next year, but it is not confirmed yet. Meanwhile, the units are in testing phase.
People who live in rural properties crossed by the railroad complain that the network between Crato and Juazeiro interrupted the car Access of four rural properties. One of the complainant is Lucivan Gonzaga, who started a lawsuit against Metrofor.
The Trem do Cariri project, currently called Metrô do Cariri, is part of a set of actions performed by the Government Plan of the State of Ceará directed to the upgrading of the passenger railroad transport in some municipalities of state’s countryside, beginning with Crato and Juazeiro do Norte, an urban conglomerate with about 400 thousand inhabitants.
The Metrô do Cariri is a medium capacity and great comfort transport, using vehicles type light rail vehicles (LRVs), called Motorized Rapid Transport (Tram). The initial estimated demand is of 5 thousand passengers/day with operational period between 5:30 am and 10:30 pm, with 38 travels in each direction, a total of 76 travel/day.
The network, which has been completely restored, has a total length of 13,6 km. The chosen stretch is the same of the former Crato branch line used by Rede Ferroviária Federal S.A. (RFFSA) until the early 1980s. Currently, the branch freight operation is administered by the concessionaire CFN until the Muriti district, situated at the Crato municipality.
The improvement of the permanent way between the district of Vila Fátima, in Juazeiro do Norte, and the district of Muriti, in Crato, is being considered with the replacement of great part of the sleepers, ballast replacement, grade correction (line’s alignment and flatness), besides support plates, line nails, junction and welding pieces for the entire way.
In addition to these services of construction and/or improvement, it will also be established nine passenger stations, maintenance workshops and a Center of Administration and Control of Traffic.
The rolling stock is composed of two trains with diesel hydraulic mechanic traction, formed by two coaches equipped with air conditioning, with passage type "gangway" and transport capacity of 330 passengers per train. The maximum operational speed shall be of 60 kilometres per hour, enough for the type of passengers transport in the region.
5.000 passengers shall be transported per day between the municipalities of Crato and Barbalha in the initial phase of operation of the Cariri Train. There is already a total of four trains.
Vehicle counts with advanced technology
The trains structure is manufactured with Sheet Moulding Compound (S. M. C.), a fixed thermical type of plastic, with high technology employed in railroad vehicles in developed countries, such as Light Rail Vehicles (LRV trains) and High Speed Trains (TGVs). According to the director of Business Development of Bom Sinal, Ricardo Fonseca Alves, contracts with Metrofor (of Fortaleza, Ceará State) and Metrorec (of Recife, Pernambuco State) are being concluded for the construction of approximately 50 coaches. 85% of the technology are national, says Ricardo. The director informed that are being drawn up projects to other states. The coaches have maximum speed of 60 km/h and should operate between 5:30 am to 10:30 to meet a demand of 5 thousand passengers/day.
Source Revista Ferroviaria
Government ensures resources to railroads
The financial crisis will oblige the government to open the coffers to ensure that the railroad projects are not interrupted. Norte-Sul and Oeste Leste RR stretches, which would be granted for the private initiative to build in partnership with the government by the beginning of the year, had its biddings suspended. The works, however, will continue to be made with public money, at least until the crisis decreases. When the economical scene is clearer, the railroads biddings will occur. A transport’s area technician has estimated that when the auction occur, the works are already at an advanced stage. This should enhance the attractiveness of the business. He added that this strategy does not require the government more money than it already wanted to invest. The difference is that the part implemented with public resources will be advanced.
The high speed train between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states, which is originally a private project, will also count with some federal help. The government's pledge is to disclose the bid rules by the end of this semester and perform the auction until the end of 2009.
The data of the Integrated System of Financial Administration (Siafi) show that last year the works in railroads included in the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC) did not have an excellent accomplishment. Norte-Sul RR had USD 443.5 million available, of which USD 352.026 million were committed. The Oeste-Leste RR, which will cross Bahia State from its interior until Ilhéus, had USD 133.7 million, but the committed amount was zero.
The railroads must be one of PAC’s priorities for this year. On 12th, the president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva must go to Pernambuco State for the works commencement of Nova Transordestina RR stretch. The Norte-Sul RR stretch connecting Anápolis (Goiás State) and Araguaína (Tocantins State) should be ready by 2010. The government wishes yet to start the construction of another stretch of that railroad, connecting Anápolis to Estrela d'Oeste (São Paulo State) - where there is another railroad, which leads to the port of Santos (São Paulo State).
Source Revista Ferroviaria
Transnordestina RR will benefit ports
Transnordestina Logística S/A, the company responsible for the construction of Transnordestina RR, will invest USD 87.1 million at the Pecém port, in Ceará State, and USD 43.5 million at the Suape port, in Pernambuco State. The objective is to prepare the infrastructure of the two ports which stay at the north-eastern region of Brazil. They will be connected to Eliseu Martins, in Piauí State, through a 1,728 kilometres railroad network. Although not contemplated in initial project, the Transnordestina RR will extend the orcharding potential of Ceará State, allowing interconnect the Mossoró-Apodi and Limoeiro do Norte orchards to Pecém port.
The potential of the project and their impact on the state’s agribusiness were discussed, yesterday, at the weekly meeting called Agropacto (Pacto de Cooperação da Agropecuária Cearense), in Fortaleza. According to the commercial manager of Transnordestina Logística (former Companhia Ferroviária do Nordeste), Miguel Andrade, until 2011, when the railroad operation should start, it shall be generated three thousand direct and indirect jobs. Until then, the project must aggregate new branches and cater for other segments, beyond those which based de Transnordestina RR construction. In its origin the project took as its focus the ore sectors, aiming at the transport of limestone, phosphate, fertilizers, iron, etc; agriculture, in the light of the grains, especially Soya and maize; construction, that benefits carrying material such as cement; in addition to containers in general. “In general, the most viable products to be transported by railroad are of low value, are bulky freight and involve large distances. On the other hand, the security of means of transport is one point to be considered by all sectors, considered Andrade, for whom in future the fruit growing of Ceará State should join the railroad.
According to the commercial manager, foreseeing the next 20 years, the Ceará government intends to commandeer between five and ten times the size of areas where Transnordestina RR will pass. ”The idea is to reserve these additional areas for future use by local production, export processing areas and for other motives, he explains.
For the president of the Instituto Frutal, Euvaldo Bringel, if it is immediately used or not, the Ceará State fruit growing will undergo a major impact with the advent of railroads. “With it, we are bringing to Ceará State a large logistical centre. It attracts big investors, as they come where there is infrastructure. With the initiative, it will appear many skilled jobs in the areas around the railroad”, he foresees.
According to Bringel, in the medium term Transnordestina will interconnect the port of Pecém to the Mossoró-Apodi and Limoeiro do Norte orchards, which comprises Tabuleiro de Russas and Jaguaribe-Apodi. Miguel Andrade also considers the possibility. “It is logical that the project will be extended in order to meet new demands. We are open to projects. Fruit producers may invest in the construction railroad to meet Transnordestina RR. We will supervise and offer technical support”.
Source Revista Ferroviária
Government announces more investments in PAC
Concerned with the deepening of the economic crisis in Brazil, the Government announced actions to extend the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC). The plan is to enhance in almost USD 43.5 billion in this year and in the next one the investments of the public sector in the program, including the resources proceeding from public companies, as Petrobrás and Eletrobrás. The railroad sector is one of the areas which will get more attention with this new PAC’s stage.
By means of concessions to the private sector, the government intends to bid the construction of new railroads and also of stretches of existing railroads or under construction. One example is the connection of Norte-Sul RR between Anápolis (Goiás State) and Panorama (SP). Another project includes the construction of a railroad between Ilhéus (Bahia State) and the State of Tocantins - called Oeste-Leste Railroad - and of another one from Tocantins State until Rondônia State. The objective is to make the connection of Brazil and the Pacific Ocean, exit door of exports to Asian continent.
The minister of Casa Civil, Dilma Rousseff, must announce an important change in the concession model. The idea is that the winners of concessions in railroad sector are obliged to invest within a given period, or they will lose permission. Today, there is no obligation. Government’s advisers informed the new rule applies also for the old cases, companies which received the granting of a service, but did nothing.
"We will finish with this history of the company that wins a concession intending only to impede that its competitor explores it", said a minister of the Government Brasília (Distrito Federal State). An example of non-exploited concession, but already overcome, according to the government, is the one of Transnordestina RR, under responsibility of the Companhia Ferroviária do Nordeste (CFN), a subsidiary of the Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN). "Now, anyone who wants a concession will be obliged to explore it."
Still in the railroad sector, the Government’s favourite project is the high speed train which should be built between the airport of Viracopos, in Campinas (São Paulo State), and the Rio de Janeiro State. The work will be included today in PAC. As the government will promote an international bidding and require technology transfer, the plan is to create the Railroad Office, a small public company facing to the administration of this technology and to the preparation of strategic planning of the sector, just as EPE (Energy Research Company) makes in electric sector.
There is an obvious explanation for the Government’s effort in increasing public investment. The investments of the private sector, which were growing before the crisis at a 2.5 times greater speed than the growth speed of the Gross Domestic Product (PIB), are vanishing. The industrial production data disclosed by the IBGE (the Brazilian statistics institute) show that the use category that more fell in December was of capital goods (machinery and equipment) - 22.2% in relation to December 2007.
Companies, therefore, have braked as regards to the purchase of machinery to sustain the production expansion. The numbers of the last quarter of 2008, just the most acute phase of the crisis until now for Brazil, will certainly show strong decline of the Formação Bruta de Capital Fixo (FBCF), the indicator which measures the rate of investment of the economy.
To have an idea, in the third quarter of last year, the FBCF expanded 19.69% as regards to the same period of 2007, taking the nominal investment rate to 20.42% of the PIB. It is true that, as the economy was growing fast – between past July and September, it has progressed 6.8% in annual terms -, companies are now getting rid of their stocks, a process which may take still some months to be concluded. When that happens, the production is supposed to grow again, although not at the levels prior to the crisis.
It is not at random, therefore, that the government counts with Petrobrás to increase investment in the productive sector. In 2007, Petrobrás answered alone with 9% of the country’s FBCF. This year, with the USD 28.6 billion in new financial implementations already announced, the public company should increase its proportion in FBCF, since the private sector is retracted.
For its part, the Government intends to extend in 2009 the investments of direct administration. In 2008, PAC (excluded the money of state and private companies) represented only 24% of the investment paid by the Federal Government, in a total which reached 0.9% of the PIB (approximately USD 11.7 billion). The target now it is to increase this value to at least 1.2% of the PIB. For its turn, Petrobras invested last year an amount equivalent to 1.1% of the PIB and aims to increase its slice this year to something around 2% of the PIB.
The effort of the government to extend the investment is meritorious, since maintaining the fiscal responsibility. Because of the crisis, Brasília took upon itself the responsibility to make the investments to maintain the economy growing. The problem is that the Government, any government, has no operational conditions for doing much more than it already has done.
The Government estimates that a public work of infrastructure takes 33 months to start at best or, in other words, when it doesn’t face any judicial or administrative obstacle. When one adds to this the project’s execution time, this is crystal clear that it is not a reasonable period – just to exemplify, the Santo Antônio hydroelectric plant at the Madeira river should take ten years from conception until the completion of the work.
Today, there are all kinds of interferences in investment decisions of the Government. Institutions as the Court of Accounts of the Federal Government, which should analyze the projects after the implementation, turned advisory bodies. This, of course, slows down the works, when not blocks them. Although the merit of being a project which structures the logistics of the country, PAC is marked by slowness.
Source Revista Ferroviaria
Rio opens up proposals for trains bid
The government of the Rio de Janeiro State opens today the bidding proposals for the purchase of 30 trains with air conditioning, which will be operated by SuperVia.
Foreign companies are the proponents, such as the French Alstom, Korean Rotem and the Spanish CAF. The concessionaire will have then 66 with air conditioning.
The fleet will reach 200 trains. The last train acquisition with air conditioning (20 units, in 2005) cost approximately US$ 100 million.
Automating Brazil’s busiest metro lines
20 Feb 2009
BRAZIL: Work is starting on the resignalling of lines 1, 2 and 3 of the São Paulo metro under a €280m contract awarded in July 2008, paving the way for the introduction of automatic train operation. Chris Jackson discusses the programme with Alstom Transport’s Customer Director Rosangela Tsuruda and Project Director Fernando Cirillo.
Rosangela Tsuruda is Customer Director responsible for relations with São Paulo’s two urban railways: metro operator CMSP and suburban railway CPTM. She has worked for Alstom Transport for the past 18 years.
Fernando Cirillo is Project Director of CMSP lines 1, 2 & 3 Modernisation at Alstom. He began his career working on the signalling for São Paulo Line 3 when it was being built in the late 1970s. He subsequently joined Alstom, and after eight years in France he returned as bid manager for the resignalling tender and now project director for the work.
By far the busiest metro in South America, the network in São Paulo is currently handling around 3·5 million passengers a day on a network of just 61 route-km. Despite growing levels of overcrowding, traffic is continuing to increase, but some respite is in prospect for the city’s long-suffering travellers.
According to Rosangela Tsuruda, Alstom Transport’s Customer Director, the São Paulo state government has announced ‘a huge investment plan to modernise and increase the capacity of the metro network by 2010, with a total value close to R$20bn’. Intended to deliver a significant increase in capacity on the three broad-gauge lines serving the city centre, the programme includes new and refurbished trains, a line extension, resignalling and ultimately full automation.
The first of 33 extra trains for lines 1, 2 and 3 was expected to arrive by the end of 2008, and preliminary works began in August for resignalling all three routes with communications-based train control. The introduction of moving-block signalling from mid-2011 is expected to cut peak-hour headways to as little as 80 sec, boosting train throughput by as much as 20% on some sections of the network.
Last year the state government awarded a €280m contract to Alstom for the resignalling and installation of a new voice and data communications network. It is the company’s largest-ever metro signalling contract, and follows a 2007 deal to supply 96 cars which will form 16 additional six-car trainsets.
Three varied routes
Although the three lines are connected and fully compatible, they are different in many respects. Line 1 is the oldest, dating from 1974. Now running from Tucuruvi in the north to Jabaquara in the south, it is 20 km long with 23 stations. The 23 km east-west Line 3 between Barra Funda and Itaquera, which has 18 stations, followed in 1979, and is now the metro’s busiest route. The shorter Line 2 opened in stages between 1991 and 2007, and is currently 9·6 km long with 11 stations, linking Vila Madalena with Alto de Ipiranga. A further 4 km extension of this line to Vila Prudente with three stations is currently under construction and due for completion by the middle of 2010.
All three lines are equipped with a very early form of automatic train control, based on coded track circuits, as used on London’s Victoria Line from 1968 onwards. This was adopted for Line 1 in the early 1970s and is now technically obsolete. Whereas Line 1 uses relay interlockings, Line 3 has a mix of relays and early computer-based interlockings developed locally, and Line 2 is equipped with CBI throughout. All of these interlockings are to be replaced, although the recently-modernised control centre at Rua Vergueiro will be retained. In total, the contract covers more than 57 km of double-track route, or approximately 115 track-km.
Tsuruda explains that the existing signalling allows the trains to be used interoperably between the three lines if necessary. Although this does not happen at present, metro operator CMSP wants to retain the same flexibility in case of emergencies in the future, ‘so it was an intrinsic requirement of the resignalling contract that this ability should be retained’.
Alstom is supplying lineside and on-train equipment for both the CBTC and a new voice/data radio network. Alstom’s Project Manager Fernando Cirillo reports that following the signing in July, the contract officially came into force on August 14.
The company is supplying its Urbalis Evolution equipment, which is its latest generation of CBTC for metro lines. It is an enhanced version of the equipment fitted to Singapore’s North East Line in the late 1990s, and is essentially the same as that supplied to Beijing in 2007-08 for the resignalling of Line 2 and construction of the ?automated rail link to the Chinese capital’s international airport.
Whereas Singapore uses a wave-guide throughout to ensure transmission of the radio signals, the Chinese opted to use a waveguide in the tunnel sections and free propagation of the radio signals in the station areas. São Paulo has gone one step further with free propagation throughout. The radios will be the same as those provided in Beijing, with a dedicated 5·2 GHz network using the 802.11a internet protocol to carry the signalling and train control data. Cirillo says that the high level of redundancy provided is already giving very good performance, with Singapore and Beijing achieving a mean time between failures of around 100 000 h per unit.
A critical element of the programme is the need to ensure the reliability of the free-propagation radio signal in the tunnels, and to design the lineside transmitter stations to ensure adequate coverage. Cirillo says work will be starting ‘very, very soon’ to assess the radio coverage and install the equipment in order to conduct shadow testing during full service. This will allow Alstom to measure the effect of trains running in the tunnels, and check for interference or loss of coverage. ‘So when CBTC installation starts we will already be sure that the radio network is working properly’, he adds.
Because Urbalis is a centralised system using object controllers at the stations, Cirillo explains that the new equipment at each location will be much smaller than the existing interlockings. It can therefore be accommodated in the present equipment rooms, avoiding the need for any major station rebuilding works.
No modifications will be needed at the control centre, except for a new interface between the recently-installed workstations and the CBTC and radio communications networks.
At present train location is detected by the track circuits, which will be removed once the old signalling has been decommissioned. The moving-block CBTC relies on the reports from on-board equipment for accurate train positioning. These reports are based on odometers which are reset at regular intervals using fixed balises in the track. As a back-up for block occupancy detection, the three lines will also be fitted with axle-counters throughout.
Whereas the existing fixed-block signalling was designed for 90 sec headways, with a standard 30 sec station dwell time, Cirillo says that Line 3 is currently operating on average headways of 101 sec at peak times, with 109 sec on Line 1 and 149 sec on Line 2. Dwell times can be as little as 10 to 15 sec at some stations, he reports.
Thanks to the ability of the moving block signalling to let approaching trains ‘close up’ behind a stationary or departing train at each station, the Alstom CBTC installation has been designed for 75 sec headways. In regular operation, CMSP expects to run at 85 sec on Line 1 and between 80 and 83 sec intervals on Line 3.
As part of the signalling package, Alstom is also supplying an independent radio network for other voice and data communications on the three lines. This is being designed to allow for both fixed and mobile coverage.
Phasing is everything
With the metro handling record levels of traffic, CMSP’s intention is to maintain the current level of service throughout the project. Both Tsuruda and Cirillo are adamant that the resignalling can be done with no interruption to regular operations. Key to this lies with the Line 2 extension and its new trains, which will provide both a test track and enough rolling stock to cover trains taken out of service for retrofitting.
The Line 2 extension will be equipped with CBTC from the outset, both to pilot the installation techniques and to provide a commissioning section for testing the converted rolling stock. On the remainder of the lines, the CBTC is to be installed in parallel with existing signalling, which will remain in operation to the point where the whole service is cut over to the new signalling.
There will be no interfaces between the two signalling systems, so Alstom will only be able to test the new equipment on the running lines during the overnight non-traffic hours. Cirillo says works will be undertaken in parallel on all three routes, with the switchover to CBTC to take place simultaneously once the retrofitting of the train fleet has been completed.
One complication is the requirement to open part of the Line 2 extension as far as the first intermediate station at Sacomã by the first quarter of 2010. The remainder of the Line 2 extension will remain available to the project team until the conversion is complete, opening with the final switch-over.
Cirillo says the target is to complete all of the lineside and on-board installation work by the end of 2010, allowing six months for testing and final commissioning before the three lines are cut over in mid-2011.
On-board equipment will be installed on 142 trainsets in total - the 109 currently in operation and the 33 additional trains. Although the new cars being built by Alstom had been ordered before the resignalling contract was placed, Cirillo says it should be fairly straightforward to fit CBTC to them, as space can be left for the onboard equipment during manufacture. With deliveries contracted to run from the end of 2008 to the end of 2009, most units will have to be delivered without the CBTC and brought back to the depot for retrofitting, although Cirillo hopes that it might be possible to equip the last few trains before delivery.
The extra trains are intended to boost capacity on all three lines, making use of the additional paths provided by the moving-block signalling. The 16 Alstom-built units are destined for Line 2, where they will more than double the current fleet of 11 sets to permit more intensive services and work the extension. Another 17 sets are being supplied by CAF, of which seven will go to Line 1, which currently has 51, and the final 10 to Line 3 which has only 47 at present.
Whilst CMSP would have liked to replace the 30-year-old trains on Line 1, the state has decided to undertake a major refurbishment which will give them another 15 to 20 years in service. Tsuruda says tenders are to be called shortly for the refurbishment programme, which will also include replacement of the chopper controls and DC traction motors by three-phase AC drives.
The aim is that this work will be done in parallel with installation of the on-board train control equipment, with each train only being taken out of service once. Cirillo admits that this adds a further complication to the resignalling project with the need to synchronise the development and delivery of all the different subsystems.
The resignalling contract is being managed by Alstom’s existing business unit in São Paulo. This has already developed a strong expertise in metro and main line signalling, gained from supporting the city’s metro over more than 30 years. The unit acts as a local centre-of-excellence for the whole of the South American market, and Cirillo points out that it is currently active in both Chile and Argentina.
The core CBTC technology is new to Brazil, however, and the expertise will come from Alstom’s French signalling unit, through a form of internal technology transfer. Cirillo welcomes the fact that this step will enhance the Brazilian company’s capabilities to win similar contracts elsewhere in its region, where there is not a lot of expertise in automatic train control systems.
Some equipment will be sourced from other companies in the region, including the mobile radios and elements of the communications package. Cirillo points out that Alstom has been working with local subcontractors for many years, and has regular contact with a lot of qualified firms, who are likely to provide much of the resources needed for the actual installation work.
First steps towards automation
Although at this stage São Paulo is only replacing one form of attended ATO by another, Tsuruda confirms that the longer-term intention is to introduce fully-automatic operation on all three lines. She points out that other works will be necessary before UTO can be implemented, including the installation of platform screen doors at each station and changes to the metro’s operating rules.
As part of its contract, Alstom is providing platform screen doors for five of the six termini on the three lines. This will enable CMSP to introduce fully-automatic train reversal at these stations while the train attendant is changing ends. No screens are being fitted at the southern end of Line 2, because of the phasing of the extension works.
Completion of the resignalling will bring immediate benefits for the metro in terms of additional capacity and the reduced headways that it will make possible.
Although there is a stated intention to introduce driverless operation, the timing of this step is clearly a political decision for the state government. It will also depend on the progress of negotiations between the metro operator and its employees, and it is not clear at this stage whether CMSP envisages redeploying some of its on-train staff into other customer-facing roles. Other metros moving to fully-automated operation, such as Nürnberg and Barcelona, have reached agreement to redeploy their redundant drivers as roving attendants to provide enhanced information and security services on trains and stations.
MRS Logística switches to CBTC
27 Mar 2009
BRAZIL: This month will see the start of commercial operation using a new communications-based train control system as MRS Logística replaces its existing CTC with the equivalent of ETCS Level 2.
Paulo Vieira, Train Control Systems Expert, MRS Logística SA
After Brazil’s railways were privatised at the end of 1996, MRS Logística found that traffic on its 1 674 km network was rising at an extraordinary rate. To cope with this growth, the company invested in improvements to the infrastructure and rolling stock, which in many cases was run-down or in poor condition. However, little was spent on signalling and train control, other than minimal investment to keep the existing CTC in working order.
By 2003 we realised that just keeping the CTC going would not suffice to handle the forecast rise in demand, so MRS was faced with a choice: either invest in enhancing the existing CTC or replace it with something different that offered a higher capacity.
The CTC suffered from low availability and poor reliability of some components, which was not helped by the difficulty of obtaining spare parts for obsolete equipment. The level of safety was no longer deemed adequate, as train drivers had no back-up to ensure that a train was brought to a halt at a signal. Assessment of these issues pushed the decision towards complete replacement. Once that was agreed, we had to decide whether to keep the CTC concept and add cab-signalling with speed codes along the line or install communications-based train control where onboard systems would communicate with servers in a control centre and enforce train stops using radio links.
After analysing the options and their likely performance and cost, the company opted for CBTC. A Request for Proposals was issued at the end of 2004, but tendering took more than a year. A contract was finally signed with Alstom, EADS, and Accenture-Atan in March 2006.
During the tendering process MRS had to take some important technical decisions. One of the critical issues was whether or not to retain maintenance-intensive track circuits. Initially, we expected to be able to do away with them, but finding an equivalent technology to provide the same functions of track occupation, train integrity detection and broken rail detection was easier said than done. None of the alternatives was practical or economically acceptable, and eventually we decided to incorporate the existing track circuits in the new system.
Another issue was the need to ensure that trains could not proceed beyond their limit of authority or target location representing the safe limit of operation. This meant that the location of the front of the train had to be known in a vital way — and track circuits cannot provide this information. We investigated train positioning technology such as differential GPS, as used in the North American PTC programme, or balises and tachometers as with ETCS in Europe.
The choice fell on a simpler option that used the transition from one track circuit to another as a ‘virtual positioning balise’. Along with a vital onboard tachometer, this offered a good position location system which is similar to the ETCS approach. The process works in a logical sequence:
the train moves from one track circuit to the next;
the track circuit occupation event is detected by the field signalling Object Controller;
the occupation event is time-stamped using GPS, and sent to the onboard ATC computer;
the ATC processes the event, calculating the distance the train has moved since the actual occupation until the event is received, based on the GPS time-stamp;
the ATC resets the train position, adjusting any tachometer error.
As there are no regulations in Brazil governing railway control communications technology, we were able to choose any system that was technically suitable. However, this freedom was tempered by the fact that analysing the best form of communications technology was the most complex part of the whole process.
Several issues exacerbated the problem. For example, the market offered a wide range of options, some of which were already available and some which would be available imminently. There was little historic information about the application of CBTC, and there were only a few consultancies with sufficient expertise able to help with evaluation of the proposals. Communications companies lacked exposure to the rail market or did not have experience of the applications we needed.
All this meant that evaluating the proposals was especially difficult as they all used different technologies and system architectures. After examining a GPRS data transmission option (similar to the ETCS standard GSM-R), Tetra (Terrestrial Trunking Radio), APCO25, and Data Radio systems, MRS selected a Tetra system.
Known as Siaco, from the Portuguese initials for Integrated Operations Automation & Control System, the MRS train control system is equivalent to ETCS Level 2. However it is not ETCS compliant, because of the Tetra radio and the use of a specific signalling protocol and architecture without balises. It also has special functional requirements for the onboard user interface.
Siaco has four major components (Fig 1):
an Integrated Operational Control Centre, responsible for overall control of the system and its interfaces;
a Signalling & Control System, responsible for the signalling modules in the field (Object Controllers) and in the control centre (Safety Logic System);
an Onboard Control System (SCB in Portuguese), responsible for the driver interfaces (onboard computer and voice radio) and guaranteeing the safe movement of trains (ATC); the SCB also includes an event recorder, provided by Accenture-Atan, that handles real-time monitoring, acquiring and processing data from onboard sensors;
a Train Telecommunications System, handling voice and data communication for all trains using the Tetra radio backbone.
Besides the essential CBTC characteristics, Siaco is being built with a strong emphasis on integrating the different functionalities so that all systems related to train operations are managed by the IOCC. This means that managers can also use it for corporate tactical planning and overseeing maintenance. So it incorporates field systems such as hot axlebox detectors and power supply control systems for remote installations. Information from the different systems is monitored and compared, and alarms or warnings are issued, together with suggestions for the best action to take, to users on a single interface. This significantly improves the railway’s overall performance.
Another feature that once deployed we hope will lead to better performance is real-time locomotive telemetry. Together with real-time data transmission via Tetra radio, this should prevent most delays caused by locomotive failures — because data captured on board can be analysed remotely by locomotive experts at the IOCC.
After the contract was signed, the suppliers moved rapidly, and factory testing began in 2007 before a start was made on field deployment and testing. The system started operating in May 2008, but still in CTC mode as some of the SCB functionalities and components were not completely ready. Operation in CBTC mode began in August 2008 with some field training activities and more comprehensive field integration tests.
By December, Siaco had reached the ‘system stabilisation’ stage where commercial trains were running under CBTC on a 35 km pilot section on the Pombal – Guaíba branch, about 50 km from Rio de Janeiro, together with four shunting yards. At this stage the drivers handling the trains were assisted by technical staff from Alstom and MRS. The drivers were already trained, and theoretically could have operated the trains unaided. However, we agreed with Alstom-EADS that one more stage was needed to verify the stability of operations and to observe the reaction of the drivers and the dispatchers in the IOCC, especially when dealing with out-of-course events requiring the use of new procedures.
In early January Siaco was in use on six locomotives hauling service trains during normal working hours; this allowed for two to four trains a day to run on the pilot section in CBTC mode.
The project team quickly identified the need for adjustments that required further development, and the system stabilisation period was extended until the end of February. This allowed for the testing of a new system version deployed at the beginning of that month.
While operations are gradually being stepped up on the pilot section, deployment is proceeding in parallel with Object Controllers and TTS being installed across the network and SCB fitted to the locomotives. At the same time adjustments are being made by the technical team and checked by operators in the pilot section. Other technical staff are working in the factory and in the field with the aim of having Siaco deployed across the entire MRS Logística network by mid-2010.
Full commercial operations are due to start in the pilot section this month, and our strategy envisages that Siaco will be operational on 200 route-km of the busiest part of the network by mid-2009.
Deploying the equipment and checking it for safe operation is a very challenging task for the project team as it has to be done without interfering with operation of the railway. Trains run 24 h a day, 365 days a year, and traffic density is very high. Around 500 locomotives have to be fitted, together with any other powered vehicles that operate on the network. At the same time all drivers and IOCC staff have to be trained, and while all this is going on further development of hardware and software is taking place.
It quickly became obvious that the system could not be deployed in one go. The process had to be gradual, with tight co-ordination of training with software development. Deployment had to be sequential to avoid fragmentation, and we decided to equip the busiest areas first to test the system thoroughly and to gain experience as quickly as possible. Using these guidelines, five main installation phases were developed, with each phase divided into sections (map).
Fitting the onboard equipment is a long process, as the locomotives cannot be equipped simultaneously. Even with an aggressive programme, locomotives cannot be taken out of service simply to fit the onboard equipment as the process takes seven working days. Onboard installation has been carefully synchronised with maintenance intervals so that the equipment can be fitted when the locomotives are undergoing scheduled maintenance.
When operations began on the pilot line just a few locomotives had been equipped to run in CBTC mode. Many locomotives using the pilot section were not fitted, so the system had to be designed to work with CBTC and the original CTC functioning in parallel. An overlay arrangement has been adopted whereby the conventional signalling equipment remains live so that non-equipped trains can run through the CBTC area in CTC mode (Fig 2).
Any project of this complexity demands detailed planning, strong teamwork, risk management and an intensive integration effort among the companies involved. In addition, several specific issues had to be addressed.
It is important to understand that existing systems will need to be incorporated in the new arrangements so that they can interact either during the deployment process or even on a permanent basis as part of the final operation. Detailed studies are essential if delays and bad choices are to be avoided. With the Siaco project, the problem was to incorporate the existing CTC system, and this led to delays and reworking of some parts of the scheme.
Similarly, operational processes need to be reviewed. Deployment of a new system is an opportunity to review existing problems and eliminate the limitations imposed by the old methods. We chose to implement Siaco as part of a change management project which prepared people for new working methods. In this way MRS was able to avoid delays, and the new processes actually contributed to an immediate improvement in operational performance.
The radio coverage plan and data traffic studies needed to be developed very carefully, with all communications requirements properly assigned. These must address both the needs of the signalling system and the railway alignment characteristics — particularly tunnels and curves. The studies should be conservative, otherwise additional resources may become necessary as the project develops. With Siaco, we found that additional base stations and carriers were required to achieve full coverage, which led to delays and additional negotiations with the suppliers.
Finally, we found it was important to validate the CBTC principles in the early stages. Validation is essential in any technical project, and we tried to address this, although some communications-related issues such as integration with the new signalling took much longer to resolve than envisaged.
Part of the process is the need to monitor developments systematically. Validation in the field requires monitoring capability to be powerful with specific tools and detailed logs as well as the presence of a knowledgeable technical team. These monitoring capabilities were not properly prepared when the Siaco field testing began, which caused long delays
Recife South Line completed
30 Mar 2009
BRAZIL: The final stretch of Recife Metro's South Line between Tancredo Neves and Cajueiro Seco was opened by Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on 23 March. The 6·7 km extension has five stations and links the city centre with Recife's international airport and mainline rail services at Cajueiro Seco station.
This latest extension is initially expected to increase travel demand by 20 000 passengers per day. Journey time on the 14·3 km Linha Sul between Recife station and Cajueiro Seco is 25 min, with trains operating every 17 min between 06.00 and 22.00 Monday to Saturday.
Work is progressing to upgrade the 17 km line between Cajueiro Seco and Cabo de Santo Domingo. Tendering for construction of integrated bus and rail stations is in hand, and light rail vehicles worth R$60·5m have been ordered from the Trends-Bom Sinal consortium to replace the existing diesel trains. Operator Metrorec is also refurbishing stations on the Central Line and modernising the rolling stock.
Once the expansion work is completed in November 2010 passenger numbers are expected to double to around 380 000 a day.
On a program last night about causes of mass extinction, Gamma Ray Bursts were blamed for killing off most of the Trilobytes about 250MYAgo.
GRB also toast your electrical, computer and radio equipment, including Auto Train Operation equipment.
You get no warnings as the GRB arrive at the speed of light.
GRB also toast your electrical, computer and radio equipment, including Auto Train Operation equipment.
You get no warnings as the GRB arrive at the speed of light.
Ok, that one's obscure, even by your standards. At least Mauritius/Bill Gates was amusing. Care to elucidate?
GRB also toast your electrical, computer and radio equipment, including Auto Train Operation equipment.
You get no warnings as the GRB arrive at the speed of light.
Ok, that one's obscure, even by your standards. At least Mauritius/Bill Gates was amusing. Care to elucidate?
The more advanced ATO is, the more it uses electronics vulnerable to Gamma Ray Bursts. After a GMB, your advanced train signalling will be inoperative for months if not years. Also power grids, cell phones, pacemakers, you name it.
Asteroids are not the only thing causing mass extinctions.
Source Revista Ferroviária
High speed train shall have 8 stations
The high speed train which will connect the states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo shall have at least eight stations, according to the project’s technical study delivered by the English Halcrow Group to the Federal Government. The report informs that the high speed train will be able to transport from 8 million up to 10 million people per year. That means about 22 thousand people travelling everyday. In São Paulo state, the project includes stops at Luz station, at the capital centre, and at the international airport of Cumbica, in Guarulhos.
Campinas, which stays in São Paulo State interior, shall have two stations, one at the Viracopos airport and another one still to be defined. Another line will also leave from the capital towards São José dos Campos, also in the state’s interior.
Three stations are expected in Rio de Janeiro: one at the Galeão international airport, another one in the centre of the capital (at Leopoldina or at Central do Brasil) and a third one in the state’s south region, to be chosen from among the cities of Resende, Volta redonda and Barra Mansa. The government decided to suggest in the high speed train concession notice the construction of optional stations, which would be activated in specific periods. One of them would be in the city of Aparecida, in São Paulo state interior, which would operate in dates such as the Our Lady of Aparecida’s holiday (12th October). The idea is supported by the Catholic Church, but the decision to build the plant will be of the entrepreneur.
In the coming weeks, the technical-economic feasibility study shall be open for consultation. The government wants to make a public hearing on the project until the middle of May. After, the project will be sent to the Court of Auditors of the Government, which may require corrections. The forecast is the bidding edict to be published in July.
The commitment is the fast train to be operating before the 2014 World Cup, and that is why the Ministry of Transport is racing against time. But the complexity of the project and delays in timetable are obstacles - the first estimate of the technical study delivery, for example, was the end of last year. A search held by Halcrow showed that half of the current users of the Rio-São Paulo air bridge is prepared to substitute the airplane for the train. The stronger justification for the change is the fact that the train boarding can be done in central points. Considering the operations of airplane boarding and landing, the time spent in the journey between the two capitals shall be equal in the two means of transport, says the government. The high speed train edict will require that the trip is done up to 2 hours.
By the estimated volume of passengers - the triple of the registered number in the air bridge in 2008, where they passed 3.3 million people -, the business would be viable, says the report.
Technology - The government wants the fast train to be built and operated by private initiative, but it is unlikely that the public purse get rid of a counterpart. The estimated cost of the project, included in PAC (Program for the Acceleration of Growth), is of USD 11 billion. In recent weeks, an idea consolidated in the Government: the one about the creation of a state company to care specifically about the process of technology absorption for the fast train - one of the conditions imposed by the country to foreign investors interested in the project. Groups of China, South Korea, Japan, France, Germany and Italy have already sought information about the project.
Airport Express notice is ready
The director of Planning of the Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM), Alberto Epifani, said that the bidding edict of the Airport Express, which will link the central region of São Paulo to the Airport of Guarulhos, in São Paulo State, is ready and shall be divulged until the end of the month. The edict had already been promised by the state government last year.
The planned investment in the concession is of USD 642 million. According to Epifani, the Express will have free fare, with maximum cost of USD 16. The train shall leave from the region of the Júlio Prestes station and go towards the airport. After a company wins the bidding – the result shall be ready this year, in accordance with the director -, it will have 24 months to build the line.
In addition to the train to the airport, a further line, the Line 13 of CPTM, will use the same tracks. According to Epifani, it shall be ready until 36 months after the beginning of the works. According to the subway, there is no forecast to the beginning of the works of the LRV system (Light Rail Vehicle) which must link the São Judas station to the Airport of Congonhas, in the south area of São Paulo.
Source Revista Ferroviária
Santos LRV study ends this month
Technicians of the Secretary of Metropolitan Transport of São Paulo and of the Metropolitan Company of Urban Transport (EMTU) will submit, on May 5th, the basic project of the first stage of the Light Rail Vehicle between Santos and São Vicente (São Paulo State).
The presentation will be realized at 3:30 pm, at the Santos Assembly, where a city councilmen special commission will discuss the subject. According to the director of the Baixada Metropolitan Agency, Edmur Mesquita, this is another project with guaranteed resources for it’s initial phase, of USD 71 million.
The LRV operation model has not been decided. But, according the governor José Serra, “the Secretary of Transports is carrying on the project to do it under the public and private partnership model. Another option is to concede the service to a private company”.
The state shall also build bike routes at the Santos south shore cities in order to give the users access to the vehicle while the LRV does not reach these cities.
Source Revista Ferroviária
Valec intends to deliver 1.330 km of new lines
The Valec Engenharia, Construções e Ferrovias CEO, José Francisco das Neves, said that the company will not limit the delivery 1,330 kilometres of railroads in 2009 and 2010. "Money will not be the problem this year", he said. He presented this week the projects of the company to extend the railroad transport in the coming years, during a meeting attended by representatives of the Superior Council of Agrobusiness (Cosag), of the Federation of Industries in the State of S Paulo (Fiesp).
The Valec’s CEO recalled that the economic crisis made the government to postpone the auctions for the Norte-Sul RR stretch sublicensing between Açailândia (Maranhão State) and Palmas (Tocantins State), in which the interested companies are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the stretch in question. But noted that the government has not ceased to locate the resources established for other stretches under the state company’s concession this year. According to Neves, the resources already authorized and allocated for the construction of Norte-Sul RR stretches and Oeste-Leste RR, which are under Valec’s responsibility, summed USD 2.7 billion in 2009.
The executive emphasizes that, in addition to the reduction of 30% in the cost of freight, another important advantage for the agrobusiness is agility in the delivery of cargo, since the new stretches were built with gauge of until 1.60 meter, which allow an increase in the speed.
According to him, at the older railroads the speed varies between 18 km and 20 km per hour, but in the new stretches, with wider gauges, trains operate above 50 km per hour. Neves notes that, nowadays, the export of grains in the route between producing areas up to the final destination varies from 20 to 30 days up to Europe and may reach 45 days up to the Asian countries.
The Norte-Sul RR stretch between Anápolis (Tocantins State) and Estrela d’Oeste (São Paulo State), which will require investments of USD 1.8 billion, shall be concluded until July of next year and shall reduce the outgoings with transport of grains of the season 2009/10. According to Neves, from this budget, USD 1.3 billion are already in state’s cash for works execution. Another stretch which must be concluded in the next year is the one which leaves from Figueirópolis (Tocantins State) and goes towards Luís Eduardo Magalhães (Bahia State), region which brings together large producers of grain, up to the port of Ilhéus (also in Bahia State).
Neves informed that the construction works also create job opportunities in the railroads regions. According to him, the works in Norte-Sul RR and Oeste-Leste RR shall generate 50 thousand direct jobs and 150 thousand indirect jobs.
Fortaleza seeks bids for new trains
Fortaleza, Brazil, has called for bids by June 1 for 10 four-car 1000 mm-gauge emus for the under-construction Metro Line 1.
The winner will be the company who can fulfil the criteria at the lowest price.
More information is available at www.seplag.ce.gov.br.
Ferroeste consolidates its expansion plans
04 May 2009
Samuel Gomes, Chairman & CEO, Estrada de Ferro Paraná Oeste SA
This year will be a decisive time for Ferroeste, as we press ahead with our long-term expansion strategy. By the end of the year, we expect to have completed all the technical and environmental studies for a series of extensions and new branches which are due to be completed by 2015 at an estimated cost of around US$1·5bn. These will add more than 1 200 route-km to the railway, which is currently just 248 km long. The line now runs from Cascavel in the southern Brazilian state of Paraná to Guarapuava, from where existing railways take the traffic to the ports of Paranaguá and Antonina, in Paraná, and São Francisco do Sul, in Santa Catarina.
When completed, the new lines will connect the states of Paraná, Mato Grosso do Sul and Santa Catarina, as well as Paraguay, with the Atlantic Ocean. Between them, the three states currently generate 20% of all Brazilian agricultural production, and the annual demand in the area served by the new lines is projected to reach 20 million tonnes per year. Of this the demand from the Paraná region alone is 12 million tonnes, or more than twice the carrying capacity of the current line which is around 5 million tonnes a year.
Estrada de Ferro Paraná Oeste SA is a public-private company partially owned by the state government of Paraná. The first stage of the railway was built by the state government, and the US$363m cost was funded by the state. This public investment has already helped to reduce the cost of transport, improving the income of farmers and industries, including small and medium-sized companies, and, generating economic and social development in Paraná.
The extension plans are being backed by Paraná, in co-ordination with the governments of the other states and with the support of the federal government, which has made it one of the priorities for national infrastructure development. A number of other stakeholders — both public and private — are also playing an active role in the process.
Main line heads northwest
Work is already underway on the next stage of the railway, which runs for 170 km from the current railhead at Cascavel to Guaíra on the banks of the Paraná River near the border with Paraguay. This section runs through an area of intensive grain production, generating crops for export through the port of Paranaguá, which is already the busiest grain port in Brazil. As well as reducing transport costs for the export traffic, the line will also carry inward traffic such as fertilisers and equipment.
After crossing the river, the new line will continue northwest for a further 270 km in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Passing through Dourados, it will run to Maracaju, where it will meet the América Latina Logística branch from Campo Grande to Ponta Porã on the Paraguayan border. The connection at Maracaju will allow traffic to and from Bolivia at Corumbá to reach Paranaguá, a distance of 1 700 km which is easier than the current 1 500 km road haul through the Andes to Pacific ports.
Onward connections beyond Maracaju would link Ferroeste with the railways of western central Brazil, and the Ferrovia Norte-Sul, opening up new access routes to the heart of the country.
The extension to Dourados and Maracaju is being planned through a strategic partnership with Petrobras Transporte SA, which is the country’s largest transporter of oil and natural gas. Transpetro has identified a potential demand for around 4 million m³ of ethanol a year from the state of Mato Grosso do Sul to be exported through Paranaguá from 2011 onwards.
Another branch will run southwest from Cascavel to Foz do Iguaçu, also located on the bank of the Paraná River close to the borders with Paraguay and Argentina. Construction of this 170 km branch is strongly supported by partners across the continent as part of the co-called ‘bioceanic’ railway corridor across South America, connecting the ports of Paranaguá in Brazil and Antofagasta in Chile. A political decision to create this corridor was taken by the presidents of Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Chile. At a meeting in Buenos Aires in May 2008, it was agreed that the line should be operational within five to 10 years.
Much of the railway already exists, and only 470 km of new line is needed to link up the corridor. Ferroeste has already invested US$4m to complete engineering design for the 170 km section between Cascavel and Foz do Iguaçu. This only leaves the 300 km paralleling the Paraná river through Paraguay and Argentina to Barranqueras, from where the line already exists through Salta and Socompa to Antofagasta.
To serve the southern part of Paraná and the western section of Santa Catarina state, Ferroeste is now looking at building a branch to Chapecó, an important meat production centre in the west of Santa Catarina. This would be around 300 km long, diverging from the existing main line at Laranjeiras do Sul, about mid-way between Guarapuava and Cascavel.
The Chapecó branch is intended to serve Santa Caterina’s meat industry by reducing the cost of feedstocks, mainly corn from Mato Grosso do Sul and western Paraná. The line would also carry processed meat products moving out in refrigerated containers for export.
New port access
With all of these extensions forecast to generate considerable volumes of traffic, their opening will put pressure on the existing railway between Guarapuava and Paranaguá, which is already suffering from a shortage of capacity in places. The biggest bottleneck is the former Rffsa line between Guarapuava and Ponta Grossa, which is owned by the federal government and currently operated by ALL, along with the tortuous route through Curitiba on the line leading down to the coast.
Ferroeste has therefore completed an initial pre-feasibility study for construction of a direct line between Guarapuava and Paranaguá, which would be around 365 km long. This would reduce the distance between Cascavel and Paranaguá from 738 km to 613 km. But more importantly, by solving the bottlenecks in the production flow, it would shorten the train cycle time from around eight days now to just 36 h.
A technical feasibility study for the new line has been submitted to the Ministry of Transport, and strategies for financing the construction of the route are now under discussion. Private-sector investors have already expressed interest in the project. The estimated cost is put at R$985m (around US$500m). The line could also benefit from financing through the National Bank for Social and Economic Development (BNDES), as the project forms part of the national strategy to increase rail’s modal share, as set out by the federal government in the National Plan for Transport (Pnlt) and the Growth Acceleration Programme (PAC).
Rolling stock investment
As the only public-sector freight operator in Brazil, Ferroeste is strongly focused on its primary function of supporting economic and social development. By offering lower rates and subsidies for small and medium producers, Ferroeste aims to provide cheap transport to meets the demands of a large flow of grain from the regions it serves, and reduce the current dependence on trucks.
To this end, Ferroeste and the Paraná state government have launched an innovative programme to underwrite the construction of 500 new wagons, which will be made available for sale to shippers at a lower price thanks to the economies of scale. Winning bidder was Amsted Maxion, which has been selected to supply 100 gross tonne hopper wagons for around US$100 000 each.
Meanwhile, on March 16 Ferroeste announced the start of a procurement process to acquire seven second- hand diesel locomotives rated at 3 000 hp. These will replace its existing 1 600 hp locos which are technically obsolete. We expect the new locos to improve operating performance, as they will be able to haul trains of up to 65 wagons compared to only 32 at present. Fuel consumption will be reduced by an estimated 40%, offering an annual saving of around US$1·5m. The new loco-motives are also expected to reduce maintenance costs by nearly 60%.
With the reduction in operating costs promised by the replacement locomotives and arrival of the new wagons, Ferroeste will be able to increase its performance and lower its freight rates, helping to reduce production costs and improve economic competitiveness throughout its area of influence.
from Revista Ferroviária
Vale’s general cargo is the lowest since 2001
The volume of general freight carried by Vale’s railroads (Vitória a Minas RR, Carajás RR, Centro-Atlântica RR) in the first quarter of 2009 has declined 11,9% relating to the same period of the last year. In the first three months of the year, the railroads transported 5,049 billion TKU, against 5,734 billion TKU handled in the first quarter of 2008. According to information of the company, "the first quarter of 2009 was the worst quarter in terms of volume of general freight carried by the three railroads since the first quarter of 2001". The dissemination of the financial results of this year’s first quarter was announced this Wednesday (May 7th) by the manager of Finance and Relations with Investors, Fábio Barbosa.
In accordance with the manager, the reduction of the general freight transported volume is explained by seasonal factors – the first quarter of the year is seasonally weaker – and also by the reduction in steel manufacturing in Brazil, which caused significant unfavourable impact on railroad transport of inputs and steel products. The main transported freights by Vale’s railroads were agricultural products (45.4%), inputs and steel products (38.6%), fuels (6.8%), construction materials and forestry products (2.4%) and others (6.9%).
In relation to gross revenue by product, the railroads registered USD 157 million in the first quarter of this year. The value represents a reduction of 46.7% relating to the same period of 2008. The logistics services in the first quarter enabled revenue of USD 199 million, against USD 310 million in the fourth quarter of 2008 and USD 362 million in the first quarter of the last year. The reduction in Vale’s revenue reflected in the net profit of the company, which fell 0.3% when compared to the fourth quarter of 2008 (USD 1.363 million).
from Revista Ferroviária
Korean minister will discuss train in Brazil
Between May 11 and 14, the Minister of Transport of Korea, Jong Hwan Chung, will visit Brazil together with a technicians committee with 20 representatives of public and private institutions of the railroad sector, in order to continue the analysis of the Korean experts team on the high speed train project between the states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, which is included in the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC) of the Federal Government.
On 12th, the Korean Minister will participate in meetings with institutions representing industry and trade of the São Paulo State, in order to discuss details of the fast train project as well as of its financing, including the Korean transfer of technology to Brazil.
Then, Jong Hwan Chung, together with the Korean committee, will go to Brasília to a meeting with the Minister of Casa Civil, Dilma Rousseff, the Minister of Transport, Alfredo Nacimento, the Minister for Science and Technology, Sérgio Rezende, and with the Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Miguel Jorge, in addition to representatives of ANTT and BNDES.
On May 14th, Chung will end his visit to São Paulo State going to the places planned for the construction of stations of the high speed train project, and then will return to Korea. The Korean committee remains in São Paulo State, ending its technical visits on May 16.
The committee is led and organized by Mr. Daniel Suh, Korean coordinator of the high speed train project Rio-São Paulo and receives the support of the Grupo Trends Tecnologia (GTT), through its president Paulo Benites, and its director Albuino Azeredo.
from Revista Ferroviária
ALL tries truck engines in locomotives
Searching for greater efficiency, América Latina Logística (ALL), South America’s greater railroad, decided to innovate. The company started to test Scania truck engines in their GE locomotives.
With capacity of 2,100 HP, the machine operates with three truck engines with 700 HP each. Smaller and more efficient, the engines have maintenance cost similar to original locomotive models.
The great advantage, however, is the fuel consumption. According to ALL, the truck engines allow a reduction of up to 20% in the use of diesel, in addition to the reduction of polluting gases. "Scania has closely followed the test, and has already promoted improvements in the engine. We hope soon to use the alternative in larger scale", said Gabriel Martelli, Mechanics inspector of ALL.
from Revista Ferroviária
CPTM will concede line to private initiative
The Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM) will grant a company (or group of companies) the responsibility to assume for 30 years the renewal and refurbish of the trains fleet and the implementation of maintenance services in trains of one of its lines, by means of Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Competition will be international and, in practice, a form of "outsourcing".
Three groups and foreign companies - Hyundai Rotem, Mitsui and Mitsubishi, all train and railroad equipment manufacturers - have already demonstrated interest in participating. Depending on the outcome, the project may be extended to other lines.
The initial proposal considers the Line 8-Diamond (Júlio Prestes-Itapevi), with 35 kilometres, the most profitable of the system. With daily traffic of approximately 392 thousand passengers, responds by 22% of proceeds with the tickets. Despite the great traffic, the line currently operates with old trains, inherited from the extinguished Ferrovias Paulistas S. A. (Fepasa), one of the companies which gave rise to CPTM. The French-Brazilian trains operate since 1978.
CPTM, meanwhile, does not give more details on the project, alleging secret notice, but says that the process, which began in October, is part of the expansion and modernisation plan of the São Paulo State system. The theme is shown in a government advertising on TV as one of the main achievements of the José Serra management.
CPTM considers the hypothesis of the contract to be signed until 20th May. It is right that the winner group will be responsible at first for refurbishing 12 of the current trains, whose last refurbish happened in 2000. The winner will have an one year term. From the 13th month, one refurbished train must be delivered per month. The installation of air-conditioning in the trains will be a novelty.
In the second stage, from the 22nd to the 26th month, must be delivered 24 new trains, whose responsibility for the purchase will be entirely of the concessionaire. In the third stage, from the 21st year of concession, the bidding winner shall bring more 12 new trains, replacing the 12 ones which had been refurbished in the first stage.
The remuneration shall be made by CPTM in accordance with the speed of the availability of refurbished and new trains and indicators of operational performance of the line, including the tickets revenue. "The first benefits shall be: the wait between trains shall lapse of the current 7 minutes to 5; and the average of users by working days shall grow from 392 thousand to 480 thousand", said the director of CPTM, Sérgio Luiz Gonçalves Pereira.
Alphaville - Stations of Line 8 also must be improved and there is a claim in the municipality of Barueri that the line reaches Alphaville, by means of a connection with the Antônio João Station or Barueri. The route has high demand for collective transport by bus, because of people which live in Barueri and Carapicuíba and work in the commercial centre of the district, where large companies are settled.
from Revista Ferroviária
Companies stop investments in infrastructure
The sharp decline of the world demand allied to the shortage of credit made the private initiative to freeze the investments in the infrastructure sector. A research performed by the Fundação Dom Cabral, with 116 large companies of various sectors of the economy, shows that half of the companies postponed their expansion plans this year. Of the postponed projects, 53% are related to port terminals, railroads, road transport and warehouses.
The decision may represent heavy losses in the future and may contribute to further increase the neglect of the Brazilian infrastructure. "We believe that the companies have overreacted. Strategically it is an error", says the teacher of the Fundação Com Cabral, Paulo Resende, responsible for the research.
Last week, for example, Vale decided to reduce in R$ 1.2 bn the investments in logistics until 2013, in addition to extend the deadline of some works. But other already initiated enterprises will be maintained. In the port sector, LLX Logistics, of the EBX group, has suspended the construction of the Brazil Port, at the São Paulo State coast.
The President of the Brazilian Association of Port Terminals (ABTP), Willen Manteli, recalls that, although the freight growth targets in ports are threatened by the crisis, that is not a time to relax. "We must seize this space to strengthen our infrastructure and improve the access to ports."
The fear of the specialists is that this dangerous sense of relief may further worsen the position of the country in terms of competitiveness. This is because the rest of the world chose the infrastructure as a basis to combat the crisis. "Meanwhile, Brazil is losing the schedule for investments in various sectors of the infrastructure. Now we are lying on PAC (Growth Acceleration Program)", said Resende.
from Revista Ferroviária
Oeste-Leste bid notice will be ready in May
The bidding notice for the Oeste-Leste RR construction will be published in May and the working groups shall be prepared in September. The announcement was performed on April 23rd by the Secretary of Planning, Walter Pinheiro, during a meeting with leaders of the Federation of Industries of Bahia State (Fieb), when an audit of the actions of the State Government and the priorities for the next two years were presented.
In accordance with the secretary, in addition to generate more than 10 thousand jobs, the railroad will facilitate the transportation of grains, iron ore and its by products, biofuels, fertilisers and oil by products. “Oeste-Leste RR is emblematic and decisive for the state. It shall be the element able to interconnect Bahia State, attract new business and also serve the population", says.
Two other excellent news for the development of Bahia and especially for the west of Bahia state were disclosed in the meeting. Pinheiro said that the state will soon have another federal university and that it is already under construction the BR-135 highway, which cuts the municipality of Barreiras, in the North-South shaft, and links the border between the states of Bahia and Minas Gerais up to the border with Piauí State.
"The West will not only earn a lot with the road, railroad and the interconnection via a ring road. It will also leave behind a process of isolation", indicates Pinheiro, still reporting that the first pillar of the public university will be in Barreiras and that in a short space of time will be turned into a university with several campuses.
from Revista Ferroviária
Vale adjusts investment in logistics
Vale do Rio Doce took advantage of the world economic crisis, which reduced the demand for iron ore, to adjust the investments of the company in the logistics area. The miner plan is to invest USD 11.4 billion between 2009 and 2013, less than the USD 12 billion programmed in previous planning, valid for the period 2008-2012. The somewhat lower figure reflects the fact that, due to the crisis, the company gained time and managed to reduce costs in order to implement the capacity extension project of Carajás RR (EFC) and of the maritime terminal Ponta da Madeira, in São Luís, Maranhão State.
Railroad and port, both located at the so called Vale’s north system, shall receive approximately USD 7 billion to increase in nearly 80% in five years the transport capacity . The current capacity of Vale’s logistical north system, which is of 130 million tonnes per year, must reach the 230 million tonnes from 2014. The new reality of the market has enabled Vale to reduce in 15% the cost of the extension projects of Carajás RR and the Ponta da Madeira terminal, which represents an economy of US$ 1 bn, said Eduardo Bartolomeo, the miner’s logistics director.
The economy is the result of the prices renegotiation with equipment and services suppliers, of the exchange and also of changes in the way of implementing the north system engineering project. The company will be able to buy cheaper tracks and, in the first moment, will have less construction sites. But we are maintaining the commitment to double the investments (in logistics) in the coming five years, despite the crisis, said Bartolomeo. The comparison refers to the USD 5.15 billion invested in logistics in the period 2004-2008, when the company has expanded the railroad network in one thousand kilometres and incorporated to the fleet 260 locomotives and 11.3 thousand cars.
We will continue to be the company which invests more (in Brazilian logistics ), said Bartolomeo. He said that the decision to continue to invest attempts to avoid that the company has limitations in the production transport capacity at a time when there is a resumption of the demand for iron ore, as it has already occurred in the past. If the market condition changes (for better), we can accelerate the development of the program (of investments), said.
Vale is preparing to start the works of the pier four in Ponta Madeira (Maranhão State) in October, a project which is in public hearing process and that when it is well operating, it will have the ability to transport 100 million tonnes of iron ore per year. The extension of the Ponta da Madeira terminal expected works on land and sea. Now we will move in the project from the land (to the sea) because I gained more time in planning. This is an example of scope change which makes the project cheaper, he said.
Bartolomeo denied that the adjustments mean postponements in projects, since the beginning of the main works was maintained in accordance with the original schedule. What happened was that intermediate steps of the projects could be reprogrammed due to the crisis. The executive has stated that the first new cradle for iron ore ship loading in Ponta da Madeira must be ready in 2012, but the second cradle can be constructed later. The two cradles will be connected to pier four.
Investments in logistics in north system shall be made independent of the development of Serra Sul, in Carajás, the largest new project (Greenfield) of the company and the world's largest in terms of production of iron ore. We will also have Serra Norte and additional capacity (of loading) from Norte-Sul RR (the Norte-Sul Railroad, which connects to EFC) and of general freight, said Bartolomeo. One of the major trusts of Vale is to extend the grains transport, especially of soy, by the Norte-Sul RR-Carajás RR-Ponta da Madeira way. According to the projections of the company, the grains transport could reach 8.8 million tonnes in 2013.
Bartolomeo added that Vale’s south system is also receiving investments to extend the capacity using the USD 11.4 billion expected until 2013. The investments include the installation of new ship loaders Tubarão port, in Espírito Santo State. The port, which today has the capacity to export 105 million tonnes of iron ore per year, shall increase the capacity to 120 million tonnes/year. The Vitória a Minas RR (EFVM), also controlled by Vale, is increasing its transport capacity in 20% thanks to the deployment of a new signalling system.