Making the right connection
A collaboration between Corus and the University of Southampton has produced Silent Track, a dynamic vibration dampening system capable of reducing noise generated by the track. The first application will be 10km of track in various Dutch cities.
Design Products and Applications, Dec 2006. p.8.
Orders are soaring for raid target LPA
LPA Group of Saffron Walden, which supplies mainly the rail industry with electrics, has returned to profit in the second half of 2006; but has still suffered a loss of Â£143,000 for the whole year. A growing order book confirms that there is a lot of interest from defence, infrastructure and rail companies in LED lighting, but there is also a risk of a battle with a corporate raider who currently has a 17% interest in the company.
Cambridge Evening News, 25 Jan 2007. p 32
Eurotunnel revenues up as traffic falls
Eurotunnel revenues rose 5% in 2006 despite carrying less traffic. The figures reflected the company's policy of pursuing higher-yielding business at the expense of high volumes. Income is likely to drop this year because of the end of arrangements guaranteeing minimum income from third-party users of the tunnel.
Financial Times, 18 Jan 2007. p.20.
Eurotunnel clears more hurdles to financial restructuring
Eurotunnel has cleared more hurdles to its financial restructuring with two creditors dropping their cases. Â£2.13bn of Eurotunnel's debt is likely to be written off, but the creditors will eventually take control of the company.
Financial Times, 19 Jan. 2007. p.19.
London Underground close to Alstom deal on Northern Line
The private consortium that maintains the Northern Line track and trains, is close to finalising contract changes to transform the reliability of the line's trains. Tubelines has reached an agreement with Alstom which should give Alstom a better incentive to keep trains running reliably.
Financial Times, 22 Jan. 2007. p.3.
[Railway] Risk Management Forum 2007
The annual two day rail industry Risk Management Forum is to be held on 19 and 20 June 2007 at Nottingham University's Jubilee Campus. The theme for this year is 'Managing risk across interfaces - to improve safety and business performance'. For further information contact Kerry Taylor at the Rail Safety and Standards Board (firstname.lastname@example.org).
London; RSSB, 2006. 1pp.
An update on Railsafe, the project on training, qualification and certification of aluminothermic rail welders on a common European basis, is presented. A brief history of the harmonised system, requirements for education and training, and the project's future are discussed.
Welding Lines, no.19. Dec.2006. pp.2-3.
In the fifth in a series of the Institute of Rail Welding's corporate member company profiles, the spotlight is put on Corus Rail, one of the business units within the long products division of Corus plc. The company's products are listed. Subsidiary Corus Rail Technologies' (CRT) areas of expertise and key staff are introduced. CRT's key developments - weld restoration of grooved rail, rail defect management system, and prediction of initiation of rolling contact fatigue cracks - are briefly described.
Welding Lines, no.19. Dec.2006. pp.3-4.
Eddington report discourages new transport infrastructure
A synposis of the Rod Eddington report, 'Transport's role in sustaining the UK's productivity and competitiveness' is presented.
Modern Railways. Jan.2007. pp.6-7.
Rail Minister Tom Harris outlines the Government's thinking in the development of a technical strategy for the way the railways should look in three decades' time.
Modern Railways. Jan.2007. pp.30-31..
BS EN 15610
Railway applications. Noise emission. Rail roughness measurement related to rolling noise generation.
[BSI] Update Standards. Jan.2007. p.29.
Eurostar expects passenger increase
Eurostar chief executive, Richard Brown, is expecting an increased number of passengers this year, and that they will use the service for longer, more complicated, journeys. This follows improvements to the European rail network, including the opening of new sections of high-speed track between Antwerp, Belgium and Amsterdam, Netherlands. An additional improvement will be the opening of the high-speed link from London to the Channel Tunnel.
Financial Times, 12 Jan 2007. p.23.
KCRC West Rail special
This special issue is devoted to the Kowloon-Canton Railway and in particular Arup's involvement with the recent West Rail projects.
Arup Journal, 3/2006. pp 2-43
Fuel-cell train reaches 50kph in demonstration run
The manager of the East japan Railway Co's Research and Development Center, Ryosuke Futura, believes in the potential of fuel-cell trains, and suggests that the power transmission system may be removed from trains completely in future. A recent hybrid train demonstration at Tokyu Car Corp.'s factory at Yokahama reached a speed of 50 kph on a 300m test track. The train can goat 100kph and accelerates almost as smoothly as a current commuter train. Details of the working of the fuel cell are given. Before it can be commercialised the performance and manufacturing costs of the fuel-cell must be improved, and the cost of manufacturing the fuel-cell train must be reduced.
The Nikkei Weekly, vol.44. no.2,262. 27 Nov. 2006. p.16.
High-speed 3-D machine vision: getting the details right
A discussion of the use of high-speed machine vision systems. Details are given of the choice of camera systems, acquiring the image, illumination, software considerations, and its application to scanning rail tracks.
Laser Focus World, vol.42. no.11. Nov. 2006. pp.67-70.
Eurotunnel seeks backing for write-off proposals in face of legal challenges
Eurotunnel hopes to move towards restructuring its Â£6.18bn debt when its bond holders meet to vote whether to accept a plan to write off a significant portion of the debt. If the process fails, Eurotunnel said it would go into liquidation.
Financial Times, 14 Dec.2006. p.19.
Network Rail runs into profit but stresses need to raise capacity
Results for the company for the 6 months to the end of September 2006 show pretax profits of Â£747M; the profits will be reinvested, largely in paying down debt that stands at Â£17.9bn. Improved efficiency has reduced operating costs by Â£1.1bn over the past 2.5 years. A priority is increasing network capacity.
Financial Times. 28 Nov.2006. p.4.
Â£6 million deal for DeltaRail
Formerly known as AEA Technology, DeltaRail Group Ltd has won 4 major contracts from Network Rail; these are listed. Three other contracts involving IECC (integrated electronic control centres) signalling control system enhancements have also been secured.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.700. Dec.2006. p.9.
Rail freight ready to fight climate change
The opinion column of the Rail Freight Group considers how the increased use of rail in place of road transport can help to reduce carbon emissions.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.700. Dec.2006. p.13.
Towards the 2030 railway
The possible shape of the UK rail service over the next 25 years is discussed, looking at new station and rolling stock design, the effect of climate change on services, low maintenance equipment, increasing capacity, and use of top quality materials.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.700. Dec.2006. pp.30-32,34-35.
We must kick our addiction to speed
It is argued that a high speed line is not the answer to the UK's transport problems. Energy use versus time saving (London to Edinburgh), energy and power use coefficients for different speeds compared to 200 km/h, and city disposition (UK and France) are considered, with figures presented. Reliable performance and good connections are proposed as better than high speed in the UK as distances between centres are not great enough, there is not time to plan and build them, a sustainable transport policy needs capacity more than speed and they have hidden environmental costs.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.700. Dec.2006. pp.36-39.
Bombardier scoops huge Paris suburban order
The contract to supply and maintain 372 trains for the Ile de France suburban network has been awarded to Bombardier by SNCF. Design and manufacture of the units will take place at Crespin with deliveries beginning late 2009. Alstom, the other bidder on the project, is considering legal action to get the decision reversed.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.700. Dec.2006. p.60.
John Armitt, Chief Executive of Network Rail, has won The Sir Robert Lawrence Award of The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK).
Tony King, Director of Jacobs, has become chairman of the Railway Industry Association. The position is for two years.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.700. Dec.2006. p.78.
Rail freight in last-minute deal
The Department for Transport has agreed a funding deal with EWS, the UK's freight service operator through the Channel Tunnel, to avoid the company carrying out its threat to close the service. The company believes the full toll prices, which it would have had to pay from this date if the DfT had removed funding it has provided for the past 10 years, are too high to make the service economic.
Financial Times, 1 Dec. 2006. p.20.
Evraz Group to buy Oregon for US$2.3bn
Oregon Steel Mills is to be acquired by Russian steelmaker, Evraz Group, and is the latter's first move into the North American steel business. The purchase will make Evraz a leader in steel plate and pipe manufacturing, and the largest producer of rails in the world. Both companies presently dominate rail production in their domestic markets.
Financial Times. 21 Nov.2006. p.22.
Games overruns threaten Crossrail timing
Internal projections for the cost of the Olympic Games are now put at Â£5 billion, double the original estimate, and as a consequence construction of the trans-London Crossrail project may be deferred until after 2012. Increased security measures have greatly added to the cost of the Games, and the estimated cost of Crossrail has already risen by nearly Â£5 billion. Gordon Brown is anxious not to let capital spending get out of hand during the next comprehensive spending review and he has several other large projects in prospect, including a revamped Thameslink.
Financial Times, 22 Nov 2006. p 3
Metronet investors may bear extra costs for Tube
An outline of the possible outcome of the report by Chris Bolt, who arbitrates disputes over the implementation of the Underground PPP, which suggests that Metronet has not been economic and efficient in the upgrade of stations and work on the Tube track.
Financial Times, 17 Nov. 2006. p.4.
Eurostar has record-breaking third quarter
Passenger numbers were up 9.9% for the period July-September compared to the same period in 2005, and sales revenue increased 21%. Business market ticket sales rose 27%. Average punctuality stands at 91.4%, with 98% being achieved during one week in September. Passengers on Eurostar generate 11kg of carbon dioxide emissions between London and Paris, compared to 122kg for passengers flying the route.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.698. Nov.2006. p.7.
Eddie the Engine launches Stobart Rail's Tesco service
The 19th Sept. 2006 saw the launch of Stobart Rail at Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal. Direct Rail Services, under contract to Eddie Stobart Ltd, the road haulier, is operating a dedicated service carrying non-food products from the Tesco complex at Daventry to its Scottish distribution site at Livingston. The new rail service is expected to reduce lorry movements by 13,000 per annum. Further details are given.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.698. Nov.2006. p.12.
Rail funding becoming even more opaque
Support for the UK railway is discussed by Roger Ford (Informed Sources), and a table details funding and 'hidden monies' from 2003/04 to 2008/09.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.698. Nov.2006. pp.16-17.
Confidence north of the border
The Northern Ireland Rail network is reviewed and future rail development is considered. A chart (underground-style) itemises future options for routes.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.698. Nov.2006. pp.56-59.
Balfour Beatty ties up with Bombardier for signalling work
A signalling joint venture between Balfour Beatty Rail (BBR) and Bombardier Transportation (Signal), targetting the German market, has been announced. BBR is also working with Bankner AG (Switzerland) to provide rigid catenary trackfeed for the Swiss market.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.698. Nov.2006. p.62.
English input for Caterpillar DMU engine
The first in a new family of low-emission horizontal engines for powering diesel multi-units has been launched by Caterpillar. The C18 ACERT, along with the C32 and C175, are for customers requiring a horizontal alternative to competitive models requiring larger cooling systems. The C18 will be available for DMU manufacturer testing in 2007 with full production starting at the end of 2008. Core engine production will be carried out at the Caterpillar Mossville (IL, USA) plant, with finishing at either the Peterborough, Stafford or Shrewsbury facility (to be decided).
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.698. Nov.2006. p.62.
East London line contract awarded as part of 2012 transport boost
The contract for work on the East London line extension has been awarded to a consortium of Balfour Beatty and Carillion. A new set of orbital rail services will be created, with the New Cross-Whitechapel line converted to the National Rail network from the underground system, an 2.25 mile extension (to Dalston Junction), and a new junction at New Cross Gate. The existing line will have all track and signalling replaced. The project will run from 2007 to 2010.
Financial Times. 24 Oct.2006. p.6.
Network Rail faces hefty fine following crash plea
Network Rail has pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety laws in the period before the Paddington rail crash and could face substantial fines. Sentencing is likely in mid-December. Thames Trains, whose train precipitated the crash, pleaded guilty in 2003 and was fined Â£2 million, then a record; but Balfour Beatty and Network Rail were subsequently fined Â£11 million for health and safety charges arising from the Hatfield rail crash.
Financial Times, 1 Nov 2006. p 4
Rolling ahead: Bombardier beats Alstom to win French train contract
SNCF has given a second major order in recent years to Bombardier rather than Alstom. The Eur2.7bn order is for 372 trains to replace ageing stock. SNCF also awarded Bombardier an order to renovate 635 double-decker wagons. The new trains will be built in Bombardier's factory in eastern France.
Financial Times, 26 Oct 2006. p.28.
Alstom and Datong in locomotive deal
Alstom and Chinese partner, Datong Electric Locomotive, have signed a contract for $1.2bn to deliver 500 heavy freight locomotives to Chinese railways. Another contract for the supply of power turbines is also expected to be completed.
Financial Times, 23 Oct. 2006. p.8.
Welding of steel rail.
Australasian Welding Journal, vol.51, no.3. 2006. p.45.
BS EN 14730
Railway applications. Track. Aluminothermic welding of rails.
Part 1:2006 Approval of welding processes.
Part 2:2006 Qualifications of aluminothermic welders, approval of contractors and acceptance of welds.
[BSI] Update Standards. Oct.2006. p.10.
Railway applications. Track. Qualification of railway trackworks contractors.
[BSI] Update Standards. Oct.2006. p.43.
BS EN 13146
Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems.
Part 4:2002 Effect of repeated loading. Amendment 1.
[BSI] Update Standards. Oct.2006. p.18.
BS EN 13481
Railway applications. Track. performance requirements for fastening systems.
Part 1:2002 Definitions. Amendment 1.
Part 4:2002 Fastening systems for steel sleepers. Amendment 1 (also incorporates Corrigendum 1)
[BSI] Update Standards. Oct.2006. pp.18-19.
French railway may buy Alstom train
Philippe Mellier, chief executive of Alstom's transport division, has said that the French state railways SNCF could be the first company to buy the new AGV high-speed train, successor to the TGV. The new train has aluminium rather than steel carriages, and all electrical and control equipment is now hidden beneath the floors of carriages rather than concentrated in power cars at each end of the train. SNCF, however, maintains that nothing has changed since it denied in May that it would be the launch customer.
Financial Times, 11 Oct 2006. p 22
Network Rail forecasts 30% freight growth in 10 years
The figure is from the draft Freight Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS), published for consultation this month, and to meet the forecast's demand an additional 120 trains/day will be required. Greatest growth will be in the coal and intermodal traffic sectors. The expected increases in freight traffic in these areas are discussed in some detail.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.697. Oct.2006. p.12.
Welding contract for Corus
A 6 year contract, valued at Â£23M, has been awarded to Corus for the welding of up to 100,000 tonnes of new rail per annum. Work will be carried out at a new welding centre located at the Corus site in Scunthorpe; the centre will replace welding facilities in Workington and Castleton. Welding at the latter will cease on 1 December this year.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.697. Oct.2006. p.14.
A high-speed line could wash its face/HSL: an economic bridge between north and south
Two articles champion the need for the UK to have a dedicated high speed rail network, saying that it would be financially viable, would ease line pressures on commuter trains, cause regeneration in regions through which it passes (as has happened with the TGV in France), and return some sense of balance to the UK economy, which presently favours the south.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.697. Oct.2006. pp.34-37.
25 years of the TGV
On 27th September 2006 the French TGV network celebrates its silver anniversary. The company's business strategy is reviewed in an interview with Guillaume Pepy, CEO of SNCF. Figures illustrate the TGV rail network; track speeds (1981-2010); the passenger capacity of a number of trains (Eurostar, TGV Double Deck, DS Kent bullet train, TGV Single Deck) compared to common passenger aircraft types (A380, A340/600, etc.); routes under construction, study and under discussion; capture of market share from air and road/increase in rail traffic from the opening of high speed routes (Paris-Marseille, Paris-Brussels, Madrid-Seville); and TGV passenger numbers (1981-2005). Future French high speed projects are listed and briefly described.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.697. Oct.2006. pp.65-74.
Siemens' five UK depots
Siemens' investment of Â£110M for depot construction will culminate in the opening of its York depot in October. Facilities at the five depots - Acton, Ardwick (Manchester), King's Heath (Northampton), Northam (Southampton), and York - are described. Tables lists their customers, fleets, number of staff, opening dates, build costs and principal contractors.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.697. Oct.2006. pp.76-78.
A seminar and exhibition on Transport Innovations is to be held at the NEC, Birmingham, 7-9 November 2006. For further information see www.transportinnovations.com.
Coventry, UK; Expocom, 2006. 4pp.
A high-speed magnetic levitation (maglev) train, part of the Transrapid project run by Siemens and ThyssenKrupp, crashed on a test track in Germany on Sunday. 25 people are thought to have been killed. The train crashed into a maintenance vehicle carrying two workers. Rescue workers had difficulty reaching the track, which is suspended on a concrete track 5 metres off the ground. This crash casts doubt on the commercial viability of the system. The only commercial train in operation is in Shanghai, China, which had problems last month when it overheated after a technical failure. There has been interest recently from the Middle East and the UK, as their potential to travel at up to 500kph appeals to many politicians.
Financial Times, 23/24 Sept. 2006. p.6.
Germans defend maglev trains despite fatal crash; Safety now added to fears over reliability and cost
The German government has ordered an independent enquiry into the fatal accident last Friday, when a maglev train hit a maintenance vehicle on the test track. Despite the accident, the German government, the Transrapid consortium (a joint venture of Siemens and ThyssenKrupp), the Bavarian government that plans to install a maglev link between Munich airport and the city of Munich, and UK Ultraspeed, which hopes to sell the Transrapid system in the UK, all claim the technology is sound. The system is different to that under development in Japan. The potential danger from maintenance vehicles had already been recognised, and safety measures were planned for the Munich track, but they had not been implemented on the test track. Since it was believed that the main control system would monitor the location of trains, so preventing any risk of collision, they are not built to withstand impact. A stronger structure would be heavier and require more energy to lift and move it, which could make the whole system uneconomic. Transrapid hopes to sell the technology in China, the Gulf, Germany, the UK and the USA.
Financial Times, 25 Sept.2006. p.6.
Maglev to get an investment lift
Central Japan Railway (JR Central) is to triple its investment in its magnetic levitation test line west of Tokyo. JR Central earns 70% of its revenue from conventional high-speed trains, but has used cutting edge technology to develop its own maglev system. Given the present high speed of "bullet trains" and the much higher costs of maglev infrastructure observers doubt whether the system will ever be a viable alternative to conventional railways.
Financial Times, 27 Sep 2006. p 26
AEA Technology exits rail market
The sale of the AEA Technology plc rail business, together with other non-core activities, to Vision Capital Ltd has been conditionally agreed. The sale follows a poor financial year in 2004-2005; the company is to focus on its core environmental business.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.696. Sept.2006. p.8.
Should we reintegrate the railway?
In the light of the Conservative Party's policy U-turn, ways of reuniting track and train on the UK rail network are considered. The effect of external factors, such as rising oil prices or road pricing that produce a greater swing to rail use, are also discussed.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.696. Sept.2006. pp.50-53.
EN 14730 Railway applications. Track. Aluminothermic welding of rails. Part 1:2006 Approval of welding processes; Part 2:2006 Qualification of aluminothermic welders, approval of contractors and acceptance of welds.
[BSI] Update Standards. Sept.2006. pp.48-49.
EN 14811:2006 Railway applications. Track. Special purpose rail. Grooved and associated construction.
[BSI] Update Standards. Sept.2006. pp.49.
Lighter, faster trains could transform rural lines
Network Rail has responsibility for planning how to use rail routes as cost-effectively as possible. Government ministers and safety authorities are to be consulted by the organisation about the use of lighter, faster trains on rural railway lines, in order to improve financial viability. This would require an easing of rules on trains' ability to withstand head-on collisions, as heavy protective structures slow trains down and increase energy consumption. This is now feasible because all signals are fitted with train protection and warning systems (TPWS) devices to stop trains passing them at danger. This discussion is part of the consultation on new rolling stock strategy being prepared for the Department of Transport, rail division. It is also part of the negotiation with the government and the Office of the Rail Regulator on Network Rail's expenditure levels for the next five year regulatory period, 2009 - 2014.
Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. p.4.
Trains grow ready to take the strain / Rival needs delay an ambitious path to integration
A description of how greater road congestion, the rising size of cities, globalisation, the liberalisation of rail markets and increasing environmental concerns are helping to boost rail use in many parts of the world. The growth of high-speed rail travel in Europe and the rapid industry growth predicted over the next few years are outlined, while light rail projects are starting to appear in US cities such as Seattle and Phoenix. Rail freight growth is also described, along with technological developments, such as remote controlled shunting of locomotives in American rail yards to save on staff costs and improve safety, more efficient traction motors and computer equipment to allow remote fault diagnosis. For the operators the question of whether this can be turned into a profitable business is raised. Concerns such as the high cost and poor reliability of new equipment are raised. Some suppliers of rolling stock are trying to standardise design. Alstom, however, still produces tailor-made solutions for customers. The producers of the ERTMS European interoperability system are suggesting that the train operators are putting their technical traditions above the ultimate goal of interoperability. Japanese, South Korean and Chinese companies are now entering the European passenger train market while General Motors of the US target the freight diesels market.
Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. pp.1,2.
Small is beautiful for niche train builder
An outline of the recent success of Stadler, the Swiss railway carriage producer with six facilities making a wide range of trains from regional trains to be sent to Hungary to rack trains for a Greek mountain, with a great success in winning orders for regional and commuter trains in Europe. The largest customer is Swiss Federal Railways. The company offers basic families of designs that can be altered to suit the customer's needs. Stadler's sales rose 8% last year to SFr603m, double the figure of 3 years earlier. The top future plan is to devise a new family of double-decker trains to enter the high-capacity trains market on regional and commuter lines in Europe.
Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. p.2.
Gridlock and gas prices force rethink on transit
Siemens Transportation Systems are one of the two companies manufacturing light railway systems for metropolitan mass transport in the US. These systems are being considered in US cities as a method of easing congestion and providing a more cost effective method of commuting now that fuel prices have risen. Siemens has recently gained contracts for light transportation systems in Denver and Portland in the US and Edmonton and Calgary in Canada. Kinkisharyo, its main competitor, is working in Seattle, Boston and Dallas. Light railway is seen as cheaper than building subways or heavy railway lines, and as being cleaner and more efficient than buses.
Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. p.4.
Canadian pioneer puts efficiency on the line
Pioneering work by Railpower Technologies of Montreal on improving locomotive fuel efficiency with hybrid diesel-electric technology is reported. Currently shunting locomotives have been converted into green Goat hybrids, and the company is working on a hybrid version of the longer-range 'road-switcher', and is looking to enter the export market. Currently the company's shares have lost value, and it is thought that the company will need to make cost-cutting changes. The difficulty is making the transition from entrepreneurial invention to large-scale manufacturing. Railpower is also said to be adapting its hybrid technology for other uses.
Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. p.4.
Engine of European integration starts to pick up speed
Marcel Verslype, first executive director of the European Railways Agency, has the task of creating common technical and safety standards for all Europe's railways, to reduce costs and increase cross-border competition and rail traffic. This is complicated by the problems of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) signalling system, where different suppliers made incompatible equipment because documentation was too vague. The agency is now said to be making good progress, with operators beginning to see the value of its work, and officials are able to gain knowledge of systems in other countries. Problems remaining are the length of time taken to produce detailed European standards, leading operators and infrastructure companies to request interim rules for ordering new rolling stock, and also the areas where standardisation would make no sense, such as all the electrification systems in different countries.
Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. p.4.
Sleeping dragon set for growth
An outline of the Bombardier Sifang Power (BSP) railcar production facility, in Qingdao, eastern China, and the view it gives of the rapid expansion of railways in China, which is seen as necessary for continuing economic growth. The Chinese goal of 100,000km of rail lines by 2020 is outlined, with the aim of reaching 70% of cities by 2010 and of having over 10,000km of track with speeds of over 200kmph. 70% of train parts are made locally, and the Tiber trains were entirely designed and made in China.
Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. p.6.
Back to profit and confidence
An outline of the current position and plans of Bombardier, given in an interview with ceo Andre Navarri. Its problems resulted from the takeover of ADTranz in 2001, to become the world's largest rail supplier, resulting in reorganisation to boost efficiency which have also led to some losses in orders through closures of facilities in some countries. Competition for the big three European companies, Bombardier, Alstom and Siemens, is also coming from companies such as Japan's Hitachi, South Korea's Rotem and now also Chinese manufacturers. The push to improve profitability hinges on development of a common platform which some customers are resisting because of their differing technical requirements.
Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. p.6.
Magic carpet is still too radical for many
Maglev's speed and superior acceleration and braking should make it an attractive proposition for high-speed transport, but there is much scepticism from traditional railway operators and suppliers. The system will need to prove itself viable and reliable rather than just a brilliant theory. There is also an internal struggle between different technical approaches.
Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. p.6.
Big city upgrades pose uphill task
Upgrades are being undertaken in many of the world's metro systems to increase the speed and reliability of existing systems without replacing all their equipment, and while the system continues to work. The highest profile upgrade is of the London underground system, where for example new signal reading equipment is being fitted to increase peak hour capacity.Alcatel is concentrating on signalling systems while Metronet is replacing worn out rolling stock and using less complex signalling systems. Similarly the Paris metro Line One is to become driverless, with new signalling equipment.
Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. p.6.
Eurostar expects early launch of high-speed rail services in Kent
GoVia, the company due to operate the high-speed domestic trains on the Channel Tunnel rail link, may be able to start the service by December 2009. Richard Brown, chief executive of Eurostar, said this as he announced that Ashford would also lose many of its international services when the more conveniently situated Ebbsfleet International opened in autumn 2007. The new domestic trains are the first to be built for Europe by Hitachi and some industry observers are sceptical that they will be ready for service so soon.
Financial Times, 13 Sep 2006. p 4
Rail groups fined for safety breaches
Network Rail and Amey have been fined a total of Â£500,000 for breaches of the health and safety regulations arising from the Southall rail crash in 2002.
Financial Times, 13 Sep 2006. p 4
Transport for an expanding economy
The third annual transport conference is to be held on Thursday 28th September 2006 in the QEII Conference Centre, London. Papers on future challenges; technology in national and regional transport; reduction of transport emissions; transport and the needs of business; road pricing; rail's support of the economy; transport security, and transport for the Olympics and beyond in London, will be presented. A series of seminars will be covering transport modernisation, satellite road charging, next generation urban road charging, outcome driven highways services, the business case for PPP/PFI in transport, and sustainable transport. For further information see www.govnet.co.uk/transport.
London; GovNet Events, 2006. 2pp.
Mail contract extended
The contract between the Royal Mail and GB Railfreight for the transport of letters between London and Scotland has been extended for another year.
Railnews, no.112. June 2006. p.4.
Bombardier wins Chicago race
Bombardier Transport Corp. has won the contract from the Board of Chicago Transit Authority for the supply of 406 metro cars. The first 10 will be delivered in 2009 for testing with production cars arriving from 2010.
Railway Gazette, vol.163, no.6. June 2006. p.309.
Beijing signal contracts signed
The contract for resignalling Line 2 in Beijing has been won by Alstom, working with its joint venture subsidiary Casco and the Electrification Engineering Bureau. The work, valued at 28M euros, is to be completed in time for the 2008 Olympics.
Railway Gazette, vol.163, no.6. June 2006. p.310.
An agreement has been signed between the French and Luxembourgeois governments which will launch the autoroute ferroviaire (freight line) between Bettembourg and Perpignan. Owned by Autoroutes du Sud de la France, Caisse des Depots, SNCF, Modalohr and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the route will be operational from April next year.
Railway Gazette, vol.163, no.6. June 2006. p.312.
The maintenance contract for the Jubilee Line Extension in London has been awarded to Kone by Tube Lines. It runs until 2018.
Railway Gazette, vol.163, no.6. June 2006. p.314.
I-trans spearheads rail investment push in Nord-Pas de Calais
The Nord-Pas de Calais regional government has voted to revitalise the local railway industry. The idea is to develop Europe's top railway cluster, with the establishment of railway research facilities, a major rolling stock testing centre for use by local and foreign suppliers, and a 20 year investment programme in track and trains. The recently launched European Rail Agency has offices in the region, and both Alstom and Bombardier have large assembly plants in Lille and Crespin respectively. The I-trans railway research projects authorised are listed with brief descriptions.
Railway Gazette, vol.163, no.6. June 2006. pp.331-334.
Tomorrow's mini-metro takes shape
The Siemens' research project to develop the Neoval, a future mini-metro for France, is described. The project is one of 6 to be part funded by the Agence de l'Innovation Industrielle.
Railway Gazette, vol.163, no.6. June 2006. p.334.
Master plan will transform Nord-Pas de Calais network
The improvements and modernisation of the rail network in the region are briefly described and illustrated. New lines, new services, electrification, track doubling, reopening/reinstatement of passenger services, upgrading, light rail construction, improved international services and proposed new stations are listed.
Railway Gazette, vol.163, no.6. June 2006. p.336.
TfL to revamp rundown London train link
Transport for London has revealed plans for a "London Overground" that will link seamlessly with the Underground and revitalise inner London commuter lines from Watford Junction, Richmond, Barking, Stratford and West Croydon. The first stage will be a re-branded North London Line for which TfL takes over responsibility from Silverlink in 2007. This will link into the upgraded East London line in 2010.
Financial Times, 6 Sep 2006. p 3
Rail freight investment plea
Network Rail has published a report which suggests that an investment of Â£500 million is needed over the next ten years for the railways to cope with an expected rise of 30% in the amount of freight carried. The major requirement is for Â£133 million for the remodelling of bridges and tunnels on the lines from Felixstowe to Nuneaton to allow carriage of the larger containers now in use.
Financial Times, 6 Sep 2006. p 3
Next-generation trains are about more than speed
Japan's shinkansen bullet trains are planned to reach speeds of 360kph in five years time. The requirement for these commuter trains is equally to ensure a safe, comfortable and quiet ride. The next-generation shinkansen, the Fastech 360, is being developed by East Japan Railway Co. at speeds up to 360kph. The greatest technological challenge is to ensure that the pantographs on the roof can receive a constant supply of power, and to be safe the train can only travel at 70% of the wave propagation speed. Research has been carried out into the use of lighter materials, made from copper, chromium and zirconium, with a wave propagation speed of 480kph for the overhead wires, to enable them to be pulled more taut and to increase the wave propagation speed. In addition, an air springs and cylinders vibration damping mechanism has been built below the carriages to reduce vibration at high speed. Improved braking methods have also been devised. The train will be tested on the line between Sendai and Kitakami, Iwate Prefecture, and should be ready for service by 2011.
The Nikkei Weekly, vol.44. no.2,247. 14 Aug. 2006. p.16.
Deutsche Bahn likely to retain track network
The German state-owned rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, is to be privatised in the coming years. It is thought that the organisation will be allowed to operate the track, with legal ownership of the network remaining in state hands under an 'Eigentumsmodell' to avoid the situation that occurred in the UK, where splitting the operators from the network has been criticised. It is likely that Deutsche Bahn, worth Euros 10-15bn, will float in 2008 or 2009. The chief executive, Hartmut Medhorn, believes profitability can be achieved through an integrated company, but politicians believe the company might cut investment under capital markets pressure and let the government pick up the bill. Details of a possible flotation of the RAG conglomerate are also given.
Financial Times, 25 Aug. 2006, p.22.
Probe into 90mph train decoupling
A safety review had been started urgently into the decoupling of a Kings Cross to Peterborough commuter train at 90mph near New Southgate in north London. No-one was hurt, and the trains came to an automatic halt three quarters of a carriage length apart.
Financial Times, 26/27 Aug. 2006, p.4.
As good as new
Details are given of the inspection of the Conwy wrought iron tubular railway bridge, built by Robert Stephenson, by Bridgeway consulting, specialist railway engineering services company. The inspection included rope-access inspection and a specialised diving team for the submerged structures, with CCTV surveying of the internal elements and a mobile scaffold for internal and external faces of the tubing.
Engineering, vol.247. no.6. June 2006. p.10.
An outline of the developments being made towards high speed rail travel in the UK is given, with details of track, train and infrastructure improvements.
Engineering, vol.247. no.6. June 2006. pp.34-36.
Fire on Shanghai levitating train
A report is given of a fire in the area of the propulsion equipment on a high-speed Maglev levitating train running between Shanghai and its international airport. Passengers had to be evacuated.
CNNInternational.com, 11 Aug. 2006.
Top of the world
The Qinghai-Tibet Railway, 1,956 kilometres long and 75% of track built at over 4,000 metres above sea level, began operations on 1st July, one year early. The highest mountain pass used by the track is at 5,072 m!
ENR - Engineering News Record, vol.257, no.2. 10 July 2006. p.7.
Network Rail publishes 2009-14 business plans
The initial strategic plan, outlining projects for operating, maintaining and developing the rail network, has been published. Some examples of likely projects are listed. After 2014 a large reduction in spending is expected as the years of underinvestment are made good.
Modern Railways. Aug.2006. p.6.
Track/train split was a mistake - Conservatives
On the launch of a Conservative Party Rail Review, the Shadow Transport Secretary has stated that the division of track and train into separate businesses during privatisation was 'not right for our railways'. The main aims of the Review are listed; it is scheduled to report back in 2007.
Modern Railways. Aug.2006. p.6.
Green light for Metrolink 'little bang'
A funding package agreed between the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities and the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority has meant that the expansion of the city's Metrolink light rail system is to go ahead. Details of the work that will be carried out are given.
Modern Railways. Aug.2006. p.8.
Grant Rail wins Nuneaton upgrade
Grant Rail is to be principal contractor for the upgrading of track layout and signalling in the Nuneaton area.
Modern Railways. Aug.2006. p.12.
Thales acquires Alcatel transport
Following the merger of Alcatel and Lucent Technologies (USA), Thales is to purchase parts of Alcatel, including the transport business which supplies signalling and control systems.
Modern Railways. Aug.2006. p.14.
Scotland's Expanding Railways, Edinburgh 5-7 October 2006
The Railway Engineer's Forum and Transport Scotland are hosting a three day conference focusing on the biggest rail investment programme outside London. Presentations and site visits will cover Scotland's rail strategy; its programme of heavy and light rail projects; rolling stock and electrification policy; rail service specification; and the rail industry supply base. For further information contact Sian Clayton on 020 7973 1245 or email email@example.com.
Modern Railways. Aug.2006. p.15.
The Railway Industry Innovation Awards 2006
Winners of the various categories of awards are profiled with a brief description of their contribution to the rail industry.
Modern Railways. Aug.2006. pp.30,32,34,36,38.
Specification for railway rails.
This standard has been declared obsolescent as it has been superseded by the BS EN 13674 suite of standards, which is now complete following the publication of BS EN 13674-4 and which should be used for new installations of track. BS 11 is not being withdrawn at this stage as it is required for the repair and maintenance of existing track.
[BSI] Update Standards. August 2006. p.27.
Alstom metros fly from success to success in exports
Alstom designs and constructs 25% of al underground trains worldwide. Details are given of recent orders for Shanghai, China, Sao Paolo, Brazil, and Budapest, Hungary. Short items on the Paris metro system and the Metropolis underground trains are included.
Soudage et techniques connexes, vol.60. no.7/8. Jul./Aug. 2006. pp.6-7.[In French].
Remote checks for rail safety
Network Rail has plans to introduce a system to monitor the condition of trackside equipment, including signals and power supplies, over the next five years. The system will be installed while renewal work is in progress.
Computing, 10 Aug.2006. p.3.
AEA will sell rail arm for up to Â£58m
AEA Technology is to sell off its rail operations to a group of companies represented by Vision Capital Group for Â£58.3m., and the buyers will also take on the Â£12.1m pensions and balance sheet liabilities. AEA, the privatised arm of the former Atomic Energy Authority, now specialises in waste management, climate change and energy security, and has been struggling with the rail business. The operations comprises consultancy on signalling and sales of products to tackle ice and leaves on the rails. It has suffered from increased competition and decreased spending by Network Rail.
Financial Times, 12/13 Aug. 2006. p.14.
Eurotunnel future in doubt after ruling
The future of Eurotunnel has been thrown into doubt following a ruling by a French court granting the company's request for protection from its creditors under a new law. Eurotunnel will not be required to pay interest for at least the next 6 months on its Â£6.18bn debt and a court official will be appointed to oversee negotiations with creditors.
Financial Times, 3 Aug. 2006. p.3.
Slippery track ahead for merging railways
The shareholders of Hankyu Holdings Inc. and Hanshin Electric Railway Co. have approved a proposed merger of the two service operators. The contracting population of Japan has resulted in the railways facing a bleak future, and needing to cut costs in core operations.
The Nikkei Weekly, vol.44. no.2,241. 3 Jul. 2006. p.28
Public inquiry into rail crash ruled out
Attempts by relatives of a journalist killed in the 2002 Potters Bar rail crash have failed to force a public inquiry into the disaster because a 'full and enhanced' inquest is due to be held in early 2007. In addition Lord Justice Moses said there have been significant changes to the rail system since 2002 and there have already been a number of inquiries into the disaster.
Financial Times, 1 Aug. 2006. p.2.
Material Technologies demonstrates its metal fatigue detection solutions
The Electrochemical Fatigue Sensor, developed by Materials Technologies, Inc. (MATECH, Los Angeles, CA, USA) is being tested at the American Association of Railroads' Transportation Technology Center. The sensor detects microscopic crack propagation and metal fatigue in railway bridges, track and associated equipment. Under the US Transportation Bill every railway track operator using continuously welded rail will have to include procedures to improve crack identification.
Welding Journal, vol.85, no.7. July 2006. pp.10-11
Rail network costs to fall by over Â£4 billion
The initial strategic business plan of Network Rail, published at the beginning of the month, is reviewed. The plan involves reducing the running costs of the existing network to Â£20.8 bn (based on 2005/2006 prices) and the means of achieving this are listed. The extra investment needed to accommodate a forecast 30% growth in passengers and freight is discussed and some examples of likely projects are given.
Railway Strategies, no.37. June/July 2006. p.12.
In search of perfection - zero defects
A company profile of Weld-A-Rail Ltd is presented. The company achieves 0.9% weld defect rate in its alumino thermic welding services. The company's qualifications are listed.
Railway Strategies, no.37. June/July 2006. p.42.
Balfour Beatty's failures highlighted in Hatfield report
The Independent Investigation Board into the Hatfield railway crash has produced its final report, in which Balfour Beatty has come under attack for lack of effective management and maintenance of the track at the site of the crash.
Financial Times, 25 Jul. 2006. p.3.
Teamwork wins Docklands Railway top award
The results of the annual Railway Industry Innovation Awards are presented. The Docklands Light Railway, operated and maintained by Serco, was the top award winner; the other results are listed.
Railnews, no.113. July 2006. p.2.
Network Rail unveils Â£800M package of upgrades for West Midlands
Track, signaling and station upgrades planned for the region over the next few years are detailed.
Railnews, no.113. July 2006. p.3.
Train builder's Â£138M orders to renovate HST coaches
First Great Western has placed contracts with Bombardier Transportation for renovation work on 405 High Speed Train carriages and on-going bogie overhaul and technical development work. The work will be carried out by Bombardier's facilities in Derby, Ilford and Crewe. Some details of work to be carried out is given.
Railnews, no.113. July 2006. p.6.
GB Railfreight: Team work wins accolades - and prestigious contracts
A double page feature on GB Railfreight is presented. Articles include a review of the company, developments over the last 5 years, and the company's move into the UK's largest bulk freight sector - coal.
Railnews, no.113. July 2006. pp.22-23.
BS EN 15528
Railway applications. Classification of lines. Corresponding load limits for railway vehicles and payload for freight wagons.
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2006. p.43.
Eurotunnel stops paying interest
The executive chairman of Eurotunnel has attacked the company's creditors after restructuring talks failed, saying it would not pay interest while under bankruptcy protection, and accused Deutsche Bank, the largest bondholder, of wrecking the talks.
Financial Times, 14 Jul 2005, p 17.
Track and train integration plan marks U-turn by Conservatives / Industry sceptical of policy reversal
The Conservative party admitted that its decision to divide the railways into track and train operations in 1986 was a mistake, and said that it would restructure the industry to give a much greater degree of integration. However the rail industry is sceptical of the need for reintegration, and Network Rail says it has achieved significant savings because of the present industry structure. The railfreight industry is also sceptical about the policy reversal because of the complexities of reintegration, given the large number of passenger trains and freight operations. In addition, calls for change have receded as punctuality of trains has improved recently.
Financial Times, 18 Jul. 2006. p.3.
Benefits of an Edinburgh-Newcastle high-speed rail link
Details are given of the proposed project to construct a high-speed rail link between Edinburgh and Newcastle, to speed up the London to Edinburgh route. It is pointed out that air travel causes nine times more carbon emissions per passenger than rail travel, and that a reduced travel time to 3.5 hours would improve the attractiveness of the train as an alternative mode of travel.
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Engineering Sustainability, vol.159. issue ES2. Jun. 2006. pp.71-78.
InnoTrack - a 6th Framework integrated project proposal
The EC White Paper on Sustainable Transport is calling for 15% of freight and 12% of passenger traffic to travel by rail by 2020 in parallel with a 30% reduction in life cycle costs (LCC). A proposal under the Framework research programme on sustainable surface transport has been made by 35 partners, including all the major European railways, covering the LCC of track support structures, switches and crossing, rails, and logistics practices. Details of European regions participating and of companies leading each technical programme are given.
Welding Lines, no.17. May 2006. p.1.
A highly successful track-welding project
The conversion of a jointed railway track to continuous welded rail at Darlington Station by mobile flash butt welding is summarised. The full article (by Alan Clark of Network Rail) can be found at www.iorw.org.
Welding Lines, no.17. May 2006. p.2.
Balfour Beatty Rail
Details of the rail technologies, railcare, welding and nondestructive testing services of Balfour Beatty Rail Technologies is presented in a company profile. Key staff are identified and a list of some clients are given.
Welding Lines, no.17. May 2006. pp.2-3.
Hand arm vibration syndrome
Previously known as Vibration White Finger, the syndrome is explained by an Occupational Physician. Consequences of suffering from Hand Arm Vibration (HAV), requirements for control and minimisation, and the complexities and costs of assessing exposure are outlined. Advice on accessing further information is given.
Welding Lines, no.17. May 2006. p.4.
Bombardier scoops contract for DLR vehicles for 2012 Olympics
31 new vehicles have been ordered by Docklands Light Railway; the contract is valued at Â£50M and is supported by the Olympic Delivery Authority. Units will be made in Bautzen, Germany.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.694. July 2006. p.7.
Four in frame for North London
Govia, National Express Group, MTR-Laing and Nedrail have been selected to bid for the operation of the London Rail Concession by Transport for London. The successful bidder will be selected in spring 2007.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.694. July 2006. p.7.
Eurostar plan would save up to Â£40m in fees
Eurostar believes that it could save up to Â£40 million per year when its current arrangement with Eurotunnel ends. At present it pays a fixed fee based on 10 million passengers and 5 million tonnes of freight regardless of actual usage. It wants to switch to a system in which it pays for "real" passengers (in 2005 7.45 million and increasing), but with variable costs.
Financial Times, 5 Jul 2006. p 22
Opening of Tibet rail link triggers protests
The opening of the world's highest rail link, between Beijing and Lhasa, is seen as an engineering triumph, but has resulted in protests at the possible destruction of Tibet's way of life. Steel tubes have been dug into the ground under part of the track to keep it from freezing, while long elevated bridges have been used across the permafrost.
Financial Times, 3 Jul. 2006. p.7.
Network Rail sets out funding needs
An extra Â£3.8bn are required by Network Rail over the period 2009-2014 to enable it to cope with a 30% rise in passenger numbers. Ministers will decide next year which suggested improvements they wish to fund, what level of railway they want and the level of government funding available.
Financial Times, 4 Jul. 2006. p.5.
Code of practice - welding, cutting and repair of railborne plant.(withdrawn)
Rail Safety and Standards Board Information Bulletin, no.91. April 2006. p.3.
Hydrogen fuel cells
An investigation into the current state of hydrogen fuel technology and its long term possibilities for the UK railway, mainly as an alternative to more electrification, is briefly described. The Railway Forum, Rail Industry Association, Department for Transport and Rail Research UK considered hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen internal combustion engines. Their findings are summarised.
Rail Safety and Standards Board Information Bulletin, no.91. April 2006. p.5.
Some highlights of the Network Rail 2006 business plan are listed, including a proposed 36% increase in renewals investment over the next 3 years, Â£7.2bn as opposed to Â£5.4bn for the previous business plan.
Railway Strategies, no.36. April-May 2006. p.13.
EuroRail: Glasgow to the Channel Tunnel
The proposed new 700 km dedicated freight route, capable of carrying double-decker standard European freight containers and full-size road trailers on rail wagons, is outlined. New construction is expected to be minimal, as underused or redundant railway lines are brought back into use. The line will be constructed in modules and following completion of the primary artery, links to the main handling ports of Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Tyneside, Hull/Grimsby, Felixstowe, Harwich, Tilbury and the Isle of Grain will be added. These latter will be on improved existing lines. Key cities and regions to benefit from the line's development and its chosen route are given.
Railway Strategies, no.36. April-May 2006. p.40.
Faster, more effective track renewals
The replacement of sleepers and worn rail on 1070 m of deep Central line tunnel on the London Underground by Metronet in record time is described. The job was also completed for only 25% of the usual cost. The work methods used are explained.
Railway Strategies, no.36. April-May 2006. pp.110-111.
Bombardier to help link Beijing to summer 2008 Olympic village
Bombardier's Advanced Rapid Transit technology, as used in Vancouver's driverless SkyTrain system, is to be installed as the 28 km Beijing Capital International Airport Link, from Dongzhimen station to the airport. The company will participate in project management and will be responsible for vehicle systems engineering and integration, design and manufacture of the bogies, propulsion and braking systems. The 40 Advanced Rapid Transit Mark II railcars will be manufactured by Changchun Railway Vehicles.
Welding Journal, vol.85, no.5. May 2006. p.16.
Track renewal gets scientific
Recent advances in the field of track renewal - ultrasonic testing, high output renewal, switch and crossing work, and steel sleepers - are discussed. Tables show the increase in work volumes for 1999 - 2006, and Network Rail track renewals contracts for plain line and switches/crossings. Frequent ultrasonic inspection and rail grinding have hugely decreased the incidence of broken rails. In 2005 between Euston and Rugby only 7 rail breaks were found, two were hot tears in welds and five were as a result of ultrasonically undetectable defects.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.693. June 2006. pp.34,36,38,40.
US railways show no sign of slowing down
The volume of freight transported by rail in the US has risen by 25% since 2002. The rail industry is viewed as an important economic indicator for US industry generally, but the growth also reflects increasing congestion on the roads and a nationwide shortage of truck drivers.
Financial Times, 16 Jun 2006. p 24
Bouygues to raise Alstom stake
French conglomerate Bouygues is to increase its stake in the trains and turbines group Alstom.
Financial Times, 9 June 2006. p.26.
Delays to Crossrail 'threaten new offices'
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has warned that unless the Crossrail project goes ahead large office developments in central London could soon be refused planning permission. The existing transport infrastructure would be unable to cope with the increased commuter load. Leading businesses are putting increasing pressure on the Prime Minister to agree financing by 2007 for fear that he may decide to wait until after the 2012 Olympics.
Financial Times, 7 Jun 2006. p 5
Eurotunnel wins financing to emerge from Â£6bn debt
Eurotunnel has won financing that will allow it to emerge from the Â£6.2bn debt that threatens to crush it by January. Eurotunnel's executive chairman warned investors, who could prevent a deal, that no other restructuring was possible, and the alternative was bankruptcy.
Financial Times, 1 Jun 2006. p.1.
Rail link set to break the mould
A start has been made recently on an ambitious public transport system comprising a high-speed rail link, the Gautrain, between Johannesburg and Pretoria, linked with a network of buses to take commuters to the stations. The first section is due to open, linking Sandton and Pretoria, in time for the 2010 football World Cup.
Financial Times, 6 Jun. 2006. Special Report: South Africa. p.4.
Rail car makers up capacity to meet foreign demand
Rail carriage manufacturers in Japan are increasing overseas orders, developing models to cope with differing climatic conditions, and ramping up production capacity. Hitachi has decided to invest Â¥6bn this year and will build facilities for parts assembly and inspection this year. Kawaskai Heavy Industries introduced a Â¥3bn all-in-one production line for rail car foundations to be completed this year, which will bring the entire process of welding, painting and assembly together, boosting output capacity by 50%. Kinki Sharyo Co. is to invest Â¥3bn in three years to boost the number of welding robots and change plant layouts.
The Nikkei Weekly, vol.44. no.2,234. 15 May 2006. p.10.
Citigroup steps in with plan for Eurotunnel
US investment bank Citigroup has launched a set of alternative proposals for restructuring Eurotunnel's debt of $6.18 billion. Eurotunnel is already drawing up plans based on proposals put forward last week by Goldman Sachs and Macquarie.
Financial Times, 31 May 2006. p 19
Â£400 million more for improvements
Network Rail has announced additional funds for railway work over the next three years, in addition to the Â£2.3bn already earmarked. A list of 10 major projects from amongst the many is given.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.692. May 2006. p.6.
Crossrail stage one: Abbey Wood - Paddington
Crossrail scheme promoter, Cross London Rail Links, is suggesting the phasing of the project in order to make it more affordable. If the Crossrail Bill gets through Parliament and the second quarter 2007 funding deadline is met, the Abbey Wood-Paddington section could be in service by 2015. Further details of the proposal are given.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.692. May 2006. p.9.
Light at the end of the Eurotunnel; Eurotunnel in talks with new investors; Eurotunnel fights to meet its deadline
Eurotunnel has confirmed that it is negotiating with creditors, investors and potential investors over possible ways to resolve its Â£6 billion debt crisis.
Financial Times, 10 May 2006. p 20; 17 May p 20
US freight customers rail against delays from outdated tracks
The two largest players in the US railfreight scene, Union Pacific and BNSF, have agreed to a joint funding of $100 million to improve the infrastructure around the Powder River Basin coalfields in Wyoming. The aging rail infrastructure in the US is struggling to cope with increased freight traffic, and major customers are concerned that the industry is not doing enough to remedy the situation.
Financial Times, 10 May 2006. p 25
Caterpillar to buy Progress Rail
Caterpillar plans to pay $1 billion for Alabama-based Progress Rail which reconditions railcars and provides a range of infrastructure services. It is part of the company's plan to move into areas of higher sales and earnings growth.
Financial Times, 17 May 2006. p 29
High speed rail link to Scotland 'could succeed'
Deputy chief executive of Network Rail, Iain Coucher, believes that a high speed rail link could cut journey times to Edinburgh and Glasgow to 2.5 hours, reaching speeds of up to 300km/h (186 mph), and could be a commercial success without government backing. The route would capture 70% of air travel between London and the two cities and 90% of travel between Manchester and London. The cost would be Â£14bn. The new line would be a conventional steel wheels on rail route, not run on the maglev levitation system. The plan is backed by business and transport lobby groups.
Financial Times, 9 May 2006. p.3.
Tube network operator criticises contractor's poor performance
London Underground Ltd, the publicly-owned company that operates the underground system, has said that Metronet, the main private contractor, is not working hard enough to improve its performance. Rail safety inspectors from the Railway Inspectorate have ordered Metronet to improve track on the District Line, and speeds have been restricted on some parts of the system because the track was not stretched, or stressed, correctly after being laid, with the result that the track could buckle in hot weather and result in derailment. The order is to bring track back up to acceptable standards on the District Line by 4 September.
Financial Times, 13/14 May 2006. p.2.
Eurotunnel chief challenges creditors to take over assets
Jacques Gounon, Eurotunnel's executive chairman dared creditors to try taking over the company's assets following the company embarking on a high-risk strategy to force holders of its Â£6.18bn debt to agree to a restructuring. Mr Gounon warned creditors that they faced legal uncertainty and might never recover their debts unless they agreed to a settlement. The challenge followed an announcement that the company was not publishing its annual results because the board could not be certain it was a going concern. Eurotunnel said it would review the situation in mid-May and decide then.
Financial Times, 13 Apr 2006. p.3.
Collapse of pioneering deal foils track and train integration
A pioneering experiment between Network Rail and Merseytravel has collapsed after failure to reach agreement. This means that there are unlikely to be any experiments in integration between track and train operators despite the government's 2004 'Future of Rail' white paper which was sympathetic to such a plan.
Financial Times, 11 Apr. 2006. p.2.
Key rail route gains backing
The South East England Development Agency is backing a move to upgrade the Southampton to West Midlands rail-freight route. Southampton carries about half the volume of UK trade with China and south-east Asia. Gauge enhancement is being undertaken with Network Rail and the Port of Southampton to take globally standardised 9ft 6in containers. Under the same programme a study is to be undertaken to reconnect the port of Dover to the rail network.
Financial Times, 18 Apr. 2006. p.20.
Finnmeccanica expects to obtain Eur400-490m for new acquisitions by selling part of its Ansaldo railways business. The company intends to place 60% of the capital in Ansaldo on the market, and use the revenue to strengthen its core aerospace and defence activities. Last year Ansaldo earned Eur44m on revenues of Eur840m.
Aviation Week & Space Technology, 27 Mar 2006, p.22.
Rail infrastructure delays defended
Network Rail has defended the postponement of some infrastructure enhancements to 2007 and 2008 by saying the work can be done more cost-effectively then. It still intends to spend Â£400 million more than planned during the 2006/7 year to cope with increasing demand.
Financial Times, 5 Apr 2006. p.4.
Railways and materials: Progress through failures
A public lecture with the above title is to be presented at 6 pm on Wednesday 5th April 2006 at 6, Carlton House Terrace, London by Professor Roderick A Smith. The event is free. Prof. Smith was Head of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London and is now Senior Visiting Research Fellow at St. John's College, Oxford. For further information on the lecture and to register contact Eileen Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welding Lines, no.16. Feb.2006. p.4.
Developments in inspection
The 9th technical meeting of the Institute of Rail Welding will be held on Thursday, 27th April 2006 at The Riverside Centre, Derby. All key issues affecting rail inspection will be presented at the event: preventative strategies; Network Rail's requirements; training requirements; optimisation of inspection and NDT; and advances in NDT technology. For further information and to register for the meeting contact Rachel Wall at TWI Ltd, or e-mail: email@example.com.
Welding Lines, no.16. Feb.2006. p.2.
Network Rail backs work to aid container deliveries
Network Rail recommends that Â£80m be spent on work to make it possible to carry large shipping containers from Southampton to the London-Glasgow west coast main line. Headroom for 9.5 foot high containers will be achieved by raising bridges and lowering the rail bed. The proposal is for the lines between Southampton and Reading via both Andover and Winchester.
Financial Times, 20 March 2006, p.4.
Battery-powered electric trains
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has started development of battery-driven railroad cars which would eliminate the need for lines to supply power to trains, and thus cut the cost of railroad construction. Demand is expected from developing countries as the trains are aimed to run all day on a single charge. Trials have started on a test track at Hiroshima. A method of recharging batteries when trains stop at stations is also being considered. Fuel cells may be adopted.
The Nikkei Weekly, vol.44. no.2,218. 23 Jan. 2006. p.16.
China nod to single 'maglev' rail line
China's State Council has given its permission for the construction of a new magnetic levitation (maglev) train line between Shanghai and Hangzhou that will cut journey times from 2 hours to 30 minutes, and should be complete by 2010. However a new high-speed line between Beijing and Shanghai will use conventional wheel technology. Lobbying is being undertaken by the German consortium, Transrapid, that pioneered the maglev technology, and the French TGV manufacturers and Japanese bullet train technology. Planned expansion of the Chinese rail system includes 5,400km of new high-speed lines in the next 4 years.
Financial Times, 14 Mar. 2006. p.7.
Corus to raise rail prices in 2006
Rail prices are to rise by 35 euros/t from the beginning of 2006, reflecting the higher costs of raw materials, energy and transportation.
Steel Times International, vol.30, no.1. Jan./Feb.2006. p.4.
Delhi Metro picking up business
Details of the expansion of the Delhi Metro in both passenger numbers and routes are given.
The Nikkei Weekly, vol.44, no.2,219. 30 Jan. 2006. p.23.
Edinburgh's world-class tram network one step closer
The City of Edinburgh has agreed to contribute Â£45 million towards funding the city's tram network. The first phase is set to link Leith waterfront and Edinburgh airport, a route which passes through the city's major growth areas, and is estimated would carry 13 million passengers in its first year of operation.
Engineering Technology, Mar 2006. p 6
Folded wings and a vacant seat
The leaders of the aerospace and rail divisions of Canada's Bombardier are about to be interviewed as front runners for the post of chief executive. Laurent Baudoin, present holder of that post, is expected to retire shortly. The recent history of the company is discussed.
Financial Times, 15 Feb. 2006. p.10
New RAIB opened
The new Rail Accident and Investigation Branch has been formally launched by Alistair Darling. Administratively RAIB is part of the Department for Transport. Further information is available at www.raib.gov.uk.
Railway Strategies, Dec.2005/Jan.2006. p.35.
Weld-A-Rail celebrate success
The alumino-thermic rail welding specialists, supported by First Quality Solutions, have achieved ISO 9001:2000 accreditation. The company has introduced advanced calibration methods for equipment and the production of straight edges and can produce these to an accuracy of 1 micron. Some details of the company and its processes are given. (www.weldarail.co.uk; www.firstqualitysolutions.com.)
Railway Strategies. Dec.2005/Jan.2006. p.49.
Repair or fabrication of austenitic manganese steel rail components
A datasheet is presented giving general welding practice recommendations with a particular focus on welding frog points. Information is excerpted from AWS D15.2:2003 "Recommended practices for the welding of rails and related rail components for use by rail vehicles".
Welding Journal, vol.85, no.1. Jan.2006. p.48.
Premium rail and suspension changes could cut rolling contact fatigue
The results of studies, carried out by TTCi for the UK rail industry, into methods of managing rolling contact fatigue (RCF) are reported. The use of premium rail steels and changes to vehicle suspensions are proved to deliver cost savings. Figures give data on the estimated average rail life for wear and RCF on the East Coast Main Line; annual savings from replacing standard with premium rail; premium rail life relative to standard rail life; and savings and costs arising from modifications to vehicle suspensions to reduce yaw stiffness.
Railway Gazette International, vol.162, no.2. Feb.2006. pp.77-79.
East Coast is full, says Network Rail
Results of a study into capacity on the East Coast Main Line are summarised. Options for increasing capacity are to be reviewd by Network Rail with conclusions published later this year.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.689. Feb.2006. p.6.
Passenger journeys reach a new high
The Association of Train Operating Companies has estimated that 1.07bn journeys were completed in 2005, up 30M (2.5%) on 2004. Passenger journeys have increased 40.4% in the last decade. Total freight (tonne/km) rose 4.5%. Further figures are given.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.689. Feb.2006. p.6.
Railway costs - struggling with Chris Bolt's [ORR chairman] unknowns/Railways in hock
The 2008 Periodic Review of the Rail Industry, which will determine the level of support given to the railway for the 5 year period starting 1 April 2009, is summarised. Various tables give potential funds available for renewals, enhancements and maintenance over this period.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.689. Feb.2006. pp.18-21.
Excellence in engineering
An interview with Andrew McNaughton, the Chief Engineer of Network Rail, is presented. His aim is to make the UK railway engineering first class; a table shows broken rail statistics 1962-2005, and how these are now at their lowest level through investment in rerailing and monitoring for defects.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.689. Feb.2006. p.32-34,36,38..
High speed to the north
The lack of high speed railway lines in the UK is discussed and compared to those in Spain and France. Modal imbalance is highlighted, with 2,125 motorway miles built since 1955 compared to 70 for high-speed rail.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.689. Feb.2006. p.42-45.
Battery-powered electric trains
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd is developing battery-driven railroad cars. This would eliminate lines to supply power to trains, thus cutting construction and maintenance costs. The aim is to produce trains that can run all day on a single charge, or batteries that can be charged at stations. Fuel cells may be adopted. Demand is expected from developing countries.
The Nikkei Weekly, vol.44. no.2,218. 23 Jan. 2006. p.16.
Bechtel Ltd has been contracted as Development Manager for Line 1 of the Cross London Rail Links. The company will produce the reference design for the project.
Rail Business Intelligence, no.261. 12 Jan.2006. p.1.
Laser rail-cleaner dropped
Laserthor has been requested to introduce a production-standard model of its high power laser railhead cleaner before Network Rail (NR) invests in any more of its equipment. NR has been operating two prototypes which have shown superior performance to high pressure water-jetting. Laserthor is in talks with a Dutch company to act as a larger industrial partner in commercialisation of the product. A world market of 800-1000 laser cleaners is forecasted.
Rail Business Intelligence, no.261. 12 Jan.2006. p.2.
Maintenance information still lacking, says ORR
The Office of the Rail Regulator is asking Network Rail for more quantitative information reductions in maintenance expenditure and the relationship between work done and outputs achieved. A table shows Network Rail's Business Plan 2005 projections of CP4 renewals activity for 2005-2015 by rail, sleepers, ballast, switch/crossing and signalling equivalent units.
Rail Business Intelligence, no.261. 12 Jan.2006. p.9.
No passenger train-km growth from 2007-08
Demand growth assumptions from the Network Rail Business Plan 2005 for the period 2005-2014 for passengers and freight are discussed. Figures are presented.
Rail Business Intelligence, no.261. 12 Jan.2006. p.10.
Transport chief warms to Tube companies
Peter Hendy, new head of Transport for London, has accepted the existence of the public private partnership and intends to ensure the programme of infrastructure and trains upgrade is completed and delivers the intended improvements. He is also to seek greater improvements in bus facilities and greater use of the above-ground national rail network.
Financial Times, 31 Jan. 2006. p.4.
Scientific signposts point way for transport
The Office of Science and Technology has published a report setting out the technological possibilities for the year 2055. This includes transport developments not only in the design of vehicles but also in the impact of global warming, design of cities, and the nature of how people work on transport systems and requirements.
Financial Times, 27 Jan. 2006. p.3.
Freight train, freight train, earnin' cash
US railroad operators are forecasting further strong growth in 2006 to continue the past 2 years of steady growth mirroring the strong domestic economy.
Financial Times, 27 Jan. 2006. p.29.
AEA Technology Rail 'reshapes' business: 100 staff to go
The AEA Technology Rail Test Hall is to close in early 2006 following completion of projects. The job losses will be mainly in the Engineering Systems division and some in the Products division, leaving the company with a total of around 450 employees.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.688. Jan.2006. p.7.
DB - the standard railway of Europe?
A profile of Deutsche Bahn AG is presented. The largest railway system in Europe with a number of subsidiaries, its open access, inter city and regional passenger businesses, freight, logistics and marshalling yards are described.
Modern Railways, vol.63, no.688. Jan.2006. pp.74-76.
AMEC has been awarded the contract for track renewal and associated infrastructure for the Sandbach to Wilmslow stretch of the West Coast Main Line.
Corus has a 7 year rail supply contract with Network Rail; Voestapline has also received a 5 year contract.
Railway Gazette International, vol.162, no.1. Jan.2006. p.14.
Chinese EMUs take shape in Italy
The start of construction of the fleet of 200 km/h trainsets for Chinese Railways at the Savigliano factory of Alstom Transport is reported. Principal data for the CA250 EMUs are presented.
Railway Gazette International, vol.162, no.1. Jan.2006. p.19.
Railnews Directory 2006
The directory lists rail industry principal stakeholders, train operators, suppliers, representative organisations, advisory bodies, and recruitment, appointment, training and consultancy businesses. Addresses and telephone/fax/e-mail/website information is provided, plus ownership and directors where appropriate.
Railnews, no.107. Jan.2006. pp.16-30.
Surge in Asia's exports brings fresh life to north-west US ports; Pacific north-west rail operators eye track expansion
Congestion in southern Californian ports has led to an increase in the use of Tacoma and Seattle for the importing of goods into the US from eastern Asia, particularly China. The ports also have good deep water facilities and better rail links to the middle and eastern states. However further improvements may be put on hold as Canadian ports are also expanding and California is taking measures to ensure that the congestion of 2005 does not recur.
Financial Times, 4 Jan 2006. p 17
Bombardier has secured an order from SNCF for 73 trains, valued at around Â£195m.
The Times, 5 Jan 2006, p 46.