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Old railroad span gets new life without taking a break

Reports on how construction teams are working round the clock in an 18-day window to replace a centre support pier and pivot mechanism on a swing bridge that carries 25 trains a day without interrupting services. OCCI is jacking up the 906' long steel-truss bridge in Louisiana, balancing it in shims and then replacing the main pier and power mechanisms that spins the centre spans.

Engineering News-Record, vol.259, no.17, 12 Nov.2007. p.15.

TfL will miss own Metronet takeover deadline

Transport for London has said that it had become clear that it would not be able to meet the self-imposed deadline of January 18th to take over the two contractors owned by Metronet Rail which went into administration in July. The contractors were responsible for maintaining and upgrading track and trains on two thirds of the city's underground network. Although many of the processes to be completed were out of its control TfL insisted that it was still on track to take over Metronet early in the new year.

Financial Times, 18 Dec.2007. p.2.

Strain spotter

Describes a portable device, developed by MAPS Technology under a contract from Network Rail, which can be used to monitor sections of continuously welded rails for early signs of buckling or cracking. It is claimed that the device can measure load in a rail and relate that to the desirable load that should be there, and that it doesn't just detect cracks but also the causes of cracks.

Engineer, 10 Dec.2007-13 Jan.2008. pp.24-25.

On track

ESR Technology of Warrington is an engineering, safety and risk technical consultancy that provides integrity and reliability assessments in a variety of fields. Their assessments in rail have provided key engineering information necessary for delivering performance improvements that suggest ways that rail companies can unlock the potential of their assets to generate greater capacity and improved reliability, whilst avoiding significant expenditure. The company's particular speciality is mechanical failure, where they have extensive in-house facilities for assessing the integrity of failed equipment.

Engineering, vol.248, no.9, Oct.2007. pp.32-34.

Steel Dynamics ships first order of welded rail

The company has made its first shipment from the recently completed rail welding operation at Columbia City. The shipments consisted of 81 rail strings, each 1360 ft in length. Each rail string resulted from welding together 17 80-ft rails. The rail strings were then transported by two trains of flat-bed railcars to an industrial site in southern Indiana. The company is prepared to offer this rail-welding service on a contract basis for Class 1 railroads and other users of welded rails.

Welding Journal, vol.86, no.10, Oct.2007. p.10.

Beijing raises $6 bn in record rail bond issue

China has raised more than Rmb 45 bn in its biggest ever bond deal as part of its plans to modernise its railways. The money will be used to buy trains and pay for the construction of a second rail line linking Hailar and Manzhouli, China's largest land port city on the border with Russia. China plans to build 19,800 km of new railway lines, modernise 15,000 km of existing lines, boost passenger train speeds and increase the load of freight trains

Financial Times, 30 Nov.2007. p.40.

China Railway issue has investors on edge

Assesses on the forthcoming debut of China Railway in Shanghai for clues as to the future of Chinese initial public offerings. There have been some recent first day failures, but most analysts remain confident that demand for Chinese IPOs will pick up.

Financial Times, 3 Dec.2007. p.28.

Need to know: Engineering

Bombardier Transportation has won a 140m euro order from Rotterdam public transport operator RET to build 43 light rail metro vehicles.

The Times, 5 Dec 2007. p.50.

Government gives fillip to high-speed lobby

Greengage 21, the pressure group formed to promote the wider adoption of high-speed rail in Britain, has published 'The Next Steps for High Speed Rail in Britain'. The report identifies five corridors with the potential for high-speed lines: High Speed Two; London-Cambridge-Northeast; London-Bristol/Cardiff; Trans-Pennine; and Anglo-Scottish. The group says that the Department for Transport should now undertake five key tasks: produce a strategic high-speed rail network assessment; develop technical standards for high-speed rail; identify key sites to be protected; conduct consultation on work to date on high-speed rail; and assess funding options.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.711, Dec.2007. p.10.

Further East West Rail studies

The East West Rail consortium has appointed consultants to conduct further studies into the western section of the projected link between Oxford and Cambridge. The section covers Oxford-Bicester and Bicester-Bletchley-Milton Keynes.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.711, Dec.2007. p.10.

Four new TOCs commence operations

Reports on the four new companies which started operations on November 11th: Cross Country to be operated by Arriva until March 2016; East Midland Trains to be operated by Stagecoach Group until March 2015; London Midland to be operated by Govia until September 2015; and London Overground to be operated by London Overground Rail Operations until November 2014, with a two-year extension option.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.711, Dec.2007. pp.12-13.

Alstom sells TGV technology to Moroccan high-speed network

An agreement has been signed to award French industry (and Alstom in particular) the contracts for the design, manufacture, operation and maintenance of the very high-speed Tangier-Casablanca rail-link. Alstom will deliver 18 very-high-speed Duplex double-deck train-sets which will run at speeds of up to 320 km/h and should be in operation by 2013.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.711, Dec.2007. p.66.

Cross-Channel freight trains set to double.

EWS, one of only two Cross-Channel freight operators, plans to launch 35-50 weekly services during 2008, compared to just 25 services a week currently using the tunnel. The move follows a decision by Eurotunnel, the Channel Tunnel operator, to offer radically different terms for trains running through the tunnel, cutting average fees from £5,300 to 3,00 per freight train. It is suggested that 1,000 trucks a week might be removed from the country's roads.

Financial Times, 27 Nov.2007. p.6.

Buyback marks shift in fortunes for WS Atkins

The company has announced a £100 M share buyback and a 25% increase in the interim dividend alongside strong first half results. The group took a loss of £91.3 M in June as a result of its involvement in Metronet, the failed rail maintenance consortium. Growth has been spread evenly across the group, although the Middle East has been a particularly strong performer.

Financial Times, 28 Nov.2007. p.24.

Jarvis warning due to lack of contract clarity

The company has blamed the opaque nature of its contracts with British Rail as one of the reasons for recent profit warnings after it had announced first half losses of £3.3 M. Richard Entwistle, chief executive, has said that the group had set its rates for the procurement of work with Network Rail without full visibility of the nature of the contracts.

Financial Times, 28 Nov.2007. p.24.

Eurostar transfers to its new home at St Pancras

The last Waterloo-bound Eurostar trains were due to arrive during the evening of 13 November, and the first to set out from St Pancras were due to leave their new terminal at 11.00 on 14 November 2007. In the intervening hours the whole operation, including some 400 staff, has transferred to its new home. At the same time 450 maintenance staff have moved from North Pole in West London to Stratford in East London.

Financial Times, 14 Nov 2007. p 4

Network Rail needs £430m to stay on track

Network Rail's strategic business plan calls for IT expenditure amounting to £430m over the period 2009-2014 to maintain existing systems and fund systems replacements and upgrades, technology and licence renewals and business-driven change projects. The major components are the European Rail Traffic Management System, scheduled for completion by 2015 and the GSM-R digital network that underpins it and is meant to be in place during 2013.

Computing, 8 Nov.2007. p.4.

Alstom to supply high-speed trains for route linking Helsinki to St Petersburg

The contract for the four Pendolino trains will be worth 120 M euros and includes an option for an additional two trains. The trains, scheduled for delivery in early 2009, will be built for Karelian Trains, a joint venture between Russian Railways and Finnish Railways.

Welding Journal, vol.86, no.11, Nov.2007. p.16.

Trucker turns to rail and water

The Eddie Stobart road haulage company has said that its fuel costs are up 30% over the part five months. It is now seeking to use water and rail transport as an alternative to road and to this end has merged with the Westbury Property Fund to combine its own road haulage assets with Westbury's rail freight and waterborne systems.

Financial Times, 13 Nov.2007. p.3.

Expansion poses a challenge for repairs

Reports on activities at the world's busiest railyard, Union Pacific's Bailey Yard in North Platte, Nebraska. In order to improve UP's ability to handle growing volumes of traffic particular attention has been paid to the effectiveness of repairs to the number of coal trains that use the yard each day.

Financial Times, 13 Nov.2007. p.30.

Mergers signal the rise of an all-powerful seven

A series of mergers during the 1980s and 1990s has shaped the structure of North America's Class 1 railroads, leaving most regions with just two competing operators.

Financial Times, 13 Nov.2007. p.30.

Demand keeps trains on a fast track

Officials at the two largest US railroad companies, Union Pacific and Burlington Northern and Santa Fe, are buoyant about future prospects. This optimism is in spite of a slowdown of consumer demand - which drives railroad's business carrying maritime containers - and of the housing market - which drives demand for building materials.

Financial Times, 13 Nov.2007. p.30.

US rail chiefs say new laws will halt investment

Chief executives of three of the top five US rail roads have warned that accelerating investment in the industry could come to a halt if proposed legislation to re-regulate many of the railroad's prices comes into force; there are currently four bills under debate in Congress.

Financial Times, 13 Nov.2007. p.30.

Railway builders head for market

China Railway Group and China Railway Construction, China's two largest railway construction companies, plan to sell shares in Shanghai and Hong Kong before the end of the year to capitalise on soaring valuations and make up for a shortfall in government funding for the state-owned sector.

Financial Times, 12 Nov.2007. p.26.

Global traveller

This special edition focuses on high speed train travel has articles on: the opening of the new international rail terminal at St Pancras; the new Eurostar services and the potential effects on airlines, particularly on short haul routes; and an interview with Guillaume Pepy, chief executive of SNCF, who comments on pan-European high-speed rail travel.

Financial Times, 12 Nov.2007. Special report

Eurotunnel acts to recapture freight

With rail freight in the first nine months of 2007 down to just 1.16 M tonnes, Eurotunnel has slashed and simplified its pricing in an effort to avoid the complete disappearance of this traffic. A single pricing structure will apply to all operators and there will be a charge per train rather than by tonnage and commodity.

Railway Gazette International, vol.163, no.11, Nov.2007. p.671.

Commission backs 'freight oriented' network

Reports on the publication 'Towards a Rail Network Giving Priority to Freight' in which the European Commission proposes to achieve greater efficiency and sustainability by a series of measures to promote the development of a European freight-oriented rail network corridor by corridor. This is an attempt to give fresh impetus to rail freight services given the increase in the efficiency of road transport.

Railway Gazette International, vol.163, no.11, Nov.2007. p.671.

Third railway package wins approval

The European Parliament has adopted three 'conciliation agreements' on the Third Railway Package. These are; liberalisation of the market for operation of international passenger trains; creation of a European licensing system for train drivers; and standardisation of rights for passengers using long-distance and international rail services.

Railway Gazette International, vol.163, no.11, Nov.2007. p.673.

Interoperable diesels

Reports that SNCF has planned to call for tenders for between 30 and 50 main line diesel locomotives to haul international freight traffic. Notes that these orders are very urgent due to the growing competition for international freight in Europe now that the market is fully open.

Railway Gazette International, vol.163, no.11, Nov.2007. p.674.

SNCF poised for more orders

SNCF plans to order two major fleets of passenger rolling stock. One order will be for up to 500 multi-purpose trainsets suitable for regional and suburban services: the other would be for a fleet of 150 high-capacity trainsets for outer suburban services in Ile-de-France and for busy suburban routes in provincial cities.

Railway Gazette International, vol.163, no.11, Nov.2007. p.677.

EWS joins DB to create a European rail network

The European Union's Directorate-General for Competition was expected to approve the purchase by Deutsche Bahn of all the shares in EWS Holdings, the UK's biggest rail freight operator. Keith Heller, EWS chief executive, explains that the intention is to create a truly continental operation that will span Europe and the next major expansion is to be in Spain

Railway Gazette International, vol.163, no.11, Nov.2007. p.691.

AGC launched on the world market

Reports on the event at Troyes on October 9th to mark the entry into service of Bombardier Transportation's AGC dual-voltage electro-diesel multiple-units.

Railway Gazette International, vol.163, no.11, Nov.2007. p.693.

Kawasaki Heavy to lift railcar output

The company will invest roughly 4 bn yen to increase domestic and US output for rolling stock to meet a strong worldwide demand. The money will be spent on the railcar body plant in Lincoln, Nebraska and the Harima Works in Hyogo Prefecture.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.45, no.2,307, 15 Oct.2007. p.10.

Working along the same lines

Presents an interview with Simon Kirby, Network Rail's director of infrastructure investment. Network Rail is seeking more improvements and greater efficiency in its operations and has identified the supply chain as an area where progress may be made. Track renewals is given as an example where the number of contractors has been reduced from six to four.

Railway Strategies, Issue 45, Oct./Nov.2007. pp.2-5.


Interviews Alcatel-Laurent's global transportation business development Director on the key role that the company plays in the rail industry as a technology supplier, integrator and large project prime contractor. Contracts described include: equipping the Berlin urban railway system with a fully IP-based communication network; developing and installing an on-board real-time video surveillance field trial in the driverless Copenhagen metro; and upgrading the private mobile radio network that covers the Paris Metro.

Railway Strategies, Issue 45, Oct./Nov.2007. pp.6-7.

Q1 national rail review

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has published its national rail review and Network Rail monitor covering the first quarter of 2007-08. Trends show more growth in passenger usage, improving punctuality, and higher levels of investment in improving the network for passengers.

Railway Strategies, Issue 45, Oct./Nov.2007. p.12.

£50 million to be invested in Metro in next two years.

The investment in the Tyne and Wear Metro represents Phase 1 of a £600 million programme over 20 years to modernise and operate the network. Investment in the next few years will cover new stations, ticket machines and the overhaul of ageing bridges and tunnels.

Railway Strategies, Issue 45, Oct./Nov.2007. p.12.

Taking the lean track

Presents a series of articles looking at the implementation of lean manufacturing, the production of goods using less of everything, in the UK rail industry. Articles cover: what rail maintenance, repair and overhaul operators (MROs) can learn from their counterparts in the aerospace industry; Northern Rail's development of a lean program for MRO to help meet increasing demands for improvements in service and reliability; and the work of TBM consultants in helping the rail industry to profit from the advantages of lean principles.

Railway Strategies, Issue 45, Oct./Nov.2007. pp.19-27.

Driving forward

Interviews Jim Duffy, First Engineering's regional director south, to profile the company's activities in delivering renewals and enhancement work, asset management, and a variety of framework contracts, including Network Rail's National Track Renewals and High Output Programmes. The company is one of the remaining four track renewal contractors after Network Rail reduced the number from six.

Railway Strategies, Issue 45, Oct./Nov.2007. pp.38-41.

High speed rail line set to be sold at auction

Bob Holden, chief executive of London & Continental Railways, has said that an auction could be held for the 110km High Speed One link between London and the Channel Tunnel. The sell-off would be part of a likely break-up of LCR, which is owned by private sector shareholders but was last year redesignated as part of the public sector: the government would probably receive all of the proceeds from such a sale.

Financial Times, 3/4 Nov.2007. p.4.

Munchen maglev funded

The regional government of Bayern (Germany) has reached an agreement to fund a 1.85bn euro maglev linking Franz Josef Strauss Airport with Munchen Hauptbahnhof [Munich central railway station]. The gap for the Transrapid between state and Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB) funding is being bridged by varied sources, including the federal government and the EU. Construction is being undertaken by DB and the GSV Consortium (including Siemens, ThyssenKrupp, Hochtief, Max Bogl and Bilfinger Berger).

Railway Gazette International, vol.163, no.10. Oct.2007. p.591.

Chinese lines get underway

Construction started on Chinese Rail ways' Passenger Dedicated Line (PDL) between Harbin and Dalian at the end of August. The 904 km line is expected to take 5.5 years to complete. The route is projected to carry 37 million passengers per year by 2020, rising to 51 million by 2030, requiring 165 trains/day to operate on the line. Other work commencing in China is: a new 800 km double track line between Langzhou and Chongqing; upgrading of 834 km of track between Xining and Golmund, which forms the first stage of the line to Tibet; and tracklaying on the 115 km Beijing - Tianjin high speed line. Balfour Beatty Rail has been awarded the contract for design and installation of overhead electrification equipment on the 958 km PDL between Wuhan and Guangzhou.

Railway Gazette International, vol.163, no.10. Oct.2007. p.595.

Birmingham cool on rapid link

Birmingham's civic leaders are unimpressed by plans for a high-speed rail link to London. They are more concerned to revamp Birmingham's existing New Street station, which now handles double the number of passengers for which it was designed, and to improve local transport.

Financial Times, 31 Oct 2007. p 3

Steaming ahead

Oxford Catalysts has developed a way of producing steam by exothermic chemical reaction. It has created a catalyst which causes methanol and hydrogen peroxide to create a chemical 'steam' when mixed together: so far it has been tested only in miniature but the scientists believe it can be scaled up to power full-size machines.

Eureka, Oct 2007. pp 12-13

High Speed 1

An engineer closely involved in the construction of the Channel Tunnel rail link gives an overview of some of the challenges presented by the project.

Ingenia, Issue 32, Sep 2007. pp 16-24

Radical transport options unveiled

The Government has proposed a new high speed raillink between London and Birmingham in a newly published long term transport strategy document. Other proposals include bigger motorways and pay-as-you-go road pricing in congested urban areas and linking the allocation of landing spots at airports to airlines environmental performance.

Financial Times, 30 Oct. 2007. p.1.

Brown gives green light to Crossrail

Government funding of £16bn has been committed to the east-west rail link; London City Corporation has agreed to contribute £200M, to be paid in financial year 2015-16, a year before the project is due to open. The bill to build the project still has to secure parliamentary approval. The project start date of 2010 is not seen as ideal, as the UK construction industry will be working at full capacity on the Olympic project.

Financial Times. 6/7 Oct.2007. p.4.

EN 13674-1:2003

EN 13674-1:2003/Amendment 1 Railway applications. Track. Rail. Part 1: Vignole railway rails 46 kg/m and above.
This amendment was issued under the CEN UAP to BSI but was not announced. The voting deadline has passed. However, if you wish to view this draft amendment, please contact the programme manager: Bernard Williams (bernard.williams@bsi-global.com).

[BSI] Update Standards. Oct.2007. p.54.

TfL faces pressure on bid to take over Metronet

Transport for London is under pressure from the UK government to increase private sector involvement in plans to take over Metronet Rail, currently in administration, which handles maintenance and upgrading contracts for London Underground. It is thought that the government wants to see Metronet restructured in a way that is closer to the public-private partnership envisaged in 2003, and in use at Tube Lines, the company which looks after the part of the underground not handled by Metronet.

Financial Times, 22 Oct.2007. p.4.

Olympic transport plan excludes spectator car parking

Organisers of the 2012 Olympic Games in London have insisted that there will be no carparking at the events. The transport plan has revealed a strategy to encourage 100% of those attending to arrive on foot, by bicycle or on public transport. Some options for park-and-ride facilities were still being considered but the main emphasis will be on greatly improved rail services.

Financial Times, 24 Oct 2007. p 2

Eurotunnel cuts rail freight charges

Eurotunnel has made sweeping changes to its charging system for freight as part of its drive to double the amount of goods carried through the Channel Tunnel in as little as three years. In 2006 only 1.57 million tonnes of freight were carried and the plan is to increase this to six million tonnes in five to seven years.

Financial Times, 24 Oct 2007. p 23

Rail use on track to break record

British railways passenger numbers look set to rise by 8.3% this year, and are likely to exceed the 47bn passenger kilometres travelled during postwar demobilisation in 1946. The South east and long distance services have seen most passenger growth.

Financial Times, 19 Oct. 2007. p.2.

Alstom agrees Tube deal changes

Alstom Transport has agreed substantial changes to its 20 year contract to maintain trains on London Underground's Northern Line. Tube Lines is awarding Alstom a 10 year extension to its contract until 2017, for £80m, to maintain Jubilee Line trains. Alstom will now be paid according to length of delays and numbers of passengers held up if it fails to provide trains.

Financial Times, 19 Oct. 2007. p.28.

Go-ahead likely within days for £16bn delayed Crossrail project; London deserves something better than Crossrail

Unease at lack of Stansted link

The City of London has approved an extra funding package of hundreds of millions of pounds which should enable the Crossrail cross-London link to go ahead. The £16 billion project will link Heathrow airport, the West End, the City and Canary Wharf, and run from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield in Essex and Abbey Wood in Kent in the east. It is argued however that Crossrail is no longer the right answer for cross-London travel and alternatives are suggested. In a further piece, there is criticism that it will not go to the international rail terminal at St Pancras, to the growing Stansted airport and will not connect to the main centres of housing development in Milton Keynes and Northampton. Supporters say that it links Heathrow, the West End, the City and Canary Wharf, and also links to the Eurostar terminal at Stratford.

Financial Times, 3 Oct 2007. pp 1, 13

Financial Times, 4 Oct 2007. p. 3.

Edinburgh airport rail plan axed

A £650m rail link to Edinburgh airport has been scrapped by the Scottish national party government. In its place a new airport station will be added to the Edinburgh tram system, due by 2011. In addition an electric rail link between Edinburgh and Glasgow will be introduced, reducing the journey time from 50 to 35 minutes and increasing train frequency.

Financial Times, 28 Sept. 2007. p.2.

Tube walkout over safety worries

London Underground train drivers staged a walkout, closing the Circle and Hammersmith and City lines in the rush hour because of concerns by the drivers over an automatic braking system. A return to work occurred, after safety checks, after it was thought that devices, meant to prevent trains restarting after application of the emergency brakes, could be overridden.

Financial Times, 28 Sept. 2007. p.5.

RBS seeks Angel Trains sale

The Royal Bank of Scotland is interested in selling off Angel Trains, a leasing company which owns around 5,000 locomotives and coaches, and has hired Lazard to investigate the options. Meanwhile, the UK's Competition Commission is looking into the market for the leasing of rolling stock following suggestions that excessive profits are being made.

Financial Times, 24 Sept.2007. p.21.

Germany to build maglev railway

The Bavarian state government is to build a high speed maglev rail line between Munich city centre and the airport and to this end has signed an agreement with rail operator Deutsche Bahn and the industrial consortium Transrapid, which includes the developers of the train (Siemens and ThyssenKrupp). The cost of the project is estimated at 1.85bn-euro ($2.6bn; £1.3bn). This will be the first commercial maglev service in Europe, and should reach a top speed of over 500km/h (310mph)


Need to know: Engineering

Bombardier Transportation has won an order worth around Eur225m (£156m) for 60 Bombardier Traxx locomotives plus options from Angel Trains.

The Times, 25 Sep 2007. p.42.

Hybrid trains take to the rails

East Japan Railways Co. (JR East) has started operating the world's first hybrid diesel-electric hybrid train, using 10% less diesel fuel than a regular diesel train, on the Koumi Line, in Yamanashi and Nagano Prefectures. This is part of the company's plan to develop eco-friendly trains for areas where there are no electric tracks.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.45. no.2,300. 27 Aug. 2007. p.16.

Private company may still bid for Metronet

Tube Lines could mount a bid for Metronet Rail, even though London Underground has said no private buyer is likely to want the failed company. However, London Underground is unlikely to welcome the bid as it is keen to buy Metronet itself and change how the contractor operates. Tube Lines maintains and upgrades track and trains on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines, with Metronet covering the rest. Metronet went into administration in July. Tube Lines is waiting for the valuation to be completed before deciding its position.

Financial Times, 13 Sep 2007. p.4.

Rail and rail joints

The following standard has been withdrawn from the Railway Group Standards Catalogue:
GC/RT5022 Rail and rail joints.

RSSB Information Bulletin. No.101. March-May 2007. p.2.

Railway applications

The following new standard has been published:
BS EN 14587-1:2007 Railway applications. Track. Flash butt welding of rails. Part 1: New R220, R260, R260Mn and R350HT grade rails in a fixed plant.

[BSI] Update Standards. Aug.2007. p.15.

Private buyers sought for failed Metronet

The administrator of failed London Underground maintenance contractor Metronet has approached several possible private buyers to assess interest. This was revealed at a meeting of the London Assembly's transport committee, where deep disagreements about Metronet's future were made public. Another view is that London Underground itself should take over the contracts as quickly as possible.

Financial Times, 12 Sep 2007. p 4

Network Rail cuts renewals contracts

Network Rail is to reduce from six to four the number of companies with long-term contracts for track renewal. The companies that lose out are Grant Rail and Carillion. Those that remain are: Amey SECO; the rail division of Balfour Beatty; First Engineering, part of Babcock; and Jarvis.

Financial Times, 12 Sep 2007. p 22

Refurbishment celebrates the golden age of steam

Cylinder and axle box bearing refurbishment work for The National Railway Museum, York's famous Flying Scotsman steam locomotive was recently completed with help from Corus Process Engineering, Workington.

Industrial Technology, Jul. 2007. p.12.

A Strategic Freight Network - what will it mean?

The Department for Transport's White Paper 'Delivering a Sustainable Railway', is allocating £200M for the development of a Strategic Freight Network (SFN) to provide 'a selective ability to handle wagons with higher axle loads and greater loading gauge'. SFN is aiming for network reliability and a 24h/7 day railway. The topic is discussed.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.708. Sept.2007. p.15.

Bidders await Metronet price

The investment bank Rothschild has been appointed to value Metronet, the failed London Underground railway infrastructure company. Valuations should be complete by the end of September, when administrators Ernst and Young will consider whether to invite formal bids.

Financial Times, 29 Aug 2007. p 2

Eurostar sets Paris-London record

A Eurostar train on its inaugural run over the second stage of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link has travelled from Paris to London St Pancras in just under two hours and four minutes, cutting the previous journey time by half an hour. When passenger services begin in November the scheduled time for the journey will be two hours and fifteen minutes.

Financial Times, 5 Sep 2007. p 4

Network Rail admits Grayrigg failures

Network Rail has admitted that repeated failures in track-side safety checks led to the derailment of a London to Glasgow train near Grayrigg, Cumbria, in February. One person died and 20 people were injured when a Virgin Trains Pendolino derailed on a broken set of points at 95 mph.

Financial Times, 5 Sep 2007. p 4

Need to know: Engineering

Bombardier reported a quarterly loss as it wrote off its investment in Metronet, the company contracted to upgrade the London Underground.

The Times, 30 Aug 2007, p 42.

Renewable railway

The Oslo Metro, a three car electric passenger train, designed and manufactured by Siemens Transportation Systems, is described. Key environmental performance indicators have been detailed for the system and Siemens has also devised a programme for recycling and disposal of the train (94%) at the end of its lifetime.

The Engineer, vol.293, no.7729. 30 July-12 Aug. 2007. pp.24-25.

Bidders for new high-speed train listed

Hitachi Europe, developer of the bullet train and the Express Rail Alliance, a consortium of 4 companies including Bombardier Transportation and the Alstom-Barclays Rail Group, have been named among the short-list of bidders to build the new generation of high speed trains for the UK. Alstom is the world's largest manufacturer of high speed trains, including the TGV. Hitachi has already been contracted to supply a bullet train type for services between London and Kent on the Channel Tunnel rail link, and shuttle trains for the 2012 London Olympics. As full electrification of the high speed network has been ruled out by the government, the new fleet will need to be power-flexible, and capable of running at 125 mph. 500 - 2000 vehicles will be purchased, depending on costs.

Financial Times. 17 Aug.2007. p.3.

Plan for public control of Tube work

Transport for London has announced that a large part of the maintenance on the London Underground system could be taken back under public control, and has made a formal 'expression of interest' to take over Metronet's contracts. The contracts would initially be taken over for a period of up to 2 years, but might become permanent if successful. Metronet is currently being run by the former Railtrack administrator, Ernst & Young, with public funding from TfL to ensure the network continues to run. Tube Lines has said that it will not bid for the Metronet contracts.

Financial Times, 25/26 Aug. 2007. p.2.

National Express in route win

National Express has won the franchise for the Intercity East Coast route, the most lucrative in the UK. It will pay £1.4 billion to the Department for Transport over the life of the franchise which will run from December 2007 to March 2015. During its first year of operation the company expects revenues of £600 million and has committed itself to £45 million of improvements.

Financial Times, 15 Aug 2007. p 16

Crossrail faces delay over cost concerns / Crossrail crawling closer to green light

Though the ambitious plans to build and open Crossrail by 2015 are likely to slip, as a result of concerns over affordability and the pressure being exerted on London businesses to contribute to the cost, political momentum is growing for the route to reach fruition. A bill is expected to pass through the Commons by spring 2008, but the project is likely to take at least 10 years to complete and cost at least £10bn. The Institute for Fiscal Studies believes that it might be necessary to delay the project to avoid cost overruns and a lack of funds for investment in other public services.

Financial Times, 3 Aug. 2007. pp.1,3.

Ministers give green light to rail expansion

An official review of the UK rail service is to be released tomorrow. 1,300 new carriages and longer platforms at stations, plus the Thameslink extension are expected to be amongst plans to increase passenger capacity. The green light for a new high speed London-Scotland link is not anticipated.

Financial Times. 23 July 2007. p.4.

New Network Rail chief plans to devolve power to local managers

A brief interview with Iain Coucher is presented, as he takes over today as chief executive, following on from John Armitt. Power and autonomy of managers to organise resources at a local level is seen as key to improving Network Rail's response to rail users' needs and to improve its overall performance.

Financial Times. 23 July 2007. p.4.

Berlin to sell 30% stake in railways

Up to 30% of Deutsche Bahn is to be floated by the German government next year. The company is valued at 20bn euros.

Financial Times. 23 July 2007. p.23.

Metronet goes bust

Metronet Rail went into Financial Administration on 18 July 2007. The company ran out of money whilst upgrading the Sub-Surface Lines and Bakerloo-Central-Victoria divisions of the London Underground under the Public Private Partnership.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.707. Aug.2007. p.6.

High Speed Two: A proposition by Greengauge 21

A special supplement discusses a high speed network for the UK. A high speed line in the north west corridor, connecting London and Birmingham with the North West is proposed. 15 benefits from High Speed Two are listed; how the line would look; its route; wider service opportunities; cost, and delivery; and the argument for building the line are put forward.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.707. Aug.2007. pp.16.

Underground special

The special feature includes an interview with Tube Lines' chief executive, Terry Morgan, on the topic of underground infrastructure renewal; Metronet's experiences of the Public Private Partnership; new signalling and new trains on the Northern Line; and the testing of the first pre-series train of 2009 stock in London.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.707. Aug.2007. pp.43-48,50-55,56-58.

Network Rail fined £2.4M for late delivery

The Office of Rail Regulation has fined Network Rail for the late delivery of a signalling scheme in Portsmouth. At least 3M passengers have been affected by slow services to Portsmouth harbour since January. The Siemens-made computerised signalling system will be completed during the October half term holidays.

Financial Times. 31 July 2007. p.3.

Rail network safety performance for 2006 shows continuing improvement

The safety performance report headlines are listed and show improvements in both passenger and workforce safety. Amongst other figures, broken rails are reported to have reduced by 28% to the lowest ever figure of 227. A copy of the report can be found on RSSB's website at http://www.rssb.co.uk/spreports.asp.

Rail Safety and Standards Board Information Bulletin, no.104. June 2007. pp.1-2.

Metronet braced for ruling on £2bn overspend/Contrasting tale of two contractors

Metronet Rail has applied for £400M of emergency funds to cover higher than budgeted spending on the upgrading of the London Underground. The BCV contract, covering the deep-level Bakerloo, Central, Victoria and Waterloo, and City tube lines, is one of Metronet's two public-private partnership (PPP) contracts, the other, SSL, covers shallow, sub-surface lines such as Metropolitan, District and Circle. Metronet is asking for a total of £992M for past and projected overspend on the BCV contract. Some of the cost increases in the BCV contract's firs three years (of 7.5 years) are detailed.
Working practice differences in Tubelines (owned by Bechtel and Amey), the other PPP contractor, which is managing to work within budget, are discussed.

Financial Times. 16 July 2007. p.3.

Groupe Eurotunnel sees strong traffic growth

In its first report on traffic and revenue since its restructuring, Groupe Eurotunnel saw strong growth in most of its business areas, but cross-Channel rail freight continues to decline, and overall first-half revenue fell from £273m to £252m. This was due to the expiry of financial arrangements designed to underpin revenues for the first 12 years after the tunnel opened. Eurotunnel's restructuring, completed last month, slashed its debt by £1.3bn and created a new French company Groupe Eurotunnel. Revenue from cross-Channel shuttles rose 8% to £162m. Passenger numbers rose 5%, but rail freight dropped sharply, partly because the UK government stopped paying all the tunnel tolls for EWS, the UK train operator that operates cross-Channel freight with SNCF. The move came at the same time as the ending of the minimum user charge.

Financial Times, 12 July 2007. p.20.

Metronet crisis: Bloom expected to take charge of ailing PPP; Working relationship proved dear

Metronet Rail, the company maintaining and upgrading two-thirds of the London Underground network, is to go into administration. The company's future has been in doubt since it was awarded only £121 million out of the £551 million it was claiming in emergency funding to keep its Bakerloo, Central, Victoria and Waterloo & City lines going. The procedure will be similar to that which was used for Railtrack when it went into receivership in 2001, and Alan Bloom, who oversaw that process, is likely to be the administrator appointed for Metronet. One of the key issues affecting Metronet Rail has been its 'tied supply chain', whereby until this year its five major shareholders had carried out most of the work without putting contracts out to competitive tender.

Financial Times, 18 Jul 2007. p 3

Passengers to bear the brunt of rail costs; The tricky question of who pays

In the new white paper "Delivering a sustainable railway" the government sees passengers paying an increasing proportion of the funding of the UK's railway services. State funding of the railways reached a record £6.5 billion in 2006-2007 and this is scheduled to decreased by £1.5 billion annually until 2009 when it should be around £3 billion. At the same time passenger revenue will increase to £9 billion from its present £5 billion. However this will be partly as a result of ever-growing passengers - by 2030 it is anticipated that the number of travellers by rail will have doubled again. Major projects to go ahead include Thameslink, and the rebuilding of Birmingham New Street and Reading stations.

Financial Times, 25 Jul 2007. p 2

Examining the cost of train/track interaction

The factors affecting track wear and tear (wear, fatigue, ballast settlement, track shift, gauge variation, sleeper degradation, broken rail clips/chars, corrosion damaged points and crossings, vegetation growth, drainage problems) are reviewed, and a new model that predicts the whole-life cost of damage caused by rail vehicles is discussed.

Railway strategies, no.43. June/July 2007. pp.91-93

High-speed train operators link up to take on airline alliances

The Railteam Alliance (RA) has been formed by 9 European high speed train operators to counter the three airline alliances (Star Alliance, One World Alliance, Sky Team) on international routes. RA will have a common booking system, simplified ticketing and integrated frequent traveller benefits. The 9 companies involved are: SNCF (France), Deutsche Bahn (Germany) SNCB (Belgium), NS (The Netherlands), OBB (Austria), SBB (Switzerland), Eurostar (UK/France/Belgium), Thalys (France/Belgium/Netherlands/Germany), and TGV Lyria (Switzerland/France). Some details of how the simplified ticketing system will work are given. This year four high speed lines are opening in western Europe (LGV Est France, UK, Belgium and the Netherlands), all expecting heavy international traffic.

Financial Times. 3 July 2007. p.8.

Tube train derailed Metronet headache / Metronet problems escalate after Tube crash

Details are given of the derailment on the Central Line in London between Bethnal Green, as a result of poorly stowed maintenance equipment. This comes on top of Metronet rail's overspending on its maintenance contract with London Underground. The company has submitted a request for London Underground to pay an extra £992m over the first 7.5 years of the contract for the Bakerloo, Central, Victoria and Waterloo and City lines, and is likely to request a similar further amount for the Metropolitan and District lines.

Financial Times, 6 Jul. 2007. pp.1,4.

Metronet chief hails work of smaller rival

The chief executive of Metronet admits that his company should have approached its station upgrade programme in the same way as TubeLines, but insists that Metronet are facing unexpected cost increases not applied to TubeLines so far because of a willingness to comply, but also because many work demands were unique to the Metronet lines. Tubelines believe they have been clearer on the scope of the work to be done, but have taken work to formal dispute resolution process when necessary.

Financial Times, 9 Jul. 2007. p.4.

Metronet may pay for late Tube work

As a result of a guidance published on 29 June by Chris Boult, arbiter of the 30-year London Underground public-private partnership, Metronet may have to pay for latter-running work. The guidelines state that the task of deciding what Metronet's spending should have been will consider the amount that would have been spent by a notional economic, efficient contractor that operated in line with good industry practice. If the work has been carried out in this way, the arbiter will then look at whether the costs have been higher because of delays and because the company has to accelerate its work rate to catch up, with such costs being borne by the contractor.

Financial Times, 7/8 Jul. 2007. p.3.

c2c goes green

Class 357 trains runs by c2c have been switching to regenerative braking since March this year. The system reduces power consumption by returning the electrical power generated by applying the brakes back into the supply network. Energy savings of up to 20% are being reported by the company.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.706. July 2007. p.6.

Virgin Trains launches biodiesel Voyager

The first European biodesel blend powered scheduled passenger train ran on 7 June from London Euston to Llandudno. The Cummins QSK-19 engines ran on a 20% biodiesel blend, the maximum without affecting operations or requiring engine modification. Trials of the blend with the Cummins NT855 in Class 158/159 trains are underway.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.706. July 2007. p.10.

Network Rail makes plans for National Engineering Centre

A new National Engineering Centre, located at Woodhouse Junction (Beighton, Sheffield), is at the planning stage. The centre would create 150 jobs and carry out the maintenance of Network Rail's engineering trains and on-track plant and machinery. Its location was chosen for its links to the rail network, available unused railway land, a local skilled workforce, and the proximity to Sheffield Hallam University, which offers a railway foundation degree.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.706. July 2007. p.11.

Tom Harris announces £44 million in grants

New rail freight grants have been announced by the Rail Minister. The money, administered through the Rail Environmental Benefit Procurement Scheme (REPS), is available for projects taking freight off the roads onto rail. Grants aim to remove over 2.1M lorry journeys and 631M lorry kilometres from the roads over the next 3 years. Recipients of new REPS (Bulk) and REPS (Intermodal) grants are listed.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.706. July 2007. p.12.

Deutsche Bahn and EWS in talks

Discussions are underway between Deutsche Bahn AG (DB) and English Welsh & Scottish Railway Holdings Ltd (EWS) on the development of a stronger European rail freight network. Joint projects and the acquisition of shares in EWS by DB are possible.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.706. July 2007. p.12.

The Modern Railway Directory 2007

Update Part 2 of the Modern Railway Directory is presented as a pull-out supplement. Key projects, infrastructure maintenance and renewal, signalling, light rail and metro, European news, and innovations are featured. A directory of over 1,200 UK rail businesses is included.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.706. July 2007. Supplement. 16pp.

Bombardier venture

An agreement has been signed between Bombardier and Transmashholding, a Russian railway technology manufacturer, setting up two joint ventures, one to develop advanced propulsion technology and technical solutions for railway equipment, and another for the manufacture of traction-converters, based on Bombardier MITRAC propulsion technology. An engineering centre in Moscow will serve Russian and overseas clients. The traction-converters will be produced at Transmashholding's plant in Novocherkassk. Demand for up to 7,500 new locomotives in Russia by 2015 is forecast.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.706. July 2007. p.55.

Global groups chase UK train order

The deadline for train manufacturers to express an interest in tendering for the replacement of the UK's 30 year old InterCity 125 trains was yesterday afternoon. Among companies known to have expressed an interest in supplying the 500 - 2,000 carriages are Alstom Transport (France), a consortium of Bombardier (Canada) and Siemens (Germany), Hitachi (Japan) and a company intending to buy trains from China. The Department for Transport (DfT) requires most of the train design (in electric, diesel and hybrid variants) to be completed within 18 months. Other requirements are for vehicles to be lighter, cheaper and to have a higher passenger capacity than existing UK trains. Analysts in the sector have said that the specification as it stands is 'probably nearly impossible to build'. With DfT handling train ordering, all train operators will be using similar, interchangeable vehicles.

Financial Times. 19 June 2007. p.2.

Crossrail signals at red while Whitehall weighs up costs

Talks over the Crossrail scheme's cost and the crucial issue of where the money comes from are said to still have 'a long way to go'. The green light will only be given if there is a substantial contribution from business and if the project's cost can be met within tight public spending limits. The subject is discussed, and a project timetable presented.

Financial Times. 19 June 2007. p.4.

Atkins writes down Tube investment

Costs of £121.3 million incurred with its Metronet Tube refurbishment project have pulled WS Atkins into an exceptional full year pre-tax loss of £39.6 million. Underlying growth in its other departments of 19%, yielding profits of £81.7 million, has helped to offset this. Metronet is currently in limbo until an agreement can be reached on responsibility for its cost overrun.

Financial Times, 27 Jun 2007. p 22

Metronet to seek cash within weeks

Metronet Rail, the main contractor upgrading the London Underground, is to seek an order to force the payment of millions of extra pounds by the public sector almost immediately through an 'interim determination' from Chris Boult, arbiter of the 30 year public-private partnership, at an emergency review of the reasons for cost over-runs. Metronet blames much of the overspend on London Underground's demands for a higher standard of work than was envisaged when the PVP contract was signed in 2003 while London Underground blames it on the inefficiency of Metronet.

Financial Times, 22 Jun. 2007. p.4.

The Modern Railway Directory

The Modern Railway update, the first of a two-part supplement, offers a fully updated version of the rail industry directory included in the new annual publication, The Modern Railway (TMR); a review of major rail industry developments since TMR was published in autumn 2006. All aspects of the rail business are examined in 12 main subject areas, including policy and finance, passenger and freight operations, light rail, consultancy and rolling stock. A review of the past 6 months' industry developments is included. Rail businesses, suppliers and industry bodies are listed in a directory. The 2008 edition of TMR will be published in November 2007.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.705. June 2007. Supplement. 16pp.

Network Rail aims to slash track repair times

A project to cut the time required for some essential track work from 54 to 8 hours has been revealed by Network Rail. Much of the work to build sets of points will be moved from trackside to central factories, with points taken to work sites as ready-assembled panels. Quality of manufacture is also expected to rise. Until the specialist wagons and cranes required for the work have been delivered, points will need to be broken into smaller panels than the final version of the plan, taking 12 hours for replacement. The project is expected to restore 7 day operation on the rail network.

Financial Times. 5 June 2007. p.2.

Crossrail chief says momentum behind scheme near unstoppable

Douglas Oakervee, chief executive of Cross Rail London Links, is optimistic about government funds for the project.. The bill enabling the scheme is expected to receive royal assent in early in 2008. Costs are estimated at around £15bn, including 35% contingency. Funds are likely to come from London businesses and fares so government need only pay for a third of the total cost. If it goes ahead according to plan, trains carrying people between east London and Heathrow would start in 2015.

Financial Times, 18 June 2007. p.1.

A change for the better

In an interview with Alstom's Steven Clarksmith and Steve Hadfield and TBM Consulting's Richard Holland, the ways in which Kaizen (lean and six-sigma) can be applied to the rail industry, and the benefits to performance, are discussed.

Railway Strategies, no.42. April-May 2007. pp.2-3.

Tyne-Tees maglev study

The Association of North East Councils and UK Ultraspeed are studying the possibility of using 300mph maglev technology for an ultra high speed transport network between Teesside and Tyneside. The system would consist of a fixed track with an electromagnetic linear motor and up to 10 cars providing seating for 1200 passengers; the control system would be automated.

Railway Strategies, no.42. April-May 2007. p.9.

Expansion plans

Following the unveiling of Network Rail's (NR) £2.4bn programme of rail expansion for the next two years, a number of projects (from the 900 individual schemes underway) and their estimated spend are briefly discussed and listed. A number of changes at NR are also announced, one of which is the establishment of a new Infrastructure Group to bring together engineering, maintenance, renewals and enhancement activities. The latter will be managed by a new role, Director, Infrastructure Investment, to be filled by Simon Kirby, the current director of major projects and investment.

Railway Strategies, no.42. April-May 2007. pp.14-15.

Network Rail staff pay for crash in cut bonus / Company seeks to curb delays caused by lineside blazes

All staff of Network rail will receive reduced bonuses following a decision by directors that responsibility for the Grayrigg crash in February lies with the whole company. The top 4 executives have also had an annual bonus cut of 64%. In addition the entire bonuses of the company's executive and all maintenance staff responsible for the length of track where the Grayrigg accident happened, are being withheld until after the official report into the accident is available. The accident was caused by faulty points. The rail network's performance has improved over the past year, and passenger train punctuality is at its best since 1999. Delays attributed to Network Rail remain steady, largely due to factors outside its control such as extreme weather events, suicides and track side fires. An attempt is being made to limit the effect of trackside fires by banning companies that use oxyacetylene cylinders from taking out new leases on trackside or archway properties, and also by trying to persuade tenants to use other means of fuelling welding and other equipment.

Financial Times, 25 May 2007. p.4.

China suspends maglev rail plan

Plans for a magnetic levitation railway link between Shanghai and Hangzhou have been suspended because of public fears that the trains would emit radiation. Talks with the German suppliers, Siemens, were already complicated by recent accidents involving maglev trains and concerns that the cost might be more than Euros 3.4bn.

Financial Times, 28 May 2007. p.4.

Italy's financial woes threaten rail tunnel plan

The planned tunnel to connect Lyons and Turin may founder as a result of the poor state of Italy's public finances. The project is part of a plan designed to connect the EU's 27 member states to improve the operation of the single market. Italy could have problems funding its share of the Alpine tunnels. A map showing the six proposed highest profile routes is given. This round of projects also includes upgrading the rail axis from Berlin to Southern Italy and improved connections from Ireland to mainland Europe,

Financial Times, 28 May 2007. p.4.

Metronet seeks costs review in pursuit of extra fees

Metronet Rail, the main private contractor working on the refurbishment of the London Underground, is to seek an official review aimed at forcing the public sector to pay it £100s million extra. Its argument is that London Underground has demanded significant extra work that was not laid down in the original contracts. The projected cost over-run is £750 million.

Financial Times, 23 May 2007. p 2

Carmakers point the way for tube / Managers see light in the tunnel

The private contractors maintaining and modernising much of the London Underground system are turning to lean manufacturing techniques used by Japanese car manufacturers to update work practices. The system has been used by Tubelines on escalator maintenance and has cut the time taken to overhaul an escalator from 26 down to 6 weeks. Metronet Rail has reduced the time taken for train overhauls from 72 to 48 hours, and is hoping to shrink it to 14 hours. The result for Metronet is an increase in the distance run by trains (15%) and in the passenger numbers (20%) since the start of the contract. Project overspends have not been reduced by these techniques. Managers are helped to visualise problems by whiteboards dotted with figures and coloured symbols, showing for example green dots for targets hit and red dots for those missed, while work is evened out by stacking up coloured bars representing each 10 seconds' work for team members.

Financial Times, 18 May 2007. p.6.

Alstom puts brakes on transfer of technology

Alstom transport is being cautious about technology handed to Chinese partners to avoid increased competition within the European market. The company is supplying only technology that would largely be useless outside China, since the trains in China have different track gauge and width. Grand Central announced in April that it is buying Chinese built trains for a high-speed service from London to north-east England. Alstom and Bombardier are both unsure if the Chinese manufacturers can achieve the sophistication and complexity required.

Financial Times, 18 May 2007. p.29.

Rail Industry

A four-page report on the current state of the rail industry covering such areas as: 'This is the age of the train' - an article on the industry's recovering fortunes; 'Key is standard products with a sophisticated design' - a discussion of the current position of the three main European manufacturers of rolling stock; 'Performance targets raise the bar for quality' - a discussion on the successful privately-run Stockholm metro; 'All the way from Japan: lessons in how to run a railway' - a discussion of the use of lean management techniques for the maintenance of the London Underground track and trains; 'Grappling with an ancient legacy' - a discussion of the changes that are to take place on the New York subway system, including building the new Second Avenue Line; 'Consumer consciousness tops the agenda' - a discussion of the growing environmental awareness of customers; 'An idea whose time has come' - the use of a privately run railway service in West Saxony, Germany, where regional and national governments are using tendering to challenge state-owned operators; 'From zero to hero in 10 years' - an outline of Cho Sangwhui, whose company, Rotem, is to build the KTX-2 high speed rolling stock for the Korean market; 'Market entry needs technology transfer' - discussing the demands of China for technology transfer as a price of entry into its market; 'Change of strategy saves reputation' - the policy of AnsaldoBreda to upgrade the Boston fleet for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority with quality products to save its reputation; and finally 'Another South African dream' - a project to build sub-Saharan Africa's first high-speed railway.

Financial Times, 18 May 2007. Special Report: Rail Industry

Tube overspends likely to exceed £750m

Metronet Rail has admitted that a previously estimated £750m overspend could be exceeded during the first seven and a half years of its contract. The company is blaming the demands of London Underground to constantly expand the scope of the work.

Financial Times, 11 May 2007. p.4.

Chinese trains in frame for Grand Central Railway

The Sunderland-London service of Grand Central could be serviced by three 140 mph diesel Polaris trains manufactured by CSR Ziyang. Similar to the diesel InterCity 125 High Speed Train, the units have 23m long steel built coaches and 15m long power cars. Electric traction will also be offered.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.704. May 2007. p.6.

Crossrail to serve Reading and Woolwich

It is understood that the UK government has given a commitment that the Crossrail project will extend to Reading; redevelopment of the station and its surroundings are to begin next year. Details of works to be undertaken are given. A Crossrail station at Woolwich is now likely following an agreement with the developer, Berkeley Homes.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.704. May 2007. p.6.

Network Rail Business Plan 2007: £2.4bn spending programme

The Business Plan is discussed. Samples of enhancement projects identified by Network Rail, and infrastructure spending 2007/08 on enhancements (total), renewals (excluding West Coast), West Coast, and maintenance are listed.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.704. May 2007. p.8.

Eight new trams for Metrolink

Bombardier, in partnership with Vossloh Kiepe, has won the contract to supply Flexity Swift trams to the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority. The trams will be delivered in the first half of 2009. Up to 28 more units are expected to be ordered in the near future, as the city expands its Metrolink system. Similar designs of tram operate in many Continental cities, including Cologne, Bonn, Stockholm and Rotterdam.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.704. May 2007. p.10.

Edinburgh tram shortlist

Following the go-ahead in March from Scottish ministers for the construction of Edinburgh tram line 1a, a shortlist of bidders has been drawn up to build trams capable of negotiating the tight curves and steep gradients in the city. Alstom and CAF are on the list to come up with a design for the 40 m long units, that can carry at least 230 passengers, with a 30 year design life.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.704. May 2007. p.10.

City cargo tram in Amsterdam

A month long pilot project was run recently by City Cargo, distributing goods in Amsterdam's city centre by tram. Two trams were modified and used between 07.00 and 17.00, with small electric lorries transferring goods (loaded in small wheeled containers) to shops. One of the conditions was that passenger transport in the city must not be affected. If the tests are judged to be a success, City Cargo will be looking for 50 trams built for easier loading.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.704. May 2007. p.69.

People are our most valuable asset

Weld-A-Rail's managing director explains both the approach adopted and the benefits achieved from introducing a competence management system into the company, specifically aimed at reducing risk in the highly hazardous environment of the rail industry. Following introduction of the system, the weld defect rate has reduced from 2.28% of weld cast to 0.99%, a 56% reduction.

Railway Strategies, no.41. Feb./March 2007. p.51.

Scotland tests new rail welding technology

The new Thermit SkV-E process, with its Single Use Crucible, has been used for new track construction on the Stirling to Alloa/Kincardine Bridge project. The project, a partnership of First Engineering Ltd and Network Rail Scotland, is the first part of a wider roll-out of the technology. The success of the pilot trial is briefly discussed.

Railway Strategies, no.41. Feb./March 2007. p.61.

Special rail grades and profiles - welding problems and solutions

A resume of papers presented at the 10th Institute of Rail Welding Technical Seminar, covering not only main line rail but light railways, tramways and crane rails, is given.

Welding Lines, no.20. March 2007. p.1.

First Engineering

A company profile of First Engineering, part of the Babcock Group, is presented.

Welding Lines, no.20. March 2007. p.3.

Metronet considers review on Tube overspend

London Underground (LU) contractor Metronet may initiate a formal independent review of the projected overspend on the work it is doing. The cost overrun is likely to be £750 million, and Metronet is still trying to settle with LU the issue of who will pay for it. Metronet's claim is that much of the overspend is due to LU's increasing the scope of the upgrade, and some at least of the increased costs should be met by that body.

Financial Times, 25 Apr 2007. p 2.

Hybrid trains offered in UK

Hitachi is developing hybrid diesel trains which also have batteries that are charged by regenerative braking. The stored power can then be used for improved acceleration. The company is now building its first commercial order, for a Japanese railway, and has proposed the technology for trial in the UK.

Eureka, Apr 2007. p 12

Tube chief lays blame for cost over-runs with contractor

Metronet Rail, the main private consortium involved with the upgrade to London's Tube system, is being blamed for the cost over-run and delay in completing parts of the project. Tim O'Toole, Managing Director of London Underground, criticised the way Metronet Rail is structured. Chris Boult, arbiter of the 30-year, £30bn, public private partnership to upgrade the underground's infrastructure and trains, has already stated that he expects Metronet to overspend by £750m in the first seven and a half years of the project. The consortium is said not to be working efficiently, economically or in line with good industry practice, and gives work to its partners rather than holding competitive tenders. London Underground believes the only way to achieve clarity on the problems is for Metronet to seek an extraordinary review of its spending from the PPP arbiter.

Financial Times, 12 Apr. 2007. p.4.

Rail operator to buy Chinese trains / Grand Central order latest sign of manufacturing strength

British train operator Grand Central is to order three Chinese-built high-speed trains for a new service between London and Sunderland. Chinese manufacturers have been trying for years to break into the European market, and established European manufacturers will be concerned about their ability to compete with lower-cost Chinese products. The trains, to be named Polaris, will be capable of up to 140 mph and will be able to either connect to current overhead lines or run on their own diesel engines. They are to be built by state-owned Chinese manufacturers CSR Ziyang, who will produce the motorised power cars, and CSR Puzhen, who will produce the intermediate unpowered coaches. The Chinese design appears to match the specification published last month by the Department of Transport for the 500 - 2,000 vehicles required to replace the ageing 125 Intercity trains. There is scepticism over the Chinese companies' ability to meet UK safety standards, and about the originality of the design. Bombardier transportation, which owns the design for the Intercity 125, says the Chinese manufacturers asked to look at the trains during the design process, and the company will be watching closely for copyright violations in the new train. Albania is currently the only European company to have Chinese trains. The order is a sign of the growing strength of China's train manufacturing industry which now meets a greater proportion of its home market requirements. This is largely as a result of technology transfer from Bombardier and Alstom which has enabled them to win business in China until now.

Financial Times, 14/15 Apr. 2007. p.2.

On track

Docklands Light Railway is being helped by Interfleet Technology, an international rail consultancy, in the procurement of 55 new articulated vehicles. Interfleet's Derby and German offices are working closely together to ensure high construction standards and timely delivery. The vehicles are being built at Bombardier's plant at Bautzen, Germany.

Engineering, vol.248. no.2. Feb. 2007. p.10.

Crash blamed on Railtrack 'culture'

The opening up of sentencing at the Ladbroke Grove trial is reported. A 'catalogue of failures to act over a number of years' has been laid at the door of Railtrack, the former rail infrastructure operator. The sequence of events leading to the crash are summarised.

Financial Times. 27 March 2007. p.5.

Delaying Crossrail would cost £1.5bn a year, says report

A report by economic consultants Volterra, for Crossrail and the Greater London Authority, considers that the delay of the cross-London rail link would cost London's economy about £4M a day from delays, lost productivity, planning blight and the rising costs of building the route. Delays to financing of the scheme are possible as a consequence of the spiralling costs of the 2012 Olympics.

Financial Times. 27 March 2007. p.5.

Network Rail fined £4M after fatal crash

As the successor to Railtrack, Network Rail has been fined for health and safety breaches leading up to the 1999 Ladbroke Grove rail crash that killed 31 people and injured over 100.

Financial Times. 31 March/1 April 2007. p.3.

Lambrigg will put RAIB [Rail Accident Investigation Branch] to the test

The rail accident at Lambrigg, between Oxenholme and Tebay, on the West Coast main line is reviewed. Initial investigations put a missing stretcher bar at points 2B as the cause of the crash. It is considered that the real test for the RAIB is to establish why the points were in such a bad condition.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.703. April 2007. pp.8-9.

Passenger growth reaches 6.7%

Estimated 2006 passenger figures from the Association of Train Operating Companies show a 6.7% rise (3.1%:2005), with growth in the last 6 months of 2006 at 10%. Long distance services saw a rise of 9.7%; London and South East services 6.00%; and regional services 7.3%. Passenger journeys are now around 50% of 1946 levels.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.703. April 2007. p.13.

GBRf's £45 million new contracts

The FirstGroup owned company has increased its turnover by 30% in the 2006/07 financial year. Last year it won contracts to operate engineering trains for Metronet on the London Underground, an extended contract from Royal Mail, a contract for the transport of coal from Tyne port to Drax power station, and an agreement to move coal from Hull to EDF Energy's stations at Cottam and West Burton. The company invested in 238 wagons and 5 locomotives in 2006.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.703. April 2007. p.16.

Humber freight boost

A joint programme to increase rail capacity for the carriage of seaborne freight from Hull Docks has been announced by Associated British Ports and Network Rail. Infrastructure on the docks branch line is to be improved to raise capacity from 10 to 22 trains in each direction per day, and on the Brigg line, south of the Humber, works will allow the movement of regular scheduled freight, mostly coal to the Cottam and West Burton power stations. The latter will be a shorter route than presently used, and with no bottleneck at Doncaster..

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.703. April 2007. p.16.

Amec Spie Rail reunited under French ownership

The remaining 50% interest in Amec Spie Rail Systems Ltd held by Amec has been sold to Colas, part of the Bouygues group. Last year Amec sold the Spie business and 50% of Amec Spie Rail to a new company funded by PAI Partners. Colas has also agreed to acquire PAI Partners' 50% of the rail business.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.703. April 2007. p.18.

Carillion optimistic as tendering ban lifted

The ban on Carillion Rail from tendering for new projects was lifted by Network Rail on 19 February. The bidding ban was imposed in August 2006 following concerns of a deteriorating workforce safety record. An action plan of remedial measures has been introduced over the past 6 months. A joint venture of Carillion and Balfour Beatty won the contract for the East London Line extensions from Transport for London.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.703. April 2007. p.18.

Balfour Beatty rail profit up

Preliminary results for the year to 31 December 2006 show rail operations profit standing at £38M. The company has been working on projects in the UK, Europe and Asia, with steady progress in major projects, including Metronet and BAA. Steady growth in the world rail infrastructure market is predicted for the longer term. Balfour Beatty acquired Birse Group in July 2006.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.703. April 2007. p.19.

To protect the planet, divert traffic to rail

The carbon dioxide emission reductions that could be achieved by shifting as much as possible of the UK's traffic onto rail are discussed. Tables show percentage of UK carbon dioxide emissions by mode of transport; changes since 1995/96; diesel consumption and estimated change in carbon dioxide emissions since 1995/96; change in UK electricity generation fuel mix since 1990 (coal, oil, gas, nuclear, renewable, other); energy consumption and percentage change since 1995/96 for electric trains; and summary of electricity consumption and carbon dioxide emissions: change since 1995/96. Initiatives underway for future rail energy efficiency and emission reduction are the implementation of brake regeneration, bio-fuels and energy efficient driving techniques.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.703. April 2007. pp.38-41.

Skanska to build line

Skanska has won the contract from the Norwegian National Rail Administration (Jernbaneverket) to construct a 2.8 km section (including tunnels) of double track between Skoyen and Asker, west of Oslo. All work, except for track laying, will be undertaken.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.703. April 2007. p.65.

Track record: French train hits top speed; TGV leaves Airbus woe a distant memory

A French TGV reached 357.2 mph on 3 April, and has broken the world speed record for conventional rail trains. The customised train was on the new TGV Est high speed line serving eastern France, Germany, Luxemburg and Switzerland. This will open in June and reduce journey times between Paris and Frankfurt from over six hours to less than four.

Financial Times, 4 Apr 2007. pp 1, 9

Network Rail doubles spending on measures to ease overcrowding; On track to address a shared problem

Over the next two years Network Rail will nearly double the amount it spends on measures to alleviate overcrowding on the national rail system. Over the last two years £1.4 billion has been spent on "enhancement" measures but up to 2009 this will increase to £2.4 billion. This will benefit not only rail passengers, whose numbers are forecast to increase by another 25-30% over five years, but also freight train operators, who frequently have to send trains by roundabout routes because of restricted clearances for the larger containers now in common use.

Financial Times, 4 Apr 2007. p 3

BS EN 14587-2

Railway applications. Track. Flash butt welding of rails. Part 2: New R220, R260, R260Mn and R350HT grade rails by mobile welding machines at sites other than a fixed plant. (Draft British Standard 06/30156800 DC)

[BSI] Update Standards. Nov.2006. p.40..

BS EN 15594

Railway applications. Track. Restoration of rails by electric arc welding. (Draft British Standard 06/30156796 DC)

[BSI] Update Standards. Nov.2006. p.40..

New trains designed and built in Britain

Corus has commissioned its Northern Engineering Services branch to build four new shunting locomotives. Although the four on order will be two-axle, 100 tonne, 1000 HP machines, the design will be modular and permit a wide range of size and wheel arrangement.

Eureka, Volume 27(3), Mar 2007. p 4

London waits and waits for Crossrail

The publication of a new report on the Crossrail project is the cue for a review of the economic damage being done to London by the continuing delays to starting work on it.

Financial Times, 28 Mar 2007. p 16

China seeks help building train line in harsh climate

China Ministry of Railways is in talks with Japanese companies on possible technical support in operating a high-speed passenger line between Harbin and Dalian in the north of China. The trains would travel at 300kph and be able to withstand temperatures as low as minus 50 Celsius. Kawasaki and Hitachi are said to be looking at special railcar development for the project, while JR East is considering offering technical support. China has further plans to build a 7,000km high-speed rail network by 2010 using its own rolling stock and technology. Orders to non-Chinese firms are limited to 200 high-speed trains of eight cars each.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.45. no.2,275. 5 Mar. 2007. p.4.

Train derailment at Grayrigg, Cumbria

The Rail Accident Investigation Board Interim Report on the derailment on 23 February 2007 is presented. The focus of the investigation rests on the Lambrigg 2B points. Indications are that these were the immediate cause of the accident. Line speed in the area is 95 mph and the plain line track consists of continuously welded rail laid on concrete sleepers.


Extra 1,000 carriages for commuters

The transport secretary Douglas Alexander promised commuters 1,000 new train carriages by 2014 following mounting criticism of overcrowding at peak times and rising passenger levels. His department is in talks with manufacturers about supplying new carriages and will purchase the rolling stock and lease it to train operators via leasing companies.

Financial Times, 15 Mar 2007. p.2.

Metronet to reopen Old Dalby test track

The 21km Old Dalby test track, owned by British Railways Board (Residuary), mothballed since 2005, is to be used by Metronet Rail to test its new London tube trains. Part of the track will be electrified with underground pattern third and fourth rail. The track will be kept in its worn condition to simulate live conditions. Using the track replaces 200 nights of testing on the London Underground allowing maintenance and track and signal improvements to be carried out.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.702. March 2007. p.6.

Liverpool passengers won from airlines

The VLM (Belgium) air service between Liverpool and London City has been reduced to two aircraft a day as passengers transfer to the Virgin West Coast service.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.702. March 2007. p.7.

Network Rail awards signalling minor projects framework deals

Contracts to the value of £300M are to be awarded for signalling renewals, alterations and enhancements over the next 5 years. Agreements have been won by Carillion (South Thames), May Gurney (North Thames), Jarvis (North East), Amey (West) and First Engineering (North West and Scotland).

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.702. March 2007. p.14.

EDF Energy wins rail power contracts

Two rail electrification contracts have been won by EDF Energy. Working for Atkins, the company will modify existing high voltage switchgear in the Basingstoke Area, and working for Network Rail, the MF36 high voltage switchgear at Shortlands and New Eltham traction substations will be replaced.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.702. March 2007. p.14.

Thales to resignal Piccadilly Line

A contract extension has been awarded to Thales' rail signalling business (formerly Alcatel) by Tube Lines covering a new Seltrac signalling system on the Piccadilly Line. The system is similar to that used on the Docklands Light Railway.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.702. March 2007. p.14.

Eurostar: what next?

Richard Brown, chief executive officer of Eurostar (UK) Ltd, outlines his plans for using HS1 (High Speed 1), the London St Pancras to Channel Tunnel line due to open on 14 November 2007. Performance, opportunities, speed benefits, market share and load factor, and expansion of the network beyond Paris and Brussels are discussed. Figures show total Eurostar passenger journeys (2003-2006), journey times from London to Paris, Brussels, Lille (1994-2007), sample comparison of journey times (air and rail after opening HS1), and sample comparisons of numbers of departures per week (air and rail).

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.702. March 2007. pp.46-49.

High speed rail - into the future

The chief executive officer of SNCF (French Railways) and chairman of Eurostar, Guillaume Pepy's lecture to the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in February is summarised. A European high speed service is discussed in relation to customer requirements, business model, regulation of the 'open access' market, alternative to air travel, development of new generation rolling stock, and when to draw the line at speed of travel. Figures show the present European high speed rail network, Eurostar and TGV operation costs (%), and track access cost (Euro/train km).

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.702. March 2007. pp.60-62.

[New rolling stock orders]

Siemens has won an order for 60 of its dual-system electric locomotives fitted with European Train Control System from SNCB (Belgian Railways. Deliveries will be between Jan.2009 and June 2010.
Bombardier has been selected as a favourite supplier by Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB) for an EMU platform framework agreement based on 321 trains. Bombardier offered the new generation of its Talent trains, which will start coming into service on German regional lines in 2009.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.702. March 2007. p.66,68.

Row follows arbiter's decision on contract

The confrontation between London Underground and Metronet Rail has worsened, with each party giving very different accounts of the latest statement of the arbiter of their contract, Chris Bolt. In November Metronet Rail asked Mr Bolt to give a view on the allocation of the cost overruns, projected at £750 million, and he replied that Metronet had not operated in an economic and efficient manner. However Metronet argues that, while some of the spending had been wasteful, much of it had been necessary and should have been paid for by London Underground.

Financial Times, 14 Mar 2007. p 3

High-speed line to use domestic rolling stock

Rolling stock development by domestic companies is to be planned by the Chinese Ministry of Railways for high-speed passenger railways being built between Beijing and Guangzhou in China. Companies who have previously supplied rolling stock to China are being called on to transfer technologies to provide local joint venture partners with design and production technologies, and help Chinese firms develop proprietary rolling stock. Non-Chinese manufacturers would be used to make up shortages.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.45. no.2,273. 19 Feb. 2007. p.22.

LPA curbed by shareholders

Shareholders in LPA Group of Saffron Walden have turned down resolutions that would allow the company to buy its own shares or the directors to allot shares for cash. The company makes electrical and electronic systems for trains and has been fighting off advances by a corporate raider whose major interest is in property.

Cambridge Evening News, 28 Feb 2007. p 25

Blow to Network Rail's spending plans

The Office of Rail Regulation has advised ministers that Network Rail should receive up to £3.9bn less than it has requested to run the network between 2009 and 2014. The ORR, which is now the railways' safety regulator, admitted that the spending figures could be affected by any tightening of safety standards after Friday's fatal crash in Cumbria. Ii expressed concern that recent rapid improvements in the reliability of key rail infrastructure had levelled off, but that the concerns were directed at punctuality rather than safety.

Financial Times, 1 Mar 2007. p.4.

City and unions to press Blair on Crossrail

A coalition of business and trade union interests is to increase pressure on the government to agree funding for the cross-London rail link Crossrail as part of this year's comprehensive spending review. The original cost estimate in 2002 was nearly £10.3 billion but it is now more likely to be around £16 billion.

Financial Times, 7 Mar 2007. p 3

Tube consortium U-turn on upgrade

The Metronet consortium, which is upgrading two-thirds of the London Underground, is to announce a fundamental change in the way it does business. It is to award £150m of work on six stations to outside contractors to speed up work and control costs, and will put the work for a further 78 stations out to tender. Previously work was given only to its shareholders, WS Atkins, Balfour Beatty, NBombardier Transportation, EDF Energy and Thames Water. Tube Lines, which is upgrading the remaining lines, puts all work out to tender and performs better.

Financial Times, 23 Feb. 2007. p.2.

Virgin makes GNER franchise shortlist

A joint venture between Virgin Trains and Stagecoach is one of four bidders shortlisted for the East Coast mainline rail franchise. If successful Virgin would have a virtual monopoly of long-distance Anglo-Scottish rail services.

Financial Times, 21 Feb 2007. p 4

Rough ride for Taiwan's first bullet train

Taiwan High Speed Rail, connecting the cities of Taipei and Kaoshiung, started operation on 5 January 2007. This marks the first export of the Japanese Shinkansen technology. The opening of the line has already prompted Winbond Electronics Corp. to build an R&D centre near Hsinchu station, Hsinchu county, because of ease of travel for employees now the railway is functioning.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.45. no.2,270. 29 Jan. 2007. p.23.

BS EN 13803-2:2006

Railway applications. Track. Track alignment design parameters. Track gauges 1435 mm and wider. Part 2: Switches and crossings and comparable alignment design situations with abrupt changes of curvature.

[BSI] Update Standards. Feb.2007. p.11.

Greenbrier and GIMSA form railcar manufacturing joint venture

A joint venture to build rolling stock for freight transport, particularly covered hopper vehicles, in North America has been formed by Greenbrier Companies (Lake Oswego, OR, USA) and Grupo Industrial Monclova (Mexico). Manufacture will take place in Monclova. Each company will hold 50% interest. Production capacity is to rise to 3,000 units per annum, with multiple production lines and 1200 employees.

Welding Journal, vol.86, no.1. Jan.2007. p.12.

US truck companies suffer as rail prospers

The slowing in the US domestic economy has resulted in a slump in orders for trucks; rail operators, however, are continuing to prosper. Truck operators such as Werner Enterprises, Swift Transportation and Heartland Express have reported substantial falls in profits and have warned that business will remain weak in 2007. Union Pacific, BNSF and CSX, the 3 largest US rail carriers have reported double digit earnings growth. The latter have not yet felt the effects of the US economic slowdown as capacity remains tight following years of consolidation which has left the sector dominated by a few large companies. Following 4 years of fast growth, freight volumes are now moderating, but pricing remains strong.

Financial Times. 29 Jan.2007. p.23.

Bombardier's January sale

As a result of a three year order hiatus, between the end of Electrostar production in 2005 and the start of Victoria Line construction in 2008, last summer the company offered to make extra rolling stock at cut rate prices for existing builds. Since then orders from Transport for London and Gautrain (South Africa) have arrived. With the start of work for London Underground on the horizon, Bombardier has announced the end of its sale offer in February.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.701. Feb.2007. p.10.

Heavy freight should pay full costs of freight-only lines, says ORR

Proposals have been published by the Office of Rail Regulation for freight operators to pay the full costs of lines used only by freight trains. This proposal is in accordance with government policy and European law. The charge would be implemented only on market segments that can bear the increase in costs.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.701. Feb.2007. p.12.

Skanska/Grant Rail win DLR Stratford job

The joint venture has won the first of three construction contracts for the Docklands Light Railway extension from Canning Town to Stratford International. For completion by February 2009, the work includes two new platforms at Stratford station, track alignment work to prepare for the new DLR link between Stratford and Stratford International, and construction of the shell and foundations of the new DLR station at Stratford International.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.701. Feb.2007. p.14.

Renewals contractors put on notice

After a 6 month review of performance, Network Rail intends to reduce the number of its track renewals contractors from 6 (Amey Seco, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Jarvis, First Engineering, Grant Rail) to 4. The aim is to accelerate efficiency improvements. Issues being measured by the review include safety record, volume achieved, on-time completion, unit cost, and business behaviour. High output methods, already a major part of delivery of plain line renewals, accounting for around 15% of track renewals, are to increase significantly over the next 3 years. Network Rail foresees that with the increased use of high output track renewal methods, the present market supply will become too large for future needs.

Modern Railways, vol.64, no.701. Feb.2007. p.15.