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Shinkansen prototype launched

West Japan Railway and JR Kyushu have unveiled the first of 29 eight-car Shinkansen trainsets that will operate through-services between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo when the second phase of the Kyushu Shinkansen has been completed. Unit S1 is expected to undergo extensive testing before the remainder of the fleet is delivered.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.12, Dec.2008. p.924.

Loan targets western China development

The Asian Development Bank has announced a $300 M loan towards the $8.6 bn cost of building a 820 km railway from Lanzhou in Gansu province to the manufacturing city of Chongqing. The line is intended to boost economic development in the poorer areas of western China and will be built and operated by a joint venture established by the Ministry of Railways and the governments of Gansu, Sichuan and Chongqing.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.12, Dec.2008. p.924.

Rolling stock

KTMB is reported to have selected Mitsubishi and Hyundai Rotem to supply 30 EMU cars worth 240 M ringgit for Kuala Lumpur-Ipoh services. Separately it is reported that three batches of Class 172 Turbostar DMUs, being built at Bombardier's Derby plant for train operators London Midland, Chiltern and London Overground, are to be equipped with MTU Type 6H1800 engines rated at 360 kW.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.12, Dec.2008. p.935.

Friction modifier

Rail Polska has begun fitting Timken's TracGlide equipment to its fleet of M62 diesel locomotives used on long haul freight traffic in Poland. TracGlide automatically dispenses a thin friction modifier liquid onto the head of the rail, controlling the quantity to match track conditions and environmental factors.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.12, Dec.2008. p.938.

Track geometry car

US firm Gateway Rail Services has rebuilt a self-propelled track geometry vehicle formed by installing state of the art electronic inspection equipment in a Budd RDC for delivery to Canadian National. The car now contains equipment for monitoring of curvature, alignment and levels.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.12, Dec.2008. p.938.

ICE axle cracks wreak havoc

Reports on the withdrawal from service of all 71 of Deutsche Bahn's ICE-T tilting trainsets in October. DB had been concerned about possible cracks in the axles of ICE3 and ICE-T trainsets after an axle broke on an ICE3 in July causing it to derail. After further incidents DB asked manufacturers Alstom, Bombardier and Siemens for a guarantee of safe operation: when the response was unsatisfactory the operator decided to instigate detailed checks of the axles before releasing the trains back into service.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.12, Dec.2008. p.941.

Hoon backs electrification strategy

Reports that the government, which had seemed resolutely opposed to electrification, now appears to be having a change of heart. Transport secretary Geoff Hoon has said that he is 'passionate about developing plans for further electrification on key routes' and has recently put selective extension of rail electrification ahead of work to increase motorway capacity.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.12, Dec.2008. p.942.

The most modern fleet in Europe

Says that for an investment of Euros 6 bn between 2004 and 2010 Spanish national rail operator RENFE will have added 560 new passenger trains, 100 locomotives and 438 wagons to its rolling stock fleet. The company's strategy is to replace its conventional fleet and plan for the expansion of high speed lines.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.12, Dec.2008. pp.960-963.

How 'misery line' managers learnt to mind the doors

Says that better door maintenance by Alstom is one of a number of factors that have led to an improvement of services on London's Northern line. Financial incentives have been overhauled and long-established working practices have been re-examined. Trains, which in 2006 barely averaged 30,000 km between serious breakdowns, now sometimes manage 70,000 km. Delays from track faults have fallen 55%, while signal failures have fallen 59%.

Financial Times, 9 Jan.2009. p.12.

West coast line faults probed

Engineers are investigating a series of faults on the west coast main line which has had problems at various points on the route. Network Rail said that the failures were each caused by different faults, discounting suggestions that they stemmed from a 'rushed' £9 bn upgrade of the line.

Financial Times, 10/11 Jan.2009. p.4.

Southeastern hits job cuts flak

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union has attacked rail company Southeastern after it announced plans to axe 300 jobs, including managers and administration staff.

Financial Times, 10/11 Jan.2009. p.4.

High-speed trains plan suffers new delay

The Department for Transport has postponed a decision on a preferred bidder for the project to replace Britain's high-speed diesel train fleet. The specification for the new train calls for a pure diesel version, a pure electric version and a dual-powered version able to run from overhead wires or its own engine. Sources say that the latest delay is a consequence of continued negotiations between the DfT and the two remaining bidders - the Express Rail Alliance and a consortium led by Hitachi.

Financial Times, 14 January 2009. p.4.

Work to begin on new maglev line in 2010s

Central Japan Railway is projecting construction for the planned magnetic levitation train system between Tokyo and Nagoya to begin some time during the first half of the 2010s with the aim of beginning the service in 2025.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.46, no.2,364, 24 Nov.2008. p.8.

Crossrail Isle of Dogs deal agreed

Canary Wharf Group, which owns the development in Docklands, has agreed to design and build the new Isle of Dogs station on London's Crossrail project to a fixed £500 M budget, contribute £150 M towards the work's costs and take the risk of cost overruns.

Financial Times, 27/28 Dec.2008. p.3.

Rail revolution marks return of he grand project

Presents an interview with transport minister Lord Adonis, discussing his mission to revolutionise rail travel in Britain. Top of his agenda is a 200mph high-speed line from London to Manchester, a £20 bn project to cut journey times to the midlands, the north and Scotland. The government is expected to endorse the line in principle this year and believes that business and local authorities should help with the finance.

Financial Times, 3/4 Jan.2009. p.2.

Alstom chief demands ban on import of Chinese trains

Philippe Mellier, chief executive of Alstom Transport, has said that western countries should close their markets to Chinese trains because China's domestic market is closing to outside suppliers. He also claimed that Chinese companies were offering for export trains that used technology derived from western suppliers: such technology is usually supplied on condition that it is not used outside China.

Financial Times, 2 Jan.2009. p.16.

Collapse of power lines on rail tracks is probed

Rail experts are investigating how power lines on the west coast main line north of Watford collapsed across all four tracks when the pantograph of a Virgin Pendolino train became caught in the 25,000 volt cables. An industry observer said that the damage was extensive because it occurred near a junction where overhead lines on different tracks were connected.

Financial Times, 6 Jan.2009. p.2.

Main line upgrade sees light at end of tunnel

Reports on the introduction of new timetables as a result of the latest upgrade to the west coast main line. When the timetables are fully operational services will run every 20 minutes between London and both Manchester and Birmingham and 35% more passenger and freight trains will be able to run daily than is the case at present. In the light of the latest improvements Virgin Trains has said that it aims to capture 85% of the market for air and rail travel between London and Manchester.

Financial Times, 13/14 Dec.2008. p.2.

Clash over rail industry management

The Competition Commission is expected to call for the Department for Transport to launch reforms to stop taxpayer-subsidised train companies paying over the odds for rolling stock. The Commission will rule that the government-run franchising system for rail rolling stock needs an overhaul because official conditions imposed on train-leasing companies are stifling competition. It will urge ministers to consider introducing longer franchise terms to give the market a greater stability that should lead to lower prices.

Financial Times, 15 Dec.2008. p.2.

Newcomers on rail shortlist

Three companies that have never supplied Britain's railways are among four trainmakers shortlisted to supply 200 new carriages under the government's economic stimulus plan. The inclusion of the three untested bidders - from China, South Korea and Spain - appears to strengthen the chance the fourth bidder, Bombardier Transportation, will win the £300 M order for new diesel trains.

Financial Times, 23 Dec.2008. p.2.

Eurotunnel wants firefighting change

Group Eurotunnel wants changes to key firefighting rules after concluding that they worsened September's truck shuttle fire. The company declined to say exactly what changes they wanted, but they are certain to include an end to forced ventilation during fires. The company will also ask for a change in the rules for passenger services which will allow a wider range of trains to use the tunnel.

Financial Times, 6/7 Dec.2008. p.21.

Wheeled welder rolls out

A Doosan DX160W wheeled excavator has been converted for road-rail use as a compact all-terrain flash butt rail welder by Philmor Rail UK) and Holland Co. (USA). The unit can complete welds in 10 minutes and can be manoeuvred in spaces of less than 6 m.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.6. June 2008. p.357.

Embedded rail welding

Esab has launched Tramtrac II for the repair of embedded grooved tramway rails. The unit uses flux cored arc welding with self-shielded wires and is portable.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.6. June 2008. p.357.

Plastic track installed in Germany

Private sidings of a chemical plant in Germany (Leverskusen) have been installed with Eslon Neo Lumber FFU polyurethane sleepers by Voestalpine. The sleepers are glass fibre reinforced Baydur 60 manufactured by Sekisui Chemical (Japan); over 1.3 M polyurethane sleepers are in use in Japan.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.10. Oct.2008. p.776.

Work begins on high speed lines

Two high speed rail projects in China, which will create a 2,300 km corridor between Beijing, Wuhan, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, started in October. The Beijing-Shijiazhuang line is being built next to an existing line and will be dedicated to passengers services travelling at speeds of 300 kph. The line south from Shijiazhuang to Wuhan is to be suitable for 350 kph operation.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.11. Nov.2008. p.844.

Alstom chosen as Transmash partner

A strategic partnership has been formed between Alstom Transport and Transmash Holdings (TMH) for technical co-operation, in which Alstom has an option to buy up to 25% plus one share of TMH. A joint venture, TMH-Alstom DV, has been formed to supply double-decker coaches to Russian railway operators. Bombardier signed an agreement in May to set up a joint venture with TMH to develop locomotives with asynchronous traction equipment.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.11. Nov.2008. p.857.

Balfour Beatty adds track specialist

Schreck-Mieves, the German trackwork supplier, has been acquired by Balfour Beatty. The company has 3 divisions in Germany, where its principal customer is Deutsche Bahn, and units in the Netherlands and Russia

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.11. Nov.2008. p.888.

MTU Friedrichshafen opens new base in United Kingdom

The Tognum subsidiary of MTU has opened a new office and workshop in East Grinstead, West Sussex. MTU UK will undertake sales and after-sales support of MTU products used in the rail, marine and power generation sectors.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.11. Nov.2008. p.891.

Maintenance the main failure at Lambrigg

The final report into the Lambrigg derailment on 23 February 2007 published by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch calls on Network Rail to investigate possible improvements to the type of points which failed. The immediate cause was the deterioration of the points through failure of stretcher bars and their fastenings, due to a combination of mechanical failure of a bolted joint, incorrect set up of the points, and a track inspection that was missed.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.723, December 2008. p.6.

Arriva buys LNWR

Arriva has bought Crewe-based maintenance company LNWR for £2.4 M, part of which represents repayment of a shareholder loan, and the assumption of approximately £2 M in debt. LNWR's managing director Mark Knowles will continue to lead the team of approximately 110 employees and the business will continue to trade as LNWR.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.723, December 2008. p.6.

Light rail cut in TfL 10-year plan

TfL has identified £2.4 bn in savings and efficiencies to help deliver key projects. Schemes that will not be progressed include: the £1.3 bn Cross River Tram from Peckham to Euston; the Croydon Tramlink extension to Crystal Palace; the DLR Dagenham Dock extension; and the outline proposal for Oxford Street Tram/Transit.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.723, December 2008. p.8.

Hondas from Swindon by rail

A new rail terminal, Keypoint Swindon, has been opened which will transport around 23,000 vehicles each year from the Honda factory to the Channel Tunnel, meaning almost 3,000 fewer transporters on the roads.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.723, December 2008. p.10.

Flowers to the UK by rail?

The Dutch government has allocated Euros 11 M for the development of a terminal for loading high-speed freight trains. It wants to bring about a modal shift from air transport and trucking to rail. The terminal will be at Hoofdorp, close to Schipol Airport, and will have high-speed cargo trains operating to destinations in Germany, Belgium, France and the UK.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.723, December 2008. p.63.

All change - or is it?

Notes that in the last year both major political parties have changed their policies on the future of railways in Britain and wonders if there is any cross party agreement. Interviews both the new Minister for Transport, Lord Adonis, and the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Theresa Villiers, and compares their views.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.723, December 2008. p.34-35.

Network Rail to 'accept' cuts

Network Rail has accepted the Office of Rail Regulation's ruling on its funding package which would require it to cut costs by 21% over the next five years. The ruling also allowed the company an income of £26.7 bn from government subsidies, train operators and freight companies for the five years starting from April next year - £2.4 bn less than the company said it needed to achieve improvements in train punctuality and investment projects.

Financial Times, 21 Nov.2008. p.4.

Crossrail role for Tube upgrade

Terry Morgan, chief executive of the Tube Lines consortium, will leave his post next November and become non-executive chairman of the company delivering the £15.9 bn cross-London Crossrail project.

Financial Times 18 Nov.2008. p.4.

Testing on the rails

A team of researchers at the University of Warwick have invented and are developing a non-contact rail scanning device that can detect minute cracks at speeds of 125mph. The ultrasonic detector identifies rolling contact fatigue or gauge corner cracking, which caused the Hatfield derailment in 2000. The system uses electromagnetic acoustic transducers to generate broadband ultrasonic waves which travel along the track and return at 3,000m/s. The goal is to install the device on commuter trains, and work is being done with data capture and analysis equipment creators to devise a system that could handle the huge volumes of data generated. The group is also looking for a commercial partner to take the project forward.

Financial Times, 6 November 2008, p.27

Alstom chief in pledge on targets

Chief executive Patrick Kron said that the group would meet its performance targets for 2010 in spite of the financial crisis. Interim net income was up 36% to Euros 527 M and the group had a record level of orders in the first half, up 20% to Euros 15.4 bn.

Financial Times, 7 Nov.2008. p.30.

The search is on

Network Rail has begun a search for a new chairman as Sir Ian McAllister confirmed his intention to step down from the board following the company's AGM in July 2009. Ron Henderson, group finance director, has also announced his intention to retire.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management, Issue 51, Oct-Nov.2008. p.7.

Strategic rail research

The Department for Transport has announced the allocation of an additional £15 M for a new strategic rail research programme to be managed by Rail Safety and Standards Board. The new programme is in addition to the current research programme, also managed by RSSB and DfT-funded.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management, Issue 51, Oct-Nov.2008. p.7.

New-look Board

Reports that Network Rail has three new Board members - Robin Gisby, director, operations and customer service; Simon Kirby, director, infrastructure investment; and Paul Plummer, director, planning and regulation.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management, Issue 51, Oct-Nov.2008. p.9.

Formal response

Network Rail has issued its formal response to the Office of Rail Regulation's draft determination at the beginning of September. The main points are: an agreement that the company can cut some £800 from its original £31 bn expenditure projection; that there is a further £1 bn of funding at issue for expansion projects; that the remaining £1 bn shortfall is currently unrealistic.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management, Issue 51, Oct-Nov.2008. p.9.

Manufacturers invited to build first tram-trains in the UK

Northern Rail has issued an Invitation to Tender a minimum of five tram-trains, which will operate on the 37-mile Penistone line between Sheffield, Barnsley and Huddersfield during a two-year trial. The trial will start in 2010 and is designed to test the suitability of the UK rail network for tram-trains.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management, Issue 51, Oct-Nov.2008. p.39.

Rail freight to double by 2030

New forecasts from the Rail Freight Group and Freight Transport Association project a 30% increase in tonne km from 2006 to 2015 and more than doubling by 2030. The growth in intermodal traffic is forecast to more than double by 2015 and to increase five-fold by 2030. This reflects the continuing expansion of trade from continental Europe and further afield, plus a significant use of rail to and from new rail-connected warehouses.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management, Issue 51, Oct-Nov.2008. p.139.

Regulator reduces Network Rail funding by £2.4bn

In a published ruling the Office of Rail Regulation has said that Network Rail would be permitted income of £26.7 bn from government subsidies, train operators and freight companies over the five year period starting in April. The figure is £2.4 bn less than Network Rail demanded and only £200 M more than ORR outlined in its draft figure in June. The gap between the two sides stems mainly from different expectations of the rate at which Network Rail will improve the efficiency of its basic operations.

Financial Times, 31 Oct.2008. p.4.

Japan to fund Indian railway

The Japanese government has decided to provide a loan worth roughly ¥ 450 bn to help build a freight railway between Mumbai and New Delhi. The Indian government plans to have the connection ready by 2015 and the loan is to cover the cost of building a roughly 918km section of the 1,468km link.

The Nikkei Index, vol.46, no.2,359, 20 Oct.2008. p.5.

Tobu Railway looks to ride Sumida redevelopment

Presents a Rating and Investment Information analysis of the company. Says that the balance of debt and free cash flow is improving as the company continues to reduce interest-bearing debts. The company has been given a BBB rating with a stable outlook.

The Nikkei Index, vol.46, no.2,359, 20 Oct.2008. p.5.

BAA funding a welcome boost for Crossrail

The company has announced that it would put £230 M towards the project's £15.9 bn cost. In return the Department for Transport has promised BAA that Heathrow would be served by four trains an hour for most of the day on the route. This is the first private sector financing to be agreed for the project.

Financial Times, 5 Nov.2008. p.6.

Nigerians halt $8bn rail deal with Beijing / Trains carry China growth hopes

Shares in China Railway Construction fell after the Nigerian government announced that it had suspended its contract to modernise a line from Lagos to Kano. A spokesman said that everything about the contract was wrong and that it was over inflated. China is expected to attempt to boost domestic demand by announcing a stimulus package with railway construction as its centrepiece, with construction that was planned for 2010-2020 being brought forward.

Financial Times, 5 Nov.2008. p.25.

SCNF chief puts whole of Europe on his timetable / Operator lines up cross-border partnership

Presents an interview with SNCF chairman Guillaume Pepys in which he said that the company needs to expand and treat the whole of Europe as its domestic market. He sees the most immediate task as dealing with the company's freight operation which lost Euros 200 M on Euros 2.94 bn revenue in 2007. He saw the challenge for passenger services as less acute as passenger rail competed better against cars than rail freight could against trucks. SNCF will be taking a 20% stake in Italy's NTV, a company that will be Europe's first privately owned operator of high speed trains.

Financial Times, 21 Oct.2008. p.29.

Shortfall in Tube Lines funding predicted by PPP Chris Bolt

Chris Bolt, the Public Private Partnership Arbiter, has issued his Guidance on Tube Lines second period costs, covering the funding of maintenance and renewal works on London Underground's Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines from 2010 to 2017. He says that costs are likely to be in the range of £5.1 bn to £5.5 bn for the second 7.5 years of the contract. This suggests a potential shortfall of over £1 bn. Transport for London says that it expects this to be met by the government.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.721, Oct.2008. p.10.

Felixstowe doubling green light

The Port of Felixstowe has received consent for the upgrade of the Felixstowe branch line. In addition the port has received consent to construct three additional 24-wagon sidings within the existing Ipswich marshalling yard.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.721, Oct.2008. p.14.

Channel tunnel fire loss minimal

Eurotunnel has said that its insurance will cover all but a Euros 10 M excess of the lost revenues and rebuilding costs following the September 11th fire. The company hopes to have both tunnels fully operational by next March.

Financial Times, 9 Oct.2008. p.28.

Crossrail given go-ahead

Reports that the Crossrail project has now completed its Parliamentary process. Enabling works will take place next year, with the main construction works set to begin in 2010, and it is hoped that the project will be operational for passengers in 2017.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 50, Aug./Sep.2008. p.3.

Step forward in Pendolino lengthening project

Agreement has been reached with Virgin Rail Projects to support the Department for Transport's plans to introduce longer 'Pendolino' trains on the West Coast Main Line. The agreement - a Notice to Proceed - means that Virgin is the chosen bidder for the Service Provider Contract.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 50, Aug./Sep.2008. p.3.

First major 2012 transport project completed ahead of schedule

The Olympic Development Authority has completed a twelve-track railway sidings at Orient Way to the north of Stratford five weeks early and on budget. Balfour Beatty Rail projects were responsible for the design and construction of the sidings.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 50, Aug./Sep.2008. p.3.

Rail Innovation Awards

Lists the winners of this year's Rail Innovation Awards, including Alstom Transport for Performance and Operations and Kier Construction for Small Scale Project.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 50, Aug./Sep.2008. p.5.

National Rail Trends

The National Rail Trends yearbook covering the period April 2007 to March 2008 has been published by the Office of Rail Regulation. Main findings were that 89.9% of trains ran on time and both passenger kilometres and passenger journeys showed an increase.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 50, Aug./Sep.2008. p.5.

Meeting the capacity challenge: looking at the case for new rail lines

Network Rail is to conduct a strategic review into the case for building new rail lines across the network of Great Britain. The review will look at five of Network Rail's strategic routes, north and west of London: Chiltern, East Coast, West Coast, Great Western and Midland Main Lines.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 50, Aug./Sep.2008. p.5.


Profiles Balfour Beatty Rail Services and interviews Peter Anderson, director of rail services. He speaks about the company's current projects and its plans for the future. The company is the UK's leading private rail contractor and is now looking to develop its business in the international market.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 50, Aug./Sep.2008. pp.12-13.

Delivering innovative solutions

Profiles the Parsons Transportation Group and highlights some of its areas of expertise. The company is involved in a number of projects including: the Dubai Metro, London Underground line upgrades, the European Rail Traffic Management System, the East London Line Extension Project and the Jubilee Northern Upgrade Project.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 50, Aug./Sep.2008. pp.42-43.

Modular GRP station platforms

Access Design is currently pioneering the development of large structural applications for advanced composites in partnership with US company Creative Pultrusions. Access has developed a modular GRP railway station platform that is suited to new station build or platform extensions to accommodate longer trains. Describes the modular construction, strength and installation speed of the platforms.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 50, Aug./Sep.2008. p.100.

New Metrolink trams on order

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive has ordered 28 new trams as part of a £575 M project to build new lines to Oldham and Rochdale, Droylsden and Chorlton. The trams will be built by Bombardier in partnership with Vossloh Kiepe and are costing just over £2 M each.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 50, Aug./Sep.2008. p.167.

Leader of the rail track

Profiles Bombardier Transportation Sweden and describes some of its current projects. These include the REGINA train, the ECO4 technologies for energy efficiency and the MITRAC control and propulsion equipment.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 50, Aug./Sep.2008. pp.198-199.


Discusses Corus Railway Infrastructure Services and some of its current projects. These include the modular station concept, level crossing services, the redevelopment of Kings Cross and the High Speed 1 rail route.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 50, Aug./Sep.2008. pp.209,211.

New hybrid train set to hit Hokkaido rails

Hokkaido Railway has developed a diesel-electric hybrid system that can cut gas oil consumption by 15-20% compared to ordinary diesel trains. The company aims to start using the new train, which is quieter and emits less carbon dioxide than conventional models, from around 21010. Notes that East Japan Railway has already begun commercial use of a different train, with the hybrid driven solely by an electric motor with all the diesel power transferred into electricity.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.46, no.2,354, 15 Sep.2008. p.13.

Eurostar back on track after fire

Eurostar has announced that it is restoring services almost to levels that existed before last month's fire in the Channel Tunnel. The first third of the damaged train has now been hauled out of the tunnel and has shown only minimal damage to the locomotive and club car.

Financial Times, 2 Oct.2008. p.4.

Network Rail seeks new chief

Network Rail is to start the search for its second chairman after Sir Ian McAllister announced that he was to step down. The company has said that it will place advertisements in the recruitment sections of national newspapers, but there is speculation that the post could go to Rob Houlden, currently chief executive of London & Continental Railways.

Financial Times, 4/5 Oct.2008. p.6.

Byzantine port, botched buildings put a brake on Bosporus Link

Reports on progress on Turkey's $3 bn Marmaray railway project to link the European and Asian sides of Istanbul with a tunnel under the Bosporus. The discovery of an ancient Byzantine port and shoddy modern buildings on the route of the tunnel have delayed the project which is now expected to be completed in 2011 rather than 2009.

Engineering News-Record, vol.261, no.5, 18 Aug.2008. pp.22-24.

About more than just getting there

Reports on some of the moves being made by Japanese rail companies to attract passengers from travel by road in the light of current rising petrol prices. Trains are being redesigned to give a sense of luxury for the traveller with improvements in both seating and lighting and exterior improvements that give a sense of streamlining.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.46, no.2353, 8 Sep.2008. p.30.

Eurostar considers high-speed train deal

The company is considering replacing some of its trains with Alstom's new AGV train as it seeks to boost reliability and expand into new markets. This move would be an alternative to carrying out the mid-life refurbishment that the 15-year old trains would be due to undergo. Eurostar is also considering plans to merge its separate French, Belgian and British operating arms into a single company.

Financial Times, 30 Sep.2008. p.33.

US freight lines carrying a lighter burden

Finds that business at US rail freight yards has remained steady in spite of the economic downturn. Trucking companies are often saving money by bringing their containers to rail yards for the long haul sections of their journeys. Analysts have said that most freight operators beat market forecasts, being among the few groups in industrial north America to do so. Rationalisation and consolidation among the operators has also helped profitability.

Financial Times, 30 Sep.2008. p.33.

Train is full of beans

South West Trains has confirmed that one of its trains is running on fuel made from a mixture of diesel, soya beans and rape seed oil in an effort to examine alternative fuels for the future. The trial will run until the end of the year while researchers examine whether the fuel affects the train's speed, engine or emissions.

The Engineer, vol.293, no.7755, 1-14 Sep.2008. p.6.

EWS says pricing legal case 'historic'

EWS has said that a £25 M claim it faces from rival Freightliner is a 'historic matter' that has no relation to how it currently conducts its business. The claim in the competition appeal tribunal is for compensation over its behaviour in the coal haulage market between 1996 and 2005. Freightliner's claim says that the Office of Rail Regulation found that EWS had entered into anti-competitive contracts between these dates. EWS says that the matter has already been investigated by ORR and settled.

Financial Times, 6/7 Sep.2008. p.16.

JR Tokai ups stake in Nippon Sharyo

Central Japan Railway (JR Tokai) has said that it will turn rolling stock manufacturer Nippon Sharyo into a consolidated subsidiary. JR Tokai will conduct a tender offer to raise its stake in Nippon to 50.1% from 1.8% currently.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.46, no.2,350, 18 Aug.2008. p.5.

Shortfall impedes Network Rail deal with regulator

Network Rail and the Office of Rail Regulation have less than two months to agree a five year budget, but are still separated by a £1.8 bn gap, despite an £800 M concession by the company. It has now submitted a response to the ORR's review of its funding which was published in June and says that the conclusions about the efficiency and cost savings it could make were unrealistic, lacking in transparency, inconsistent and flawed.

Financial Times, 9 Sep.2008. p.6.

Bullet train builder plays key role

Presents an analysis of the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency which handles the construction and maintenance of the bullet train network, while also undertaking other services such as the construction of other railroads and joint ownership of shipbuilding for domestic coastal transportation. The Agency has been assigned an AA corporate rating with stable outlook by Rating and Investment Information.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.46, no.2.343, 30 June 2008. p.22.

BAA talks on Crossrail in 'final stages'

Talks aimed at persuading BAA to put up an estimated £250 M towards the new rail link between Heathrow and the City are in their final stage according to sources. Ministers have been forced to deny that Crossrail's funding is in doubt, insisting that the scheme was progressing according to the planned timetable.

Financial Times, 8 August 2008. p.2.

Watchdog hits at rail carriage costs / Decades of rolling accusations

The Competition Commission has found that train companies funded by the taxpayer are likely to be paying too much for carriages because the market is uncompetitive. The commission, which has been investigating rolling stock leasing companies for more than a year, says that there is insufficient competition in a market dominated by three companies. Notes that the supply of rolling stock to Britain's train companies has been contentious for a number of years.

Financial Times, 7 August 2008. p.3.

Rail chiefs face bonus curbs

A report for the Office of Rail Regulation by KPMG suggests 'amending the management incentive structure' for Network Rail chiefs, which could in effect mean curbing large bonuses. The report recommends that the Network Rail board should issue a public explanation when the company underperforms. It also calls for a change in the company structure that would make it easier to remove board members.

Financial Times, 9/10 August 2008. p.4.

New Metrolink trams ordered

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive has placed an order worth £56 M with Bombardier for 28 trams to operate on new Metrolink lines to Oldham and Rochdale, Droylsden, and Chorlton. Construction work is due to start in early 2009 and the lines are expected to begin opening from spring 2011.
Modern Railways, vol.65, no.719, Aug.2008. p.7.

Usual suspects up for Thameslink contract

The Department of Transport has announced the short-listed applicants to build the new fleet of trains, valued at around £1.4 bn, for Thameslink routes. They are Alstom Transport, Bombardier Transportation, Hitachi Europe and Siemens Transportation Systems. An invitation to tender is expected to be issued in September, with the award of the contract expected in summer 2009
Modern Railways, vol.65, no.719, Aug.2008. p.6.

Siemens wins Scotland EMU order

The Scottish Government has announced a £200 M deal with Siemens and HSBC to provide 130 new electric multiple-unit vehicles from December 2010. According to Transport Scotland it will lead to 134 new jobs being created to operate and maintain the new fleet.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.719, Aug.2008. p.6.

High-speed rail gains from air

Highlights the success of the European high-speed rail network in gaining market share as increasing numbers of passengers switch from short-haul air routes. As well as the success of Thalys and Eurostar there is growth on routes from Paris to both Geneva and Zurich. Notes the potential for faster times on the East Coast route from London to Edinburgh.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.719, Aug.2008. pp.58-59.

Operators accused over longer train journeys

Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Norman Baker has accused train companies of manipulating journey times to avoid paying fines after data showed that some key commuter routes into London now take longer than they did 20 years ago. A spokesman from the Association of Train Operating Companies has called the claims 'simplistic nonsense from people who had no understanding of how rail worked'.

Financial Times, 13 Aug.2008. p.2.

Japan close-up

Reports briefly on the opening of Tokyo's new subway line, the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line. Officials hope that the new line, with a total length of 20.2km and 16 stations and which officially started operations on June 14th, will help to ease rush hour congestion.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.46, no.2,341, 16 June 2008. p.2.

Freightliner bought

Freightliner Group has announced that it has been bought by Arcapita, the Bahrain-based bank. Arcapita is acquiring Freightliner from 3i and Electra Private equity, who have each had a 38% stake since supporting a management buy-out when the British Rail business was privatised in 1996. Arcapita is also acquiring the 24% held by management and staff. The value of the transaction is reported to be about £340 M.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.7, July 2008. p.404.

GE to resignal Rotterdam

Rotterdam transport operator RET has selected GE Transportation to undertake the resignalling of the city's 55km two-line metro network. GE will begin work on the Euros 62 M contract early in 2009. The company will replace relay-based equipment and supply interlockings, audio frequency track circuits and cab control products.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.7, July 2008. p.411.

Frankfurt LRV handed over

Frankfurt Transport Authority has taken delivery of the first of 146 Flexity Swift light rail vehicles which are being built by Bombardier. A further 11 will be supplied this year, with deliveries continuing until autumn 2015.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.7, July 2008. p.411.

Infrastructure: UK

Network Rail has awarded Westinghouse Rail Systems the contract to design, install and commission signalling and telecoms for the £300 M Airdrie-Bathgate line reopening. (Item contains no further information).

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.7, July 2008. p.415.

News in brief

Bombardier Transportation and Transmarsh Holding have signed an agreement to establish an equally-owned joint venture to develop locomotives with asynchronous traction equipment for the CIS market. The companies already cooperate in component production under a May 2007 agreement. (Item contains no further information).

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.7, July 2008. p.417.

Ambitious rail plan finally leaves the sidings

Reports that the Crossrail project has received royal assent and will now go ahead with construction beginning in 2010 and the first trains running in 2017. The rail link, which will be 118.5km long and carry 200 M passengers a year, is designed to cut at least a third off the journey time between Canary Wharf and Heathrow.

Financial Times, 24 July 2008. p.

Underground upgrade

LPA Group of Saffron Walden, Essex, has won new contracts totalling £850,000 to supply step lights, both on trains and platforms, for several London Underground lines.

Cambridge Evening News, 15 Jul 2008. p 20

Eurostar's relocation helps lift passenger numbers

Reports that passenger numbers at Eurostar were 18% higher in the first half of this year than last year as improved journey times and more convenient connections at its new London terminus boosted demand. There were particularly strong increases of sales of joint tickets with UK train operators serving places convenient for the new St Pancras terminal.

Financial Times, 17 July 2008. p.19.

Restructure pays off at Eurotunnel

Group Eurotunnel has announced its first ever interim profit following a huge debt restructuring and buoyant traffic levels. There were net profits of Euros 26 M for the six months ending in June against a loss of Euros 32 M for the same period last year. Executive chairman Jacques Gounon said that growth would slow in the second half of the year, but pointed out that Eurotunnel's competitors, including some ferry operators, have been forced to introduce surcharges to combat the high price of oil.

Financial Times, 18 July 2008. p.18.

Review to focus on new era of travel / Europe's high-speed lines that fall victim to political influence / High-speed rails

Network Rail has confirmed that it is launching a review that could lead to five new lines. Chief executive Iain Coucher said new signalling systems and other improvements were no longer enough to increase capacity. However not all new routes would run high-speed trains. Suggests that Britain could learn from the Continent where a number of such lines have proved inefficient or unpopular. Comments that high-speed lines should not be built at the expense of improvements to the commuter network.

Financial Times, 24 June 2008. p.3. and p.14.

Harmonised education and certification for aluminothermic welders

Describes RAILSAFE, a system for the education, training, qualification and certification of aluminothermic rail welders on a common European basis to facilitate compliance with EN 14730-2. The system improves welder mobility between railways in different countries and between contractors and gives wider recognition of skills and qualifications.

Welding and Cutting, vol.7, no.3, 2008. p.130.

CSX to choose which route to bottom line / Rail group catching up, says chief

Reports that the underperformance of US rail freight company GSX and its efforts to close the performance gap with its peers are the key issues in a battle over board seats that will dominate its annual general meeting. The Children's Investment Fund and 3G Capital, another hedge fund, are trying to win five of CSX's 12 board seats. TCI has demanded radical changes in CSX's pricing policy and investment spending. CSX chief executive Michael Ward has admitted that the group has underperformed in the past but insisted that it was now catching up on its competitors.

Financial Times, 24 June 2008. p.26.

Alstom chief shunts group towards freight

Reports on moves by Alstom chief executive Philippe Mellier to increase the group's profitability. He wants the group to compete for export orders and to move more towards business with private operators. However he intends to ensure that the company competes only for business that is guaranteed to bring a good return, trying to compete better in the freight locomotive market.

Financial Times, 26 June 2008. p.26.

Network Rail looks at extra main lines

Network Rail is expected to announce that it is launching a strategic review to look at the possibility of building five new main lines. The company is expected to say that the lines will be need by 2025 when existing routes north and west of London will be full to capacity. Most routes are expected to be high-speed passenger lines which would free up space on existing lines for local passenger and freight trains.

Financial Times, 21/22 June 2008. p.1.

Fast train on the route towards modernisation

As part of a five year programme to spend $250bn modernising Mexico's infrastructure, three new rail routes have been built to link the most heavily populated areas of the Valley of Mexico to Mexico City. Journey times have been drastically cut. The government also plans to spend about $4bn on road construction, with an additional $3bn from private funding. The country hopes to have 10 new multi-use railway routes, including 12 state-of-the-art, strategically located, cargo terminals by 2012.

Financial Times, 16 Jun.2008. Special report. Mexico: Business & Infrastructure. p.4.

Network Rail workers down tools

Reports that two thirds of Network Rail's maintenance workers were due to strike in what the company believes could be the first of several strikes over pay contracts. The strike action follows 18 months of discussion by a working group formed by the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union and the company to agree on harmonising 50 different employment contracts inherited by Network Rail when it took maintenance back in-house in 2004.

Financial Times, 14/15 June 2008. p.2.

RBS sells train leasing arm to Babcock & Brown group / Buy out caps turbulent week for infrastructure player

Royal Bank of Scotland has confirmed the sale of Angel Trains, its train leasing subsidiary, to a consortium led by Babcock & Brown, the Australian infrastructure company. Babcock said that the UK market offered substantial value. At present Angel Trains has about 40% of the UK train leasing market. The news comes at the end of a week that saw Babcock's shares fall substantially after short-selling attacks.

Financial Times, 14/15 June 2008. p.15.

Freightliner sets sights on Australia

Bahrain's Arcapita has agreed to pay a total of �340 M, including assumed debt, for Freightliner, the country's largest rail carrier of maritime containers. Arcapita has said that it would look to expand internationally, including potentially Australia due to the boom in commodities in that country.

Financial Times, 14/15 June 2008. p.18.

Green light for Pendolino lengthening at last

Alstom has received formal notification from the Department of Transport to proceed with the manufacture of 106 Pendolino vehicles, valued at �255 M. Four new 11-car Class 390 Pendolino sets are covered by the deal, plus 62 new coaches to extend 31 of the existing nine-car Pendolinos to 11 cars. The work will be carried out at Alstom's new maintenance facility at Liverpool rather than the main Pendolino depot at Longsight, Manchester.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.717, June 2008. p.6.

Phased plans for Glasgow Crossrail

Strathclyde Passenger Transport has unveiled proposals for a three-stage development of the Glasgow Crossrail project. The first stage could be completed in time for the Commonwealth games in 2014. A report, carried out for SPT by transport consultants Faber Maunsell, predicted that more than four million passengers would use proposed new stations at Glasgow Cross, Gorbals and West Street.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.717, June 2008. p.7.

GrantRail, Laing O'Rourke, Thales in frame for Metrolink expansion

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive has selected the M-Pact Thales consortium as preferred bidder for the 'design, construct and maintain' contract for the major expansion of the Metrolink system. Under the plan, the Network Rail lines to Oldham and Rochdale will be converted to light rail operation, and new lines will run to Droylsden and Chorlton.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.717, June 2008. p.7.

Contractors must fix cracks on tracks in Phoenix

Reports that repairs to cracks in steel rails along a $1.4 bn 20 mile Phoenix area light rail project are nearly complete. Officials had found fissures up to 7.5" long in three of five segments during routine inspections. Investigations found that high heat from plasma welding torches used to cut drainage openings changed the steel's structural properties resulting in brittleness and microscopic cracks that worsened with expansion and contraction during seasonal weather changes.

Engineering News-Record, vol.260, no.16, 12 May 2008. p.12.

Network Rail attacks spending proposals

Network Rail has attacked proposals by the Office of Rail Regulation which they say would leave it with a shortfall of �34 bn on its spending plans between 2009 and 2014. The ORR proposals allow it to spend �27.8 bn or 11% less than it said that it needed for operating, maintaining improving and renewing the rail network. Network Rail said that the proposals put at risk much needed improvements for passengers and freight users.

Financial Times, 6 June 2008. p.5.

Dutch train sports composite panels

Composite nose and rear panels used in the latest Dutch high-speed InterCity trains are expected to save around Euros 200,000 in construction and maintenance during the train's lifetime. The parts are manufactured by NPSP Compostieten based in Haarlem using a vacuum-assisted moulding process and DSM Composite Resins' products. Using composites instead of metal for these parts will remove 1000 kg of weight from the trains.

Reinforced Plastics, vol.52, no.5, May 2008. p.5.

BS EN 13848-5:2008     Railway applications. Track. Track geometry quality. Part 5: Geometric quality levels

[BSI] Update Standards. June 2008. p.14.

Network Rail ordered to improve west coast service

The Office of the Rail Regulator has demanded action from Network Rail to improve train performance on the west coast line following recent disruption caused by upgrade work disturbing ageing signalling cables. 250,000 Virgin train passengers have been affected.

Financial Times, 24/25 May 2008. p.5.

Metronet's future in mayor's hands

Metronet has been taken over by Transport for London. The department for transport is likely to press TfL to return as much of the company as possible to private ownership.

Financial Times, 27 May 2008. p.2.

Rail hub plan for Heathrow

Plans are being put forward by Arup to build a new station, between West Drayton and Iver on the Great Western mainline at Heathrow, that would make the airport more accessible from the west, south-west and Wales, the Midlands, the north-west and Scotland. This includes extending the current high-speed rail line currently terminating at St Pancras to the new Heathrow hub.

Financial Times, 28 May 2008. p.4.

Franchise aims to cut train crush

Tom Harris, rail minister has invited bidders to compete for the South Central franchise covering parts of south London, Surrey and Sussex. It is hoped to ease overcrowding by providing 10% more capacity. The franchise is due to start in September 2009.

Financial Times, 23 May 2008. p.

Crash-proof train seams

Engineers at the Vienna University of Technology are trying to simulate the behaviour of weld seams under crash loading to improve rail vehicle design.

Materials World, May 2008, p.12.

Business, business, business

Reports on the formation of the Rail Alliance, a rail business network formed with the specific charter of helping the industry make the most of the pool of opportunities over the next decade. The Alliance aims to complement the activities of more established trade associations and already has a membership of over 350. Activities have included technology transfer projects and assistance with export contracts.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 48, Apr.-May 2008. pp.10-11.

Much more to come

Reports on the cooperation between Alstom and TBM Consulting Group which aims to help businesses achieve improved levels of efficiency and productivity and sustained profit and revenue growth. The improvements have been brought about by the use of Kaizen events which look to eliminate waste within maintenance tasks by removing the non-value-added activities from the process.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 48, Apr.-May 2008. pp.16-17.

Shortening line closures

Network Rail has ordered 26 specialised tilting wagons from Krow in an effort to reduce line closure times. The �10 M order forms part of Network Rail's modular switches and crossings programme and will help engineers to renew a set of points in overnight eight-hour possessions. At present it takes around 54 hours to carry out this work.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 48, Apr.-May 2008. p.25.

Integrated Engineering Services for 'turnkey' solutions

Describes the activities of the County Durham Engineering Cluster which has been formed to offer the joint capabilities and expertise of the 57 companies to the rail industry. Companies within the cluster cooperate in unique ways to provide a blend of skills and capabilities which allow the creation of custom integrated engineering services that can be configured on demand to meet specific customer requirements. The Cluster offers an effective one-stop stop for turnkey projects that require a diverse range of products and services.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 48, Apr.-May 2008. p.31.

EN 13848-5:2008     Railway applications. Track. Track geometry. Part 5: Geometric quality levels

[BSI] Update Standards. May 2008. p.39.

Sparks are flying at LPA

Recounts the recent history and problems of railway electrical parts supplier and manufacturer LPA, based in Saffron Walden, Essex.

Cambridge Evening News, 13 May 2008. pp 24-25

Travel in style

Details of the Tangula luxury tourist train, being developed in China for service in September 2008, that will carry passengers up to the Tibetan plateau, 5.072m above sea level.

Engineering, vol.249. no.3. Mar. 2008. p.5.

New lines

An outline of the steps being taken by Siemens to create greener railways, including regenerative braking in the Desiro Class 350 electric train fleet, and reduction of fuel consumption in the diesel Desiro class 185 fleet.

Engineering, vol.249. no.3. Mar. 2008. p.6.

Count down

A detailed description of the production of a replica Peppercorn class A1 Tornado passenger steam locomotive by the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust at the old Hopetown Lane Carriage Works, Darlington.

Engineering, vol.249. no.3. Mar. 2008. pp.22-24,26.

Thameslink train procurement starts

The Department of Transport began procurement of a new fleet of dual-voltage electric multiple-units for Thameslink services on April 9th with a Notice in the Official Journal of the European Union seeking expressions of interest. The new fleet is intended to start entering revenue-earning service by 1 February, 2012, providing additional capacity prior to the Olympics.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.6, May 2008. p.6.

Penistone line in West Yorkshire picked for tram-train trials

The Department of Transport has announced that five new tram-trains, which can run on both tram tracks and railway lines, will replace conventional trains on the 37-mile Penistone line between Huddersfield, Barnsley and Sheffield. The trial, which starts in 2010 and will take two years, will look at the environmental benefits, operating costs and technical suitability of the tram-trains as well as testing how popular the vehicles are with passengers on the route.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.6, May 2008. p.7.

Green mobility: rail in a new environment

A series of articles covering: making rail travel attractive to reduce car use; how engineers are looking at ways to reduce rail's carbon footprint; Siemens response to climate change and also some of the company's energy saving ideas; global warming and the railways; intelligent concepts for future rail travel; and the use of light rail.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.6, May 2008. pp.39-78.

Bullish outlook at Alstom

Alstom could once again be the world's biggest manufacturer of railway equipment, as recent orders for the Paris network have enabled the French firm to edge ahead of Bombardier in terms of size of order book. The company has expressed an interest in Russia and has denied that its pull-out of the bidding for the Inter-city Express Project in the UK signalled a lack of interest in the country

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.6, May 2008. p.100.

Dresden tram order for Bombardier

Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe (DVB) has ordered 11 more Bombardier Flexity Class trams, for delivery between July 2009 and May 2010. The new order, worth Euros 34 M, will bring the fleet up to a total of 83 trams. The city's entire tram fleet is being replaced y modern, low-floor vehicles.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.6, May 2008. pp.101-102.

Alstom seeks to reassure investors

Patrick Kron, Alstom chief executive, has said that business practices at the company are above board as he highlighted a strong performance during the past 12 months. The company is cooperating with Swiss and French authorities investigating suspected bribery to win foreign contracts in South America and Asia between 1995 and 2003.

Financial Times, 8 May 2008. p.25.

Network Rail penalty upheld

The proposed record �14 M penalty on Network Rail for engineering work overruns in the New year has been confirmed by rail regulators. Network Rail wanted the fine set aside and suggested that instead the company spend the �14 M on a series of improvements. However the Office of Rail Regulation said it remained convinced of 'systemic weaknesses' in Network Rail planning and execution of engineering work and that the penalty should stand.

Financial Times, 8 May 2008. p.4.

SNCF eyes stake in Italian freight

SNCF's potential purchase of up to 49% of Ferrovie Nord Cargo, the freight arm of Ferrovie Nord Milano, continues a string of acquisitions by the company since Guillaume Pepy took over as president in February. It is suggested that the company is also looking at other potential purchases including the privatisation of CFR Marfa, the freight arm of Romania's national railways.

Financial Times, 8 May 2008. p.28.

Europe blows the whistle on state railway aid

The European Commission has told governments to end 'hidden' state aid to railway companies by the end of next year. The Commission wants to boost competition at a time when several rail companies have been acquiring privately owned train operators.

Financial Times, 1 May 2008. p.11.

UK float for Russian rail group

Globaltrans, Russia's largest private train operator has reported that it will raise $449 M when it floats on the London Stock Exchange. Sergey Maltsev, Globaltrans' chief executive, said that the offer's success showed that investors recognised the potential of the Russian freight industry.

Financial Times, 1 May 2008. p.21.

West Coast trains face more delay

Virgin Trains said that it would aim to keep passenger disruption to a minimum after regulators allowed network rail to close the West Coast Main Line for more often this year than first planned. Virgin had wanted to delay the start of a new train timetable with faster journeys and 30% more trains until next year and keep closures this year at the original level. However Network Rail, other passenger train operators and all but one of the route's freight users favoured extra closures.

Financial Times, 3/4 May 2008. p.6.

Seventy die in China train crash

A collision between two Chinese passenger trains has killed at least 70 people and injured 420. The crash in eastern Shandong province was blamed by the railway ministry on human error, but the accident is likely to raise questions over funding shortfalls and government attempts to privatise parts of the rail industry.

Financial Times, 29 Apr.2008. p.10.

Passenger numbers show rail sector is on move

Atoc, the Association of Train Operating Companies, has announced that mainline railways passenger traffic in 2007 was higher than in any previous peacetime year, having grown 7%. However due to the railways semi-public, semi-private finances little of the growth has turned into profit for the companies holding the 20 government-let franchises.

Financial Times, 19/20 Apr.2008. p.21.

Germany agrees partial sale of Deutsche Bahn

The privatisation of Deutsche Bahn is to take place, with a holding company owning 75.1% of passenger and freight transport and all of the entity running stations and the rail network. 24.9% in the transport arm will be sold in a flotation expected to raise $4.8bn - $7.9bn. Most of the money would go to the German government, but some would be used to fund Deutsche Bahn's investment plans in Europe and other European countries.

Financial Times, 15 Apr. 2008. p.10.

Eurostar still confident of growth in spite of strong euro

Despite the strong Euro, Eurostar expects continued growth on the high-speed trains between the UK and Europe.

Financial Times, 15 Apr. 2008. p.20.

Rail passenger journeys hit peacetime record

Britain's railways saw record passenger traffic last year, the 13th year of consecutive growth. Figures from the Association of Train Operating Companies show that there were 1.21 bn passenger rail journeys in 2007 and traffic of 30.1 bn miles, journeys multiplied by the length of each.

Financial Times, 10 Apr.2008. p.2.

Rail contract tender in disarray as Alstom pulls out

A consortium of Alstom Transport and Barclays Private Equity has withdrawn from the bidding to supply the order for between 500 and 2,000 carriages for the Intercity Express programme. Two further bidders - the Express Rail Alliance and Hitachi - have demanded more time to submit tenders: they are thought to be struggling to make sense of the requirements for the trains for which they are supposed to produce at least three basic designs and many further permutations of train lengths and layouts.

Financial Times, 14 Apr.2008. p.2.

Big order for trains expected to cost £1.4bn

The Department for Transport is to issue a tender for new trains for the cross-London Thameslink route. The size of the order is not yet finalised but is expected to range between 900 and 1300 carriages, with a likely cost of £1.4 billion.

Financial Times, 9 Apr 2008. p 4

Eurotunnel strikes first profit; Shareholder coup that put the train back on the tracks

Eurotunnel has declared a profit for the first time in its 22 year history. Following a traumatic restructuring the group declared net profits of Eur 1 million for 2007. The story of the rescue is recounted.

Financial Times, 9 Apr 2008. p 24

Full steam ahead for �500m stations upgrade

A £500 M redevelopment of a number of Network Rail owned stations in the south-east is to be given the go-ahead following the agreement of a joint venture with developer Kier Property. Kier will initially work on a portfolio of six station sites, including Enfield Town, Epsom, Guildford, Maidstone East, Twickenham and Walthamstow.

Financial Times, 3 Apr.2008. p.22.

Globaltrans set for LSE listing

Globaltrans, Russia's largest private rail freight operator plans to list on the London Stock Exchange in a deal that could raise about $200 M in fresh capital and value the company at about $1.3 bn. Proceeds from the listing will be used to expand the company's fleet of wagons and locomotives which mostly carry high-value steel and oil products.

Financial Times, 5/6 Apr.2008. p.22.

Metronet resolves contract dispute

Metronet Rail has resolved its dispute over the supply of new trains and signalling to Transport for London. Bombardier will withdraw from its subcontract to resignal all the non-tube lines but will retain its contract to supply 238 new trains for the Victoria and sub-surface lines.

Financial Times, 2 Apr 2008. p 22

Composite railroad bridge

HC Bridge Company of the United States has announced that a full sized locomotive pulling 26 heavy axle load coal cars has crossed the first composite railroad bridge in the world in a live load test. The bridge was a 30 ft span comprised of eight hybrid-composite beams. The beams, known as the Hillman Composite Beam, are designed to be stronger, lighter and more corrosion resistant than the standard concrete and steel beams traditionally used in infrastructure application.

Reinforced Plastics, vol.52, no.3, Mar.2008. pp.48-49.

Rumbles out as Serco wins Dubai

Grant Rumbles has left his position as Serco's chief operating officer after his position was described as 'no longer required'. Serco has announced that it has won a �400 M, 10-year deal to operate and maintain Dubai's new light railway system which will carry 200 M passengers a year and start in 2009.

Financial Times, 26 Mar.2008. p.22.

Warning issued to Network Rail

Network Rail has been warned that it could face severe consequences unless it acts quickly to improve poor train punctuality on the Great Western route from London Paddington. The Office of Rail Regulation has told the company that it could eventually be investigated for a breach of its licence to operate the network unless there were rapid improvements. (Item contains little further information).

Financial Times, 27 Mar.2008. p.4.

Soaring costs derail German train plan

Plans for a high-speed 'Transrapid' magnetic levitation train linking Munich to its airport have been abandoned after construction costs almost doubled from Euros 1.5 bn to Euros 3.4 bn. German companies, who were among the pioneers for this technology, have failed in several bids to apply it in their own country.

Financial Times, 28 Mar.2008. p.6.

Growth on track for oriental express

China is pressing ahead with building a high-speed rail network and is also trying to improve its harbour, airport and highway infrastructure. It is suggested that these public works contracts are a sign that the country wishes to sustain high economic growth, while tightening credit to stem booming corporate capital investments and an overheating property market.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.46, no.2,328, 17 Mar.2008. p.15.

JR Tokai to take maglev underground

The proposed route map for the high-speed magnetic-levitation trains that Central Japan Railway plans to begin operating in 2025 shows that about 80% of the route, which runs in a straight line from Tokyo to Nagoya, is underground. The route was built straight to prevent losses of time and money and underground to cut the costs and hassle of acquiring land.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.46, no.2,328, 17 Mar.2008. p.16.

Transport duo step up heat on rivals

Two of Italy's biggest public transport operators are to merge to form a competitor for international transport contracts that will be Europe's ninth-biggest public transport operator by revenue. Executives have said that ATM, the Milan operator, plans to merge with Turin's GTT because neither was competitive in profitability or unit costs with the British and French operators that dominate the sector.

Financial Times. 31 Mar.2008. p.24.

'�60billion benefit' from new high speed rail network, says Atkins

Engineering consultants say that the benefits would be felt across the UK, from London to the Midlands, the North, and Scotland, through connecting the major business centres and increasing productivity. New high speed lines would not only provide new capacity, but also help free up space on existing lines and encourage more local investment in transport improvements to reduce road congestion in urban areas.

Modern Railways, Apr.2008. p.9.

Forth Bridge is licked with glass-flake epoxy paint

Reports that Balfour Beatty is expected to complete its �74 M contract with Network Rail for painting the Forth Bridge in 2012. They will use a specialist glass-flake epoxy paint from Leigh Paints, similar to that used in the offshore oil industry, which is designed to last 20 years but could well last up to 30 years.

Modern Railways, Apr.2008. p.13.

Repairing worn rails

Network Rail has purchased from ESAB ten Railtrac BV 1000 units. This is specialised equipment for repairing worn rails by laying down weld metal. The automated welding process is considered to offer significant time savings over conventional arc welding techniques. The ESAB process does not require interpass grinding which makes the repair process quicker, easier and safer.

Modern Railways, Apr.2008. p.14.

Wind power for railway

Railway infrastructure authority Infrabel has announced a Euros 65 M programme for the installation of a wind farm of 20 windmills along a high speed line in Belgium, in collaboration with Electrabel and the local authorities along the line. Output should amount to 100 GWh a year and a third of this will go directly to railway power supply.

Modern Railways, Apr.2008. p.83.

Thalys waits on new high-speed lines

Reports on current developments in high-speed train services offered by Thalys. Of particular importance is the service offered between Brussels and Paris. Key to Thalys development is the new and upgraded infrastructure from Brussels to the Netherlands and Germany, which will result in improved services to Amsterdam and Cologne.

Modern Railways, Apr.2008. p.82.

Network Rail - the future is modular

Interviews Network Rail's Chief Engineer Andrew McNaughton on his concept of modularity. He argues that items can be manufactured to a standard design under factory conditions, thus reducing both costs and disruptions. Standardisation means higher quality maintenance as maintaining fewer and standardised pieces of equipment will result in better performance. Areas where modularity can be applied include stations, footbridges, roadbridges, level crossings and signalling.

Modern Railways, Apr.2008. pp.59-63.

Panorama of transport

Gives a selection of transport statistics that set out to describe, from various angles, the development of the European transport sector from 1990 to 2005. Covers: transport in the EU; transport infrastructure; means of transport; enterprises, employment and economic performance; traffic and transport quantities and performances; transport safety; and energy consumption and the environment.

Eurostat. European Communities, 2007. ISBN 978-92-79-04618-6 / TransportinEurope.pdf

Private sector urged to continue Tube role

Responding to a report by MPs into the collapse of Metronet Rail the Department for Transport said that any problems with the Metronet contract were the fault of the company alone rather than the public-private partnership. It argued that the success so far of TubeLines - the contractor for the Northern, Jubilee and Piccadilly lines - showed that the PPP system is sound.

Financial Times, 1 Apr.2008. p.4.

Bullet train service on Taiwan trunk route gathers speed, driving midsize airlines out

Uni Air will stop offering flights between Taipei and Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second largest city. The move is in response to a steep decline in passenger traffic since Taiwan High Speed Rail began offering a Japan-built bullet train service on this route last year.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.46, no.2,325, 25 Feb.2008. p.13.

Plea to cut rail incident delays

A report from the National Audit Office says that the rail industry should minimise the delay and inconvenience following mishaps on the network by improving co-ordination with emergency services and giving passengers better information. It notes that in financial year 2006/07 there were 800,000 incidents on the railways which delayed passenger trains by 14 M minutes, costing those delayed at least £1 bn.

Financial Times, 14 Mar.2008. p.4.

Call to improve northern towns' road and rail links

A report from the Centre for Cities has said that small northern towns need better communication links with their regional capital if they are not to fall further behind counterparts in the south of England. The report says that people and businesses in thriving smaller towns in the south-east have much better connections with London which helps them keep pace with the growth of the capital's economy.

Financial Times, 18 Mar.2008. p.7.

Trains to run on streets of Sheffield

The Department for Transport has announced a trial of 'tram-train' technology where trains would run from Huddersfield to Barnsley and on to Sheffield, starting in 2010. A potential second stage of the trial would see the trains leave the national rail network and travel on the Sheffield Supertram tracks, through the city's streets.

Financial Times, 19 Mar.2008. p.5.

Raider Perloff ready to give LPA a rocket

Corporate raider Andrew Perloff is set to give the board of Saffron Walden-based railway electronics company LPA a rough ride at its annual meeting this week. But chief executive officer Peter Pollock claims that many of Mr Perloff's arguments are based on inaccurate and potentially misleading interpretations of the company's annual accounts, and points out that the company's order book going into 2009 is stronger than ever.

Cambridge Evening News, 7 Mar 2008. p 62

Shanghai delays rail project after protests

Shanghai's local government has delayed work on a new electro-magnetic train line until at least next year after the proposed development triggered mass protests from people living near to the planned track. The city's mayor has said that the project is not on the list of those planned to go ahead this year. The project is seen as a test of the influence of the newly wealthy middle classes.

Financial Times, 7 Mar.2008. p.7.

Belgium completes high-speed system

Infrastructure on three high-speed routes, linking Brussels to France, Germany and the Netherlands, has now been finished. The West Line goes via Lille, the East Line via Aix-la-Chapelle and the North Line via Antwerp. Describes some of the principal stations involved, signalling systems and the financing of the projects.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.714, Mar.2008. pp.63-69.

Work begins on Beijing-Shanghai line

Construction on the 1,318 km line started in January and is expected to take five years, with work proceeding from forty sites. The line has a design speed of 350 km/h, permitting an end-to-end journey time of five hours, compared with nearly ten hours at present.

Railway Gazette, vol.164, no.2, Feb.2008. p.67.

DB enters UK passenger market

Deutsche Bahn has signed a contract to acquire 100% of Laing Rail in the UK. Laing owns M40 Trains and holds 50% of both London Overground Rail Operations and the Wrexham, Shropshire & Marylebone Railway.

Railway Gazette, vol.164, no.2, Feb.2008. p.69.

Stafford bypass could slash London-Glasgow times

Two new sections of line to bypass Stafford could slash journey times to around four hours. The bypass would cost around £550 M and the Department for Transport believes that it would bring about a significant shift from air to rail in the Anglo-Scottish market.

Railway Gazette, vol.164, no.2, Feb.2008. p.69.


Reports on a number of new contracts for Bombardier: a Euros 90 M order for 64 double-deck coaches for use in Schleswig-Holstein; an order for six Bombardier Traxx F140AC2 electric locos for use on the Sweden-Germany corridor; a Euros 44 M order from Angel Trains for 12 two-car Class 172 second-generation Turbostar DMUs for use by London Overground and Chiltern Railways; a Euros 23 M for 10 Flexity Outlook trams for use in Innsbruck and a SFr 85 M contract for 18 of the same to be used in Geneva; and a Euros 32 M contract to replace the 1-2 km peoplemover at Gatwick Airport and a $63 M contract to extend the peoplemover at Atlanta Airport.

Railway Gazette, vol.164, no.2, Feb.2008. pp.73-74.

An open market beckons

Investigates some of the preparations being made for the opening up of the European market for international rail passenger services. Competition from low-cost airlines is one of the reasons behind the deregulation and German company DB is expected to be among the leading operators. Also considers the Italian market, overnight services and the hurdles new entrants face in trying to break into traditional markets.

Railway Gazette, vol.164, no.2, Feb.2008. pp.89-91.

Sea-rail transport model linking Akita, Russian interior put to test

The regional bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has launched a pilot test of a proposed sea and railway transport programme which carries containers via the northern Japanese Akita Port to Russia. The Tohoku Regional Bureau has sought to validate the feasibility of the transportation model to deliver automotive parts and other parts to the Russian interior. The bureau hopes to raise the region's competitiveness as a distribution base through the intermodal transport system.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.46, no.2,324, 18 Feb.2008. p.8.

Welding Lines interviews Eur Ing Bob Sawdon, Balfour Beatty Rail's Rails & Welding Engineer and Vice-Chairman of the Institute of Rail Welding

Asks about Sawdon's part of the group and his role within the group. Follows with questions on changes in the industry, his own personal achievements and the future of the Institute of Rail Welding.

Welding Lines, Issue 23, Feb.2008. p.2.

Network Rail fined £14 M

Following a £14 M fine for overruns on engineering works the Office of Rail Regulation has given Network Rail until March 31st to agree with passenger and freight train operators a new plan for the upgrade of the London-Glasgow West Coast Main Line. The project is currently more than 300 hours behind schedule.

Financial Times, 29 Feb.2008. p.2.

Engineers bypass railway work

A group of former British Rail engineers has developed a system that allows trains to bypass tracks under maintenance, potentially saving millions of pounds. The Non-Intrusive Crossover System, being tested by Network Rail, allows trains to be switched safely to an adjacent track or to a new siding without installing a permanent connection, and without interfering with the existing track and signalling system. (Item contains no further information).

Financial Times, 3 Mar.2008. p.4.

Maglev attracts public funding

The consortium UK Ultraspeed, whose members include Siemens, is to announce that it has received funding from the Merseyside Partnership to develop its plans for a high-speed maglev route between Liverpool and Manchester.

Financial Times, 27 Feb 2008. p 4

India to invest billions in rail revamp

India's railways minister has announced investment of nearly Rs2,500 billion (�32 billion) in the country's railways over the next five years. Rs1,000 billion will be raised from the private sector with concessions for major stations in New Delhi, Mumbai, Patna and Secunderabad.

Financial Times, 27 Feb 2008. p 12

Eurotunnel plan to raise Euros1.7 bn

Eurotunnel intends to follow last year's restructuring with a plan to raise funds through new equity issues. It will seek to raise Euros800 M immediately through the issue of subordinated deferred equity securities. It then plans a rights issue to raise a further Euros900 M in June.

Financial Times, 21 Feb.2008. p.26.

Argentina awards £1.3 billion contract for high-speed rail

An estimated $1.3 bn turnkey contract for the 710 kilometre, 329-km-per-hour, Buenos Aires-Rosario-Cordoba train line has been awarded to the Veloxia consortium of European and local contractors.

Engineering News-Record, vol.260, no.3, 28 Jan.2008. p.7.

Targets to press Network Rail for fewer delays

Network Rail will have to meet individual targets on improving service to each train operator under proposals put forward by the Office of Rail Regulation. The company will have to make further significant cost cutbacks and meet targets for the amount of time the network is available for use as part of an effort to reduce engineering closures.

Financial Times, 15 Feb.2008. p.4.

Slower rail passenger growth hits Go-Ahead

Shares in Go-Ahead fell by 17% after it said that rail passenger growth had slowed in the first half and warned that increasing fuel costs and reduced subsidies were likely to hit full-year operating profits. The company is looking to trim costs or pass them on to customers.

Financial Times, 16/17 Feb.2008. p.19.

Colas Rail buys Carillion rail plant

Colas said that the purchase meant that it now owned the largest fleet of modern on-track plant in the country. Plant transferred to Colas comprises 12 tampers, three regulators, a locomotive, a 125-tonne Kirow crane and 16 switch handling units

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.713, Feb.2008. p.18.

Franchisees celebrate ten years of growth

Notes the growth in passenger numbers over the past decade, but also the disparity between the various franchises. Bus companies - Stagecoach, Govia, First Group, National Express and Arriva - remain major owners of franchises while the French are the biggest overseas investors.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.713, Feb.2008. pp.36-37.

London Overground: a charter for improvement

Gives some background on MTR Laing, owners of London Overground, and their plans for regenerating its network, which is that of the former Silverlink Metro. Lines run through some parts of the capital with acute social problems and improvements include work on stations, more transport police, more ticket gates and new trains.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.713, Feb.2008. pp.50-53.

Opportunity knocks for the Leeds-Morecambe line

Reports on a detailed study of the line which covered the existing timetable, the fares structure, the demand for travel, financial performance, local market demographics, various aspects of service quality and the needs and aspirations of passengers and other stakeholders. Concludes that, despite recent strong growth, there is significant potential the improve both patronage and revenue on the line.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.713, Feb.2008. pp.54-57.

Alstom re-enters the UK market

Presents an interview with Paul Robinson, Alstom Transport's UK Managing Director. After restructuring the company is again ready to bid for any UK contracts for the supply of new rolling stock. The company has shown interest in the lengthening of Pendolino trains from nine to eleven cars, Piccadilly Line replacement stock, the Inter-city Express Project and the Thameslink upgrade.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.713, Feb.2008. pp.60-61.

574.8km/h and all that

Reports on a visit made by the Railway study Association to France. Topics covered include the structure of SNCF, the high-speed long-distance network, the international rivalry with Germany and Britain, commuter services, the freight business and rolling stock.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.713, Feb.2008. pp.62-65.

Bombardier launches hybrid unit

Bombardier has launched what is claimed to be the world's first hybrid multiple-unit, a dual-mode (electric and diesel) and dual-voltage (25kV AC and 1.5kV DC) AGC (Autorail Grande Capacite). The stock has been designed specifically for the French regional market.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.713, Feb.2008. p.66.

Kuwait planning $11 bn rail system

Kuwait is planning to build a rail network that will include a metro system for its capital Kuwait City.

Financial Times, 5 Feb.2008. p.6.

Book more seats on the high-speed train

Alstom has launched a high-speed train designed to reach speeds of up to 220mph. Dubbed AGV, the single-deck prototype is claimed to be the first in the world to feature an articulated architecture with bogies located between the carriages - a solution the designers say will increase safety. The train also incorporates a distributed drive system with motors located on bogies under the train.

The Engineer, vol.293, no.7741, 11-24 Feb.2008. p.7.

Rail station revamp receives £400m boost

The government has given more money than expected for the redevelopment of Birmingham's New Street station. Local business leaders, who had grown irritated at delays to the Gateway scheme, have welcomed the move.

Financial Times, 13 Feb.2008. p.3.

North minds the gap over transport projects

Reports on the debate over the amount of money spent on London's infrastructure schemes such as Crossrail, the renovation of St Pancras and the expansion of Heathrow. Regional representatives feel that they are being short changed with the disparity in transport spending, but others argue that London has unique costs, notably the only significant underground rail network in the country.

Financial Times, 13 Feb.2008. p.3.

Euro high-speed ambitions

Detail of the work being undertaken to expand the high-speed rail links between France and Spain. The work will enable uninterrupted high-speed travel from St Pancras, London, 2,250km to the Mediterranean coast. Maps of the current and proposed routes, and details of planned Spanish networks are given. The proposed extension of HS1 in the UK to Heathrow Airport and central England is mentioned.

Engineering News-Record, 24/31 Dec. 2007. pp.90-92,94.

Ebbsfleet station opens officially

Although Eurostar services have been using the station since November Ebbsfleet International station has now been officially opened. It is hoped that Ebbsfleet will help the planned regeneration of the Ebbsfleet Valley and provide an international gateway to the 2012 Olympics.

Financial Times, 30 Jan.2008. p.4.

Train operators tell government to move on new carriages order

The operators' demands follow a government strategy document which said that trains' passenger capacity would grow by just 10% by 2014. The Department of Transport's rolling stock plan follows a commitment by Douglas Alexander, then transport secretary, to introduce 1,300 extra carriages across England's railways to alleviate overcrowding.

Financial Times, 31 Jan.2008. p.5.