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The Vietnamese government has officially decided to adopt Japan's bullet train technology for a high-speed railway connecting Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Given the scale of the undertaking, spanning 1,560km in length, Vietnam is considering prioritising the construction of two sections - between Hanoi and Vinh (280km) and between Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City (380km).

The Nikkei Weekly, vol. 47, no. 2,418, 14 Dec. 2009. p.7.

BS EN 13146-1 Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 1: Determination of longitudinal rail restraint. (Draft British Standard 09/30205071 DC: BSI Committee RAE/2)

[BSI] Update Standards. Dec.2009. p.47.

BS EN 13146-2 Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 2: Determination of torsional resistance. (Draft British Standard 09/30205074 DC: BSI Committee RAE/2)

[BSI] Update Standards. Dec.2009. p.47.

BS EN 13146-3 Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 3: Determination of attenuation of impact loads. (Draft British Standard 09/30205077 DC: BSI Committee RAE/2)

[BSI] Update Standards. Dec.2009. p.47.

BS EN 13146-4 Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 4: Effect of repeated loading. (Draft British Standard 09/30205080 DC: BSI Committee RAE/2)

[BSI] Update Standards. Dec.2009. p.47.

BS EN 13146-5 Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 5: Determination of electrical resistance. (Draft British Standard 09/30205083 DC: BSI Committee RAE/2)

[BSI] Update Standards. Dec.2009. p.47.

BS EN 13146-6 Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 6: Effect of severe environmental conditions. (Draft British Standard 09/30205086 DC: BSI Committee RAE/2)

[BSI] Update Standards. Dec.2009. p.47.

BS EN 13146-7 Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 7: Determination of clamping force. (Draft British Standard 09/30205089 DC: BSI Committee RAE/2)

[BSI] Update Standards. Dec.2009. p.47.

BS EN 13146-8 Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 8: Is service testing. (Draft British Standard 09/30205092 DC: BSI Committee RAE/2)

[BSI] Update Standards. Dec.2009. p.47.

BS EN 13231-3 Railway applications. Track. Acceptance of works. Part 3: Acceptance of reprofiling rails in track. (Draft British Standard 09/30209365 DC: BSI Committee RAE/2)

[BSI] Update Standards. Dec.2009. p.49.

High-speed white paper in March?

The Department for Transport has said that if the government decides to pursue proposals for high-speed rail, a white paper to be published by the end of March will set out detailed plans, including route proposals, timescales and associated financial, economic and environmental assessments. This would be followed by a full public consultation starting in autumn 2010. The DfT added that it would not publish a separate report from High Speed Two - the company set up to advise on the development of high-speed rail - in advance of its response, to avoid unnecessary blight relating to options identified but not taken forward.

Modern Railways, vol. 67, no. 136, Jan. 2010. p.7.

Ipswich curve out to tender

Network rail has gone out to tender for a new east-west chord viaduct at East Suffolk Junction, which would allow container trains going from the port of Felixstowe to the Midlands via Peterborough to bypass Ipswich. The viaduct could either be single track, costing £32 M or double track costing £47 M.

Modern Railways, vol. 67, no. 136, Jan. 2010. p.15.

Green light for recycling centre

The local authority has granted planning permission to Network Rail to turn a railway yard in Westbury into a track materials recycling hub. The new £8 M facility will recycle concrete sleepers for use on secondary railway lines or farm roads, while rails and fittings will be processed into the scrap metal market and used in steel manufacturing. (Item contains no further information).

Modern Railways, vol. 67, no. 136, Jan. 2010. p.16.

Bombardier out of new Piccadilly trains bidding

Reports on the issues behind Bombardier's elimination from the tender process for new Piccadilly Line tube stock. The reason given was that the bid was not compliant with the requirements of the tender document. Sources suggested that the aggressive delivery schedule specified for the Piccadilly stock was an issue, a situation that could have been exacerbated had the company secured a contract from Thameslink.

Modern Railways, vol. 67, no. 136, Jan. 2010. p.20.

Maintaining trains for passengers

Bombardier explains how the passenger is the ultimate arbiter when it comes to rolling stock maintenance. The company aims to work closely with rolling stock leasing companies to ensure high availability and minimum disruption for their fleets. It also aims to address issues that directly affect passenger comfort such as fittings that rattle, malfunctioning toilets and poor communication systems. The company sees its role as adding comfort for the passenger and not merely tackling defects.

Modern Railways, vol. 67, no. 136, Jan. 2010. pp.46-47.

Bombardier chosen for regional trains

Following on from an order for up to 1,000 low train floors from Alstom, SNCF has confirmed that it has selected Bombardier as preferred bidder for up to 860 high-capacity double deck EMUs, worth Euros 8 bn. (Item contains no further information).

Modern Railways, vol. 67, no. 136, Jan. 2010. pp.46-47.

National Express rebels end feud

Reports that the Cosmen family has taken up the £360 M National Express rights issue that it had campaigned against. The completion comes as the company is looking to appoint a new chief executive. Dean Finch, head of Tube Lines, is favourite for the job but Tube Lines has made a last ditch effort to retain him. Suggests that unless there is a change of government National Express could be pushed out of the rail business altogether.

Financial Times, 12/13 Dec. 2009. p.16.

Rail electrification given surprise boost

In his pre-budget report chancellor Alistair Darling announced an extension of the rail electrification programme with routes from Manchester to Bolton and Huyton to Wigan. He also affirmed his support for a series of key measures including the London Crossrail route and an upgrade of the Thameslink route.

Financial Times, 10 Dec. 2009. p.10.

Stagecoach foresees an end to franchise payments dispute

Stagecoach has revealed that its dispute with the government over franchise payments could be resolved by April. The company's dispute with the DFT centres around the amount of revenue support that it should receive for South-West Trains. Stagecoach says that it could be owed £100 M. Separately it said that it would not make another bid for National Express in the near future.

Financial Times, 10 Dec. 2009. p.25.

Fast train set to pull in new business / Javelin services forecast to lift house values £1.6bn

Reports on the opening of the UK's first high-speed rail service which has cut journey times from Kent to London. Despite the higher fares commuters have welcomed the new service. Estate agents have said that there has been an increase in interest in commercial property near to high speed stations and investment chiefs hope that the service will change the appeal of east Kent as a business location. Estate agents are also forecasting that residential property prices will rise as more commuters opt to live in the area.

Financial Times, 14 Dec. 2009. p.4.

NatExpress confirms Finch as chief

The company has confirmed the appointment of Dean Finch, head of Tube Lines, as its chief executive. He is expected to take up his appointment in the spring.

Financial Times, 17 Dec. 2009. p.22.

Tube Lines faces �1.35bn shortfall

Chris Bolt, the arbiter of London Underground's private-public partnership contract has said that he was likely to award Tube Lines, the company upgrading three underground lines, �1.35 bn less than it had demanded. He said that Tube Lines should have �4.4 bn basic funding for the 7.5 years starting in July instead of the �5.75 bn it had been asking for. However he left open the possibility that Tube Lines might obtain substantial sums beyond his award if it pursued a claim over how LU had behaved in relation to its work to upgrade the Jubilee and Northern lines.

Financial Times, 18 Dec. 2009. p.4.

Network Rail cuts operating costs

Reports that the company's operating costs were £142 M lower in the six months to October than in the same period of 2008. It has to find a cumulative £4.1 bn of efficiency savings compared with 2004-2009. (Item contains little further information).

Financial Times, 27 Nov. 2009. p.4.

Not quite end of line for NatExpress

National Express will be allowed to retain its two remaining rail franchises - East Anglia and C2C - until the contracts end in 2011. Analysts say that this will allow the company to retain a source of cash flow to enable it to cope with £1 bn of debt. The company has said that it would consider its future in the rail business after the government conformed that it would not be extending the East Anglia franchise to 2014.

Financial Times, 27 Nov. 2009. p.20.

Shareholder fails to block NatExpress £360m rights issue

National Express has won overwhelming support from its shareholders for its rights issue, despite opposition to the fundraising from Jorge Cosmen, the deputy chairman and largest shareholder. The Cosmen family argue that the rights issue is too large and that the group lacks a property strategy. National Express says that the £360 M will enable it to repay a portion of its £1.1 bn debt, as well as loan conditions at the end of the year.

Financial Times, 28/29 Nov. 2009. p.14.

A journey of management change for Indian Railways

Reports on the benefits to the company from its decision to send senior managers to business schools. From being on the edge of bankruptcy in 2001 the company has now generated a surplus before dividend of Rs198.2 bn for the year ended in March 2009. Sending managers overseas for training also reflects the company's ambitions to become an international player and compete with global leaders such as France and Japan.

Financial Times, 30 Nov. 2009. p.14.

Toyo Elec, Fuji Elec in railway ops tie-up

Toyo Electric and Fuji Electric Holdings have agreed to jointly supply electric components for trains overseas. Under the partnership, the companies will establish a comprehensive production system with the aim of winning orders from high-speed rail projects in the US, China and India, where 10,000km of railway is forecast to be laid in the next 20 years.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.47, no.2,397, 20 July 2009. p.7.

Chiltern Railways chalks up a way with passengers

Discusses the success of Chiltern Railways with chief executive Adrian Shooter. Suggests that the company's success may in part be due to the long 20-year franchise that Mr Shooter negotiated in exchange for pumping millions of pounds into stations and services. Chiltern's business model is based on simple, frequent trains, with fast turnaround times to keep expenses down.

Financial Times, 10 Aug. 2009. p.15.

Train track technology improvements from memory chips

Reports on Bombardier's choice of Nexus as a data partner to develop a new range of track circuit receivers. Nexus was selected to be involved in a project to design new equipment to monitor and manage the location of trains on the track.

Electronic Product Design, Aug. 2009. pp.22-23.

Nat Express to fight being railroaded / Global ambition behind Spanish family's success

Presents an interview with John Devaney, chairman of National Express. He blames the Department for Transport for the company's troubles and insists that it can survive without a takeover. The company feels that it can reduce its costs without the millstone of the East Coast Main Line. It also hopes that a change in its management will help to improve relations with Transport Secretary Lord Adonis. Profiles the Spanish Cosmen family which owns just under a fifth of National Express.

Financial Times, 3 Aug 2009. p.15.

Network Rail opens vehicle development centre on old coal line

The 10 miles of track between High Marnham and Thoresby Colliery Junction is to be used as part of a new development centre for future rail vehicles, technology and equipment. The line has many of the features of the rail network - signalling systems, calibrated curves, single and double track. The centre will also be available for use by any rail industry company.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.731. August 2009. p.11.

Track renewal for Tramlink

Colas has been chosen to carry out track, crossing and point replacement and drainage works on the East Croydon, Cherry Orchard and Wellesley Road sections of the Croydon Tramlink.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.731. August 2009. p.11.

Cemex opens new siding in Sheffield

A new rail siding in the centre of Sheffield (Attercliffe) has been opened by Cemex UK and is capable of handling over 200,000 tonnes of aggregates per annum. Rail transportation is being handled by DB Schenker under a 6 year contract. Limestone and hardstone will be received from Buxton and Cumbria.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.731. August 2009. p.12.

Four in frame for Bond Street

Taylor Woodrow/BAM Nuttall Joint venture; Laing O'Rourke/Bachy Soletanche/Costain Joint venture; Balfour Beatty and Morgan Est have been selected to present tenders for the redevelopment of the Bond Street underground station. It is expected that a contract will be awarded early in 2010. The Bond Street station will handle passengers from both the London Underground and Crossrail by 2017.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.731. August 2009. p.14.

Managing the wheel-rail interface

How Interfleet Technology's Railway Systems and Strategy team handles the wheel-rail interface is discussed with reference to three case studies - improvement in fleet availability, specification of rail-friendly vehicles, and the prevention of wheel failures.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.731. August 2009. pp.54-55.

More onward travel from Eurostar

The opening of new high speed rail lines and reduction of travel times is seeing a large increase in travellers from Germany and the Netherlands. There is a strong European trend from plane to train for short-haul journeys, with door-to-door travel times comparable to that of air (London to Cologne 4h 40 min).

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.731. August 2009. p.86.

Advanced technology guides pods through concrete maze

Examines some of the technology behind the autonomous 'personal rapid transport' system currently being trialled at Heathrow's Terminal 5. The pods follow 1.5m wide concrete guideways and can carry four passengers at up to speeds of 25mph. They are initially being used to transport staff from car parks to Terminal 5, but are scheduled for passenger use later in the year.

Eureka, vol.29, no.7, July/Aug. 2009. pp.15-16.

Rail franchise system described as a muddle

According to the Rail Franchises and Fares report from the House of Commons transport select committee, the current system of rail franchising is a muddle that has not served passengers' best interests. The report says that National Express's problems on the east coast, following the withdrawal of GNER, the previous franchisee on the route, are indicative of underlying problems in the current franchising model.

Financial Times, 27 July 2009. p.4.

Capitalism blamed as rail failure redivides Berlin

Suggests that Berlin's S-bahn suburban commuter railway was perhaps run more efficiently under the East German communist regime than it is at present. More than two thirds of the network's 550 trains have been withdrawn from service and the main east-west line closed after safety checks following a derailment showed that about 4,000 wheels needed replacing. Deutsche Bahn, the national railway operator, is under fire for cutting staff and closing repair workshops at its S-bahn subsidiary in an attempt to boost profitability ahead of an initial public offering, that has since been postponed.

Financial Times, 27 July 2009. p.8.

National Express to reject bid

Suggests that National Express is set to reject a takeover bid from Spain's Cosmen family and CVC, the private equity group, in an approach that was expected to value the group at more than £500 M. The company is expected to argue that its plans for an independent future, which centre on cutting costs and paying down debt, offer better value than approaches received so far. The company is also expected to argue against any sale soon, citing the effect of the recession on valuations of its business.

Financial Times, 27 July 2009. p.17.

A transport of delight?

Reports on the improvements to London's rail system being carried out in time for the 2012 Olympics. Planers are confident that the transport system will meet the Games' needs. Notes that the investment on the overall transport system for the Games is 80% on rail and 20% on road, the reverse of that for the Beijing Olympics.

Financial Times, 27 July 2009. p.25.

Warning signals for Taiwan's bullet train

Reports that Taiwan's High Speed Rail Company is facing debt troubles after accumulating T$67.5 bn in losses. There is growing concern that the experiment in public-private partnership is proving a failure and that in the end the taxpayer will pick up the bill. The government has pledged to support the company in securing refinancing at lower interest rates for some of its T$390 bn debt. The company's problems are that not enough passengers use the train, it being less than half full on average.

Financial Times, 18/19 July 2009. p.16.

Green light given for high-speed-rail grants

Reports that US states can begin chasing High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail grants from July 10th by submitting 'preapplications' for up to $8 bn of economic stimulus. Funds apply to high-speed trains operating at 110-150 mph over 100-600 miles and intercity rail trains operating at 79-110 mph over 100+ miles.

Engineering News-Record, vol.262, no.20. 29 June 2009. p.7.

Jarvis hit hard by Network Rail cuts

Cutbacks in business with Network Rail have led Jarvis Rail, UK, to declare a pre-tax loss of £6.3 million for the year to 31 March 2009, compared with a profit of £4.5 million in the previous year. Network Rail has deferred much track renewal work while it waits for new equipment and Jarvis has been forced to cut 450 jobs.

Financial Times, 15 Jul 2009. p 19

Rail infrastructure on track for the 2012 Olympics

Progress on the rail infrastructure for the games is discussed in an interview with John Armitt and Hugh Sumner of the Olympic Delivery Authority.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management. June 2009. pp.2-3.

Best metro in Europe

The London Underground (LU) has been named as Best Metro in Europe, beating off competition from Copenhagen, Berlin, Paris and Madrid. Over the period 2008/9 LU carried 1089 million passengers, the highest in its 146 years. Passenger satisfaction ratings also reached the highest ever, 79 out of 100. Over the past year LU has completed 3 new stations, refurbished the District Line fleet and enabled the police and emergency services to use their radios underground through the installation of the Airwave radio system.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management. June 2009. p.21.

News in brief [DB acquisition]

Deutsche Bahn's acquisition of PCC Logistics, Poland's largest privately-owned rail freight operator, has been cleared by the European Commission.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.7. July 2009. p.7.

News in brief [ERTMS]

A letter of intent to set objectives for ERTMS priority deployment Corridor B from Stockholm, via Hamburg and Munich to Naples, has been signed by the Swedish, Danish, German, Austrian and Italian transport ministers.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.7. July 2009. p.7.

Prima II unveiled

Prima II, a prototype locomotive equipped to operate under 1.5 kV and 3 kV DC, plus 15 kV and 25 kV AC, has been revealed by Alstom Transport. The Prima II has been developed to compete with Bombardier's Traxx, and is aimed at the European north-south freight market. 20 orders, from ONCFM of Morocco, have already been received.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.7. July 2009. p.8.

Government acquires LCR

On 8 June the UK Secretary of State for Transport announced that the UK government had taken over ownership of London and Continental Railways Ltd, relieving the business of a large amount of government-guaranteed debt. The aim is to lower access charges in order to attract more trains and operators. The concession to operate the line will be sold when market conditions dictate.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.7. July 2009. p.9.

News in brief [LGV Sud]

Construction is beginning on the Tours-Angouleme section of the LGV Sud Europe Atlantique, the high speed line that will join Tours to Bordeaux. 50% of the funding for the route is to be provided by central government and local authorities through which the route passes, and the remaining sum from the concessionaire of the route.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.7. July 2009. p.9.

News in brief [Joint Technical Office]

A Joint Technical Office is to be set up in Brussels by CER, EIM and UIC as a means of coordinating representations to the EU bodies and the European Railway Agency.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.7. July 2009. p.9.

Indian-built car unveiled

Bombardier's Savli plant (Gujarat, India) produced its first Movia metro car in June. The plant is the first in India to be wholly-owned by a foreign company. Based on the Gorlitz plant (Germany), the factory is fully equipped, including robotic spot welding. Bombardier is supplying the Delhi metro with 424 Movia cars, and is pursuing other metro projects in the country.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.7. July 2009. p.13.

Locomotive-hauled coaches still in demand

A study on locomotive-hauled passenger coaches by SCI Verkehr (Germany) is summarised. The market is rising by 4% per annum, with double-deckers remaining popular. A breakdown by country of the number of coaches built in 2008, and market volume figures for 2008 and 2013 forecast are presented. Market drivers, growth trends, fleet structures, regional stock, suppliers and future developments are considered.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.7. July 2009. pp.30-32.

Upgrading paves the way for network expansion

A two-stage programme of infrastructure investment by Russian Railways (RZD) is discussed. The plan is to build up to 20,000 km of new routes between now and 2030. 'Strategy for Developing Rail Transport in the Russian Federation' was ratified by the government in 2008. The first stage of the work involves a period of modernisation (2008-15) to ensure the required capacity on key routes, renewal and upgrading of existing infrastructure, the start of planning and surveying work for expansion, plus the start of construction on some high-priority lines. The second stage involves large-scale expansion (2016-30). A map shows existing and proposed lines, their gauges and type (high-speed, social, freight, strategic). A key tenet of the long-term plan is to tap into Russia's vast mineral wealth.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.7. July 2009. pp.43-46.

Gaps in London transport funds

A report from the London Assembly warns that London's transport network could face a �1.7 bn funding hole by 2018 as a result of the recession. The finance gap could result in fare increases well above the rate of inflation or delays to much needed Tube improvements.

Financial Times, 10 July 2009. p.2

Gulf oil states in hurry to build commuter rail lines

Reports on developments to build commuter lines to service rapidly growing urban areas. Dubai has recently launched a monorail while Abu Dhabi is progressing with plans for 130 km of commuter lines. Saudi Arabia has also decided to build a monorail, while Kuwait and Qatar are reportedly considering their own rail solutions.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.47, no.2,393, 22 June 2009. p.15.

DOT maps out $1.5 billion stimulus grant plan

The US Department of Transportation has published detailed criteria that will be used to select projects for funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act discretionary grants scheme. Named TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants, these can be applied for by highway, transit and passenger rail project that already have dedicated stimulus act funds as well as port, freight rail and multimodel projects which do not. Grants will be from $20 to $300 million; the deadline for applications is 17 September.

ENR - Engineering News Record, vol.262, no.18. 8 June 2009. p.9.

Metrolink go-ahead for East Didsbury and Ashton

Two further Manchester Metrolink extensions, to Ashton-under-Lyne and East Didsbury, have been fast tracked by the Transport Secretary. Other extensions under review are to the airport, Rochdale town centre, Oldham town centre and a second city crossing (G-Mex to Victoria direct).

Modern Railways. July 2009. p.6.

Crossrail launch followed by new design contract awards

Selected firms for each of seven categories have the opportunity to compete for packages of design work on the Crossrail project, officially launched on 15 May. Detailed design contracts for 8 packages awarded to date are listed, as are the 12 firms securing Design Framework Agreements.

Modern Railways. July 2009. p.7.

ATOC class for 14 reopened lines

The Association of Train Operating Companies' report 'Connecting Communities' has recommended 14 new or reopened railway lines and up to 40 new stations in England. Based on a sound business model, all proposed infrastructure would serve towns of 0.75 million population and benefit a further 0.25 million nearby. Links that could be built over the next 5-10 years, and 7 new park and ride stations for existing lines are listed.

Modern Railways. July 2009. p.8.

Rail industry sets out 30 year plan

Network Rail, the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) and the Rail Freight Operators' Association (RFOA) have published a paper 'Planning ahead', which looks at the needs of the rail industry for handling potentially double today's demand within 30 years and possibly triple in the longer term. It is envisaged that 80% of passengers will travel on an electrified network powered by green electricity; the freight market would be 20% of the total freight market.

Modern Railways. July 2009. p.8.

High speed rail - following the international example

A recent lecture by Andrew Adonis, the new Secretary of State for Transport, on the potential for high-speed rail in the UK, using examples from around the world, is summarised. The full paper is available from http://www.modernrailways.com.

Modern Railways. July 2009. pp.54-57.

Heathrow: key to HS2?

The Arup director, Mark Bostock, puts the case that a second high speed line to the North must be routed via Britain's largest airport. Plans for a rebuild of Euston Station to accommodate HS2 trains, a Heathrow Hub, and corridors to and around Birmingham are proposed.

Modern Railways. July 2009. pp.58-62.

Siemens ties up deal on electric locomotive technology transfer

Siemens and Sinara Group are establishing a joint venture, based on a machine building plant near Yekaterinburg, for the production and delivery of Russian electric locomotives.

Modern Railways. July 2009. p.71.

Bombardier invests in locomotive propulsion technology R&D in Zurich

A new development and test laboratory at the Zurich-Oerlikon site, part of Bombardier's international centre for manufacturing excellence in propulsion and control technology, has been established. Named Mitrac Powerlab Zurich, it will be the core competence centre for locomotive and power-head high power propulsion technology, and will collaborate with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich along with other institutions.

Modern Railways. July 2009. p.71.

Arup to help ORR

Arup is to act as the data assurance, finance and efficiency reporter over Control Period 4 on behalf of the Office of Rail Regulation and Network Rail; a three year contract has been signed.

Modern Railways. July 2009. p.77.

Rail freight operators under pressure

According to the Office of Rail Regulation, UK rail traffic has fallen sharply in the past quarter. Falling demand for consumer goods, building materials and cars has led to an 8.6% drop in the volume of freight moved on the rail network compared with the same period last year. Analysts say that the figures suggest no improvements in international trade flows.

Financial Times, 22 June 2009. p.17.

High-speed rail line welcomed

Speaking at an event to mark the start of preview services for the domestic high speed commuter service, transport secretary Lord Adonis said that the success of High Speed One will 'considerably strengthen the case for building the UK'ssecond such line'.

Financial Times, 19 June 2009. p.2.

Tube Lines outlines plan for £2bn in efficiency savings

Reports on plans for Tube Lines to save £2 bn in waste through efficiencies, a scaling back of tasks and better working practices. The plan would cut the company's funding needs under the next phase of its maintenance contract for three London Underground lines to £5.13 bn, compared with last year's £7.2 bn estimate.

Financial Times, 29 June 2009. p.2.

Fatal rail crashes inquiry rejected

Transport secretary Lord Adonis has rejected calls for a joint public inquiry into the Potters Bar and Grayrigg fatal rail crashes. He said that he had decided that two separate inquests would ensure that the lessons of the two incidents were learnt and would be as effective as a public inquiry.

Financial Times, 20/21 June 2009. p.2.

Virgin and Go-Ahead riled by rail owners / Equipment upgrade leads to problems down the line

Executives from both Virgin Trains and Go-Ahead have criticised the work of Network Rail on the upgrade of the west coast main line. Network Rail has accepted responsibility for the ongoing problems and resolved to remedy the situation. Virgin has agreed a rescue plan with Network Rail but refused to sign any agreement beyond September 19. Says that many of the problems involved installation on a live running railway of complex new equipment with no time to test it in actual running conditions.

Financial Times, 20/21 June 2009. p.4.

Eurotunnel considers rail bid

Reports that Groupe Eurotunnel is preparing to buy back the last of a series of financial instruments formed during the company's 2007 restructuring. Executive chairman Jacques Gounon said that he was undertaking this transaction partly to avoid problems with any bid for High Speed 1, the 108km line between the tunnel and London. He added that there would be clear advantages to having the tunnel and the line to London owned by the same company.

Financial Times, 26 June 2009. p.17.

National Express rail empire hopes end / Focus turns to rail franchise system / Sweetheart deals remain off limits / Action leaves company in line of fire / Counting the cost of cheap fares / Q&A

A collection of articles on National Express's loss of the East Coast rail franchise covering: the present set up of the rail franchise system; an interview with transport secretary Lord Adonis; the future of National Express; fare structures on the East Coast routes; and questions and answers on the implications of the temporary nationalisation of the franchise.

Financial Times, 2 July 2009. p.1, p.4.

FTA study sees $50 billion rail transit need

The Rail Modernization Study, carried out by the Federal Transit Administration, reports that the 7 largest rail transport agencies in the USA require $50bn to raise their assets to a state of good repair; a further $6bn per annum would be needed for maintenance. The 7 companies serve over 80% of US passengers, maintain 6,049 track miles, 1,701 stations and 14,629 rolling stock. 35% of assets were found to be in marginal or poor condition, 35% adequate, 22% good and 8% excellent.

ENR - Engineering News Record, vol.262, no.16. 18 May 2009. p.11.

Report sees need for new London rail lines

A report entitled Planning Ahead, compiled by Network Rail, the Association of Train Operating Companies and the Association of Freight Operators, says that new commuter rail lines may need to be built on the busiest routes into London as capacity on existing lines is exhausted. The report is intended to highlight the railways' long term investment needs and to start the planning process for the five years following 2014 after the end of Network Rail's funding agreement with the government and rail regulators.

Financial Times, 29 May 2009. p.4.

Preview of high-speed rail

Reports on Southeastern Trains preview high-speed domestic services which are due to start in late June. The full service from St Pancras to Kent will start with December's timetable changes, when the new Japanese-built high speed trains will run on both the High Speed One dedicated high-speed line and conventional domestic lines.

Financial Times, 2 Jun. 2009. p.24.

Network Rail criticised over west coast line

The Office of Rail Regulation has demanded that Network Rail produce a credible plan to improve service on the London to Glasgow line after a slump in punctuality. Virgin Rail welcomed ORR's action saying that 'we are disappointed that Network Rail has spent £9 bn on the upgrade to deliver the worst performing route on the rail network today. Network Rail chief executive Ian Coucher said that punctuality on the line was beginning to improve, but remained susceptible to disruption if something went wrong.

Financial Times, 4 Jun. 2009. p.7.

Passengers face more disruption after Network Rail renewal budget is cut

Network Rail has shelved 28% of its track renewal plans after being ordered to make savings of just under £3bn by the Office of Rail Regulation. The postponements could lead to more delays and cancellations as the decaying rail infrastructure becomes more vulnerable. According to the RMT rail union, the renewal of at least 200 miles of track has been put on hold. Other cuts this financial year are understood to include signal maintenance and inspections.

The Daily Telegraph, 27th May 2009, p.1

Light relief

The Department for Transport, Network Rail and Northern Rail are drawing up plans for the trial of tram-trains, versatile vehicles that can run on both conventional rail tracks and city centre tram lines. In 2010 five vehicles will replace conventional trains on the Huddersfield-Sheffield line, which, if successful, will link up with Sheffield's Super Tram system. The system is already used in the Netherlands and Germany. A step further is the introduction of 'pod cars' later this year at Heathrow Airport - a system of driverless battery-powered taxis ferrying passengers from the car parks to the terminals. ULTra (Urban Light Transport) was developed by Advanced Transport Systems (Bristol, UK) and is the first commercial example of a Personal Rapid Transport system.

The Engineer, vol.294, no.7772. 18-31 May 2009. pp.16-19.

Bombardier preferred for Blackpool tram deal

Bombardier Transportation has been chosen as the preferred bidder for supply of 16 low-floor trams, as part of a £90-100M package of upgrading of Blackpool's tramway. The trams will be built in Bautzen, Germany. BAM Nuttall is the preferred bidder for infrastructure works, including 8 km of track renewals. A new tram depot is to be built by Volker Fitzpatrick at Starr Gate.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.729. June 2009. p.10.

Palmers ThyssenKrupp wins Tay bridge job

The two miles long railway bridge, the longest in Britain, is to have its wrought iron, cast iron and steel stripped back to bare metal and new weather-resistant glass epoxy based paint applied; the works should last for 30 years once complete. 100 workers are to be employed on the contract which will run until 2012; the entire restoration work will not be completed until 2016.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.729. June 2009. p.14.

Parry Peoplemover lightweight railcars

The trails and tribulations involved in introducing lightweight railcars onto the British rail network are discussed.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.729. June 2009. pp.76-79.

EMUs ordered for Stuttgart

An Alstom/Bombardier consortium has won the contract to supply 83x4 car EMUs to Deutsche Bahn, for use on the Stuttgart S-Bahn. There is an option for a further 83 units. The order is valued at 452M euros, with Alstom's share being 112M euros.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.729. June 2009. p.94.

Russian Railways sets new speed record with Siemens Velaro train

A speed of 281 km/h was achieved by a Velaro-Rus train on the Moscow to St Petersburg October Railway between Okulovka and Mstinskiy Most. Normal service speeds will be up to 200 km/h, and following a track upgrade this could rise to 230 km/h.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.729. June 2009. p.94.

Big shake-up at First Group as Dean Finch leaves to join Tube Lines

Staff changes at First Group are listed.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.729. June 2009. p.106.

Hybrid batteries to enter production

GE Transportation is establishing a production facility for batteries for hybrid locomotives and heavy-load applications in the marine, mining, telecoms and utilities sectors. The unit will be in New York, close to the GE Global Research facility in Niskayuna.

Railway Gazette International. June 2009. p.27.

Strong activity at Alstom

Overall orders rose by 5% for the year ending 31 March 2009, following strong performances in both the Power and Transport divisions. Net profit was up by 30% to 1.1bn euros.

Railway Gazette International. June 2009. p.27.

Slab track without shoulders

Trials of the Vossloh System 306 rail fastenings on a test section of slab track in northeast China are described.

Railway Gazette International. June 2009. pp.41-42.

Investigating the phenomenon of ballast pitting on HS1

Investigations into ballast pitting of rail track, where stone particles are lifted by a combination of ground-borne forces and air flows from trains passing at high speed, which then impact on the steel, are reported. Costs attributable to ballast pits - arc weld repairs, manual grinding, grinding train, etc. listed.

Railway Gazette International. June 2009. pp.43-46.

Japan to talk up bullet train to U.S. government

Reports that the Japanese government is to send a senior Transport Ministry official to push bullet train technology to the US now that president Obama is talking about a high-speed rail network. Obama plans to spend $13 bn developing high speed rail corridors between population centres such as New York and Washington. The effort is part of US government initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.47, no.2,386, 4 May 2009. p.6.

JR Freight developing cleaner, quieter engine

Japan Freight Railway plans to develop a hybrid diesel engine for freight trains that will burn about 30-40% less diesel fuel, emit 40% less nitrogen oxides and other pollutants, and run more quietly. After building a prototype this fiscal year, the company plans to collect data on emissions and fuel consumption while testing it at a freight depot in fiscal 2010.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.47, no.2,386, 4 May 2009. p.16.

Tube chief warns on work delays

Richard Parry, acting managing director of London Underground, has warned Tube Lines, which is upgrading some lines, that there must be no repeat on the Northern Line of the holdups that have caused unscheduled closures on the Jubilee Line. The Jubilee Line is to be closed for an extra seven weekends for the upgrade and testing work.

Financial Times, 21 May 2009. p.4.

EN 14587-2:2009

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

[BSI] Update Standards. May 2009. p.44.

EN 15594:2009

Railway applications. Track. Restoration of rails by electric arc welding.

[BSI] Update Standards. May 2009. p.44.

The induction deduction

Germany, New Zealand, Italy and China are running trials of experimental trams and buses that collect power by induction, either from cables beneath the track or from coils beneath stopping places. Companies, including Wampfler of Germany and Bombardier Transportation of Austria, are presently working on three different solutions, but full details are not yet available.

Eureka, May 2009. pp 10-11

Branson urges £1bn rail spend

Sir Richard Branson, chairman of the Virgin Group, has claimed that a further £1 billion upgrade of the UK's London to Glasgow main line could reduce journey times significantly and be self-funding. He also urged that rail franchises lasted 20 - 30 years rather than the present 7 - 10 to provide time for extra investments to earn a return.

Financial Times, 20 May 2009. p 5

JR Tokai takes roomier maglev out for a spin

The company has begun test runs with a redesigned version of the maglev train it plans to use for a high-speed link between Tokyo and Nagoya. The train, which will come into service in 2025, will cut an hour from the present journey time of an hour and forty minutes.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.47, No.2,384, 20 Apr.2009. p.14.

Network Rail says big electric scheme would cut costs and journey times

The company intends to present a case for the first big electrification programme for 20 years. It will say that electrification of much of the Great Western route from London to western England and Wales and of the Midland mainline from London to Sheffield makes most sense. Neither project would need any government grant or subsidy.

Financial Times, 15 May 2009. p.2.

Johnson backs Tories over Crossrail

At a ceremony to mark commencement of construction work on Crossrail, London mayor Boris Johnson said that it was inconceivable that an incoming Conservative government would tamper with the project. He also stressed the importance of continuing to upgrade the London Underground during the economic downturn. A series of lines, starting with the Jubilee Line this year, are due to undergo overhauls to boost train speeds.

Financial Times, 16/17 May 2009. p.2.

Outgoing Tube Lines head says upgrade at risk

Terry Morgan, who is stepping down as chief executive of Tube Lines, says that senior public officials at Transport for London are risking the improvements in efficiency and performance on some London underground lines by questioning the future of the company. TfL executives have claimed that upgrade work on Tube Lines' lines could be carried out more cheaply by London Underground.

Financial Times, 18 May 2009. p.6.

Call for shires to pay Crossrail tax

London mayor Boris Johnson has said that ministers should consider extending beyond London taxes on businesses benefiting from the Crossrail project. He put the idea in a letter to the Department for Transport after businesses in London complained that companies outside greater London were bearing none of the cost of the scheme.

Financial Times, 19 May 2009. p.2.

Timetable slips for rail carriages

Reports that the 1,300 new carriages that the Department for Transport has promised to bring into service on passenger trains by 2014 look unlikely to be delivered on time. A report on the DfT's rail franchising policy by the House of Commons public accounts committee says that only 423 carriages have been ordered so far, while another 150 are the subject of negotiations.

Financial Times, 19 May 2009. p.4.

100 Velaros to work Beijing-Shanghai line

China CNR Corp is to supply 100 CRH trainsets for the 1318 km high speed line. The total value of the deal with the Ministry of Railways (China) is put at US$5.7bn.
 The ground has been broken on a new 160 km high speed passenger line between Shanghai and Hangzhou; completion is expected in 2011.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.4. April 2009. p.7.

KTZ gets 3,000th Evolution Series

The landmark diesel locomotive, manufactured by GE Transportation at its Erie (PA, USA) plant, was handed over in March to Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ). KTZ has ordered 310 units; a local assembly plant in Pavlodar has been established to produce the bulk of the contract. The Evolution diesel meets tighter emissions requirements and has improved fuel efficiency.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.4. April 2009. p.7.

News in brief

The Community of European Railways and Infrastructure (CER) believes that funding contracts between governments and railways need to be longer term, in order to provide medium-term security. It is lobbying the European Commission to produce funding guidelines.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.4. April 2009. p.7.

Corridor X in 35h

A container train has made the journey between Ljubljana and Halkah (Turkey) in just 35 hours (1,577 km), twice as fast as road transport. The journey was organised by the Balkan Business Advisory Council, in association with 5 state railways - Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey - to demonstrate the potential of the Trans-European Corridor X.
 Serbia is investing 5.10bn euros on upgrading its rail network over the next 15-20 years, 2.5bn euros of this is to be spent on TEN Corridor X. The EU is to provide funding for the improvement of transport links with non-member countries.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.4. April 2009. pp.8,9.

Four bids in Dublin

The four consortia, and their component companies, bidding to design, build, finance and maintain the 18 km Metro North light rail line from central Dublin to the airport, Swords and Belinstown are listed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.4. April 2009. p.18.


The Chinese Minister of Railways has announced that a cross-straits rail link between mainland China and Taiwan is being 'actively planned'. The connection would be between Xiamen (PR China) and Kaohsiung (Taiwan); the high speed coastal line between Fuzhou and Xiamen is expected to be in operation by November.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.4. April 2009. p.29.

Track Maintenance IAF 2009

Some of the track machinery on show at the IAF 2009 exhibition in Münster (Germany) this month is reviewed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.4. April 2009. pp.32-34,36,38-40,43-44.

Rail steels

Voestalpine has a new heat treatment facility at its Leoben (Austria) rail rolling mill. The largest dedicated rail mill in Europe can produce a variety of different sections in weld-free lengths of 120 m. Increasing demand is reported for heat-treated rails, which offer a longer lifetime and greater resistance against rolling contact fatigue; it is suggested that the traditional 880 N/mm² standard grade rail has reached its limits for economic application on many main lines.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.4. April 2009. p.44.

Seeking cost efficiency through benchmarking

The benchmarking of infrastructure performance and expenditure against of a group of European operators by Amtrak, to learn from international best practice, is discussed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.4. April 2009. pp.48-50.

Going the distance

A new hybrid energy storage system developed by Siemens is described. The Sitras HES allows trams to travel distances up to 2.5 kilometres without using overhead cables, leading to a 30% reduction in energy consumption and up to 80 tonnes less carbon dioxide emissions.

The Engineer, vol.294, no.7769. 6-19 April 2009. p.16.

BS EN 13803/13848

Work has started on amendments to the following standards
 BS EN 13803 Railway applications. Track. Track alignment design parameters. Track gauges 1435 mm and wider
 Part 2: 2006 Switches and crossings and comparable alignment design situations with abrupt changes of curvature. Amendment 1
 BS EN 13848 Railway applications. Track. Track geometry quality
 Part 5: 2008 Geometric quality levels. Amendment 1

[BSI] Update Standards. April 2009. p.42.

Road and rail builders are ready to roll

The $787.2bn American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 is to spend $48bn on transport infrastructure - rail, transit, air, waterway and pedestrian. Projects around the US to be allocated funds are discussed. One of the winners is high-speed rail, which has been earmarked $8bn.

ENR - Engineering News Record, vol.262, no.6. 23 Feb.2009. pp.14-15.

Rail link lifts property value hopes

A report by consultants Volterra and Colin Buchanan predicts that house values near Channel Tunnel rail link stations will rise by a total of �1.6 bn after fast domestic services start to operate later this year. It adds that the prospect of higher house prices is more likely to encourage developers to invest in those areas and provide additional housing and employment capacity.

Financial Times, 21/22 Mar.2009. p.3.

FirstGroup outlines plan to cut 3,500 jobs

The company said that the job cuts would be split evenly between the US and the UK. About a third of the 1,750 jobs to be axed in Britain will be in rail, with two thirds in the bus division. Any further job losses are likely to be met with opposition from the unions. FirstGroup said that a �200 M savings programme and increases in ticket revenue would help it meet its financial targets in 2009-10.

Financial Times, 20 Mar.2009. p.18.

Deadline for train orders put back

The Department for Transport has put back the deadline to submit bids for up to 1,200 new carriages for the cross-London Thameslink route from April 30 to June 25 to let manufacturers raise financing under a new two-stage process. The department insisted that the change would pose no threat to the delivery schedule for the trains which are vital to transport plans for the London Olympics in 2012. The contract will be worth about �1.4 bn. (Item contains little further information).

Financial Times, 24 Mar.2009. p.4.

Rail freight traffic runs out of steam as recession bites

Figures from the Office of Rail Regulation show that British Rail freight traffic has fallen for the first time in five years because of a sharp drop in cargo. Says that the decline, which reflects a falling demand for building materials, cars and other manufactured goods, is forcing freight operators to park up wagons and cut or redeploy staff.

Financial Times, 24 Mar.2009. p.20.

Progress on Crossrail project

Reports that Transcend, a joint venture between Aecom, CH2M Hill and Nicholls Group, has been announced as the main project partner on the Crossrail line, which is due to open in 2017. The contract, worth about £100 M, will be the biggest construction project in Europe and employ about 14,000 people.

Financial Times, 12 Mar.2009. p.4.

Thermoplastic composite rail components

US company LRM Industries has been selected by Eastern Rail to manufacture thermoplastic infrastructure components for railways. LRM's TPF ThermoPlastic Flowforming process will be used to mould long fibre reinforced thermoplastic composite components to be used to replace ageing or damaged railway structures made of wood, steel or traditional fibreglass.

Reinforced Plastics, Jan/Feb.2009. p.8.

Supply problems delay rail fleet delivery

Reports that First Capital Connect, which is due to start operating a new service on the Thameslink route on March 22, has so far only received one of 23 trains being built at Bombardier Transport's Derby factory. This order is one of two Bombardier orders to have been delayed due to financial problems among its component suppliers. The company said that all 23 trains would be delivered by the summer.

Financial Times, 13 Mar.2009. p.4.

Who says you can't teach an old train new tricks?

Alstom Transport reviews its range of TRAINTRACER remote monitoring technology, suitable for both new and older rolling stock.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management, no.53. Feb.-March 2009. pp.24-26.

New Crossrail chief executive

The current chief of London and Continental Railways, Rob Holden, is to become Crossrail's chief executive from 1st April. Douglas Oakervee, executive chairman Cross London Rail Links Ltd, is to move across to the new post of non-executive chairman. Other Crossrail appointments are listed.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management, no.53. Feb.-March 2009. p.109.

More value for money sought on track renewals

Almost £4 billion in rail work is to be spent over the next five years by Network Rail, £800M on track renewals. Less money will be spent in the first year of the programme to give time for new, more efficient ways of working to enter the system, delivering better value for money and less disruption for rail users. The level of investment in growing and expanding the rail network over the next five year is almost three time previous levels. All current track renewal contractors have been selected to carry out work.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management, no.53. Feb.-March 2009. p.113.

Crossrail update

Companies shortlisted and invited to tender for Crossrail Project Representative are listed. The current status of the Design Framework Agreements, shortlist for Project Delivery Partner and Programme Partner are given.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management, no.53. Feb.-March 2009. p.181.

Recent RSSB reports

The RSSB has recently published T359 'Management of stressed continuously welded track', and T550 'Wheelset design and maintenance - WIDEM'.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management, no.53. Feb.-March 2009. p.250.

Promoting safety and value in Britain's railways: ORR's strategy for 2009-2014

The strategy to promote safety and value in the UK's rail network was published by the Office of Rail Regulation in December. The ORR's vision and priorities are listed. The report is available online at: http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/388.pdf.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management, no.53. Feb.-March 2009. p.250.

Catenary-free trams

The Primove contact-free inductive power supply technology, developed by Bombardier Transportation, was launched on 22nd January at its Bautzen test track. Power to the vehicle is transferred by an inductive link between power cables buried between the rails and a pick-up coil on the vehicle. The prototype installation is 250 kW, enough for a typical 30 m light rail vehicle at 40 km/h on a 6% gradient. Commercial applications of 100 kW and 1000 kW are envisaged.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.3. March 2009. p.16.


Amey-Colas, Babcock Rail, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Grant Rail, Jarvis and Trackwork have been selected by Network Rail to carry out £800M of track enhancement work over the next 5 years.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.3. March 2009. p.23.

Closure threat

The Siemens TVT Nova rolling stock plant in Maribor, Slovenia, is to close at the end of September. The company had been negotiating its sale to a Korean company and to the national railway SZ, but talks failed as a result of the global financial crisis.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.3. March 2009. p.25.

Heads of the month [at Bombardier]

The company's representative at the European Union is to be Alfred Ruckstuhl, Chairman of Bombardier Transportation (Switzerland). Mr Ruckstuhl will retain his chairmanship, but Stephane Wettstein will become CEO in July. Diego Diaz has left Bombardier Transportation to become President and CEO of Systra USA.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.3. March 2009. p.70.

Thales reports growth

Thales today issued strong results for 2008, showing revenues of Eur12.7bn (£11.3bn), an order intake of Eur14.3bn and projected growth of between 3 and 5% in 2009. In Britain, Thales UK has been described as having an exceptional year, with order intake from UK and export customers accounting for more than £2.4bn. Contract highlights for Thales UK include the �425m Aircraft Carrier programme and the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft programme, worth �285m. Additional order intake associated with Piccadilly Line upgrade and contract changes on the Jubilee and Northern lines, the Air Defence Availability Project and work on the Manchester Metrolink, contributed �532m to Thales UK's orders. These and other notable achievements - including an agreement to supply in-flight entertainment systems for installation onboard British Airways's new delivery and next-generation aircraft - strengthened Thales UK's order backlog to more than �4bn.

The Engineer Online, 27th February 2009.

Marshall calls for a study into pod idea

Marshall of Cambridge, UK, has called for the serious consideration of a pod transport system for Cambridge, on the lines of the scheme due to be in use at Heathrow's Terminal 5 by the end of 2009. The pods could travel in tubes underground or on special tracks on or above the ground. Its backers believe that the introduction of such a system would obviate the need for Cambridge to introduce a congestion charge.

Cambridge News, 10 Mar 2009. p 8

Composites ride and support the rails

Argues that increased ridership and heavier axle loads on rail systems signal a potential boom for composites. Notes that there is a great deal of scope for the use of composites in interior passenger car components. Says that the most profitable area of growth is the replacement of the wood cross-ties that support the rails: wood has a life of five to seven years whereas composites could last for 40 to 50 years.

Composites Technology, vol.15, no.1, Feb.2009. pp.37-41.

Hitachi-linked consortium gets priority bidding rights for big U.K. rail project

Hitachi's consortium, which includes John Laing and Barclays Private Equity, has been awarded preferred bidder status for the Intercity Express Programme. Up to 1,4000 carriages may be supplied for the �7.5 bn project. If the consortium wins the official contract, Hitachi will build an assembly plant in the UK.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.47, no.2,376, 23 Feb.2009. p.10.

Need to know: Transport

Virgin Trains has been asked to submit a proposal for developing the infrastructure to build high-speed rail link between US cities on the East and west coasts. Virgin is believed to be the only British company involved in the scheme.

The Times, 26th February 2009, p.46

News in brief

English Welsh and Scottish Railway became DB Schenker Rail (UK) Ltd on 1st January, with the former EWS chief executive now managing DN Schenker's West Region (UK, France, Spain).
 A cross-acceptance agreement has been signed between The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France to facilitate cross-border rail traffic.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.2. Feb.2009. p.9.

News in brief

Time 24 (Derby, UK), supplier of wiring looms, harnesses and electrical cubicles, has been acquired by Bombardier to facilitate supply of parts for the Electrostar EMU. The company is now operating as Bombardier Transportation (Rolling Stock) UK Ltd, retaining Time 24's other UK and Czech operations.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.2. Feb.2009. p.21.

BNSF explores the fuel cell

BNSF Railway (Topeka, KN, USA) is producing an experimental shunting locomotive powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The loco will serve as a testbed for reducing diesel fuel use. BNSF is working with Vehicle Projects LLC (Denver, OH, USA), a private engineering company which has been developing and demonstrating prototype fuel cell vehicles. Testing is to start this year.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.2. Feb.2009. p.36.

Bombardier's regional family grows

Talent 2, the company's latest entrant in the competitive European market for regional EMUs is described. Rolling stock configurations, bodyshell (all steel) and other technical data are given and crashworthiness is discussed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.165, no.2. Feb.2009. pp.38-41.

Railway Strategies. Supply Chain Conference

The conference is to be held at the National Cycle Museum, Birmingham on Wednesday 24th June 2009. Guest speakers include Sir Clive Woodward and representatives from Bombardier Transportation, Alstom, Chiltern Railways and Virgin Trains.

For details and to register see: www.railwaystrategies.co.uk.

Railway Engineering 2009

The 10th International Conference and Exhibition, to be held at the University of Westminster, London, will contain sessions on maintenance; renewal of permanent way, points and power; signalling and structures; and earthworks.

For details and to register see: www.railwayengineering.com

Jarvis warns on profits after Network Rail delay

Jarvis Rail has warned on profits after it was hit by a cutback in business from Network Rail. The network operator has said that it will defer track renewal work for 2009-2010 while it waits for new equipment. This move will affect Jarvis more than other similar companies as it gets about two-thirds of its revenue from Network Rail.

Financial Times, 18 Feb 2009. p 20

Need to know: Support services

Jarvis warned that delays to Network Rail's £4bn track renewal programme would leave its results in the 12 months to March 2010 "significantly below" previous expectations. It said it will be cutting costs to reflect lower levels of activity.

The Times, 18th February 2009, p.38

Orbital line for London on track

Government ministers and Transport for London have agreed funding for an extension to the East London Underground, ensuring the capital will have a full orbital overground rail service in time for the 2012 Olympics. The project, costing £75 M, will create a link between Surrey Quays on the East London line and Queens Road Peckham on the rail network.

Financial Times, 13 Feb.2009. p.4.

Hitachi-led group favourite for train contract

The Department for Transport has named a consortium headed by Hitachi as its preferred bidder to build and maintain new long-distance express trains. It added that the Agility Group would create or safeguard 12,500 British jobs over the 20-year contract. Bombardier, the only other bidder, has been named as preferred bidder in advanced negotiations to order 120 carriages for National Express East Anglia's Stansted express service.

Financial Times, 13 Feb.2009. p.4.

Rail franchises approach a difficult crossroad as revenues decline

Says that the recent toll of job losses resulting from the financial crisis is having an effect on rail passenger growth which has fallen from 7% last year to about 3%. Most train operators are tied to stringent government franchises which assumed that passenger numbers would continue to rise and they are now finding it difficult to find a model for operating in a recession. The companies must attempt to cut costs without alienating their best customers.

Financial Times, 16 Feb.2009. p.18.

Edinburgh tram line halted

Project managers for the scheme to lay tram lines in Edinburgh's Princes Street have said that track laying work would not begin because of an attempt to impose 'unacceptable conditions' by the construction consortium BSC. It is understood that the consortium was seeking an extra £50 M to £80 M from Transport Initiative Edinburgh, the arms-length body set up by Edinburgh City Council to oversee the £512 M tram project.

Financial Times, 21/22 Feb.2009. p.4.