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Autumn statement

Rail projects that will be supported by the UK government are listed. Support is also being given for the Northern Line extension (London); the extension of flexible commuter rail ticketing; new carriages for Southern; an upgrade of the Tyne and Wear Metro; replacement of the Caledonian Sleeper fleet; additional vehicles of the Sheffield Supertram; and the development of a network of strategic rail freight interchanges.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management, no.70. Dec.2011/Jan.2012. p..

Recent new members of the Rail Alliance

Brief descriptions of the activities of 12 new Rail Alliance members, and their contact details, are presented.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management, no.70. Dec.2011/Jan.2012. pp.25-26.

Spark of inspiration

Developments at Thermit Welding (GB) Ltd are briefly discussed. SmartWeld Controller measures and records the thermit welding process in real time. SmartWeld Rail Setter is a rail alignment device that allows rail alignment without the need for wedges. It is possible to use the latter within hydraulic stressing equipment.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management, no.70. Dec.2011/Jan.2012. pp.134-135.

Bombardier wins in Basel/Infrastructure/Rolling stock

BVB has awarded Bombardier a SFr255M contract to supply 60 metre-gauge trains. The first two flexicity Basel cars are scheduled to arrive in 2013. Other bids were submitted but BVB said that Bombardier offered the best price. Network Rail has awarded Balfour Beatty Rail a £19M contract to carry out capacity improvements between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace, upgrading a freight track to provide a second northbound track for local passenger services. Scotrail has announced a euros 17.7M three-year extension of Bombardier's contract to provide maintenance support for 177 Class 170 turbostar DMU cars.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 12, Dec. 2011. pp.15,17.

Diesel plans

GE Transportation has announced plans to expand production facilities and invest $58M in diesel engine research technology. The company is seeking to improve efficiency and reduce emissions from large engines used in rail traction, marine and stationary power applications. The investment includes equipping laboratories at GE's Erie plant for testing to ensure engines meet the EPA Tier 4 emissions standards coming into effect in 2015. An additional $38M has been allocated to modernising locomotive and mining truck production equipment.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 12, Dec. 2011. p.18.

The robots take over

Plasser & Theurer has presented its fully automatic APT 1500 R rail welding robot at a recent conference in Austria. The robot performs an automated electric flash-butt welding sequence without manual interaction, ensuring high and reproducible geometric accuracy, fracture forces and fatigue strength. Rails are lifted automatically into the welding head and positioned correctly, with the gap between the rail ends closed by pulling the rails together using a device with a tractive force of up to 150 kN integrated into the welding head. Optional use of pulsation welding achieves a high-quality weld in less time and with shorter burn-off lengths.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 12, Dec. 2011. p.20.

London Bridge rebuilding contracts

Network Rail has announced the award of major contracts for the rebuilding of London Bridge station. Costain has been awarded a £400M contract for detailed design and delivery of the station redevelopment, while Balfour Beatty has a £50m contract for track remodelling. The redevelopment proposals are still subject to planning approval, but are intended to provide a new street-level concourse to allow the station to handle around 66% more passengers than at present.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 12, Dec. 2011. p.50.

Need to know: Engineering

The Government is to spend £80m subsidising the purchase of 130 new carriages from Bombardier for the London Victoria to Brighton line. The group is desperate for work as it last big London Underground contract ends in 2014.

The Times, 5th December 2011, p.38.

Network Rail places order for £35m electrification train

Network Rail has placed an order worth £35m for a train designed to assist the Great Western main-line electrification project. According to Network Rail, the 23-vehicle train will provide a complete electrification service as it moves along sections of track, completing foundations and stanchions to installing and testing the overhead line equipment. The system has been under development for the last three years and will make its railway debut on the Great Western main line in autumn 2013. The High Output Plant System, also known as a factory train, will work overnight, electrifying an average of 1.6km of track per night. Windhoff Bahn-und Anlagentechnik, a supplier of specialist rail maintenance and improvement equipment, will custom build the train to a design that meets the performance specification developed by Network Rail engineers.

The Engineer online, 5th December 2011.

Preliminary test results from the vintage steel span at FAST

The performance of a nearly 100 year old riveted steel girder span under heavy axle load (HAL) is evaluated. The 1912 bridge was installed at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (USA) in 2009 and is used for studying the effects of HAL traffic and for the development of life extension recommended practices, including repair procedures. The vintage span and its installation are described. The span's ratings (Copper's rating (kips)) are compared to a welded steel span; in service cracks and repairs are discussed.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.107, no.11. Nov.2011. pp.17-19.

Monitoring DC stray current interference of steel sheet pile structures in railway environment

Steel structures adjacent to DC powered railways are subjected to stray current interference which can cause accelerated corrosion rates. A monitoring system for DC stray current is described and results from a large-scale field test are discussed.

Heron, vol.56, no.3. 2011. pp.107-122.

Options for growth

Network Rail has published its vision for how the UK rail industry can deliver better value for money and play a key role in driving sustainable economic growth over the period 2014-2019. The Initial Industry Plan can be found in full at www.networkrail.co.uk/iip.aspx.

Railway Strategies, no.69. Oct.-Nov.2011. pp.9-10.

Towards the automatic volumetric inspection of aluminothermic rail welds

Reports on the RAILECT prototype, developed by TWI and its consortium members through a European funded project, which could lead to a significant improvement in the examination of aluminothermic welds on rail tracks. The system is able to give volumetric assessment of the integrity of the weld and can also reduce the time and complexity of an inspection compared with other techniques in use. The prototype uses phased array ultrasonic technology to penetrate the weld and the operator can check the entire volume of the weld for defects in less than 20 minutes.

Insight, vol. 53, no. 7, July 2011. p.358.

JR East setting up railway consultancy

East Japan Railway Company (JR East) is planning to set up a firm to provide consulting services for overseas projects, along with West Japan Railway Company (JR West), Tokyo Metro and four other companies. the new company will attempt to win contracts for railway projects in other countries using Japan's shinkansen bullet train technology, as well as its expertise in urban and freight railway systems. It will also carry out studies on railway projects, provide consulting services, send railway experts overseas and train foreign railway staff.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol. 49, no. 2,512, 17 Oct. 2011. p.10.

IHI wins rail order from HK airport

IHI Corp. is to extend the automated people mover (APM) system for Hong Kong International Airport. The railway will be extended, 16 railroad cars delivered and a communications and signalling system will be built.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.49. no.1. 31 Oct. 2011. p.8.

Flexity Freedom launched

Flexity Freedom, the tram produced by Bombardier with a 100% low floor, was unveiled at the APTA Expo (New Orleans, USA). The tram is the platform for the North American market, with the first units being supplied to Toronto.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.11. Nov.2011. p.14.

Fuel cell vehicle unveiled

A prototype tram powered by 2 hydrogen fuel cells is under test. The tram should be entering service in Asturias (Spain) next year, operated by FEVE. Some details of the unit's development are briefly given.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.11. Nov.2011. p.15.

Stadtbahn puts ballastless track through its paces

Repairs and modifications carried out to the two types of ballastless track used on the Berlin Stadtbahn are discussed. Actions taken to rectify deterioration and other problems that have emerged over 12 years of service are detailed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.11. Nov.2011. pp.45-48.

Prevention of rail rolling contact fatigue under heavy-axle-loads

The effectiveness of two methods to prevent rolling contact fatigue that can occur on head-hardened premium rails subjected to heavy axle loads is being monitored by the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. Results from tests carried out since the end of 2005 on 1, 2, 6.8 and 10.5 degree curves are discussed.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.107, no.10. Oct.2011. pp.16-18.

Higher diverging speed turnout design in the same footprint

The modification of existing turnouts to handle higher diverging speeds as a means of increasing line capacity and improving the dynamics and mobility of a rail system, is discussed. Design methods are recommended.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.107, no.10. Oct.2011. pp.39-44.

Restoring a vital rail link

The historic Arnside Viaduct has been reopened to rail services following the total replacement of all the steel spans in its 476 metre deck. The steelwork contractor was Mabey Bridge. Each of the 51 bespoke spans was assembled and welded at its Chepstow plant before transportation to the bridge site. The project is discussed and illustrated.

New Steel Construction, vol.19, no.9. Oct.2011. pp.14,16.


The Scunthorpe plant of Tata Steel is supplying rail steel for the Tours-Bordeaux high speed line. Rail rolling is to be carried out by the Hayange plant.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.10. Oct.2011. p.18.

Development of a vertical switch

The development of a new vertical switch with a longer service life by the Transportation Technology Center, Inc., BNSF Railway, Progress Rail Services Corp and VAE Nortrak North America Inc. is discussed. The background to the standard split switch, conventional switch failure modes and evaluation of vehicle dynamics are included in the article.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.107, no.8. Aug.2011. pp.20-22.

The search for alternative bridge material: HCB span

The evaluation of hybrid composite beams (HCB) as an alternative to prestressed concrete is discussed. Tests at the Transportation Technology Center are detailed. The HCB span consists of a concrete arch (resisting compression) connected at the ends with steel tendons (resisting tension) and is all encased in a fibre glass beam shell. A conventional reinforced concrete deck is used on top.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.107, no.8. Aug.2011. pp.48-51.

Siemens wins Thameslink

A consortium, led by Siemens, has won preferred bidder status from the UK Department for Transport. Some details of the contract for the build, ownership, finance and maintenance of the 1,200 electric multiple-unit cars and two depots for the Thameslink upgrade are discussed. The VeloCity consortium (Bombardier Transportation, RREEF, Serco Holdings, Amber Infrastructure Group and SMBC Leasing) has been retained as reserve in case of problems.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.7. July 2011. p.7.

Traxx UK proposed

A UK version of the Traxx P200 AC is being designed by Bombardier. The unit will conform to British loading gauge, ETCS and will be suitable for use through the Channel Tunnel and into mainland Europe.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.7. July 2011. p.11.

Wayside energy storage trial

An energy storage system for the capture and storage of energy produced by trains under regenerative braking is described and its potential for energy saving considered. The technology is being developed by Viridity Energy, Saft and Envitech Energy Inc in collaboration with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.7. July 2011. p.14.

Next-generation Tube concept

Siemens has unveiled a concept train suitable for small-profile tube lines. A comparison (weight, capacity, energy efficiency) is made with the Bombardier equivalent vehicle.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.7. July 2011. p.15.

Rockets ready to enter service

Bombardier subway cars, capable of carrying 10% more passengers than previous models, are briefly described. The 420 Rocket vehicles are entering service in Toronto.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.7. July 2011. p.16.

News in brief [RVEL Technology]

A new division of the company is being established that will offer specialist welding and materials services to the industry. The Railway Vehicle Engineering Ltd subsidiary will be based in Derby.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.7. July 2011. p.20.

Investing in testing

Bombardier is to build a 1 km test track near Quebec, Canada, to accompany a new Product Design and Development Centre. From early 2012 all North American product development will be located at the Saint-Bruno site, Greater Montreal

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.7. July 2011. p.20.

Alstom completes Transmashholding deal

Following clearance from a number of regulatory authorities, Alstom has acquired 25% plus one share stake in the largest locomotive manufacturer in Russia. Some details of joint product development are given.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.7. July 2011. p.21.

Engine joint venture signed

A JV company has been established, Tognum-TMH Diesel Technologies, following an agreement between Tognum and Transmashholding. The JV will undertake the marketing and later manufacture of diesel engines aimed at the Russian and CIS locomotive, mining, marine and energy markets. The first engines will be produced at the MTU facility in Friedrichshafen, with later production at Kolomna.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.7. July 2011. p.21.

Need to know: Engineering

The Public Accounts Committee has published a highly critical report that raises safety concerns over Network Rail's decision to delay £1bn of track and signal upgrades as its main cost-cutting strategy.

The Times, 12th July 2011, p.34.

China plans to invest $154 bil. in urban rail by 2015

The Beijing Morning Post has reported that China hopes to invest more than 1 trillion yuan ($154.72bn) by 2015 for 96 planned urban rail lines covering 2,500 kilometres. As of 2010, China had 12 cities operating 48 urban rail lines covering a total length of 1,395 kms. The government recently approved 28 of 36 cities' urban rail transportation development plans for future rail lines.

Engineering News-Record, 30 June 2011.

China opens Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail line

Reports that the line is seen as a showcase for Chinese technology. The Beijing-Shanghai line is now the crown jewel of a system of a rail system that already stretches nearly 5,000 miles. The plan is to double the size of the network by 2020, taking passengers from the southern factory hub of Guangzhou to the northern outpost of Harbin and to Urumqi in the west. However there are criticisms, mostly over the project's price tag and the steep cost of tickets. The cheapest fare for the Beijing-Shanghai line is $86, equivalent to a tenth of an average urbanite's monthly salary.

Engineering News-Record, 1 July 2011.

Kawasaki Heavy's rail hopes ride on California

Although Japanese railway companies have led the efforts to sell Japanese trains abroad, Kawasaki is hoping that its proprietary train technology will allow it to expand in this field. The company's efSet technology is supposed to make trains more durable than traditional bullet trains and to keep passengers safer in the event of a collision. A Kawaski-led consortium is hoping to supply the rolling stock for the high speed rail link between San Francisco and San Diego.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol. 49, no. 2,490, 16 May 2011. p.10.

China puts brakes on high-speed rail

Reports how China has slowed its expansion of high-speed rail in the past three months as critics question the value and safety of bullet trains, which have been expensive to build and maintain. Top operating speeds have been cut from 217 to 186 mph and one new line has been halted by the environment ministry. However, China says that it is committed to roughly doubling its current, world-leading, high-speed rail track length from its current 5,193 miles to 9,942 miles. Furthermore the World Bank supports China's railway development as a means to alleviate poverty through economic growth.

Engineering News-Record, 1 June 2011.

Stainless steel types, applications and new developments

Describes the types of available stainless steel - ferritic, martensitic, precipitation-hardening martensitic and Duplex. Details a number of new developments. ArcelorMittal (whose stainless steel business has subsequently been spun off as Aperam) has launched a new grade, designated K44X, which is designed for high-temperature sections of automotive exhaust systems and offers good weldability and formability. Sandvik's Sandvik Nanoflex is a precipitation-hardenable austenitic stainless steel that utilises nanotechnology. Finally, ThyssenKrupp Nirosta offers Nirosta 4318, a stainless steel based on a new lightweight design that delivers ecological benefits. This steel is being used on the DT5 multiple train unit being developed by the consortium Alstom/Bombardier Transportation.

www.EngineerLive.com. Design Engineer - Materials Processes. 8 June 2011. http://tinyurl.com/5wn4ctl

Electro-diesel unveiled

Bombardier has unveiled its 'Last mile diesel', a Traxx AC electric locomotive which has a supplementary Deutz 240 kW Stage IIIB emissions-compliant diesel engine to power low-speed movements, avoiding the need to change locomotives when delivering freight to unelectrified sidings, or for moving single-system electric locomotives around yards where there is a changeover to a different electrification system. The company also plans to develop a Traxx DC version of this diesel.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 6, June 2011. p.8.

Trackwork ordered

Reports that Chennai Metro Rail has signed a Euros 73M contract with a consortium of Alstom and Larsen & Toubro to supply trackwork for the 45km two-line metro now under construction in the city. The contract covers the design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of 105 track-km, including 15km within the depot at Koyambedu. Alstom is also supplying CMRL with 42 four-car trains to work the network.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 6, June 2011. p.20.

GE Transportation

The company has selected Fort Worth in Texas as the location for a $96M plant to produce new and remanufactured locomotives from 2012. (Item contains no further information).

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 6, June 2011. p.23.

Track sold

Balfour Beatty Rail has sold its track panel, turnout, manganese steel casting and crossing design and manufacturing business to the Progress Rail Services subsidiary of Caterpillar. Operating from five UK sites, the business generated revenue of £55M in 2010 with gross assets of £43M.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 6, June 2011. p.26.

Developing markets drive Alstom rebound

The company's financial results showed that developing markets accounted for 60% of booked orders. Alstom reported group sales up 6% to Euros 20.9bn for the year to March 31 2011, although operating income of Euros 1.6bn was down 12%. Net profit of Euros 462M was down 62% from the previous year, due to non-recurring charges including the acquisition of the Grid business.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 6, June 2011. p.26.

A vision of change

Considers 'Realising the Potential of GB Rail', the final report of the Rail Value for Money study whose remit was to examine the cost structure of the railway and identify options for improving value for money. The reports argues that closer relationships between all sectors of the industry will be essential to deliver a 30% reduction in annual operating, maintenance and renewal costs within eight years. Review chair Sir Roy McNulty believes that government should determine what the rail industry should deliver and the industry should determine how this is to be achieved.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 6, June 2011. pp.47-51.

NR on the route to devolution

Reports that Network Rail's strategy to devolve responsibility for operations and infrastructure maintenance to ten regional route management teams went live in May with the appointment of the first route directors. Responsibilities being transferred to route managing directors include operations, safety, customer service, asset management spending and outputs, maintenance planning and delivery, plus some renewals and enhancements. Despite this devolution of responsibility, NR says that there will still be a continuing, critical role for a supporting central organisation.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 6, June 2011. p.52.

Gauge corner restoration

Welding Alloys is exhibiting for the first time at Railtex and will be launching an updated version of its automated rail welding machine designed to meet a growing demand for gauge corner restoration welding. The digitally controlled GCR machine uses submerged arc welding with a flux recycling/recovery system. It has a data logging system to monitor and record key operating parameters such as amperage and voltage, travel speed and heat input, as well as operating location by postcode.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 6, June 2011. p.78.

Next generation IJs [insulated joints]

Recent changes to insulated joints in rail track are examined and two failure modes are discussed - adhesive failure and rail discontinuity. Keyed insulated joints developed and patented by TTCI to counter these problems are described.

Railway Track and Structures. May 2011. pp.15-17.

China's high-speed rail riles critics

Discusses the problems facing China's high-speed rail project which is accused of corruption, shoddy construction and financial difficulties. Reports have suggested that safety checks have not been rigorous in an effort to complete programmes as quickly as possible. There have also been complaints that cheap fares on other lines have been raised to pay for the new developments, Some analysts argue that countries that are sparsely populated between city centres will struggle to recoup their investments.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol. 49, no. 2,485, 11 April 2011. p.7.

Recent research and development activities in electromagnetic sensor technologies

Research and development carried out by TSC Ltd (Milton Keynes, UK) of some complex probes used for electromagnetic NDT, based on alternative current potential drop (ACPD), alternating current field measurement (ACFM) and alternating current stress measurement (ACSM), is reported. The two ACFM sensor arrays developed for train wheelsets, as part of the Saferail project, are discussed amongst other topics.

Insight, vol.53, no.3. March 2011. pp.138-141,145.

Network Rail fined £3m over Potters Bar crash

Network Rail has been fined £3m for safety failings over the 2002 Potters Bar train crash. The company admitted breaching safety regulations over the crash which claimed 7 lives. Faulty points were to blame for the crash. Following the ruling, Network Rail said it was 'truly sorry'. Overall responsibility for the track lay with Network Rail's predecessor, Railtrack, and last year, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) launched proceedings against Jarvis and Network Rail under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Both companies were accused of failings over the installation, maintenance and inspection of adjustable stretcher bars which keep the moveable section of the points at the correct width for train wheels.

BBC News online, 13th May 2011.

Multi-function condition monitoring - and much more

The Vortok Multi-Sensor, for embedding into rail track, is described. The types of data the sensors can transmit are listed.

Railway Strategies, no.66. April/May 2011. pp.55-56.

Multi-function condition monitoring - and much more

The Vortok Multi-Sensor, for embedding into rail track, is described. The types of data the sensors can transmit are listed.

Railway Strategies, no.66. April/May 2011. pp.55-56.

The ultimate track renewals technology

Swietelsky Rail Division's (Austria) suite of powerful and advanced track renewals systems are described.

Railway Strategies, no.66. April/May 2011. pp.88-90.

DB orders multi-engine Traxx

A 9 year framework agreement has been drawn up between DB (Deutsche Bahn) and Bombardier Transportation for the supply of up to 200 Traxx DE Multi-Engine locomotives. Some details of the deal, equipment specifications and contract value are given.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.5. May 2011. p.11.

NS and SNCF on shortlist

The 4 shortlisted bidders for the UK Intercity West Coast franchise are Virgin Rail Group, Abellio (Netherlands Railways subsidiary), FirstGroup and Keolis/SNCF. The Department for Transport is to name the preferred bidder this autumn.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.5. May 2011. p.14.

TfL selects SSL resignalling contractor

The preferred bidder to resignal the large profile Sub-Surface Lines (300 km) of the London Underground is Bombardier Transportation.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.5. May 2011. p.20.

Record order backlog

A financial summary for Bombardier Inc is presented, with particular emphasis on the strong performance of Bombardier Transportation. Market performances are briefly mentioned.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.5. May 2011. p.25.

Keeping Europe's railways rolling

The 3 year industry research programme on the reduction of axle failure risk, Euraxles, is discussed. Members of the Euraxle consortium are listed. The project is co-ordinated by UNIFE.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.5. May 2011. pp.46-47.

The dream that refuses to die

The proposed railway infrastructure research centre in northern France, Centre d'Essai Europeen Ferroviaire, a European version of the TTCI Pueblo facility in the USA, is discussed. Establishment of the centre is the aim of a consortium of 26 public and private bodies and has possible investment worth €180M over 10 years.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.5. May 2011. p.47.

Point to point

Reports on how a range of imaging technologies is helping rail companies to monitor their operations. Network Rail's New Measurement Train is equipped with detection and recording equipment, that includes scanners, lasers and digital video cameras and can instantaneously measure and report on track conditions. Other applications of cameras include: inspection of passing trains for graffiti; checking the operation of heaters in trackside cabinets; and examination of parts for wear and damage.

The Engineer, vol. 296, no. 7813, 28 March 2011. pp.38, 40.

Development of autonomous AFCM rail inspection techniques

Describes the development of a robotic system for the detection and characterisation of rolling contact fatigue defects on in-service track rails using alternating current field measurement techniques. The autonomous inspection system consists of a mechanised trolley, an FS02N Kawasaki robot arm and a commercially available AMIGO AFCM system. The AFCM probe is used to both detect and characterise RCF cracks. Results show that the sensor can detect RCF defects even at significant lift-off.

Insight, vol. 53, no. 2, Feb. 2011. pp.85-89.

Parsons-AECOM said to win PM role on $11-Billion Emirates' railway network

Sources have said that the Etihad Rail Company, the Abu Dhabi-based owner of a planned $11-billion railway network across the United Arab Emirates, has selected a Parsons Corporation-AECOM joint venture as the project's programme manager. The joint venture would replace a team of Parsons and Paris-based SYSTRA, whose PM contract was cancelled in January, just two months after the railway announced its selection of the firms. In January the owner also cancelled a contract for preliminary engineering services awarded last year to Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Engineering News-Record, 15 April 2011.

Private sector lines up to invest in Calif. high-speed rail

Reports how attendees to the California High-Speed Rail Authority's Industry Forum hoped to find out how they might participate in the $43 bn project proposed to link Los Angeles and San Francisco by 2020. Notes that 22 companies, including some pension funds, wish to invest in the project to make a profit. However it remains unclear exactly how and when private sector deals might come together and doubts persist as to whether the rail authority will be able to reassure would-be investors that the project will be fully built as proposed. Some analysts say the lack of a federal commitment to finish the project will jeopardize private investment.

Engineering News-Record, 19 April 2011.

Defects appear in China's high-speed rail system

Reports concerns about the future of China's high-speed rail project with questions being raised about corruption and safety standards. New leadership at the Railways Ministry has announced that to enhance safety, the top speed of all trains was being decreased from about 218 mph to 186mph. Without elaborating, the ministry called the safety situation 'severe' and said it was launching safety checks along the entire network of tracks. Analysts have said that the cost of the project might have created a hidden debt crisis that could threaten China's banking system.

Engineering News-Record. 24 April 2011

Modelling railway track geometry deterioration

A multivariate statistical analysis, used to model the variables involved in railway track geometry deterioration, such as track structure and layout, traffic characteristics, environmental factors, track geometry measurement records, and maintenance and renewal history data, is described. The results of statistical analyses carried out on parameters such as twist, level, alignment, gauge and cant are reported. Based on the results, track deterioration behaviour is predicted for future maintenance and renewals management.

Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Transport, vol.164, no.TR2. Feb.2011. pp.65-75.

Weld repair of rail defects

A semiautomatic welding process, developed to provide high quality, lower-cost repairs to the running surfaces of railway track, is described. The process, devised by Corus Rail France, SA, (Tata Steel Group), uses open arc welding with flux cored wires and relies on a low preheat temperature to control the metallurgical transformations within the heat affected zone. Following extensive testing, in-track demonstrations are now to be carried out in Europe. The factors contributing to the cost effectiveness and technical robustness of the process are detailed.

Welding Journal, vol.90, no.2. Feb.2011. pp.42-44.

Fare cut to save energy

To save energy the Spanish government has approved a plan to cut fares on RENFE suburban and medium distance routes by 5% to encourage greater use of public transport. The Ministry of Development expects that this will result in 2.2M fewer car journeys into major cities over a period of four months.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 4, April 2011. p.13.

Veolia Transdev

This company has been created by the merger of Veolia Transport and Transdev in March. It is owned jointly by Veolia Environment and Caisse des Depots, who will seek a stock market listing 'when market conditions permit'. (Item contains no further information).

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 4, April 2011. p.13.

Skoda wins regional EMU order

Skoda Vagonka has won two contracts to supply Czech railways with a new generation of single-deck 160km/h electric multiple units for use on regional services. The contracts cover 15 three-car low-floor air-conditioned EMUs costing a total of KC2.1bn and four two-car units costing KC448M. The orders are being co-funded by the EU.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 4, April 2011. p.13.

Switzerland-Paris in 3h

SNCF and SBB have signed an agreement to increase the frequency and quality of TGV Lyria cross-border services. Journeys between Swiss cities and Paris are to be cut to less than three hours in the medium term and there are plans to expand the number of destinations.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 4, April 2011. p.14.


Carillion has won a £20M contract from Network Rail for 28km of track works associated with the Reading station remodelling contract which runs to 2016. (Item contains no further information).

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 4, April 2011. p.22.


BLS has placed a SFr38M order with Bombardier and Alstom for four more Lotschberger EMUs to be delivered between September and December 2012, bringing its total order to 25 units. (Item contains no further information).

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 4, April 2011. p.23.

Time to move on, says Higgins

Presents an interview with Network Rail Chief Executive David Higgins, who is planning to devolve responsibility to local management teams and improve efficiency. He said that route managing directors 'running their own infrastructure railway business with significant annual turnover and resources' would have 'the ability and means to deliver a bigger, better, more affordable railway'. NR has selected Scotland and Wessex routes as pilots. He also welcomed the government's plans for fewer and longer franchises.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 4, April 2011. p.28.

A 40-year vision

Zoltan Kazatsay, Deputy Director General of DG MOVE, has confirmed that the European Commission's White Paper on transport will be published by the end of March. He added that the White Paper would address the lack of competition in the rail sector and that one of the objectives of the First Railway Package would be to remove obstacles to competition.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 4, April 2011. p.29.

UNIFE 'alarmed' at IEP decision

Announcing the go-ahead for the Great Western Main Line electrification, transport secretary Philip Hammond said that the Department for Transport was resuming negotiations with preferred bidder Agility Trains for the supply of new trains under the Intercity Express Programme, with the aim of reaching financial close by the end of the year. The consortium is led by Hitachi which has identified Newton Aycliffe as the preferred site for its European rolling stock manufacturing and assembly centre, which would generate at least 500 new jobs. However European industry association UNIFE said that it was 'alarmed' by the decision, noting that the promised creation of 500 new jobs was extremely low compared with what could have been secured if the IEP was executed by a European supplier.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 4, April 2011. p.30.

Export and invest

Xu Zongxiang, Executive Director and President of CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Company, has said that the majority state-owned China South group is 'close' to displacing Alstom as the world's second-largest rolling stock supplier, and that it aspires to overtake leader Bombardier 'soon' as part of its five-year plan. Although CSR's order book is dominated by China it sees great opportunities for export, particularly in the Middle East.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 4, April 2011. p.30.

Building bogies for the world

Reports on the opening of a new wheelset assembly plant at the Siemens Mobility competence centre for bogies in Graz. Notes that their design and production of steel-framed bogies is based on high-quality welding, without the need for any annealing or subsequent hot corrections. The welding process thus needs to be designed and implemented to avoid leaving any residual stresses that may cause cracking during an operating life of 30 years, whilst still meeting the prescribed tolerances. Attention is paid to the air quality in the welding halls and individual welders are provided with a portable air filter.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 167, no. 4, April 2011. pp.92-94.

Composite panel for rail flooring applications

Reports on Haysite Reinforced Plastics' Dura-Core 1000 composite sandwich panel which is said to exhibit excellent flame, smoke and toxicity properties and is designed for use as a floor material in light transit rail car interiors. Dura-Core 1000 is a compression moulded composite panel combining high strength glass fibre reinforced plastic laminate skins with a lightweight thermoplastic foam core material. The company also expects it to find applications in areas such as school/commuter buses, recreational vehicles, utility vehicles, golf carts, fleet trucking, and airport ramps.

Reinforced Plastics Weekly, issue 378. http://tinyurl.com/6zxszrb

€32.4bn to fund Grand Paris vision

Between 2010 and 2025 this funding, from the government, region, local departments and STIF, will build an automated metro around Paris and modernise the existing network. The new metro route is discussed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.3. March 2011. p.14.

Ready for take off

Following its acquisition of Southend Airport, Stobart Rail has funded the construction of a new railway station designed by Atkins Global. The line runs directly to London Liverpool Street. Scheduled flights from the airport begin this month and Stobart Rail is anticipating handling 1M passengers in 2012.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.3. March 2011. p.19.

Rail freight network starts to evolve

The EU's target to have most freight travelling more than 300 km moved by rail by 2050, and how this can be achieved, is discussed. Freight corridors and their type are listed and mapped. Conflicts of interest are considered.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.3. March 2011. pp.48-52.

Obama proposes $53 billion for developing high-speed rail

These funds, to be allocated over the next six years, would supplement the $10.5 bn the programme has received over the past two years. Congress has yet to approve these new funds.

Engineering News Record, 9 Feb. 2011. http://bit.ly/fl1MCO

China train manufacturers eye U.S. high-speed rail plans

China's largest train manufacturer CSR has welcomed US plans for extra investment in high-speed rail. It has already signed an agreement with General Electric to manufacture high speed trains in the US. China's second largest rail company CNR Corporation is also believed to be interested in US projects. Chinese sources believe that their country leads the world in high-speed rail technology.

Engineering News Record, 10 Feb. 2011. http://enr.construction.com/yb/enr/article,aspx?story_id=155586895

Rail-Tech Europe

Sustainability through Innovation. The 8th International Exhibition and Conference on Rail Technology will take place at Amersfoort, The Netherlands, on the 29th-30th March 2011. For details see www.railtech-europe.com


Railway Engineering 2011

High Speed Rail, Maintenance + Renewal of Permanent Way, Points, Power + Signalling, Structures + Earthworks. The 11th International Conference and Exhibition, will take place at the University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London on the 29th-30th June 2011. For details see www.railwayengineering.com


TCCD buys electric locos

Hyundai Rotem has won the contract to supply 80 electric locomotives and a driving simulator to the Turkish state railway. The majority of the locomotives will be assembled in Turkey in co-operation with Tulomsas, in combination with a 35% local content agreement.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.2. Feb.2011. p.8.

Alstom wins ETCS contract

The contract to supply and install on-board ETCS equipment for 121 Deutsche Bahn high speed trains has been won by Alstom. The company has also been awarded a contract for ETCS equipment by CFL, the Luxembourg state operator.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.2. Feb.2011. p.8.

DB buys inter-city double-deckers

Bombardier Transportation is to supply 137 Twindexx 2010 coaches and 27 Traxx P160AC electric locomotives to Deutsche Bahn, to commence operations from 2013.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.2. Feb.2011. p.10.

Break of gauge no more

A new line between Perpignan and Figueres and a 1435 mm gauge freight line from Figueres to Barcelona Morrot has shortened freight transit times by 6 hours. Previously wagon axle change or the trans-shipment of consignments was required to cross the border. Further inter modal services are to be established between Barcelona and Toulouse, and Barcelona and Bordeaux. Passengers now change between SNCF and RENFE at Figueres Vilafant.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.2. Feb.2011. p.10.

Tilting train order signed

Taiwan Railway Administration has contracted Sumitomo Corp and Nippon Sharyo to supply 17 inter-city tilting trainsets. The units will be delivered between 2012 and 2014, for use on the Taroko Express service.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.2. Feb.2011. p.12.

Macau bidder named

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' Crystal Mover technology has won the contract from the Transportation Infrastructure Office of Macau to supply rolling stock and railway systems for the automated light metro. The 20 km metro should be operational by early 2015.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.2. Feb.2011. p.15.

Contracts [for Bombardier]

The operation and maintenance contracts for the Innovia APM 100 airport transport at George Bush (Houston, Texas), and Denver Airports has been won by Bombardier; the contracts will run until 2015 and 2017 respectively.
An undisclosed client has ordered rolling stock valued at €362M from Bombardier.
6 Regina EMUs are to be supplied by Bombardier to Vasttrafik (Sweden).

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.2. Feb.2011. p.18,19.


London Underground has contracted Balfour Beatty Rail to undertake track renewal work for the next 5 years.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.2. Feb.2011. p.19.

Freight mergers in prospect

CD Cargo and PKP Cargo, the national rail freight operators of the Czech Republic and Poland respectively, may be merging to form a Central European operator large enough to compete with DB Schenker Rail and Rail Cargo Austria. The merger is discussed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.2. Feb.2011. p.26.

The rise of the permanent-magnet traction motor

Increasingly being adopted for traction drives, the permanent-magnet synchronous machine offers benefits in terms of mass, size and energy consumption, despite its need for complex control systems and its potential failure modes. The technology is discussed in detail.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.2. Feb.2011. pp.30-34.

Breaking into the tram market

After a long heritage in main line locomotives and more recent experience in metro and light rail vehicles, Vossloh Espana is now entering the competitive low-floor tram market. An "In Focus" report on the company and its products is presented.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.2. Feb.2011. pp.56-59.

Sub-zero temps crack rails in Santa Fe

Reports that all the cracks in rails on the commuter line between Santa Fe and Albuquerque have now been repaired with the help of a high-tech system of signals that alerts crews to the location of cracks. A university professor said that cracks in continuously welded tracks like those installed in recent years are common in sub-zero temperatures. He added that it was a well known problem - not a design flaw.

Engineering News Record, 4 Feb.2011. http://bit.ly/eWxC3x

Owner terminates big Abu Dhabi rail contracts

Union Railway has dismissed the winners of a contract for an $11bn freight and passenger rail complex across the United Arab Emirates without disclosing the reasons. It terminated a joint venture of US company Parsons and Paris-based SYSTRA, which was awarded the project's programme management contract in November. It also terminated Parsons Brinckerhoff's preliminary engineering contract for the project�s first two stages. The values of the contracts were not disclosed.


Era of Japanese maglev trains might not begin with Japanese travellers

A discussion on the imminent commercial operation of Japan's superconducting maglev trains. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is pushing for overseas sales of the maglev train, and it is possible that the U.S. might start maglev services before Japan. A line between Tokyo and Nagoya is planned to run by 2027.

The Nikkei Weekly, Magazine Special, winter 2010. pp.30-31.

China plans huge railway spree

Plans are being made for China to lay up to 10,000km of high-speed lines, including lines to the ASEAN region. Lines are planned to Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Bangladesh. Companies from japan and Germany hope to gain business opportunities from these projects. A map of proposed routes is included.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.48. no.2,470. 20 Dec. 2010. p.15.

ONCF orders duplex

The national Moroccan railway has contracted Alstom Transport to supply 14 Duplex double-decker high speed trainsets for the Tanger-Casablanca service. Development of the trainsets will take place at the company's La Rochelle plant; facilities supplying trainset parts are listed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.1. Jan.2011. p.12.

Infrastructure: UK

Engineering design services for High Speed 2 Ltd are to be supplied by a consortium consisting of URS Corp., Mott MacDonald and Grimshaw.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.1. Jan.2011. p.18.

Cutting the weight of high speed trains

The use of multi-functional body panels based on composite and sandwich technologies is being studied at the Centre for ECO Vehicle Design, Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm, as a means of reducing train bodyshell weight. Energy consumption, cost-effectiveness and other benefits are discussed, along with some possible negative impacts.

Railway Gazette International, vol.167, no.1. Jan.2011. pp.30-32.

Growth predicted for composites in passenger rail market

A report from Lucintel - Opportunities for Composites in the Worldwide Passenger Railway Market 2010-2015 - predicts that composites use in passenger railcar applications will see double-digit growth during 2010-2015 to reach $732M by 2015. It says that composites consumption in the passenger rail industry is driven by growth in the overall passenger rail market, and by increases in composites penetration in passenger railcar models. The passenger rail industry is highly dominated by glass fibre composites. Glass/polyester accounts for the majority of the composite materials consumed, while usage of glass/phenolic composites is confined to fire risk applications.


Railway Strategies Live

Railway Strategies for Senior Management Live 2011: From Good to Great. This supply chain conference is being held at the National Motorcycle Museum, Thursday 7th April 2011. For further information go to http://www.railwaystrategies.co.uk/events.php.