Rail industry news


University of Huddersfield unveils £4.5 million railway test rig

Leading figures in the UK railway industry came to the University of Huddersfield to celebrate the completion of a multi-million pound test rig and the inauguration of a new group that will help to fast track innovations in railway technology. The university is home to the Institute of Railway Research (IRR). After securing £4.5 million from the Regional Growth Fund, its facilities now include a 150 ton test rig that enables a wide range of experiments to be conducted on a full-size railway bogie, enabling in-depth investigation of many issues surrounding the contact area between wheel and rail. The rig was officially opened by Richard East, who chairs the Railway Division of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), with over 100 engineers and executives from engineering firms and official rail bodies attending. Alongside the test rig the Institute launched a unit named the Centre for Innovation in Rail. It has been set up to help the railway supply chain develop innovative products and is a conduit for research activity within the IRR, aiming to work with industry, especially small to medium sized firms. At the launch the director of the IRR, Professor Simon Iwnicki, described the wide range of research being conducted by the institute, which investigates issues such as rolling stock, track materials, railway infrastructure and braking systems.

PES Newsletter, November 2016

Electrification projects resume

Work to plan 25 kV 50 Hz electrification of the trans-Pennine and Midland Main Line routes is to resume with completion now envisaged by 2023, Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin announced on September 30. Following delays and cost overruns on the electrification of the Great Western Main Line, McLoughlin had announced on June 25 that Network Rail's works programme for 2014-19 would be reviewed and 'reset'. Planning for trans-Pennine and MML electrification was 'paused' pending this review, which is being undertaken by recently-appointed NT Chairman Sir Peter Hendy. On September 29 Hendy advised how the electrification work could continue. NR is to develop a 'firm detailed design' by the end of 2017 for electrification of the trans-Pennine route from Manchester to Leeds, York and Selby in 2018-22. The project will now aim to provide faster journey tome and more capacity, rather than just electrification. MML electrification from Bedford to Kettering and Corby is planned by 2019, and to Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield by 2023. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette, vol. 171, no. 11, Nov. 2015. p.8.


BAM was appointed principal contractor for the £170M first-phase of Transport Scotland's Aberdeen-Inverness Improvement Project on October 16, working with Arcom, CH2M, Stobart Rail and Siemens. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette, vol. 171, no. 11, Nov. 2015. p.18.


Bombardier has awarded Panattoni Europe a contract to build a new manufacturing hall at its Wroclaw plant by June 2016. This will be used to manufacture bodyshells for projects including Deutsche Bahn's ICx inter-city trains. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette, vol. 171, no. 11, Nov. 2015. p.22.

Fighting to stay ahead

Reports on a reception organised by UNIFE at the Hessen Representation in Brussels on October 13 to discuss a draft resolution by the European Parliament's Industry, Research & Energy committee on the competitiveness of the European railway supply sector. The underlying concern for many suppliers is the looming commercial challenge from Asia, and China in particular, in a global context, where, according to UNIFE, many significant markets are becoming more difficult for European companies to access. In response, UNIFE is developing a three-pronged approach to protect what it sees as Europe's 'world leadership of our industry'. The three strands are: 'strengthen the offer' to ensure continued production of the best products on the world market; improve the business environment in both the EU and internationally; and stimulate demand for rail projects in the EU and internationally.

Railway Gazette, vol. 171, no. 11, Nov. 2015. pp.27-28.

Enter the Aventra

Having delivered more than 2,000 cars from its Electrostar EMU family over two decades, Bombardier Transportaion has developed a successor for the UK market - the Aventra. Details the company's 'designed for use' philosophy behind London's latest commuter train. Top priority for the design team is to work out what the requirements of any new vehicle deign are. Over the past decade, Bombardier has sought to achieve this by running workshops entitled a 'A Day in the Life of the Train'. These look in detail at the intended operation of the fleet. A particular area of focus for these workshops is the driver's interface with the train. The company aims to help drivers understand how the train will react to their actions long before they actually enter the cab. Bombardier has many years of experience in maintaining its own fleets and its Design for Maintenence engineers form part of the design team for all new products. This ensures that maintenance tools such as automated inspection and diagnostic suites are included in the wider design objectives. Bombardier also takes input for a variety of passenger representative groups. Adds that Bombardier staff are encouraged to make regular use of both their own and competitors' products.

Railway Gazette, vol. 171, no. 11, Nov. 2015. pp.50-52.

US, Japan officials envision Northeast Maglev route

US company The Northeast Maglev, working with the Central Japan Railway Co., envisions a magnetically levitated, or maglev, passenger route between Washington, DC, and New York City that will reduce travel time to an hour. Work on the environmental impact statement is looming 'in the next couple of months' for the first phase between Washington and Baltimore. Nazih Haddad, executive vice president of the company, said recently that the Maryland Department of Transportation expected to hear soon from the Federal Railroad Administration regarding a $28M application for a grant that would help fund further design and permitting. The Japanese government would fund much of the first phase, which is estimated to cost about $10bn. Haddad noted that the line would have to capture 50% of the transportation market along the Northeast Corridor to make the project viable. If the environmental impact statement is completed in three years, the initial segment would take seven years to build, he added.

Engineering News-Record, vol. 275, no. 9, 12 Oct. 2015. p.15.

New Australia chief elevates transit funding as a priority

Reports that new Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is reversing his predecessor's policy on transit funding with a $95M commitment to a 7.3km light-rail extension in the Gold Coast area of Queensland which will host the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Municipal officials also pledged $55M to the line, but it was not clear how much Queensland would commit towards the hundreds of millions of dollars in project funding still needed or what other public-private approaches would be used. In an announcement on October 10, Turnbull said he would support rail project investment based on 'merits'. Among those competing for federal support are Western Australia's $1.35bn Perth Rapid Transit; Sydney's $1.15bn light rail; Queensland's estimated $3.2bn River Rail core project; and Victoria's Melbourne Metro, estimated at up to $8bn.

Engineering News-Record, vol. 275, no. 10, 19 Oct. 2015. p.13.

Freight train of the future

Reports on the Sustainable Freight Railway (SUSTRAIL) - a €9.4M four-year project, launched in 2011, to design a freight vehicle track system with improved reliability at reduced cost. It was part of the seventh Framework Programme for EU research (FP7) for which the EC contributed €6.6M. SUSTRAIL aims to increase rail freight performance through a whole system approach which involves a number of work packages. The current system was benchmarked (WP1) and duty requirements established (WP2). Then two parallel but linked packages considered the freight train of the future (WP3) and sustainable track (WP4), after which a business case (WP5) was developed and the new vehicle and track systems were tested (WP6). Thirty-one organisations in twelve countries shared the work for which the project coordinator was Consorzio Train, an Italian consortium of rail research institutions. UK participants were Network Rail (technical coordinator), Tata Steel and the Universities of Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield and Huddersfield. For the freight train of the future it was concluded that innovations were required for running gear, wheelsets, braking systems, body and bogie structure and condition monitoring.


Trials of a RCF measurement system in revenue service

An investigation into the suitability and efficiency of an eddy current measurement system for the detection of rail rolling contact fatigue is reported. The Transportation Technology Center, Inc. worked with Norfolk Southern, a US railway company, to evaluate the trolley mounted device. Results of the tests are presented and discussed.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.111, no.9. Sept.2015. pp.22-26.

The world this week: politics

The first light-rail system in sub-Saharan Africa has opened in Addis Ababa (some South African cities have commuter rail services). China provided the finance and expertise.

The Economist, 26th September 2015, p.9.

Recycled Tube energy to power stations

London Underground (LU) has been trialling energy capture technology on the Victoria line that could reduce its energy bill by 5%, saving the organisation millions of pounds. In what LU claims is a world-first, an inverter system was installed at the Cloudesley Road substation for a five-week trial. According to LU, the reclaimed waste energy from Tube train brakes over a one-week period was enough to power Holborn station for two days. The technology has the potential to capture 1 Megawatt hour (MWh) per day. "This...regenerative braking system has the potential to transform how we power stations across the TfL network, unlocking massive power savings and significantly reducing our energy bills," said Chris Tong, LU's head of Power and Cooling. "We are committed to doing more to reduce our energy use, and this technology - a world first for metro railways - is one of a number of innovations we're embracing to lower our environmental impact." As well as recycling energy, the system also reduces the amount of heat generated by trains when braking. This means less cooling is required in London Underground's tunnel network, enabling increased energy efficiency. Overall potential savings are estimated to be in the region of £6m per year.

The Engineer online, 25th September 2015

Curve detection for trains plus derailment protection

Micro-Sensor has recently supplied curve detection systems for use on high speed trains on the Haramain High Speed Rail Project in Saudi Arabia. The trains travel at speeds of up to 300km/h across a 453km network between Medina and Mecca. For high speed trains travelling in excess of 160km/h, European regulations stipulate the fitting of suitable derailment safety protection systems. For this project, Micro-Sensor supplied bogie-mounted vibration sensors for improved derailment protection and curve detection systems to monitor carriage/wagon tilt in curves for better control of lubrication of the wheels during curves in the track. The environment on a bogie is harsh, with risk of damage to the sensors if they are not adequately protected from dirt, dust, rainwater and flying debris underneath the train. In order to survive in this type of environment, Micro-Sensor vibration sensors are housed in stainless steel or high thickness aluminium and certified to IP68 and EN50155. Each train is also fitted with two curve detectors - one on the front carriage of the train and one on the very end of the rear carriage. The front sensor detects when the train moves into a curve; the rear sensor detects when the train moves out of the curve. The wheel lubrication system is activated on and off by these two sensors, providing lubricant to the wheels when needed.

Industrial Technology, Sep. 2015. p.36.

Novel railway points technology unveiled by Loughborough University

Researchers at Loughborough University have created a failsafe track switch designed to eradicate a 200-year-old problem on the railway. The breakthrough technology known as Repoint is a robust and reliable points mechanism, which will improve safety, reduce maintenance costs and boost capacity on the railways. Supported by the UK Rail Safety and Standards Board, Repoint is the result of work carried out with industry experts into improved switches to override track switch failures which can lead to train derailment. Using safety concepts derived from aerospace and the nuclear industry, Repoint corrects a failed switch through a patented arrangement of interlocking rail ends which incorporate a sliding arrangement similar to a breather switch. A lift and drop mechanism allows for expansion and provides an additional locking mechanism with virtually no friction losses. The mechanism can also move the switch in fractions of a second compared to the current four seconds for conventional designs.


On the rails

Reports on the increasing use of composites in the rail industry. Essex-based Dura Composites has historically supplied composite products such as handrails and walkways to heavy industry. Three years ago, it received an enquiry from the rail industry for ballast retention systems - which sit at the side of railway tracks and protect trackside components from damage. Dura designed a new ballast retention system in fibreglass - rather than the traditional wood - that offered advantages in installation costs. The success of the project led Dura to spend time on other ideas for the sector. This resulted in the development of a composite platform, called Dura Platform, which it has spent the last three years refining. This too offers faster installation, as well as other advantages over traditional materials. Separately, Composites UK, the trade body that represents the industry, has been strengthening its ties with the rail sector recently - seeing it as a real growth area for composites. The organisation worked with HS2 last year on an event to highlight how composites can be used in rail applications. HS2's composites focus will largely be confined to infrastructure - such as platforms, overhead line gantries, roofing and bridges - rather than rolling stock. Composites companies are hoping that plans to build 11 high speed platforms at Euston station in London will offer opportunities for the industry.

Composites in Manufacturing Newsletter, Sep. 2015. http://tinyurl.com/qyh94np

Hitachi opens new UK train factory

A new £82m rail manufacturing facility has been opened by Hitachi in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. The factory, expected to employ around 700 people, will be used to produce new class 800 InterCity Express (IEP) trains for the East Coast Main Line and Great Western Main Line as well as AT200 commuter trains for Scotland. Hitachi chose to base the new factory in the UK after the government awarded it a £5.7bn intercity express contract as well as a 27 year maintenance deal. The new facility is close to the Bishop Auckland to Darlington railway branch line where George Stephenson's Locomotion No 1 became the first steam locomotive to carry passengers on a public railway line.

The Engineer online, 7th September 2015.

Sheffield tram-train ready

The first of seven vehicles ordered in 2013 for the Sheffield-Rotherham tram-train pilot project is now nearing completion at Vossloh España's plant near Valencia, and is due to arrive in the UK in November. South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive says the Oslo vehicles will initially be used to increase peak capacity on the existing Sheffield Supertram network. Tram services between Sheffield and Rotherham using a new 400m connection between Supertram and a Network Rail freight line at Meadowhall are now expected to start in early 2017. The freight line is to be electrified at the tramway's 750 V DC, although the dual-system vehicles are designed to take power at 25 kV 50 Hz in the future, once Network Rail's Midland Main Line has been electrified. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette, vol. 171, no. 8, Aug. 2015. p.16.

Pause and reset

Decisions are under way about the future shape of the UK rail industry and infrastructure, after the government announced that several enhancement schemes were to be put on hold pending a review of Network Rail's project management and financing regimes. Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin told the House of Commons on 25 June that NR's major works programme for 2014-19 had not been good enough, with important aspects 'costing more and taking longer' than planned. To keep NR spending within the £38bn allocated for the five-year Control Period 5, McLoughlin said that electrification of the Midland Main Line and Trans-Pennine would be 'paused', and the investment programme 'reset'. However, electrification of the Great Western Main Line remains a 'top priority'. The Office of Rail & Road confirmed on 16 July that it was exploring options for a different way of regulating NR, 'to drive up the quality of services and increase value for the railway's customers and taxpayers', although it accepted that decisions on the structure of the railway were a matter for government.

Railway Gazette, vol. 171, no. 8, Aug. 2015. pp.23-24.

Understanding and improving the track system

In July, work began on a second five year research programme to develop track that will cost less and last longer, with reduced maintenance needs and improved performance. Primarily funded through the UK's Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, the Track to the Future programme is a successor to the Track 21 research programme which began in 2010 and concludes in November. Undertaken by a partnership between the Universities of Southampton, Nottingham and Birmingham, in conjunction with Network Rail, Track 21 set out to develop a fundamental and linked understanding of the engineering, economic and environmental performance of track, and to provide the science needed to underpin an overhaul in techniques for track design, construction and maintenance. After five years of research some new questions have been uncovered. T2F will therefore investigate potentially significant enhancements to ballasted track and ways of reducing damage to switches and crossings by improving vehicle-track interaction. It will also develop an integrated approach to designing a low-rise, low-vibration track consistent with reduced whole-life cost and maintenance requirements. The original academic partners in Track 21 have now been joined by the University of Huddersfield.

Railway Gazette, vol. 171, no. 8, Aug. 2015. pp.29-33.

Managing track stiffness in transition zones

Transition zones occur at the interfaces between slab and ballasted track, or where plain line traverses a built structure such as a bridge, culvert or tunnel. Discontinuities may also occur in track forms of the same type. Says that, even in an era of highly mechanised maintenance, transition zones still require particular attention to manage variations in track parameters caused by the change in the substructure. Due to the varying degrees of stiffness and the associated deflection differences, an abrupt change in track parameters from one type of superstructure to another can result in increased dynamic stress. Details how tailoring the resilient elastic support to specific locations through finite element modelling can improve track quality and reduce costs for infrastructure managers. The defined use of elastic superstructure components based on polyurethane could mitigate the problem. The properties of this material allow the stiffness of the superstructure to be defined very precisely in terms of its elastic properties, while its complementary relationship with the ballast provides protection in the long term using the material's plastic properties.

Railway Gazette, vol. 171, no. 8, Aug. 2015. pp.34-37.

Long rails will last longer

Reports that in May Union Pacific opened the first purpose-built rail welding plant in the US, designed specially to handle very long lengths of welded rail. UP has been introducing a number of new techniques to optimise the life of its rails. Various railways around the world had identified welded rail joints as a weak point in the track structure. UP's experience had shown that welds were not lasting the life of the parent rail, with plant flash-butt welds typically failing at 1.35bn gross tonnes and the deterioration rate accelerating in recent years. In 2006 UP launched an initiative to reduce the number of welds in track by using longer rails. For some years it has been laying 440m strings of continuously welded rail, allowing more joints to be made in the plant under controlled conditions and fewer in situ. Located at the Port of Stockton in California, the plant is fed with 146m long rails imported from Japan. These are then welded into 440m lengths. Currently welding both 68 and 71 kg/m rail, the plant is equipped with a Schlatter flash-butt electric welding machine.

Railway Gazette, vol. 171, no. 8, Aug. 2015. pp.42-43.

NR tests synthetic bridge beams

As part of a programme to develop a long term alternative to hard and softwood sleepers and bridge beams, Network Rail has started site trials with synthetic cross sleepers and longitudinal baulks made from fibre-reinforced foamed urethane. The first FFU installation on Network Rail infrastructure has been undertaken at two bridges on the Ashford-Hastings line in Kent. According to NR, the synthetic material should offer an improvement in whole life costs, with a projected service life in excess of 50 years. The increased time between inspection and maintenance interventions is expected to result in improved availability and a reduction in possession costs.

Railway Gazette, vol. 171, no. 8, Aug. 2015. p.44.

Interim results of HAZ treated thermite weld performance in revenue service

An overlay treatment process, in which a weld bead is positioned over each of the original soft HAZs of a thermite weld after shearing but before grinding, is under observation in revenue service by the US Transportation Technology Center, Inc. The study aims to determine how the treatment could extend thermit weld lifetime. The results of laboratory and in-track tests are reported and discussed; figures show test results from treated and untreated welds. Future work is considered.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.111, no.7, 2015. pp.12-14.

Extending weld life

A review of US rail welding service providers is presented. These include Chemetron Railway Products, Holland LP, Lincoln Electric Company, Orgo-Thermit Inc, Plasser American Corporation and Railtech Boutet. All the companies reviewed are stepping up research and development into weld improvement, enhancement and automation.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.111, no.7, 2015. pp.30-32,34.

High speed

Presents a number of articles on high speed developments. The ninth UIC Congress on High Speed Rail will take place in Tokyo in July, where it will review the developments of the past half century and consider prospects for advances in technology over the next 50 years. Reviews a number of global high speed projects in countries such as the UK, Japan, China, Russia, Malaysia and Singapore, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, Spain and Germany. Funded entirely by the private sector, an initiative to build and operate a high speed line between Dallas and Houston is now undergoing regulatory. This could be the first truly high speed project in the US.

Railway Gazette, vol. 171, no. 7, July 2015. pp.31-43.

Evaluation of rail performance and optimized rail-life extension strategies at the eastern and western mega sites

The latest round of rail performance and rail-life extension testing underway at the Transportation Technology Center's eastern and western sites is reported. Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific are collaborating on the evaluation of new high strength rail steels and strategies to enhance wear performance and fatigue resistance under heavy-axle-loads. Tests undertaken and results to date are discussed.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.11, no.6. June 2015. pp.12-15.

Advances in rail grinding

New features and developments in rail grinding equipment from Harsco Rail, Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc., Orgo-Thermit, Inc. and Vossloh Rail are introduced.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.11, no.6. June 2015. pp.16-18.

BS EN 13146-10Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Proof load test for pull-out resistance. (Draft British Standard 15/30304263 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2)
[BSI] Update Standards. June 2015. p.42.
EN 13674-1Railway applications. Track. Rail. Vignole railway rails 46 kg/m and above. Amendment 1 (Draft British Standard 15/30258475 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2015. p.30.

Implementation of improved insulated rail joints in revenue service

The long term performance of insulated rail joints is being studied at the Transportation Technology Center (USA). Common failure modes and in-track service life are being determined for both premium and next generation insulated joints (IJ). Premium IJ designs include ceramic end posts, high modulus bars, improved epoxy, centre supported, and with 48 inch, 8 hole bars. The two next generation IJs under test are a taper cut design and a keyed design. Some test results are presented.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.111, no.5. May 2015. pp.11-14.

UK's IRR to participate in Euros18m EU Shift2Rail initiative

The Institute of Railway Research at Huddersfield is to investigate novel rail switches and crossings and look at possibilities for new kinds of track system. Researchers will help develop radical new technologies such as 'self-correcting', maintenance-free tracks, as they take part in a major project designed to ensure that railways are fit for the future. The EU has approved a six-year initiative named Shift2Rail, co-financed by the private sector. Its three main targets are to boost the capacity of Europe's railway network to cope with soaring demand; increase the reliability and quality of rail services; and make big reductions in costs. As a vital preliminary, the EU has announced three railway research programmes - dubbed 'lighthouse projects' - that will feed into Shift2Rail. These are: Roll2Rail, which will cover rolling stock; IT2Rail, which deals with information technology; and In2Rail, which investigates track and infrastructure and will be led by the UK's Network Rail and Swedish railway administrator Trafikverket.


Rolling Stock Market - Forecast and Analysis to 2019: By Rolling Stock Type (Locomotives, Rapid Transit Vehicles, Wagons),by Locomotive Technology (Conventional Locomotive, Turbocharged and MAGLEVs) and by Region

The demand for rolling stock depends on economic development of the country and the government support to develop the country's infrastructure. The rolling stock market is governed by urbanisation following population growth and economic development in emerging nations. The global economic meltdown from 2008-2013 has slowed down growth. However, the long-term outlook of the rail transportation industry remains positive, given the fact that investment projects in rail transportation systems are not significantly impacted by this situation. Rolling stock suppliers are focusing on global expansion and securing orders from overseas to diversify their regional revenue mix and capitalise on growing markets of Latin America and Africa. This has led to development of region-specific solutions depending on the application and seamless integration with the existing transport infrastructure. Details a new report from MarketsandMarkets which analyses the global rolling stock market in terms of volume (units) and value ($million).


Partnership on track to deliver advanced trains of the future

Imperial College London has joined with China South Railway Sifang Corporation - a rolling stock manufacturer that is the world's largest maker of electric locomotives - to establish the Sifang-Imperial Centre for Rail Transportation Manufacturing Technologies. The Centre will focus on developing rail technologies to streamline the construction and testing of high speed trains, so that they are safer, more cost effective and environmentally friendly. Using the latest manufacturing techniques, the researchers aim to create trains that are made from advanced materials and fewer components, making them lighter and more fuel efficient. The new Centre will be based in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College and headed by Professor Jianguo Lin, a world-leading expert in using materials processing and moulding or plasticity technologies for the production of structural components, with applications in the transport industry. The researchers at the Centre will further develop advanced forming techniques that should enable railway manufacturers to make complex shaped structural panel components that are lightweight and ultra-high strength. The researchers will also investigate new methods for joining these next-generation lightweight materials together and monitoring the performance of safety critical components, such as wheels and shafts.


Broken rails are leading cause of train derailments

Reports that, in the USA, broken rails and welds are the major causes of train derailments, being more then twice as likely as the other common causes. According to the US Federal Railroad Administration, broken rails and welds are involved in over 15% of all derailments

Scientific American, 13 May 2015

National Express

National Express has awarded Bombardier a £143M, 10-year contract to maintain the 74 Electrostar EMUs operated on the Essex Thameside franchise. Bombardier will deploy its Automatic Vehicle Inspection System, which uses cameras and sensors around and under the track to analyse a vehicle's condition, automatically generating work orders and safety alerts. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 5, May 2015. p.19.

Ricardo buys Lloyd's Register Rail

Ricardo has agreed to acquire consultancy and assurance business Lloyd's register Rail and will pay Lloyd's Register Group £42.5M on a cash-free and debt-free basis, funded from its £75M bank facilities: Lloyds Bank has increased Ricardo's revolving credit facility from £20M to £40M. The transaction is expected to be completed by July 1, with LR Rail to be combined with Ricardo's rail activities under the Ricardo Rail brand. In parallel, a standalone assurance management entity called Ricardo Certification will be established to hold and manage all future accreditations, enabling the independence of assurance services.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 5, May 2015. p.20.

Down to earth

Morgan Advanced Materials has launched an axle earthing unit designed to reduce movement between the brush box and shaft, improve brush-shaft contact and offer lower maintenance costs. It uses a freshly-designed single piece casing, in contrast to previous composite designs, which along with the flange and brushes is insulated with a high-strength powder coating. The brush is CM1S grade while the whole unit has been both vibration and shock tested to RIA20, category 3 standard. The entire unit is fitted within the wheelset assembly of a railway vehicle. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 5, May 2015. p.21.

15% fuel saving

Deutsche Bahn's VT642 test DMU achieved a 15% reduction in fuel consumption compared to a conventional diesel multiple-unit when MTU undertook trials with a hybrid version of its PowerPack. MTU's PowerPacks combine a DMU engine, transmission after-treatment, auxiliaries and cooling systems into a single unit mounted on a support frame. The Hybrid version adds an electric propulsion module with battery and control system. MTU believes that further fuel savings would be possible on a route with a profile which is more favourable for regenerative braking. Hybrid PowerPacks could also be combined with electrification to produce an electro-diesel hybrid. Noise of the moving DMU was reduced by a 'clearly noticeable five decibels', while stationary noise was 21 dB lower, because auxiliary systems were powered by the batteries with the engine switched off.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 5, May 2015. p.21.

Educating the world of rail

Reports how, in a bid to cater for rapidly-growing demand for a wide variety of railway skills and expertise, the city of Birmingham is working to become a world centre for railway education, research and innovation. The city has recently been selected as the main hub for Britain's National High Speed Rail College and the headquarters of HS2 Ltd. With Network Rail completing a £500M transformation of the main station at New Street, the city is planning a major redevelopment around the planned station at Curzon Street, served by the first pase of High Speed 2. The University of Birmingham is already home to the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research & Education, which is now one of the world's largest railway-focused inter-disciplinary academic groups. The Centre works with the University's schools of Civil and of Electrical, Electronic & Syastems Engineering to offer a range of taught undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Also, a partnership between the Centre and the National Structural Integrity Research Centre will fund doctoral research projects over the next four years to study axle bearing fault detection, structural health monitoring of rails and sleepers, wear resistance, new composite materials and related theoretical and applied topics.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 5, May 2015. pp.40-43.

Costs research funded

RSSB and the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council have agreed to fund three academic research projects loking at how novel materials could reduce the whole-life costs of railway assets. The projects are: whole-life cost assessment of novel materials for use in railway drainage systems - this project will look at the use of lightweight and string materials within track drainage systems; rail-energy knowledge exchange on emerging materials - this project will study the potental for life-extension of high-value track components, including switch-blades, crossing noses and insulated block joints; and designing steel composition and microstructures to better resist degradation during wheel rail contact - this project aims to provide a better understanding of the response of various microstructural constituents of steels to the loads imposed on them during wheel-rail contact - it also aims to identify the characteristics of the steel which are important to resist the key degradation mechanisms, and develop a methodology for optimising steel grade choices at a granular level based on cost:benefit analysis.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 5, May 2015. p.75.

Maglev testing tops 600 km/h

A new speed record for a magnetically-levitated behicle was set on April 21, when Central Japan Railway powered one of its Series L0 superconducting Maglev units up to a maximum of 603 km/h on the test guideway in Yamanashi prefecture. JR Central said that a speed of more than 600 km/h was maintained for 10.8 seconds, during which time the unit travelled 1.8km. The seven-car set had earlier achieved 590 km/h during a series of passenger-carrying trials, surpassing the 581 km/h record established by the MLX01 prototype in December 2003 before the test guideway was lengthened from 18.4km to 42.8km. Following the recommissioning of the lengthened guideway in August 2013 and the delivery of additional Series L0 vehicles, JR Central has been undertaking endurance testing with two seven-car sets to investigate the reliability and durability of sustained high speed running. This is seen as an essential precursor to construction of the planned Chuo maglev between Tokyo, Nagoya and eventually Osaka.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 5, May 2015. p.76.

Rolls-Royce in line for hybrid trains deal

A new generation of more efficient, quieter and greener trains could be coming to Britain's railway lines, driven by a new hybrid power system built by Rolls-Royce. The company is developing a combined diesel-electric system that also incorporates batteries. The system also utilises regenerative braking systems first seen in Formula 1 cars. These store energy in the batteries that is created by slowing down, and which would otherwise be wasted. MTU, which comes under Rolls' power systems division, has been testing the new design on a Siemens train for four years in Germany, in partnership with rail operator Deutsche Bahn. The new system has been found to be 25% more fuel-efficient than current trains and much quieter. Rolls believes that its hybrid system could help Britain regain the leading role the country once held at the forefront of rail technology, and said its sees the UK as a 'key' market. Dr Ingo Wintruff, head of the MTU's rail business, said: 'Historically, many parts of the world have looked to the UK for leadership in the application of rail technology. The UK has the potential to seize the initiative again with the next generation of super-quiet, green trains.' As well as being more environmentally friendly, Rolls said the system will mean less disturbance for people who live near commuter rail lines that are not electrified, as the new trains will be able to run on internal batteries, rather than diesel engines. Although other companies have researched similar hybrid powertrains, Rolls believes it is closest to bringing a working product to market and will be launching its new product to the industry at the Railtex international exhibition in Birmingham on Tuesday.

The Daily Telegraph, 11th May 2015, B1.

Ricardo set for £42.5m swoop

West Sussex engineering company Ricardo is set to acquire rail consultancy and assurance business Lloyd's Register Rail in a multimillion-pound deal. Ricardo has signed a share and asset purchase agreement to acquire the business, operating assets and employees at LR Rail from Lloyd's Register Group. LR Rail will transfer to Ricardo for a total consideration of £42.5M on a cash-free and debt-free basis, payable in cash at completion. The transfer is expected to be materially completed on or before 1 July 2015, at which time Ricardo Rail will be launched. LR Rail currently has a 12-month order book totalling more than £50M. The business employs a total of 440 rail engineers and specialists located at offices across Europe, Asia and the Middle East.


US, Canada jointly release crude-by-rail transportation rules

The US and Canada have simultaneously issued new regulations governing transportation of crude oil and other hazardous materials by rail. US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said 'Our close collaboration with Canada on new tank car standards is recognition that the trains moving unprecedented amounts of crude by rail are not US or Canadian tank cars - they are part of a North American fleet, and a shared safety challenge'. Canadian Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt said it is critical that the requirements apply equally to tank cars in both countries because they cross the Canadian-US border daily. DOT said the final US rule, which its Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration jointly developed with Canada: unveils an enhanced tank-car standard and an aggressive, risk-based retrofitting schedule for older tank cars carrying crude oil and ethanol; requires a braking standard for certain trains that will improve safety by potentially reducing an accident's severity, and the 'pile-up effect'; designates operational protocols for trains transporting large volumes of flammable liquids, such as routing requirements, speed restrictions, and information for local government agencies; and provides sampling and testing requirements to improve classification of energy products placed into transport.


Ridership keeps rising

Patronage on urban rail networks in the US increased by 3.3% in 2014 compared to the pervious year, according to annual ridership data published by the American Public Transportation Association. Overall public transport usage rose by around 1% to 10.8bn trips, the highest level for 58 years, albeit with significant variations between the cities. Light rail ridership rose by 3.6%, metro traffic by 3.3% and commuter rail usage by 2.9% Light rail growth was largely driven by the opening of new lines, with Minneapolis seeing a 57.4% increase following the opening of its Green Line to St Paul. Other cities reporting substantial light rail ridership growth included Houston (17.9%), San Diego (15.3%) and Denver (12%). In the metro sector, ridership on the new York subway increased by 4%, adding more than 107M trips; at more than 2.7bn journeys a year this network carries more than half of all urban rail travel in the USA. Overall, rail now accounts for 46% of all public transport ridership, compared with 35% in 1996.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 4, Apr. 2015. p.26.

Bringing it all together

Railway research in UK universities has increased significantly in recent years, both to meet the needs of the rail sector and to fill gaps left by the demise of British Rail Research following privatisation two decades ago. Notes that many research issues will be discussed at the inaugural Stephenson Conference on Research for Railways, which the Institution of Mechanical Engineers is holding in London on April 21-23. The conference will cover a full range of rolling stock and interface disciplines from contact mechanics to pantograph and overhead line behaviour. Details some of the initiatives that have taken place in railway research in recent years including the Advanced Railway Research Centre at the University of Sheffield and the Rail Technical Strategy which was published in 2012.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 4, Apr. 2015. pp.28-29.

Research to elevate the role of rail

Reports on the role of Japan's Railway Technical Research Institute which is involved in exploring all parts of the railway system, working on basic to applied research and specialising in both railway technology and labour science. A major priority for RTRI is to maintain and improve the level of safety and it is developing high fidelity simulation techniques so that railways are more robust and resilient when faced with natural disasters. And, as part of its efforts to prevent accidents caused by human error, it is conducting studies into driver behaviour. In the past, perhaps RTRI's most notable development was the launch of the Tokaido Shinkansen in 1964, which created a viable model for high speed rail. More recently, RTRI has developed superconducting magnetic levitation technology, paving the way for the construction of super-fast railways.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 4, Apr. 2015. pp.31-33.

Reducing wheel damage enhances safety and saves money

Hosted by the Institute of Railway Technology at Melbourne's Monash University, the Stephen Marich Lecture in Railway Engineering was this year given by Harry Tournay from Transportation Technology Center. In a presentation entitled Strategies to Counter Wheel and Rail Rolling Contact Fatigue in Heavy Haul Service, Tournay looked at the root causes of RCF problems caused by friction between wheel and rail. Among the solutions being investigated were a cost-effective track-friendly bogie and improvements in the design and manufacture of wheels. After outlining the causes of wheel RCF, Tournay turned to a possible solution - the Integrated Freight Car Truck. This is designed to reduce RCF and improve the hunting stability for loaded wagons. Ideally suited for heavy haul environments, this is a cost-effective 'compromise' design for the current AAR standard 32.5 tonne axleload, avoiding the need for expensive steering or radial trucks. Based on the predominant three-piece bogie used on North American freight wagons, the IFCT overcomes two of that design's fundamental weaknesses - poor steering in curves which results in high lateral creep force on the low rail, forcing flange contact, and low warp restraint that worsens hunting stability.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 4, Apr. 2015. p.34.

Fatigue testing with heavy loads

An agreement signed on March 11 paves the way for tests to begin later this year in the Channel Tunnel on the durability of various track designs under heavy loads. The tests will be undertaken by Railenium, the railway research institute based in northern France of which Eurotunnel is a member. Intended to measure the 'durability of track and equipment', the tests will focus in particular on fatigue testing of ballasted and slab track forms. Eurotunnel will facilitate testing of track components under various load cycles and train speeds, as well as enabling the trial of various preventive maintenance techniques, including automated repair of components. In operating 400 shuttle trains a day with a laden weight of up to 2,400 tonnes, Eurotunnel claims that the Channel Tunnel is one of the most heavily-used railways in the world, and these extreme operating conditions permit the rapid assessment and validation of innovative railway equipment. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 4, Apr. 2015. p.59.

Whole-railway learning

Revised standards are to be applied to railway apprenticeships in the UK rail sector from the 2016 academic year to ensure that young people have a sound understanding of the 'railway system' as they begin their careers. The revised course standards will apply to Level 2 and 3 apprenticeship schemes, and will require apprentices to have a 'core underlying understanding and knowledge of the various disciplines that underpin the rail sector'. Topics to be covered include electrification, track design, signalling, telecoms, traction technology and rolling stock design. Once apprentices have demonstrated competency in these fundamental areas, they will be encouraged to specialise as their course continues. The revised standards were issued by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills following consultation with the railway supply sector. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 4, Apr. 2015. p.59.

Evaluation of intermediate strength rails at FAST

The development of high rail gauge-corner shells on intermediate strength rails is reported. Tests are underway on 5 rail steels (from EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel, Italy, Mittal, Steel Dynamics Inc and Trinecke Zelazarny (Czech Republic)) at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (USA), to determine in-service rail wear, rail rolling contact fatigue and grinding, and rail shelling. The rail shelling aspect is discussed in particular in this paper, with reference to the masking of transverse rail defects. Defects are not detectable by ultrasonic testing and are found only by failure. Work is continuing to determine how rail shells develop.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.111, no.4. April 2015. pp.12-15.

Adhesives spread innovation across Europe's railways

Considerable emphasis in Europe is now being placed on developing rail as a key transport mode by promoting innovations for passenger rolling stock, freight transport and rail infrastructure. This emphasis is reflected by the European Commission's 'Shift2Rail' initiative. This new public-private partnership has been set up to invest just under ?1bn in research and innovation to support better rail services and encourage more passengers and freight onto Europe's railways. Amongst the key areas identified for investment, the initiative highlights production process improvements, new designs, weight savings, compliance to stringent safety and environmental standards and low maintenance costs. In this context, adhesives are playing an ever increasing role, providing well established solutions for all kinds of rail bonding applications. Adhesive bonding enables the most efficient methods of assembly. Whilst maximising long-term potential and performance, it also optimises manufacturing methods with easy handling and simplified assembly procedures which speed up cycle times and reduce costs in parts production. For structural parts such as roofs, doors, floors and semi-structural products such as floor coverings, seat to floor attachments, door frames and hinges, epoxy adhesive offers the advantages of ease of application, high strength and shock resistance on multi-material assemblies.

Industrial Technology, Feb. 2015. pp.24-25.

EVRAZ supplies 100m rails for Moscow metro

EVRAZ has delivered the first batch of 100m head-hardened R65 rail for the Moscow metro. Produced by EVRAZ ZSMK, the rails have been recently installed in the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya line between the Kievskaya and Slavyanskiy Bul'var stations. It is the first ever use of 100m rail in an underground transit system internationally. Ilya Shirokobrod, EVRAZ vice president, Sales, said 'the new rail has a much higher longevity; with Moscow metro's heavy traffic, this will help reduce the track maintenance cost. Doing away with welded joints - which are the most vulnerable part of the track and the most common cause for rail replacement - will help reduce the volume of maintenance and enhance safety'.

Stainless Steel World, vol. 27. Mar. 2015. p.12.

2015 Market Research Report on Global Rail Vehicle Industry

Details a new report from QY Research which covers rail vehicle basic information including definition, classification, application, industry chain structure, industry overview, policy analysis, and news analysis. For international and China market analysis, the report analyses rail vehicle markets in China and other countries or regions (such as US, Europe, Japan, etc) by presenting research on global products of different types and applications, developments and trends of market, technology, competitive landscape, and leading suppliers' and countries' 2009-2014 capacity, production, cost, price, profit, production value, and gross margin. For leading suppliers, related information is listed as products, customers, application, capacity, market position, and company contact information. 2015-2020 forecast on capacity, production, cost, price, profit, production value, and gross margin for these markets are also included. The report also includes rail vehicle new project SWOT analysis, investment feasibility analysis, investment return analysis, and development trend analysis.


Canada says unable to agree with U.S. on rail car brakes

Canada has been unable to reach agreement with the United States on whether to require advanced braking systems in new oil tank cars, so the requirement was dropped from a draft of new Canadian tank-car standards, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said. The proposed standards did not include a requirement for electronically controlled pneumatic brakes, but the draft said braking requirements would be included in new operating rules. The United States is expected to release its own standards, but the two countries have been working to harmonise requirements so they are likely to be very similar. Reuters reported in February that the US Transportation Department had recommended advanced braking systems be required on new tank cars. But the rail industry has been pushing the White House to drop the braking requirements, arguing they are too costly and would not significantly improve safety. The new tank-car standards are meant to prevent the fiery derailments that have happened across Canada and the United States in recent years as crude oil is increasingly shipped by rail as well as through pipelines.


Crude-oil train wrecks raise questions about safety claims

Four recent accidents involving trains hauling crude oil across North America have left some experts worried that public safety risks have been gravely underestimated. Crude trains have crashed in Illinois, West Virginia and twice in Ontario, Canada, forcing evacuations of residents and causing extensive environmental contamination. The industry acknowledges that it needs to perform better, but says the trains are involved in derailments no more frequently than those hauling containers, grain or motor vehicles. Although the public doesn't pay much attention, about three freight train derailments occur every day on average. Critics, however, say the industry's position misses the point. All it is going to take is one major accident to change the entire calculus. However, as long as the crashes do not threaten public safety, the economic losses to the petroleum companies do not appear to be a deterrent. The question remains why the crude-oil trains are crashing and whether they are crashing for the same reasons as other freight trains.


Chuo Maglev construction officially launched

Work has commenced on the 286 km Tokyo-Nagoya Maglev line, 85% of which will be in tunnels. The line is expected to open in 2027. Completion date for the second phase of the route, Nagoya-Osaka, should be around 2045. The superconducting Maglev trains will operate at up to 500 km/h.

Railway Gazette International, vol.171, no.2. Feb.2015. p.8.

News in brief

A prototype bi-directional battery tram has been tested by Inekon in Ostrava. The unit has been developed in partnership with Saft, the battery manufacturer. 7 trams of this type are to be supplied to Seattle (USA).

Railway Gazette International, vol.171, no.2. Feb.2015. p.13.

London appoints Crossrail 2 consultants

Four consultancy teams, selected to develop plans for the northeast-southwest mainline-standard urban railway line across London, are listed. The central section of Crossrail 2 will require 36 km of new railway, predominantly in tunnels, 2 new above-ground and 13 new underground stations. Developers, TfL and Network Rail, plan to apply for powers to build the new system in 2017.

Railway Gazette International, vol.171, no.2. Feb.2015. p.14.

World's largest train builder

China CNR Corporation and CSR Corp., both state-owned rolling stock manufacturers, have agreed terms on a merger. Together they will form the largest rolling stock manufacturer in the world - China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. The merger is aimed at improving the ability to compete in the international marketplace.

Railway Gazette International, vol.171, no.2. Feb.2015. p.18.

News in brief [Australia]

voestalpine (VAE) has been chosen by Sydney Trains as the buyer of its Bathurst Rail Fabrication Centre. A 7 year agreement has been agreed in which VAE will meet the welding, track and turnout requirements of Sydney Trains.

Railway Gazette International, vol.171, no.2. Feb.2015. p.18.

BS EN 16273:2014Railway applications. Track. Forged rail transitions
[BSI] Update Standards. February 2015. p.14.
BS EN 13848-5Railway applications. Track. Track geometry quality. Geometric quality levels. Plain line, switches and crossings. (Draft British Standard 14/30258524 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2)
[BSI] Update Standards. February 2015. p.34.

Prototype battery-powered train carries passengers for first time

The first battery-powered train to run on Britain's rail network in more than half a century has carried its first passengers. The event marks an important milestone in the project to demonstrate the viability of an eco-friendly battery-powered train for the twenty-first century. Network Rail says it could ultimately lead to a fleet of battery-powered trains running on Britain's rail network which are quieter and more efficient than diesel-powered trains.Network Rail and its industry partners - including Bombardier, Abellio Greater Anglia, and the Rail Executive arm of the Department for Transport - which is co-funding the project through the FutureRailway innovation programme - recognise the potential for battery-powered trains to bridge gaps between electrified parts of the network and to run on branch lines where it would be too expensive to install overhead electrification. Following its successful retrofitting and trials at test tracks in Derby and Leicestershire last year by Bombardier, the modified Class 379 Electrostar battery-powered train - also known as an Independently Powered Electric Multiple Unit - will run in weekday timetable service for five weeks between Harwich International and Manningtree stations in Essex.


Train from China to Spain

Reports on the first direct rail freight service between China and Spain which arrived at ADIF's Madrid Abronigal intermodal terminal on 9th December. The train, which carried 30 containers, had left Yiwu on November 18, covering 13,000km in 21 days. The route, via Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland Germany, Germany and France, involved three changes of gauge, as well as locomotive changes approximately every 800km. The through service is the result of initiatives agreed by the government of China and Spain in September 2014 to develop closer trading relations. The Spanish Ministry of Development said that the trial had demonstrated the 'reliable, versatile and competitive' nature of rail, being more than 10 days faster than by sea. (Item contains no further information.

Railway Gazette International, vol 171, no. 1, Jan. 2015. p.8.

£3.3bn premium wins InterCit East Coast

The Department of Transport has named the Inter City Railways consortium of Stagecoach Group (90%) and Virgin Holdings (10%) as the winner of the InterCity East Coast franchise on November 27. ICR beat bids from FirstGroup and a consortium of Eurostar and Keolis. The franchise runs for eight years from March 1 2015 with an optional one-year extension. ICR will be branded as Virgin Trains East Coast and has committed to make premium payments of £3.3bn. ICR will negotiate to obtain paths for direct services from London to Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Huddersfield, in competition with DB-owned open access operator Grand Central. It is also looking to run more trains from London to Edinburgh, Leeds, Lincoln, Shipley, Stirling, Harrogate and Bradford. The franchisees have committed to invest £140M in additional passenger benefits including £13.4M for refurbishment of existing trains, 'better wi-fi connections and onboard catering' on the new IEP trainsets, 170 ticket machines and added parking spaces. ICR has also committed to reduce long-distance standard Anytime fares by 10%.

Railway Gazette International, vol 171, no. 1, Jan. 2015. p.8.

Creeping towards a messy compromise?

Almost two years after the European Commission published its Fourth Railway Package, the legislation is still not in force and the debate on the various proposals is far from over. There is fairly wide support for the technical pillar under which the European Railway Agency would become a 'one-stop shop' for safety certification and authorisation of operators and new rolling stock across Europe, working closely with national safety authorities. There are still problems with the market pillar with a number of member states still questioning the Commission's premise that competition is the best way forward and that the market should be liberalised. Says that perhaps the most controversial elements in the Fourth Package are the measures intended to ensure greater transparency between incumbent operators and infrastructure managers.

Railway Gazette International, vol 171, no. 1, Jan. 2015. pp.26-28.

'Rail has a bright future in Europe'

Presents an interview with João Aguiar Machado, DG Move Director-General, who says that the policies being pursued by the European Commission are intended to create a strong, healthy and competitive market in the rail sector, reducing costs and encouraging investment. Topics covered include: the European Commission's transport white paper of 2011 and the concept of the Single Transport Area; the shift of transport from road to rail; the different requirements of the international and the domestic rail passenger markets; the need for railways to cooperate despite the liberalisation of the market; and the need for significant investment, despite the present economic climate.

Railway Gazette International, vol 171, no. 1, Jan. 2015. pp.32-33.

Reviving international passenger rail in Europe

Backed by young rail professionals and environmental groups, the Train2EU coalition, launched in Brussels on November 18 last year, has developed a youth-orientated manifesto aimed at growing rail's share of the international passenger transport market in Europe. The group believes that the underlying causes for rail's limited share of European travel is that the main market for train operators is still domestic. However, it does see great potential both to improve the supply of rail services and in terms of unmet demand. Sets out the groups 'aims' in terms of infrastructure managers, governments, the supply industry, environmental organisations and consumer bodies. The ultimate goal is more and better cross-border rail services in Europe, with the first issue to tackle being the complexity of rail ticket distribution. The group believes that every European country should share a standardised platform, offering the same services with access to the same fare basket, eliminating price discrepancies between retail outlets.

Railway Gazette International, vol 171, no. 1, Jan. 2015. pp.34-37.

Life-cycle costs determine asset management policy

Says that one of the major tasks facing the rail infrastructure manager is to find the right balance between maintenance and renewal. This can be determined by analysing life-cycle costs which are an essential factor in decision making. Reports on the experience of the Austrian Federal Railways. They believe that the key to achieving good track quality at an acceptable cost is to use high quality components and materials and to monitor and evaluate the efficiency of the maintenance regime. Monitoring life-cycle costs by calculating the average annual cost - taking interest rates into account - allows the infrastructure manager to identify the optimal time to reinvest. This means that it is essential to predict future maintenance needs and, even more importantly, to forecast the future behaviour of the track in terms of quality. Adds that one way to increase the service life of track is to offer lower access charges for track-friendly vehicle types to encourage train operators to invest in equipment that is less aggressive to the track.

Railway Gazette International, vol 171, no. 1, Jan. 2015. pp.44-47.

Composite technology puts UK tram on track for savings

As part of its Low Impact Light Rail initiative - funded by Innovate UK, formerly known as the Technology Strategy Board - UK Tram has appointed a research team comprising specialists from Atkins, Brecknell Willis and Cecence to look at adapting composite materials for use in the overhead line equipment used to supply power to trams. Stage one of the Composite Overhead Line Structure research project involves the development of a viable gantry design, with an ultimate aim of reducing the whole life cost of these kinds of structure. Composite materials are up to four times stiffer than metals for the same mass, and are up to ten times stronger. GFRP is electrically insulating and CFRP does not expand or contract as the temperature changes. Due to these properties the proposed new design will mean the spacing between pylons can be increased by approximately 40% which would therefore require fewer poles and less cable tensioning equipment. It would also eliminate the need for electrical isolation and reduce the amount of electrical bonding required. Although elements of the proposed design are more expensive than existing options, the estimated cost savings for the project are substantial, ranging from £50k-£100k per kilometre for a typical track where pylons are used.

Composites in Manufacturing, Feb. 2015. http://tinyurl.com/mrfwqrh

Update on the evaluation of effects of heavy-axle-loads at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing

A summary of recent results from selected experiments within the heavy-axle-load (HAL) test programme being conducted at FAST is presented. The programme has reached an accumulated 4bn gross tons of traffic and an accumulated 3bn gross tons of this total under 39 ton axles loads since its inception in the 1970s/80s. Findings on special track work (cants), steel bridges and ties and fasteners are reported.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.110, no.12. Dec.2014. pp.16,18,20.

Battersea station powers

A Transport & Works Act Order has been granted giving Transport for London powers to extend London Underground's Northern Line to Battersea. Construction for the 3.3km branch from Kennington with two stations could begin early next year for opening in 2020. The cost of 'up to £1bn' is to be funded entirely from taxes generated over 25 years by commercial developments in an enterprise zone that will be created in 2016. Earlier this year TfL awarded Ferrovial Agroman Laing O'Rourke a design-build contract covering the main construction works. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette, vol. 170, no. 12, Dec. 2014. p.1.

Seize the moment

After many years of stagnation and decline, the railway market is growing rapidly, and this growth is forecast to continue, despite the prevailing harsh economic conditions. At the same time, reform and restructuring of the rail sector in many countries has been opening up state-owned operators to competition, outsourcing the supply of equipment and services, and removing trade barriers to facilitate international tendering. Furthermore, mergers between established companies to create multinational players, spin-offs and the emergence of niche specialists have radically altered the competitive landscape. In terms of technology, the largest and most competitive sector is rolling stock, which accounts for more than 25% of the total market value. Urges caution about radical upheaval in the sector, but says that globalisation will undoubtedly continue. Concludes that the rail market is open for the next breed of mid-sized, multi-disciplinary companies, able to harness their competitive skills and adapt their product ranges.

Railway Gazette, vol. 170, no. 12, Dec. 2014. pp.26-27.

Phased-array ultrasonic rail-flaw inspection

Protoype ultrasonic phased array equipment for a rail inspection vehicle is described. The US Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) is developing the inspection system, which has the ability to steer and focus the ultrasonic beams. The roller search unit for holding the probes on the vehicle fits in the same place as standard ultrasonic nondestructive testing RSUs. At present the vehicle is undergoing tests at the TTCI Rail Defect Test Facility; tests at speed are expected early next year.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.110, no.11. Nov.2014. pp.14-16.

Class investigation into rail breaks on the East Coast Main Line

This class investigation considers the occurrence and management of rail breaks on Network Rail's East Coast Main Line. It considers those breaks which occurred at three locations during 2012 and 2013 and which, together with reports that the occurrence of rail breaks on the ECML was relatively high, triggered the investigation. None of these three rail breaks resulted in injuries or damage to trains. A rail break at Corby Glen, near Grantham was triggered by wear of the pad intended to separate the rail from the underlying concrete sleeper. Breaks at Copmanthorpe, near York, and at Hambleton, about 15 miles south of York, were due to movement at rail joints caused by inadequate support from the underlying ground. Rail break statistics show that, after allowing for differences in route length and the amount of traffic, the ECML has more rail breaks than comparable main lines. After considering both the types of rail break occurring on the ECML and the measures being taken by Network Rail to manage these, the investigation concluded that the most significant factor in the relatively high number of rail breaks on the ECML between 2009 and 2013 was the relatively high proportion of older track. The RAIB has made recommendations relating to rail breaks and addressed to Network Rail.


Abellio wins ScotsRail franchise

The Scottish government has named the Abellio subsidiary of Dutch national passenger operator NS as the winner of the next ScotRail franchise. The franchise covers almost all internal passenger services within Scotland and will run for seven years, with an option to extend to ten years by mutual consent after five years. The new franchise includes: up to 80 EMUs; transformation of inter-city services; free wi-fi on trains; a new approach to cycling, including parking and a hire scheme; more through rail bus, sea and air ticketing and reduced fares for job seekers; a Great Scenic Railway scheme to attract more tourists to the north, southwest and Borders; Stations2Stations business centres to facilitate working at stations; a 'true deep alliance' with infrastructure manager Network Rail; and union representation at board meetings, 100 apprenticeships and no redundancies.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.10.

Hitachi to build EMU fleet

Hitachi Rail Europe confirmed on October 9 that it had been selected to supply and maintain a fleet of 160km/h EMUs for the net ScotRail franchise. This is the first order for Hitachi's AT200 design. Subject to the successful conclusion of negotiations, Hitachi Rail Europe is to build 234 vehicles, which would be formed as 46 three-car and 24 four-car sets. They would enter service in 2017 on the Edinburgh to Glasgow via Falkirk route as well as on suburban services from both cities to Stirling, Alloa and Dunblane. These routes are being electrified at 25kV under Network Rail's Edinburgh Glasgow improvement programme. A further ten three-car sets would follow if the franchise extension were exercised.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.10.

Free Gauge Train

Reports that JR Kyushu and Japan Railway Construction Transport & Technology Agency have launched test running with the gauge-changing Free Gauge Train prototype on October 19. Built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, it is derived from two prototypes which were tested in Japan and at the Transportation Technology Center in the US. The Series 900 FGT is designed to run at up to 270km/h on the standard gauge and 130km/h on 1067 gauge conventional tracks. The lead cars incorporate a carbon fibre reinforced plastic bodyshell, and have dimmable window glass rather than blinds. The train also has lightweight high-voltage electrical components. JR Kyushu is planning to use gauge-changing trainsets on Shinkansen services between Hakata and Nagasaki, where an isolated section of high-speed line is expected to open in 2022.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.12.

New tube for London

Design proposals for the New Tube for London trains to re-equip London Underground's small-profile Piccadilly, Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo and City lines were revealed on October 9. Transport for London has shortlisted Alstom, Bombardier, CAF, Hitachi and Siemens for the contract to supply around 250 trainsets. It plans to issue formal invitations to tender in early 2015, with a contract expected to be worth between £1bn and £2.5bn scheduled to be awarded in 2016. The first trains would enter service on the Piccadilly Line in 2022. TfL commissioned transport design consultancy PriestmanGoode to develop its design aspirations. The brief was to maximise available passenger capacity and to provide a cooler environment. The trains would be articulated, reducing the number of heavy bogies and providing walk-through interiors to increase capacity.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.16.

Parsons Brinckerhoff

Parsons Brinckerhoff has been selected to provide asset information management services to support the HS2 project. Separately, it has won an £8M design contract for the Bedford-Oxford/Aylesbury reopening scheme. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.18.

Newag and Bombardier

Newag and Bombardier have signed a letter of intent for a long-term 'strategic partnership' at InnoTrans. Details are still to be finalised, but joint bids for rolling stock contracts are envisaged with Bombardier contributing technical knowledge and Newag low-cost manufacturing facilities. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.22.

Consortium to buy Porterbrook

The owners of rolling stock leasing company Porterbrook Rail Finance have announced an agreement for the sale of their interests to an international consortium of investors. Porterbrook owns around 5900 passenger and freight vehicles, representing approximately one third of Great Britain's passenger fleet. It is owned by a consortium of Antin Infrastructure, OP Trust and iCON Infrastructure, which announced in May that it was 'exploring options' for a possible sale. The consortium which is to buy the business comprises Canadian pension fund manager Alberta Investment Management Corporation, Allianz Capital Partners, which manages investments for insurance companies in the Allianz Group, the EDF Invest unlisted investment arm of EDF which supports its long-term nuclear decommissioning commitments, and funds managed by Australian infrastructure investor Hastings Funds Management.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.22.

SJ embraces remote bearing monitoring

With SJ, Sweden's national rail opeRator facing competition on its busiest inter-city corridor from next March, it has launched a mid-life refurbishment programme to update its 43 SJ2000 tilting inter-city trains. One novel aspect of the work is the installation of 40 sets of Perpetuum's bearing and wheel set monitoring equipment on both powered and trailer wheelsets. At the heart of this technology is a vibration harvester, which converts vibration into a reliable electrical energy supply. For the last four years, Perpetuum, developed by academics at the University of Southampton, has been developing self-powered sensors that can be directly mounted on to bogie components, and a set of algorithms that can drive condition-based maintenance programmes.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.64.

Fuel cell train prototype

Alstom Transport hopes to have 40 fuel cell-powered regional trains in commercial service on regional lines in Germany by 2020 under an accord signed at the InnoTrans trade show in Berlin on September 24. Under the letters of intent signed between Alstom, the Länder of Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen and Baden-Würtemberg and the transport authority of Hesse, two prototype trains are to be developed by the end of 2018 for revenue service trails using modified Coradia Lint multiple units. The powertrain will use roof-mounted hydrogen fuel cells, batteries and energy storage systems to replace the under floor diesel power pack, giving equivalent performance to an electric multiple-unit. While the fuel cells will feature 'proven technology' already deployed in the automotive sector, Alstom will provide the software, control and energy storage equipment. Citing commercial confidentiality, the company would not be drawn on the type of battery and energy storage tools to be adopted.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.72.

Rail welding research

Premium rail manufacturer, Voestalpine Schienen GmbH, has established a specialist rail welding institute to undertake research into the effects of welding on high-performance rails, including heat-treated and other specialist steel grades. Building on the company's existing accredited laboratory for weld testing and defect analysis, the Competence Centre Welding will be based at a new facility now under construction at Leoben, close to the company's high-tech rail mill at Donawitz. The CCW is intended to undertake research into all welding processes, such as flash-butt, stick, wire, aluminothermic, and shielded arc. The company hopes that this will 'shape the future development of welding procedures for new and existing products'. As well as hosting customer demonstrations and workshops, the CCW will provide training courses in rail welding for infrastructure managers and other track workers.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.74.

Looking to enter the UK

Polish rolling stock manufacturer Pesa Bydgoszcz is 'looking forward to entering the British market' according to Michal Cholody, Head of Western Markets Marketing. Pesa is an approved supplier to Deutsche Bahn, which has signed a framework agreement for up to 470 regional DMUs including single car units, and Cholody said it has already held preliminary discussions with DB's Arriva subsidiary in the UK. Cholody said that Pesa would require an initial order of sufficient size to justify the cost of type approval, perhaps of the order of 10 of multiple-units. The company believes that the UK's willingness to cross-accept European component approvals would facilitate an affordable entry to the market, although meeting UK standards on steel and aluminium bodyshell design would require some work. (Item contains little further information.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.78.

National College for High Speed Rail locations announced

The National College for High Speed Rail is to have its headquarters in Birmingham and a second site in Doncaster, the UK government announced on September 30. The College is planned to open in 2017 and will provide specialist vocational training for engineers to work on High Speed 2 and future projects. The government said as many as 2,000 apprenticeship opportunities would be created by HS2, with around 25,000 people employed during construction. The two locations were selected under a bidding process which assessed criteria including the size and availability of a suitable site, accessibility, and the potential to develop strong links with employers and providers already operating in the sector.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.81.

Commission seeks Shift2Rail associates

The European Commission has invited organisations to express interest in becoming associated members of the Shift2Rail initiative, which is to invest almost €920M in railway research and innovation in 2014-20. Associated members would be selected in early 2015 and would work with the Commission and the eight Shift2Rail founding members to 'deliver new technologies that will help to increase the quality, reliability and punctuality of ail services while also slashing their cost and facilitating cross-border travel'. There are five work streams: cost-efficient and reliable trains; high-capacity infrastructure; advanced traffic management and control systems; IT for attractive railway services; and technologies for sustainable and attractive European freight.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 11, Nov. 2014. p.81.

Derailment of a freight train at Porthkerry, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales, 2 October 2014

The Rail Accident Investigation Board is investigating a derailment that occurred on the line between Barry and Bridgend, in the early hours of Thursday 2 October 2014. At about 02:30 hrs, the last two wagons of a loaded freight train (reporting number 6B81) derailed on the Down line between Porthkerry No. 1 Tunnel and Porthkerry Viaduct. The train comprised a class 66 locomotive pulling 21 loaded coal wagons and was en-route from Avonmouth to Aberthaw power station. The derailed wagons were dragged to a stand causing extensive track damage over a distance of about 80 metres. The driver, who was uninjured, discovered that the last two wagons were derailed when walking back to inspect his train. The preliminary examination has revealed that the derailment was almost certainly caused by a defective rail which collapsed as the freight train passed over it. The RAIB's investigation will examine the sequence of events leading up to the accident and the cause of the rail failure. This will include consideration of the design, inspection and maintenance of the track. It will also examine what was known about the condition of the rail prior to the derailment and the adequacy of any plans that were in place to manage the risk of the rail failing.


Freight train derailment near Gloucester

At about 20:15 hrs on 15 October 2013, a freight train operated by Direct Rail Services, which was carrying containers, derailed about 4 miles south west of Gloucester station on the railway line from Newport via Lydney. It was travelling at 69 mph when the rear wheelset of the last wagon in the train derailed on track with regularly spaced dips in both rails, a phenomenon known as cyclic top. The train continued to Gloucester station where it was stopped by the signaller, who had become aware of a possible problem with the train through damage to the signalling system. The immediate cause of the accident was a cyclic top track defect which caused a wagon that was susceptible to this type of track defect to derail. The dips in the track had formed due to water flowing underneath the track and although the local Network Rail track maintenance team had identified the cyclic top track defect, the repairs it carried out were ineffective. The severity of the dips required immediate action by Network Rail, including the imposition of a speed restriction for the trains passing over it, but no such restriction had been put in place. Speed restrictions had repeatedly been imposed since December 2011 but were removed each time repair work was completed; on each occasion, such work subsequently proved to be ineffective.


Crude-by-rail safety standards call for better tank cars, reduced speeds

The US Department of Transportation has proposed new rules for transporting crude by rail that are designed to lessen the frequency and consequences of train accidents by reducing the speed of trains, improving tank car standards, and setting more-robust testing and classification guidelines for crude cargoes. The DOT proposal, drafted by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, would require tank cars constructed after October 1, 2015, to conform to new design requirements - known as DOT Specification 117 - for enhanced thermal, top-fitting, and bottom-outlet protection systems as well as improved tank head and shell-puncture resistance. Three tank car design options are proposed for the new DOT-117 rail car standards. The three options are distinguished by their shell thickness and enhanced breaking-system requirements. Two options call for tank car shells with a thickness of 9/16 in., while the third calls for a thickness of 7/16 in. Each option also contains a unique braking standard; one calls for the use of a two-way end-of-train device, the other for distributed power braking, while the third requires electronically controlled pneumatic brakes. PHMSA considers any train carrying 20 or more carloads of Bakken crude, or other Class 3 flammable liquid such as ethanol, a high-hazard flammable train.


HS2 college race winners revealed

Two locations- in Doncaster and Birmingham - are to become the home of the new National High Speed Rail College. The college will train thousands of new engineers, who are needed to deliver billions of pounds worth of rail contracts over the coming decades, including the new HS2 high-speed rail line. The successful Centre for Rail Engineering and Technical Expertise (CREATE) bid, coordinated by Doncaster Council, involved a range of private sector businesses and was supported by the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership. The College will be built on a 'ready to go' 5.1 acre site at Doncaster's Lakeside. It will be within walking distance of household names in the rail industry, such as DB Schenker, Volker Rail and Hitachi, and offers easy access for employers and students from across the UK.


Comparison of the fatigue and impact fracture behaviour of five different steel grades used in the frog of a turnout

Materials requirements for the manufacture of frogs were investigated. Five different steel grades were studied: Hadfield steel (an Mn-13, abrasion-resistant grain-refined steel with 400 HV); bainitic railway steel; tempered steel 51CrV4 (DIN 1.8159) and maraging steel. In-service responses to high impact forces, cyclic loading and fracture resistance were measured and compared. A free pdf of this paper is available at: http://pif.sagepub.com/content/228/6/603.

Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit August 2014 vol.228, no.6. pp.603-610

Effect of head wear and lateral forces on underhead radius crack propagation

The effect of rail head wear and lateral forces on underhead radius (UHR) stress conditions and the resulting stress intensity factors of a long transverse crack was investigated. A long transverse crack was introduced at the gauge corner and its propagation behaviour across the UHR studied under various situations. Contact loads were applied to the rail head at various eccentric locations and crack behaviour evaluated with respect to different worn rail profiles. The influence of tensile bending stresses at the UHR, which is associated with contact loads, along with a combination of the lateral bending of the whole rail profile and localised vertical and lateral bending of the head-on-web were included.
Free pdf of this paper available at: http://pif.sagepub.com/content/228/6/620.full.pdf+html.

Proc. IMechE Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, vol.228, no.6. 2014. pp.620-630.

Reclassification nationalises NR

Network Rail was formally declared a part of central UK government as from 1 Sept.2014, as an 'arms length public body' within the Department for Transport. The move is to comply with EU accounting rules, reclassifying NR debt from private to the public sector.

Railway Gazette International, vol.170, no.10. Oct.2014. p.8.

Suburban EMU order

Siemens and Angle Trains have been selected by South West Trains to supply 30 five-car electric multiple units. The EMUs will be Class 707 Desiro City model, with deliveries from 2017-2018.

Railway Gazette International, vol.170, no.10. Oct.2014. p.10.

Intercity Express on test

Low speed trials of the new Class 800 trainsets, being manufactured by Hitachi (Kasado, Japan) for the UK Intercity Express Programme, have begun. The specification of the trainsets is briefly given.

Railway Gazette International, vol.170, no.10. Oct.2014. p.12.

Siemens selected to build Florida fleet

Siemens has been chosen to supply trainsets for a proposed Miami-Orlando service by All Aboard Florida (AAF), a private passenger promoter. Details of the new service routes to be provided within Florida by AAF are summarised.

Railway Gazette International, vol.170, no.10. Oct.2014. p.12.

London Underground awards Battersea extension

Ferrovial Agroman Laing O'Rourke has been chosen by LU to design and build the 3.5 km extension to the London Northern Line (Kennington - Nine Elms/Battersea). The total project is expected to take 6 years to complete, with construction starting in Spring 2015.

Railway Gazette International, vol.170, no.10. Oct.2014. p.16.

Towards a better understanding of track degradation

An approach designing railway track as a structure, just like a bridge or building, is proposed. Using numerical simulation and structural analysis, proper dimensioning and maintenance, and the creation of a catalogue of degradation processes and failure mechanisms in order to consolidate and combine existing knowledge and software tools is discussed with the aim of reducing costs and increasing operational safety.

Railway Gazette International, vol.170, no.10. Oct.2014. pp.52-54.

Track performance under heavy-axle-loads at the eastern and western mega sites

The effects of heavy-axle-loads (HAL) on railway infrastructure is under continuous test at two revenue service test sites, one with an estimated annual tonnage of 220-250 million gross tons (mgt) and another with 55 mgt, with the aim of understanding long-term impacts of HAL and the root causes of track-related problems. This latest update of HAL investigations discusses the performance of rail-life extension on premium rails with and without an optimised grinding schedule, and the effects of rail-life extension on intermediate strength rail. The results of tests on improved rail welding practices (running surface degradation of electric flash-butt welds), half-frame tie performance, frog system performance, elastic fastener performance, fibre-reinforced bridge ties, insulated rail joints and remedies to bridge approach degradation are considered. The investigations are being carried out by the US Transportation Technology Center, Inc. under a programme funded by the Association of American Railroads and the Federal Railroad Administration.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.110, no.9. Sept.2014. pp.18, 20, 22-24.

Reducing the weight of aircraft interiors

French company SMTC is introducing Dynatech, a thermoplastic sandwich panel reported to offer significant weight and cost savings in aircraft and train interior applications. The Dynatech sandwich panel can be used to manufacture complex shaped parts, including seats, overhead bins, sidewalls, trolleys, galleys, tables and doors. It is reported to offer a 20-40% weight saving potential and a 10-30% cost saving potential over materials currently in use, including sandwich panels based on phenolic resin/Nomex honeycomb and those based on aluminium. It also offers better mechanical performance and higher fire/smoke/toxicity values. Dynatech parts are also recyclable.

Reinforced Plastics, July/Aug. 2014. pp.36-37.

Effects of heavy-axle loads on electric flash-welded surface degradation

Methods to mitigate and remediate weld degradation have been developed by the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI). The background to the investigation on electric flash-butt weld (EFBW) degradation is described; in service degradation and laboratory investigations are discussed. In May 2014 eight further EFBWs were selected for monitoring and will be the subject of a future report.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.110, no.7. July 2014. pp.11-13.

Gripping fastening systems

A descriptive round-up of fastening systems available in the USA is presented, organised by manufacturer: Amsted RPS, L.B. Foster, Lewis Bolt & Nut, Pandrol USA, Rail Forge and Vossloh.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.110, no.7. July 2014. pp.14-16,18.

The search for stronger welds forges research efforts

The efforts of a number of US rail welding service providers to develop new products and stronger, longer lasting welds are reported. Included are Chemetron Railway Products (new welding facility); E.O. Paton (Hong Kong) Ltd (new weld head designed for welding crossings in close proximity to rails); Holland L.P. (long reach welder for welding turnouts and insulated joints from the trackside); Lincoln Electric Copying (improvements to equipment, consumables and training methods for manganese steel welders); Orgo-Thermit, Inc. (Head Alloyed Welding process incorporating a patented plug with alloying elements for in situ microalloying, plus rail grinding); Plasser American Corporation (new welding head and APT 1500R welding robot); and Railtech Boutet (QP Hybrid Welding System, Head Wash Repair Welding, Startwel Ignition System).

Railway Track and Structures, vol.110, no.7. July 2014. pp.26-28,30,32.

Greenbrier announces railcar orders valued at $460 million

New orders for 5600 railway carriage units, including 1200 intermodal platforms, have been received by Greenbrier Companies, Inc (Lake Oswego, OR, USA). The carriage types range widely - hoppers, boxes, gondolas and tankers.

Welding Journal, vol.93, no.6. June 2014. p.19.

Traxx ME for Sylt Shuttle

Bombardier is to supply seven Traxx Multi-Engine locos for use on Deutsche Bahn's 40km Niebüll-Westerland Sylt Shuttle car-carrying service across the 11km Hindenburgdamm causeway connecting the North Sea island of Sylt with mainland Schleswig-Holstein. The contract has been placed within a 2011 framework agreement for up to 200 Traxx ME locomotives and has a 'value based on the list price' of approximately Euros 27M. Two locos are to be deployed on the Sylt Shuttle from the end of 2015. From mid-2016 each train will be hauled by one 2.4 MW Traxx ME instead of two Class 218s. Traxx ME can shut down three of its four Stage IIIB-compliant engines during the frequent shunting moves, cutting emissions and noise.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170,no. 7, July 2014. p.8.

Express logistics test

On the night of June 4-5, Colas Rail and TNT Express operated a trial train carrying express parcels and perishable products from Rugby to London. Organised by consultancy Intermodality, the run was intended to demonstrate the feasibility of using rail for 'high-speed, low-carbon deliveries into the heart of towns and cities'. It was formed of former car carrier vans, which are suitable for carrying traffic in roll cages: these had previously been used by Stobart for a trial in 2012. An Intermodality spokesman said 'the train ran to time, achieved a faster transit than by road, used an otherwise deserted mainline station as a freight interchange, and reduced emissions by at least two thirds'.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170,no. 7, July 2014. p.8.

Govia wins UK's biggest franchise

The Department of Transport has appointed the Govia joint venture of Go-Ahead and Keolis to operate the future Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern franchise. Covering regional and commuter services into London from a wide area of southern England, it will be the UK's largest franchise in terms of passengers, services, revenue and staff. The franchise agreement includes: 150 'metro style' EMU cars to replace 1970s stock on services into London Moorgate; 108 new coaches to be introduced on the Gatwick Express service by 2016; introduction in 2016-18 of 1140 EMU cars which Siemens is building for Thameslink services; additional direct services to Gatwick Airport, including a Cambridge-Brighton service; £50M to be spent improving 239 stations;100 busiest stations staffed during service hours; and free wi-fi at 104 stations.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170,no. 7, July 2014. p.12.

Supercapacitor tram

CSR Zhuzhou has unveiled what it says is the first tram to be powered only by supercapacitors. Seven 100% low-floor trams are being supplied for a 7.7km circular route in the Haizhou district of Guangzhou under a contract signed in June 2013. The first two will be produced in Zhuzhou, with the subsequent five assembled in Guangzhou. The onboard supercapacitors will be automatically charged from a ground-level power supply at stops. This will normally take between 10 secs and 30 secs. The trams are able to run for up to 4k between charges. Mobile charging vehicles are to be deployed in case of faults at the charging points. The four section tram is 36.5m long with a capacity of 386 passengers.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170,no. 7, July 2014. p.14.

Mega EMU project gets under way

Just weeks after it announced financial close on its biggest ever EMU contract, Alstom has confirmed that 'we are already doing some metal cutting in Brazil, and the customer is working with use on the final design review'. The Euros 4bn contract signed last October covers the delivery of 600 electric multiple-nits to Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, amounting to no fewer than 3,600 cars over 10 years. The deal was formally awarded to the Gibela joint venture led by Alstom, which holds a 61% stake. Designated XTrapolis Mega (for MEtric GAuge), the EMUs are derived from Alstom's standard commuter platform, adapted for PRASA's 1067mm gauge. Discusses the challenges of the project with Gian-Luca Erbacci, Alstom Transport Senior Vice-President.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170,no. 7, July 2014. pp.40-41.

Railway construction (global) - industry report

Details a new report from Plimsoll Publishing on the global railway construction sector in 2014. The report is split into two sections and uses both a written and graphical analysis to analyse the 130 largest railway construction (global) companies. The first section scrutinises the market and includes the following: Best Trading Partners; Sales Growth Analysis; Profit Analysis; Market Size; and Rankings of the top 50 companies by Market Share, Sales Growth, Gross Profit and Pre-tax Profit. The next section focuses on company analysis and provides an in-depth analysis of the largest companies within the railway construction (global) industry.


TRB Lightweight Structures addresses the shortage of engineers

With growing concern over the shortage of engineers in the UK, TRB Lightweight Structures managing director Julie Quirke gives an insight into the effect on the rail industry and how the Huntingdon-based manufacturer is helping tackle the issue. The company has recently opened new and state-of-the-art facilities as part of an ongoing investment programme, and has already enrolled two employees in a mechanical manufacturing and engineering apprenticeship aimed at developing the company's talent. The apprenticeship scheme, which is facilitated by Peterborough Regional College, has been running for two years and TRB is set to produce its first two junior engineers by September. Once this stage has been passed they will progress to take the Higher National Certificate in Engineering. Working with experienced engineers, the apprentices have already taken on roles in key projects ranging from detrainment doors for London Underground's sub-surface fleet through to bespoke structural work for high-profile projects such as the energy efficient London Blackfriars Station.


Performance of improved rail steels under heavy-axle-loads at FAST

Results from the latest round of testing on premium and intermediate strength rail steels at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST) in a Heavy Axle Load environment are discussed. Data on the effects of lubrication, rail wear differences, deep seated shelling defects and cementite content as related to rolling contact fatigue, are presented. Manufacturers taking part in the tests are voestalpine Nortrak Inc., Panzhihua, EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel, JFE, Nippon Steel, ArcelorMittal USA, Lucchini, Steel Dynamics Inc, Trinecke Zelazarny and Tata Steel

Railway Track & Structures, vol.110, no.6. June 2014. pp.12-14.

BS EN 13232-2 Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Requirements for geometric design. (Draft British Standard 14/30294492 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2/-/9; comments by 30 Sept.2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.38.
BS EN 13232-3 Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Requirements for wheel/rail interaction. (Draft British Standard 14/30294489 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2/-/9; comments by 30 Sept.2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.38.
BS EN 13232-4 Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Actuation, locking and detection. (Draft British Standard 14/30294495 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2/-/9; comments by 30 Sept.2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.38.
BS EN 13232-5 Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Switches. (Draft British Standard 14/30294483 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2/-/9; comments by 30 Sept.2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.38.
BS EN 13232-6 Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Fixed common and obtuse crossings. (Draft British Standard 14/30294498 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2/-/9; comments by 30 Sept.2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.38.
BS EN 13232-7 Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Crossings with moveable parts. (Draft British Standard 14/30294504 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2/-/9; comments by 30 Sept.2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.38.
BS EN 13232-8 Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Expansion devices. (Draft British Standard 14/30294501 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2/-/9; comments by 30 Sept.2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.38.
BS EN 13232-9 Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Layouts. (Draft British Standard 14/30294813 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2/-/9; comments by 30 Sept.2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.38.
Railway applications. Infrastructure. NDT on rails in track. Requirements for ultrasonic inspection and evaluation principles. (Draft British Standard 14/30269477 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2014. p.35.

Standards News

Standards notices

BS 6221-25:2000Printed wiring boards. Guide to the rework and repair of soldered surface mounted printed board assemblies. (Standard withdrawn as it is considered no longer relevant)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.16.
BS EN 583-1:1999Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. General principles. (Superseded by BS EN ISO 16810:2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.16.
BS EN 583-2:2001Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Sensitivity and range setting. (Superseded by BS EN ISO 16811:2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.17.
BS EN 583-3:1997Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Transmission technique. (Superseded by BS EN ISO 16823:2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.17.
BS EN 583-4:2002Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Examination for discontinuities perpendicular to the surface. (Superseded by BS EN ISO 16826:2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.17.
BS EN 583-5:2001Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Characterisation and sizing of discontinuities. (Superseded by BS EN ISO 16827:2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.17.
BS EN 583-6:2008Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Time-of-flight diffraction technique as a method for detection and sizing of discontinuities. (Superseded by BS EN ISO 16828:2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.17.
BS EN 1999-1-1:2007+A2:2013Eurocode 9: Design of aluminium structures. General structural rules. Corrigendum 1
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.15.
BS EN ISO 10218-1:2011Robots and robotic devices. Safety requirements for industry robots. Robots. Corrigendum 1
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.15.
BS EN ISO 18278-2Resistance welding. Weldability. Evaluation procedures for weldability in spot welding. (Draft British Standard 14/30284268 DC; BSI Committee WEE/29)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.29.
BS ISO 18555 Metallic and other inorganic coatings. Determination of thermal conductivity of thermal barrier coatings. (Draft British Standard 14/30279095 DC; BSI Committee STI/40)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.29.
DD IEC/PAS 62647-3:2011Process management for avionics. Aerospace and defence electronic systems containing lead-free solder. Performance testing for systems containing lead-free solder and finishes. (Superseded by PD IEC/TS 62647-3:2014)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.17.
ISO/FDIS 242Carbide tips for brazing on turning tools. (Document not issued as DPC; BSI Committee MTE/18)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.34.
ISO 14232-2Thermal spraying. Powders. Comparison of coating performance and spray powder chemistry. (New work started; BSI Committee STI/40)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.25.
ISO 19477Metallic and other inorganic coatings. Measurement of Young's modulus of thermal carrier coatings by beam bending. (New work started; BSI Committee STI/40)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.26.
ISO/TR 25901-3Welding and allied processes. Vocabulary. Welding processes. (New work started; BSI Committee WEE/1)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.26.
Comments on drafts can be made online at http://www.bsigroup.com/drafts. Registering is required but the service is free of charge.

New/revised standards

BS 7608:2014Guide to fatigue design and assessment of steel products. (Supersedes 1993 edition)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.8.
BS EN ISO 16810:2014Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. General principles. (Supersedes BS EN 583-1:1999)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.10.
BS EN ISO 16811:2014Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Sensitivity and range setting. (Supersedes BS EN 583-2:2001)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.10.
BS EN ISO 16823:2014Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Transmission technique. (Supersedes BS EN 583-3:1997)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.10.
BS EN ISO 16826:2014Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Examination for discontinuities perpendicular to the surface. (Supersedes BS EN 583-4:2002)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.10.
BS EN ISO 16827:2014Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Characterization and sizing of discontinuities. (Supersedes BS EN 583-5:2001)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.10.
BS EN ISO 16828:2014Nondestructive testing. Ultrasonic testing. Time-of-flight diffraction technique as a method for detection and sizing of discontinuities. (Supersedes BS EN 583-6:2008)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.10.
EN 14700:2014Welding consumables. Welding consumables for hard-facing
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.35.
EN 16392-2:2014Nondestructive testing. Characterisation and verification of ultrasonic phased array equipment. Probes
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.35.
EN 28510-1:2014Adhesives. Peel test for a flexible-bonded-to-rigid test specimen assembly. 90° peel
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.35.
PD IEC/TS 62647-3:2014Process management for avionics. Aerospace and defence electronic systems containing lead-free solder. Performance testing for systems containing lead-free solder and finishes. (Supersedes DD IEC/PAS 62647-3:2011)
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2014. p.14.

Return to the Borders

Reports on the reopening of the 48km Borders Railway between Edinburgh and Tweedbank which is on the route of the former Edinburgh-Carlisle Waverley route which was closed in 1969. The project was undertaken by Network Rail on behalf of the Scottish government at a cost of £294M. BAM Group was the lead contractor, with civil works beginning in April 2013. Largely following the formation of the former line, the project required the refurbishment of 95 bridges and two tunnels plus the construction of 42 bridges and seven stations. Scotrail is providing a 30 minute interval service with a journey time of 55 minutes. Scottish Infrastructure Minister Keith Brown put the Scottish government's total investment at £353M. This includes ancillary initiatives to deliver wider economic and social benefit, including a £10M Borders Railway Blueprint which is intended to inform business about investment opportunities along the line, stimulate residential development and fund bus and cycle links to support tourism.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 10, Oct. 2015. p.12.

NET cast wider

Reports that passenger services on Nottingham Express Transit Phase 2 started on August 25, marking the opening of two new branches on the city's tram network. The extension starts from the former terminus at Nottingham station, which has been remodelled as part of the Phase2 works, and runs south before diverging to serve Clifton South and Toton Lane. The new alignments total 17.5km, more than double the original 14km route. Construction was carried out by a joint venture of Alstom and Taylor Woodrow, with Alstom being responsible for trackworks, electrification, signalling and the supply of 22 Citadis trams. Meanwhile, the older fleet of 15 Bombardier Incentro trams has been refurbished.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 10, Oct. 2015. p.14.

Crossrail bodyshell

A test bodyshell for the Class 345 EMUs ordered for London's Crossrail project has been assembled at Bombardier's Derby plant, where it is being used to refine design and manufacturing techniques ahead of full production of the 594 cars for 66 nine-car trainsets. TfL and Bombardier are working with designers Barber & Osgerby on the styling of the EMUs which are part of Bombardier's Aventra family and will be more than 200m long, with wide interconnecting gangways and capacity for up to 1500 passengers. Entry into service is planned for May 2017. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 10, Oct. 2015. p.19.


Bombardier is reported to have rejected a non-binding offer from Beijing Infrastructure Investment Co. for between 60% and 100% of its Transportation business. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 10, Oct. 2015. p.22.


In September the European Commission and the US Department of Justice approved GE's acquisition of Alstom's energy business, subject to certain turbine activities being divested to Ansaldo Energia. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 10, Oct. 2015. p.22.

Plant opens

Reports on the opening of Hitachi Rail's £82M UK rolling stock plant at Newton Aycliffe on September 3. Shepherd Construction was lead contractor for construction of the factory. Lloyds Somers supplied locomotive and bogie test turntables and Mechan two traversers. The plant has around 100 staff, including 15 in the design team working on the AT200 interior and other projects. In November work will begin to assemble two Class 800 IEP cars, which will be undertaken more slowly than with the series build to ensure that the local teams are equipped to meet the required quality standards. Bodyshell assembly will continue to be undertaken in Japan, but more design work will move to the UK.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 10, Oct. 2015. p.22.

North of the Border

Giving the keynote address at a conference in Glasgow on September 3, organised by high speed public interest group Greengauge 21, Keith Brown, the Scottish Government's Minister for Infrastructure said that high speed rail 'doesn't just matter for Scotland, it is essential'. Brown felt that a high speed link between London & the South East, the conurbations of northern England and central Scotland would ensure a more balanced and resilient economy as 'together these areas are greater than the sum of their parts'. He announced that a study of high speed route options to serve Scotland, commissioned by the Department of Transport and Transport Scotland is to report by the end of the year. Donald Sutherland of HS2 Ltd and Jim Steer of Greengauge 21 stressed the importance of a three hour journey time between London and Glasgow/Edinburgh to achieve a significant modal shift from air. Rail's share of this market stands at 19% at present with journey times of around four hours and 15 minutes.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 10, Oct. 2015. p.27.

Return of the inter-city train

Preparations are well under way for the launch of All Aboard Florida, a privately-funded project to operate inter-city passenger services along the east coast of the state between Miami and Orlando. AAF feels that the state is ideal for efficient limited-stop train travel, with major population centres being spaced some 300 to 400km apart and served by congested air and road corridors. It has selected Siemens to supply a fleet of diesel locomotives and single-deck inter-city passenger coaches. The initial order will be for 21 locos and fifty passenger coaches with an option for a further 20 vehicles. Notes that one of he big advantages that AAF has over other start-ups is that it already owns the existing right of way. Even before the initial project has been completed, AAF is already considering extensions, both west to Tampa and north to Jacksonville.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 10, Oct. 2015. pp.31-34.

The crude by rail boom

US crude oil production has risen sharply in recent years, with much of the increased output moving by rail. According to a recent AAR briefing paper, the number of carloads originated by US Class 1 railroads increased from 9,500 in 2008 to 493,146 in 2014, an increase of nearly 5100%. Although new pipelines are planned, AAR says that the railroad's competitive advantages 'will keep them in the crude oil transport market long into the future'. The fastest growth has been in North Dakota, where crude oil production rose from 81,000 barrels per day in 2003 to 1.1M in 2014. Canadian Pacific and BNSF are the principal railroads serving this region. Using an average carload of approximately 682 barrels, AAR estimates that US railroads are now responsible for around 11% of all oil movements, and by far the bulk of the rail traffic originates in North Dakota. Most oil is transported in unit trains of between 50 and 100 tank cars; according to AAR approximately 86% of crude oil traffic in the first quarter of 2015 moved in blocks of 20 or more cars and 78% in blocks of 50 or more.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 10, Oct. 2015. p.39.

Maintaining switches in short windows

On North American main lines finding slots for extended maintenance possessions can be difficult. The typical life-cycle of a switch on a Class 1 railroad is between three and five years on average. In this context, regular preventive measures must be adopted to extend the service life of rails and switches and limit the propagation of track defects such as head checks or corrugation. Extending the life of switches is an economic imperative because of the complex designs required to produce new components and the network disruption caused to traffic by the renewal possession, especially if more than one route is affected. Vossloh's Flexis mobile maintenance suite aims to address these issues by offering corrective and preventive switch maintenance in a flexible format. As well as offering the potential to maintain switches without interrupting traffic, Flexis can be adapted to conform to the maintenance and/or repair requirements at individual work sites. At the heart of the Flexis concept is a portable rail-mounted grinding trolley, which can be operated by a two-person team who typically reach a work site by road. A possession of as little as ten minutes allows switch maintenance to be undertaken without the long possession required by a conventional track machine.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 171, no. 10, Oct. 2015. pp.49-50.

Field evaluation of improved rail welding methods

Preliminary results of tests of heat affected zone (HAZ) overlay treatments of in-service rail thermit welds, carried out by the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI), are reported. Head alloyed thermit welds with HAZ overlay were compared with those without HAZ overlay. Test welds accumulated 108 million gross tons (mgt) and those in service, 51-54 mgt, with one untreated weld failure. Combined HAZ overlaying and head alloying was found to be the most effective at reducing running surface degradation.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.110, no.4. April 2014. pp.14-17.

As crude oil shipments soar, rail carriers step up safety

With more North American crude oil shipments being shifted by rail, attention is focused on tank cars, most of which are DOT-111s that are overdue to be retrofitted or decommissioned. In the wake of recent accidents, rail carriers are attempting to gain public support for crude oil shipments by rail. Canadian Pacific and Canadian National railways have recently announced a $325 surcharge on older DOT-111 cars laden with crude oil. Burlington Northern Santa Fe wants to take more control over crude oil shipments by boosting its ownership of rail cars. In February it unveiled a $5bn capital expenditure plan, including $1.6bn for new rolling stock. Further, the Association of American Railroads has said that freight railroads have agreed with the US Department of Transportation to eight voluntary safety measures to lessen the risks of moving crude by rail. As a result of these concerns, the tank car business is booming and Dallas company Trinity Industries says that it expects to deliver approximately 65,000 railcars in 2014.

Engineering News-Record, vol. 272, no. 8, 17 Mar. 2014. pp.12-13.

Sensors for high accuracy inspections of rails

Reports that Tata Steel Rail France has recently retrofitted its rail end straightness inspection systems with Keyence's latest generation of CCD laser displacement sensors, the LK Series. During rail inspection, a carriage moves along the end of a rail at a rate of 3m/sec and over a distance of 3.2m. The carriage is equipped with two LK-G triangulation sensors. The sensors generate a 2D profile of the rail surface at a rate of 10,000 sample points per second. If the rail is not straight, it is transferred to a press to be straightened to within the desired tolerance. Measurements are extremely fast and the measurement accuracy achieved is in the order of a few hundredths of a millimetre. Tata Steel needed a laser sensor that could meet a number of high requirements: be able to adjust itself to shiny rail surfaces, take measurements very quickly to keep up with fast production rates and withstand harsh operating conditions

Eureka, vol. 34, no. 3, Mar. 2014. p.16.

Crossrail train contract

Bombardier Transportation has won the contract from CAF and Hitachi to supply and service trains for Crossrail. The deal covers 65 9-car trainsets with an option for a further 18. A new depot is to be built for servicing which will support 80 rolling stock maintenance jobs. The servicing contract will last for 32 years.

Railway Gazette International, vol.170, no.3. March 2014. p.15.

Future railway competition seeks innovative solutions

A 30-year vision for GB railways envisages intelligent self-monitoring systems, which will enable targeted, risk-based maintenance and repair of rail infrastructure assets, delivering improved reliability, fewer delays, increased capacity, resilience, safety and all-round improvements in the performance of the rail business. With a mission to accelerate the uptake of innovation by the rail industry, the Enabling Innovation Team is planning a number of targeted funding calls in the coming months, in line with this vision and in response to the challenges facing the rail industry. The current competition, on remote condition monitoring, offers 90% funding and has a budget of up to £3M. It is seeking innovative proposals for how the railway industry can exploit technology, use data and develop processes to remotely monitor the condition of the rail infrastructure. Innovators and developers across all sectors are invited to apply their ideas to address this question across ten challenge areas.

Insight, Jan. 2014. p.6.

Two new prepreg systems for railway rolling stock applications

Reports that Cytec Industrial Materials is adding two new products to its rail portfolio to meet the fire requirements of EN45545-2;2013. The first product, MTM348FR, is a versatile curing epoxy resin prepreg matrix offering fire protection to category HL2. In combination with either glass or carbon fibres, it gives excellent mechanical performance and is ideal for the manufacture of lightweight composite components for both interior and exterior structural and non-structural applications. The second, XMTM 30, is a development product produced from a biorenewable sustainable source that meets the requirements of category HL3. It is particularly suitable for the production of non-structural interior components.

JEC Composites Magazine, no. 87, Mar. 2014. p.13. http://tinyurl.com/m5ehtne

£1bn Crossrail rolling stock contract goes to Bombardier in the UK

The intention to award a contract to deliver rolling stock and a new depot for Crossrail with a capital value of around £1bn to Bombardier has been announced by Transport for London and the Department for Transport. The contract between TfL and Bombardier covers the supply, delivery and maintenance of 65 new trains and a depot at Old Oak Common. The contract award is subject to a ten day standstill period. TfL will run Crossrail as part of its integrated transport services for London, including ticketing and customer travel information. Bombardier has confirmed that the new trains will be manufactured and assembled at their plant in Derby. This contract will support 760 UK manufacturing jobs plus 80 apprenticeships. An estimated 74% of contract spend will remain in the UK economy. The construction of the maintenance depot at Old Oak Common will support 244 jobs plus 16 apprenticeships. When fully operational, the depot will support 80 jobs to maintain the new fleet of trains.


Need to know: Engineering

Bombardier has won the £1bn Crossrail contract for high-frequency, high-capacity trains. The contract will create 650 jobs at its Derby site and secure 600 more at another site.

The Times, 7th February 2014, p.38

Siemens wins US loco order

Illinois Department of Transportation has selected Siemens as a preferred bidder for a contract to supply around 35 diesel locomotives with a maximum speed of 200km/h. IDOT is leading a joint procurement on behalf of Illinois, California, Michigan, Washington and Missouri. The Federal Railroad Administration has allocated $808M to fund a next generation fleet to operate inter-city services in the five states. As well as the locomotives, this includes 130 double-deck coaches ordered from Nippon-Sharyo in a process led by California DoT. The Siemens diesel-electric locos would have Cummins QSK95 engines meeting Tier 4 emissions standards, and would be manufactured 'with all their component parts' in the US.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. p.7.

Marathon runs longer train

Fret SNCF, Kombiverkehr and RFF have run their first 1.5km-long freight train between Lyon and Nimes in January, marking the start of the demonstration phase of the Project Marathon research programme. Three of Kombiverkehr's regular intermodal trains between Germany and Spain were reformed as pair of 750m-long trains, which were in turn coupled as a single 70-wagon unit with a maximum trailing load of 4,000 tonnes. The first train was hauled by two Alstom Class 37000 electric locos, one at the front and the second in the middle controlled remotely using distributed power technology. The aim of Project Marathon is to reduce operating costs by 30% and increase the capacity of key freight corridors.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. p.10.

Signalling contract to be re-let

Transport for London plans to invite re-tenders in mid-2014 for the re-signalling of London Underground's Sub-Surface Lines, which had been awarded to Bombardier in mid-2011. Covering the Metropolitan, District, Circle and Hammersmith & City lines, the programme is due to see the installation by 2018 of communications-based train control on 310km of track serving 113 stations, together with the remodelling of 36 congested junctions. Bombardier was awarded a £354M contract in June 2011 to install its Cityflo 650 CBTC technology. The company has already undertaken preparatory work reportedly valued at around £80M. LU and Bombardier have agreed that LU should re-let the contract. Meanwhile, Bombardier will continue to supply the fleet of 191 air-conditioned S-Stock trainsets, which are scheduled to be delivered by 2016.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. p.15.

Bombardier to run commuter line

Vancouver regional transport authority TransLink has awarded Bombardier Transportation a contract to operate West Coast Express commuter rail services from May 2014. The C$17M contract runs for five years, with options for three additional five-year periods. West Coast Express was launched in 1995 and now carries more than 2.8M passengers per annum on a 68km route between Mission and central Vancouver. Five services run into the city on weekday mornings, returning in the evening. Services are operated using 44 locomotive-hauled Bombardier double-deck coaches. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. p.16.

Tognum AG

Tognum AG has been renamed Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG reflecting its ownership by an equally-owned joint venture of Rolls-Royce and Daimler. The MTU brands are to be retained. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. p.22.

Balfour Beatty sells Scandinavian business

Strukton Rail is to acquire Balfour Beatty Rail Scandinavia and its rail, infrastructure maintenance, renewals and construction activities in Sweden and Denmark, which will operate under the Strukton Rail brand. Balfour Beatty said that the sale would be worth around £4M in cash, subject to adjustments based on completion accounts and pension liabilities. Sweden's competition authority has approved the transaction, while the limited size of the Danish element means that it does not require regulatory approval in that country. Balfour Beatty is also holding discussions with potential buyers for the German business, and has started preliminary discussions for the sale of its Italian business. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. p.22.

NR debt goes back on the books

After more than a decade as a private company, Network Rail is to become part of central government with effect from September 1st as a result of its rising mountain of debt. Challenged last year by the EU statistical office Eurostat about NR's compliance with new rules in the 2010 European System of Accounts, the Office of National Statistics announced last December that NR would in future be considered a public body. ESA 2010 introduced five new indicators of governmental control over non-profit institutions and ONS found that the government's exposure to risk was 'highly relevant'. NR's debt is explicitly guaranteed by the Department for Transport through a Financial Indemnity Mechanism, and there is a statutory obligation for the government to protect the interest of rail users should NR fail. While government funding has formed less than 65% of NR's total income since 2004-05, the company does not qualify to be treated as a public corporation, as its income from track access charges is less than 50% of production costs including debt interest payments.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. p.27.

Etihad Rail prepares to open

Reports that the UAE's national railway company Etihad Rail will be ready to begin revenue operations within the next few months. The first phase of the network will be the 264km linking Ruwais, Habshan and Shah. The company's first freight trains will be carrying granulated sulphur for Abu Dhabi's National Oil Company. Operation of the railway has been contracted to a joint venture between Etihad Rail and DB Schenker Rail under an agreement signed in June 2013. Etihad Rail hopes that the full 1,200km national rail network will be fully operational by 2018. The company is expected to form a key element in the Gulf Cooperation Council's railway network connecting the UAE with its five neighbours.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. pp.47-48.

Boom time in the desert

Reports on the number of rail and metro projects under way in Saudi Arabia which include: the Lanbridge project for a 950km mixed-traffic line between Jeddah and Riyadh; a north-south heavy haul route; the 444km Haramani High Speed Rail linking Makkah, Jeddah and Madinah; a 1,940km international railway network linking all the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council; an upgrade of the existing 1,000km network linking Riyadh and Dammam via two routes; three light metro lines in Jeddah which are scheduled to open in 2020; the construction of two metro lines as the first phase of Makkah's public transport project; a metro planned for Madinah with opening envisaged by 2021; and a six-line metro in Riyadh.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. pp.50-51.

World's fastest train poised to enter service

In 2009, China's Ministry of Railways signed a contract for 20 eight-car and 60 16-car CRHI-350 trainsets with Bombardier Sifang Transportation. These were the first series produced trains to be developed from the outset for a speed of 380km/h in commercial service. In 2012 the Ministry issued a variation order with the requirement being for 70 eight-car trainsets designated CRH380D, known in the Bombardier product range as Zefiro380. The bodyshell consists of extruded aluminium profiles welded to form a shape that takes maximum advantage of the construction gauge. All traction equipment is located under the floor or on the roof to leave the interior space free for passenger accommodation. Bombardier believes that with the Zefiro380 it has completely redefined ultra high speed rail travel by reconciling the often contradictory demands of economics and ecology. It has developed, manufactured and tested a pioneering low-noise, high-speed train with low energy consumption.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 2, Feb. 2014. pp.65-69.

Greenbrier unveils new rail car design for oil, ethanol transport

The Greenbrier Companies will design what it calls the 'tank car of the future' that will provide a safer mode of transporting oil and ethanol by rail. The new design is in response to criticisms of the existing legacy fleet of older DOT-111 tank cars and is intended to meet anticipated new industry and government standards for tank cars transporting certain hazardous material. It will incorporate thicker heads and more welding equipment for production lines to make bigger welds for the thicker tank. According to industry research, the bottom and top appurtenances on the legacy DOT-111 tank cars are impacted in high speed derailments. Greenbrier's proposed retrofit is targeted to improve these tank car features, and adds head shields, to achieve better performance in a derailment event.


Need to know: Engineering

Bombardier has won the £1bn Crossrail contract for high-frequency, high-capacity trains. The contract will create 650 jobs at its Derby site and secure 600 more at another site.

The Times, 7th February 2014, p.38

The found flaw

Advances in equipment and technology for the detection of rail flaws available from L.B. Foster, Herzog Services, Nordco and Sperry are reviewed.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.110, no.1. Jan.2014. pp.27-28,30.

UK to establish high-speed rail engineering college

The new chairman of HS2, Sir David Higgins, has outlined plans to open a new college, which will focus on developing the skills needed to deliver Britain's high-speed rail network. The Department for Transport said the facility 'will offer the necessary technical training to make HS2 a success and ensure it can be built by skilled British workers including rail engineering, environmental skills and construction'. Ministers are hoping the college will be open by 2017 to coincide with the start of work on the project.

www.globalrailnews.com. 14 Jan. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/kxqqdh6

Contractors make a start on Manchester's 2CC tram line

Utility diversions are being completed along the route of Manchester Metrolink's Second City Crossing. The new line, which will provide a new city centre link connecting St Peter's Square, Exchange Square and Victoria station, will further expand Manchester's growing light rail network. Transport for Greater Manchester has said the line will be completed by 2017. The first phase of the project will see gas pipes, and electricity and phone cable repositioned to make way for the new route.

www.globalrailnews.com. 13 Jan. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/ksv6g7x

São Paulo monorail takes test run

Testing has begun on the first of São Paulo's new monorail vehicles. M01 made the way from its depot to Oratory station on Friday 10 on the first of a series of test runs to trial the first phase of the planned 27-kilometre automated monorail system. Line 15 (Silver) will be the world's largest and highest capacity monorail in the world, moving 48,000 passengers an hour in each direction, according to the city's municipal government. Four bi-directional trains will operate on the first 2.9-kilometre section of the line between Vila Prudente and Oratorio, which is scheduled to open in March 2014. The first two vehicles have now been delivered and are undergoing testing. In total, 54 trains will operate on the Silver Line once the entire $6.4bn system, spanning 18 stations across the city, opens in 2015. (Item contains no further information.)

www.globalrailnews.com. 13 Jan. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/m2v22px

Tata Steel agree two-year deal with SNCF

Tata Steel and SNCF have signed a two-year deal which will see Tata supply more than 200 tonnes of track for the French rail network. The order, which will be delivered by the company's Hayange mill using steel transported from Scunthorpe, is an extension of an earlier contract with SNCF. Tata Steel will produce 108-metre length rails for France's high-speed rail lines thanks to a Euros 35M investment in 2011 to allow the manufacturer to supply longer-length rails.

www.globalrailnews.com. 9 Jan. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/molduyt

Norway to explore future of new intercity line

The Norwegian government has commissioned infrastructure manager Jernbaneverket to draw up plans for a new intercity rail route between Hønefoss and Sandvika. The government plans to invest NOK 20M on studies for the proposed Ringerike Line which, once complete, would shorten travel times between Hønefoss, Sandvika and Oslo. Jernbaneverket will examine the proposed route of the new line and consider whether the project could be delivered through a public-private partnership. Norway's Ministry of Transport said the Ringerike Line would become one of four new planned intercity routes, alongside lines connecting Oslo with Skien, Lillehammer and Halden. The government has said it will present the findings of the research later in the year during the presentation of the national budget for 2015. (Item contains no further information.)

www.globalrailnews.com. 3 Jan. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/k656s29

Going green is not enough

Although governments around the world are keen to reduce greenhouse gas emissions many of them have made recent decisions that are detrimental to the railways. The French government has postponed indefinitely its plans to introduce an 'ecotaxe' on the use of heavy lorries, which was designed both to recover some of the external costs imposed by road haulage and to encourage greater sue of rail freight. Other countries such as Belgium and Denmark have also postponed or abandoned the idea of lorry taxes. In Germany, lobbying group Allianz pro Schiene is worried that reforms to the government's renewable energy policy would see increased carbon taxes imposed on the electricity used by railways. In Australia the government has halted all federal grants for urban rail projects and allocated A$11.5bn for major road schemes instead.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.3.

JR East unveils Series 7

The first Series E7 high-speed trainset built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and JR East subsidiary J-TREC was unveiled on November 29th. JR East has ordered 17 of the 260km/h trainsets, while JR West has ordered 10 which it will designate series W7. The 10 motor and two driving trailer cars give a total capacity of 18 passengers seated 2+1 in Gran Class, 63 seated 2+2 in Green car and 853 seated 3+2 in standard. The trainsets have low noise pantographs on cars three and seven, and will be equipped to operate on both 25kV 50 Hz and 25kV 60 Hz electrification, changing between systems on the move.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.7.

Good as new at half the price

Leasing company Angel Trains has unveiled a demonstration re-engineered Class 317 four-car EMU. The modernised traction equipment and new interiors offer operators the performance, maintenance and passenger ambience benefits of new units at 50% of the cost. The work, costing £7M, has mainly been undertaken at Bombardier's Ilford site. This included replacing the 25kV AC EMU's four DC traction motors with Bombardier MJA 280-8 asynchronous motors. New AC converters and filters have been fitted, but the original transformer has been retained. The EMU has been equipped with regenerative braking and a new brake control unit to blend regenerative and friction braking. Modelling suggests that the modified unit should consume 40% less energy, while cutting the time to accelerate to 160km/h from 223 to 177 seconds.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.7.

Electrification taskforce

The Department for Transport is to establish a joint taskforce with Network Rail to study options for further electrification in northern England. The taskforce will work with train operators, local authorities and the supply industry to produce an interim report within 12 months setting out how the schemes can be progressed. The routes to be examined include: Leeds-Harrogate-York; Selby-Hull; Sheffield to Leeds, Doncaster and Manchester; East Coast Mainline to Middlesbrough; and Chester to Warrington and Crewe.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.8.

Seeing the UKLIght

The second UKLight Class 68 diesel locomotive is due to be delivered to the UK early in 2014 following tests at the manufacturer's plant in Spain. Weighing around 84 tonnes, the Bo-Bo diesel locomotive is powered by a Caterpillar C175-16 engine rated at 2800 kW at 1800 rev/min. This is coupled to an ABB asynchronous generator, which in turn feeds four nose-suspended asynchronous motors fed by ABB Bordline CC1500 traction inverters; wheel diameter is 1100mm. The loco is equipped with dynamic braking rated at 2100 kW, backed up by electro-pneumatic brakes from Knorr Bremse.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.10.

State aid to support automatic metro research

The European Commission has cleared the award of Euros 15.2M of French state aid to support the Metrolab joint venture of Alstom and Paris transport operator RATP. Metrolab is undertaking the 'Metro of the Future' project which aims to develop technology for unattended train operation in large cities. The aim is to develop 'complete unmonitored automation' with the system able to deal with potential disruption by itself.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.14.

Eversholt Rail

Eversholt Rail has awarded Bombardier a £30M two-year contract to refurbish the 40 four-car Class 365 EMUs leased to First Capital Connect; the contract had previously been awarded to Railcare, but was retendered with an extended scope when Railcare entered administration. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.17.


Siemens has announced a partnership agreement to use Cummins QSK95 engines in a proposed 200 km/h diesel-electric passenger locomotive for the US market. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014.

Californian dream hits funding hurdle

Reports that California's high-speed rail programme is facing potential significant delays following a series of rulings on funding issues by the Sacramento Supreme Court. These centre on California High Speed Rail Authority's plan to use so-called Proposition 1A bonds to part-fund an Initial Operating segment through the Central Valley as a precursor to offering a 'one seat ride' between Los Angeles and San Francisco from 2029. With further federal funding beyond the $3.3bn allocated to the Fresno-Madera segment unlikely to be forthcoming in the near future, and the Californian state treasurer confirming that no bond sales would be enacted until these legal issues are resolved, it is unclear at present how the programme is going to proceed.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.21.

Seeking a standard way

Reports that Japan is currently chairing a meeting of the International Standards Organisation which is looking at the technical norms for the 'construction and reconstruction' of railways. It wants to see new standards adopted within three years. At present 27 countries are involved in the discussions, which were initiated in 2012 by France and Germany. There are many different sets of railway standards in force throughout the world and the International Union of Railways has recently embarked on efforts to develop a consolidated package. Under rules laid down by the International Trade Organisation, international standards take precedence over corresponding domestic regulations, and public sector bodies in particular are expected to follow ISO norms.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.24.

Eurostar stake for sale?

The government has raised the possibility of selling the property assets owned by London & Continental Railways and its stake in Eurostar International, as part of the National Infrastructure Plan 2013 which was published by the Treasury ahead of the Chancellor's autumn financial statement. Currently wholly-owned by the Department for Transport, LCR is included among the assets which the government has identified as offering the potential for sale in 2014-20, subject to 'value for money assessments and key policy objectives'. LCR has a 40% holding in Eurostar, whereas SNCF hold France's 55% stake and its Belgian counterpart SNCB the remaining 5%.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. p.24.

'The Fourth Railway Package is our top priority'

Accelerating the Technical Pillar of the EU's Fourth Railway Package is central to delivering whole-industry cost savings and putting the rail sector on to a path to meet the objectives of the 2011 Transport White Paper. Interviews Community of European Railways and Infrastructure Companies (CER) Executive Director Libor Lochman. Topics covered include: CER priorities and membership; the timescale for the Fourth Railway Package; international rail services; the restructuring of the railway sector in France; and how to make rail more attractive to the next generation of travellers.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. pp.26-31.

JR East aims at condition-based maintenance

The 'smart maintenance' concept now being developed by East Japan Railways envisages a switch from time-based interventions to a condition-based maintenance regime based on continuous monitoring of track condition using trains in revenue service. The project looks at three main areas of development: a switch to condition-based maintenance supported by a comprehensive database of asset condition information; a new asset management strategy that takes more consideration of the cost of repairs as part of the overall life-cycle cost; and an expert system using artificial intelligence to learn and pass on a wide variety of maintenance skills, The company is aiming to roll out the concept across its network, starting with an initial application on part of the intensive Tokyo suburban network in the near future.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. pp.37-39.

Metallurgical advances support higher-performing rails

Says that pearlite is well suited to use as a rail steel, since it has both the absorbing capacity to handle high contact pressures and a concurrent high level of resistance to material fatigue. Further development of rail steels has concentrated on the one mechanical property of pearlite that is directly linked with its in-track performance - hardness. Heat treatment has led to improved performance from rail steels, particularly when compared with chrome-alloyed variants which exhibited poor weldability. Current research is leading manufacturers to look again at the supposedly finite limit of 0.8% carbon content.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. pp.40-41.

Micro-ribbed wheel tread cuts derailment risk

Japan's Railway Technical Research Institute is developing a wheel designed with a microscopic rib towards the outside of the tread. This follows research which suggested that use of a rib on the tread could help reduce lateral forces when a wheelset is passing through a curve. This step increases the margin against derailment and also helps to cut vehicle maintenance costs.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 170, no. 1, Jan. 2014. pp.42-43.

EU to triple funding for rail research

The European Commission is to triple its funding for rail research and development after formally adopting the industry initiative 'Shift2Rail'. Eighty companies are already supporting the 'Shift2Rail' scheme which will work to double the capacity of Europe's rail network, increase reliability by up to 50% and halve the life-cycle costs of rail. Close to Euros 1bn will be ploughed into the seven-year rail research and innovation programme after the EU confirmed that it would put forward Euros 450M between 2014-2020 to meet Euros 470M already committed by the rail industry itself. Research will focus on developing new trains and traffic management systems to boost capacity and reliability, improving existing infrastructure, developing better integrated ticketing and journey planning systems and improving inter-modal freight solutions. Companies who have already signed up to the initiative include Alstom, Ansaldo STS, Bombardier, Siemens, Thales and CAF as well as Trafikverket and Network Rail.

www.globalrailnews.com. 16 Dec. 2013. http://www.globalrailnews.com/2013/12/16/eu-to-triple-funding-for-rail-research/

Network Rail awards infrastructure framework contracts

Network Rail has begun its infrastructure investment plans for London and the south east for the next five years by nominating four preferred suppliers for contracts worth a total of £1.2bn. The framework agreements, which will come into force on 1 April 2014, will cover almost half Network Rail's £2.5bn workbank for the 2014-19 funding period in the region, delivering longer platforms for longer trains on key commuter routes, station enhancements, new footbridges to improve accessibility and upgrades to bridges, embankments and tunnels to increase the resilience of the infrastructure in some of the most intensely-used parts of Britain's rail network. The agreements have been designed to encourage increased collaboration between Network Rail and its partners, and will incorporate shared objectives to enable both sides to share in risk and reward and to incentivise safe, efficient project delivery.

www.globalrailnews.com. 17 Dec. 2013. http://www.globalrailnews.com/2013/12/17/network-rail-awards-infrastructure-framework-contracts/

Siemens delivers new high-speed Sapsan train to Russia

Siemens has delivered the first of a new fleet of Sapsan trains, which will double the number of high-speed units operating in Russia. The new high-speed trains are part of a Euros 600M order placed in 2011 which also included a 30-year maintenance contract. Siemens has said that the new vehicles, which were built in Krefeld, will eventually be transported to the company's Metallostroy depot near Saint Petersburg. Another train is expected to be delivered by the end of the month, with all eight vehicles due to arrive in Russia by the middle of next year. Although similar to the German ICE 3, the Sapsan, which has operated on the Moscow-St Petersburg and Moscow-Nizhny Novgorod routes since 2009, is actually 33 centimetres wider to operate on Russia broad gauge network.

www.globalrailnews.com. 19 Dec. 2013. http://www.globalrailnews.com/2013/12/19/siemens-delivers-new-high-speed-sapsan-train-to-russia/

The 30-year view

Network Rail has published four market studies that will enable it to plan for the future. The studies will help to determine what kind of services will be needed to achieve three important outputs: enabling economic growth, reducing carbon and the transport sector's impact on the environment, and improving the quality of life for commuters. While the studies predict demand figures and the kind of services needed to deal with that demand, they do not suggest infrastructure improvements. Covers highlights of the studies dealing with London and the south east, freight, long distance and regional urban.


Colas Rail buys on-track tramping machines business from Amey

Colas Rail has expanded its rail services operations by acquiring Amey's on-track tramping machines business. The £5M deal comes as Amey focuses on its core offerings of asset management, rail projects, metro services, track renewals, signaling and electrification to deliver ambitious growth plans. (Item contains no further information.)


A vision for the future of the Tube

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and the manageing director of London Underground have set out their vision for the future of the Tube. This includes a new 24-hour 'Night tube' service at weekends and more staff visible and available at stations to help customers buy the right ticket, plan their journeys and keep them safe and secure. Planned improvements will: make the network more accessible; introduce more and better ticket machines; introduce Wi-Fi coverage to all remaining below-ground Tube stations by the end of 2014; and roll out contactless bank card payment technology on the Tube network from next year. From 2015 LU intends to opeate stations in four different categories - desatination stations, metro stations, gateway stations and local stations.


AXION receives $925,000 order for composite railroad ties

AXION International Holdings, a manufacturer of recycled plastic and plastic composite technologies used to produce ECOTRAX rail ties and STRUXURE building products, has announced that a major domestic transit line located in the south central region of the US has issued a purchase order for $925,000 of AXION's ECOTRAX composite rail ties made with 100% recycled plastic and plastic composites. AXION says ECOTRAX composite rail ties were chosen by the existing customer to be used for an annual spot replacement of rotted wooden ties. The decision to continue the purchase and use of ECOTRAX reportedly was a result of proven durability, time efficiency, and lifecycle cost savings over traditional ties, particularly in the various climates of the south central region.

CompositesWorld.com Weekly, 7 Jan. 2014. http://www.compositesworld.com/news/axion-receives-925000-order-for-composite-railroad-ties

Funding awarded to innovative rolling stock research projects

The 'Radical Train' contest was launched by the Railway Safety Standards Board’s Enabling Innovation Team earlier in the year and invited organisations to submit designs and concepts that could transform train production in the UK. The first four of eight rolling stock projects have been awarded. They are: Revolution VLR Consortium (Very Light Rail) consisting of TDI (Europe) (Transport Design International), Unipart Rail, Warwick Manufacturing Group centre HVM Catapult, Trelleborg PPL, Allectra and GKN Land Systems for their low carbon, very-lightweight whole passenger railcar demonstrator; Holdtrade, Transnet, Huddersfield University and HBA for their radical freight bogie concept; Thales and NewRail for their active adhesion monitoring project; and a confidential investment in emissions reduction and fuel efficiency technology.


CSX to trial natural gas locomotive

GE Transportation is to work alongside CSX Corporation to undertake a pilot study into the use of Liquefied Natural Gas to power the operator's fleet of Evolution Series locomotives. GE will retrofit CSX locomotives with its NextFuel Natural Gas kits which will allow the vehicles to run on both diesel and natural gas - a more efficient and more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional fuel sources. Retrofits will first be carried out on Evolution Series locomotives and, if successful, could be rolled out to other classes.


Russia to invest RUB 1.2 trillion on rail infrastructure between 2014-2016

Russian Railways is to invest 1.2 trillion rubles in improving its infrastructure and rolling stock between 2014 and 2016. Projects earmarked for investment in the next three years include the Baikal-Amur Mainline and Trans-Siberian Express, upgrades to the Mezhdurechensk-Taishet freight line, improvements to rail infrastructure around Moscow and the construction of a new line to bypass Krasnodar hub. Across the entire network more than 9,000 km of railway will be reconstructed between 2014-2016 and more than 1,500 new locomotives are expected to be procured.


Interest growing in private investment for U.S. rail projects

Federal Railroad Administration deputy administrator Karen Hedlund told attendees of the American Public Transportation Association conference that state-of-good-repair projects are good candidates for public-private-partnerships, but the private sector needs clarity of timeframes. She added that transit agencies might offer stipends for unsolicited proposals to 'telegraph serious intent' about P3s. David Narefsky, a Mayer Brown partner, said that, unlike highway projects, on which concessionaires can reap toll revenues, transit projects would depend on availability payments.

Engineering News-Record, vol. 271, no. 12, 21/28 Oct. 2013. p.20.

Think international, think commercial

Presents comment which says that the central role of infrastructure managers in delivering the vision of a Single European Railway Area was underlined by a recent workshop organised by the European Commission. Vice President Siim Kallas has long believed that complete vertical separation and on-rail competition between train operators is the best way to make the rail sector more responsive to market demand. However, the Commission has shied away from compulsory unbundling in the Fourth Railway Package, relying instead on requirements for greater transparency and increased regulatory oversight of state-owned holding groups in particular. Notes that France has brought together RFF, SNCF Infra and DCF into a single organisation to be known as SNCF Réseau. Says that EU investment needs to be channeled into creating genuine international corridors that will facilitate international flows.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 11, Nov. 2013. p.3.

PRASA fleet renewal signed

Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa has signed a R51bn contract with the Alstom-led Gibela joint venture on October 14 covering the supply of 3,600 new EMU cars. These will form 600 trainsets to be delivered in 2015-25. In addition, Gibela will provide technical support and supply spare parts over an 18-year period. The 1067 mm gauge X'Trapolis Mega trainsets are derived from Alstom's X'Trapolis family and are initially designed to run at up to 120 km/h.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 11, Nov. 2013. p.7.

Rennes Line B contract signed

Reports that Siemens has signed a Euros 178M turnkey contract to supply railway systems and provide project management services for Rennes metro Line B, the city's second driverless route. Siemens France will supply track and electrification systems, 19 two-car rubber-tyred trainsets, Trainguard MT CBTC signalling, telecoms including track-train radio and video transmission, platform screen doors, a control centre and depot equipment.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 11, Nov. 2013. p.15.

Manchester's second city crossing to go ahead

The government has granted Transport for Greater Manchester legal powers to build a second Metrolink light rail route through the centre of Manchester. Intended to relieve pressure on the heavily-used existing route, the 1.6km second city crossing would run from an enlarged St Peter's square stop via a new stop at Exchange Square to rejoin the existing line near Victoria Station. TfGM intends to call tenders shortly, with construction to start in January 2014 for completion in winter 2016-17. Separately, the 3.4km, four-stop extension to Ashton-under-Lyne opened on October 9, ahead of schedule.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 11, Nov. 2013. p.16.

Inspiro trains in Riyadh

Siemens has announced details of the trainsets and control technology it is to supply for Riyadh metro lines 1 and 2. Siemens' Euros 1.5bn share of the BACS consortium's Euros 7.5bn contract to build two of the six planned lines includes rolling stock, signalling and electrification. Siemens is to supply 74 Inspiro cars in two-car and four-car sets. The standard gauge trainsets will have aluminium bodyshells and a top speed of 90km/h. Separately, the FAST consortium has awarded a WS Atkins-Typsa joint venture a contract to design lines 4, 5 and 6.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 11, Nov. 2013. p.16.


Bombardier Transportation has appointed Tata Consultancy Services to manage the IT infrastructure for its newly-opened data centre. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 11, Nov. 2013. p.18.

Network Rail

Network Rail has awarded Balfour Beatty a contract to install 25 kV 50 Hz electrification between Airport Junction and Maidenhead by 2016 as part of the Crossrail and Great Western electrification projects. Vinci Construction is to upgrade 13 stations along the route in 2014-128 for use by Crossrail services. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 11, Nov. 2013. p.18.

Shift2Rail nears critical deadline

The formal proposal authorising EU funding for the Shift2Rail joint technology initiative being promoted by the European rail industry is due to be finalised by the European Commission in November. Discussions are under way in Brussels in a bid to smooth its legislative progress, with funding and governance at the heart of matters. Reports on a number of viewpoints presented at dinner, hosted by Amalia Sartori, Chair of the European Parliament's Research & Energy Committee, at which MEPs and officials could be briefed on the project.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 11, Nov. 2013. p.46.

Tested to destruction

A bridge replacement project in Sweden has provided the opportunity for research into the strength of aging railway bridges, as part of the UIC-led MAINLINE infrastructure research programme. One of the workstreams in this FP7-funded project is investigating the feasibility of life extension and increasing the permitted axleload on existing railway bridges. The 32m steel span truss bridge across the River Abyälven, dating from 1957, was replaced by a new steel beam bridge in September 2012. The old truss was placed on new abutments beside the river for subsequent use by researchers from Lulea University of Technology and Trafikverket.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 11, Nov. 2013. p.47.

Network Rail announces major rail deal

Network Rail has agreed a five-year deal which will see Tata Steel's site in Scunthorpe manufacture 95% of Britain's new rails. Tata Steel will supply around 140,000 tonnes of rail each year under the agreement, which also includes suppliers ArcelorMittal and VoestAlpine. The framework contract, which features an option to extend for a further five years, will include orders for CEN60 and CEN 56 rail types, conductor rail and old-style bullhead. Throughout control period 5, Network Rail is scheduled to complete £10bn of core renewals and £10bn of enhancements.

www.globalrailnews.com. 21 Oct. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/lluehbz

New EU strategy triples transport infrastructure budget to Euros 26bn

The European Commission has published a map detailing the nine key transport corridors that it believes will radically improve the current 'patchwork' of road and rail links. The EU said it would triple the transport budget between 2014-2020 to Euros 26bn to realise its ambitions of a better connected Europe. Although much of the infrastructure that makes up the new routes already exists, investment is needed to complete the 'missing links' and relieve bottlenecks across the network. Particular emphasis has been put on improving east-west links, with almost half of the funding (Euros 11.3bn) going to countries receiving cohesion funding.

www.globalrailnews.com. 18 Oct. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/lao9l2d

Premium rail performance and rail life extension under heavy-axle-load revenue service environments

An update of the results from US premium rail performance and rail life extensions tests, carried out on the eastern (West Virginia) and western (Nebraska) mega sites by the Transportation Technology Center Inc., is presented. The original tests have been extended to include maintenance strategies (long-term effects of gauge-face lubrication, top-of-rail friction control and grinding practices).

Railway Track and Structures, vol.109, no.10. Oct.2013. pp.15-18.

The trials of track inspection

Pitfalls facing track inspectors are reported. Companies reporting their operational challenges in the USA are Balfour Beatty Rail, ENSCO, GREX, Harsco Rail, Holland, MRail, NxGen Rail Services and Rail Radar.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.109, no.10. Oct.2013. pp.40-45.

Could this be the Tube train of the future?

A new exhibition at The Crystal in Royal Victoria Docks, entitled 'Going Underground: Our journey to the future', explores some of the new technology that could be used on the London Underground network in the near future. Siemens has been exhibiting the futuristic concept Inspiro tube train that it hopes could eventually be serving passengers on the Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines. Based on the EVO design which was unveiled at Railtex in 2011, Siemens has said that Inspiro would be 30% more energy efficient and 20% lighter than similar metros. The exhibition also features other concepts and technology designed to revolutionise electronic ticketing, passenger information and station management systems.

www.globalrailnews.com. 4 Oct. 2013.

UK government reshuffles transport team

Reports on the reshuffle at the Department of Transport. Simon Burns, Minister of State, had already tendered his resignation so that he could stand for the post of Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons. He was responsible for HS2 and had only been at the DfT since September 2012. Norman Baker, the longest serving member of the Transport team having been in post since May 2010, moves over to the Home Office. As Parliamentary Under Secretary, he looked after both rail and tram issues. The newly-appointed include Baroness Kramer as Minister of State, and Robert Goodwill as Parliamentary Under Secretary. Robert Goodwill is MP for Scarborough and Whitby and has moved across from the Treasury where he was Lord Commissioner. The two new appointments join Secretary of State Patrick McLoughlin and Parliamentary Under Secretary Stephen Hammond. Both were appointed in September 2012. Up to now, Stephen Hammond has primarily looked after roads. However, the new portfolios still have to be announced.

www.globalrailnews.com. 8 Oct. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/mjn25zb

Network Rail consultancy lands first contract

Network Rail Consulting has been awarded its first contract as safety assessor for the design and construction of Sydney's North West Rail Link. It will oversee the Tunnel & Station Civil Works Contract and the Surface & Viaduct Civil Works Contract, and advise the project's Operations, Trains and Systems Contract. The fully-automated North West Rail Link will also include eight new stations, a 4km elevated 'skytrain' viaduct between Bella Vista and Rouse Hill, an upgraded 4km Epping to Chatswood Rail Link and modernisation works to a further 14 kilometres of railway. Network Rail Consulting was launched in 2012 as the organisation sought to expand internationally, offering its expertise in policy development, procurement and re-structuring, strategic planning, asset management, operations maintenance, timetabling and maintenance programmes, and a project management service for capital projects.

www.globalrailnews.com. 8 Oct. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/mpaoj9n

Siemens to supply 74 Inspiro metros to Riyadh

Siemens is to build 74 Inspiro trains for Riyadh's new metro system - the biggest project of its kind in the world. As well as supplying rolling stock, it will deliver the electrification and signalling system as part of the BACS consortium, which is building two of the six planned driverless metro lines for the city. The Riyadh Metro is the most ambitious urban rail project in the world, with around 175km of new track and 85 new stations expected to be built in the next few years. The Inspiro, which will be built in two and four-car configurations, will feature higher-capacity air conditioning systems than usual to cope with the extreme heat. The bogies, traction drive, brakes and doors will also all be fitted with special seals and filters to keep sand out.

www.globalrailnews.com. 10 Oct. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/ljnkrly

Maglev train raises hopes

Comments on JR Tokai's plans to run the super-fast magnetically levitated train service between Tokyo and Nagoya beginning in 2027. Says that the new system will make Japan's transport infrastructure less vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis and could also promote exports of Japanese maglev technology. However, the project will face a number of technical challenges, including the construction of the tunnels which make up 86% of the entire route. There are also concerns about the commercial viability of the project.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol. 51, no. 2,612, 30 Sep. 2013. p.27.

South Africa orders 600 trains in order worth Euros 3.8bn

South Africa's rail authority PRASA has agreed an order with an Alstom-led joint venture for 600 new trains. The new passenger trains, which will amount to 3,600 cars, will be delivered between 2015 and 2025 as part of a major rolling stock renewal across the country. PRASA's rolling stock programme will see more than 7000 new trains enter service on South Africa's railways over the next 20 years thanks to an investment of Euros 9.1 bn. Gibela - a joint venture between Alstom, New Africa Rail and Ubumbano Rail - will provide technical support and spare parts for 18 years. The first phase of the project will involve Alstom supplying the X'Trapolis Mega EMU, which has been specially designed for us on South Africa's narrow gauge system.

www.globalrailnews.com. 14 Oct. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/mfjwx66

Tenders launched for $1.6bn light rail system in Sydney

Sydney has started its search for the consortium that will design and build a new 12km light rail network for the city. The New South Wales Government has announced that the procurement process for two major contracts, covering the construction of the $1.6bn system, is now underway. Companies are being invited to submit expressions of interest for the South East Light Rail line design, construction, operation and maintenance contract and the operation and maintenance of the Inner West Light Rail network. A second contract then covers the preliminary works for the planned route. Once each submission has been analysed, a shortlist of interested parties will be asked to put together detailed bids for each contract.

www.globalrailnews.com. 16 Oct. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/lydflja

Network Rail partners with Chiltern to deliver new Oxford-London line

Network Rail and Chiltern Railways have formed a partnership to oversee the construction and development of a new railway line between Oxford and London. The team will manage work to upgrade a section of line between Oxford and Bicester, as well as the construction of a new 1km stretch of railway connecting Bicester with the Chiltern Main Line. As well as the new line to London Marylebone station, the upgraded section of track will form part of the East West Rail project - a scheme which seeks to provide better rail connections between the east and west of England by upgrading and replacing sections of track between Oxford and Bedford.

www.globalrailnews.com. 9 Sep. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/nw9fpoo

Contracts totalling Euros 300m awarded for Grand Paris Express line

A series of major contracts, worth an estimated Euros 300M, have been awarded, paving the way for the construction of a new 100km orbital railway in Paris. The red line (line 15), one of four new lines being built as part of the Grand Paris Express project, will run around the outskirts of the city, allowing passengers to travel between Parisian suburbs without going through the city centre. The entire project will involve the construction of two brand new lines and extension of two existing routes. A consortium led by Systra will oversee the design and construction of the first phase of line 15 - a 21km line between Noisy-Champs and Villejuif Louis Aragon. Engineering consultancy Setec will manage the delivery of a 12km section between Villejuif Louis Aragon and Pont de Sevres. A third consortium of Artelia, Arcadis and BG Consulting has been appointed to project manage the entire programme.

www.globalrailnews.com. 9 Sep. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/pkat53s

Riyadh metro contracts awarded

Reports that Arriyadh Development Authority has awarded three turnkey contracts for the construction of a 176 km six-line driverless metro network in Riyadh. The BACS consortium led by Bechtel and including Almabani General Contractors, Consolidated Contractors Company and Siemens is to build Lines 1 and 2, totalling 63.3 km. This contract is valued at $9.45bn. Arriyadh New Mobility will build Line 3, which will be the longest route at 40.7 km, under a $5.21bn contract. The FAST consortium led by FCC and including Samsung, Alstom, Strukton, Freyssinet Saudi Arabia, Typsa and Setec is to build Lines 4, 5 and 6, totalling 64.6 km. Alstom's Euros 1.2bn share of the contract includes supplying 69 two-car Metropolis automated trainsets, along with Urbalius signalling, Appitrack mechanised tracklaying technology and HESOP energy-saving substations.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 9, Sep. 2013. p.14.

Croxley Rail Link approved

The government has granted legal powers for construction of the Croxley Rail Link project to extend London Underground's Metropolitan Line to Watford Junction. The £118M project would partly use a disused railway alignment. A new viaduct would be built over the Grand Union Canal, along with two new stations. The line would join the current London Overground route south of Watford High Street, enabling trains to reach Watford Junction over existing track. Construction is due to start in 2014, with opening scheduled for 2016.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 9, Sep. 2013. p.16.

Railcare in administration

Reports that UK rolling stock repair and refurbishment company Railcare, which operates workshops at Springburn and Wolverton, was placed in administration on July 31, after cash flow issues and the failure of take-over talks with Knorr-Bremse. Three partners from BDO were appointed joint administrators, and were 'liaising with customers to understand their exact requirements, so trading may continue' while a buyer is sought.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 9, Sep. 2013. p.20.

Fast freight can be very profitable

Shippers in the US are spending $28bn a year on long-distance road transport, partly due to the need for faster deliveries. There is significant potential for rail if it can offer a time-competitive service. Examines the case for higher speed freight trains. Team-driven trucks achieve an average speed of close to 90 km/h. This is comparable to the average speed of US passenger trains and is the market that is readily identifiable for higher speed freight trains. Says that the case for faster freight trains really depends on identifying and tapping a 'secondary value', such as increased retail shelf life for perishable foods, an urgency of delivery as for spare parts or business documents, or for the expedited movement of a limited number of products that form important links in a logistics, distribution or manufacturing chain.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 9, Sep. 2013. pp.51-54.

Winning the battle for high-value freight

Initial findings from the FP7-supported SPECTRUM research project have said that, given the right technology, the right distances and the right market conditions, up to 1.9bn tonnes a year of lower-density higher-value freight now moving by road in Europe could be switched to rail. Entitled 'Solutions and Processes to Enhance the Competitiveness of Transport by Rail in Unexploited Markets, the project brings together 20 partners from across the rail industry and the freight forwarding sector, under the leadership of NewRail - Newcastle Centre for Railway research. SPECTRUM has been looking at the LDHV market and the technical and operational concepts which could facilitate a shift of time-sensitive traffic from road to rail.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 9, Sep. 2013. pp.56-58.

Redefining the European freight wagon

Reports on the 5L project to improve the competitiveness of rail freight by developing the 'Innovative Railway Wagon 2030'. 5L is being led by a group of railway operators, shippers, wagon owners and suppliers. The aim is to move away from today's mostly archaic freight wagons to a highly-productive, environmentally friendly and economic vehicle suitable for use across Europe. Details five factors that would influence the successful introduction of a new wagon design - low noise, light weight, long running, logistics capable and life-cycle cost-oriented.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 9, Sep. 2013. pp.60-63.

DD ENV 13481-6:2002Railway applications. Track. Performance requirements for fastening systems. Special fastening systems for attenuation of vibration. (This standard is withdrawn as it is no longer relevant.)
[BSI] Update Standards. Sept.2013. p.23.
DD ENV 13481-8:2002Railway applications. Track. Performance requirements for fastening systems. Fastening systems for track with heavy axle loads. (This standard is withdrawn as it is no longer relevant.)
[BSI] Update Standards. Sept.2013. p.23.

Visual algorithms for automatic detection of squat flaws in railway rails

An algorithm for the detection of squat surface flaws, which cannot be detected by ultrasonic methods, is detailed and illustrated. A wavelet transform extracts the rail from the background in combination with a Gabor filter bank and a support vector machine. The sequential feature selection method was used to discriminate between squat and squatless areas. A 97% detection rate was achieved.

Insight, vol.55, no.7. July 2013. pp.353-359.

Britain to test battery-powered train

A Greater Anglia Class 379 is to become Britain's first battery-powered train as part of a study into the feasibility of extending the technology across the network. Network Rail is working alongside Bombardier, the Enabling Innovation Team at the RSSB and Greater Anglia to conduct the trial. The Class 379, which will be fitted with both lithium phosphate and hot sodium nickel salt batteries, will first undergo tests at Old Dalby and then move to an electrified branch line on the Anglia route, depending on the success of the initial trials, with its pantograph down. Once complete at the end of 2014, the EMU will be stripped of its modifications and returned to regular passenger operation.


Melbourne-Sydney high-speed rail line gets government backing

The Australian government has committed its support and $52M to developing plans for the country's first high-speed rail line. Announcing the government's decision to fully-adopt recommendations set out by the High Speed Rail Advisory Group Report in its 'On Track: Implementing High Speed Rail in Australia' report, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said that he would be supporting the first section of the line which will link Sydney and Melbourne via Canberra. More than $50M will be earmarked to protect the preferred route of the line and a new High Speed Rail Authority will be established to oversee the project's development. Infrastructure Australia will now explore financing options for the line, including PPP opportunities to cover the estimated $114bn cost of the full Melbourne-Brisbane system.

www.globalrailnews.com. 28 Aug. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/q8mb579

Abellio ScotRail issues tender for up to 400 new electric trains

Abellio ScotRail has issued a tender notice for the supply of up to 400 new electric trains with the added option of maintenance. The contract, for which tenders have to be in by November 16, 2013, covers the design, manufacture, testing, commissioning and introduction of the new fleet of trains. According to the tender documents the order will be worth between £100M and £600M with a duration of no more than 132 months from the date the contract is awarded. The first train is expected to be ready to enter service by April 1, 2016, a year after the current franchise, operated by FirstGroup, expires. (Item contains little further information.)

www.globalrailnews.com. 23 Aug. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/qejvrbo

Rail emerging as long-term North American crude option

Initially thought of as a stopgap for transporting North American crude oil production until new pipelines could be built, the relatively short time needed to recover capital costs of rail infrastructure has opened the possibility that rail transportation rates could be reduced enough to keep railroads competitive and profitable, even compared to new pipelines. Rail can rapidly enter markets because the primary new infrastructure required is transloading terminals, which typically have short construction lead times of just 12-18 months. Scalable rail operations also have ready access to large fleet resources including locomotives, rail cars, rail crews, additional track, and other facilities that can be put in place cheaply and quickly to handle rapid expansion.

Oil & Gas Journal, vol. 111.8, 5 Aug. 2013. pp.91-92,95.

Scientists comment on train crash in Galicia, Spain

Thursday 25th July 2013

Round-up comments

Professor Roger Kemp, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said:

“From press reports, the train was approaching Santiago de Compostela on a new high speed line. A few kilometres from the city centre the track goes through a 600m tunnel, passes under the Autoestrada do Atlantico and joins the old line before reaching the main station.

“From on-line maps, it appears that the track at this point has a curve radius of about 500 metres. UK practice would be that the speed limit round such a curve would be between 70km/h and 100km/h depending on how much the track is banked. For a conventional European train, the overturning speed on a curve of that radius would be around 170km/h, depending on the amount of banking, the vehicle centre of gravity and suspension parameters.

“It is reported that the speed limit was 80km/h and driver admitted to the rescue team that the train had been travelling at 190km/h. This is consistent with the above calculations. One would expect the train to derail at around this speed.

“The big question is why the train was running at more than twice the speed limit. As the driver was leaving the high-speed line to join a much slower route before entering the station, there must have been at least prominent visual warnings to reduce speed, if not audible warnings and an electronic speed supervision system. It has been reported that investigators are studying the possibility of a failure of the braking system or other equipment and, until this investigation is complete, it is not possible to say what caused this accident.”

SMC coverage

The Guardian (Roger Kemp)

The Guardian (Roger Kemp) – transport correspondent

The Independent (Roger Kemp)

Reuters (Roger Kemp)

Mirror (Roger Kemp)

Herald Scotland (Roger Kemp)

Yorkshire Post (Roger Kemp)

Flyover to cut delay minutes

Passenger trains have now begun using a flyover built at Hitchin to eliminate the need for services from London to Letchworth and Cambridge to cross the other three tracks of the East Coast Main Line on the level. Network Rail says that the 2km single track alignment, built at a cost of £47M, is expected to cut delays by nearly 30,000 minutes a year and create capacity for additional services. Other projects being undertaken to increase capacity on the ECML include: remodelling of the junctions at Shaftholme near Doncaster and Holgate near York; new platforms at Peterborough; and an upgrade of the Doncaster-Lincoln-Peterborough line to provide an alternative route for freight. (Item contains no further information.)

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 8, Aug. 2013. p.8.

Prototype commuter car

Reports that Japan Transport Engineering and Tokyo commuter operator Tokyu Corporation have begun testing a prototype Sustina lightweight stainless steel electric multiple-unit car. Developed for both domestic and export markets, the vehicle is undergoing trials in revenue service as part of a series 5050 EMU on the Tokyo Line. Sustina is intended to offer long service life and 'exceptionally high reliability' to avoid disruption on busy commuter routes. The laser-welded stainless steel body is watertight and does not require painting, and incorporates a lateral ceiling rollbar for high side impact crashworthiness. The lightweight design is up to 30% lighter than a mild steel design and equivalent to an aluminium-bodied vehicle.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 8, Aug. 2013. p.10.

Siemens pulls out of Crossrail bidding

Siemens has announced that it 'will not be proceeding further along the Crossrail rolling stock procurement process'. Along with Bombardier, CAF and Hitachi Rail Europe, Siemens had been invited in February 2012 to negotiate for a contract to provide around 600 EMU cars for the east-west cross London line. The company says that its withdrawal is a 'strategic decision that has been taken on current business activity levels'. It remains 'fully committed' to delivering signalling, communications and train control systems for Crossrail through its Rail Automation business, which was awarded contract C620 with Invensys Rail, now part of Siemens, in November 2012.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 8, Aug. 2013. p.14.

In search of global standards

Further steps towards the establishment of a 'global repository' for railway standards were taken at the UIC General Assembly on June 27 when members approved the overall strategy for the UIC Standardisation Platform. The strategy envisages the transformation of the existing UIC leaflets into a new portfolio of International Railway Standards, together with the establishment of new standards when necessary. Although the leaflets were developed primarily for Europe, where UIC had its origins, many of the standards were subsequently adopted by railways around the world. With the European Railways Agency now responsible for managing Technical Specifications for Interoperability within the European Union, UIC is keen to ensure that European standards do not drift out of line with the rest of the world, and vice-versa.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 8, Aug. 2013. p.24.

Define crash energy management needs early in procurement

The development of tighter crashworthiness standards in Europe, centred on EN15227, has led rolling stock designers to place more importance on energy absorption and vehicle protection measures. This renewed emphasis on vehicle structural integrity has led Oleo to develop its range of simulation and modelling tools to enable designers, component suppliers, rolling stock owners and train operators to gain a deeper understanding of issues surrounding crashworthiness. The company has a range of modelling options from one-dimensional simulation through to multi-body dynamic analysis in three dimensions and stresses the value of using its platforms early in the design process.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 8, Aug. 2013. pp.61-62.

Hitachi wins U.K. high-speed train car production bid

Reports that Hitachi has received an order to supply more than 270 train cars for an intercity line in the UK. The order includes maintenance service for 27 and a half years as well as production of the train cars to replace an aging fleet. Valued at £1.2bn, the order was received from the Department for Transport via a special-purpose company in which Hitachi is an investor. The train cars will run on the line from London to Inverness.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol. 51, no. 2,603, 29 July 2013. p.12.

Virgin calls for 135 mph running on West Coast Main Line

Virgin’s chief operating officer Chris Gibb has said that 135mph running on some sections of the West Coast Mainline is vital if rail is to challenge competition from the airlines and make best use of capacity. Although Pendolinos are capable of operating at 140mph - and this capability is being maintained by Alstom - to travel at this speed would require signalling alterations, whereas 135mph would present no such issues as drivers would still be able to see two sections ahead, which deals with any sighting problems. Mr Gibb said: 'We are pleased that Network Rail agrees with us in this instance and is working positively with us to deliver this change'. (Item contains no further information.)

www.globalrailnews.com. 1 Aug. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/pnckm7r

University of Huddersfield and rail industry forge a new strategic partnership

The University of Huddersfield and RSSB have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, sealing a deal to pool resources and talent for research into system and engineering risk modelling to support informed decision making and future risk prediction. Each organisation is putting in funding of £0.5M per year to fuel a £5M 5-year programme. Research will be carried out and new techniques developed to fill the gaps that are identified in system and engineering risk modelling, as well as issues around human capital, and educating the next generation of railway professionals.

RSSB Newsletter, July/Aug. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/os4spbg

Fatigue risk management

Fatigue is a common problem in everyday life; however, fatigue at work can impact on the performance of people who make the railway safe (e.g. drivers, signallers, depot and maintenance staff). Office of the Rail Regulator Guidance underpinning the Railway and other Guided Transport Systems Regulations (safety) 2006, advocates the introduction of Fatigue Risk Management Systems. Following the publication of this guidance RSSB held a Fatigue Forum in March 2011 bringing together companies from across the industry to learn how to better to manage fatigue. Now a second forum has been organised by a cross industry steering group. RSSB's research on managing road driver fatigue and associated support materials was launched and Network Rail presented their investigations into on-call worker fatigue. Additionally a range of companies presented their approaches to fatigue risk management systems.

RSSB Newsletter, July/Aug. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/os4spbg

Fyra V250 cancelled

SNCB (Belgium) and NS Hispeed (The Netherlands) have cancelled their joint order for 19 high speed trainsets from AnsaldoBreda after a review by a French consultancy indicated that the units would not be fit for purpose. The trainsets were to have been for services between Amsterdam and Brussels, and for within The Netherlands.

Railway Gazette International, vol.169, no.7. July 2013. p.12.

Thameslink order confirmed

The Cross-London Trains consortium has been awarded a firm contract by the UK Department for Transport for the finance, build and maintenance of all EMU cars and depots for the Thameslink Programme.

Railway Gazette International, vol.169, no.7. July 2013. p.12.

IGC grants DB access to Channel Tunnel

A Certificate B operating licence for the Channel Tunnel has been awarded to Deutsche Bahn by the Intergovernmental Commission. This paves the way for preparatory work before the introduction of high speed services between Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Köln and London, possibly commencing in 2016.

Railway Gazette International, vol.169, no.7. July 2013. p.12.

Network Rail awards £122m Crossrail contracts

Network Rail has awarded Carillion two Crossrail contracts worth around £122M. The Crossrail West Inner Track Improvements and Crossrail Old Oak Common and Paddington Approaches and Intercity Express Programme will prepare existing rail infrastructure along the route to accommodate future Crossrail trains. Carillion has said the projects will include 'design, track work, switches and crossings, overhead line and cable management, together with minor civil engineering works'.

www.globalrailnews.com. 3 July 2013. http://tinyurl.com/nhfn5hc

Bombardier to supply new Hamburg S-Bahn trains

S-Bahn, a subsidiary of DB Regio AG, has awarded Bombardier a contract for 60 new single and dual-voltage commuter trains. The order follows confirmation from the Hamburg Parliament that S-Bahn will continue to operate Hamburg's urban network for another 15 years from 2018. The single-voltage trains will run on the S-Bahn network, while the dual-voltage will operate on extensions to Hamburg's suburban regions - allowing direct services into the city centre for the first time. The contract, which has been valued at around euros 327M, includes an option for 86 additional trains up to 2018. The contract is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018, with the first train due to be delivered in 2016. (Item contains no further information.)

www.globalrailnews.com. 1 July 2013. http://tinyurl.com/otbnky4

Deadly derailment won't stop oil on trains

A recent train derailment in Quebec, near the Maine border, has highlighted the danger of moving oil by rail. However, while the practice could be made safer, it won't be stopped. US and Canadian drillers are producing oil faster than new pipelines can be built. As a result, trains have become an unexpected yet vital way to move shipments from the continent's midsection to refineries along the coasts. Even safety experts worried about the dangers of shipping oil by rail acknowledge that the safety record of railroads is good - and improving.


First UK tram-train service to open in 2016

Transport Minister Norman Baker has signed a contract to deliver tram-trains to South Yorkshire. The new service, which is being run as part of a two-year trial of the technology, will operate between Rotherham Parkgate and Sheffield city centre from 2016. The specially-built tram-trains will connect Rotherham and Sheffield along a mix of light and heavy rail lines. If the pilot study is successful tram-trains could be rolled out across the country. The new vehicles, which are being built by Vossloh, will be dual voltage, taking into account any future plans to electrify the Midland Mainline.

www.globalrailnews.com. 21 June 2013. http://tinyurl.com/ozpeeb6

Testing new weld products at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing

The head alloyed weld from Orgo-Thermit, Inc., which provides increased weld running surface hardness to match that of high strength rails, and the head defect repair (HDR) weld from Holland L.P./EWI, an electric flash railhead repair weld, were tested by the Transportation Technology Center, Inc; their report results are summarised.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.109, no.6. June 2013. pp.15-17.

Analyzing rail grinding patterns

The modelling of the rail grinding process, as the function of a single grinding motor and as multiple grinding motors in a range of patterns, is discussed. Two approaches are used - the 'closed form' mathematical representation of the rail head as defined by AREMA, and the digitised rail profile as used by a profile measurement system.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.109, no.6. June 2013. pp.46,48,50,52.

BS EN 13231-1:2013Railway applications. Track. Acceptance of works. Works on ballasted track. Plain fine switches and crossings. (Supersedes BS EN 13231-1 and -2:2006)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2013. p.11.
BS EN 13231-4:2013Railway applications. Track. Acceptance of works. Acceptance of reprofiling rails in switches and crossings
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2013. p.11.
EN 15085-1:2007+A1:2013Railway applications. Welding of railway vehicles and components. General
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2013. p.42.

Network Rail told by regulator to cut costs by £2bn

Network Rail has been told by the rail regulator that it must find savings of £2bn over the next five years at the same time as improving punctuality. But the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) said the cost cuts must not come at the expense of safety. It said at least nine out of 10 trains must run on time on all routes by 2019. Network Rail welcomed the plans and said it would respond in September after analysing the findings. Last week the ORR said Network Rail had missed all of its punctuality targets for England and Wales last year. The figures came a day after it was revealed that the company's net debt had reached more than £30bn. If Network Rail keeps missing punctuality targets, it faces a fine of up to £75m from the ORR. The company is held responsible for delays caused by signal failures or relating to problems with train tracks.

BBC News online, 12th June 2013.

Composite railroad ties multiply in metro commuter rail line

AXION has announced several new contracts for its ECOTRAX rail ties, the latest being from a Metrorail system in Florida. Due to Miami's coastal tropical climate, rail ties are exposed to hostile conditions that include very high levels of rainfall, sun exposure and sea salt, as well as termites. Traditional wood rail ties offer a shorter service life in this environment and ECOTRAX is designed to be an alternative that offers both environmental benefits and a higher financial return on investment due to the ties' much longer service life and performance capabilities.

Composites Technology, June 2013. p.10. http://ct.epubxp.com/title/9556

Maglev dream floats closer to reality

Information about the development of the Maglev train in Japan, and the schedule being put together to get the train operating in Japan, with the intention that a line will be ready between Tokyo and Nagoya by 2027, extending to Osaka by 2045.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.51. no.2,590. 29 Apr. 2013. p.29.

Overground order for Bombardier

Transport for London has placed an £88M order with Bombardier for 57 new Overground rail carriages. The vehicles, which will be built in Derby, will increase all remaining Class 378 trains from four to five carriages on all but one Overground route - the Gospel Oak to Barking line which will remain diesel powered.

www.globalrailnews.com. 7 May 2013. http://tinyurl.com/butjf8f

DB signs framework order for 450 Bombardier locomotives

Deutsche Bahn has signed a framework agreement with Bombardier that could see the delivery of 450 TRAXX locomotives between now and 2023. The new locomotives will be split across DB's operations, with 110 confirmed for DB Schenker and 20 for DB Regio passenger services. The locomotives, which have a potential operating speed of 189 km per hour, can be manufactured with a Last Mile Diesel Engine, which allows the electric vehicles to run on non-electrified sections of track. The agreement is still subject to the approval.

www.globalrailnews.com. 7 May 2013. http://tinyurl.com/mlrabfm

AVE in France

A RENFE Service 100 high speed trainset undertook trial running at 300 km/h on LGV Est between Paris and Lorraine-TGV station during the week of March 18th. No dates have been announced for the operation of AVE trainsets into France, but they are initially expected to be deployed on services from Barcelona to Toulouse, and later to Lyon. (Item contains no further information).

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 4, Apr. 2013. p.7.

Unified law to boost freight

A declaration expressing willingness to create a common legal regime for rail traffic across Asia and Europe has been signed by 37 countries at a recent meeting in Geneva. The aim is to establish a 'unified set of transparent and predictable' legal conditions for international rail freight transport 'from the Atlantic to the Pacific', equivalent to the regimes for road, air and water transport. The general conditions of transport for Euro-Asian rail transport, GTC EurAsia, would include a common consignment note and 'to the extent possible' a single liability regime.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 4, Apr. 2013. p.7.

Crossrail operator sought

Transport for London has invited expressions of interest in the Crossrail operating concession. The concession would run for eight years, with a possible 31 month extension, and would be similar to the existing London Overground inner-suburban contract, with TfL specifying service levels, hours of operation and staffing. TfL expects to appoint an operator by late 2014. In May 2015 the concessionaire would take over stopping services between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield. The concessionaire may also be required to operate services on routes further out to Reading and/or Ebbsfleet, and from London Liverpool Street to Chingford, Enfield Town and Cheshunt.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 4, Apr. 2013. p.14.

Transport for London

Transport for London's Rail for London subsidiary has awarded Bombardier a euros 88.5M firm order to supply 57 cars to lengthen the London Overground Class 378 EMU fleet from four to five cars. (Item contains no further information).

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 4, Apr. 2013. p.19.

European rail business sold

Balfour Beatty has announced plans to dispose of all of its mainland European rail businesses. This follows a review which had concluded that maintaining a rail presence in the region was not consistent with the company's strategy of building a strong local presence in a number of sectors, given that in mainland Europe it operates essentially only in rail. As a first step in the divestment, the Spanish business has been sold to its management team, with the remainder to follow 'through a process that ensures that the businesses and their customers continue to receive full support'. The company has recognised a non-underlying cost of $104M in respect of the sale, including a $95M goodwill impairment comprising $80M in respect of the German business, $12M for Scandinavia and $3M for Spain.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 4, Apr. 2013. p.22.

A vision of rail in 2050

Reports on 'Challenge 2050', a high-level vision of the future shape of rail transport which was recently launched in Brussels. It outlines the sector's 'shared perception' of what Europe's railways could look like in the future. It is intended to 'orient and guide' policymakers and other stakeholders and companies across the railway operating community and supply sector, encouraging them to 'enable the innovation and investment on which sustainable mobility in Europe depends'. Challenge 2050 identifies a range of high-level goals for a business-led rail sector, covering: value for money; performance; safety & security; consistency; capacity; connectivity; sustainable development; and people.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 4, Apr. 2013. p.30.

Feast and famine continues

Although the introduction of private finance was expected to see new train procurement freed from public spending constraints, the 20 years following rail privatisation have seen two major periods where no orders were placed, with a third now looming. Details the history of procurement and examines how turbulence continues to characterise the market. While official policy holds that the government should not specify and procure rolling stock, the Department for Transport cannot avoid involvement since it is responsible for funding the additional costs through the franchise agreements. In addition, only the government can provide the cross-franchise strategic overview and act where urgent decisions are needed. Presents a table with current and prospective CP5 rolling stock orders.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 4, Apr. 2013. pp.51-55.

Bertling joins Bombardier

Lutz Bertling has been named as the next President & Chief Operating Officer of Bombardier Transportation. He is currently President & CEO of EADS subsidiary Eurocopter Group and will take up his new duties on June 3rd. He succeeds André Navarri, who will remain as Strategic Advisor to Bombardier Inc President & CEO Pierre Beaudoin for a further year before retiring. Meanwhile, Grego Peters has stepped down from Bombardier Transportation's Management Board. He has headed up the Germany & Scandinavia business unit within the company's Passenger Division since 2010. (Item contains no further information).

Railway Gazette International, vol. 169, no. 4, Apr. 2013. p.64.

Batteries included

Research workers from TRL and Lloyds Register have reported on the feasibility of designing battery-powered trains. In work sponsored by the Department for Transport, the team examines two issues: the technological means of onboard electrical storage to meet the energy and power requirements of selected case study routes; and the conceptual design of a mechanical system for rapidly exchanging discharged batteries with charged units at stations. If the approach proves positive, battery powering could provide an alternative to diesel traction. The investigation concluded that battery-powered traction is feasible when a suitable battery is paired with a super capacitor or flywheel to deliver the power peaks required to accelerate the train and cope with gradients along the route.

Railway Strategies, issue 77, Feb./Mar. 2013. p.33.

High speed rail

On January 28th, the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin announced the HS2 phase two route which will link Birmingham with Manchester, the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds. Provides his written statement and comments by interested parties including the Association of Train Operating Companies, the Rail Freight Group, Network Rail and the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee. Also provides a map showing Britain's future high speed rail network and linking compatible services.

Railway Strategies, issue 77, Feb./Mar. 2013. pp.36-38.

Responding to the challenges of Britain's growing railway

Reports on Network Rail's Strategic Business Plan which will spend $37.5bn on the infrastructure to boost capacity at key points on the network and provide extra commuter seats at peak times. The plan also sets out the need to future-proof infrastructure against the impact of changing weather conditions, including more frequent flooding, and to enable more rail freight by upgrading strategic routes to accommodate bigger freight containers. Details the plans, individual projects and schemes.

Railway Strategies, issue 77, Feb./Mar. 2013. pp.44-45.

NSARE publishes skills forecasting report

In March 2012 the National Skills Academy Railway Engineering was commissioned by the Office of Rail Regulation to undertake a Skills Forecasting exercise to quantify the skills challenges facing the rail industry. This was to encompass the requirements of Network Rail, Transport for London, Crossrail, HS2, Light Rail, and all their railway engineering supply chains. Details the objectives of the project and its subsequent activities, as well as the response of the industry. Notes that NSARE has submitted a bid to the Department for Business Innovation & Skills, in conjunction with Siemens, for a National Training Academy for Traction & Rolling Stock.

Railway Strategies, issue 77, Feb./Mar. 2013. p.49.

Moving forward on freight

Presents an interview with Maggie Simpson, the new had of the Rail Freight Group. She outlines the three main parts of RFG's role in the industry - to influence policy, to help mentor companies and to try to raise awareness of rail freight. She comments on developments in the UK rail market which could impact on freight, highlighting those which are positive and those which are disappointing. She goes on to stress that the uptake of rail freight is increasing and that it is not just about 'moving coal and stone'.

Railway Strategies, issue 77, Feb./Mar. 2013. pp.50-52.

Charging ahead

Researchers at the University of Huddersfield's Institute of Railway Research are making an impact on the costs of operating railway freight vehicles. A research project initiated by Network Rail and the Office of Rail Regulation will see techniques developed by the IRR used to inform the levels of track access charges paid to NR by freight vehicles operating in the UK. The project employs mathematical modelling of freight vehicle dynamics to determine levels of track damage due to a vehicle's dynamic ride forces. By developing a ride force counting metric and collaborating with NR economists, the IRR proceeded to generate a cost model and software program called RFCpro. This program allows vehicle manufacturers and operators to readily calculate levels of track access charges for their new vehicles.

Railway Strategies, issue 77, Feb./Mar. 2013. p.53.

Mail by rail

Reports on the integration of 'freight' into the passenger services operated by East Midlands trains between Nottingham and London as part of the 'Mail by rail' partnership between EMT and supply chain management company 5PL. The service is a fully managed door-to-door offer with courier partners employed at either end of the route to load/unload the trains and effect collection and delivery from and to customers. Notes that being greener and offering savings over road based courier operations is attractive to organisations. Concludes that EMT and 5PL have proven that it is possible to utilise marginal capacity on passenger trains for the movement of freight and have done so in a way that has produced a revenue stream for EMT without impacting on the railway operation or passengers.

Railway Strategies, issue 77, Feb./Mar. 2013. pp.58-59.

Rail industry sets out future potential requirements for trains and carriages

Discusses a recent report from the rail industry - Long Term Passenger Rolling Stock Strategy for the Rail Industry - which marks a key step towards a market-led approach for delivering rolling stock which meets passengers' needs over the next 30 years. The analysis suggests that a near doubling of the fleet could be needed by 2042. At the heart of the growth is a requirement for between 13,000 and 19,000 new electric vehicles. It adds that while the electrification programme proceeds there would be no requirement for any new diesel or hybrid rolling stock other than for limited capacity purposes. Concludes that rolling stock related costs per vehicle mile can be reduced in real terms as a result of these changes because the costs of leasing, maintenance and energy for new electric vehicles are substantially lower that the costs for comparable new diesel vehicles.

Railway Strategies, issue 77, Feb./Mar. 2013. p.72.

Electric boom for the rolling stock market: the long-term strategy

Reports on the Long Term Passenger Rolling Stock Strategy which aims to set out the likely passenger rolling stock requirements in the UK over the next 30 years. Impacts on rolling stock numbers by way of electrification, HS2, projected passenger demand and existing fleet renewal have been considered. A number of key themes have emerged from the Strategy: the costs of the industry as a whole need to be reduced; rolling stock costs should not be seen in isolation; the Department for Transport's role in relation to rolling stock should be significantly reduced; and a 'reinvigorated' franchising programme is the best was to deliver substantial fleet investment and secure value for money. The strategy also places emphasis on electrifying more of Britain's railways.

Railway Strategies, issue 77, Feb./Mar. 2013. p.73.

Publically minded

Reports on developments in transport services offered by Transports Public Genevois which operates trams, trolleybuses and buses and whose network covers the Greater Geneva area. Although a publically owned, monopoly public transport operator with no competition the company still has to adopt a commercial mindset in order to satisfy the requirements set out in its service agreement with the State of Geneva. Notes that the tpg fleet will see the arrival of 19 new Tango trams from Stadler, with a further 13 on order to be delivered progressively from 2014. The design concept incorporates an innovative new prototype supercapacitor battery which offers substantial benefits in reducing energy consumption by recovering braking energy. The system also allows the tram to move independently without an external power supply over a certain distance, for example in the case of breakage of the contact line.

Railway Strategies, issue 77, Feb./Mar. 2013. pp.123,125.

Evaluation of switch point and stock rail profiles for heavy-axle-loads

A series of tests, carried out by the Transportation Technology Center, Inc., to evaluate methods of reducing stock rail metal flow and switch point fatigue in turnouts are described. Switch point chipping and rolling contact fatigue were reduced by running surface profile changes and the development of these are discussed.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.109, no.4. April 2013. pp.12-17.

Suspension bridges: Concepts and various innovative techniques of structural evaluation

Following a review of why suspension bridges fail, the use of advanced NDT methods to detect potential problems is discussed.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.109, no.4. April 2013. pp.27-28,30.

Automated phased array ultrasonic inspection system for rail wheel sets

The design, system automation, calibration and validation of an automated ultrasonic system for the inspection of new and in service wheel set assemblies from diesel-electric locomotives and gondola cars is reported. The system uses Phased Array transducers for flaw detection and Electro-Magnetic Acoustic Transducers for the measurement of residual stresses. The data gathered is archived for future comparisons and trending.

Non-Destructive Testing Australia, vol.50, no.2. March/April 2013. pp.44-48.

Increased investment in high speed rail drives demand for composites - Frost & Sullivan

A new report from Frost & Sullivan - Global Opportunities for Plastics and Composites in High Speed Rail - states that increased investment in new high speed rail lines is creating growth opportunities for plastics and composites manufacturers. OEMs are likely to incorporate larger quantities of composites in new rolling stock as a result of benefits such as lower life-time cost, significant weight reduction potential and higher strength-to-weight ratio. However, the high cost of composites compared to metals, lack of proper joining techniques, absence of standardisation (in terms of material grade), and poor reparability and recyclability all threaten to limit the penetration of composites in HSR applications.

Reinforced Plastics Newsletter, issue 480, 17 Apr. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/d3m7vjg

Bombardier wins Florida SunRail contract

Reports that Bombardier has been awarded a $195M operations and maintenance contract for Florida's SunRail service. The contract includes a 10-year maintenance agreement for the route's new fleet of 20 Bombardier BiLevel commuter rail cars. Bombardier's scope of work for the SunRail commuter rail service will include operations, dispatching, fleet maintenance, track maintenance, customer service, station platform and facility maintenance, and material supply.

www.rail.co. 19 Apr. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/cy7h8v3

Future of rail travel: SkyTran

For the US and the UK, the future of national rail travel is high-speed, but there are concepts in various stages of development that could revolutionise not only how we use rail systems to move across cities but how we move around the world. This article looks at a system developed in part by NASA, which aims to harness maglev technology to transport personal travel pods at speeds of 150 mph around vast metropolitan areas. SkyTran sees itself as the future of mass transit, claiming to be almost completely carbon neutral and around the third of the price of HSR. The vision is for passengers to be able to board a pod, type in where they want to go and be transported quickly and comfortably to their destination without needing to use scheduled services or suffer crowded carriages.

www.rail.co. 22 Mar. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/buegzqs

Long-distance rail study launched

Network Rail has begun a consultation into the future of long-distance rail services in the UK. The Long Distance Market Study will inform the development of long-distance rail travel over the next 10 to 30 years. Richard Eccles, Network Rail's head of strategic planning, said: 'The goals of our study are to identify where rail can have the biggest effect on three key areas - namely enabling economic growth, improving people's quality of life and reducing the impact of travel on the environment. Rail has a unique ability to offer fast and efficient connectivity for businesses and communities, while also being a greener, less carbon hungry form of travel. Only by planning many years ahead will we be able to keep trains moving and meet demand'. (Item contains no further information).

www.rail.co. 27 Mar. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/bolvm7r

ATC wins final major Crossrail construction contract

Alstom, TSO and Costain (ATC) has been awarded the final major construction contract for Crossrail. The joint venture will fit out London's new rail tunnels with 40km of track, overhead power equipment and ventilation and drainage systems. The contract includes a commitment to provide apprenticeships and job opportunities for Londoners along the route. By late 2014, the construction of over 21km of twin-bore tunnel, stretching across the capital via central London and Docklands, will have been completed. To-date over 7 km of new tunnel has been constructed under London.

www.rail.co. 2 Apr. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/d4c5b9p

Britain's railway named Europe's most improved

Research led by the European Commission has shown that Britain outperformed all 27 EU member states when comparing the progression of each country's rail network since the 1990s, beating Germany (7th), France (10th) and Italy (23rd). Britain performed particularly well in safety, passenger satisfaction and recorded the highest modal shift to rail from other modes of transport. The study did, however, show a significant increase in the cost of rail travel since 2000, with prices in Britain up 34% compared with 16% in Germany and 10% in France.

www.rail.co. 2 Apr. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/c3jl8e2

Heavy-axle-load revenue service mega site testing: 2005-2012

Long term tests carried out by the US Transportation Technology Center, Inc (TTCI) designed to investigate issues such as derailment related to broken rails, weld defects, large wheel/rail forces due to adverse track geometry and track buckling related to longitudinal stresses in continuous welded rail are summarised. Conclusions and findings drawn from field test results and statistical analysis are discussed. The tests are part of a joint Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) project to determine the effects of heavy-axle-load (HAL) on track infrastructure.

Railway Track and Structures, vol. 109, no.3. March 2013. pp.13-18.

Siemens handed Crossrail communications systems contract

Siemens has been awarded a £43M Crossrail contract for the central section communications and control systems. The scope of works includes the design, testing, installation and commissioning of key communications and control systems within Crossrail's central section including CCTV and public address systems at stations, customer information displays, staff and emergency services radio systems and the data networks that will carry information to and from the route control centre. The contract also includes commitments to provide apprenticeships and job opportunities for Londoners.

www.rail.co. 19 Mar. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/cq9mxa8

Crossrail trains to be 100% publicly funded

The government has announced that Crossrail rolling stock will now be fully funded by the taxpayer. The public sector contribution will increase from £350M to £1bn. The move is intended to ensure that the project remains on schedule to commence passenger services in 2018 as originally planned, following a delay in the procurement process. A deal will need to be reached for the new trains in 2014 if delivery and testing is to be completed in time.

www.rail.co. 1 Mar. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/d69ycff

Balfour Beatty confirms sale of European rail business

Balfour Beatty has said it plans to sell off its rail business in mainland Europe at the same time as announcing a 7% fall in underlying profit. The company's 2012 figures showed just a 1% fall in revenue at £10.9bn but an underlying profit of £309M. The report also confirmed that the company's cost-cutting programme is on track to save £80M by 2015, with £36M of savings achieved at a non-underlying cost of £61M in 2012. Reported profits were down 70%, in part due to a £104M loss and a £95M goodwill write down caused by the restructuring of its European rail operations.

www.rail.co. 7 Mar. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/blfuecw

Smarter cities are on the move

Comments on the development of new metro lines around the world. Delhi Metro Rail will add another 180 km of route by the end of 2016, including two orbital lines, almost doubling the size of today's network. A recent survey showed that 17 Chinese cities now have metros in operation, with another 13 under construction and up to 20 more cities actively planning their first routes. With more than half of the world's population now living in cities, says that it is clear that investment in urban rail is continuing to accelerate. The International Association of Public Transport (UITP) says that, although projects such as new metro lines can be costly, the cost of improving urban mobility is lower than the direct cost of congestion.

Railway Gazette International, Mar. 2013. p.3.

DFC construction contract

Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India has awarded the first major contract for construction of the Eastern DFC, an electrified high-capacity freight route suitable for speeds of 100 km/h and 32.5 tonne axleloads which is being developed to ease congestion on the roads on the Delhi-Kolkata axis. A joint venture of Tata Projects India and Spanish partner Aldesa is to design and build the initial 343 km double-track Kanpur-Khurja section under the Rs33bn contract announced in January.

Railway Gazette International, Mar. 2013. p.10.

Franchising revived

The government has announces its plans to restart three bidding competitions put on hold after 'significant errors' led to the collapse of the InterCity West Coast process. An interim Essex Thameside contract of up to two years is to be agreed with incumbent National Express, and a revised invitation to tender for a 15-yr franchise is to be issued to shortlisted bidders in the summer. FirstGroup's Great Western franchise has been extended to October, and negotiations are under way for an additional two years. FirstGroup's existing Thameslink-Great Northern franchise is being extended by 28 weeks beyond September 14, and could be extended for a further two years.

Railway Gazette International, Mar. 2013. p.12.

Rolling stock strategy

Great Britain's passenger fleet might need to double by 2042 to accommodate increased ridership, electrification and other proposed enhancements, according to the Long Term Passenger Rolling Stock Strategy for the Rail Industry, published by the Association of Train Operating Companies, Network Rail and leasing companies Angel Trains, Eversholt and Porterbrook. There is a potential requirement for up to 19,000 new electric vehicles by 2042, compared with 8,500 currently in operation. A steady train building programme would be beneficial for the supply industry, but the report says that this is unlikely to occur because procurement will be linked to franchise awards.

Railway Gazette International, Mar. 2013. p.12.

London lengthening approved

Transport for London has approved a £320M programme of rolling stock procurement and infrastructure works to extend London Overground's 57 Class 378 EMUs from four to five cars. TfL is negotiating with Class 378 manufacturer Bombardier and QW Leasing for the supply of the additional cars, which would be leased until 2027. Following a significant increase in ridership on the Overground network, demand is forecast to rise by another 25% by 2021. TfL warned that this would lead to 'widespread, severe overcrowding' if not addressed.

Railway Gazette International, Mar. 2013. p.15.

Metrolink expansion

Reports that another 6.3 km extension of Manchester's light rail network opened for revenue service on February 11. While existing routes make extensive use of former railway formations, the East Manchester Line includes a significant section of street running. Work is in hand on a further 3.9 km to Ashton-under-Lyme, which is expected to open in 2014. Transport for Greater Manchester expects to complete its £1.4bn Metrolink expansion programme by the end of 2016.

Railway Gazette International, Mar. 2013. p.16.


HS2 has appointed Mott MacDonald to provide engineering services for the east leg of high speed 2 Phase II (£3.2M), AECOM for the west leg (£3.1M) and Arup to provide environmental services (£1.1M). (Item contains no further information).

Railway Gazette International, Mar. 2013. p.18.

Formula One flywheel test

Reports that Alstom Transport has signed an exclusive agreement to test Williams hybrid power flywheel energy storage technology on a Citadfis tram. The composite rotor flywheel technology was originally developed for the 2009 Wiliams Formula One car. It has since been used on London buses, and offers energy savings of up to 15% by recovering braking energy normally lost as heat. Trials will start in 2014, with a view to installing a prototype system on an existing vehicle by the end of that year. (Item contains little further information).

Railway Gazette International, Mar. 2013. p.21.

Good but not completely satisfactory year

Siemens President and CEO Peter Loscher has said that 'fiscal 2012 was a good year but not a completely satisfactory year for us'. The company suffered from uncertainties in the global economy, substantial charges in the energy sector and problems with specific projects. These included delays to the delivery of Velaro trains. Loscher said that 'we do share part of the responsibility for that'.

Railway Gazette International, Mar. 2013. p.22.


French infrastructure manager RFF is planning to spend euros 520M on track renewals on the Narbonne-Nimes and Carcassonne-Castelnaudary main lines in Languedoc-Rousillion in 2014-19. (Item contains no further information).

Railway Gazette International, Mar. 2013. p.30.

Compromise unlocks Fourth Railway Package

Reports that the European Commission has unveiled the draft Fourth Railway Package which includes 'a comprehensive package of measures to deliver better quality and more choice in railway services. The Package is split into four areas: standards and approvals; domestic passenger liberalisation; independent infrastructure management; and ensuring a skilled workforce. Publication has been delayed by opposition from member states opposed to full vertical separation and unbundling of their national railway holding groups, most notably Germany.

Railway Gazette International, Mar. 2013. p.30.

Running a railway at its limit

The southern part of the West Coast Main Line has been plagued by unreliability since the completion of a £9bn upgrading programme in 2009. An unprecedented pan-industry collaboration involving infrastructure manager Network Rail and the route's nine operators has produced a detailed report outlining the root causes of the problem. The report offers 17 recommendations across eight thematic areas, which together should offer a 21% reduction in delay times. The eight themes are: prioritisation and improved understanding of delay categories; suicide prevention; track condition monitoring; NR organisation; accommodation for front-line staff; procurement policy; future maintenance strategy; and regulation and enforcement action.

Railway Gazette International, Mar. 2013. pp.32-35.

Develop a data spine to optimise maintenance

Says that managing the interface between routine maintenance, infrastructure enhancement and asset degradation trends is a challenge for many railways, but development of a comprehensive 'data spine' could help to foster commercially-focused high-availability networks. Adds that there are clear efficiencies to be gained over the long term of a general data store using either actual or 'visible' asset data. Once a data spine has been established in a useable form, it can be deployed to create the analytical tools which allow the infrastructure manager to introduce route-based maintenance management assessment which meets the needs of each particular discipline.

Railway Gazette International, Mar. 2013. pp.36-38.

Developing the high-speed train of 2035

Researchers at Germany's DLR Institute are working on a commercially viable high-speed train design for the 2030s. The double-deck NGT EMU, which is intended for 400 km/h operation, would consume just half the energy of current designs. Final results are expected by 2018. Eight criteria are to be met by the final design. While the top operating speed is set at 400 km/h, the specific energy demand per passenger-km should be half that of an ICE3 with its 300 km/h maximum operating speed. A cost-efficient modular construction method is to be employed, with a strong focus on reducing life-cycle costs. The researchers will also address issues relating to the timescale and effectiveness of the R&D and vehicle approval processes. The reductions in journey times could enable the train to be competitive with air travel over distances of 400 to 800 kilometres.

Railway Gazette International, Mar. 2013. pp.58-60.

Alstom warns of West Coast hiatus job losses

Alstom has warned that the two-year hiatus before a new West Coast franchise is let could lead to the loss of around 500 jobs across the rail industry. Scrapping the franchise contest means that there is now no contract for interior refits, all franchise bidders had identified £50M needed to carry out this work, meaning that not only may interiors become tired looking but skilled craftsmen will have to be laid off. Included in the 500 are 40 top-class engineers, who have just completed the Pendolino overhauls, who will have to go because there is no work to bridge the gap between now and the next West Coast franchise being let. Alstom have said the cost of re-starting teams and developing new product further down the line will be in the region of £20-30M, pointing out that £3M has already been spent on design and pre-engineering work for Baby Pendolinos.

www.rail.co. 19 Feb. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/bvaela6

HS2 awards Phase Two design contracts

Reports on the award of engineering design contracts for the second phase of HS2 to connect Birmingham with Manchester and Leeds. The contracts, which cover initial concept engineering designs and environmental services, are the first to be announced for the project's northern route. AECOM and Mott MacDonald will deliver engineering services for the west and east leg of the route respectively - in deals worth a combined £6.3M - and Arup will examine the environmental impact of the scheme. Concepts for Phase Two will form the basis of HS2's proposals ahead of consultation later this year.

www.rail.co. 20 Feb. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/c9yzgkr

European rail travel to grow 21% by 2020

Research by Amadeus Rail predicts that passenger rail traffic across Europe will increase by 21% by 2020. Long-distance passengers volumes will reach more than 1.36bn by 2020. The UK will play a big part in the increase, contributing 70M passengers to the total European market growth of 238M passengers between 2011 and 2020. Key factors are expected to include the liberalisation of European markets, completion of high-speed lines and relative cost of the railway.

www.rail.co. 25 Feb. 2013, http://tinyurl.com/cg9gtsp

A neural network approach for locomotive-based track inspection

The Neural Network models developed by the US Transportation Technology Center, Inc., which identify track geometry deviations by predicting the likely freight wagon responses via a vehicle/track interaction (VTI) system mounted on the locomotive, are described. Methodology, model results and future use are discussed.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.109, no.2. Feb.2013. pp.11-14.

Advances in rail measurement

Fast, mobile surveying systems for capturing rail data are reviewed with reference to productivity and accuracy.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.109, no.2. Feb.2013. pp.27-29.

Report highlights need to expand Britain's electric train fleet

A new report says that Britain will need as few as 400 to 800 new non-electric rail vehicles between now and 2042. An industry-led rolling stock strategy has suggested that the country's fleet of electric vehicles will need to be doubled in the next 30 years to handle projected demand, improved infrastructure and a larger electrified network. The standout figure suggests that between 13,000 to 19,000 new electric vehicles will need to be built by 2042 - the equivalent of delivering eight to 12 carriages every week for the next 30 years. The group carrying out the research included the Association of Train Operating Companies, the three main train leasing companies - Angel Trains, Eversholt Rail Group and Porterbrook Leasing - and Network Rail.

www.rail.co. 12 Feb. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/bmqeg3v

EU backs phase two of Rhine-Rhône high-speed line

The European Union has announced funding for technical, socio-economic and archaeological studies to be carried out for the second phase of the Rhine-Rhône high-speed line in France. The EU will put forward euros 5M to fund the studies, which will tackle the alignment of the rail section, the preparation of tender documents, and the identification of the necessary rail equipment, as well as analysing the socio-economic and archaeological impact of the future works. The first phase of the eastern section, which connects Villers-les-Pots (to the east of Dijon) with Petit-Croix (north-east of Belfort), was inaugurated in 2011. The project is due to be completed by the end of 2014.

www.rail.co. 13 Feb. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/abe93wc

'India needs high-speed rail' - Bansal

Indian Railways Minister Pawan Bansal has stressed his desire to see high-speed rail projects get underway in the country while speaking at the International Seminar on High Speed Trains in New Delhi. He said 'The rapid urbanisation, growing economy, rising level of educated work force with higher levels of income has caused greater growth in intercity travel both for business and personal reasons and high-speed train services may be required to fulfil the demand gap for faster intercity and inter-regional movement of passenger traffic'. Bansal pointed out that six corridors have been identified for techno-economic feasibility studies. The pre-feasibility reports have shown that these identified corridors are at various stages of preparation and study. The Indian government has already identified the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor, as the pilot project of this kind and this project needs an estimated $12.5bn of investment.

www.rail.co. 14 Feb. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/bzvk3hn

On track to transform Europe's rail industry: Part 2

Looks at the use of composites in rail infrastructure such as bridges, sleepers and platforms. Says that in the railway infrastructure the benefits of composites are clearly noticeable, because of the absence of rust and other signs of corrosion. Details case studies of a number of composite bridges that have been installed by Network Rail. Work by consultants Optima Projects suggests that composite bridges have advantages over the traditional metal design: significantly reduced mass; superior durability - less maintenance, disruption and through-life cost; new aesthetic possibilities with complex moulded forms; offsite construction reducing time and disruption on site; longer clear span - less impact on space below; and overall cost reduction, especially through-life.

Reinforced Plastics Newsletter, issue 476, 20 Feb. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/aovqhfw

EDF Energy to supply low carbon electricity for British rail network

EDF Energy has signed a ten-year deal to supply low carbon electricity for Britain's growing electrified rail network. Under the agreement signed with Network Rail, EDF Energy will supply about 3.2TWh of electricity per year to power a network which carries over three million passengers a day. Network Rail chief executive David Higgins stated that the partnership with EDF Energy will make rail a greener form of public transport in Britain.

EBR Utilities Retail - Weekly Newsletter, January 16 2013

Fighting rail fatigue

Explains the degradation mechanism of rolling contact fatigue on railways and some of the steps taken to address the problem. Pearlitic rail steels have reached the limit of their exploitation and Tata Steel has now developed HPrail. This rail steel has a microstructure that has been metallurgically engineered to specifically address the RCF phenomenon while maintaining optimum performance in terms of wear and resistance to plastic deformation. Trials of the steel have exceeded expectations in terms of reduced incidence of RCF and increased wear resistance, so much so that Network Rail is looking to increase its deployment of HPrail at a much faster rate than originally intended.

Engineering Materials, winter 2012. pp.18-20.

£37.5bn rail investment plan submitted to the ORR

Network Rail has set out its £37.5bn investment plan for control period 5. Launching the 2014-19 business plan, it said the cost of operating Britain's railway was becoming cheaper as the organisation becomes more efficient, from £12.6bn in CP3 to £10.7bn in CP5. It plans to reduce the public's contribution to the railway's funding to between £2.6bn and £2.9bn, down from £4.5 in 2009. Details individual infrastructure investment projects by region.

www.rail.co. 8 Jan. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/a328yde

New line connects Madrid and Barcelona with French border

Reports on the opening of a new 131 km high-speed rail line between Barcelona and Figueres which completes an 804 km high-speed network, connecting Madrid with Barcelona and the French border. Renfe will operate nine trains each day between Figueres and Barcelona, of which eight will continue to Madrid, and two will link up with French high-speed TGV services to Paris. The project has included the redevelopment of the Barcelona Sants and Girona railway stations and construction of the new Figueres-Vilafant station. A detailed guide to the construction of the Barcelona-Figueres high-speed line can be found on the Adif website.

www.rail.co. 9 Jan. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/ap9zlam

European Commission finances Italian high-speed rail projects

Two major rail infrastructure projects in northern Italy are to receive euros 10M from the European Union to progress work on a trans-European line between Lyon and the Ukrainian border. The investment will partly fund construction of two tunnels just outside of Brescia on the Turin-Milan-Verona-Padua high-speed line and the upgrading of Milan's train control centre. Once complete, the railway axis will connect France, Italy, Slovenia and Hungary, crossing the Alps between Lyon and Turin.

www.rail.co. 10 Jan. 2013. http://tinyurl.com/azqopby

AWS D15.2/D15.2M:2013Recommended practices for the welding of rails and related rail components for use by rail vehicles
Welding Journal, vol.92, no.1. Jan.2013. p.76.

Implementation of next-generation insulated joints in revenue service

A US industry-wide effort to improve the performance of bonded insulated joints (IJ) in heavy axle load freight service is reported. The Transportation Technology Center, Inc worked with a number of IJ manufacturers and other interested parties to design new joints; several of these designs are now undergoing in-service trials. A lifetime of 500 million gross tons (mgt) is now guaranteed, but work continues to produce IJs with a service life matching that of the surrounding rail. Improved installation methods and design improvements (IJ system, long angle cut, keyed joint, Center LinerTM) are discussed. The 82 IJs under test will be evaluated for one full life cycle following which an economic analysis will be carried out.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.108, no.12. Dec.2012. pp.20-22,24-25.

Wheel/rail interface: top 5 topics

The most important 5 topics to consider when evaluating the wheel/rail interface - wheel and rail profile, material selection, friction management, suspension systems and track condition are discussed. A table lists variables affecting the safety and performance of the wheel/rail interface.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.108, no.12. Dec.2012. pp.34,36,38.

Premium rail steels. Trials and selection for Network Rail infrastructure

The latest work on premium rail steels is reported. The development of HPrail and MHH (Microalloy Head Hardened) rail steels by Tata Steel is described; the resistance of a current pearlitic and HPrail steel to wear and RCF initiation are compared. The latter steel is under trial at a number of sites in the UK. The vertical wear and gauge corner wear rates at 3 of these are compared to R260 grade steel.

Welding Lines, no.37. Dec.2012. pp.1-4.

BAM Nuttall named as main contractor for Borders Railway

BAM Nuttall has been named as the main contractor to deliver Scotland's new £294M Borders Railway. Network Rail had announced earlier in 2012 that it was working alongside the company to design the new line, which is due to enter service in 2015. The new line will return passenger rail services to the Borders for the first time in 40 years and will include 30 miles of new railway with three existing stations and seven new ones - at Shawfair, Eskbank, Newtongrange, Gorebridge, Stow, Galashiels and Tweedbank.

www.rail.co. 13 Dec. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/bxpnr76

Broken rail incidents on the East Coast Main Line

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch is investigating a number of rail breaks that have recently occurred on the East Coast Main Line. These include: a vertical rail break that was discovered on a section of continuously welded rail, after a member of public had reported unusual levels of noise as trains passed over a stretch of line near Corby Glen, Lincolnshire (14 September 2012); and an approximate 100mm gap due to a broken rail at an insulated block joint on the Up Main line at Copmanthorpe, near York, that was reported by the driver of a train on the adjacent line (28 November 2012). The investigation will identify the sequence of events associated with each incident and will consider the systems that were place to detect flaws in the rails and/or defective track geometry, the actions taken in response to any known defects and the steps taken to repair failures that have already been reported.

Rail Accident Investigation Branch. Publication RAIB 120914. 9 Jan.2013. http://tinyurl.com/bbwsho8

On track to transform Europe's rail industry

Notes that the rail industry has a reluctance to embrace polymers, often showing a conservative approach in design and thinking of composites as new materials, despite the fact that they have been in use in the industry for over 30 years. Reports on some of the developments in the industry including: a new cab from Bombardier which had to be 40% lighter, have 75% fewer parts and be 20% less expensive than an existing cab; standbacks manufactured by Ipeco Composites for Bombardier; glass fibre and foam nose plates that enable passengers to pass more easily from carriage to carriage; the use of cork as a core material for railway interior components, floor and sidewall panels; and the use of composites in railway footbridges.

Reinforced Plastics, Nov./Dec. 2012. pp.24-28.

Rolling with the winds of change

Increasing demand for both passenger and freight transport is continuing to drive a strong market for rails. However, according to the World Rail Market Study 2012, the fortunes of the major steelmakers in this specialist sector have varied significantly between the regions. Trade data puts North America at the top of the rail importing league, thanks to very significant expenditure by Class 1 railroads. There is another huge market for rails in China, where the government has been investing heavily both to extend the network and to increase capacity on existing routes. However, in Europe the outlook is uncertain as most railways are dependent to some degree on public funding which is proving difficult to find in the current economic climate.

Railway Gazette International, Dec. 2012. pp.35-38.

Running faster in tough terrain

Russia's severe climate and difficult terrain pose many challenges for track engineers, particularly when trains are operating at 200km/h or more. Over the past decade Russian Railways has moved from jointed track to continuous welded rails for many of its main lines. One of the biggest challenges to these welded rails is the wide variation in temperature between summer and winter, which affects the compressive or tension stresses in the rail. To combat this and the difficult terrain, RZD has developed comprehensive standards for track design and maintenance which have had to be modified to allow for the operation of high speed passenger trains. Theoretical and experimental studies have enabled RZD to develop is requirements for welded rail joints, including both flash-butt electric and aluminothermic welds. An increased rail grinding regime has been put in place to ensure compliance with surface roughness requirements.

Railway Gazette International, Dec. 2012. pp.40-42.

Bombardier to supply automated mass transit system for Dubai International Airport

Bombardier has signed a contract with contractor Al Jaber Engineering to design and build an Innovia 300 automated people mover system for the Dubai International Airport. The new euros 83M automated mass transit system will connect the airport's Terminal 1 to the new Concourse 4. Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects awarded local construction contractor ALEC the contract to build the new Concourse 4 in February 2012. Bombardier is a sub-contractor to ALEC and it will lead the project to design and supply all of the system-wide electrical and mechanical elements of the 1.5 km elevated APM system over the next two years. Bombardier will build and deliver 18 driverless Innovia cars, as well as provide project management, systems engineering and integration, testing and commissioning.

www.rail.co. 28 Nov. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/cethnn7

Carillion and BAM awarded Crossrail infrastructure contracts

Carillion has been awarded the main civils contract to build a flyover at Stockley in Hillingdon which will allow Crossrail services to run to Heathrow. The new flyover, which will be built close to the Heathrow Airport junction, will be used by trains to and from the airport as well as along the Great Western Main Line. Separately, Network Rail has announced that BAM has been awarded the civils contract to build a rail underpass (dive under) at Acton freight yard in Ealing. At present freight trains entering and leaving the yard need to cross mainline passenger tracks - the new dive under will allow freight trains to access the yard without affecting passenger trains.

www.rail.co. 5 Dec. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/d88bvxm

Preliminary assessment of a second-generation hybrid composite beam span at FAST

Results of evaluation tests being carried out at the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI: Pueblo, Co, USA) of a commercially produced 42 foot hybrid composite beam (HSB) are reported. The concrete bridge at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing, incorporating the HSB technology, also features an innovative, lightweight, modular polymer concrete ballast curb. Observations to date are detailed and span characteristics and performance testing are discussed.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.108, no.11. Nov.2012. pp.14-16.

Effect of super-elevation on vertical and lateral wheel forces

The effect of elevation change on rail forces was studied by Norfolk Southern and the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI), using data collected from a test site in West Virginia. Results are discussed.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.108, no.11. Nov.2012. pp.28-30.

Network Rail boss says £28bn debt is a good sign

Network Rail's finance director has said that its debt will continue to rise for another 3 decades, after half year results showed its borrowings have passed £28bn. The organisation said its debt increased by a further £843m in the six months to September. Just over £2bn is invested in projects such as the redevelopment of Reading station and works on the East and West Coast lines. He said that the debt was sustainable and should be celebrated as a sign that infrastructure is being improved and expanded.

The Daily Telegraph, 23rd November 2012, p.B3.

Crossrail awards signalling contract to Siemens-Invensys consortium

Crossrail has awarded the signalling system contract for the £14.8bn network's central section to a consortium comprising Siemens and Invensys Rail Limited. The contract, which is estimated to be worth about £50M, covers the design, manufacture, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of a train control system for Crossrail's central section. The new system will be installed between Portobello Junction on the Great Western Main Line, Pudding Mill Lane Junction on the Great Eastern Main Line and Abbey Wood. Under the terms of the contract Siemens has also committed to creating around 20 apprenticeships and new jobs for unemployed people around Greater London and along the Crossrail route.

www.rail.co. 12 Nov. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/axc3spf

On the right track

Discusses how the railway industry is keeping pace with recent developments in the aerospace industry to promote the design and manufacture of lightweight composite structures for use in rolling stock. Cambridgeshire-based TRB Lightweight Structures designs and manufactures bespoke assemblies, bonded structures and composite components based on lightweight honeycomb sandwich panel technology. The company is now servicing all major sectors within the rail industry and can offer complete TRB-designed, validated and manufactured train doors. It has also launched a new lightweight toilet unit.

Composites in Manufacturing, Nov. 2012. p.31.

BS EN 14587-3:2012

Railway applications. Track. Flash butt welding of rails. Welding in association with crossing construction

[BSI] Update Standards. Nov.2012. p.13.

Siemens confident it will finalise Thameslink contract

Responding to a parliamentary question, transport minister Simon Burns said that the UK Department for Transport was 'assessing options were it not possible to secure financial close' on the £1.4bn Thameslink rolling stock contract. Steve Scrimshaw, managing director of Siemens Rail, responded saying: 'the Thameslink negotiations are ongoing and although we are disappointed that they have taken longer than anticipated, we are making good progress and we remain confident that we will achieve closure of this important deal'. However, RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: 'the game is clearly up for the Siemens/Thameslink deal which is riddled with the same contamination and incompetence as the West Coast Main Line fiasco. The Government should now be forced to hand this work over to Bombardier in Derby saving thousands of key manufacturing jobs and calling a halt to this 18 months of shame'.

www.rail.co. 31 Oct. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/a4na6db

Bombardier wins MARC contract

Reports that Bombardier has won a contract to operate Maryland Transit Administration's MARC Train commuter services on the Camden and Brunswick lines into Baltimore and Washington DC. Bombardier's tender of $204.7M for the five year, eight month contract beat bids from Keolis and Veolia. The contract replaces a deal with CSX Transportation which has decided to end its involvement in passenger operations. Bombardier will operate and maintain MTA's locomotives and coaches, with CSX retaining ownership of the infrastructure. Amtrak will continue to run the Penn route.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 168, no. 11, Nov. 2012. p.8.

Chiltern Railways

The UK government has granted legal powers for the £130M Evergreen 3 project to provide a new route between London and Oxford. A chord will be built at Bicester to link two existing lines, and a new Water Eaton Parkway station will enable passengers to avoid road congestion in central Oxford. (Item contains little further information).

Railway Gazette International, vol. 168, no. 11, Nov. 2012. p.11.

Euros 4.7bn rail spend proposed

Reports that rail forms 47% of Spain's Ministry of Development's proposed investment budget for 2013 with total planned spending of euros 4.7bn. Euros 3.3bn of this amount is to be spent on high speed projects, with euros 332M allocated to the conventional network, euros 116M to rolling stock, euros 585M to administration and maintenance and euros 82M to suburban networks. Amongst the highspeed projects, euros 1.07bn has been allocated for the route from Madrid to Ourense and Vigo. Major projects on the conventional network include level crossing elimination between Medina del Campo and Fuentes de Onoro and track renewals between Almoraima and Algeciras. Freight projects include new rail access to the Port of Barcelona which is to receive euros 60M.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 168, no. 11, Nov. 2012. p.11.

Gas fuelled locos on test

Reports that Canadian National is testing two EMD SD40-2 locomotives which have been converted to use natural gas for 90% of their fuel needs with diesel for ignition. The 3,000 hp locos are fitted with gas conversion kits supplied by Energy Conversions which expects that gas-diesel fuelling will reduce CO2 emissions by 30% and NOx by 70%. CN is also developing a natural gas engine and standardised tender in partnership with EMD, Westport Innovations and Gaz Metro Transport Solutions. CN is to provide two 4,300 hp SD70M-2 locos, and EMD will integrate the natural gas engine and controls, including Westport high pressure direct injection and gas technologies.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 168, no. 11, Nov. 2012. p.12.


Siemens has opened its first centre for sustainable urban development in London. The centre cost euros 35M and will serve as a conference centre, urban dialogue platform, and technology and innovation centre all in one. The building is home to Siemens' first Centre of Competence for cities. Similar, smaller centres are planned for Shanghai and Washington DC.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 168, no. 11, Nov. 2012. p.25.

Wabtec buys LH Group for US$48m

Wabtec Rail Group has completed its $48M acquisition of UK-based diesel engine, transmission and bogie overhaul and industrial locomotive supplier LH Group. LH has around 350 employees and annual sales of $65M, about 10% of which are in non-rail markets. Wabtec expects the transaction to be accretive in the first year.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 168, no. 11, Nov. 2012. p.25.

MTU to supply IEP powerpacks

Hitachi Rail Europe has named MTU as preferred bidder for the supply of 250 underfloor powerpacks for its Super Express Train fleet, which will operate 200 km/h intercity services on the Great Western and East Coast main lines. Hitachi is to supply 596 cars in a mixture of five, eight and nine-car formations in both electric and dual mode configurations. Having provided an engine for test bed trials at the Hitachi plant in Kasado, Japan, MTU has now finalised a novel design designated 12V 1600 R80L which is rated at 700 kW. For the electric variant, the diesel powerpack is intended to provide 'emergency hotel and self-rescue power' in the event of a failure of overhead electric supply.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 168, no. 11, Nov. 2012. p.62.

Steelmaker on the march

Steel producer Evraz has signed two agreements in Berlin aimed at supporting its expansion into the European rail steel and wheel market. It has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with GHH-Valdunes to collaborate in the distribution of steel wheel products, with a view to the partnership being formalised in December 2012. It has also concluded a five year contract with Uralvagonzavod for the supply of rail wheels and metal products for vehicle bodyshells. Evraz says that it can match its competitors in terms of technological development, maintaining that its technologies include 100m continuous welded rail production and the use of high-carbon pearlitic grades and micro-alloy rail head hardening techniques.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 168, no. 11, Nov. 2012. p.75.

Welding school established

Infrastructure contractors Strukton Rail and Volker-Rail have jointly established a rail welding school to train and recertify welders to work on the ProRail network. According to the two firms, there are insufficient numbers of rail welders in the Netherlands to justify a centrally-managed government scheme, but equally there was a significant training gap which needed to be filled. This led the two firms to create Rail Lasopleidingen Netherlands to train specialists to requirements set out by ProRail. RLN was audited by the Dutch national institute of welding (Nederlands Instituut voor Lastechniek) in early October, paving the way for the joint venture to be recognised as providing the official training programme for rail welding in the Netherlands.

Railway Gazette International, vol. 168, no. 11, Nov. 2012. p.86.

Los Angeles rolls along with massive rail and road plan

Reports on a number of projects by which the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is attempting to transform the city out of the car culture. A loan has been secured for a 8.5 mile, six station extension to reach Los Angeles International Airport. Of an estimated $40bn expected to result from Measure R, a half-cent sales tax increase approved by voters in 2008, 35% is marked for a dozen major rail projects. One, a four mile extension of a 14-mile bus rapid transit line from Canoga Park to Chatsworth, has already opened this summer. There are also currently proposals for Measure J which, if passed, would extend the sales tax increase by 30 years to 2069.

Engineering News-Record, vol. 269, no. 11, 15 Oct. 2012. p.12.

No driverless trains on the Tube until 2020 at the earliest

Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground and London Rail, has said there will be no driverless trains running on London's underground network until 2020 at the earliest. he added that it would take at least eight years to secure funding, carry out design modifications and do the necessary analysis for driverless trains on London's deep tube tunnel system. Mayor of London Boris Johnson has pledged to introduce automatic train control on 48% of rolling stock by the end of 2014, which he said would pave the way for the first driverless train to be run within a decade. Transport for London said it would consider all options if funding for the technology was agreed, including staffing.

www.rail.co 18 Oct. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/8haz7cd

£130m Oxford-London rail line gets the go-ahead

The Secretary of State for Transport has given Chiltern Railways the go ahead with plans for a £130M rail link between Oxford and London. Chiltern will begin running services between London Marylebone and Oxford from 2015. The project will include new stations in Bicester and Water Eaton, north Oxford.

www.rail.co 18 Oct. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/8mr8b54

Balfour Beatty awarded £50m electrification contract

Balfour Beatty has been awarded the £50M North West Electrification Phase 2 contract. The project will be led by Balfour Beatty Rail in a joint venture with Balfour Beatty Engineering Services who will be undertaking the power and distribution works. Invensys Rail will carry out the signalling, telecoms and SCADA works. The contract will include the installation of 90 single track kilometres of new electrification.

www.rail.co 10 Oct. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/8hrfjdz

Hitachi rail research centre to support IEP

Hitachi has set up the European Rail Research Centre, which will be based at its head office in London and look at rolling stock design - interior and exterior - manufacturing practices, maintenance and Traffic Management Systems. Research carried out at the centre will also support the development of a £20M Traffic Management System prototype - a contract which was awarded to Hitachi as part of a joint venture with Signalling Solutions and Thales. The centre will also work on the Intercity express programme.

www.rail.co 10 Oct. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/92kor3w

Hitachi seeks more rail projects in emerging nations

Hitachi has revealed plans to set up a business office in charge of marketing and engineering in India later this year ands a joint venture in brazil in 2013 with a local firm to make preparations for production in the country. With many railway projects under development in emerging countries, the company aims to double the ratio of overseas sales for its railway business to 60% by strengthening its supply structure. Hitachi is also to consider placing offices in Vietnam and Thailand.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol. 50, no. 2,562, 8 Oct. 2012. p.6.

Network Rail sets track renewal records

In August, Network Rail's new track relaying system - known as System 4 - replaced 1,800 yards of rail and sleepers in 16 hours. The same system working on the Carlisle to Newcastle line on September 7 relaid 968 yards in just over seven hours. System 4 consists of two trains: one to dig up the old track and relay it, the other to replace and clean the ballast. Network Rail has also employed a new system to quickly replace sets of points, which saw a crossing at Wool in Dorset replaced over midweek nights rather than blocking a line over an entire weekend - a first in modern British railway history.

www.rail.co 1 Oct. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/dx2few9

Alstom Prima II tested in Channel Tunnel

Plans to standardise rail freight services between the UK and Europe have received a boost with the successful trial runs of the Alstom Prima II locomotive in the Channel Tunnel. Until now, Class 92 locomotives, which are not approved to run on the French RFF network, have operated exclusively through the tunnel, but in July, Eurotunnel obtained agreement that Technical Specifications for Interoperability should be applied to freight trains travelling through the tunnel to allow for open access. Overnight between September 29 and 30, a Prima II locomotive, in standard configuration and hauling wagons with a total weight of 950 tonnes, entered the tunnel via the French portal at 22.20 before conducting a series of traction, brake and pantograph tests. The locomotive exited the tunnel at Folkestone at approximately 03.00, before departing for a second series of tests on the return journey to France.

www.rail.co 1 Oct. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/ckk54cc

Brazilian rail officials meet Derby firms

Brazilian rail officials have recently visited Derby to see what part firms in the East Midlands could play in delivering the country?s massive upcoming rail infrastructure programme. In August, the Brazilian government pledged R$56bn to rail infrastructure projects in the next five years, including the creation of 12 new national railways to boost the quality of transport services in the run up to the World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The group were invited by UK Trade & Investment East Midlands and visited the state-of-the-art control centre for Network Rail, TQ Catalis, a rail training company which specialises in signalling and track safety, and software and technology company Delta Rail.

www.rail.co 2 Oct. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/bpzs5p5

Smart grid leads to more efficient electric trains

Capturing the electrical energy generated when electric trains brake is simple, but efficiently redistributing it through the power grid is not. In a conventional electric train, the electrical energy generated while stopping is fed immediately into the third rail (or the overhead power lines). The problem is that the third rail has a very limited capacity for absorbing a sudden flood of electrical energy. However, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has now embarked on a pilot project to better absorb and reuse braking energy. Their engineering studies showed that while practical banks of ultracapacitors cannot provide sufficient additional capacity, banks of lithium-ion batteries can. The power is not only recovered efficiently, but is fed back into the regional power grid rather than remaining confined within the commuter train's third rail system.


Rolling stock condition monitoring using wheel/rail forces

Train operators and infrastructure owners need to keep rails, wheels and vehicles in an acceptable condition as wheel wear affects the dynamic characteristics of vehicles and the dynamic force impact on the rail. Details research in Sweden which measured the wheel/rail forces, both lateral and vertical, at the points of contact in a curve with a 484m radius at speeds of up to 100 km/h. Analyses data to show differences for various wheel positions and determines the robustness of the system.

Insight, vol. 54, no. 8, Aug. 2012. pp.451-455.

Geoographic information system-based railway maintenance and renewal system

A railway maintenance and repair planning tool, the MR.GIS (Maintenance and Renewal based on Geographic Information System), is described. This tool enables the visualisation and analysis of railway track data helping track managers and engineers decide when maintenance and repair is necessary. Rules developed to operate the MR.GIS are detailed and cover track geometry, rails, sleepers, track bed layers, life-cycle costs, and rail grinding costs.

Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Transport, vol.65, no. TR4. Nov.2012. pp.289-302.

Emerging Europe in the Spotlight (Rail for Growth)

A joint Polish-Romanian trade mission met in London last week to highlight the business opportunities presented by the rail sector in the two largest markets in Central and Eastern Europe.

During meetings with Network Rail, the Office of Rail Regulation, the Railway Industry Association, the Rail Safety and Standards Board, and other relevant stakeholders in the UK, participants looked at opportunities in the railway sector and discussed the challenges that Polish and Romanian authorities face in making it viable and attractive for investors.

For more information click here

Standards updates

EN WI 00256634Railway applications. Track. Mechanical requirements for joints in running rails. (New work started; BSI Committee RAE/2)
[BSI] Update Standards. Oct.2012. p.36.
EN 13232-7Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Crossings with movable parts. (New work started; BSI Committee RAE/2; will supersede 2006 edition and A1:2011)
[BSI] Update Standards. Oct.2012. p.37.
EN 13232-8Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Expansion devices. (New work started; BSI Committee RAE/2; will supersede 2007 edition and A1:2011)
[BSI] Update Standards. Oct.2012. p.37.
EN 13232-9Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings for Vignole rails. Layouts. (New work started; BSI Committee RAE/2; will supersede 2006 edition and A1:2011)
[BSI] Update Standards. Oct.2012. p.37.
EN 16432-2Railway applications. Ballastless track systems. Subsystems and components. (New work started; BSI Committee RAE/2)
[BSI] Update Standards. Oct.2012. p.37.
EN 16432-3Railway applications. Ballastless track systems. Acceptance. (New work started; BSI Committee RAE/2)
[BSI] Update Standards. Oct.2012. p.37.

'Electric spine' provides backbone to future rail plans

Reports on the government's £9.4bn programme of rail improvements. Crossrail, Thameslink, and electrification between London and Cardiff, Manchester to Liverpool and Preston, and across the Pennines, are among £5.2bn of projects already committed to during 2014-2019. New schemes, totalling £4.2bn, include: a high capacity 'electric spine' running from Yorkshire and the West Midlands to South Coast ports; upgrades to stations and tracks; faster journeys and more train capacity; the extension of electric rail beyond Cardiff to Swansea; a new £500M rail link between the Great Western Main line and Heathrow; and completion in full of the 'Northern Hub' cluster of rail improvements.

Railway Strategies, Aug./Sep. 2012. pp.8-10.

New ultrasonic test train enters service

Network Rail has launched its fourth ultrasonic rail testing train into service, complete with ground penetrating radar, ultrasonics and rail profile laser scanner. The ultrasonic equipment is used to detect minute flaws in the track. This fourth train has more accurate positioning systems and an improved ability to test the track. It can also be used at higher speeds. With the original three units being used at their full capacity to keep the track compliant, the addition of a fourth unit means that one can be taken out of use for servicing, making the service much more flexible.

Railway Strategies, Aug./Sep. 2012. p.13.

Regulator consults on proposals to formalise the Rail Delivery Group

The Office of Rail Regulation has launched a consultation on proposals aimed at formalising the Rail Delivery Group, the rail leadership body established in 2011 to promote change in Britain's railways. The RDG is focusing its efforts on identifying and delivering cross-industry efficiency opportunities through: collaboration in asset, programme and supply chain management; reform of contractual and regulatory arrangements; coordinated industry planning; production of a rail technical strategy; uprating working practices; and improvements in train procurement and utilisation.

Railway Strategies, Aug./Sep. 2012 p.13.

Rohmann brings eddy current technology to the rails

Railway tracks are subject to great stress and must therefore be inspected very carefully to detect potential defects; this article details some of the eddy current systems offered by German company Rohmann for these applications. The WPG D340 draisine integrated eddy current device can be equipped with four channels and thereby simultaneously record four test tracks. The company also offers machine-integrated test systems. The WPS SBM test system detects and evaluates damage in rails before and after their processing, and provides verification of lack of defects.

Railway Strategies, Aug./Sep. 2012. pp.24-25.

£4.5 billion investment in new trains creates new jobs

Agility Trains, a consortium made up of Hitachi and John Laing, has been awarded the contract to build and maintain the trains under the Intercity Express Programme, the project to replace Britain's Intercity 125 trains with new higher capacity trains. Hitachi will assemble a fleet of 92 complete trains at a new, purpose-built, factory at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, and in the process will create 730 skilled jobs, with a further 200 during the construction of the factory itself. Hitachi will also construct maintenance depots in Bristol, Swansea, west London and Doncaster, and will upgrade existing maintenance depots throughout Britain.

Railway Strategies, Aug./Sep. 2012. pp.36-37.

Set for success

Reports on the activities of Lucchini UK which has an extensive machining facility for all types of wheels, axles and tyres - that is among the most modern and flexible in Europe. The company's Trafford Park plant in Manchester is unique in having been the first plant in the world solely laid out for the mass production of railway wheels and axles. Through its parent company Lucchini RS, the company has access to its own electric arc steelworks along with ancillary facilities. The company believes that, with three quarters of the spend over the life of a train being on maintenance, the use of longer lasting components is more beneficial than focusing on front and construction costs.

Railway Strategies, Aug./Sep. 2012. pp.39-41.

Umeco rail interior demonstrator parts feature sandwich, prepreg construction

Reports that Umeco Structural Materials will present its rail transport exterior body panel system and interior flame-retarded prepreg systems at the forthcoming InnoTrans Rail Exhibition in Berlin, Germany. The panel is a sandwich construction, manufactured using Umeco's BPS240 format 1 body panel system, and can reduce manufacturing times by as much 50% compared with traditional composite materials. Umeco is also exhibiting a range of parts made using its MTM 82S-C glass/phenolic prepreg, which was used by Ipeco Composites to make standbacks for Bombardier Transportation's Class 379 Electrostar EMU Passenger Trains. At only 6.4 kg per unit, the standbacks provide a 40% weight reduction over a typical 10.5-kg wet lay-up structure.

CompositesWorld.com Weekly, 5 Sep. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/93uuzyu

News in brief: [London Underground]

LU is terminating its private finance iniative with the Powerlink joint venture at the mid-term break clause when it becomes due in August 2013. The company expects to save millions per year. The JV consists of UK Power Networks, ABB and Balfour Beatty.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.9. Sept.2012. p.21.

Investing in longer rails

By autumn next year the Tata Steel mill at Hayange (France) will be able to electromagnetically heat treat rails up to 108 metres long, as part of an upgrade that will allow annual production to raised from 55,000 to 120,000 tonnes. This form of treatment leaves the rails with low residual stresses leading to a longer lifetime in high wear conditions.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.9. Sept.2012. p.34.

Geothermal point heaters on trial

The use of geothermal heating of railway points is examined. German experience of the technology is described and trials undertaken are discussed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.9. Sept.2012. p.62-64,66.

Towards a maintenance-free rail

A new family of rail steels is to be launched by Voestalpine Schienen, under the Dobain brand, at the forthcoming Innotrans conference.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.9. Sept.2012. p.174.

EN WI 00256628Railway applications. NDT on rails in track. Requirements for describing and identifying internal and surface rail defects. (New work started; BSI Committee RAE/2)
[BSI] Update Standards. Sept.2012. p.34.
EN WI 00256629Railway applications. NDT on rails in track. Requirements for ultrasonic inspection and evaluation principles. (New work started; BSI Committee RAE/2)
[BSI] Update Standards. Sept.2012. p.34.

Hitachi to pour $300 min into Brazil by Fy15

Hitachi has announced that it will strengthen its social infrastructure business in Brazil by investing $300M by fiscal 2015. The company plans to use the money for mergers and acquisitions, as well as for R &D in areas such as railways and power systems. It aims to quadruple group sales in Brazil to ¥120bn in fiscal 2015. The company has also announced that it is pursuing a monorail project in Sao Paulo. (Item contains no further information.)

The Nikkei Weekly, vol. 50, no. 2,553, 6 Aug. 2012. p.7.

Can trains be half plastic? (Part 1)

Today's rail vehicles use composites widely in their interiors, but exteriors are still mainly metal. The latest aircraft, however, are 50% composite - including their load-bearing primary structures. Part 1 of this article asks why this is, and looks at the use of composites in rail interiors.

Reinforced Plastics Weekly, issue 449, 8 Aug. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/94pol5h

Composites bring lightweight advantages to train interiors

Dr Joe Carruthers, until recently head of the rail vehicles group of Newcastle University's NewRail research centre, has estimated that a 10% saving in the mass of a metropolitan rail vehicle could reduce energy consumption by 7%, saving up to $100 000 annually per vehicle. In a recent case study, he said that substituting composites for metal in items as commonplace as grab rails can make a difference. Steel grab rails typically add more than half a tonne to the mass of a metro vehicle. He argues that composites could find greater acceptance if designers were to be less prescriptive in specifying interiors. He adds that introduction of new material technologies should be carefully managed, perhaps through limited pilot programmes, and that realistic lifecycle assessments would often support the case for such materials.

Reinforced Plastics Weekly, issue 449, 8 Aug. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/d366u3c

Behaviour of train-track interaction in stiffness transitions

To help improve the engineering design of transition zones on railway, e.g. tracks near bridge abutments or tunnels, rail stiffness transition zones were investigated numerically in terms of track deterioration and passenger comfort. Two analyses were employed, one using a train-transition curve model to simulate the response of the train to deflection changes in the vicinity of the transition zone, and the second, a 3D finite element representation of the railway track interacting with a passing train. Train speed, track stiffness changes and the presence of track faults were taken into account.

Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Transport, vol.165, no.TR3. Aug.2012. pp.205-214.

Electrification central to £9.4bn rail strategy

New projects aimed at creating a high capacity electric passenger and freight routes in the UK are detailed. The proposed works include a route from Yorkshire, through the West Midlands to Southampton; the Great Western electrification to Swansea; the Valley Lines (Wales); Thames Valley branch lines; and the Northern Hub.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.8. Aug.2012. p.8.

Chinese firms license light rail technology

A licensing agreement has been made between Bombardier Transportation and CSR Puzhen for a local variant of the Flexity 2 (not for production in China); Siemens has made a technology transfer agreement with CSR Corp for the Combino Plus, with the potential for joint development of local products.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.8. Aug.2012. p.15.

Tram and metro agreement

Uralvagonzavod and Bombardier Transportation are to jointly develop metro trains and trams for the challenging weather requirements of the CIS countries.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.8. Aug.2012. p.15.

Offering expertise overseas

Network Rail Consulting has been launched to offer strategic planning and advice on asset management, operations, maintenance and major projects. Strategic alliances will be forged with CH2M HIll and Atkins aimed at countries with extensive, elderly rail networks, such as the USA and India. Market potential is seen in Brazil, Europe, the Middle East, Far east and Australasia.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.8. Aug.2012. p.23.

The power of hydrogen

A demonstration hydrogen-powered train, using a 1.1 kW proton exchange membrane fuel cell to power 4 lead acid batteries and regenerative braking, is described. The train was built at the University of Birmingham from off-the-shelf components as part of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers' Railway Challenge contest./P>

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.8. Aug.2012. p.28.

Understanding the loading of turnout crossings

A dynamic finite element model was used to explain how impact loads and other forces acting on the crossing node of a turnout are influenced by parameters such as wheel profile, train speed and axle load. Damage to the crossing is related to the levels of contact pressure and slip. Model design, loading mechanisms, vertical impact, angular velocity and slip and plastic material behaviour (using Mn13 and Hardox) are discussed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.8. Aug.2012. pp.32-35.

Telling the difference between studs and squats

The two visually similar forms of surface rail defects are discussed and compared. Each has very different crack initiation mechanisms and can lead to different outcomes The differences and causes are identified

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.8. Aug.2012. pp.36-38.

Tracking the trends in infrastructure costs

The Lasting Infrastructure Cost Benchmarking project, undertaken by the UIC since 1996, is described. The LICB includes continuous comparison and analysis of 15 Western European railways, plus some data from North America and Asia, in terms of annual expenditure on maintenance and renewals. The aim is to identify trends and opportunities for improvement. Trends and developments, cost drivers and comparisons are discussed and an outlook on performance is presented.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.8. Aug.2012. pp.40-43.

BS EN 13481-1:2012Railway applications, Track. Performance requirements for fastening systems. Definitions. (Supersedes 2002 edition)
[BSI]Update Standards. August 2012. p.11.
BS EN 13481-2:2012Railway applications, Track. Performance requirements for fastening systems. Fastening systems for concrete sleepers. (Supersedes 2002 edition)
[BSI]Update Standards. August 2012. p.11.
BS EN 13481-3:2012Railway applications, Track. Performance requirements for fastening systems. Fastening systems for wooden sleepers. (Supersedes 2002 edition)
[BSI]Update Standards. August 2012. p.11.
BS EN 13481-4:2012Railway applications, Track. Performance requirements for fastening systems. Fastening systems for steel sleepers. (Supersedes 2002 edition)
[BSI]Update Standards. August 2012. p.11.
BS EN 13481-5:2012Railway applications, Track. Performance requirements for fastening systems. Fastening systems for slab track with rail on the surface or rail embedded in a channel. (Supersedes 2002 edition)
[BSI]Update Standards. August 2012. p.11.
BS EN 13481-7:2012Railway applications, Track. Performance requirements for fastening systems. Special fastening systems for switches and crossings and check rails. (Supersedes 2003 edition)
[BSI]Update Standards. August 2012. p.11.

Rail industry agrees new approach to planning Britain's future railway

The Long Term Planning Process (LTPP), developed to enable flexible rail capacity growth for up to 30 years ahead, is described. LTPP comprises of a series of studies - market (passenger and freight demand, including service frequency), route (options for future services) and cross-boundary analyses (service options crossing multiple routes). The first market study is to be completed by the end of 2013. Network-wide issues, such as technological changes, will be monitored through separate network studies.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, no. 73. June/July 2012. p.33.

CCP resins selected for Brazilian monorail project

Reports that Bombardier Transportation, Brazil has chosen CCP Composites' FIREBLOCK product to be used in the manufacture of parts for the new Bombardier Innovia Monorail 300 system in São Paulo, Brazil. FIREBLOCK, which is a series of nonhalogenated, fire-retardant resins, was selected for this project because of its ability to meet the testing standards for the industry. The monorail parts, which will be used in the wheel house areas on the 378 new monorail cars, will be manufactured in Quebec, Canada, by FDC Composites and built by Bombardier Transportation. The new monorail vehicles will provide the transport capacity of a subway, but with less cost and faster implementation, helping to alleviate traffic congestion in the city. The new system will also help in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by providing an alternative form of transportation, taking more cars off the road and reducing the amount of travel time for the remaining vehicles.

CompositesWorld Weekly, 17 July 2012. http://tinyurl.com/d4jsrbr

CAF to set up manufacturing plant in India

Reports that Spanish company Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles is planning to set up a new manufacturing hub in India to take advantage of an increasing demand for railway vehicles and equipment. CAF set up its Indian arm, CAF India Pvt Ltd, in 2010 to look after its operations in the country and is now looking for locations for the new hub. The company recently won the contract to supply 14 rakes (84 coaches) from Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation worth $155M. It is also interested in the maintenance of the Delhi Airport link of DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) and has qualified for Jaipur Metro.

www.rail.co 3 July 2012. http://tinyurl.com/cc4ezfm

Bombardier and UVZ sign deal to modernise Moscow

Bombardier has signed a deal with rail manufacturer UVZ to modernise Russia?s public transport system in time for the 2018 World Cup. Bombardier and UVZ will jointly develop and market metro trains designed for the Moscow Metro and other cities in the Commonwealth of Independent States. Bombardier is providing UVZ with a licence to manufacture and sell low-floor trams with Bombardier technology in Russia. The licensed product is a variant of the Bombardier Flexity platform of vehicles, which operate worldwide.

www.rail.co 13 July 2012. http://tinyurl.com/c8uflml

Hitachi plans Doncaster depot as part of £4.5bn deal

Transport secretary Justine Greening has confirmed that Agility Trains, a consortium made up of Hitachi and John Laing, has been awarded the contract to build and maintain the trains under the Intercity Express Programme. Hitachi will assemble an intercity fleet of 92 complete trains at a new purpose-built factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. It will also construct maintenance depots in Bristol, Swansea, west London and Doncaster. The new factory is expected to create 730 jobs, a further 200 jobs during construction phase and many more in the supply chain. The IEP train fleet will be comprised of electric and bi-mode trains, some five vehicles long and others nine vehicles. These will be faster accelerating than existing stock, and will offer the potential for more frequent services.

Insider News Yorkshire. 25 July 2012. http://tinyurl.com/cqwhlc9

Need to know: Transport

According to the Public Accounts Committee, the taxpayer has been landed with a £4.8bn bill to find HS1 after 'inaccurate and wildly optimistic forecasts' of passenger demand.

The Times, 6th July 2012, p.38.

Need to know: Industrials

Germany's cartel office has fined four makers and suppliers of rail tracks a total of €124.5m. ThyssenKrupps's rail technology unit received the largest fine of €103m, with a €13m to Vossloh and a €8.5m penalty for two divisions of Voestalpine.

The Times, 6th July 2012, p.38.

Natural gas locomotive

Caterpillar is to fund the development of a natural gas-powered locomotive, working with gas specialist Westport Innovations (USA). The Caterpillar Electro-Motive Diesel division is using Westport's high pressure direct injection technology in its motors. Production for the commercial market is expected in 5 years.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.7. July 2012. p.8.

The Quadrant: MK

Network Rail's new national centre opened in Milton Keynes in June. Engineering, logistics, operations (including time tabling), IT, procurement, planning and finance will all be housed in the centre and 15 offices around the UK will be closed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.7. July 2012. p.10.

Energy storage offers 10% saving

The metro in Macau will be the first to use a line side battery energy storage system along the whole route. The technology, B-CHOP, developed by Hitachi Vehicle Energy, is based on lithium-ion batteries and was originally aimed at the automotive sector. Power is gathered from breaking, stored and re-used for following trains, reducing overall electricity consumption and lowering maintenance costs from the reduction in mechanical breaking.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.7. July 2012. p.15.


In a UK first, London Blackfriars Station has had 1.3 km of SilentTrack rail installed. The special track was developed by Tata Steel and uses rail-mounted dampers to reduce noise.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.7. July 2012. p.18.

Putting numbers on external costs

A study that puts a value on impacts such as noise, accidents, carbon emissions and air pollution for each mode of transport is reported. Road transport is identified as producing 93% (cars 62%, lorries 14%, vans 9%, motorcycles 5%, buses 4%), air 4%, rail 2% and inland water 1%.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.7. July 2012. p.30.

Tracks across the desert

The 450 km high speed railway line across Saudi Arabia is to be constructed by three Spanish companies - Copasa, Imathia and OHL. The Haramain line will require around 108,000 tonnes of rail, type 60 E1, imported in 25m lengths and flash butt welded. Some details of the track (turnouts, crossovers, sidings, etc) are given.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.7. July 2012. p.36.

BS EN 13848-6Railway applications. Track. Track geometry quality. Characterisation of track geometry quality. (Draft British Standard 12/30258518 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2)
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2012. p.57.
EN 13481-1:2012Railway applications. Track. Performance requirements for fastening systems. Definitions
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2012. p.60.
EN 13481-2:2012Railway applications. Track. Performance requirements for fastening systems. Fastening systems for concrete sleepers
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2012. p.60.
EN 13481-3:2012Railway applications. Track. Performance requirements for fastening systems. Fastening systems for wood sleepers
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2012. p.60.
EN 13481-4:2012Railway applications. Track. Performance requirements for fastening systems. Fastening systems for steel sleepers />[BSI] Update Standards. July 2012. p.60.
EN 13481-5:2012Railway applications. Track. Performance requirements for fastening systems. Fastening systems for slab track with rail on the surface or rail embedded in a channel
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2012. p.60.
EN 13481-7:2012Railway applications. Track. Performance requirements for fastening systems. Special fastening systems for switches and crossings and check rails
[BSI] Update Standards. July 2012. p.60.

Need to know: Engineering

Costain has won its 5th contract on the Crossrail project, in conjunction with its long-term partner Skanska of Sweden.

The Times, 21st June 2012, p.36.

Preliminary evaluation of high strength rail steels at FAST

The results of rail wear tests carried out by Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (USA) on 10 premium rail types is reported. Rail wear, internal fatigue rail base defects and rolling contact fatigue on the high rail are compared.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.108, no.5. May 2012. pp.12-14.

Application of eddy currents to the inspection of fatigue-corroded railway axles

The use of eddy currents for the detection of corrosion pits and corrosion-fatigue cracks in in-service railway axles was investigated by means of in-laboratory small-scale experiments. Test results are discussed. Results are supported by numerical simulations.

Non-Destructive Testing Australia, vol.49, no.3. May/June 2012. pp.75-79.

BS EN 13146-1:2012Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 1: Determination of longitudinal rail restraint. (Supersedes 2002 edition)
[BSI] Update Standards. June 2012. p.16.
BS EN 13146-2:2012Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 2: Determination of torsional resistance. (Supersedes 2002 edition)
[BSI] Update Standards. June 2012. p.16.
BS EN 13146-3:2012Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 3: Determination of attenuation of impact loads. (Supersedes 2002 edition)
[BSI] Update Standards. June 2012. p.16.
BS EN 13146-4:2012Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 4: Effect of repeated loading. (Supersedes 2002 edition)
[BSI] Update Standards. June 2012. p.16.
BS EN 13146-5:2012Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 5: Determination of electrical resistance. (Supersedes 2002 edition)
[BSI] Update Standards. June 2012. p.16.
BS EN 13146-6:2012Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 6: Effect of severe environmental conditions. (Supersedes 2002 edition)
[BSI] Update Standards. June 2012. p.16.
BS EN 13146-7:2012Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 7: Determination of clamping force. (Supersedes 2002 edition)
[BSI] Update Standards. June 2012. p.16.
BS EN 13146-8:2012Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems. Part 8: In service testing. (Supersedes 2002 edition)
[BSI] Update Standards. June 2012. p.16.

Balfour Beatty named preferred bidder for Midland Metro extension

Centro, the Midland region's transport authority, has appointed Balfour Beatty to develop a 'best and final offer' for the project bidder to build an extension of the Midland Metro through Birmingham city centre. Over the next few months Balfour Beatty will be working with Centro's project team and key stakeholders to finalise the design and construction proposals. The extension will provide a 'fast link between Birmingham's two major rail stations and deliver more than 3.5M passengers a year' into the heart of the city's shopping district. It is one element of a wider £127M project that will see a fleet of 20 new trams for the Midland Metro system, which runs between Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

www.rail.co 3 May 2012. http://tinyurl.com/bwqtw5v

South West Trains & Network Rail form alliance

South West Trains and Network Rail are to launch a new alliance with 'the aim of delivering better rail services in the south and south-west of England'. A single senior joint management team now has responsibility for both trains and track on the route operating out of London Waterloo in a first for the UK rail industry. Its objective is to 'cut delays for passengers, provide better customer service, deliver more effective management of disruption, and improve the efficiency of the railway through more collaborative working and better decision-making'. The alliance is planned to run until 4 February 2017, the expiry date of the South West Trains franchise agreement.

www.rail.co 30 Apr. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/72x3zsc

Lateral resistance of railway track with frictional sleepers

Changes to the resistance of railway tracks as a result of lateral displacement, and consequent reduction in weld cracking on sharp curves, using the single sleeper push test on a frictional concrete sleeper (B70-F) were investigated. It was found that track resistance to lateral displacement was increased by around 64% with the use of B70-F sleepers.

Transport. ICE Proceedings, vol.165, no.TR2. May 2012. pp.151-155.

Improving joint bar service life by managing residual stresses

As a means of improving the performance of joint bars, used in bolted rail joints of continuously-welded rail sections, techniques for inducing beneficial residual stresses during manufacturing were investigated at the Transportation Technology Center, Inc under the Association of American Railroads' Strategic Research Initiatives Program. Residual stresses achieved using different stress relief methods are discussed.

Railway Track and Structures. April 2012. pp.12-15.

Reforming our railways

The executive summary of the UK Government's Rail Reform Command Paper is presented, together with some industry reaction.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management. April/May 2012. pp.41-42.

Evacuated Tube Transport could see round the world travel in 6 hours

Reports on the Evacuated Tube Transport (ET3) system which could enable people to travel around the world in less than six hours through a network of elevated tubes. The system could see ?car sized passenger capsules travel in 1.5m diameter tubes on frictionless maglev?. Air is permanently removed from the two-way tubes that are built along a travel route. Airlocks at stations allow transfer of capsules without admitting air. Linear electric motors accelerate the capsules, which then coast through the vacuum for the remainder of the trip using no additional power. Most of the energy is regenerated as the capsules slow down. Speed in initial ET3 systems would be 370 mph for in-state trips, and could be developed to 4,000 mph for international travel that ?will allow passenger or cargo travel from New York to Beijing in 2 hours?.

www.rail.co 20 Apr. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/cemudcv

Network Rail makes changes to infrastructure projects

Changes to the way Network Rail delivers infrastructure projects worth £2bn a year have come into force, part of a wider programme of reforms at the company which ?aim to encourage competition, drive down costs and deliver a better value for money railway for Britain?. A new, commercially focused, regionally based projects delivery business - Network Rail Infrastructure Projects - has been created, with four regional directors and three programme directors responsible for delivery of major renewal and enhancement infrastructure in their area. They will manage their own profit and loss and will be charged with securing work under a new competitive structure proposed by Network Rail.

www.rail.co 19 Apr. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/buenvj6

Murphy and Siemens awarded rail electrification contract

J. Murphy & Sons Limited and Siemens Smart Grid, Rail Electrification, have been awarded the North West Electrification Phase 1 Traction Power Supply contract by Network Rail, worth over £5M. The companies will focus on the installation of two new substations at the Newton Le Willows and Ordsall Lane Junctions. The 77-week contract covers the construction of two substation compounds, trackside, as well as, associated civil engineering works. The works aim to accommodate the installation of power distribution equipment provided by Siemens under a separate supply-only contract to Network Rail.

www.rail.co 18 Apr. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/d4nckty

Building lightweight trains

In their efforts to make cars and trains more economical, manufacturers are looking for lighter materials to replace those currently used. However, lighter materials tend not to be as tough as steel or aluminium, so they cannot simply be used in place of these metals. Working together with Bombardier, KraussMaffei Kunststofftechnik, Bayer MaterialScience, DECS, the DLR?s Institute for Vehicle Concepts, the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology have now developed a polyurethane-based sandwich material that is extremely resilient. To demonstrate the material, they manufactured a component that is subject to significant stresses and which has to fulfil a number of requirements - the diesel engine housing for a train. By using this new material they reduced the component?s weight by over 35% and cut costs by 30%. The component passed its first strength test.

Materials Views, 10 Apr. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/cwvbpf8

Mott MacDonald awarded HS2 design contract

Mott MacDonald has secured a contract from HS2 Ltd to provide civil and structural design services for the new high speed rail line. URS, SENER, London Bridge Associates and Weston Williamson Architects will provide support as sub consultants. Awarded one of four design contracts under Lot 1 of HS2 Ltd's Professional Services Framework, the consultancy will design approximately 25km of new high speed rail line from the redeveloped Euston Station through north west London. Mott will also work on the link to HS1 and a new 14 platform interchange station at Old Oak Common.

www.rail.co 10 Apr. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/d4eqdb9

Bombardier bags order from Deutsche Bahn

Bombardier Transportation will deliver 16 Bombardier Twindexx Vario multiple units to Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG) for operation on the Kiel-Hamburg and Flensburg-Hamburg railway lines. Valued at approximately €160 million and is part of a framework agreement between Bombardier and DB AG from December 2008. DB AG has already ordered 135 of the variable double-deck coaches for intercity transport as well as 18 intermediate coaches and three double-deck power cars for regional services. Each of the 16 new four-car Twindexx Vario trains comprises two double-deck power cars and two intermediate coaches. The new trains will operate on the network LVS Schleswig-Holstein with speeds of up to 160km/h. The trains are scheduled to be delivered in the second half of 2014. The double-deck coaches are built at Bombardier's Görlitz plant in Germany. The bogies are manufactured at the company's site in Siegen, Germany, and the propulsion and control system is manufactured at its site in Västerås, Sweden.

Titanium Update, 5th April 2012.

Alstom wins contract from Deutsche Bahn

Alstom Transport will manufacture 28 Coradia Continental regional trains for the German operator Deutsche Bahn Regio NRW GmbH. The contract is worth approximately €140 million. This is the first stage of the frame contract signed in 2011 with DB Regio for the delivery of up to 400 trains. They will enter service for DB Regio NRW GmbH in 2014. The Coradia Continental trains will be manufactured at the Alstom Salzgitter site in Germany, where a high level of experience is guaranteed: 141 trains of the same type have already been built there.

Stainless Steel World Weekly News Update, 10th April 2012.

Bombardier wins train order from Deutsche Bahn

Bombardier has secured a contract to supply 16 of its TWINDEXX Vario multiple units to Deutsche Bahn. Each of the new four-car trains comprises two double-deck power cars and two intermediate coaches. The order is valued at approximately Euros 160M and is part of a framework agreement between Bombardier and DB AG from December 2008. The new trains will operate on the Kiel-Hamburg and Flensburg-Hamburg railway lines.

www.rail.co 30 Mar. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/btd24al

Bombardier awarded contract for Beijing Metro Line 14

Together with New United Group, Bombardier Transportation has signed a contract with Beijing MTR Construction Administration Corporation for the supply of its 'MITRAC' propulsion equipment. Bombardier will supply engineering, manufacturing, testing, commissioning and maintenance as well as initial propulsion spare parts for the new metro trains, which will be built by CNR Changchun Rail Vehicles and CSR Sifang. The total value of the contract is approximately 469M Chinese Renminbi (Euros 56M), with Bombardier's share valued at approximately 208M Chinese Renminbi (Euros 25M).

www.rail.co 29 March 2012. http://tinyurl.com/csolvcq/

Locomotives get lightweighting treatment

Reports that the railway industry is thinking seriously about weight reduction programmes for diesel trains in order to reduce fuel consumption, costs and carbon dioxide emissions. Bayer MaterialScience has unveiled a newly developed sandwich material based on the Baypreg polyurethane spray system that is well suited for diesel engine enclosures. The finished component is 35% lighter and 30% less expensive than its steel-and-aluminium counterpart. The material meets all necessary fire protection requirements. The PURTrain project under which the technology was developed is a feasibility study for enclosing the diesel engines of the Itino train. Bayer MaterialScience collaborated closely with Bombardier on the project.

Plastics Today Automotive/Mobility. 28 Mar. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/bpolljy

Network Rail £1m fine over crossing deaths

Network Rail were fined £1m and accused of 'corporate blindness' for breaching health and safety laws when two girls were killed at Elsenham level crossing in Essex. The judge concluded that there had been a history of inadequate risk assessment and a failure to heed and act upon relevant information, and in was consistently underplayed that the crossing was being misused.

The Daily Telegraph, 16th March 2012, p.3.

Arup to design HS2 terminus at Euston station

The design, which will include a new terminus for HS2 and existing railway services, a new London underground ticket office, office and retail space, public spaces and community facilities, has the aim of improving access, space and overall experience for all rail users and the local community. Arup?s preliminary designs will include architectural design by Grimshaw and logistical infrastructure development by Costain.

www.rail.co 13 Mar. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/6shs8a9

Israel OKs $2-billion proposal as alternative to Suez Canal

Israel's government has approved a planned $2bn, 350km rail network from the Mediterranean coast to the Red Sea port of Eilat. The project, which will take five years to complete once financing is approved, would involve upgrading existing track, laying new rail in southern Israel and rebuilding 63 bridges and five tunnels. Israeli and Chinese officials have signed a memorandum of understanding for China to build the route's main 180km segment from a major phosphorus mine to the port.

Engineering News-Record, vol. 268, no. 4, 13 Feb. 2012. p.6.

IMechE launches ?Railway Challenge? competition for students and apprentices

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has launched its first ever ?Railway Challenge?, where student and apprentice teams will compete against each other to design and manufacture the best, and most efficient, small-scale locomotive. A major part of the competition will be the Energy Storage Challenge, where teams are required to store energy during braking and use it to drive the locomotive up a gradient. As well as the Energy Storage Challenge, there will be two other practical challenges focusing on traction and ride comfort. Just four teams will take part in the introductory competition, but there are plans to open it up to any UK university or railway company next year.

dpaonthenet.net, 5 Mar 2012. http://tinyurl.com/83sj3h4

London Midland and FTPE order new trains from Siemens

Reports that London Midland and First TransPennine Express have placed orders with Siemens for new Desiro electrical multiple units, to be delivered between the end of 2013 and the middle of 2014. Ten class 350/3 electrical multiple units will be used by London Midland to strengthen existing commuter services into London and along the West Coast Mainline. First TransPennine Express will introduce a further ten class 350/4 EMUs onto services on the West Coast Main Line linking Manchester Airport to Edinburgh and Glasgow. (Item contains no further information).

www.rail.co 29 Feb. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/7qvwcw6

Network Rail to sell plant subsidiary

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited has announced that it intends to sell its subsidiary, Network Rail (NDS-Plant) Limited, only months after setting it up. The NDS-Plant division was set up in November after Network Rail ?rescued? equipment supplier Hydrex from administration. Hydrex was the largest provider of road-rail vehicles to the industry and ?vital for Network Rail?s Christmas maintenance plans'. Network Rail is consulting directly with NDS-Plant staff, trade unions, customers, contractors and the Office for Rail Regulation regarding the proposed sale, which will be via an open tender process.

www.rail.co 22 Feb. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/6lnrcur

Where will the money go in 2012?

North American capital spending on freight rail is expected to reach $13 billion in 2012. This article reports on anticipated engineering works being carried out by Amtrak, BNSF, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, CSX, KCS, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.108, no.2. Feb.2012. pp.21-27.

Railway Strategies Live 2012

The supply chain conference is to be held at the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham, UK on Thursday, 21st June. The conference agenda, guest speakers, and associated information are detailed. www.railwaystrategies.co.uk.

Railway Strategies for Senior Rail Management, issue 71. Feb.-March 2012. pp.26-29

Revenue up 45%

The revenue of GE Transportation for 2011 is briefly reported. Infrastructure orders reached $26.6bn in the fourth quarter and the company ended 2011 with its largest ever order backlog ($200bn).

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.3. March 2012. p.26.

No progress in London

Progress Rail, the subsidiary company of Caterpillar, has closed its Electro-Motive Diesel locomotive assembly plant in London, Ontario (Canada) following a dispute over pay and conditions. Other Progress Rail plants in the USA and South America are to take over assembly.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.3. March 2012. p.26.

Embedded rails speed tracklaying

The Prefarail system, which uses resin bonded rubber sourced from used car tyres to reduce noise and vibration, is briefly described. Manufactured by CDM (Italy), QTrack has been used by BAM Nuttall on the Blackpool tramway. QTrack-Beam and QTrack-Slab are also introduced.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.3. March 2012. p.70.

National University Rail research centre established

A university consortium, led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is to set up a rail transportation and engineering research centre. National University Rail (NUR) will be situation with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Illinois. Other participating universities are listed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.3. March 2012. p.77.

BS EN 13231-3:2012

Railway applications. Track. Acceptance of works. Acceptance of reprofiling rails in track. (Supersedes 2006 edition.)

[BSI] Update Standards. March 2012. p.11.

BS EN 13848-4:2011

Railway applications. Track. Track geometry quality. Measuring systems. Manual and lightweight devices.

[BSI] Update Standards. March 2012. p.11.

Alstom awarded Dubai tramway contract

Alstom has secured a 13-year maintenance contract for the Al Sufouh tramway in Dubai. The Roads and Transport Authority of the Government of Dubai awarded the contract, thought to be worth around Euros 120M, to the consortium comprised of Alstom and Cofely Besix Facility Management. The contract is for the maintenance of 11 Citadis tramsets, 10 km of track, 13 stations and other equipment (electrification, signalling, ticketing systems). Phase 2 of the Dubai tramway project provides for 14 additional Citadis tramsets, as well as four additional km of track and six stations. (Item contains no further information).

Rail.co. 14 Feb. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/74pz4v9/

China's great railway boom hits the buffers

China's high-speed rail project has run out of money and will be scaled back significantly this year. more than two thirds of 23 railway projects have been suspended, partly suspended or delayed, and only 9 new lines would be commissioned this year, compared with 70 in 2011. Ticket sales have been slow, and a rail disaster and allegations of corruption in the rail ministry have added to the problem.

The Daily Telegraph, 22nd February 2012, p.17.

Coalition 'not off-the hook' over Bombardier

Unite, Britain’s biggest union, has welcomed reports that Bombardier’s Derby site has been secured for three years but ‘warns that the coalition government should not be let off the hook’. The union said ‘Britain’s last train maker needs a significant contract’ for the company to have a long-term future. The plant was under review ‘after the government controversially awarded’ a £1.6bn order for the Thameslink route to a consortium led by Siemens.

www.rail.co 9 Feb.2012. http://tinyurl.com/83w4xb2

Scomi signs Brazil monorail contract

Scomi Engineering, part of Scomi Group, has signed a contract along with three consortium partners - CR Almedia, Mendes Junior and Serveng - to design and construct a 20km straddle monorail system for the Manaus area of Brazil. Under the consortium, Scomi’s scope of works will involve the design and supply of rolling stock and depot equipment, system integration and project management.

www.rail.co 6 Feb.2012. http://tinyurl.com/6oatwov

Ultrafast Maglev nearing reality

Reports on projected developments on the line from Tokyo to Nagoya and then to Osaka. Central Japan Railway's new super high speed line will cut journey time from Tokyo to Nagoya from 100 to 40 minutes and from Tokyo to Osaka from 160 to 67 minutes. The company has called the new technology the Superconducting Maglev system. Each car will be equipped with superconducting magnets, which create intense magnetic fields. Levitation and guidance coils will be embedded in the guideway. When a train and its superconducting magnets move at high speeds above the guideway, the levitation coils are activated and become electromagnets. The electromagnets then repel, levitating the cars. The guidance coils, meanwhile, use the magnets' force of attraction to provide propulsion.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol. 50, no. 2,526, 30 Jan. 2012. pp.1,3.

Rio invests $518m in world's first automated rail network in Australia

Reports that Rio Tinto has invested $518M in pioneering the use of driverless trains at its Pilbara iron ore rail network in Australia. The company plans to deploy 150 driverless trucks as part of its AutoHaul programme, launching the first driverless train in 2014 and completing the AutoHaul automated train programme by 2015. The AutoHaul automated train programme is part of Rio's Mine of the Future proposal which also includes driverless trucks and autonomous drills.

Energy Business Review, Daily Newsletter, 21 Feb. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/7ly6fes

Departing Caterpillar feels force of Canada's anger

Caterpillar Inc is facing growing opposition from workers and others following its abrupt closure of the Electro-Motive Diesel plant in London, Ontario, Canada's last remaining locomotive factory. Caterpillar has demanded that workers take a 50% wage cut or lose their jobs. Canadians are using social media to call for companies to boycott Caterpillar products.

The Guardian, 16 Feb 2012. p 29.

Steelcast LLC set to enter US rail market

Steelcast is awaiting certification from the Association of American Railroads for its manufacturing facility in Bhavnagar, Gujarat. The joint venture between Steelcast and US-based Michigan Steel, will manufacture casnub bogies for railways in the US. Chetan Tamboli, chairman and managing director, said "once we get the certificate from the US agency, we will be able to bid contracts there. This would also give us advantage to bid for project of Indian Railways in future. We are hopeful for newer opportunities emanating from the proposed Delhi-Mumbai Freight Corridor as well".

www.rail.co.uk 25 Jan. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/6t9e882

Alstom's orders 'remained sound' during 2011

Reports that over the third quarter 2011/12 (from 1 October to 31 December 2011), Alstom registered orders of Euros 4.9bn, 'confirming the sustained commercial activity of the past four quarters'. Thermal Power booked the same level of orders as in the previous quarter (Euros 1.9bn), benefiting from successes in Iraq and Poland. Renewable Power booked Euros 0.3bn of orders, in the absence of large projects. Transport recorded a high number of small and medium sized contracts, reaching an order level of Euros 1.5bn. Lastly, Grid achieved its best quarter since its acquisition, with orders totaling Euros 1.2bn. Orders growth continued to be supported by emerging markets, representing around 60% of the total orders at the end of December 2011.

www.rail.co.uk 24 Jan. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/7nsn5tp

GE Transportation to expand operations in Pennsylvania

The company is investing in the construction of a new locomotive diesel engine remanufacturing plant in Grove City (PA, USA), creating 150 new jobs. Production is to commence by the end of 2012, driven by routine locomotive engine overhauling and the requirement to comply with EPA Tier 3 emissions standards by 2013.

Welding Journal, vol.91, no.2. Feb.2012. p.8.

Nearly $1 billion granted for California high-speed rail construction

A $928.6M grant for construction of the first segment, the Central Valley, of the California High-Speed Rail system has been granted by the US Transportation Secretary. Over 1M jobs are expected to be created during the project's lifespan, nearly half of these as a result of increased economic activity from the network; the population of California is forecast to grow by 60% over the next 40 years.

Welding Journal, vol.91, no.2. Feb.2012. p.10.

Industry News

Track-Weld Industries (Paducah, KY, USA), a specialist in the development of rail track and crossing repair procedures and processes, has been acquired by Welding Alloys USA.

Welding Journal, vol.91, no.2. Feb.2012. p.13.

EuroLight UK ordered

15 EuroLight UK mixed traffic diesel locomotives have been ordered from Vossloh by Direct Rail Services. The units will be fitted with Caterpillar C175 engines plus traction equipment manufactured by ABB.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.2. Feb.2012. p.10.

500 km/h supertrain

A six car ultra high-speed experimental trainset has been launched by CSR Qingdao Sifang. The unit is for research on train and track behaviour at speeds up to 500 km/h.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.2. Feb.2012. p.11.

Rolling stock

Bombardier has received a contract from Southern for 130 more Electrostar EMU cars, for manufacture at the Derby plant.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.2. Feb.2012. p.19.

Line 1 conversion makes metro history

The switch over of the Paris metro Line 1 from manual to driverless operation is detailed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.2. Feb.2012. pp.52-54.

Twindexx: Switzerland's inter-city standard bearer

The double-decker EMU under construction by Bombardier Transportation is described. The EMU has been selected by SBB (Swiss Federal Railway) for its future inter-city and inter-regional services.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.2. Feb.2012. pp.67-69.

BS 11:1985 Specification for railway rails

This standard has been declared obsolescent but it allows for the repair and maintenance of existing track, and gives profile descriptions for supply of rails (particularly 95 lb/yd bullhead) not within the scope of BS EN 13674.

[BSI] Update Standards. Feb.2012. p.22.

Evaluation of a turnout inspection system facility and methods used

The Automated Switch Inspection Vehicle (ASIV) track inspection system under test at the Transportation Technology Center testing facility in Pueblo (Co, USA) is described and evaluated. Benefits and limitations are listed.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.108, no.1. Jan.2012. pp.15-17.

Stepping up rail-flaw detection

New products, methods and technologies from Herzog Services, Inc., Nordco, Precision Rail Stress Testing, Inc., and Sperry Rail Service for the detection of rail defects and the total assessment of rail health, are detailed.

Railway Track and Structures, vol.108, no.1. Jan.2012. pp.19-23.

Australia’s largest public transport project ‘leaps ahead’

Work on the Regional Rail Link will gather pace in 2012 following the selection of contractors to build its two longest sections as well as install the technology which will manage the flow of trains along this new line and provide ‘real-time’ information to those using it. Contracts worth more than $1.6bn have been awarded to: Thiess, Balfour Beatty, Parsons Brinckerhoff and SKM, the consortium tasked with laying 7.5km of new track between Footscray and Deer Park as well as building a new station at West Footscray; Baulderstone/ Leighton Joint Venture which will lay 25km of new track between Deer Park and West Werribee as well as build new stations at Wyndham Vale and Tarneit; UGL and Manidis Roberts, the consortium which from mid-2012 will install the fibre optics network that will support the train control and signal systems.

Rail.co. 10 Jan. 2012. http://tinyurl.com/6vahoo4

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.

Rail win drives growth

Siemens AG has reported a 24% year-on-year rise in its order intake, with revenue growing at 9%. The company has recently received its biggest ever order from Deutsche Bahn. Siemens Mobility rail division became part of the company's Infrastructure and Cities sector on 1 Oct.2011.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.1. Jan.2012. p.21.

GE acquires software developer

RMI, a software provider to North American railways, shippers and wagon leasing companies, has been purchased by GE Transportation from The Carlyle Group.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.1. Jan.2012. p.21.

Track maintenance venture formed

A joint venture has been formed between Leighton Contractors and Swietelsky. LS Rail will provide track construction, maintenance and renewal services in Australia.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.1. Jan.2012. p.22.

Research partnership can deliver a shift to rail

Members of the European railway supply industry association, UNIFE, are leading plans to launch Shift2Rail, a European research organisation intended to provide a more structured and long-term vehicle for rail innovation which mirrors the Clean Sky initiative in the aviation sector. Shift2Rail is discussed and the partner companies are listed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.1. Jan.2012. pp.38-39.

Autonomous measurement of track geometry

Details of the US Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) development programme to use railway service trains to carry out track monitoring are discussed. The FRA aims to develop a low cost, self-powered geometry measurement system, that can be fitted on standard rail vehicles, including passenger and freight carriages, to increase the frequency of track monitoring.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.1. Jan.2012. pp.41-44.

Optimising rail grinding strategies on the Malmbanan

The improvement in rail life on Sweden's heavy haul iron ore railway is discussed. Life extension is being achieved by the use of harder rail steels, changes to rail and wheel profiles and improvements to the rail grinding regime.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.1. Jan.2012. pp.46-50.

Controlling friction delivers longer rail life

The maintenance of target friction levels at the critical wheel-rail interface, in order to reduce metal loss through wear and rolling contact fatigue, is discussed. Gauge face lubrication, top-of-rail modifiers and the wheel-rail interface system are considered.

Railway Gazette International, vol.168, no.1. Jan.2012. pp.53-55.

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.


Its linear motion will make new shinkansen appear to have wings

The future Chuo Shinkansen maglev should be the most advanced bullet train in the world. Currently Germany's Transrapid maglev technology is in the lead, and is in practical use for the Shanghai Transrapid between Shanghai and its Pudong International Airport. There are currently three routes under consideration for the Chuo Shinkansen.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.48. no.2,465. 15 Nov. 2010. p.32.

JR Tokai, allies in race for high-speed rail in Florida

Details of the plans of Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) to team up with a consortium to bid for a high-speed rail project in Florida, USA. Seven overseas teams are expected to take part in the pre-bidding process.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.48. no.2,467. 29 Nov. 2010. p.8.

Calif. gets $624M for high-speed rail, but future funding cut

The California High-speed Rail Authority obtained the new funding after the US Department of Transportation made available nearly $1.2 bn in previously awarded grants after incoming governors of Wisconsin and Ohio said that they would reject the funds because the projects were too costly. The rail authority said that the new funds should allow it to extend its initial 65 mile Borden to Corcoran line in the Central Valley, due to break ground in 2012, closer to either Merced or Bakersfield.


Net income at Bombardier fell 15% to $143m in the three months to the end of October, compared with earnings of $168m a year ago.

The Times, 3rd December 2010, p.62.

Need to know: Transport

The Department for Transport plans to deliver 2,100 extra rail carriages by 2019 to address overcrowding on the busiest lines, but has deferred a decision on replacing intercity trains. It is going ahead with rolling stock orders and electrification worth about £8bn, but passengers will face an average rise in fares of 6.2% to help pay for it.

The Times, 26th November 2010, p.62.

LO maglev car order

14 LO (linear, zero emission) pre-production maglev trains are to be built by Central Japan Railway to act as test prototypes. It is expected that the maglevs will be used on the Tokyo-Osaka Chuo Shinkansen from 2027. Some details of the vehicles are given.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.12. Dec.2010. p.8.

Amtrak locomotive order

Siemens Mobility has won the contract to supply 70 ACS64 electric locomotives for use on the Northeast and Keystone rail corridors. The contract is the first Siemens has won in the US market. The Amtrak Cities Sprinter will be based on the Eurosprinter with adaptations to meet US regulations, and production will take place in California, Ohio and Georgia.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.12. Dec.2010. p.9.

Rail dollars rolling

The round 2, top 10 high speed rail projects and their funding are discussed.

ENR - Engineering News Record, vol.265, no.13. 8 Nov.2010. pp.56-57.

Rail replacement service

Eurostar International is contracting Siemens to supply 10 Eurostar e320 trains, and Pininfarina to overhaul existing rolling stock. The new vehicles will travel faster and carry 20% more passengers.

The Engineer, vol.295, no.7804. 18 Oct.2010. p.14.

Rail plans hit bumps

Rail building project cancellations following the US elections on the 2nd November are discussed. At least two high speed railway lines will be erased by Republican governors in Wisconsin and Ohio, even though they won US Department of Transportation funding. The Orlando-Tampa line in Florida may follow if state funding is required. Funds not spent on the above projects will be reallocated to other rail projects in the US. The issues are discussed in detail.

http://enr.ecnext.com. 17 Nov.2010.

The beckoning - is railway a potent market for sensor applications?

A new market survey from Frost and Sullivan looks at the future use of sensors in rail transportation. As rail becomes a mode of smart transportation, sensors and accompanying software will increasingly have key roles. The benefits of rail transport for passenger and freight (carbon emissions, energy savings, etc.) are listed and examples of sensor use are briefly considered. A trend of increasing sensor use in the rail industry is forecast.

http://www.frost.com/prod/servlet/market-insight-top.pag?docid=207896092. 27 July 2010

Corridor X funds awarded

Two EU loans to support the development of the Pan-European Corridor X through the Balkans have been approved by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.11. Nov.2010. p.7.

Government backs Y

The UK transport secretary has announced the government's preferred high speed route between London and Birmingham. Further consultation is timetabled for 2011. The Y route carries the HS2 London-Birmingham line on from the West Midlands to Manchester/West Coast Main Line, with another arm through the East Midlands and South Yorkshire to Leeds/East Coast Main Line.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.11. Nov.2010. p.8.

Only Pendolinos bid

The sole bidder for the supply contract for 20 high speed trains for PKP Intercity (Poland) was Alstom Transport. The company has offered its New Pendolino, with a first delivery by the end of 2012. PKP is hoping to raise funds for the trains through commercial debt.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.11. Nov.2010. p.12.

Speed record

A new land speed record for trains has been set on the Shanghai-Hangzhou line at the end of September, when a CRH380A trainset, manufactured by China South, reached a speed of 416.6 km/h.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.11. Nov.2010. p.12.

HEMU-400X to roll in 2011

Hundai Rotem hope to have its prototype high speed train ready during 2011. Some technical specifications for the train are given.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.11. Nov.2010. p.14.

Victoria picks Bombardier

Bombardier has been contracted by the government of Victoria, Australia, to supply 50 low-floor trams for Melbourne, redevelop a tram depot and carry out maintenance until 2017.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.11. Nov.2010. p.16.

News in brief [1]

Rail Research UK Association has been set up by the UK Rail Safety and Standards Board. The RSSB will manage research and development, carried out at the Association, on behalf of the rail industry. Three years of funding have been secured.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.11. Nov.2010. p.20.

News in brief [2]

Track and train engineering at Deltarail is to end with some loss of jobs. The company is to specialise in signalling, geometry, maintenance and structures.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.11. Nov.2010. p.20.


The Centre for Railway Research and Education, Birmingham University, is working with Atkins to develop energy-saving technologies for the Spanish high speed and commuter train networks.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.11. Nov.2010. p.22.

Velaros launch cross-Channel battle

Competition between the international services of Eurostar and Deutsche Bahn is discussed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.11. Nov.2010. pp.27-28.

Co-operation and innovation cut life-cycle costs

How the Swiss railway network reduces its costs is discussed, with reference to the close co-operation between its infrastructure managers and their contractors, in order to maximise maintenance and renewals efficiency.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.11. Nov.2010. pp.37-40.

Trimming the cost of track inspection

Emerging cheaper alternatives to conventional track inspection methods are described and discussed.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.11. Nov.2010. pp.43-46.

Brazil's largest locomotive order

GE Transportation has been contracted by MRS Logistica for the supply of 115 AC44i locomotives, with the option of another 100. Delivery is from 2011 to 2015. The units will be produced at GR Transportation South America (Contagem, Brazil).

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.11. Nov.2010. p.74.

Feds confirm $715M for high-speed rail in Central Valley, Calif[ornia]

The Bakersfield Californian newspaper reports on the construction of a new, high speed railway in Central Valley, starting in 2012. The line will eventually form part of an express passenger service between Los Angeles and San Francisco

ENR - Engineering News Record. 29 Oct.2010. http://enr.construction.com/yb/enr/article.aspx?story_id=151633946

Virginia gets $45M Federal grant for high-speed rail

The Free Lance-Star reports that the state of Virginia has been awarded funds to start groundwork for a high-speed rail line between Richmond and Washington. The goal is to achieve a Southeast Corridor. The US Department of Transportation has a total of $2.4 bn to fund 54 high-speed rail construction and planning projects nationwide. Further details of rail projects in Virginia are given.

ENR - Engineering News Record. 29 Oct.2010. http://enr.construction.com/yb/enr/article.aspx?story_id=151620323

Rail projects in Wash[ington] State get $31M boost from Feds

The Seattle Times reports on how the funding, from the two Federal Railroad Administration programmes to develop high-speed intercity passenger rail in the USA, will be spent in Washington State.

ENR - Engineering News Record. 29 Oct.2010. http://enr.construction.com/yb/enr/article.aspx?story_id=151626883

Florida to seek bidders for $170M high-speed rail project

The project is to prepare the median of Interstate 4 for the planned high-speed train linking Orlando and Tampa. Construction is supposed to start next year on the $2.8bn train, which is being funded by the federal government.


The rail market in Germany

A 49 page report on the state of the German rail market has been published by Mack Brooks, and is available via their website at www.brooksreports.com.

Railway Strategies, no.63. Oct./Nov.2010. p.16.

New director

The new director/general manager for UK business projects at Balfour Beatty Rail is Alan McCarthy-Wyper.

Railway Strategies, no.63. Oct./Nov.2010. p.19.

Railway track for the 21st century

The UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council is supporting Track21, a collaborative project between industry and academia, that aims to develop an understanding of the engineering, economic and environmental performance of railway track in order to provide a basis for an overhaul in techniques for track design, construction and maintenance. The businesses and universities involved in the project are listed.

Railway Strategies, no.63. Oct./Nov.2010. p.19.

Final tracks laid on Britain's longest passenger line for 100 years

The Airdrie to Bathgate line was completed by Network Rail at the end of August. The 24 km line is the longest new build for a century.

Railway Strategies, no.63. Oct./Nov.2010. p.19.

More Metrolink trams

A consortium of Bombardier and Vossloh Kiepe have signed an option to provide an additional 14 Bombardier Flexcity Swift light rail vehicles for the Manchester Metrolink.

Railway Strategies, no.63. Oct./Nov.2010. p.29.

Material solutions for the next generation of rail vehicles

NewRail, the railway research centre at Newcastle University, is working with Alstom Transport, Bombardier Transportation and Siemens Transportation Systems, on the development of new concepts for rail vehicle components and structures based on advanced materials and manufacturing processes. The project is discussed.

Railway Strategies, no.63. Oct./Nov.2010. pp.127-127.

Rail dollars rolling

The US Department of Transportation is to invest $2.5bn in another high-speed rail funding round and will increase the actual flow of obligations from its $8bn first rail round. The investment will help finance 54 projects in 23 states, with rail corridors receiving $2.15bn and individual projects $278.4M. The two largest awards were made to California and Florida.


Wisconsin halts high-speed rail plans

Preliminary work has ceased on Wisconsin's plans for high-speed passenger train service between Milwaukee and Madison, placing the $810M federally funded project in jeopardy. The proposed route would connect with Amtrak's existing Hiawatha service between Chicago and Milwaukee and would increase top train speeds from 79mph to 110 mph. The decision follows the election of Republican Scott Walker as Wisconsin's next governor. Walker campaigned against building a high-speed rail network, saying his priority would be to repair roads and bridges. He called the passenger rail project a waste of taxpayer money.


BS EN 14730-1:2006+A1:2010 Railway applications. Track/ Aluminothermic welding of rails. Approval of welding processes. Amendment 1. (BSI Committee RAE/2)
[BSI] Update Standards. Oct.2010. p.26.

US Department of Transportation reveals uniform high-speed rail design standards

The US is to introduce uniform technical standards for the manufacture of intercity passenger trains. The aim is to create a level playing field and economies of scale through common design and technical requirements. Repair and maintenance costs will also be reduced through the use of common platforms and equipment.

Welding Journal, vol.89, no.10. Oct.2010. p.8.

Industry notes

Rail Sciences, Inc. (Atlanta, GA, USA) a rail industry consulting and train dynamics company, has been acquired by TUVRheinland®.

Welding Journal, vol.89, no.10. Oct.2010. p.13.

DB Schenker to spend

DB Schenker Rail is to spend around 410 million euros during this year on fleet modernisation, focusing on wagons for coal, steel, chemical and automotive freight, plus 71 new locomotives.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.10. Oct.2010. p.12.

Partnership targets China

Alstom transport, CNR Corp and Shanghai Electric Group are to form a strategic partnership for the development of mass transit equipment, such as traction systems and complete rolling stock.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.10. Oct.2010. p.25.

Cutting the cost of authorisation

The need to reduce the complexity of vehicle testing and acceptance procedures across Europe, leading to significant savings, is discussed. The first steps towards formalising the equivalence between European and national rules, and the simplification their structure to minimise overlaps and duplication, are considered.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.10. Oct.2010. pp.34-38.

Rail Industry

Special report on the rail industry

Financial Times, 21st September 2010

Fiery baptism for Network Rail boss

Network Rail has appointed a new chief executive as it faces spending cuts. David Higgins, currently chief executive at the Olympic Delivery Authority will take over from Iain Coucher from February 1st. Network Rail is awaiting the results of a review of it's efficiency by Sir Roy McNulty. According to ministers and the Office of Rail Regulation, the company has proved to be less efficient than its continental counterparts.

Daily Telegraph, 29th September 2010, p.B4.

Trenitalia orders 50 highspeed trains

The Trenitalia board has selected a joint bid from Bombardier Transportation and AnsaldoBreda for a contract to supply 50 high speed trains. A prototype is to be supplied within 300 days, with entry into service by 2013. Derived from Bombardier's Zefiro platform as supplied to China, but heavily adapted to meet European Technical Specifications for interoperability, the 200m long non-articulated V300Zefiro trains will have distributed traction. The planned maximum speed in revenue service will be 360km/h.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.9, Sep 2010. p.9.

EC approvers DB takeover of Arriva

The European Commission has approved Deutsche Bahn's planned acquisition of Arriva, subject to DB's commitment to divest Arriva's rail and bus activities in Germany. Arriva is expected to become a wholly owned subsidiary of DB UK Holding. DB will not be able to influence Arriva's German activities, which it intends to sell as a single package.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.9, Sep 2010. p.15.

CAF will supply Amtrak coaches

Amtrak has awarded CAF USA a $298.1M contract to supply 130 single-deck vehicles for use on long distance routes in the west of the country, where clearances are insufficient for double-deck Superliner stock. Alstom, Bombardier and Kawasaki had also bid for the contract.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.9, Sep 2010. p.16.

Huge order for largest electric locomotive manufacturer

The Ministry of Railways' Chengdu Railway administration has placed an 8.6bn yuan order with China South for 590 six-axle 7.2 MW electric locomotives with AC drives to be built by CSR Zhuzhou (420) and CST Ziyang (170) for delivery within 12 months.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.9, Sep 2010. p.16.

Channel tunnel in DB's sights

Deutsche Bahn chairman and CEO Dr. Rudiger Grube has said that the company plans to send an ICE3 test train through the Channel tunnel this autumn as part of preparations for a possible service to London. The company is also in talks with SNCF to launch a passenger service from Frankfurt to Lyon and Marseille from 2012.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.9, Sep 2010. p.23.

Chennai orders Alstom trains

Chennai Metro Rail has selected Alstom Transport to supply 42 four-car trains for the two-line metro currently under construction. The contract is worth Rs14.7bn and includes the supply and commissioning of 168 vehicles along with associated spare parts, specialist tools and staff training.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.9, Sep 2010. p.27.

Asia dominates a growing market

The world railway market is set to continue growing at an average of 2.4% a year, according to a new study by UNIFE. Asia-Pacific is now the biggest market and also the fastest growing. Demand for signalling and automation is expected to increase significantly.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.9, Sep 2010. p.51.

The long haul to recovery

Says that attempts to halt the decline in rail freight in France have so far failed to achieve their objectives. Investigates whether the government's Euros 7bn rescue plan will succeed. The plan recommends the development of high speed rail freight as an alternative to air freight and the elimination of bottlenecks.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.9, Sep 2010. pp.114-124

'We will be the biggest port on the Baltic'

Reports on the new port taking shape at Ust-Luga in northwest Russia. It is expected to generate over 100M tonnes of rail freight a year and will require extensive upgrading of connecting rail links throughout the Leningrad region.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.9, Sep 2010. pp.131-138

Growing traffic from the heart of Europe

Luxembourg company CFL Cargo, a joint venture of CFL and Arcelor Mittal, has joined the Xrail alliance as it strives to develop international traffic to complement its core metal business. The company feels that it has to develop pan-European services for its long term survival, given the limited size of the Luxembourg market. It also feels that it has a geographical advantage at the crossroads of western Europe with good access to the principal north-south and east-west freight corridors.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.9, Sep 2010. pp.140-141.

Battle is joined for the aftersales market

SCI Verkehr's latest market study considers rolling stock maintenance around the world and suggests that a market value of Euros 37bn is set to grow by 3.8% a year. Says that around 70% of the total market is still accounted for by railway operators maintaining their own rolling stock. However many are planning to focus on the core business of moving passengers and freight, offering manufacturers and third-party rolling stock maintenance companies potential opportunities for strategic growth in the maintenance segment.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.9, Sep 2010. pp.196,198.

Network Rail is 40% less efficient than foreign firms

The UK's rail infrastructure body Network Rail is trailing far behind comparable European companies when it comes to efficiency, according to UK rail regulators. The "efficiency gap" between NR and the rest of Europe is said to be 34-40%, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) said. It was also found to have failed to meet the body's expenditure expectations in investment and running by almost £1bn. The carrying out of "possessions" - when NR takes over the track for engineering work - is one of the areas where the company fares less well than others in Europe, the ORR said.


Need to know: Engineering

Bombardier reported a 27% fall in Q2 net profits to $148m from $202m a year ago, and said the economic uncertainty would continue to hurt its aerospace unit.

The Times, 2nd September 2010, p.36.

HS1 up for sale

The government has begun the sale of the rights to operate Britain's first high speed railway, 'High Speed 1'. Bidders interested in running the 68 mile line linking London to the Channel Tunnel are now being invited to come forward. The successful bidder will become the owner of 'HS1 Ltd', which has a 30-year concession to run the line and stations.

Railway Strategies, Aug-Sep. 2010. p.29.

Independent review to report early

Transport secretary Philip Hammond has asked for Sir Roy McNulty's review of value-for-money in the rail industry to report back in time to inform government decisions on public spending in the autumn. The review was originally asked to report in March 2011.

Railway Strategies, Aug-Sep. 2010. p.29.

Demand for rail returns to pre-recession levels

A significant increase in demand for rail travel during the first six months of 2010 has seen a return to growth in passenger numbers on the railways, not witnessed since before the recession. Analysis published at the beginning of August by the Association of Train Operating Companies shows that October 2009 marked a turning point when demand on the railways began to recover and that since the start of 2010 overall demand for rail travel has begun to grow significantly.

Railway Strategies, Aug-Sep. 2010. p.29.

Why investing in rail infrastructure will boost the wider UK economy

Richard King, director at rail specialist Osborne, discusses how investment in rail infrastructure can boost the UK and also the crucial role that major rail suppliers and their supply chains must play in supporting both the industry and the wider UK economy during a period of major financial reform. Argues that it is essential to promote an increase in third party investment and that best practice should be shared between supplier organisations for the benefit of the UK rail industry.

Railway Strategies, Aug-Sep. 2010. pp.38-39.

National Centre contract

BAM Construction has ben awarded the main contract to build Network Rail's new National Centre in Milton Keynes. The Centre will save Network Rail nearly £20M every year as the amount of office space it rents at locations across the country will be greatly reduced. Some 3,000 employees will be located together under one eco-friendly roof.

Railway Strategies, Aug-Sep. 2010. p.63.

Electrostar units well into production

Bombardier has confirmed that production of its class 379 Electrostar trains for National Express is well under way at its site in Derby. With two production lines running in parallel, all 120 cars are on track for delivery between March and June 2011.

Railway Strategies, Aug-Sep. 2010. p.133.

Britain relies on rail freight

Research from Network Rail has revealed that the British economy is boosted annually by £870M from the rail freight industry. The freight industry also indirectly supports an economic output of £5.9bn, over six times its direct turnover. The study - 'Value and Importance of Rail Freight' - also shows the benefits of a switch from road to rail and predicts that rail freight demand will grow by 30% over the next decade.

Railway Strategies, Aug-Sep. 2010. p.153.

Bristol's new freight terminal

Network Rail and Freightliner have jointly reinstated a short section of disused track near Bristol Temple Meads enabling seven wine trains to terminate at South Liberty Lane depot every week. This initiative supports Trans Ocean's wine bulk liquid logistics business in managing the movement of all wine imports into one of Europe's largest wine facilities in Avonmouth.

Railway Strategies, Aug-Sep. 2010. p.155.

Biomass wagons showcased

GB Railfreight has showcased its newly modified biomass wagons, which will be used for its multi-million pound contract with Drax Power. The wagons, which are the first of their kind, have top and bottom doors that are operated automatically by the use of magnets and sensors controlling a pneumatic cylinder on each door.

Railway Strategies, Aug-Sep. 2010. p.155.

The Future of High Speed Rail

The conference, subtitled 'Adapting to competition, realising new lines and increasing modal share' is to be held on the 20-21 October 2010 in Amsterdam. For speakers and further details see the link below.


The Future of Rail

The conference, subtitled 'Creating an efficient and modern railway in an era of spending constraints' is to be held on the 18th November 2010 in London. For speakers and further details see the link below.


'S' stock enters passenger service; Bombardier and Invensys shortlisted for signalling

The first of a fleet of 191 walk-through trains, being built by Bombardier (Derby), has entered service on the London Underground. Bombardier and Invensys are on the shortlist for the sub-surface network resignalling contract.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.744. Sept.2010. p.6.

Mawhinney says no pressing need for Heathrow HS2 link

The report by Lord Mawhinney, the former Conservative transport minister, has concluded that the high speed rail link to the airport is not needed until the high speed network has reached Manchester or Leeds, as it would divert funds from improving lines with greater value to the taxpayer or train operator.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.744. Sept.2010. p.8.

Study confirms importance of rail freight

A study by Network Rail has revealed that the rail freight industry puts £870M into the British economy per annum and supports an economic output of £5.9bn. The report, 'Value and Importance of Rail Freight' can be viewed at http://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/Press-Releases/Britain-relies-on-rail-freight-new-study-confirms-14d5/SearchCategoryID-2.aspx.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.744. Sept.2010. p.12.

Green traction: the reality

Professor Rod Smith of Imperial College discusses what can really be achieved by carbon reduction programmes in the rail industry.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.744. Sept.2010. pp.38-41.

The death of research?

The state of research in today's railway industry is examined, and compared with past triumphs. A way forward is suggested.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.744. Sept.2010. pp.42-48.

Green light for Metrolink airport line

The boost to the Manchester tram network by the go-ahead for three new Metrolink lines is discussed. MPact-Thales (MPT) has been appointed to design, construct and maintain the lines. MPT is a consortium of Laing O'Rourke, VolkerRail and Thales UK. A consortium of Bombardier Transportation and Vossloh Kiepe are supplying articulated vehicles for the lines.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.744. Sept.2010. pp.50-52.

Caterpillar completes EMD acquisition

Progress Rail Services, a subsidiary of Caterpillar, has completed the purchase of Electro-Motive Diesel from Berkshire Partners LLC and Greenbriar Equity Group LLC.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.744. Sept.2010. p.92.

Break up Network Rail, says former regulator

Former UK rail regulator Tom Winsor has called for the break-up of Network Rail. He proposes that it be split up into three or four regional companies that reflect more closely the areas covered by the different train operators.

Daily Telegraph, 27 Aug 2010. p B3

Cuts to rail projects will threaten recovery, warns BCC

The British Chambers of Commerce and smaller chambers from across the UK have warned the government about making hasty and ill conceived cuts to the rail network. It added that without government backing for projects such as rail expansion, the private sector will struggle to grow enough to put the economy on a sounder footing. The chambers identified three schemes which should be exempt from cuts: the Northern Hub project, electrification and extra carriages to increase UK-wide passenger capacity.

The Daily Telegraph, 9 Aug. 2010. p.B3.

Crossrail gets down to detail to survive cuts

Presents an interview with Terry Morgan, the chairman of Crossrail, who admits that he is working in an environment in which the government has to make some difficult choices. The company is undertaking value engineering, evaluating areas such as escalators, platforms and signalling as it attempts to find savings.

The Daily Telegraph, 9 Aug. 2010. p.B4.


China's Ministry of Railways has held a ceremony in Xuzhou on July 19 to mark the start of tracklaying on the Beijing-Shanghai high speed line, which is scheduled to open in 2012. (Item contains no further information).

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.8, Aug. 2010, p.7.

Higher funding agreed

Switzerland's Federal Transport Ministry has accepted that a higher level of funding will be needed to maintain the intensively-used national network in good condition. The government intends to contribute to SBB's short term needs by increasing funding for infrastructure maintenance in 2011 and 2012 by SFr160M a year.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.8, Aug. 2010, p.8.

Good case for Interconnector

The formal application for a Railway Order giving planning permission and powers to build the Dublin Interconnector project has been lodged. The 7.56km tunnel will link the Northern line to the Cork main line, with five underground stations in the city centre and a new surface station at Inchicore.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.8, Aug. 2010, p.17.

Lowest bidder named

Larsen & Toubro has emerged as the lowest bidder to construct the Rs122bn Hyderabad metro network on a design, build, finance, operate and transfer basis. The state of Andhra Pradesh has agreed to finance 20% of the total project cost, and the winning consortium is expected to raise around 60% in equity and debt, leaving the remainder to be met by the Indian government as 'viability gap funding'.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.8, Aug. 2010, p.18.

Rail opportunities open up for international suppliers

With one of the world's largest railway networks, rapid industrialisation and major cities grappling with congestion, India offers significant opportunities for suppliers in the rail sector. Reports that the UK India Business Council has been working with UK Trade & Investment to provide the requisite knowledge and resources to facilitate entry into the Indian market.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.8, Aug. 2010, pp.58-59.

BAA concerns over new rail links

Colin Matthews, BAA's chief executive, has claimed that the building of a new high-speed rail line to Heathrow will put more strain on the airport. He questioned the government's logic in cancelling the third runway at the airport while at the same time making it easier to get there.

Daily Telegraph, 29 Jul 2010. p B5

New Piccadilly Line trains axed

Bidders Alstom and CAF have been notified that tenders for the Piccadilly Line replacement trains have been cancelled. The Piccadilly Line project is to be re-examined to ensure that signaling would be compatible with the District and Metropolitan lines, which share track with the Piccadilly.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.743, Aug. 2010. p.7.

Philip Hammond orders Heathrow and Leeds HS2 review

Transport secretary Philip Hammond has asked HS2 to carry out additional work on connections to Heathrow, building on work presented in their report in March on the north-south high speed railway. HS2 was also asked to carry out an assessment of the options for linking HS1 (the Channel Tunnel Rail Link) with HS2 (the north-south line).

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.743, Aug. 2010. p.10.

Saving fuel over the Pennines

Siemens and First TransPennine Express have been working together on an energy saving programme for FTPE's Class 185 diesel multiple units. Eco-Mode shuts down engines when a train has been standing for more than six minutes resulting in a 7% reduction in fuel burn. Drivers are encouraged to use the system along with sensible driving techniques.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.743, Aug. 2010. pp.40-42.

Atkins and Jacobs pick up Crossrail jobs

Network Rail has awarded Atkins a contract to design the Acton dive-under for the Crossrail project while Jacobs Engineering will design alterations to the Stockley fly-over.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.743, Aug. 2010. p.16.

Siemens launches Vectron multi-system locomotive

The locomotives are designed for use in a variety of formats ranging from mid-power 5,200kW AC or DC locos to high power 6,400kW multi system locos. All locos will come equipped for the European Train Control system with a preliminary equipment package that makes for easy conversion for operation in other countries.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.743, Aug. 2010. p.68.

Pendolino overhaul programme completed

Alstom has completed the 1.5M mile overhaul programme for Virgin's 52-strong fleet of Pendolino trains. During the project over 19,000 components were replaced on every trainset. Work also involved the overhaul of 936 bogies and 104 pantographs.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.743, Aug. 2010. p.74.

Hunslet introduces new shunter

The Hunslet Engine Company has introduced the first of three new diesel shunter designs. It is a multi-purpose three-axle diesel hydraulic which has been designed for short trip working as well as heavy shunting. The loco is energy efficient, being far more economical than the current fleet, and especially so when idling, when the fuel consumption is said to be no more than two litres per hour.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.743, Aug. 2010. p.74.

Institute of Rail Welding 17th Technical Seminar

Recent developments covered at the event included rail head repair by aluminothermic welding, repair of tri-metal zones, closure welding, gas cylinders and rail welder training and qualifications.

Welding Lines, Issue 30, June 2010. pp.1-3.

Government calls for apprenticeships fall on deaf ears at Crossrail

Crossrail has admitted to the UK government that only 400 out of a total workforce of 14,000 will be apprentices.

The Times, 23 Jul 2010. p 41

Super station may link two new lines

Former transport secretary Lord Mawhinney has called on the government to build a rail hub at Old Oak Common. The station would be a terminus for a high-speed line from the West Midlands and northern England and would also act as an interchange for Crossrail. The proposal would entail scrapping plans to rebuild Euston station, which was to be the London terminus for the high speed line. Business leaders said that they need the line to come into central London and also a high speed link to Heathrow.

Daily Telegraph, 22 July 2010. p.4.

TfL reveals plans for cable car crossing

Transport for London has unveiled plans to create the UK's first cable car to cross the River Thames between the Greenwich peninsula and the Royal Docks. If plans go ahead, the cable car would allow pedestrians and cyclists to travel between the O2 and the ExCel centres in around five minutes. The scheme is being proposed in response to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson's desire to increase the number of river crossings east of Tower Bridge.


Intercity train project thrown in doubt

A review of the Intercity express programme, to provide new carriages for intercity routes, discovered risks that trains would not work and that alternative approaches had not been properly evaluated.

Financial Times, 7 July 2010, p.4.

© The Financial Times Limited 2010

Network Rail's full-year results

Results show that the company continued to drive efficiencies in running Britain's railways, costs have been controlled, its debt to gearing ratio is sustainable whilst its strong financial performance meant that solid profits were reinvested in the railway.

Railway Strategies, June-July 2010. p.16.

End of PPP on the Underground

Amey (Ferrovial), along with Bechtel, its partner in the Tube Lines PPP, have entered into an agreement to sell their interests in Tube Lines to Transport for London for a total of £310M. The agreement is conditional on lenders' consent being obtained and certain other operational matters. Completion is expected by the end of June 2010.

Railway Strategies, June-July 2010. p.15.

Rail Alliance reaches the membership century

The Rail Alliance has recruited the ten founding companies of the Midlands Assembly Network to reach the 100 members milestone. The Alliance was originally launched in the West Midlands by Advantage West Midlands and the Manufacturing Advisory Service to provide platform to encourage innovation and collaboration amongst the region's 350 rail-focussed companies, but expanded in April 2009 to represent the wider UK rail industry.

Railway Strategies, June-July 2010. p.15.

Internationally recognised standards are key for manufacturers and suppliers to rail industry

Says that in an increasingly competitive global market, having staff trained to the IPC standard has become a vital aspect for many electronics companies. IPC standards are viewed as the bench mark by which a product is judged and are being turned to by the rail industry to ensure that electronic products and components hit the required quality mark.

Railway Strategies, June-July 2010. pp.32-33.

50 years of welding and still going from strength to strength

Reports that Thermit Welding (GB) has recently been awarded Innovation of the Year for its new Rail Head Repair technique which can be adapted and used on all kinds of track. Also describes the company's work in rail grinding and ballast bonding.

Railway Strategies, June-July 2010. pp.44-45

Ministers ready to bear debt for Network Rail

Transport secretary Philip Hammond has said that the government is willing to assume the £23.8bn debt of Network Rail if it proves necessary to take greater control.

Financial Times, 9 July 2010. p.5.

© The Financial Times Limited 2010

Welding plant opens

Reports on the opening of a rail welding plant at Ras Lanuf in Russia. The plant was built on a turnkey basis by welding equipment specialist Pskovelectrosvar and is expected to operate for 10 years with the capacity to produce 500 km of long welded rail per year to Russian and international standards.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.7, July 2010. p.8.

Fuel cell tram trial

By the end of the year, metre-gauge operator FEVE is planning to start trials with fuel cell traction between Ribadesella and Llovio on its non-electrified Oviedo-Santander route. A hydrogen fuel cell is to be installed in a 1970s tramcar to power four traction motors.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.7, July 2010. p.16.

5 in 10 agreement triggers 182 of 300

Greater Toronto transport agency Metrolinx has awarded Bombardier Transportation a C$770 M order for 182 Flexity light rail vehicles, immediately after the provincial government announced approval of Metrolinx's revised C$8.1bn '5 in 10' programme to complete five major transport projects in 10 years rather than eight to defer C$4bn of spending.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.7, July 2010. p.16.

Rise of the concept train

Reports that three new high speed train designs have been revealed in recent weeks by CAF, Alstom and a partnership of Bombardier and AnsaldoBreda. Suggests that, at a time of growing budgetary pressure across the industry, suppliers would surely be happier to generate economies of scale by selling reasonably standard products across different countries, with modular components giving a measure of local customisation.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.7, July 2010. p.23.

Maximising hybrid power density

Reports that BAE Systems is using its experience in the military, aviation and bus industries to develop hybrid drives and electronic control equipment for rail vehicles. Around 2,500 buses, mostly in the USA, use the company's Hybridrive technology that allies a lithium-ion battery bank with a liquid-cooled IGBT-based power converter. BAE feels that the technology is now reaching maturity and rail applications would be a logical extension.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.7, July 2010. p.35.

Fast-tracking the future

Says that the federal government's vision of high speed trains and expansion of conventional inter-city passenger services bodes well for Amtrak, as it prepares top support a range of state-funded initiatives. Notes that the backbone of operations is still the Northeast Corridor which carries more than half the 308 trains that the company operates on an average day. Adds that fleet renewal and expansion are key investment priorities following rapid growth in the past decade.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.7, July 2010. pp.44-47

Recovery Act kick starts Florida HSR project

The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a Record of Decision that paves the way for the Florida Department of Transport to begin design, land acquisition and construction of a high-speed line between Orlando and Tampa. The line has received federal funding and is the first stage in a state-wide project whose second stage will be a link joining Orlando with Miami.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.7, July 2010. pp.48-49

Device keeps track of rail movements

Nottingham Scientific limited is developing a pre-commercial device to explore the potential of satellite systems within the rail sector. NSI's research is part of a project called the Intelligent Railway via Integrated Satellite Services, which is being carried out in collaboration with East Midlands Trains and the European Space Agency. If the project is successful it is hoped that train operators will be able to gain access to live CCTV, passenger information, position and maintenance feeds as the train is on the move.

The Engineer, vol.295, no.7797, 28 June 2010. p.10.

Anger over £2.2m paid in bonuses to rail bosses

Reports that the Office of the Rail Regulator was powerless to intervene as Network Rail paid a total of £2.2 M in bonuses to senior managers, including £348,000 to Iain Coucher, the outgoing chief executive. Transport secretary Philip Hammond said that he was very disappointed by the decision. Nick Haythornthwaite, chairman of Network Rail, defended the payouts as the price of an improved railway.

Financial Times, 25 June 2010. p.2.

London mayor in tube pledge

London mayor Boris Johnson has promised a new era for the capital's underground system after Transport for London took over Tube Lines, the only remaining private contractor undertaking maintenance and upgrade work. He said that the system would now be free of the complexity and wrangling that had hindered it.

Financial Times, 28 June 2010. p.4.

Rail projects proliferate in Denmark

Reports that a green transportation policy combined with years of under-invest is spurring a boom in Denmark's railway infrastructure. Among the projects going ahead is a $3 bn installation of new signalling technology across the country's 2,300 km network. Heavy rail investments in the next decade will total $10.5 bn, including $1.6 bn for a new 60 km line between Copenhagen and Ringsted. Copenhagen's new $2.4 bn Cityringen metro line and a handful of light rail projects are included.


Eurotunnel buys GBRf

Groupe Eurotunnel has acquired the third largest British rail freight operator, GBRf, from First Group for Euros 26.3 M in cash. The purchase gives Eurotunnel's freight operating subsidiary Europorte 2 a ready-made arm in the UK to complement its own cross-Channel capabilities and the recently acquired Vela Cargo network in France.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.742, July 2010. p.12.

Cuts - first slice revealed

Reports on the challenges facing Network Rail as the Department for Transport has to find £683 M in spending cuts. Network Rail will have to reduce spending by £100 M for 2010-11 and the Department for Transport will not be going forward with planned spend on the High Level Output Specification rolling stock schemes that have not already been contractualised.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.742, July 2010. pp.18-20.

Caterpillar buys EMD

Electro-Motive Diesel has announced that it has been bought by Progressive Rail Services, a subsidiary of Caterpillar. EMD, manufacturer of the Class 66 and 67 locomotives used in the UK, has locomotive manufacturing plant in London, Ontario.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.742, July 2010. New Trains Supplement. p.75.

Coucher quits as Network Rail faces 'difficult' funding talks

Network rail chief executive Iain Coucher has said that he is conscious that, because of the current economic position, the company would have to work 'doubly hard' to demonstrate that continued investment in the railways was a good thing. He announced that he was standing down to allow a new chef executive time to prepare for negotiations on funding for the five years starting in April 2014.

Financial Times, 18 June 2010. p.4.

Brussels backs Eurostar revamp

Operators of Eurostar have won European Commission approval for a proposed corporate reorganisation on condition that they make it easier for competitors to enter the market. The concessions include a commitment to release a certain number of 'slots' to operate services on the routes if new entrants are unable to obtain these through normal allocation procedures. The new single company structure will be controlled by SNCF and London Continental Railways, with Belgium's SNCB holding a non-controlling stake.

Financial Times, 19/20 June 2010. p.17.

Auction of high-speed rail link set to fetch more than £1.5 bn

Reports on the privatisation of High Speed One - which runs the line between St Pancras International and the Channel tunnel. This is part of a programme of asset sales announced by the previous government in an effort to restore public finances. Network Rail, which owns the rest of Britain's mainline rail structure, has ruled itself out of the bidding. Sources have said that both Eurotunnel and Goldman Sachs are expected to bid.

Financial Times, 21 June 2010. p.17.

Bombardier wins SBB's biggest ever order

Bombardier Transportation has been selected to supply 59 double-decker electric multi units for long distance services by the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB). The 436 vehicle order is the largest ever placed by SBB. There is an option for 100 additional vehicles. Bombardier won the contract over competition from Diemens and Stadler Rail, a local company. The Bombardier bid matched the contract specifications and the offering was a very customer-friendly train.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.6. June 2010. p.7.

News in brief

Prior to the start of the commercial service in 2013, testing of the 110 km/h maglev on the 6 km line at Incheon International SAirport (South Korea) has commenced.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.6. June 2010. p.7.

Market intelligence

A 4 year extension to the existing track renewal contract for southeast England, a 4 year grinding contract and the upgrade contract for the Paisley Corridor (Glasgow), have been awarded to Balfour Beatty by Network Rail.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.6. June 2010. p.23.

Hard as rails

The first delivery of Super Pearlite Type 3 rail steel from JFE Steel (Japan) has been received by BNSF. SP3 has an ultra-fine microstructure with ensured internal and surface hardness; it is predicted to offer a 10% longer lifetime than previous types of head hardened rails, particularly when used on sharp curves.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.6. June 2010. p.26.

Greater certainty in rail welds

Corus has developed a semi-automated open arc welding technique for the repair of discrete defects on rail surfaces. Open arc welding with flux cored filler wire uses a lower preheat temperature (80°C instead of 350°C with MMA), reducing the depth of the HAZ and the risk of microstructural damage. The defect is removed by controlled milling. Both aspects of the repair remove the reliance on operator skills and is more time-efficient.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.6. June 2010. p.26.

Cutting life-cycle costs

The achievements of the four year Innotrack research project, now coming to an end, are briefly summarised. The project partners estimate that track life-cycle costs could be reduced by 25% in the next few years as developments are rolled out. The project has increased understanding of track stiffness, shown how to reduce dynamic loading at turnouts, revised the geometry and designed new crossings. Innovative track structures, such as Balfour Beatty's Embedded Rail System, were also studied. Many findings have already been published in project reports, and now technical recommendations will be produced.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.6. June 2010. p.34.

Labour's PPP dream fades as TfL takes over Tube Lines

The London mayor and Transport for London are to buy out Bechtel and Amey shares in the Public Private Partnership contractor Tube Lines. Freed from the complex PPP structure, TfL is sure it will be able to make substantial savings. Under the existing contract Amey, a subsidiary of Ferrovial, will continue to carry out management and maintenance for the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines for the next 7.5 years, and Bechtel will continue to work with London Underground for the interim to ensure a smooth hand-over.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.741. June 2010. p.6.

DB takes over Arriva

Deutsche Bahn is acquiring Arriva, the British train and bus operator, for a total of £1.58 bn. The deal is DB's largest ever. Arriva's UK operations include Arriva Trains Wales and CrossCountry, and bus operations, plus it manages bus and rail operations in 11 European countries. DB will be required to sell Arriva's German rail operations. The Arriva HQ will remain in Sunderland. In the UK DB already runs Chiltern Railways, Wrexham & Shropshire rail, the London Overground joint venture with MTR, and the Tyne & Wear Metro operating concession.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.741. June 2010. p.11.

First GBRf up for sale

The freight operating unit of First Group is to be sold in order to pay down debt. Potential buyers are Freightliner, SNCF and Eurotunnel.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.741. June 2010. p.12.

Private high-speed rail for Italy

Italy's NTV, Europe's first privately owned high-speed train operator, is to launch services between Rome and Milan before gradually introducing services on all its routes from Salerno in the south to Venice and Turin in the north, by the summer of 2012. NTV will be the first operator of Alstom's new AGV train, the company's successor to its TGV design. The launch of the service follows Italy's introduction of legislation allowing for competition between operators on domestic long distance routes.

Financial Times, 26 May 2010. p.22.

Consortium bids $4bn for Australian coal network

A consortium representing many of the world's biggest iron ore and coal miners has made a preemptive attempt to buy Queensland's coal rail freight network with a fully funded bid of A$4.9 bn. The consortium is trying to head off the state government's plans for a 2010 initial public offering of QR National. The miners are opposed to the IPO and fear that a privatised QR National may not make the necessary investments in the rail network as coal mining expands in Queensland. They also argue that a monopoly owner of rail assets could inflate prices.

Financial Times, 27 May 2010. p.23.

The high speed journey begins

Reports on proposals that would revolutionise Britain's rail network by delivering an initial core high speed rail network linking London to Birmingham, Manchester, the east midlands, Sheffield and Leeds, with trains running at up to 250mph. Details potential time savings for a selection of journeys using the Crossrail interchange.

Railway Strategies, Issue 60, April-May 2010. pp.18-20.

Passenger journeys exceed one billion

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the number of passenger journeys made on the national rail network in Great Britain exceeded one billion in 2008/9. The last time passenger journeys exceeded one billion was in 1961, just before the Beeching cuts. Passengers using the London Underground also exceeded one billion.

Railway Strategies, Issue 60, April-May 2010. p.23.

First tracks

Reports on the installation of the first length of rail on the new 15-mile Airdrie and Bathgate link. The tracks will link with the existing Bathgate to Edinburgh and Airdrie to Glasgow lines by autumn 2010, with passenger services operating by December 2010.

Railway Strategies, Issue 60, April-May 2010. p.23.

Railway car makers lose traction

Says that Japanese rolling stock makers are facing problems in obtaining orders both at home and abroad. Domestically railway operators have demanded postponement of train deliveries and cancelled some orders on the grounds of deteriorating earnings due to declining numbers of passengers. Overseas they are facing competition from low cost rivals from China and South Korea.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.48, no.2,438, 10 May 2010. p.9.

Rail growth rates unsustainable

A government study has said that recent growth rates in the railway industry will be unsustainable if the sector's costs remain as high as at present. It adds that plans by the previous government to shift more of the burden for paying for the system from taxpayers to passengers are unlikely to be met. Fares for passengers may have to rise as part of a package of measures to reduce the sector's demands on government spending.

Financial Times, 15 June 2010. p.4

Eurotunnel buys GB Railfreight for £30m

Sources have said that Groupe Eurotunnel will pay about £30 M for GB Railfreight, which First Group, the bus and train operator, has owned since 2003. Strategically, Eurotunnel intends to link up GB Railfreight with the French operations of Vela Cargo, which it bought last year, to encourage cross-Channel freight traffic. Eurotunnel is also expected to make use of GB Railfreight's fleet of 41 locomotives.

Financial Times, 1 June 2010. p.18.

Reports says that high speed rail could cost just £6bn

A new report being considered by ministers says that a new high-speed rail network that could transform travel within the UK in a decade could be delivered for just £6 bn. The report puts the cost of the London to Birmingham service - the first stage of a national high-speed network - at less than half of the £15.8bn-£17.4 bn cost placed on the same route by High Speed Rail, the company established by the government to bring forward proposals for new rail lines. The new report suggests that the first stage could be built for a smaller sum by avoiding city centres, limiting the number of stations and creating a special purpose vehicle to fund the project.

Financial Times, 2 June 2010. p.3.

Eurotunnel hits at competition conditions in cross-Channel freight

Jacques Gounon, executive chairman of Groupe Eurotunnel, has criticised competitive conditions in the cross-Channel freight market, as he confirmed that his company was buying GB Railfreight from First Group. Mr Gounon criticised the record of the only established cross-channel operator, a consortium of the UK arm of Germany's DB Schenker and SNCF. He added that the company also faced unfair competition from ferries.

Financial Times, 2 June 2010. p.22.

Caterpillar to buy rail group EMD

The company has struck an $820 M cash deal to buy Electro-Motive Diesel, one of the US's largest rail locomotive manufacturers, from Berkshire Partners and Greenbriar Equity Group, the private equity houses. The company wishes to grow its presence in the global rail industry and feels that the purchase will enable it to take on General Electric as its main competitor in North America.

Financial Times, 2 June 2010. p.24.

Axe for InterCity carriages order feared

Reports that rail operators are bracing themselves for transport secretary Philip Hammond to cancel a £7.5 bn order for 1,400 train carriages to replace the ageing InterCity express fleet. Hitachi was named preferred bidder for the contract in early 2008. It is expected that Mr Hammond will cancel or delay the Hitachi agreement, possibly prompting legal action by the company to recover its costs. Mr Hammond has also ordered an urgent re-appraisal of a separate programme to purchase 1,300 new carriages, mainly for commuter trains in the south and Midlands.

Financial Times, 4 June 2010. p.4.

Network Rail set to face severe cuts

The company is discussing hundreds of millions of pounds worth of spending cuts with ministers as lower passenger demand and tighter public budgets force revisions to its five year programme. It has already cut maintenance costs by 7% in the year to March, in the first stage of efforts to cut the cost of each unit of work by 21% over five years. Says that in instances where the government decided to shelve plans to purchase extra trains for routes, it would make no sense to continue with planned improvements to handle trains, such as platform lengthening.

Financial Times, 4 June 2010. p.4

Funding constraints steer fierce debate / Planners dilemma as vision vies with cautious calculation

Says that Britain's transport policy makers are debating how to allocate limited resources to the transport network. The debate is intense over the priority that should be given to the construction of a dedicated high-speed rail network, which scores relatively poorly on traditional measures of value for money. However cost benefit sceptics believe that the important point is to decide what kind of networks the UK needs to achieve its policy goals and to construct them, even if they score poorly under existing value measures. Debates the benefits brought to the transport infrastructure even when individual projects are not always supported by value for money measures. Considers the Jubilee Line extension to the London underground, the Humber Bridge and the third runway at Heathrow.

Financial Times, 7 June 2010. p.3

DOT gears up for next round of rail grants

Reports that the US Department of Transportation is gearing up for a new batch of rail grants, totalling more than $2.3 bn. It is thought that slightly more than $2.1 bn will go for corridor projects and $245 M for specific rail projects. Unlike the previous round of grants, which were 100% federal money, the new round will include a 20% non-federal matching share.

Engineering News-Record, vol.264, no.12, 19 Apr. 2010. p.9.

Tube Lines input helps Amey advance

Reports that a substantial contribution from Tube Lines has helped Amey, its majority owner, report annual pre-tax profits of £105.6 M - a rise of 70% from a year earlier. Amey said that its Tube Services division accounted for more than a quarter of profit and a third of revenue. In spite of delays to the Jubilee Line upgrade the company praised the outstanding service that Tube Lines provided for Londoners

Financial Times, 29 Apr.2010. p.204.

Eurostar sales up 5% in first quarter

Reports that Eurostar achieved sales revenue of £178 M in the first three months of 2010 - up more than 5% on the same period in 2009. Passenger numbers totalled two million in the quarter, up from 1.9M in the first quarter of 2009. The number of travellers from overseas markets outside Europe increased by 22% and the number of leisure passengers travelling between the UK and the Continent went up by 6%. The bottoming out of the business market continued with sales broadly the same as in the last three months on 2009.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.740, May 2010. p.6.

DB Regio Tyne & Wear begins operation

DB Regio Tyne & Wear commenced operation of Metro stations and trains on behalf of Nexus, the Tyne & Wear integrated transport authority, on April 1. The company has now started a countdown to the Metro's '100 Days Clean Up', beginning a programme of modernisation that will see Nexus invest almost £400 M over the next 11 years - including renewal of track, overhead lines, bridges, trains and stations.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.740, May 2010. p.6.

New Street Metro approved at last

The DfT has given initial approval to the £127.1 M extension of Midland Metro, which will link the existing Metro Line One to Birmingham New Street station. The project will give a fast link between Birmingham's two major rail stations and will also provide an easy connection from New Street to the business district at Snow Hill. The extension is forecast to boost the regional economy by £50 M a year and create up to 1,300 sustainable new jobs.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.740, May 2010. p.7.

Yeovil-Birmingham trains planned

The Go! Co-operative has launched fundraising to develop a train service between Yeovil Junction, Melksham, Swindon, Oxford and Birmingham. The Co-operative's prospectus says it is seeking to raise about £100,000 by June from small investors willing to put up £500 (or £100 for prospective train users). The company's mission is to 'reduce the social and environmental impacts of travel by providing mutually owned, high quality, inclusive public transport services that encourage people to choose more sustainable options'.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.740, May 2010. p.8.

Hitachi campaigns for IEP support

Agility Trains, the Hitachi-led consortium chosen as preferred bidder for the Inter-city Express Programme, has asked for the support of UK suppliers in a campaign to ensure that the IEP 'remains a key government priority regardless of which parties form the incoming government'. The case for IEP is a new page on the Agility trains website (http://www.agilitytrains.com/agilitytrains_caseforiep.htm).

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.740, May 2010. p.9.

Wales rail improvement plan

The final version of Wales' latest National Transport Plan was published in March by the devolved Welsh government. Pledges in the plan, which covers a five year period, include: refurbish and invest in rolling stock; work with DfT on Great Western main line electrification; investigate opportunities for re-opening disused lines; and continue to provide freight facilities grants.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.740, May 2010. p.10.

Northern Way studies gauge enhancement

The Northern Way has committed £1 M in commissioning Network Rail to develop detailed plans for the gauge enhancement of rail routes from Teesport to the East Coast main line, as part of an ongoing effort to improve routes for rail freight in the North. These improvements will give the ability to move high cube containers by rail.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.740, May 2010. p.13.

Network Rail tenders Crossrail work

Network Rail has issued two design and build tenders for the surface sections of Crossrail. One covers a two mile stretch from Plumstead to Abbey Wood, and includes the design and build elements for the new Abbey Wood station. The other invitation to tender covers the remodelling of Stockley flyover.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.740, May 2010. p.14.

Golden celebrations for Bombardier in Plymouth

The signalling division of Bombardier marked 50 years of serving the UK rail industry with a celebration at its Rail Control Solutions site in Plymouth in March. As part of the event the company demonstrated its record of development and delivery of its signalling technology to prominent projects in the UK.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.740, May 2010. p.14.

IEP - credible alternatives lining up

Discusses the move to delay a decision on the future of the Inter-city Express Programme until after the general election. Notes that Sir Andrew Foster has been asked not only to assess the value for money of the IEP, but also the credibility and value for money of any alternatives meeting the IEP objectives. Details the various IEP configurations, ranking the trains in order of power to weight ratio.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.740, May 2010. pp.18-22.

Digging begins on Crossrail

Keith Berryman, Land and Property Director of Crossrail, recalls the history of the project's development. Details the economic benefits as well as the time savings for commuters. Discusses the tunnelling programme and lists the contracting framework.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.740, May 2010. pp.43-48.

2017 aim for Oxford-Bletchley reopening

Reports on progress on the East West Rail route recreating the railway line from Oxford to Cambridge. Phase 1 of the project comprises routes from Oxford and Aylesbury to Milton Keynes and will use stretches of lines that are largely intact. Notes the projected construction of 600,000 new homes in the south east of England and details the benefits that the completed line would bring for freight traffic.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.740, May 2010. pp.60-64.

Single transportation administration for Sweden

From April 2010 Banevrket, the Swedish rail administration, has been subsumed into Trafikverket, a single body also taking over the role of Vagverket, the road administration, as well as certain activities of other transport related agencies. The new administration is charged with the task of developing an effective and sustainable system including all modes of transport, in close dialogue with regions and municipalities.

Modern Railways, vol.67, no.740, May 2010. p.69.

UK government

Reports that the UK government is providing £3 M of match funding to support a National Skills Academy of Railway Engineering, which will work with operators, suppliers and training organisations to develop common training standards for railway engineers and technicians. (Item contains no further information).

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.5, May 2010. p.7.

Private finance to the rescue

The Spanish government has unveiled an emergency infrastructure plan that aims to revive the national economy and create jobs by investing Euros 17 bn in 2010-11. Rail is expected to account for 70% of this spending. Tendering is due to begin in the second half of 2010, bringing forward planned investment by drawing on private finance that should also minimise the impact on the public deficit.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.5, May 2010. p.7.

Third heavy haul coal line planned

In China the Ministry of Railways has started planning a third heavy haul railway corridor to carry coal from Inner Mongolia to a coal export terminal being developed at the new port of Huludao on the Bohai Sea. Construction of the 300 km railway would enable annual coal production to reach 350 M tonnes by 2015.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.5, May 2010. p.7.

GE plans 1520 shunter

Reports that GE Transportation is to work with JSCV Locomotiv and Kurastyru to develop a diesel-electric shunting locomotive suitable for Kazakhstan and the 1520 mm gauge region. It will incorporate AC traction technology offering lower life cycle costs and higher availability than older DC designs.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.5, May 2010. p.8.

Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council

Funded by the UK's Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, groups at Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh universities have begun a three-year research project looking at high-speed rail operation over soft clay embankments and the transition to bridges. (Item contains no further information).

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.5, May 2010. p.11.

The world's longest metro

Reports on the opening of Line 10 on the Shanghai metro. This makes Shanghai's network the longest in the world at 420 route km. With 11 lines and 282 stations, it is now carrying more than five million passengers a day.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.5, May 2010. p.15.

RET renews Sneltram fleet

In March Rotterdam operator RET presented its new Bombardier Series 5600 cars for use on Sneltram lines A and B, the former Caland Line. They will replace the Series T vehicles supplied by Duewag/Holec in 1980-84, which, despite a mid-life overhaul between 1998 and 2000, were considered noisy and outdated.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.5, May 2010. p.15.

Washington picks Kawasaki

Kawasaki Railcar has been nominated as preferred bidder to supply up to 748 new cars for the Washington DC metro network. Initially 64 Series 7000 cars would be ordered for Phase 1 of the Dulles International Airport extension, followed by another 300 units to replace the original cars, which are 35 years old. Four further options totalling 384 vehicles are included but are as yet unfunded.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.5, May 2010. p.16.


After six months of non-revenue testing, 10 prototype cars have started carrying passengers on Chicago Metro's Red Line in April. Bombardier is supplying 406 cars to replace the life-expired Series 2200 and 2400 cars. Once the prototypes have finished test runs on all eight lines, CTA will settle on final specifications and series production will begin.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.5, May 2010. p.17.

Rail proves resilient

Bombardier president Pierre Beaudoin said that the rail market remained resilient in 2009 when he presented the company's annual results for the year to January 31 2010. 'Robust activity' which helped the transportation business increase its revenues to $10 bn from $9.8 bn the year before included demand for commuter, regional and metro trains in the company's traditional markets and a 'breakthrough' contract to supply 80 Zefiro high speed trains to China.

Railway Gazette International, vol.166, no.5, May 2010. p.23.

Tube staff seek work assurance

Union leaders have warned of industrial action unless assurances over jobs were given after the return of maintenance work on London Underground to the public sector. Transport for London said that it had entered into an agreement to buy the shares of Bechtel and Ferrovial's Amey from the Tube Lines consortium for £310 M. TfL said that the agreement would involve no extra financial call on the government, taxpayers or farepayers, adding that it was confident of generating substantial savings once freed from the complex public private partnership structure.

Financial Times, 10 May 2010. p.5.

BoC to invest $1.1bn in China railway

Bank of China has said that it will buy a 14.5% stake in a railway operator that will build the line to transport coal form inland Shanxi province to Shandong province on the eastern seaboard. China is expected to account for more than half of all global rail investment this year. A number of prominent Chinese experts have questioned whether the huge expansion is economically viable and the government has tried to entice private and foreign investors to help share the investment burden.

Financial Times, 11 May 2010. p.24.

Need to know: Engineering

Swiss rail company SBB has ordered 59 double decker trains from Bombardier for SwFr1.9bn (£1.15bn). The trains will be fitted with power sockets and wireless internet access.

The Times, 13th May 2010, p.44.

A boost for education

A UK National Skills Academy for Rail Engineering has been approved by the Learning and Skills Council. The facility, to be run by Crossrail, will receive £5 M in public funding and will develop new courses in design, manufacturing, engineering and construction, providing training for up to 1,800 people a year. A Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy in Ilford has also been announced. (Item contains no further information).

Materials World, vol. 18, no. 4, Apr. 2010. p.17.

Deutsche Bahn backs £1.5bn bid for Arriva

Deutsche Bahn's supervisory board has approved the company's bid for British train and bus operator Arriva in a move that is likely to create one of the world's largest transport companies. The company is keen to expand outside Germany because its domestic rail market is being opened to competition as part of a wave of liberalisation of public transport markets across Europe. Suggests that the deal may trigger further consolidation in the sector.

Financial Times, 22 Apr. 2010. p.18.

BS EN 15085-3:2007 Railway applications. Welding of railway vehicles and components. Design requirements. Corrigendum 1. (BSI Committee RAE/1/-/2)
[BSI] Update Standards. April 2010. p.21.

Hopes high for bullet-train tech getting Brazil nod

The Japanese government is considering financial support for a consortium of companies aiming to win a roughly ¥1.7 trillion project for a high speed railway in Brazil. Bidding could be held in May. The Brazilian government plans to award a 40-year contract for the construction, operation and maintenance of the 510km link between Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Campinas. It aims to complete the project before the 2016 Olympics to be held in Rio.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol. 48, no. 2,431, 8 Mar 2010. p.6.

Capital rail link set to turn orbital vision into reality

Reports on the imminent opening of the East London Railway which it is hoped will persuade about 50,000 people daily to change their commuting patterns. The line links New Cross with Dalston Junction and is costing £1bn. A further £500M is being spent on 57 new trains. The effects on commuting patterns are expected to become more pronounced when extensions are built to Highbury & Islington and Clapham Junction.

Financial Times, 5 Apr. 2010. p.3.

SNCF's plans threaten to derail freight initiative

A plan to introduce a key cost-saving method from the North American railways in France looks doomed after SNCF insisted that it was determined to stop serving customers with only small quantities of goods to move. US company Railroad Development Corporation signed a contract last April with Reseau Ferre de France, owner of France's rail infrastructure, and Caisses des Depots, France's development bank, to develop local, shortline rail operations. However RDC is unlikely to pursue the scheme if SNCF goes ahead with plans to abandon the wagonload freight service that RDC believes is vital to its success.

Financial Times, 5 Apr. 2010. p.19.

Chief of Japanese rail operator attacks China over risks to safety / China on track to be world's biggest network / Japan bites the bullet on Shinkanasen

Yoshiyuki Kasai, chairman of Central Japan Railway, operator of Japan's oldest and busiest bullet train link, has denounced China's growing high-speed rail industry for stealing foreign technology and compromising safety. Mr Kasai has forbidden JR Central from bidding on contracts in China for fear that its technology will be taken. French company Alstom has also complained that Chinese companies are competing for export contracts using foreign technology. Says that China's state controlled airlines are facing competition from the government's ambitious plans to expand the high speed rail network. Contrasts the differing levels of service on the country's airlines and railways. Reports that 50 years after its inception Japan rail groups are now stepping up efforts to market its bullet train to foreign buyers.

Financial Times, 6 Apr. 2010. p.15,p.18.

Mongolia's rail project on track to shift exports

Mongolia has taken the first step in building the infrastructure required for it to become a leading commodities exporter after it approved construction of more than 5,000 km of railways. The purpose of the east-west rail network is to connect the necklace of resource deposits that extend along its southern perimeter in the south Gobi desert. The government has aired the possibility of financing the project by public-private partnerships that could potentially be lucrative for international infrastructure contractors.

Financial Times, 14 Apr. 2010. p.9.

Experts stay on the right track for rail expansion

A report, released in mid-March by researchers from Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt Universities, is suggesting that guidelines for reinforcing railway tracks are required for lines operating over certain speeds. A point in train speed will be reached where a ground wave starts to develop ahead of the train, causing vibration then derailment. Guidelines would ensure that tracks are correctly designed and reinforced if necessary; Heriot-Watt is also researching the potential of high performance polymer geo-composites for ballasting.

The Engineer, vol.295, no.7791. 22 March 2010. p.6.

Partnership gets on board

The Great Western Partnership has been formed by local authorities and regional development agencies to campaign for a high-speed rail from London to South Wales and south west England.

The Engineer, vol.295, no.7791. 22 March 2010. p.6.

Investors may get onboard fast trains

Experts have said that private investors may be interested in US high speed rail projects if the federal funding stream remains consistent. Advocates are hoping that the Tampa-Orlando line, which still needs about $1.2 M more to be completed, will prove the mode's viability.

Engineering News-Record, vol. 264, no. 8, 15 Mar 2010. p.15.

'S' stock haulage job for First GBRf

First GBRf has signed a five-year contract with Bombardier to deliver 1,395 cars of new 'S' stock from Derby to London to fulfil the London Underground programme to replace all rolling stock on the sub-surface line. As part of the contract First GBRF has built translator units so that the carriages can be braked during transit, and has worked with Network Rail to achieve gauge clearance.

Modern Railways, vol. 67, no. 739, Apr. 2010. p.15.

Alstom looks forward

Interviews Paul Robinson, who was recruited by Alstom three years ago to revitalise its UK business. Discusses the company's approach to bidding for contracts and says that it will only pursue the most viable of opportunities. He says that the company was disappointed about being left off the shortlist for new trains for Thameslink, but will take this experience into account when the tender for Crossrail trains comes up. Notes Alstom's interest in high speed trains and track and signaling.

Modern Railways, vol. 67, no. 739, Apr. 2010. pp.80-85.

Jarvis to call in administrators

Rail maintenance company Jarvis has announced that it will go into administration after lenders refused to offer the company further credit. The company has seen big reductions in its business since the beginning of the recession in 2008. Jarvis said its creditors were now not prepared to offer it the money it needed to continue as a going concern. The company said it had no option but to enter administration, and had asked for its shares to be suspended. The decision means that the jobs of more than 2,000 Jarvis employees are at risk. Jarvis's businesses involve rail maintenance contracts and rail freight services. Network Rail said that it would be working closely with the administrators to ensure that work due to be undertaken by Jarvis would still go ahead. Jarvis came close to collapse in 2004 after racking up huge debts on over-ambitious bids for Private Finance Initiative contracts. In February, Jarvis said it expected to make losses of about £8m for this financial year, including £3m in restructuring costs.

BBC News Website, 25th March 2010.

Rio and Chinalco in Guinea iron ore partnership

The companies have confirmed plans to form a partnership to develop rich iron ore deposits in Guinea and expect to develop a number of other joint ventures. They have agreed this non-binding joint venture despite Rio losing half of the Simandou concession area last year, amid the Guinea government's frustration that it had taken too long to develop the deposit. The partnership will cover mining as well as the construction of rail and port infrastructure in a project that analysts believe could cost £12 bn.

Financial Times, 20/21 Mar. 2010. p.16.

Tube Lines loses £34m claim

The maintenance contractor has lost its second big compensation claim in two months against London Underground. It has sought £34 M over LU's alleged regular failure to deliver trains to the right depot for night time maintenance on the Northern Line, prior to a new timetable. (Item contains little further information).

Financial Times, 17 Mar. 2010. p.4.

Two-way rail battle likely for Arriva

Reports that the German government has given its backing to Deutsche Bahn's proposed take over of Arriva. However SNCF is also considering making an offer for Britain's second biggest public transport company. It remains unclear whether SNCF will get the necessary backing from the French government.

Financial Times, 25 Mar. 2010. p.38.

Dynamic properties of railway track and its components: recent findings and future research direction

The dynamic testing of railway track and its components, particularly concrete sleepers and rail pads, was used for dynamic model updating for numerical analysis. This resulted in an alternative experimental set-up to achieve better insight into rail track behaviour. The new results obtained can be used as a benchmark for health monitoring.

Insight, vol.52, no.1. Jan.2010. pp.20-23.

1st European Conference: Join-Trans 2010

The first 'Joining and Construction of Rail Vehicles' conference is taking place in Halle (Saale), Germany, April 28-29, 2010. In connection with the uniform certification of welding of rail vehicles within Europe, the conference will host an exchange and discussion of the first experiences of using EN 15085. For further information and to register online go to http://www.jointrans.eu.

Call for northern rail investment

A report from the transport select committee has said that future rail investment in Britain should focus on northern England instead of the south east. It says that the Manchester Hub scheme to improve the flow of rail traffic around Manchester should be the first priority for the next five year funding period for Network Rail. The committee argues that the £3.5 bn Thameslink project to create an improved north-south link across London and future investment in the east-west Crossrail would create a vicious circle.

Financial Times, 15 Feb. 2010. p.4

New National Express chief arrives early

Dean Finch has made an earlier than expected start as chief executive of National Express - he was originally expected to start in the spring. It is thought that he will concentrate on restoring profitability and improving margins on the group's fleet of 18,000 buses. Although the company reneged on its franchise for the East Coast rail line it is thought that any new Conservative government would let it bid for train contracts.

Financial Times, 15 Feb. 2010. p.20.

Extra cost of Edinburgh tram line fuels dispute

Says that cost overruns are threatening progress on the city's delayed 11.5 mile tram line which was due to have begun service this year. Edinburgh Trams - the publicly-owned company in charge of designing and commissioning the tram line - has said that nearly all the preparatory work to divert underground utilities is now complete. However the private sector BSC consortium responsible for the construction has said that delays have cost it money which will have to be found.

Financial Times, 16 Feb. 2010. p.3.

Network Rail funds main line project

Network Rail is to fund a £259m project that will construct the first new rail link from London to a major British city since 1910. The new main line from London to Oxfordshire is expected to deliver much faster services on the Chiltern route to Banbury and Birmingham. Network Rail stated the centrepiece of the Oxford link will be Water Eaton Parkway in north Oxford, which is described as a high-quality integrated transport hub linked to the A34, A40 and Oxford city centre. The scheme is funded by Network Rail, which will reimburse the cost through the payment of a facility charge over the next 30 years - initially by Chiltern Railways, which expires in 2021, and then by the future franchisee. The infrastructure upgrade will be carried out by main contractor BAM Nuttall, with partners Jarvis and Atkins. The project will be delivered under contract to Chiltern Railways. The project will be delivered in stages, with the main line journey time improvements being delivered from 2011. The new line to Oxford, including Water Eaton Parkway, is expected to open by 2013, subject to Transport and Works Act approval.

http://www.theengineer.co.uk/1000580.article?cmpid=TE01&cmptype=newsletter, 13th December 2009.

Kawasaki Heavy toning train muscles

Reports that growing global demand for rail systems has prompted the company to strengthen its rolling stock business. Currently under development is the efSET, a high speed train that is designed to reach speeds of up to 350 kph. Faced with competition, increasingly from Chinese companies, Kawasaki has joined with CSR Qingdao Sifang Locomotive and rolling stock with an eye towards making the production process more efficient, lowering costs and improving product quality.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol. 47, no. 2,420, 28 Dec. 2009 and 4 Jan. 2010. p.7.

Air France rail plans put on hold

Plans for a high speed rail service have been put on hold after the French government introduced legislation widely viewed as restricting new operators' freedom. Air France planned to start running high speed international trains following the introduction of EU rules opening up the operation of international rail passenger services from January 1. The French legislation allows regulators to ban services that are seen as harmful to publicly subsidised services.

Financial Times, 19 Jan. 2010. p.23.

Adonis tries to lock in train operators

Transport secretary Lord Adonis has said that new contracts for rail franchises would insist on significantly bigger penalties for companies who walked away from the agreements. He added that the government would stimulate investment in train services by lengthening the next round of rail contracts to 10 years - from the current average of seven and giving train operators the option of applying for an extension to 22 years. Bidders for the new contracts would need to promise to invest over the life of the deal, which would be reviewed at set points.

Financial Times, 20 Jan. 2010. p.2.

Adonis warns Thameslink rail operator

Transport secretary Lord Adonis has warned that First Group, the operator responsible for running the Thameslink service, could be stripped of its franchise if they do not restore the full timetable by the weekend of January 23rd. Although a dispute with drivers about voluntary working on rest days has been officially resolved services have still been running at reduced frequency after bad weather and problems with rolling stock.

Financial Times, 21 Jan. 2010. p.2.

BS EN 13803-1Railway applications. Track. Track alignment design parameters. Track gauges 1435 mm and wider. Part 1: Plain line. (Draft British Standard 09/30208807 DC; BSI Committee RAE/2.)
[BSI] Update Standards. Jan.2010. p.47.
EN 13674-4:2006Railway applications. Track. Rail. Vignole railway rails from 27 kg/m to, but excluding 46 /kg/m. Amendment 1: 2009.
[BSI] Update Standards. Jan.2010. p.52.
EN 13803-2:2006Railway applications. Track. Track alignment design parameters. Track gauges 1435 mm and wider. Switches and crossings and comparable alignment design situations with abrupt changes of curvature. Amendment 1: 2009.
[BSI] Update Standards. Jan.2010. p.52.
EN 13848-5:2008/Amendment 1Railway applications. Track. Track geometry quality. Geometric quality levels. Plain line. (The above amendment has been circulated by CEN/TC 256 under the shortened UAP procedure.)
[BSI] Update Standards. Jan.2010. p.49.
EN 15689:2009Railway applications. Track. Switches and crossings. Crossing components made of cast austenitic manganese steel.
[BSI] Update Standards. Jan.2010. p.52.

NET Phase Two bidders

Arrow Connect and Tramlink Nottingham have been invited to submit tenders for the NETY Phase Two expansion project. The 23-year concession covers construction and operation of two new tramlines plus operation of the existing routes. Arrow Connect comprises Bombardier, VolkerRail, Transdev, Nottingham City Transport and CDC Group. Tramlink Nottingham comprises Vinci, Alstom, Keolis, Trent Barton Buses, InfraVia and Meridiam.

Railway Gazette International, Jan. 2010. p.14.

High speed research agreement

German aerospace research centre DLR and Bombardier Transportation have signed an agreement to cooperate in the development of high speed trains. The framework initially runs to 2014 and covers research into aerodynamics, dynamic stability, interior airflows and acoustics, as well as lightweight construction, energy management, safety approval and control systems.

Railway Gazette International, Jan. 2010. p.20.

Engine venture

GE Transportation and CSR Qishuyan have announced an equally-owned joint venture to assemble and overhaul Evolution series locomotive engines. GE sees significant opportunities for locomotive repowering work in China, where CSR has produced more than half of the 12,000 diesel locomotives now in service.

Railway Gazette International, Jan. 2010. p.20.

Loscher says 2010 will be 'challenging'

A high order backlog meant that Siemens revenues for the year to September 30 slipped only slightly to Euros 76.7 bn, down from Euros 77.3 bn the previous year. New orders were down 14% to Euros 79 bn. Growth in the Energy and Healthcare sectors helped to offset the decline in the Industry sector which includes the Mobility transport activities.

Railway Gazette International, Jan. 2010. p.20.

All hang together

According to the Railteam alliance of high speed train operators, improved connections, signage and ticketing could see the number of international rail journeys in Europe increase by 50% over the next decade. The alliance has launched a new report on the environmental advantages of high speed trains. Notes that, with the liberalisation of international rail services, the partners could find themselves competing against one another.

Railway Gazette International, Jan. 2010. p.25.

Cutting the life-cycle cost of track

Reports that the EU-funded Innotrack research project concludes in January. The project was intended to intended to assess and improve the life cycle cost of key track elements - track structure, rails, switches and crossings. Says that recommendations aimed at reducing the maintenance and renewal costs of track will be shared at workshops and presentations over the coming months.

Railway Gazette International, Jan. 2010. pp.48-52.

Vietnam opts for 'shinkansen'

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 13146-1Railway 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 13146-2Railway 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 13146-3Railway 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 13146-4Railway 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 13146-5Railway 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 13146-6Railway 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 13146-7Railway 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 13146-8Railway 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 13231-3Railway 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.

Rail - an evolving market for FRP components

Says that rail industry demands for faster travel and improved fire, smoke and toxicity properties for materials offer opportunities for the application of FRP components. Details some of the applications for composites in the rail industry, noting that they not only offer light weight/high strength solutions, but can also reduce maintenance costs. Estimates that the present market for composites in this sphere is steady and predicts growth over the next few years.

Reinforced Plastics, vol.52, no.11, Dec,2008. pp.24-29.

High speed rail

Expressions of interest are being sought from companies wishing to participate in the establishment of a Northeast Corridor rail route between New York City and Washington (D.C.). The route is one of 11 federally designated US corridors listed in the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act which was signed into law on 16 October 2008. All routes could operate as soon as 2012.

ENR - Engineering News Record, vol.261, no.20. 22-29 Dec.2008. p.9.

Work on Waverley route to start in 2010

It was announced, on the 40th anniversary of the closure of the Edinburgh - Borders Waverley line, that work to reopen the route will commence in 2010.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.725. Feb.2009. p.7.

Canary Wharf Group [CWG] pledges £150 million to Crossrail

The contribution towards costs of building the new Canary Wharf Crossrail station was agreed in December 2008 with the Secretary of State for Transport and Cross London Rail. CWG is to design and build the station for a fixed price, with construction starting early 2009.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.725. Feb.2009. p.8.

Four bid for new DMUs

An invitation to tender for the 200 new diesel multiple-unit vehicles announced in the Chancellor's pre-Budget report has been issued by the Department for Transport. The preferred bidders are Bombardier Transportation (UK) Ltd, CAF SA (Spain), CSRE Ltd (Chinese sourced equipment on behalf of CSR Nanjing Puzhen Rolling Stock Co and Hyundai Rotem Company (Korea)). What each of the bidders can offer and the specifications to be met are discussed.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.725. Feb.2009. pp.32-33.

Thameslink spearheads Alstom's UK comeback

A profile of Alstom and its business performance in the UK, from the days of GEC-Alsthom, is presented.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.725. Feb.2009. pp.34-35.

Go-anywhere TRAXX/Bombardier wins 1.5 billion euro contract

Bombardier Traxx platform locomotives are the first in the world to be awarded European Union certification in accordance with the 'Safety in Railway Tunnels' Technical Standard of Interoperability. 1,400 of the locomotives have been sold globally.
A framework agreement has been signed with Deutsche Bahn [German Railways] for 800 double-decker coaches, ahead of the competition for tenders in the 2009 local rail transport market.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.725. Feb.2009. p.70.

Full steam ahead with new orders

LPA Group of Saffron Walden has just won a large order worth £4.7 million for its subsidiary Excil Electronics. It is to supply LED lighting for a new fleet of trains for Sydney, Australia and, once confirmed, will be the largest contract ever awarded to the company.

Cambridge News, 10 Feb 2009. p 21

Chinese rail unit looks at building plant

Chinese Sourced Railway Equipment is considering setting up an assembly and testing plant if CSR Nanjing Puzhen wins a £300 M order to build 200 carriages for diesel trains. Sources expect the plant to be located in South Wales. Suggests that Asian trainmakers are keen to break into the European market which is dominated by Bombardier, Alstom and Siemens.

Financial Times, 9 Feb.2009. p.4.

US rail companies steam through the downturn with profit

Over the past weeks the four biggest US-based rail operators - Union Pacific, BNSF, CSX and Norfolk Southern - have all reported improved operating profits compared with 2007, despite sharp volume falls in some commodities. Analysts have said that the figures show that the companies continued to enjoy the power to maintain prices they developed in the years of strong growth between 2003 and 2007.

Financial Times, 9 Feb.2009. p.23.

Fire-hit tunnel fully reopens

The Channel Tunnel has fully reopened to rail traffic for the first time in five months following the completion of Euros 60 M repairs to fire damage. Trains had been unable to use the last 17km of the northern running tunnel since September 11th last year. (Item contains no further information).

Financial Times, 10 Feb.2009. p.4.

Safety track

Manchester Metropolitan University's rail technology unit and Phoenix Inspection Systems have developed an optimised computer simulation programme to evaluate rolling contact fatigue and a scanner for use on a scale version of wheel and rail to emulate real stresses occurring. The basis of the computational model is mentioned.

The Engineer, vol.294, no.7763. 12-25 Jan.2009. p.10.

Finished at last!

A brief overview of the upgrade of the West Coast main line is presented, listing work undertaken. As part of the project, 36 kilometres of new track was laid through the Trent Valley, resulting in 4 tracks now running nearly all the way from London to Crewe. The works will enable 1000 extra trains to be run every week, with up to 30% reduction in journey times. Freight has a 70% increase in capacity.

Railway Strategies, no.52. Dec.2008/Jan.2009. p.5.

£1 billion to accelerate key transport projects

Government plans to reduce congestion and increase rail capacity are to be brought forward to help stimulate the economy. Plans include 200 new carriages for the Thames Valley, Bristol area and longer-distance inter-urban services in Northern England, and the enhancement of the cross- London rail route to cope with a higher freight capacity.

Railway Strategies, no.52. Dec.2008/Jan.2009. p.19.

Channel repairs to finish

Eurotunnel has announced that the Channel Tunnel will be back at full capacity from the night of February 8th after the completion of fire repairs. It said that the end of the work would mean that it had the capacity to run six truck shuttles an hour in each direction.

Financial Times, 20 Jan.2009. p.5.

Long term transport programme for Scotland includes electrification

Some of the major points of the Scottish Government 20 year investment programme in its Strategic Transport Projects Review are listed. These include the electrification of the rail network and an Aberdeen Crossrail scheme.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.724. Jan.2009. p.8.

SNCF confirms Traxx diesel order

SNCF has contracted Bombardier to supply 80 inter-operable diesel-electric Traxx F140 DE units, the first for delivery mid-2010.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.724. Jan.2009. p.70.

RZD ties up with Alstom

Alstom Transport has won the bid to act as strategic partner to Russian Railways (RZD) for the manufacture and supply of a range of double-decker passenger carriages, phasing in production within the Russian Federation.

Modern Railways, vol.66, no.724. Jan.2009. p.72.

West coast line faults probed

Repeated breakdowns and faults at various points along the west coast main line, recently upgraded, are under investigation. The faults have meant that normal service has been impossible since Christmas.

Financial Times 10/11 January 2009. p.4.

Southeastern hits job cuts flak

The leading rail company is planning to cut 300 jobs, 90 of which will occur in the first quarter. Jobs are to go across the board, including managers and administration staff.

Financial Times 10/11 January 2009. p.4.

Shinkansen prototype launched

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

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

Loan targets western China development

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

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

Rolling stock

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

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

Friction modifier

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

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

Track geometry car

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

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

ICE axle cracks wreak havoc

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

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

Hoon backs electrification strategy

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

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

The most modern fleet in Europe

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

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

How 'misery line' managers learnt to mind the doors

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

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

West coast line faults probed

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

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

Southeastern hits job cuts flak

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

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

High-speed trains plan suffers new delay

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

Financial Times, 14 January 2009. p.4.

Work to begin on new maglev line in 2010s

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

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

Crossrail Isle of Dogs deal agreed

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

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

Rail revolution marks return of he grand project

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

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

Alstom chief demands ban on import of Chinese trains

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

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

Collapse of power lines on rail tracks is probed

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

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

Main line upgrade sees light at end of tunnel

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

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

Clash over rail industry management

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

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

Newcomers on rail shortlist

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

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

Eurotunnel wants firefighting change

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

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

Wheeled welder rolls out

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

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

Embedded rail welding

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

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

Plastic track installed in Germany

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

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

Work begins on high speed lines

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

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

Alstom chosen as Transmash partner

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

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

Balfour Beatty adds track specialist

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

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

MTU Friedrichshafen opens new base in United Kingdom

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

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

Maintenance the main failure at Lambrigg

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

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

Arriva buys LNWR

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

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

Light rail cut in TfL 10-year plan

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

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

Hondas from Swindon by rail

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

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

Flowers to the UK by rail?

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

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

All change - or is it?

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

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

Network Rail to 'accept' cuts

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

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

Crossrail role for Tube upgrade

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

Financial Times 18 Nov.2008. p.4.

Testing on the rails

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

Financial Times, 6 November 2008, p.27

Alstom chief in pledge on targets

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

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

The search is on

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

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

Strategic rail research

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

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

New-look Board

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

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

Formal response

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

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

Manufacturers invited to build first tram-trains in the UK

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

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

Rail freight to double by 2030

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

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

Regulator reduces Network Rail funding by £2.4bn

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

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

Japan to fund Indian railway

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

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

Tobu Railway looks to ride Sumida redevelopment

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

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

BAA funding a welcome boost for Crossrail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shortfall in Tube Lines funding predicted by PPP Chris Bolt

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

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

Felixstowe doubling green light

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

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

Channel tunnel fire loss minimal

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

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

Crossrail given go-ahead

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

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

Step forward in Pendolino lengthening project

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

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

First major 2012 transport project completed ahead of schedule

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

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

Rail Innovation Awards

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

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

National Rail Trends

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Delivering innovative solutions

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

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

Modular GRP station platforms

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

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

New Metrolink trams on order

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

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

Leader of the rail track

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

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


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

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

New hybrid train set to hit Hokkaido rails

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

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

Eurostar back on track after fire

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

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

Network Rail seeks new chief

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

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

Byzantine port, botched buildings put a brake on Bosporus Link

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

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

About more than just getting there

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

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

Eurostar considers high-speed train deal

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

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

US freight lines carrying a lighter burden

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

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

Train is full of beans

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

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

EWS says pricing legal case 'historic'

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

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

JR Tokai ups stake in Nippon Sharyo

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

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

Shortfall impedes Network Rail deal with regulator

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

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

Bullet train builder plays key role

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

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

BAA talks on Crossrail in 'final stages'

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

Financial Times, 8 August 2008. p.2.

Watchdog hits at rail carriage costs / Decades of rolling accusations

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

Financial Times, 7 August 2008. p.3.

Rail chiefs face bonus curbs

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

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

New Metrolink trams ordered

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive has placed an order worth £56 M with Bombardier for 28 trams to operate on new Metrolink lines to Oldham and Rochdale, Droylsden, and Chorlton. Construction work is due to start in early 2009 and the lines are expected to begin opening from spring 2011.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.719, Aug.2008. p.7.

Usual suspects up for Thameslink contract

The Department of Transport has announced the short-listed applicants to build the new fleet of trains, valued at around £1.4 bn, for Thameslink routes. They are Alstom Transport, Bombardier Transportation, Hitachi Europe and Siemens Transportation Systems. An invitation to tender is expected to be issued in September, with the award of the contract expected in summer 2009.

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

Siemens wins Scotland EMU order

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

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

High-speed rail gains from air

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

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

Operators accused over longer train journeys

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

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

Japan close-up

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

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

Freightliner bought

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

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

GE to resignal Rotterdam

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

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

Frankfurt LRV handed over

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

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

Infrastructure: UK

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

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

News in brief

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

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

Ambitious rail plan finally leaves the sidings

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

Financial Times, 24 July 2008. p.

Underground upgrade

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

Cambridge Evening News, 15 Jul 2008. p 20

Eurostar's relocation helps lift passenger numbers

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

Financial Times, 17 July 2008. p.19.

Restructure pays off at Eurotunnel

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

Financial Times, 18 July 2008. p.18.

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

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

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

Harmonised education and certification for aluminothermic welders

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

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

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

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

Financial Times, 24 June 2008. p.26.

Alstom chief shunts group towards freight

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

Financial Times, 26 June 2008. p.26.

Network Rail looks at extra main lines

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

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

Fast train on the route towards modernisation

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

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

Network Rail workers down tools

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

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

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

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

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

Freightliner sets sights on Australia

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

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

Green light for Pendolino lengthening at last

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

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

Phased plans for Glasgow Crossrail

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

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

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

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

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

Contractors must fix cracks on tracks in Phoenix

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

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

Network Rail attacks spending proposals

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

Financial Times, 6 June 2008. p.5.

Dutch train sports composite panels

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

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

BS EN 13848-5:2008 Railway applications. Track. Track geometry quality. Part 5: Geometric quality levels
[BSI] Update Standards. June 2008. p.14.

Network Rail ordered to improve west coast service

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

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

Metronet's future in mayor's hands

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

Financial Times, 27 May 2008. p.2.

Rail hub plan for Heathrow

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

Financial Times, 28 May 2008. p.4.

Franchise aims to cut train crush

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

Financial Times, 23 May 2008. p.

Crash-proof train seams

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

Materials World, May 2008, p.12.

Business, business, business

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

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

Much more to come

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

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

Shortening line closures

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

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

Integrated Engineering Services for 'turnkey' solutions

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

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

EN 13848-5:2008 Railway applications. Track. Track geometry. Part 5: Geometric quality levels
[BSI] Update Standards. May 2008. p.39.

Sparks are flying at LPA

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

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

Travel in style

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

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

New lines

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

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

Count down

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

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

Thameslink train procurement starts

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

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

Penistone line in West Yorkshire picked for tram-train trials

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

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

Green mobility: rail in a new environment

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

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

Bullish outlook at Alstom

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

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

Dresden tram order for Bombardier

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

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

Alstom seeks to reassure investors

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

Financial Times, 8 May 2008. p.25.

Network Rail penalty upheld

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

Financial Times, 8 May 2008. p.4.

SNCF eyes stake in Italian freight

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

Financial Times, 8 May 2008. p.28.

Europe blows the whistle on state railway aid

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

Financial Times, 1 May 2008. p.11.

UK float for Russian rail group

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

Financial Times, 1 May 2008. p.21.

West Coast trains face more delay

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

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

Seventy die in China train crash

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

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

Passenger numbers show rail sector is on move

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

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

Germany agrees partial sale of Deutsche Bahn

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

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

Eurostar still confident of growth in spite of strong euro

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

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

Rail passenger journeys hit peacetime record

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

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

Rail contract tender in disarray as Alstom pulls out

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

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

Big order for trains expected to cost £1.4bn

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

Financial Times, 9 Apr 2008. p 4

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

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

Financial Times, 9 Apr 2008. p 24

Full steam ahead for �500m stations upgrade

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

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

Globaltrans set for LSE listing

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

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

Metronet resolves contract dispute

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

Financial Times, 2 Apr 2008. p 22

Composite railroad bridge

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

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

Rumbles out as Serco wins Dubai

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

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

Warning issued to Network Rail

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

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

Soaring costs derail German train plan

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

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

Growth on track for oriental express

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

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

JR Tokai to take maglev underground

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

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

Transport duo step up heat on rivals

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

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

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

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

Modern Railways, Apr.2008. p.9.

Forth Bridge is licked with glass-flake epoxy paint

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

Modern Railways, Apr.2008. p.13.

Repairing worn rails

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

Modern Railways, Apr.2008. p.14.

Wind power for railway

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

Modern Railways, Apr.2008. p.83.

Thalys waits on new high-speed lines

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

Modern Railways, Apr.2008. p.82.

Network Rail - the future is modular

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

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

Panorama of transport

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

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

Private sector urged to continue Tube role

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

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

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

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

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

Plea to cut rail incident delays

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

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

Call to improve northern towns' road and rail links

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

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

Trains to run on streets of Sheffield

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

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

Raider Perloff ready to give LPA a rocket

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

Cambridge Evening News, 7 Mar 2008. p 62

Shanghai delays rail project after protests

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

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

Belgium completes high-speed system

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

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

Work begins on Beijing-Shanghai line

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

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

DB enters UK passenger market

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

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

Stafford bypass could slash London-Glasgow times

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

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


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

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

An open market beckons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Network Rail fined £14 M

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

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

Engineers bypass railway work

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

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

Maglev attracts public funding

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

Financial Times, 27 Feb 2008. p 4

India to invest billions in rail revamp

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

Financial Times, 27 Feb 2008. p 12

Eurotunnel plan to raise Euros1.7 bn

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

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

Argentina awards £1.3 billion contract for high-speed rail

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

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

Targets to press Network Rail for fewer delays

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

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

Slower rail passenger growth hits Go-Ahead

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

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

Colas Rail buys Carillion rail plant

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

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

Franchisees celebrate ten years of growth

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

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

London Overground: a charter for improvement

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

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

Opportunity knocks for the Leeds-Morecambe line

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

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

Alstom re-enters the UK market

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

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

574.8km/h and all that

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

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

Bombardier launches hybrid unit

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

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

Kuwait planning $11 bn rail system

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

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

Book more seats on the high-speed train

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

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

Rail station revamp receives £400m boost

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

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

North minds the gap over transport projects

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

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

Euro high-speed ambitions

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

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

Ebbsfleet station opens officially

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

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

Train operators tell government to move on new carriages order

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

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

Shanghai and Nanjing order cars

Bombardier is to supply 32 six-car Movia trainsets for Shanghai Metro Line 7 under a contract worth approximately Euros 150 M. Alstom and its Chinese partner CSR Nanjing Puzhen have received a contract worth Euros 120 M to supply 144 Metropolis cars for use on the Nanjing Line 2.

Railway Gazette International, vol.163, no.6, June 2007. p.332.

SNCF prepares to face the competition

Presents an interview with SNCF Chief Executive Guillaume Pepy as the company prepares to compete in a liberalised European rail system. Pepy is looking for efficiency savings of 20-30% if the ailing rail freight business is to be turned round and he is keen for the expansion of high speed lines which he sees as a real alternative to air travel. He is also keen to promote the environmental advantages of rail travel.

Railway Gazette International, vol.163, no.6, June 2007. pp.351-354.

Northeast France joins the high speed network

Reports on the opening of revenue services on the LGV Est Europeen line which will cut journey times from Paris to Metz, Nancy and many other eastern towns, as well as expand international and inter-regional links. The LGV Est is the first line in France designed for regular operation at 320km/h. Work on the second phase of the line to complete the final 150km to Strasbourg is planned to start in 2010, although no final decision has been taken.

Railway Gazette International, vol.163, no.6, June 2007. pp.357-358.

Managing rail degradation on the Malmbanan

An upgrading programme started in 1988 and due to be completed by 2010 is allowing the introduction of heavier axleloads on Sweden's heavy haul iron ore line, permitting gross train weights to be increased to more than 8,000 tonnes. However the transition requires careful management if degradation of the infrastructure is to be kept under control. Discusses the maintenance strategy which includes yearly maintenance grinding, including rail head reprofiling, and extensive rail lubrication in curves below 600 m radius.

Railway Gazette International, vol.163, no.6, June 2007. pp.369-372.

New/revised standards

BS EN 15085-1:2007 Railway applications. Welding of railway vehicles and components. Part 1: General
[BSI] Update Standards. Jan.2008. p.15.
BS EN 15085-2:2007 Railway applications. Welding of railway vehicles and components. Part 2: Quality requirements and certification of welding manufacturer
[BSI] Update Standards. Jan.2008. p.15.
BS EN 15085-3:2007 Railway applications. Welding of railway vehicles and components. Part 3: Design requirements
[BSI] Update Standards. Jan.2008. p.15.
BS EN 15085-4:2007 Railway applications. Welding of railway vehicles and components. Part 4: Production requirements
[BSI] Update Standards. Jan.2008. p.15.
BS EN 15085-5:2007 Railway applications. Welding of railway vehicles and components. Part 5: Inspection, testing and documentation
[BSI] Update Standards. Jan.2008. p.15.

MPs warn on tube deal

The House of Commons transport committee has warned that the private sector is not always more efficient than the public sector in maintaining and upgrading track and trains on the London Underground. The warning comes in the light of the collapse of Metronet Rail last year and efforts to reallocate some of the work, possibly to Bombardier of Canada.

Financial Times, 25 Jan.2008. p.2.

A freight future

Presents an interview with the Rail Freight Group's director general, Alan Bennett. He says that one of the major issues facing the industry is to engage with the government to deal with the forecast increases in rail freight traffic. Discusses Network Rail's Freight Route Utilisation Strategy which was issued in 2006/7.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 46, Dec./Jan.2008 pp.4-7.

Network Rail's Strategic Business Plan

The Plan outlines spending proposals for the period from 2009 to 2014 and is a response to the government's High Level Output Specification: to deliver more trains, more seats, more often. Details from the Plan include; doubling current spend levels on rail expansion schemes; improvements in punctuality; making the railways more efficient by halving running costs; investment on maintenance and operating costs; investment on renewing track, signals, structures and stations; and green initiatives such as renewable energy sources, recycling and a reduction in the company's carbon footprint.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 46, Dec./Jan.2008. pp.10-11.

Initial assessment

The Office of Rail Regulation has informed the Department for Transport and Transport Scotland that it is likely that their respective output specifications for the railways can be afforded with the public funds they have committed for the five years from April 2009.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 46, Dec./Jan.2008 p.17.

National Rail Trends 2007-2008 Q2

Details from the report, published by the Office of Rail Regulation, include total passenger kilometres, total passenger journeys, total passenger revenue, the complaints rate, freight moved and lifted, and the average age of rolling stock for all operators.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 46, Dec./Jan.2008 p.19.

Department for Transport sets standards for new intercity trains

The Department for Transport has issued its Invitation to Tender for the Intercity Express programme to three consortia which have been shortlisted for the project. The consortia are Alstom-Barclays Rail Group, Express Rail Alliance and Hitachi Europe. They have been asked to design trains which will be greener, lighter and carry up to 70% more passengers.

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 46, Dec./Jan.2008 p.19.

Chinese railways

Outlines the challenges, strategy and future for Chinese railways in the light of the country's economic development. Gives statistics on the system's use and infrastructure before discussing its proposed expansion and modernisation. Economic growth has fuelled the demand for rail travel, particularly between the east and west of the country. Although the railways are government-owned the Ministry of Railways has been instructed to draw up reforms to improve the performance and capacity of the system. The final aim is to become a modern business enterprise, breaking the monopoly, allowing competition, transforming the administrative system and management mechanisms, and cultivating market-oriented businesses

Railway Strategies for Senior Management, Issue 46, Dec./Jan.2008 pp.126-130.

Erie monsters are this year's favourite for Inmelt

Reports on GE's transportation business, based mainly on rail products, which is one of the company's best performing sectors. The 150 tonne freight locomotives are in great demand from countries such as China, Brazil and Kazakhstan. Improvements in productivity and output at the company's Erie plant have helped it to retain its position as world leader in diesel-electric freight locomotives, which use diesel engines to drive an electric motor rather than receive power from the track.

Financial Times, 18 Jan.2008. p.24.

Deutsche Bahn close to winning fight for Laing Rail

DB has emerged as the most likely buyer for Laing Rail, the operator of Chiltern Trains. The DB bid of £127 M represents the company's third bid to enter the UK passenger market. Chiltern is unusual in that it has a 20-year franchise whereas most UK rail franchises are for between seven and 10 years.

Financial Times, 19/20 Jan.2008. p.13.

Operators resist talk of shake-up / Little appetite for fresh reform after years spent in flux / Train chiefs prefer to stick with familiar flaws

The UK's train operating companies want to avoid a shake-up of their relationship with Network Rail, despite the disruption of services caused by engineering overruns during the Christmas period. Senior executives have declined to call for the reintegration of train operating with track maintenance and operation under one company. Network Rail has announced a series of changes to its management of engineering projects to avoid a repetition of last month's problems. The creation of two new rail franchises - East Midland trains and London Trains has marked the end of the present bout of rail reorganisation and few in the industry are now keen to embark on a new round in the near future.

Financial Times, 21 Jan.2008. p.3.

Battle is on for the driving seat at SCNF

Reports on the issues facing SCNF as it prepares for the arrival of open competition in passenger services from 2010. The mandate of the group's present head Anne-Marie Idrac is due to run out next month and there are suggestions that she could be challenged for the job by her deputy, Guillaume Pepy. President Sarkozy will make the final decision on the appointment.

Financial Times, 21 Jan.2008. p.23.

Link work starts

Work has started on the construction of a 697.5 km international rail corridor linking Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.1, Jan.2008. p.8.

HS1 for sale

London & Continental Railways, owner of the £5.2 bn Channel Tunnel Rail Link and the UK share of Eurostar, is to be separated into three businesses - the infrastructure (including the track and stations), the land interests and the UK stake in Eurostar. The recently completed 109 km high speed link between London and the Channel Tunnel will be sold in 2009.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.1, Jan.2008. p.8.


Porterbrook Leasing has placed its 25th order for Bombardier Turbostar DMUs, ordering 12 two-car and 15 three-car sets of the lighter Class 172 variant for use on Govia's London Midland franchise. (Item contains no further information).

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.1, Jan.2008. p.8.

Energy challenge will drive traction policy

Argues that the rail industry must reduce its energy consumption, for both environmental reasons and to contain the increasing cost of energy. Suggests that alternative fuels offer few advantages and that the best option may be to use strategies being adopted by the electricity generation industry to reduce carbon emissions.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.1, Jan.2008. pp.25-28.

Demonstrating the power of hydrogen

Reports on the VLTJ Hydrogen Train project which aims to launch Europe's first hydrogen fuel cell powered passenger train in Denmark in 2010. Argues that hydrogen can become a commercially feasible alternative to diesel or electric traction within the next 15-20 years. Suggests that wind turbines by the sides of the track could generate power to produce hydrogen for trainsets.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.1, Jan.2008. pp.30-31.

GE Genesis in the UK

GE Transportation is to develop its first diesel locomotive design for the UK market, following an order for 30 units announced by the Freightliner Group. To be developed under Project Genesis, GE's new JS37ACi design will feature AC traction motors individually controlled by separate inverters to give a higher starting tractive effect. It will also be 10% more efficient than previous locos, achieving fuel consumption of 197 g/kWh.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.1, Jan.2008. p.39.

Major restructuring at Siemens

The restructuring will create group-wide Industry, Energy and Healthcare sectors, divided into a total of 15 divisions. It is intended to place greater emphasis on global businesses rather than regional activities, producing a less complex organisation with clearer lines of responsibility.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.1, Jan.2008. p.56.

China flotation

State-owned rail infrastructure construction contractor China Railways Group raised 22.4 bn yuan through an IPO in Shanghai on November 23. CRG is one of the largest construction contractors in the world and is expanding from China into Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.1, Jan.2008. p.56.

Alstom announces maintenance deal

Spanish national rail operator RENFE and train builder Alstom have announced the formation of train maintenance joint venture IRVIA Mantenimiento Ferroviario. IRVIA will initially maintain 80 Civia suburban trains built at Alstom's factory near Barcelona.

Railway Gazette International, vol.164, no.1, Jan.2008. p.56.

Delhi leads India's metro revival

Reports how the success of the Delhi metro, opened ahead of schedule in 2004, has encouraged other Indian cities plagued by pollution and congestion to press ahead with their own plans. Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Cochin are planning mass transit systems, while Kolkata, home to India's only other underground system, is expanding its 24-year old metro.

Financial Times, 23 Jan.2008. p.10.

Regulator to probe threat to west coast rail upgrade / Network raillery

The Office of Rail regulation investigation into engineering overruns at Rugby, Liverpool Street and Shields Junction over the Christmas period will look at whether plans for upgrade work on the west coast mainline will deliver in time for timetable improvements in December. The inquiry, which is due to report before the end of February, will also examine the overall approach of Network Rail to planning and managing big rail projects. Comments on the engineering overruns and suggests that the structure of the industry might be looked at when the individual rail franchises come up for renewal.

Financial Times, 9 Jan.2008. p.2. and p.14.

Dispute delays Metronet takeover

Transport for London's takeover of Metronet Rail is being delayed by a dispute with Bombardier Transportation, one of Metronet's shareholders, over the future of a £3.4 bn contract. TfL is in discussions with Bombardier about aspects of its contracts with Metronet including train maintenance and contracts for new signals. TfL is concerned that signalling equipment supplied under Bombardier's contracts may not be compatible with equipment on track and trains on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines maintained by the Tube Lines consortium.

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

Eurostar passenger numbers surge

Eurostar carried more than 8 M passengers a year for the first time in 2007. The figure of 8.26 M represents a 5.1% increase on the 7.85 M carried in 2006. Its share of journeys between London and Paris is now 71% - up 2.3% on 2006 - while its share of the London to Brussels market is up 1% to 65.6%. The opening of the high speed link to the Channel Tunnel is expected to bring a further increase in 2008.

Financial Times, 10 Jan.2008. p.18.

New Street runs off the rails

Reports on delays to the refurbishment of Birmingham's New Street station. There are disagreements over the financing of the project with a public sector contribution of $220 M to the £550 M costs not materialising as expected before Christmas. Business leaders have estimated the annual economic benefits of the refurbishment to be worth some £1.7 bn. The project is due for completion by the middle of the next decade.

Financial Times, 14 Jan.2008. p.20.

Network Rail move on contractors

Network Rail is looking at handling more overhead line work in big projects itself rather than handing work to outside contractors, following overruns on three engineering works over the Christmas period. However the company has rejected the idea of taking other work in-house.

Financial Times, 12/13 Jan.2008. p.3.

Rail helps to slow growth of air travel

According to a study by the Civil Aviation Authority the rate of growth in UK air travel is falling as slowing consumer expenditure growth weakens the appetite for leisure travel, and rail becomes a stronger competitor on domestic routes. However rising concerns for the environment and the impact of aviation on global warming do not appear to have played a role in these developments.

Financial Times, 12/13 Jan.2008. p.4.

Alstom secures Italian high-speed trains deal

Alstom has succeeded, in a bid for a $1.03bn contract, to sell 25 of its next generation AGV (Automotrice a Grand Vitesse) high-speed trains to an Italian group fronted by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, chairman of Ferrari and Fiat.

Financial Times, 11 Jan. 2008. p.23.

Regulator probes rail work chaos

The rail regulator has launched an urgent investigation into Network Rail's failure to complete two engineering projects that have caused disruption to thousands of commuters returning to work this week. The regulator's investigation will probe Network Rail's planning, management and resourcing of the projects, on the West Coast main line and lines into Liverpool Street, and its failure to communicate with operators when problems arose.

Financial Times, 3 Jan.2008. p.3.

Network Rail faces costs pressure

Bill Emery, chief executive of the Office of Rail Regulation, has said that he believed that Network Rail had overstated by at least £1.9 bn the revenue it would need to operate the network over the five years from 2009. He also believes that the company can make much bigger efficiency savings than it assumed when it published its business plan for 2009-14. Network Rail has said it has already agreed to halve costs in the period to 2014.

Financial Times, 21 Dec.2007. p.2.

North Carolina system opens

Charlotte has opened a new $462.7 M, 9.6 mile light-rail system which runs along both active and abandoned sections of railroad right-of-way and connects the city's central business district with Interstate 485 to the south.

Engineering News-Record, vol.259, no.20, 3 Dec.2007. p.14.

Delays spark fears on vital rail upgrade

Reports on the problems caused by overrunning of Network Rail's engineering work on the west coast main line over the Christmas period. There are now fears that the project to upgrade the line will not be completed by the planned date of this December. Completion of the work is vital to the introduction of a new timetable on this line that would see faster and more frequent trains.

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

Showcase train project 'too complex' / Signal problems hold up arrival of high-speed system

Industry figures have suggested that the European Rail Traffic Management System, which aims to get Europe's trains running seamlessly from one country to another, is unnecessarily complex and has been poorly managed. The system has been hampered by the need to accommodate widely differing operating practices from across the continent into a single system. Reports that problems with signalling systems have meant that trains have not been able to use newly built lines at top speeds.

Financial Times, 4 Jan.2008. p.6.

Chicago rail system on verge of collapse

The Chicago Transit Authority has made strides in improving efficiency, streamlining procurement, restructuring staff and prioritising spending. However it still needs some $8.7 bn to bring it up to 'good repair' and at present no funding plan is in place. Some experts argue that fare and tax increases are needed to provide a better service.

Engineering News-Record, vol.259, no.19, 26 Nov.2007. pp.66-67.

Rail line projected to arrive on time

The extension of London Underground's East London Line, a key part of the 2012 Olympic Games plans, should open on time according to one of the project's senior managers. Much viaduct refurbishment work had been done whilst waiting for final project approval with the result that contractors would be able to lay track more quickly than usual. The line is part of Transport for London's plans to create an orbital railway around the capital and funnel commuters away from the main London rail termini.

Financial Times, 7 Jan.2008. p.3.

No 'knee-jerk' reaction to rail work problems

Network Rail's chief executive has said that the company will not react hastily to two overruns on engineering work over the Christmas period and would not be cancelling private contractors' agreements. However it would be asking Bechtel, who were the company responsible for the west coast main line overrun, why it had failed to meet an agreed timetable for the work.

Financial Times, 5/6 Jan.2008. p.2.

Chinese maglev rail costs soar

The cost of extending Shanghai's magnetic levitation railway may rise from the budgeted 200 M yaun renmimbi per extra kilometre to Rmb 600 M to take account of residents' concerns about exposure to radiation and noise. There are plans to extend the line by 34 km initially and later by 160 km to Hangzhou. (Item contains little further information).

Financial Times, 5/6 Jan.2008. p.6.

High Speed 1 to be put up for sale

It has been announced that London & Continental Railways is to be separated into three distinct businesses, and that High Speed 1 will be sold in 2009. It is envisaged that there will be an open and competitive process for any sale.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.712, Jan.2008. p.9.

EWS builds new Channel Tunnel freight network

The new rail freight services will be operated by the EWS subsidiary Euro Cargo Rail and will take advantage of the Channel Tunnel 'open access' regime. For the first time Euro Cargo Rail will take full accountability for reliable, integrated rail services with improved transit times and a reduction in operating complexity. During 2008 services will connect Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Switzerland with Scotland, and the Midlands and North West of England.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.712, Jan.2008. p.10.

UK rail is a success story

Summarises 'The Successes and Lessons of Rail Liberalisation', a new report from the Rail Freight Group. The report seeks to give an objective view of the UK railway model and suggests that, if it is applied elsewhere in Europe, other member states will also achieve growth, improved service quality for both passenger and freight services and reduced state subsidies. Compares the UK situation with those of France, Italy, Germany and Belgium.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.712, Jan.2008. p.11.

Electrification: the big guns open up

Presents a personal view on the case for rail electrification in the light of a letter from Network Rail and the Association of Train Operating Companies to the Department for Transport arguing the same case. Takes issue with the response from the DfT and says that he is not arguing for 'national electrification', but rather a commitment to a rolling programme, starting with the main lines.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.712, Jan.2008. pp.18-20.

Train orders start to pick up

Gives an update on the introduction of new rolling stock, particularly Bombardier's orders for the East London Line, London Underground and London Midland. Also details new orders for Scotland, Northern Ireland and light rail units. States that there will be major stock requirements for both Thameslink and Crossrail.

Modern Railways, vol.65, no.712, Jan.2008. pp.30-31.

Overrun disrupts First ScotRail services

Services between Glasgow and Paisley were disrupted after engineering work at Shields Junction overran. First ScotRail said that it was only given hours notice that the line would not re-open on time.

Financial Times, 8 Jan.2008. p.4.

Old railroad span gets new life without taking a break

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

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

TfL will miss own Metronet takeover deadline

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

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

Strain spotter

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

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

On track

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

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

Steel Dynamics ships first order of welded rail

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

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

Beijing raises $6 bn in record rail bond issue

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

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

China Railway issue has investors on edge

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

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

Need to know: Engineering

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

The Times, 5 Dec 2007. p.50.

Government gives fillip to high-speed lobby

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

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

Further East West Rail studies

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

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

Four new TOCs commence operations

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

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

Alstom sells TGV technology to Moroccan high-speed network

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

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

Cross-Channel freight trains set to double.

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

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

Buyback marks shift in fortunes for WS Atkins

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

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

Jarvis warning due to lack of contract clarity

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

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

Eurostar transfers to its new home at St Pancras

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

Financial Times, 14 Nov 2007. p 4

Network Rail needs £430m to stay on track

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

Computing, 8 Nov.2007. p.4.

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

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

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

Trucker turns to rail and water

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

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

Expansion poses a challenge for repairs

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

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

Mergers signal the rise of an all-powerful seven

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

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

Demand keeps trains on a fast track

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

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

US rail chiefs say new laws will halt investment

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

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

Railway builders head for market

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

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

Global traveller

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

Financial Times, 12 Nov.2007. Special report

Eurotunnel acts to recapture freight

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

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

Commission backs 'freight oriented' network

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

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

Third railway package wins approval

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

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

Interoperable diesels

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

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

SNCF poised for more orders

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

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

EWS joins DB to create a European rail network

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

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

AGC launched on the world market

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

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

Kawasaki Heavy to lift railcar output

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

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

Working along the same lines

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

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


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

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

Q1 national rail review

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

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

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

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

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

Taking the lean track

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

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

Driving forward

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

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

High speed rail line set to be sold at auction

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

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

Munchen maglev funded

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

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

Chinese lines get underway

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

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

Birmingham cool on rapid link

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

Financial Times, 31 Oct 2007. p 3

Steaming ahead

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

Eureka, Oct 2007. pp 12-13

High Speed 1

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

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

Radical transport options unveiled

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

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

Brown gives green light to Crossrail

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

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

EN 13674-1:2003

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

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

TfL faces pressure on bid to take over Metronet

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

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

Olympic transport plan excludes spectator car parking

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

Financial Times, 24 Oct 2007. p 2

Eurotunnel cuts rail freight charges

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

Financial Times, 24 Oct 2007. p 23

Rail use on track to break record

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

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

Alstom agrees Tube deal changes

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

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

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

Unease at lack of Stansted link

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

Financial Times, 3 Oct 2007. pp 1, 13

Financial Times, 4 Oct 2007. p. 3.

Edinburgh airport rail plan axed

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

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

Tube walkout over safety worries

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

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

RBS seeks Angel Trains sale

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

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

Germany to build maglev railway

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


Need to know: Engineering

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

The Times, 25 Sep 2007. p.42.

Hybrid trains take to the rails

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

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

Private company may still bid for Metronet

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

Financial Times, 13 Sep 2007. p.4.

Rail and rail joints

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

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

Railway applications

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

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

Private buyers sought for failed Metronet

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

Financial Times, 12 Sep 2007. p 4

Network Rail cuts renewals contracts

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

Financial Times, 12 Sep 2007. p 22

Refurbishment celebrates the golden age of steam

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

Industrial Technology, Jul. 2007. p.12.

A Strategic Freight Network - what will it mean?

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

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

Bidders await Metronet price

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

Financial Times, 29 Aug 2007. p 2

Eurostar sets Paris-London record

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

Financial Times, 5 Sep 2007. p 4

Network Rail admits Grayrigg failures

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

Financial Times, 5 Sep 2007. p 4

Need to know: Engineering

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

The Times, 30 Aug 2007, p 42.

Renewable railway

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

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

Bidders for new high-speed train listed

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

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

Plan for public control of Tube work

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

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

National Express in route win

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

Financial Times, 15 Aug 2007. p 16

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

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

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

Ministers give green light to rail expansion

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

Financial Times. 23 July 2007. p.4.

New Network Rail chief plans to devolve power to local managers

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

Financial Times. 23 July 2007. p.4.

Berlin to sell 30% stake in railways

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

Financial Times. 23 July 2007. p.23.

Metronet goes bust

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

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

High Speed Two: A proposition by Greengauge 21

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

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

Underground special

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

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

Network Rail fined £2.4M for late delivery

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

Financial Times. 31 July 2007. p.3.

Rail network safety performance for 2006 shows continuing improvement

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

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

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

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

Financial Times. 16 July 2007. p.3.

Groupe Eurotunnel sees strong traffic growth

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

Financial Times, 12 July 2007. p.20.

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

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

Financial Times, 18 Jul 2007. p 3

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

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

Financial Times, 25 Jul 2007. p 2

Examining the cost of train/track interaction

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

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

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

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

Financial Times. 3 July 2007. p.8.

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

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

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

Metronet chief hails work of smaller rival

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

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

Metronet may pay for late Tube work

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

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

c2c goes green

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

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

Virgin Trains launches biodiesel Voyager

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

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

Network Rail makes plans for National Engineering Centre

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

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

Tom Harris announces £44 million in grants

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

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

Deutsche Bahn and EWS in talks

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

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

The Modern Railway Directory 2007

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

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

Bombardier venture

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

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

Global groups chase UK train order

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

Financial Times. 19 June 2007. p.2.

Crossrail signals at red while Whitehall weighs up costs

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

Financial Times. 19 June 2007. p.4.

Atkins writes down Tube investment

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

Financial Times, 27 Jun 2007. p 22

Metronet to seek cash within weeks

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

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

The Modern Railway Directory

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

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

Network Rail aims to slash track repair times

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

Financial Times. 5 June 2007. p.2.

Crossrail chief says momentum behind scheme near unstoppable

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

Financial Times, 18 June 2007. p.1.

A change for the better

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

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

Tyne-Tees maglev study

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

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

Expansion plans

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

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

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

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

Financial Times, 25 May 2007. p.4.

China suspends maglev rail plan

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

Financial Times, 28 May 2007. p.4.

Italy's financial woes threaten rail tunnel plan

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

Financial Times, 28 May 2007. p.4.

Metronet seeks costs review in pursuit of extra fees

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

Financial Times, 23 May 2007. p 2

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

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

Financial Times, 18 May 2007. p.6.

Alstom puts brakes on transfer of technology

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

Financial Times, 18 May 2007. p.29.

Rail Industry

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

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

Tube overspends likely to exceed £750m

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

Financial Times, 11 May 2007. p.4.

Chinese trains in frame for Grand Central Railway

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

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

Crossrail to serve Reading and Woolwich

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

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

Network Rail Business Plan 2007: £2.4bn spending programme

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

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

Eight new trams for Metrolink

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

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

Edinburgh tram shortlist

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

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

City cargo tram in Amsterdam

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

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

People are our most valuable asset

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

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

Scotland tests new rail welding technology

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

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

Special rail grades and profiles - welding problems and solutions

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

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

First Engineering

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

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

Metronet considers review on Tube overspend

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

Financial Times, 25 Apr 2007. p 2.

Hybrid trains offered in UK

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

Eureka, Apr 2007. p 12

Tube chief lays blame for cost over-runs with contractor

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

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

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

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

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

On track

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

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

Crash blamed on Railtrack 'culture'

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

Financial Times. 27 March 2007. p.5.

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

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

Financial Times. 27 March 2007. p.5.

Network Rail fined £4M after fatal crash

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

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

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

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

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

Passenger growth reaches 6.7%

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

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

GBRf's £45 million new contracts

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

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

Humber freight boost

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

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

Amec Spie Rail reunited under French ownership

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

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

Carillion optimistic as tendering ban lifted

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

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

Balfour Beatty rail profit up

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

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

To protect the planet, divert traffic to rail

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

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

Skanska to build line

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

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

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

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

Financial Times, 4 Apr 2007. pp 1, 9

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

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

Financial Times, 4 Apr 2007. p 3

BS EN 14587-2

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

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

BS EN 15594

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

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

New trains designed and built in Britain

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

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

London waits and waits for Crossrail

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

Financial Times, 28 Mar 2007. p 16

China seeks help building train line in harsh climate

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

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

Train derailment at Grayrigg, Cumbria

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


Extra 1,000 carriages for commuters

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

Financial Times, 15 Mar 2007. p.2.

Metronet to reopen Old Dalby test track

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

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

Liverpool passengers won from airlines

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

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

Network Rail awards signalling minor projects framework deals

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

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

EDF Energy wins rail power contracts

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

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

Thales to resignal Piccadilly Line

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

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

Eurostar: what next?

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

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

High speed rail - into the future

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

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

[New rolling stock orders]

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

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

Row follows arbiter's decision on contract

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

Financial Times, 14 Mar 2007. p 3

High-speed line to use domestic rolling stock

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

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

LPA curbed by shareholders

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

Cambridge Evening News, 28 Feb 2007. p 25

Blow to Network Rail's spending plans

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

Financial Times, 1 Mar 2007. p.4.

City and unions to press Blair on Crossrail

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

Financial Times, 7 Mar 2007. p 3

Tube consortium U-turn on upgrade

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

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

Virgin makes GNER franchise shortlist

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

Financial Times, 21 Feb 2007. p 4

Rough ride for Taiwan's first bullet train

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

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

BS EN 13803-2:2006

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

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

Greenbrier and GIMSA form railcar manufacturing joint venture

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

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

US truck companies suffer as rail prospers

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

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

Bombardier's January sale

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

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

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

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

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

Skanska/Grant Rail win DLR Stratford job

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

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

Renewals contractors put on notice

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

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

Making the right connection

A collaboration between Corus and the University of Southampton has produced Silent Track, a dynamic vibration dampening system capable of reducing noise generated by the track. The first application will be 10km of track in various Dutch cities.

Design Products and Applications, Dec 2006. p.8.

Orders are soaring for raid target LPA

LPA Group of Saffron Walden, which supplies mainly the rail industry with electrics, has returned to profit in the second half of 2006; but has still suffered a loss of £143,000 for the whole year. A growing order book confirms that there is a lot of interest from defence, infrastructure and rail companies in LED lighting, but there is also a risk of a battle with a corporate raider who currently has a 17% interest in the company.

Cambridge Evening News, 25 Jan 2007. p 32

Eurotunnel revenues up as traffic falls

Eurotunnel revenues rose 5% in 2006 despite carrying less traffic. The figures reflected the company's policy of pursuing higher-yielding business at the expense of high volumes. Income is likely to drop this year because of the end of arrangements guaranteeing minimum income from third-party users of the tunnel.

Financial Times, 18 Jan 2007. p.20.

Eurotunnel clears more hurdles to financial restructuring

Eurotunnel has cleared more hurdles to its financial restructuring with two creditors dropping their cases. £2.13bn of Eurotunnel's debt is likely to be written off, but the creditors will eventually take control of the company.

Financial Times, 19 Jan. 2007. p.19.

London Underground close to Alstom deal on Northern Line

The private consortium that maintains the Northern Line track and trains, is close to finalising contract changes to transform the reliability of the line's trains. Tubelines has reached an agreement with Alstom which should give Alstom a better incentive to keep trains running reliably.

Financial Times, 22 Jan. 2007. p.3.

[Railway] Risk Management Forum 2007

The annual two day rail industry Risk Management Forum is to be held on 19 and 20 June 2007 at Nottingham University's Jubilee Campus. The theme for this year is 'Managing risk across interfaces - to improve safety and business performance'. For further information contact Kerry Taylor at the Rail Safety and Standards Board (kerry.taylor@rssb.co.uk).

London; RSSB, 2006. 1pp.


An update on Railsafe, the project on training, qualification and certification of aluminothermic rail welders on a common European basis, is presented. A brief history of the harmonised system, requirements for education and training, and the project's future are discussed.

Welding Lines, no.19. Dec.2006. pp.2-3.

Corus Rail

In the fifth in a series of the Institute of Rail Welding's corporate member company profiles, the spotlight is put on Corus Rail, one of the business units within the long products division of Corus plc. The company's products are listed. Subsidiary Corus Rail Technologies' (CRT) areas of expertise and key staff are introduced. CRT's key developments - weld restoration of grooved rail, rail defect management system, and prediction of initiation of rolling contact fatigue cracks - are briefly described.

Welding Lines, no.19. Dec.2006. pp.3-4.

Eddington report discourages new transport infrastructure

A synposis of the Rod Eddington report, 'Transport's role in sustaining the UK's productivity and competitiveness' is presented.

Modern Railways. Jan.2007. pp.6-7.

Vision 2035

Rail Minister Tom Harris outlines the Government's thinking in the development of a technical strategy for the way the railways should look in three decades' time.

Modern Railways. Jan.2007. pp.30-31..

BS EN 15610

Railway applications. Noise emission. Rail roughness measurement related to rolling noise generation.

[BSI] Update Standards. Jan.2007. p.29.

Eurostar expects passenger increase

Eurostar chief executive, Richard Brown, is expecting an increased number of passengers this year, and that they will use the service for longer, more complicated, journeys. This follows improvements to the European rail network, including the opening of new sections of high-speed track between Antwerp, Belgium and Amsterdam, Netherlands. An additional improvement will be the opening of the high-speed link from London to the Channel Tunnel.

Financial Times, 12 Jan 2007. p.23.

KCRC West Rail special

This special issue is devoted to the Kowloon-Canton Railway and in particular Arup's involvement with the recent West Rail projects.

Arup Journal, 3/2006. pp 2-43

Fuel-cell train reaches 50kph in demonstration run

The manager of the East japan Railway Co's Research and Development Center, Ryosuke Futura, believes in the potential of fuel-cell trains, and suggests that the power transmission system may be removed from trains completely in future. A recent hybrid train demonstration at Tokyu Car Corp.'s factory at Yokahama reached a speed of 50 kph on a 300m test track. The train can goat 100kph and accelerates almost as smoothly as a current commuter train. Details of the working of the fuel cell are given. Before it can be commercialised the performance and manufacturing costs of the fuel-cell must be improved, and the cost of manufacturing the fuel-cell train must be reduced.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.44. no.2,262. 27 Nov. 2006. p.16.

High-speed 3-D machine vision: getting the details right

A discussion of the use of high-speed machine vision systems. Details are given of the choice of camera systems, acquiring the image, illumination, software considerations, and its application to scanning rail tracks.

Laser Focus World, vol.42. no.11. Nov. 2006. pp.67-70.

Eurotunnel seeks backing for write-off proposals in face of legal challenges

Eurotunnel hopes to move towards restructuring its £6.18bn debt when its bond holders meet to vote whether to accept a plan to write off a significant portion of the debt. If the process fails, Eurotunnel said it would go into liquidation.

Financial Times, 14 Dec.2006. p.19.

Network Rail runs into profit but stresses need to raise capacity

Results for the company for the 6 months to the end of September 2006 show pretax profits of £747M; the profits will be reinvested, largely in paying down debt that stands at £17.9bn. Improved efficiency has reduced operating costs by £1.1bn over the past 2.5 years. A priority is increasing network capacity.

Financial Times. 28 Nov.2006. p.4.

£6 million deal for DeltaRail

Formerly known as AEA Technology, DeltaRail Group Ltd has won 4 major contracts from Network Rail; these are listed. Three other contracts involving IECC (integrated electronic control centres) signalling control system enhancements have also been secured.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.700. Dec.2006. p.9.

Rail freight ready to fight climate change

The opinion column of the Rail Freight Group considers how the increased use of rail in place of road transport can help to reduce carbon emissions.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.700. Dec.2006. p.13.

Towards the 2030 railway

The possible shape of the UK rail service over the next 25 years is discussed, looking at new station and rolling stock design, the effect of climate change on services, low maintenance equipment, increasing capacity, and use of top quality materials.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.700. Dec.2006. pp.30-32,34-35.

We must kick our addiction to speed

It is argued that a high speed line is not the answer to the UK's transport problems. Energy use versus time saving (London to Edinburgh), energy and power use coefficients for different speeds compared to 200 km/h, and city disposition (UK and France) are considered, with figures presented. Reliable performance and good connections are proposed as better than high speed in the UK as distances between centres are not great enough, there is not time to plan and build them, a sustainable transport policy needs capacity more than speed and they have hidden environmental costs.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.700. Dec.2006. pp.36-39.

Bombardier scoops huge Paris suburban order

The contract to supply and maintain 372 trains for the Ile de France suburban network has been awarded to Bombardier by SNCF. Design and manufacture of the units will take place at Crespin with deliveries beginning late 2009. Alstom, the other bidder on the project, is considering legal action to get the decision reversed.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.700. Dec.2006. p.60.


John Armitt, Chief Executive of Network Rail, has won The Sir Robert Lawrence Award of The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK).
Tony King, Director of Jacobs, has become chairman of the Railway Industry Association. The position is for two years.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.700. Dec.2006. p.78.

Rail freight in last-minute deal

The Department for Transport has agreed a funding deal with EWS, the UK's freight service operator through the Channel Tunnel, to avoid the company carrying out its threat to close the service. The company believes the full toll prices, which it would have had to pay from this date if the DfT had removed funding it has provided for the past 10 years, are too high to make the service economic.

Financial Times, 1 Dec. 2006. p.20.

Evraz Group to buy Oregon for US$2.3bn

Oregon Steel Mills is to be acquired by Russian steelmaker, Evraz Group, and is the latter's first move into the North American steel business. The purchase will make Evraz a leader in steel plate and pipe manufacturing, and the largest producer of rails in the world. Both companies presently dominate rail production in their domestic markets.

Financial Times. 21 Nov.2006. p.22.

Games overruns threaten Crossrail timing

Internal projections for the cost of the Olympic Games are now put at £5 billion, double the original estimate, and as a consequence construction of the trans-London Crossrail project may be deferred until after 2012. Increased security measures have greatly added to the cost of the Games, and the estimated cost of Crossrail has already risen by nearly £5 billion. Gordon Brown is anxious not to let capital spending get out of hand during the next comprehensive spending review and he has several other large projects in prospect, including a revamped Thameslink.

Financial Times, 22 Nov 2006. p 3

Metronet investors may bear extra costs for Tube

An outline of the possible outcome of the report by Chris Bolt, who arbitrates disputes over the implementation of the Underground PPP, which suggests that Metronet has not been economic and efficient in the upgrade of stations and work on the Tube track.

Financial Times, 17 Nov. 2006. p.4.

Eurostar has record-breaking third quarter

Passenger numbers were up 9.9% for the period July-September compared to the same period in 2005, and sales revenue increased 21%. Business market ticket sales rose 27%. Average punctuality stands at 91.4%, with 98% being achieved during one week in September. Passengers on Eurostar generate 11kg of carbon dioxide emissions between London and Paris, compared to 122kg for passengers flying the route.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.698. Nov.2006. p.7.

Eddie the Engine launches Stobart Rail's Tesco service

The 19th Sept. 2006 saw the launch of Stobart Rail at Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal. Direct Rail Services, under contract to Eddie Stobart Ltd, the road haulier, is operating a dedicated service carrying non-food products from the Tesco complex at Daventry to its Scottish distribution site at Livingston. The new rail service is expected to reduce lorry movements by 13,000 per annum. Further details are given.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.698. Nov.2006. p.12.

Rail funding becoming even more opaque

Support for the UK railway is discussed by Roger Ford (Informed Sources), and a table details funding and 'hidden monies' from 2003/04 to 2008/09.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.698. Nov.2006. pp.16-17.

Confidence north of the border

The Northern Ireland Rail network is reviewed and future rail development is considered. A chart (underground-style) itemises future options for routes.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.698. Nov.2006. pp.56-59.

Balfour Beatty ties up with Bombardier for signalling work

A signalling joint venture between Balfour Beatty Rail (BBR) and Bombardier Transportation (Signal), targetting the German market, has been announced. BBR is also working with Bankner AG (Switzerland) to provide rigid catenary trackfeed for the Swiss market.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.698. Nov.2006. p.62.

English input for Caterpillar DMU engine

The first in a new family of low-emission horizontal engines for powering diesel multi-units has been launched by Caterpillar. The C18 ACERT, along with the C32 and C175, are for customers requiring a horizontal alternative to competitive models requiring larger cooling systems. The C18 will be available for DMU manufacturer testing in 2007 with full production starting at the end of 2008. Core engine production will be carried out at the Caterpillar Mossville (IL, USA) plant, with finishing at either the Peterborough, Stafford or Shrewsbury facility (to be decided).

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.698. Nov.2006. p.62.

East London line contract awarded as part of 2012 transport boost

The contract for work on the East London line extension has been awarded to a consortium of Balfour Beatty and Carillion. A new set of orbital rail services will be created, with the New Cross-Whitechapel line converted to the National Rail network from the underground system, an 2.25 mile extension (to Dalston Junction), and a new junction at New Cross Gate. The existing line will have all track and signalling replaced. The project will run from 2007 to 2010.

Financial Times. 24 Oct.2006. p.6.

Network Rail faces hefty fine following crash plea

Network Rail has pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety laws in the period before the Paddington rail crash and could face substantial fines. Sentencing is likely in mid-December. Thames Trains, whose train precipitated the crash, pleaded guilty in 2003 and was fined £2 million, then a record; but Balfour Beatty and Network Rail were subsequently fined £11 million for health and safety charges arising from the Hatfield rail crash.

Financial Times, 1 Nov 2006. p 4

Rolling ahead: Bombardier beats Alstom to win French train contract

SNCF has given a second major order in recent years to Bombardier rather than Alstom. The Eur2.7bn order is for 372 trains to replace ageing stock. SNCF also awarded Bombardier an order to renovate 635 double-decker wagons. The new trains will be built in Bombardier's factory in eastern France.

Financial Times, 26 Oct 2006. p.28.

Alstom and Datong in locomotive deal

Alstom and Chinese partner, Datong Electric Locomotive, have signed a contract for $1.2bn to deliver 500 heavy freight locomotives to Chinese railways. Another contract for the supply of power turbines is also expected to be completed.

Financial Times, 23 Oct. 2006. p.8.

AS 1085.20:2006

Welding of steel rail.

Australasian Welding Journal, vol.51, no.3. 2006. p.45.

BS EN 14730

Railway applications. Track. Aluminothermic welding of rails.
Part 1:2006 Approval of welding processes.
Part 2:2006 Qualifications of aluminothermic welders, approval of contractors and acceptance of welds.

[BSI] Update Standards. Oct.2006. p.10.

EN 14969:2006

Railway applications. Track. Qualification of railway trackworks contractors.

[BSI] Update Standards. Oct.2006. p.43.

BS EN 13146

Railway applications. Track. Test methods for fastening systems.
Part 4:2002 Effect of repeated loading. Amendment 1.

[BSI] Update Standards. Oct.2006. p.18.

BS EN 13481

Railway applications. Track. performance requirements for fastening systems.
Part 1:2002 Definitions. Amendment 1.
Part 4:2002 Fastening systems for steel sleepers. Amendment 1 (also incorporates Corrigendum 1)

[BSI] Update Standards. Oct.2006. pp.18-19.

French railway may buy Alstom train

Philippe Mellier, chief executive of Alstom's transport division, has said that the French state railways SNCF could be the first company to buy the new AGV high-speed train, successor to the TGV. The new train has aluminium rather than steel carriages, and all electrical and control equipment is now hidden beneath the floors of carriages rather than concentrated in power cars at each end of the train. SNCF, however, maintains that nothing has changed since it denied in May that it would be the launch customer.

Financial Times, 11 Oct 2006. p 22

Network Rail forecasts 30% freight growth in 10 years

The figure is from the draft Freight Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS), published for consultation this month, and to meet the forecast's demand an additional 120 trains/day will be required. Greatest growth will be in the coal and intermodal traffic sectors. The expected increases in freight traffic in these areas are discussed in some detail.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.697. Oct.2006. p.12.

Welding contract for Corus

A 6 year contract, valued at £23M, has been awarded to Corus for the welding of up to 100,000 tonnes of new rail per annum. Work will be carried out at a new welding centre located at the Corus site in Scunthorpe; the centre will replace welding facilities in Workington and Castleton. Welding at the latter will cease on 1 December this year.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.697. Oct.2006. p.14.

A high-speed line could wash its face/HSL: an economic bridge between north and south

Two articles champion the need for the UK to have a dedicated high speed rail network, saying that it would be financially viable, would ease line pressures on commuter trains, cause regeneration in regions through which it passes (as has happened with the TGV in France), and return some sense of balance to the UK economy, which presently favours the south.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.697. Oct.2006. pp.34-37.

25 years of the TGV

On 27th September 2006 the French TGV network celebrates its silver anniversary. The company's business strategy is reviewed in an interview with Guillaume Pepy, CEO of SNCF. Figures illustrate the TGV rail network; track speeds (1981-2010); the passenger capacity of a number of trains (Eurostar, TGV Double Deck, DS Kent bullet train, TGV Single Deck) compared to common passenger aircraft types (A380, A340/600, etc.); routes under construction, study and under discussion; capture of market share from air and road/increase in rail traffic from the opening of high speed routes (Paris-Marseille, Paris-Brussels, Madrid-Seville); and TGV passenger numbers (1981-2005). Future French high speed projects are listed and briefly described.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.697. Oct.2006. pp.65-74.

Siemens' five UK depots

Siemens' investment of £110M for depot construction will culminate in the opening of its York depot in October. Facilities at the five depots - Acton, Ardwick (Manchester), King's Heath (Northampton), Northam (Southampton), and York - are described. Tables lists their customers, fleets, number of staff, opening dates, build costs and principal contractors.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.697. Oct.2006. pp.76-78.

Transport Innovations

A seminar and exhibition on Transport Innovations is to be held at the NEC, Birmingham, 7-9 November 2006. For further information see www.transportinnovations.com.

Coventry, UK; Expocom, 2006. 4pp.

A high-speed magnetic levitation (maglev) train, part of the Transrapid project run by Siemens and ThyssenKrupp, crashed on a test track in Germany on Sunday. 25 people are thought to have been killed. The train crashed into a maintenance vehicle carrying two workers. Rescue workers had difficulty reaching the track, which is suspended on a concrete track 5 metres off the ground. This crash casts doubt on the commercial viability of the system. The only commercial train in operation is in Shanghai, China, which had problems last month when it overheated after a technical failure. There has been interest recently from the Middle East and the UK, as their potential to travel at up to 500kph appeals to many politicians.

Financial Times, 23/24 Sept. 2006. p.6.

Germans defend maglev trains despite fatal crash; Safety now added to fears over reliability and cost

The German government has ordered an independent enquiry into the fatal accident last Friday, when a maglev train hit a maintenance vehicle on the test track. Despite the accident, the German government, the Transrapid consortium (a joint venture of Siemens and ThyssenKrupp), the Bavarian government that plans to install a maglev link between Munich airport and the city of Munich, and UK Ultraspeed, which hopes to sell the Transrapid system in the UK, all claim the technology is sound. The system is different to that under development in Japan. The potential danger from maintenance vehicles had already been recognised, and safety measures were planned for the Munich track, but they had not been implemented on the test track. Since it was believed that the main control system would monitor the location of trains, so preventing any risk of collision, they are not built to withstand impact. A stronger structure would be heavier and require more energy to lift and move it, which could make the whole system uneconomic. Transrapid hopes to sell the technology in China, the Gulf, Germany, the UK and the USA.

Financial Times, 25 Sept.2006. p.6.

Maglev to get an investment lift

Central Japan Railway (JR Central) is to triple its investment in its magnetic levitation test line west of Tokyo. JR Central earns 70% of its revenue from conventional high-speed trains, but has used cutting edge technology to develop its own maglev system. Given the present high speed of "bullet trains" and the much higher costs of maglev infrastructure observers doubt whether the system will ever be a viable alternative to conventional railways.

Financial Times, 27 Sep 2006. p 26

AEA Technology exits rail market

The sale of the AEA Technology plc rail business, together with other non-core activities, to Vision Capital Ltd has been conditionally agreed. The sale follows a poor financial year in 2004-2005; the company is to focus on its core environmental business.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.696. Sept.2006. p.8.

Should we reintegrate the railway?

In the light of the Conservative Party's policy U-turn, ways of reuniting track and train on the UK rail network are considered. The effect of external factors, such as rising oil prices or road pricing that produce a greater swing to rail use, are also discussed.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.696. Sept.2006. pp.50-53.

EN 14730

EN 14730 Railway applications. Track. Aluminothermic welding of rails. Part 1:2006 Approval of welding processes; Part 2:2006 Qualification of aluminothermic welders, approval of contractors and acceptance of welds.

[BSI] Update Standards. Sept.2006. pp.48-49.

EN 14811

EN 14811:2006 Railway applications. Track. Special purpose rail. Grooved and associated construction.

[BSI] Update Standards. Sept.2006. pp.49.

Lighter, faster trains could transform rural lines

Network Rail has responsibility for planning how to use rail routes as cost-effectively as possible. Government ministers and safety authorities are to be consulted by the organisation about the use of lighter, faster trains on rural railway lines, in order to improve financial viability. This would require an easing of rules on trains' ability to withstand head-on collisions, as heavy protective structures slow trains down and increase energy consumption. This is now feasible because all signals are fitted with train protection and warning systems (TPWS) devices to stop trains passing them at danger. This discussion is part of the consultation on new rolling stock strategy being prepared for the Department of Transport, rail division. It is also part of the negotiation with the government and the Office of the Rail Regulator on Network Rail's expenditure levels for the next five year regulatory period, 2009 - 2014.

Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. p.4.

Trains grow ready to take the strain / Rival needs delay an ambitious path to integration

A description of how greater road congestion, the rising size of cities, globalisation, the liberalisation of rail markets and increasing environmental concerns are helping to boost rail use in many parts of the world. The growth of high-speed rail travel in Europe and the rapid industry growth predicted over the next few years are outlined, while light rail projects are starting to appear in US cities such as Seattle and Phoenix. Rail freight growth is also described, along with technological developments, such as remote controlled shunting of locomotives in American rail yards to save on staff costs and improve safety, more efficient traction motors and computer equipment to allow remote fault diagnosis. For the operators the question of whether this can be turned into a profitable business is raised. Concerns such as the high cost and poor reliability of new equipment are raised. Some suppliers of rolling stock are trying to standardise design. Alstom, however, still produces tailor-made solutions for customers. The producers of the ERTMS European interoperability system are suggesting that the train operators are putting their technical traditions above the ultimate goal of interoperability. Japanese, South Korean and Chinese companies are now entering the European passenger train market while General Motors of the US target the freight diesels market.

Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. pp.1,2.

Small is beautiful for niche train builder

An outline of the recent success of Stadler, the Swiss railway carriage producer with six facilities making a wide range of trains from regional trains to be sent to Hungary to rack trains for a Greek mountain, with a great success in winning orders for regional and commuter trains in Europe. The largest customer is Swiss Federal Railways. The company offers basic families of designs that can be altered to suit the customer's needs. Stadler's sales rose 8% last year to SFr603m, double the figure of 3 years earlier. The top future plan is to devise a new family of double-decker trains to enter the high-capacity trains market on regional and commuter lines in Europe.

Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. p.2.

Gridlock and gas prices force rethink on transit

Siemens Transportation Systems are one of the two companies manufacturing light railway systems for metropolitan mass transport in the US. These systems are being considered in US cities as a method of easing congestion and providing a more cost effective method of commuting now that fuel prices have risen. Siemens has recently gained contracts for light transportation systems in Denver and Portland in the US and Edmonton and Calgary in Canada. Kinkisharyo, its main competitor, is working in Seattle, Boston and Dallas. Light railway is seen as cheaper than building subways or heavy railway lines, and as being cleaner and more efficient than buses.

Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. p.4.

Canadian pioneer puts efficiency on the line

Pioneering work by Railpower Technologies of Montreal on improving locomotive fuel efficiency with hybrid diesel-electric technology is reported. Currently shunting locomotives have been converted into green Goat hybrids, and the company is working on a hybrid version of the longer-range 'road-switcher', and is looking to enter the export market. Currently the company's shares have lost value, and it is thought that the company will need to make cost-cutting changes. The difficulty is making the transition from entrepreneurial invention to large-scale manufacturing. Railpower is also said to be adapting its hybrid technology for other uses.

Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. p.4.

Engine of European integration starts to pick up speed

Marcel Verslype, first executive director of the European Railways Agency, has the task of creating common technical and safety standards for all Europe's railways, to reduce costs and increase cross-border competition and rail traffic. This is complicated by the problems of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) signalling system, where different suppliers made incompatible equipment because documentation was too vague. The agency is now said to be making good progress, with operators beginning to see the value of its work, and officials are able to gain knowledge of systems in other countries. Problems remaining are the length of time taken to produce detailed European standards, leading operators and infrastructure companies to request interim rules for ordering new rolling stock, and also the areas where standardisation would make no sense, such as all the electrification systems in different countries.

Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. p.4.

Sleeping dragon set for growth

An outline of the Bombardier Sifang Power (BSP) railcar production facility, in Qingdao, eastern China, and the view it gives of the rapid expansion of railways in China, which is seen as necessary for continuing economic growth. The Chinese goal of 100,000km of rail lines by 2020 is outlined, with the aim of reaching 70% of cities by 2010 and of having over 10,000km of track with speeds of over 200kmph. 70% of train parts are made locally, and the Tiber trains were entirely designed and made in China.

Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. p.6.

Back to profit and confidence

An outline of the current position and plans of Bombardier, given in an interview with ceo Andre Navarri. Its problems resulted from the takeover of ADTranz in 2001, to become the world's largest rail supplier, resulting in reorganisation to boost efficiency which have also led to some losses in orders through closures of facilities in some countries. Competition for the big three European companies, Bombardier, Alstom and Siemens, is also coming from companies such as Japan's Hitachi, South Korea's Rotem and now also Chinese manufacturers. The push to improve profitability hinges on development of a common platform which some customers are resisting because of their differing technical requirements.

Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. p.6.

Magic carpet is still too radical for many

Maglev's speed and superior acceleration and braking should make it an attractive proposition for high-speed transport, but there is much scepticism from traditional railway operators and suppliers. The system will need to prove itself viable and reliable rather than just a brilliant theory. There is also an internal struggle between different technical approaches.

Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. p.6.

Big city upgrades pose uphill task

Upgrades are being undertaken in many of the world's metro systems to increase the speed and reliability of existing systems without replacing all their equipment, and while the system continues to work. The highest profile upgrade is of the London underground system, where for example new signal reading equipment is being fitted to increase peak hour capacity.Alcatel is concentrating on signalling systems while Metronet is replacing worn out rolling stock and using less complex signalling systems. Similarly the Paris metro Line One is to become driverless, with new signalling equipment.

Financial Times, 19 Sept. 2006. Special Report: Rail Industry. p.6.

Eurostar expects early launch of high-speed rail services in Kent

GoVia, the company due to operate the high-speed domestic trains on the Channel Tunnel rail link, may be able to start the service by December 2009. Richard Brown, chief executive of Eurostar, said this as he announced that Ashford would also lose many of its international services when the more conveniently situated Ebbsfleet International opened in autumn 2007. The new domestic trains are the first to be built for Europe by Hitachi and some industry observers are sceptical that they will be ready for service so soon.

Financial Times, 13 Sep 2006. p 4

Rail groups fined for safety breaches

Network Rail and Amey have been fined a total of £500,000 for breaches of the health and safety regulations arising from the Southall rail crash in 2002.

Financial Times, 13 Sep 2006. p 4

Transport for an expanding economy

The third annual transport conference is to be held on Thursday 28th September 2006 in the QEII Conference Centre, London. Papers on future challenges; technology in national and regional transport; reduction of transport emissions; transport and the needs of business; road pricing; rail's support of the economy; transport security, and transport for the Olympics and beyond in London, will be presented. A series of seminars will be covering transport modernisation, satellite road charging, next generation urban road charging, outcome driven highways services, the business case for PPP/PFI in transport, and sustainable transport. For further information see www.govnet.co.uk/transport.

London; GovNet Events, 2006. 2pp.

Mail contract extended

The contract between the Royal Mail and GB Railfreight for the transport of letters between London and Scotland has been extended for another year.

Railnews, no.112. June 2006. p.4.

Bombardier wins Chicago race

Bombardier Transport Corp. has won the contract from the Board of Chicago Transit Authority for the supply of 406 metro cars. The first 10 will be delivered in 2009 for testing with production cars arriving from 2010.

Railway Gazette, vol.163, no.6. June 2006. p.309.

Beijing signal contracts signed

The contract for resignalling Line 2 in Beijing has been won by Alstom, working with its joint venture subsidiary Casco and the Electrification Engineering Bureau. The work, valued at 28M euros, is to be completed in time for the 2008 Olympics.

Railway Gazette, vol.163, no.6. June 2006. p.310.

Intelligence: Europe

An agreement has been signed between the French and Luxembourgeois governments which will launch the autoroute ferroviaire (freight line) between Bettembourg and Perpignan. Owned by Autoroutes du Sud de la France, Caisse des Depots, SNCF, Modalohr and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the route will be operational from April next year.

Railway Gazette, vol.163, no.6. June 2006. p.312.

Intelligence: Metros

The maintenance contract for the Jubilee Line Extension in London has been awarded to Kone by Tube Lines. It runs until 2018.

Railway Gazette, vol.163, no.6. June 2006. p.314.

I-trans spearheads rail investment push in Nord-Pas de Calais

The Nord-Pas de Calais regional government has voted to revitalise the local railway industry. The idea is to develop Europe's top railway cluster, with the establishment of railway research facilities, a major rolling stock testing centre for use by local and foreign suppliers, and a 20 year investment programme in track and trains. The recently launched European Rail Agency has offices in the region, and both Alstom and Bombardier have large assembly plants in Lille and Crespin respectively. The I-trans railway research projects authorised are listed with brief descriptions.

Railway Gazette, vol.163, no.6. June 2006. pp.331-334.

Tomorrow's mini-metro takes shape

The Siemens' research project to develop the Neoval, a future mini-metro for France, is described. The project is one of 6 to be part funded by the Agence de l'Innovation Industrielle.

Railway Gazette, vol.163, no.6. June 2006. p.334.

Master plan will transform Nord-Pas de Calais network

The improvements and modernisation of the rail network in the region are briefly described and illustrated. New lines, new services, electrification, track doubling, reopening/reinstatement of passenger services, upgrading, light rail construction, improved international services and proposed new stations are listed.

Railway Gazette, vol.163, no.6. June 2006. p.336.

TfL to revamp rundown London train link

Transport for London has revealed plans for a "London Overground" that will link seamlessly with the Underground and revitalise inner London commuter lines from Watford Junction, Richmond, Barking, Stratford and West Croydon. The first stage will be a re-branded North London Line for which TfL takes over responsibility from Silverlink in 2007. This will link into the upgraded East London line in 2010.

Financial Times, 6 Sep 2006. p 3

Rail freight investment plea

Network Rail has published a report which suggests that an investment of £500 million is needed over the next ten years for the railways to cope with an expected rise of 30% in the amount of freight carried. The major requirement is for £133 million for the remodelling of bridges and tunnels on the lines from Felixstowe to Nuneaton to allow carriage of the larger containers now in use.

Financial Times, 6 Sep 2006. p 3

Next-generation trains are about more than speed

Japan's shinkansen bullet trains are planned to reach speeds of 360kph in five years time. The requirement for these commuter trains is equally to ensure a safe, comfortable and quiet ride. The next-generation shinkansen, the Fastech 360, is being developed by East Japan Railway Co. at speeds up to 360kph. The greatest technological challenge is to ensure that the pantographs on the roof can receive a constant supply of power, and to be safe the train can only travel at 70% of the wave propagation speed. Research has been carried out into the use of lighter materials, made from copper, chromium and zirconium, with a wave propagation speed of 480kph for the overhead wires, to enable them to be pulled more taut and to increase the wave propagation speed. In addition, an air springs and cylinders vibration damping mechanism has been built below the carriages to reduce vibration at high speed. Improved braking methods have also been devised. The train will be tested on the line between Sendai and Kitakami, Iwate Prefecture, and should be ready for service by 2011.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.44. no.2,247. 14 Aug. 2006. p.16.

Deutsche Bahn likely to retain track network

The German state-owned rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, is to be privatised in the coming years. It is thought that the organisation will be allowed to operate the track, with legal ownership of the network remaining in state hands under an 'Eigentumsmodell' to avoid the situation that occurred in the UK, where splitting the operators from the network has been criticised. It is likely that Deutsche Bahn, worth Euros 10-15bn, will float in 2008 or 2009. The chief executive, Hartmut Medhorn, believes profitability can be achieved through an integrated company, but politicians believe the company might cut investment under capital markets pressure and let the government pick up the bill. Details of a possible flotation of the RAG conglomerate are also given.

Financial Times, 25 Aug. 2006, p.22.

Probe into 90mph train decoupling

A safety review had been started urgently into the decoupling of a Kings Cross to Peterborough commuter train at 90mph near New Southgate in north London. No-one was hurt, and the trains came to an automatic halt three quarters of a carriage length apart.

Financial Times, 26/27 Aug. 2006, p.4.

As good as new

Details are given of the inspection of the Conwy wrought iron tubular railway bridge, built by Robert Stephenson, by Bridgeway consulting, specialist railway engineering services company. The inspection included rope-access inspection and a specialised diving team for the submerged structures, with CCTV surveying of the internal elements and a mobile scaffold for internal and external faces of the tubing.

Engineering, vol.247. no.6. June 2006. p.10.

On track

An outline of the developments being made towards high speed rail travel in the UK is given, with details of track, train and infrastructure improvements.

Engineering, vol.247. no.6. June 2006. pp.34-36.

Fire on Shanghai levitating train

A report is given of a fire in the area of the propulsion equipment on a high-speed Maglev levitating train running between Shanghai and its international airport. Passengers had to be evacuated.

CNNInternational.com, 11 Aug. 2006.

Top of the world

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway, 1,956 kilometres long and 75% of track built at over 4,000 metres above sea level, began operations on 1st July, one year early. The highest mountain pass used by the track is at 5,072 m!

ENR - Engineering News Record, vol.257, no.2. 10 July 2006. p.7.

Network Rail publishes 2009-14 business plans

The initial strategic plan, outlining projects for operating, maintaining and developing the rail network, has been published. Some examples of likely projects are listed. After 2014 a large reduction in spending is expected as the years of underinvestment are made good.

Modern Railways. Aug.2006. p.6.

Track/train split was a mistake - Conservatives

On the launch of a Conservative Party Rail Review, the Shadow Transport Secretary has stated that the division of track and train into separate businesses during privatisation was 'not right for our railways'. The main aims of the Review are listed; it is scheduled to report back in 2007.

Modern Railways. Aug.2006. p.6.

Green light for Metrolink 'little bang'

A funding package agreed between the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities and the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority has meant that the expansion of the city's Metrolink light rail system is to go ahead. Details of the work that will be carried out are given.

Modern Railways. Aug.2006. p.8.

Grant Rail wins Nuneaton upgrade

Grant Rail is to be principal contractor for the upgrading of track layout and signalling in the Nuneaton area.

Modern Railways. Aug.2006. p.12.

Thales acquires Alcatel transport

Following the merger of Alcatel and Lucent Technologies (USA), Thales is to purchase parts of Alcatel, including the transport business which supplies signalling and control systems.

Modern Railways. Aug.2006. p.14.

Scotland's Expanding Railways, Edinburgh 5-7 October 2006

The Railway Engineer's Forum and Transport Scotland are hosting a three day conference focusing on the biggest rail investment programme outside London. Presentations and site visits will cover Scotland's rail strategy; its programme of heavy and light rail projects; rolling stock and electrification policy; rail service specification; and the rail industry supply base. For further information contact Sian Clayton on 020 7973 1245 or email s_clayton@imeche.org.uk.

Modern Railways. Aug.2006. p.15.

The Railway Industry Innovation Awards 2006

Winners of the various categories of awards are profiled with a brief description of their contribution to the rail industry.

Modern Railways. Aug.2006. pp.30,32,34,36,38.

BS 11:1985

Specification for railway rails.
This standard has been declared obsolescent as it has been superseded by the BS EN 13674 suite of standards, which is now complete following the publication of BS EN 13674-4 and which should be used for new installations of track. BS 11 is not being withdrawn at this stage as it is required for the repair and maintenance of existing track.

[BSI] Update Standards. August 2006. p.27.

Alstom metros fly from success to success in exports

Alstom designs and constructs 25% of al underground trains worldwide. Details are given of recent orders for Shanghai, China, Sao Paolo, Brazil, and Budapest, Hungary. Short items on the Paris metro system and the Metropolis underground trains are included.

Soudage et techniques connexes, vol.60. no.7/8. Jul./Aug. 2006. pp.6-7.[In French].

Remote checks for rail safety

Network Rail has plans to introduce a system to monitor the condition of trackside equipment, including signals and power supplies, over the next five years. The system will be installed while renewal work is in progress.

Computing, 10 Aug.2006. p.3.

AEA will sell rail arm for up to £58m

AEA Technology is to sell off its rail operations to a group of companies represented by Vision Capital Group for £58.3m., and the buyers will also take on the £12.1m pensions and balance sheet liabilities. AEA, the privatised arm of the former Atomic Energy Authority, now specialises in waste management, climate change and energy security, and has been struggling with the rail business. The operations comprises consultancy on signalling and sales of products to tackle ice and leaves on the rails. It has suffered from increased competition and decreased spending by Network Rail.

Financial Times, 12/13 Aug. 2006. p.14.

Eurotunnel future in doubt after ruling

The future of Eurotunnel has been thrown into doubt following a ruling by a French court granting the company's request for protection from its creditors under a new law. Eurotunnel will not be required to pay interest for at least the next 6 months on its £6.18bn debt and a court official will be appointed to oversee negotiations with creditors.

Financial Times, 3 Aug. 2006. p.3.

Slippery track ahead for merging railways

The shareholders of Hankyu Holdings Inc. and Hanshin Electric Railway Co. have approved a proposed merger of the two service operators. The contracting population of Japan has resulted in the railways facing a bleak future, and needing to cut costs in core operations.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.44. no.2,241. 3 Jul. 2006. p.28

Public inquiry into rail crash ruled out

Attempts by relatives of a journalist killed in the 2002 Potters Bar rail crash have failed to force a public inquiry into the disaster because a 'full and enhanced' inquest is due to be held in early 2007. In addition Lord Justice Moses said there have been significant changes to the rail system since 2002 and there have already been a number of inquiries into the disaster.

Financial Times, 1 Aug. 2006. p.2.

Material Technologies demonstrates its metal fatigue detection solutions

The Electrochemical Fatigue Sensor, developed by Materials Technologies, Inc. (MATECH, Los Angeles, CA, USA) is being tested at the American Association of Railroads' Transportation Technology Center. The sensor detects microscopic crack propagation and metal fatigue in railway bridges, track and associated equipment. Under the US Transportation Bill every railway track operator using continuously welded rail will have to include procedures to improve crack identification.

Welding Journal, vol.85, no.7. July 2006. pp.10-11

Rail network costs to fall by over £4 billion

The initial strategic business plan of Network Rail, published at the beginning of the month, is reviewed. The plan involves reducing the running costs of the existing network to £20.8 bn (based on 2005/2006 prices) and the means of achieving this are listed. The extra investment needed to accommodate a forecast 30% growth in passengers and freight is discussed and some examples of likely projects are given.

Railway Strategies, no.37. June/July 2006. p.12.

In search of perfection - zero defects

A company profile of Weld-A-Rail Ltd is presented. The company achieves 0.9% weld defect rate in its alumino thermic welding services. The company's qualifications are listed.

Railway Strategies, no.37. June/July 2006. p.42.

Balfour Beatty's failures highlighted in Hatfield report

The Independent Investigation Board into the Hatfield railway crash has produced its final report, in which Balfour Beatty has come under attack for lack of effective management and maintenance of the track at the site of the crash.

Financial Times, 25 Jul. 2006. p.3.

Teamwork wins Docklands Railway top award

The results of the annual Railway Industry Innovation Awards are presented. The Docklands Light Railway, operated and maintained by Serco, was the top award winner; the other results are listed.

Railnews, no.113. July 2006. p.2.

Network Rail unveils £800M package of upgrades for West Midlands

Track, signaling and station upgrades planned for the region over the next few years are detailed.

Railnews, no.113. July 2006. p.3.

Train builder's £138M orders to renovate HST coaches

First Great Western has placed contracts with Bombardier Transportation for renovation work on 405 High Speed Train carriages and on-going bogie overhaul and technical development work. The work will be carried out by Bombardier's facilities in Derby, Ilford and Crewe. Some details of work to be carried out is given.

Railnews, no.113. July 2006. p.6.

GB Railfreight: Team work wins accolades - and prestigious contracts

A double page feature on GB Railfreight is presented. Articles include a review of the company, developments over the last 5 years, and the company's move into the UK's largest bulk freight sector - coal.

Railnews, no.113. July 2006. pp.22-23.

BS EN 15528

Railway applications. Classification of lines. Corresponding load limits for railway vehicles and payload for freight wagons.

[BSI] Update Standards. July 2006. p.43.

Eurotunnel stops paying interest

The executive chairman of Eurotunnel has attacked the company's creditors after restructuring talks failed, saying it would not pay interest while under bankruptcy protection, and accused Deutsche Bank, the largest bondholder, of wrecking the talks.

Financial Times, 14 Jul 2005, p 17.

Track and train integration plan marks U-turn by Conservatives / Industry sceptical of policy reversal

The Conservative party admitted that its decision to divide the railways into track and train operations in 1986 was a mistake, and said that it would restructure the industry to give a much greater degree of integration. However the rail industry is sceptical of the need for reintegration, and Network Rail says it has achieved significant savings because of the present industry structure. The railfreight industry is also sceptical about the policy reversal because of the complexities of reintegration, given the large number of passenger trains and freight operations. In addition, calls for change have receded as punctuality of trains has improved recently.

Financial Times, 18 Jul. 2006. p.3.

Benefits of an Edinburgh-Newcastle high-speed rail link

Details are given of the proposed project to construct a high-speed rail link between Edinburgh and Newcastle, to speed up the London to Edinburgh route. It is pointed out that air travel causes nine times more carbon emissions per passenger than rail travel, and that a reduced travel time to 3.5 hours would improve the attractiveness of the train as an alternative mode of travel.

Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Engineering Sustainability, vol.159. issue ES2. Jun. 2006. pp.71-78.

InnoTrack - a 6th Framework integrated project proposal

The EC White Paper on Sustainable Transport is calling for 15% of freight and 12% of passenger traffic to travel by rail by 2020 in parallel with a 30% reduction in life cycle costs (LCC). A proposal under the Framework research programme on sustainable surface transport has been made by 35 partners, including all the major European railways, covering the LCC of track support structures, switches and crossing, rails, and logistics practices. Details of European regions participating and of companies leading each technical programme are given.

Welding Lines, no.17. May 2006. p.1.

A highly successful track-welding project

The conversion of a jointed railway track to continuous welded rail at Darlington Station by mobile flash butt welding is summarised. The full article (by Alan Clark of Network Rail) can be found at www.iorw.org.

Welding Lines, no.17. May 2006. p.2.

Balfour Beatty Rail

Details of the rail technologies, railcare, welding and nondestructive testing services of Balfour Beatty Rail Technologies is presented in a company profile. Key staff are identified and a list of some clients are given.

Welding Lines, no.17. May 2006. pp.2-3.

Hand arm vibration syndrome

Previously known as Vibration White Finger, the syndrome is explained by an Occupational Physician. Consequences of suffering from Hand Arm Vibration (HAV), requirements for control and minimisation, and the complexities and costs of assessing exposure are outlined. Advice on accessing further information is given.

Welding Lines, no.17. May 2006. p.4.

Bombardier scoops contract for DLR vehicles for 2012 Olympics

31 new vehicles have been ordered by Docklands Light Railway; the contract is valued at £50M and is supported by the Olympic Delivery Authority. Units will be made in Bautzen, Germany.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.694. July 2006. p.7.

Four in frame for North London

Govia, National Express Group, MTR-Laing and Nedrail have been selected to bid for the operation of the London Rail Concession by Transport for London. The successful bidder will be selected in spring 2007.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.694. July 2006. p.7.

Eurostar plan would save up to £40m in fees

Eurostar believes that it could save up to £40 million per year when its current arrangement with Eurotunnel ends. At present it pays a fixed fee based on 10 million passengers and 5 million tonnes of freight regardless of actual usage. It wants to switch to a system in which it pays for "real" passengers (in 2005 7.45 million and increasing), but with variable costs.

Financial Times, 5 Jul 2006. p 22

Opening of Tibet rail link triggers protests

The opening of the world's highest rail link, between Beijing and Lhasa, is seen as an engineering triumph, but has resulted in protests at the possible destruction of Tibet's way of life. Steel tubes have been dug into the ground under part of the track to keep it from freezing, while long elevated bridges have been used across the permafrost.

Financial Times, 3 Jul. 2006. p.7.

Network Rail sets out funding needs

An extra £3.8bn are required by Network Rail over the period 2009-2014 to enable it to cope with a 30% rise in passenger numbers. Ministers will decide next year which suggested improvements they wish to fund, what level of railway they want and the level of government funding available.

Financial Times, 4 Jul. 2006. p.5.


Code of practice - welding, cutting and repair of railborne plant.(withdrawn)

Rail Safety and Standards Board Information Bulletin, no.91. April 2006. p.3.

Hydrogen fuel cells

An investigation into the current state of hydrogen fuel technology and its long term possibilities for the UK railway, mainly as an alternative to more electrification, is briefly described. The Railway Forum, Rail Industry Association, Department for Transport and Rail Research UK considered hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen internal combustion engines. Their findings are summarised.

Rail Safety and Standards Board Information Bulletin, no.91. April 2006. p.5.

Extra funds

Some highlights of the Network Rail 2006 business plan are listed, including a proposed 36% increase in renewals investment over the next 3 years, £7.2bn as opposed to £5.4bn for the previous business plan.

Railway Strategies, no.36. April-May 2006. p.13.

EuroRail: Glasgow to the Channel Tunnel

The proposed new 700 km dedicated freight route, capable of carrying double-decker standard European freight containers and full-size road trailers on rail wagons, is outlined. New construction is expected to be minimal, as underused or redundant railway lines are brought back into use. The line will be constructed in modules and following completion of the primary artery, links to the main handling ports of Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Tyneside, Hull/Grimsby, Felixstowe, Harwich, Tilbury and the Isle of Grain will be added. These latter will be on improved existing lines. Key cities and regions to benefit from the line's development and its chosen route are given.

Railway Strategies, no.36. April-May 2006. p.40.

Faster, more effective track renewals

The replacement of sleepers and worn rail on 1070 m of deep Central line tunnel on the London Underground by Metronet in record time is described. The job was also completed for only 25% of the usual cost. The work methods used are explained.

Railway Strategies, no.36. April-May 2006. pp.110-111.

Bombardier to help link Beijing to summer 2008 Olympic village

Bombardier's Advanced Rapid Transit technology, as used in Vancouver's driverless SkyTrain system, is to be installed as the 28 km Beijing Capital International Airport Link, from Dongzhimen station to the airport. The company will participate in project management and will be responsible for vehicle systems engineering and integration, design and manufacture of the bogies, propulsion and braking systems. The 40 Advanced Rapid Transit Mark II railcars will be manufactured by Changchun Railway Vehicles.

Welding Journal, vol.85, no.5. May 2006. p.16.

Track renewal gets scientific

Recent advances in the field of track renewal - ultrasonic testing, high output renewal, switch and crossing work, and steel sleepers - are discussed. Tables show the increase in work volumes for 1999 - 2006, and Network Rail track renewals contracts for plain line and switches/crossings. Frequent ultrasonic inspection and rail grinding have hugely decreased the incidence of broken rails. In 2005 between Euston and Rugby only 7 rail breaks were found, two were hot tears in welds and five were as a result of ultrasonically undetectable defects.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.693. June 2006. pp.34,36,38,40.

US railways show no sign of slowing down

The volume of freight transported by rail in the US has risen by 25% since 2002. The rail industry is viewed as an important economic indicator for US industry generally, but the growth also reflects increasing congestion on the roads and a nationwide shortage of truck drivers.

Financial Times, 16 Jun 2006. p 24

Bouygues to raise Alstom stake

French conglomerate Bouygues is to increase its stake in the trains and turbines group Alstom.

Financial Times, 9 June 2006. p.26.

Delays to Crossrail 'threaten new offices'

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has warned that unless the Crossrail project goes ahead large office developments in central London could soon be refused planning permission. The existing transport infrastructure would be unable to cope with the increased commuter load. Leading businesses are putting increasing pressure on the Prime Minister to agree financing by 2007 for fear that he may decide to wait until after the 2012 Olympics.

Financial Times, 7 Jun 2006. p 5

Eurotunnel wins financing to emerge from £6bn debt

Eurotunnel has won financing that will allow it to emerge from the £6.2bn debt that threatens to crush it by January. Eurotunnel's executive chairman warned investors, who could prevent a deal, that no other restructuring was possible, and the alternative was bankruptcy.

Financial Times, 1 Jun 2006. p.1.

Rail link set to break the mould

A start has been made recently on an ambitious public transport system comprising a high-speed rail link, the Gautrain, between Johannesburg and Pretoria, linked with a network of buses to take commuters to the stations. The first section is due to open, linking Sandton and Pretoria, in time for the 2010 football World Cup.

Financial Times, 6 Jun. 2006. Special Report: South Africa. p.4.

Rail car makers up capacity to meet foreign demand

Rail carriage manufacturers in Japan are increasing overseas orders, developing models to cope with differing climatic conditions, and ramping up production capacity. Hitachi has decided to invest ¥6bn this year and will build facilities for parts assembly and inspection this year. Kawaskai Heavy Industries introduced a ¥3bn all-in-one production line for rail car foundations to be completed this year, which will bring the entire process of welding, painting and assembly together, boosting output capacity by 50%. Kinki Sharyo Co. is to invest ¥3bn in three years to boost the number of welding robots and change plant layouts.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.44. no.2,234. 15 May 2006. p.10.

Citigroup steps in with plan for Eurotunnel

US investment bank Citigroup has launched a set of alternative proposals for restructuring Eurotunnel's debt of $6.18 billion. Eurotunnel is already drawing up plans based on proposals put forward last week by Goldman Sachs and Macquarie.

Financial Times, 31 May 2006. p 19

£400 million more for improvements

Network Rail has announced additional funds for railway work over the next three years, in addition to the £2.3bn already earmarked. A list of 10 major projects from amongst the many is given.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.692. May 2006. p.6.

Crossrail stage one: Abbey Wood - Paddington

Crossrail scheme promoter, Cross London Rail Links, is suggesting the phasing of the project in order to make it more affordable. If the Crossrail Bill gets through Parliament and the second quarter 2007 funding deadline is met, the Abbey Wood-Paddington section could be in service by 2015. Further details of the proposal are given.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.692. May 2006. p.9.

Light at the end of the Eurotunnel; Eurotunnel in talks with new investors; Eurotunnel fights to meet its deadline

Eurotunnel has confirmed that it is negotiating with creditors, investors and potential investors over possible ways to resolve its £6 billion debt crisis.

Financial Times, 10 May 2006. p 20; 17 May p 20

US freight customers rail against delays from outdated tracks

The two largest players in the US railfreight scene, Union Pacific and BNSF, have agreed to a joint funding of $100 million to improve the infrastructure around the Powder River Basin coalfields in Wyoming. The aging rail infrastructure in the US is struggling to cope with increased freight traffic, and major customers are concerned that the industry is not doing enough to remedy the situation.

Financial Times, 10 May 2006. p 25

Caterpillar to buy Progress Rail

Caterpillar plans to pay $1 billion for Alabama-based Progress Rail which reconditions railcars and provides a range of infrastructure services. It is part of the company's plan to move into areas of higher sales and earnings growth.

Financial Times, 17 May 2006. p 29

High speed rail link to Scotland 'could succeed'

Deputy chief executive of Network Rail, Iain Coucher, believes that a high speed rail link could cut journey times to Edinburgh and Glasgow to 2.5 hours, reaching speeds of up to 300km/h (186 mph), and could be a commercial success without government backing. The route would capture 70% of air travel between London and the two cities and 90% of travel between Manchester and London. The cost would be £14bn. The new line would be a conventional steel wheels on rail route, not run on the maglev levitation system. The plan is backed by business and transport lobby groups.

Financial Times, 9 May 2006. p.3.

Tube network operator criticises contractor's poor performance

London Underground Ltd, the publicly-owned company that operates the underground system, has said that Metronet, the main private contractor, is not working hard enough to improve its performance. Rail safety inspectors from the Railway Inspectorate have ordered Metronet to improve track on the District Line, and speeds have been restricted on some parts of the system because the track was not stretched, or stressed, correctly after being laid, with the result that the track could buckle in hot weather and result in derailment. The order is to bring track back up to acceptable standards on the District Line by 4 September.

Financial Times, 13/14 May 2006. p.2.

Eurotunnel chief challenges creditors to take over assets

Jacques Gounon, Eurotunnel's executive chairman dared creditors to try taking over the company's assets following the company embarking on a high-risk strategy to force holders of its £6.18bn debt to agree to a restructuring. Mr Gounon warned creditors that they faced legal uncertainty and might never recover their debts unless they agreed to a settlement. The challenge followed an announcement that the company was not publishing its annual results because the board could not be certain it was a going concern. Eurotunnel said it would review the situation in mid-May and decide then.

Financial Times, 13 Apr 2006. p.3.

Collapse of pioneering deal foils track and train integration

A pioneering experiment between Network Rail and Merseytravel has collapsed after failure to reach agreement. This means that there are unlikely to be any experiments in integration between track and train operators despite the government's 2004 'Future of Rail' white paper which was sympathetic to such a plan.

Financial Times, 11 Apr. 2006. p.2.

Key rail route gains backing

The South East England Development Agency is backing a move to upgrade the Southampton to West Midlands rail-freight route. Southampton carries about half the volume of UK trade with China and south-east Asia. Gauge enhancement is being undertaken with Network Rail and the Port of Southampton to take globally standardised 9ft 6in containers. Under the same programme a study is to be undertaken to reconnect the port of Dover to the rail network.

Financial Times, 18 Apr. 2006. p.20.


Finnmeccanica expects to obtain Eur400-490m for new acquisitions by selling part of its Ansaldo railways business. The company intends to place 60% of the capital in Ansaldo on the market, and use the revenue to strengthen its core aerospace and defence activities. Last year Ansaldo earned Eur44m on revenues of Eur840m.

Aviation Week & Space Technology, 27 Mar 2006, p.22.

Rail infrastructure delays defended

Network Rail has defended the postponement of some infrastructure enhancements to 2007 and 2008 by saying the work can be done more cost-effectively then. It still intends to spend £400 million more than planned during the 2006/7 year to cope with increasing demand.

Financial Times, 5 Apr 2006. p.4.

Railways and materials: Progress through failures

A public lecture with the above title is to be presented at 6 pm on Wednesday 5th April 2006 at 6, Carlton House Terrace, London by Professor Roderick A Smith. The event is free. Prof. Smith was Head of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London and is now Senior Visiting Research Fellow at St. John's College, Oxford. For further information on the lecture and to register contact Eileen Ellis at eileen.ellis@iom3.org.

Welding Lines, no.16. Feb.2006. p.4.

Developments in inspection

The 9th technical meeting of the Institute of Rail Welding will be held on Thursday, 27th April 2006 at The Riverside Centre, Derby. All key issues affecting rail inspection will be presented at the event: preventative strategies; Network Rail's requirements; training requirements; optimisation of inspection and NDT; and advances in NDT technology. For further information and to register for the meeting contact Rachel Wall at TWI Ltd, or e-mail: meetings@twi.co.uk.

Welding Lines, no.16. Feb.2006. p.2.

Network Rail backs work to aid container deliveries

Network Rail recommends that £80m be spent on work to make it possible to carry large shipping containers from Southampton to the London-Glasgow west coast main line. Headroom for 9.5 foot high containers will be achieved by raising bridges and lowering the rail bed. The proposal is for the lines between Southampton and Reading via both Andover and Winchester.

Financial Times, 20 March 2006, p.4.

Battery-powered electric trains

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has started development of battery-driven railroad cars which would eliminate the need for lines to supply power to trains, and thus cut the cost of railroad construction. Demand is expected from developing countries as the trains are aimed to run all day on a single charge. Trials have started on a test track at Hiroshima. A method of recharging batteries when trains stop at stations is also being considered. Fuel cells may be adopted.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.44. no.2,218. 23 Jan. 2006. p.16.

China nod to single 'maglev' rail line

China's State Council has given its permission for the construction of a new magnetic levitation (maglev) train line between Shanghai and Hangzhou that will cut journey times from 2 hours to 30 minutes, and should be complete by 2010. However a new high-speed line between Beijing and Shanghai will use conventional wheel technology. Lobbying is being undertaken by the German consortium, Transrapid, that pioneered the maglev technology, and the French TGV manufacturers and Japanese bullet train technology. Planned expansion of the Chinese rail system includes 5,400km of new high-speed lines in the next 4 years.

Financial Times, 14 Mar. 2006. p.7.

Corus to raise rail prices in 2006

Rail prices are to rise by 35 euros/t from the beginning of 2006, reflecting the higher costs of raw materials, energy and transportation.

Steel Times International, vol.30, no.1. Jan./Feb.2006. p.4.

Delhi Metro picking up business

Details of the expansion of the Delhi Metro in both passenger numbers and routes are given.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.44, no.2,219. 30 Jan. 2006. p.23.

Edinburgh's world-class tram network one step closer

The City of Edinburgh has agreed to contribute £45 million towards funding the city's tram network. The first phase is set to link Leith waterfront and Edinburgh airport, a route which passes through the city's major growth areas, and is estimated would carry 13 million passengers in its first year of operation.

Engineering Technology, Mar 2006. p 6

Folded wings and a vacant seat

The leaders of the aerospace and rail divisions of Canada's Bombardier are about to be interviewed as front runners for the post of chief executive. Laurent Baudoin, present holder of that post, is expected to retire shortly. The recent history of the company is discussed.

Financial Times, 15 Feb. 2006. p.10

New RAIB opened

The new Rail Accident and Investigation Branch has been formally launched by Alistair Darling. Administratively RAIB is part of the Department for Transport. Further information is available at www.raib.gov.uk.

Railway Strategies, Dec.2005/Jan.2006. p.35.

Weld-A-Rail celebrate success

The alumino-thermic rail welding specialists, supported by First Quality Solutions, have achieved ISO 9001:2000 accreditation. The company has introduced advanced calibration methods for equipment and the production of straight edges and can produce these to an accuracy of 1 micron. Some details of the company and its processes are given. (www.weldarail.co.uk; www.firstqualitysolutions.com.)

Railway Strategies. Dec.2005/Jan.2006. p.49.

Repair or fabrication of austenitic manganese steel rail components

A datasheet is presented giving general welding practice recommendations with a particular focus on welding frog points. Information is excerpted from AWS D15.2:2003 "Recommended practices for the welding of rails and related rail components for use by rail vehicles".

Welding Journal, vol.85, no.1. Jan.2006. p.48.

Premium rail and suspension changes could cut rolling contact fatigue

The results of studies, carried out by TTCi for the UK rail industry, into methods of managing rolling contact fatigue (RCF) are reported. The use of premium rail steels and changes to vehicle suspensions are proved to deliver cost savings. Figures give data on the estimated average rail life for wear and RCF on the East Coast Main Line; annual savings from replacing standard with premium rail; premium rail life relative to standard rail life; and savings and costs arising from modifications to vehicle suspensions to reduce yaw stiffness.

Railway Gazette International, vol.162, no.2. Feb.2006. pp.77-79.

East Coast is full, says Network Rail

Results of a study into capacity on the East Coast Main Line are summarised. Options for increasing capacity are to be reviewd by Network Rail with conclusions published later this year.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.689. Feb.2006. p.6.

Passenger journeys reach a new high

The Association of Train Operating Companies has estimated that 1.07bn journeys were completed in 2005, up 30M (2.5%) on 2004. Passenger journeys have increased 40.4% in the last decade. Total freight (tonne/km) rose 4.5%. Further figures are given.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.689. Feb.2006. p.6.

Railway costs - struggling with Chris Bolt's [ORR chairman] unknowns/Railways in hock

The 2008 Periodic Review of the Rail Industry, which will determine the level of support given to the railway for the 5 year period starting 1 April 2009, is summarised. Various tables give potential funds available for renewals, enhancements and maintenance over this period.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.689. Feb.2006. pp.18-21.

Excellence in engineering

An interview with Andrew McNaughton, the Chief Engineer of Network Rail, is presented. His aim is to make the UK railway engineering first class; a table shows broken rail statistics 1962-2005, and how these are now at their lowest level through investment in rerailing and monitoring for defects.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.689. Feb.2006. p.32-34,36,38..

High speed to the north

The lack of high speed railway lines in the UK is discussed and compared to those in Spain and France. Modal imbalance is highlighted, with 2,125 motorway miles built since 1955 compared to 70 for high-speed rail.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.689. Feb.2006. p.42-45.

Battery-powered electric trains

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd is developing battery-driven railroad cars. This would eliminate lines to supply power to trains, thus cutting construction and maintenance costs. The aim is to produce trains that can run all day on a single charge, or batteries that can be charged at stations. Fuel cells may be adopted. Demand is expected from developing countries.

The Nikkei Weekly, vol.44. no.2,218. 23 Jan. 2006. p.16.


Bechtel Ltd has been contracted as Development Manager for Line 1 of the Cross London Rail Links. The company will produce the reference design for the project.

Rail Business Intelligence, no.261. 12 Jan.2006. p.1.

Laser rail-cleaner dropped

Laserthor has been requested to introduce a production-standard model of its high power laser railhead cleaner before Network Rail (NR) invests in any more of its equipment. NR has been operating two prototypes which have shown superior performance to high pressure water-jetting. Laserthor is in talks with a Dutch company to act as a larger industrial partner in commercialisation of the product. A world market of 800-1000 laser cleaners is forecasted.

Rail Business Intelligence, no.261. 12 Jan.2006. p.2.

Maintenance information still lacking, says ORR

The Office of the Rail Regulator is asking Network Rail for more quantitative information reductions in maintenance expenditure and the relationship between work done and outputs achieved. A table shows Network Rail's Business Plan 2005 projections of CP4 renewals activity for 2005-2015 by rail, sleepers, ballast, switch/crossing and signalling equivalent units.

Rail Business Intelligence, no.261. 12 Jan.2006. p.9.

No passenger train-km growth from 2007-08

Demand growth assumptions from the Network Rail Business Plan 2005 for the period 2005-2014 for passengers and freight are discussed. Figures are presented.

Rail Business Intelligence, no.261. 12 Jan.2006. p.10.

Transport chief warms to Tube companies

Peter Hendy, new head of Transport for London, has accepted the existence of the public private partnership and intends to ensure the programme of infrastructure and trains upgrade is completed and delivers the intended improvements. He is also to seek greater improvements in bus facilities and greater use of the above-ground national rail network.

Financial Times, 31 Jan. 2006. p.4.

Scientific signposts point way for transport

The Office of Science and Technology has published a report setting out the technological possibilities for the year 2055. This includes transport developments not only in the design of vehicles but also in the impact of global warming, design of cities, and the nature of how people work on transport systems and requirements.

Financial Times, 27 Jan. 2006. p.3.

Freight train, freight train, earnin' cash

US railroad operators are forecasting further strong growth in 2006 to continue the past 2 years of steady growth mirroring the strong domestic economy.

Financial Times, 27 Jan. 2006. p.29.

AEA Technology Rail 'reshapes' business: 100 staff to go

The AEA Technology Rail Test Hall is to close in early 2006 following completion of projects. The job losses will be mainly in the Engineering Systems division and some in the Products division, leaving the company with a total of around 450 employees.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.688. Jan.2006. p.7.

DB - the standard railway of Europe?

A profile of Deutsche Bahn AG is presented. The largest railway system in Europe with a number of subsidiaries, its open access, inter city and regional passenger businesses, freight, logistics and marshalling yards are described.

Modern Railways, vol.63, no.688. Jan.2006. pp.74-76.


AMEC has been awarded the contract for track renewal and associated infrastructure for the Sandbach to Wilmslow stretch of the West Coast Main Line.
Corus has a 7 year rail supply contract with Network Rail; Voestapline has also received a 5 year contract.

Railway Gazette International, vol.162, no.1. Jan.2006. p.14.

Chinese EMUs take shape in Italy

The start of construction of the fleet of 200 km/h trainsets for Chinese Railways at the Savigliano factory of Alstom Transport is reported. Principal data for the CA250 EMUs are presented.

Railway Gazette International, vol.162, no.1. Jan.2006. p.19.

Railnews Directory 2006

The directory lists rail industry principal stakeholders, train operators, suppliers, representative organisations, advisory bodies, and recruitment, appointment, training and consultancy businesses. Addresses and telephone/fax/e-mail/website information is provided, plus ownership and directors where appropriate.

Railnews, no.107. Jan.2006. pp.16-30.

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