In response to a suggestion by former French industry minister Arnaud Montebourg that it planned to sell its signalling activities to a Chinese company, Thales said on September 26 that it ‘never had any intention of selling or merging its rail signalling business‘, and it ‘intends to develop this rail signalling activity and to make it the world market leader’ as one of the ‘core businesses of the group.’ Thales said an agreement with CRRC was ‘purely commercial’, ‘not an exclusive agreement’ and ‘absolutely no transfer of ownership is involved’. Instead, it was ‘a response to demand from transport operators for solutions that are compatible with rolling stock from any provider’.

Alstom has requested that S&P Global Ratings withdraw its ratings of the company and cease rating it with effect from September 23. Alstom said the decision was ‘made in the context of the stabilisation of the group’s financial situation and its strong liquidity in order to reduce its administrative costs.’ Alstom remains rated by Moody’s at Baa2.

On September 15 Italcertifer and the Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation signed a memorandum of understanding for an initial three years of technical co-operation in the rail and metro markets. They will exchange information through expert meetings, seminars and technical visits, facilitate staff training and implement jointly-agreed co-operation projects.

CRRC Dalian has signed a memorandum of understanding to work with local company Comm Builders & Technology to provide maintenance and construction services in the Philippines.

UK operator Virgin Trains has opened a customer call centre at Virgin Money’s headquarters in Newcastle, which it says will create 85 jobs by bringing roles in-house.