SmartDigital-Group and Plasser Group have formed the Dynamic Rail Utilities Monitoring joint venture to use unmanned aircraft for infrastructure inspection. ‘Plasser Group already has extensive expertise in rail track data aggregation’, said Florian Auer, Director of Global Technology & Innovation at Plasser & Theurer. ‘With SmartDigital we now succeed in digitalising the extended railway track with the assistance of unmanned aircraft systems and are making it available to infrastructure managers.’
Škoda Group has announced changes to its structure, including the use of the Škoda Group brand for all business including Plzeň-based Škoda Transportation with effect from June 1. There are now four geographical units, and product lines for Rolling Stock, Bus, Digital & Service and Components. Finance, legal, human resources, communications, strategy and Sales & Project activities will be managed centrally. ‘We have very ambitious goals, and therefore improving our organisational structure was a logical step’, said CEO Didier Pfleger. ‘We will also be focusing significantly on expansion into new markets. The new structure will improve our approach to customers and customer proximity, as teams will have a better understanding of customer needs’.
Hübner Group is building a €7m factory at Nelamangala near Bengaluru to produce rolling stock gangways, including for Vande Bharat Express trainsets for Indian Railways. The 8 200 m2 facility will provide ‘new possibilities for serving important markets in India and Asia’, said Kai Mentel, Senior Vice-President Mobility Rail. Opening is planned for December 2022.
The US High Speed Rail Association has expanded its membership options, with eight tiers designed to enable small and medium-sized companies and unions to join.
Iarnród Éireann has awarded Jacobs Engineering the DART+ Rail Fleet Advisory Services contract to support the delivery of new Alstom trains by undertaking documentation reviews, factory visits and build quality monitoring and assisting with the approval process.
In an effort to encourage policymakers, regulators and governments to recognise rail’s role in the overall transport mix, the European Rail Research Advisory Council has launched a ‘Manifesto of Future Mobility’, which says railways are sustainable, individual, inclusive and can be the backbone of multi-modal transport. ’To unleash rail’s crucial potential towards a greener future, policy makers and governments must foster and invest in continuous research and innovation in the rail sector,’ said ERRAC Chair Roland Moser.
On June 9 the FirstGroup board said it had unanimously rejected an unsolicited acquisition proposal from I Squared, saying the cash component of 118 p/share significantly undervalues its continuing operations and future prospects, and the contingent right to up to 45.6 p/share does not provide shareholders with sufficient certainty.
Gotec Group owner Lars Gorschlueter has invested in b2b ticketing company Save A Train, which said it now has contracts with seven out of the 10 largest travel companies worldwide and will use the proceeds to increase its headcount and expand its presence ‘in this relatively underdeveloped but nevertheless key market of the travel & transportation industry.’
Wabtec directors Lee Foster and Michael Howell retired on May 18. The company is working with an outside board search firm to identify and recruit successors.