On March 23 the Septa board approved a US$244m contract to buy 104 Silverliner V EMU cars from United Transit System to replace life-expired stock on the Philadelphia suburban network. Three prototypes are due in 30 months, and the remainder within four years. The UTS consortium of Rotem and Japan’s Sojitz Corp plans to assemble the cars locally using components fabricated in South Korea.

Cross London Rail Links announced on March 28 that it had awarded the first of four multi-disciplinary design contracts for development work on Crossrail Line 1. Under the £15m contract, Scott Wilson will work with Network Rail ’to prepare an affordable reference design for the surface works’. CLRL has reviewed its tunnelling strategy for the east-west cross-London route, and now plans to launch its TBMs at Royal Oak and Custom House, eliminating the proposed Hanbury Street construction site in Tower Hamlets.

Grenoble transport operator Semitag inaugurated a 1·5 km extension of light rail Line B to Gieres on March 20, adding four stops. The extension was built as part of the Tram 3 project, which will see the opening of the 19 km Line C later this month. Project management for both routes has been provided by the Semaly-led SIAS consortium.

The initial 12·5 km section of Daejon metro Line 1 between Government Centre and Panam, serving Daejon University, was opened for revenue service on March 16. There are 12 stations, including an interchange with Korail at Daejon Station. Work is continuing on the western section of the line, which will add a further 10 km and 10 stations by the end of 2007.

Philippines Under-Secretary of Transport & Communications Guling Mamondiong signed a memorandum of understanding with the Deputy Mayor of Wien Sepp Rieder on April 4 under which the Austrian capital will donate 40 second-hand LRVs to relieve congestion on Manila light rail Line 3. Due to be replaced on Wien Line U6 by the end of this year, the vehicles will be refurbished before entering service on the privately-operated EDSA route which is currently carrying 425000 passengers/day in 20 three-car trains.

Toulouse transport authority Tisséo has ordered 18 Citadis trams from Alstom for €65·8, subject to ratification by SMTC on April 24. The contract includes a provision for maintenance and options for a further six cars. Due for delivery from mid-2008, they will operate the 11 km Arènes - Blagnac line which is expected to open in 2009.