INTRO: Rail businesses offering engineering services and management advice are holding up well, despite an economic downturn in many countries

Hong Kong-based Mott Connell, jointly owned by Mott MacDonald and the Connell Wagner Group of Australia, has been appointed lead consultant for design package SDC100 on KCRC’s Sha Tin - Central line, including a mined station cavern at Tsz Wan Shan 100m below the surface. The company is also lead consultant in the Mott/Atkins joint venture awarded SDC300, which has three cut-and-cover stations at Kai Tak, To Kwa Wan and Ma Tau Wai. Together, the two packages cover 50% of the 18 km route and five of its 11 stations.

A nine-strong management team including two architects from MacKellar Transport led a group of 70 staff based in Delhi, undertaking civil, architectural, mechanical and electrical design for a 6·5 km section of the first phase of the city’s metro (RG 2.03 p65); the Delhi team was supported by 25 staff in the UK.

Mott MacDonald is now into its third year at the head of an 89-strong joint venture team acting as independent review, check and audit engineers for the 346 km Taipei - Kaohsiung high speed line. Its partners are Systra, DE-Consult and Electrowatt Engineering (RG 3.01 p186).

As well as undertaking feasibility studies for two route options at the eastern end of London’s Crossrail Line 1, Mott MacDonald has been working on tunnel and station design for the central Paddington - Liverpool Street section of this proposed cross-city rail route. Under a contract awarded by Cross London Rail Links, the joint project office formed by the UK Strategic Rail Authority and Transport for London, the consultancy is also undertaking systems studies for the project, including rolling stock, signalling, traction power supply and telecommunications.

Complementing its existing Bristol office, Mott MacDonald has this year opened an office in Derby for its rolling stock business. Recent projects include the impact on the traction power supply system of introducing Class 377 EMUs to the London - Brighton main line, as well as significant input into the specification for rolling stock to operate domestic services over the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

As technical consultant to the International Finance Corp, SwedeRail will be assisting with preparations to privatise Kenya Railways on a concession basis. Over a period of up to eight months, the consultancy will contribute to technical due diligence work. SwedeRail is also part of a consortium that has been appointed by the European Union to assist with preparations for a concession to run the Ethio-Djibouti Railway. This is expected to be offered within the next two years, and SwedeRail is due to participate in technical due diligence work over a period lasting between 12 and 18 months.

A seven-month study of upgrading the rail connection into the port of Conakry in Guinea is close to completion. Working with WP, SwedeRail has been assessing the financial and economic feasibility of the project, which the government intends to undertake as a public-private partnership.

As a member of the Rail Link Engineering consortium that also includes Arup, Bechtel and Halcrow, Systra is currently executing a £2·8m programme of work on Section 1 of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Due for completion by the end of June, this includes functional checking of signalling principles diagrams, the scheme plan and control tables, as well as testing of the interlocking and train control system. Systra has been training track and signalling maintenance staff for Section 1 (p289), and between February 2002 and April 2003 staff in Paris and London helped to prepare maintenance instructions.

In Spain, Systra is working with Tifsa and Ardanuy Ingeniería on a preliminary technical study for electrifying the Medina del Campo - Fuentes de Oñoro route at 25 kV AC. Those aspects being considered by Systra include the high-voltage power supply (220 or 400 kV), the control centre and electromagnetic interference issues. As a member of the consortium building Sevilla’s first metro line, 19 km long with 23 stations, Systra will be responsible for systems design including rolling stock, power supply, signalling and fare collection, as well as ventilation and other auxiliary systems.

Greater Marseille authority MPM has awarded Systra a contract to assist with a programme due for completion by the end of 2006, involving the construction of two new light rail routes and the extension of Line 68 to create a 16·4 km network. Metro Line 1 is to be extended from La Timone to La Fourragère, serving four new stations. Systra will undertake design work and the preparation of documentation for contractors, as well as commissioning and performance monitoring during the warranty period.

Halcrow has been providing detailed design and construction supervision for LRT Line 2 in Manila in the Philippines. As a member of the CARE consortium, the consultancy will also be providing design services for the 4·4 km extension of the Docklands Light Railway to London City Airport and King George V. Elsewhere in the UK, Halcrow has been appointed to administer the construction contract for a £85m programme to upgrade depots at Selhurst, Streatham Hill, Brighton, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton for South Central’s new fleet of Class 377 EMUs. AMEC Capital Projects is due to complete the works by September 2005.

Rites of India has secured footholds in Latin America and Europe. In Colombia it is an equity partner in a consortium for the Atlantic line, where it is in charge of loco and rolling stock maintenance, and in the Dominican Republic it has conducted a pre-feasibility study for a railway concession. In the UK Rites is providing design support for signalling and electrification work under the West Coast route modernisation programme. Closer to home, it has provided advice on private sector participation in Sri Lanka Railways, while in Malaysia it has advised on bridge and track design and helped with construction supervision for KTM’s double-tracking programme.

Apart from supplying advice to Indian Railways on a wide variety of engineering and management tasks, Rites is also working with Indian suppliers in rolling stock and component export programmes. It was involved in shipment of 10 locos to Vietnam and has worked on rehabilitation of 100 wagons for Tanzania Railway Corp, where 10 locos operate under a wet lease.