Brazil: Banco Santander Noroeste is to lease 50 locomotives built by GE Transportation Systems of the USA to Ferronorte. The acquisition is being financed by a US$88m long-term loan from US Exim.

Czech Republic: The government has raised its budget for upgrading the Decin - Praha - Breclav corridor to KC36·5bn. Completion of the project has been put back to 2002.

Estonia: The European Bank for Reconstruction & Development is to lend 14·9m euros for upgrading Estonian Railway’s Narva yard, with the aim of preparing ER’s freight operations for privatisation. Other infrastructure projects have received 16m euros from the European Investment Bank and 5m euros from the European Union’s Phare programme.

France: The département of Vosges has voted to provide Fr56m towards the construction of the TGV Est high-speed line and Fr9·2m for associated electrification projects. The government hopes to have the TGV Est funding agreement signed before the summer break.

Netherlands: The European Union is to provide 30m euros towards the construction of the HSL Zuid high-speed line (p336) and the Betuwe freight route. Upgrading of the route from Amsterdam to the German border via Arnhem for high-speed services is to receive 3m euros.

Singapore: Land Transport Authority is expected to launch a bond issue by August to help finance metro construction. With S$2bn a year required over the next 10 years for network expansion, bonds may be sold to raise between S$300m and S$500m each year.

Thailand: Bangkok Mass Transit System has appointed Saloman Smith Barney as lead manager for its initial public offering expected later this year. This is projected to raise up to US$150m for the elevated metro due to open in December.