n Netherlands Railways is taking steps to cut shunting and engine noise at its principal yards, in a bid to reduce the noise affecting 100000 houses by 5dB(A). The measures will cost NS Reizigers 40m guilders and NS Cargo 3·5m.

n Cisalpino AG announced on November 26 that it is to launch three Pendolino trains each way between Zürich and Stuttgart in May 1997; two will run to or from Milano. There will also be three Milano - Bern trains with two continuing to Basel, but a fourth trip to Genève and the planned extension from Milano to Venezia have been dropped.

n Uzbekistan Railways has started tracklaying on the Guzar - Baysun - Kum-Kurgan railway to connect up the isolated lines in the south of the country (RG 6.95 p335).

n Hong Kong’s Secretary for Transport Gordon Siu announced on December 11 that work on the West Rail project was to be scaled down to meet Chinese concerns over the estimated cost. Work will concentrate on the Kowloon - Yuen Long section, leaving the cross-border route to Shenzhen until later.

n German Railway’s management board approved a five-year investment programme on December 3. This foresees DM49bn being spent on infrastructure and DM32bn on rolling stock, stations and other equipment by 2001.

n Norwegian State Railway, British Rail and BAA plc are promoting an International Rail-Air Organisation to exchange best practice on airport rail links. For details fax BAA’s Andrew Sharp on +44 181 745 1631

n On December 11, Britain’s Franchising Director John O’Brien selected Liverpool bus operator MTL Trust Holdings Ltd as preferred bidder for the Merseyrail Electrics franchise to run the city’s suburban rail services.

n Burlington Northern reopened its Stampede Pass line in Washington State on December 5. At present it is used by one train a day, but this will increase to five each way during 1997. BN plans to invest US$125m by 1999 in restoring and upgrading the 125 km link.

n Bangladesh Railways has started building a branch to serve two coal mines near the northern town of Parbatipur. Costed at 5·8m taka, the work includes 16 km of mixed gauge track, 10 km of broad gauge and 11 km of metre gauge.