n Vietnam Railways and Chinese Railways have agreed a timetable for the restoration of through Hanoi - Kunming passenger services by the middle of this year. A three-car train will initially run through once a week.

n Mexico’s Transport Ministry has invited bids for a 50-year concession to run the second of FNM’s three main regional rail networks. Technical bids and development plans for the Pacifico Norte must be lodged by June 19 and financial bids by June 28. FNM’s 3950 km Noreste network is due to be handed over to the Transportación Ferroviaria Mexicana consortium on May 15.

n Russia’s Ministry of Railways signed a contract with Adtranz in March for the supply of electrical equipment for a fleet of EP-10 EMUs. Under an agreement signed in November 1996, 80% of the work will be done locally, at the Yekaterinburg Power Transformer Plant and at factories in St Petersburg, Saransk and Novocherkassk.

n GEC Alsthom and Fiat Ferroviaria signed an accord on March 17 for joint promotion of tilting trains in the British market. Ex-BR inter-city franchisees Great North Eastern Railway and Virgin Rail have called tenders for a total of 48 trainsets.

n The European Commission has appointed Halcrow Transmark to undertake market research and benchmarking studies for world best practice in order to advise on methods of improving the profitability and productivity of Europe’s railways.

n Estonian Railways handed over responsibility for domestic passenger services to spin-off operator Edelaraudtee AS (South Western Railway) on March 7. ER will continue to handle Tallinn commuter services and international trains.

n China’s Guizhou province is seeking US$600m to fund the construction of a local railway from Longchang to Huangtong; the work will be managed by the Bijie Office of Railway Construction.

n Oresundskonsortiet awarded a DKr133m contract to Banverket Industriedivisionen in Malm