Australia:Oz-Tek Solutions Pty is to manufacture under licence from North American Technologies Group a range of composite plastic sleepers up to 5·5m long, using a production line at a New South Wales factory owned by Nepean Rubber & Plastic.

China:Sinopec Corp and China Railway Material & Supplies Corp have established Sinopec China Railway Marketing Co, a joint venture to market fuel for rail use.

Iran: Wagon Pars announced in January that it had completed three AD43C diesel locomotives in co-operation with Alstom, as part of a contract for 100 locomotives being built to Alstom’s Prima design, the first 20 of which were built in France.

Malaysia:Emrail, Mitsui & Co, Mitsui Transportation and Union Switch & Signal are to collaborate with Universiti Tenaga Nasional to establish a railway engineering course and centre of excellence in Malaysia.

United Kingdom:Despite a ’difficult year’ for Lloyd’s Register Group in the year to June 2003 giving a pre-tax loss of £6·5m, Chairman David Moorhouse said the firm’s rail sector ’continues to perform well, increasing turnover by 36% in the UK and 20% worldwide.’ He believes there is ’an increasing demand for rail safety consultancy and verification services which we intend to satisfy on a worldwide basis.’

PointShot Wireless and Broadreach Networks have formed a partnership to supply Wi-Fi equipment and billing services to rail operators, beginning later this year with Virgin CrossCountry and West Coast. Contracts have been finalised for installation of equipment at 375 stations.

USA:As part of a reorganisation programme on January 1 loco builder GE Transportation Systems became GE Rail, and was merged with GE Aircraft Engines to become a part of GE Transportation, a single entity covering all GE’s land, air and water transport businesses.