To support future bids for MBTA ticketing contracts, Cubic Transportation Systems Inc has opened an office in Boston. This complements existing US offices in Washington DC, New York and Chicago.

CAF USA Inc has signed a lease for a 5000m2 site within the McClellan Business Park in Sacramento, California, where production of 40 LRVs for Sacramento RT is expected to begin around mid-2002. The Spanish manufacturer is looking to establish its third US facility in New York state, which would refurbish LRVs for Port Authority Transit of Pittsburgh.

The rail sector is expected to feature amongst the 365 joint stock companies in Russia which are to be privatised next year. Under the programme submitted to the State Duma at the end of August, the state is to retain a stake in 25 companies.

The Netherlands office of Lloyd’s Register has been designated by the Dutch government as a notified body to assess compliance with European Directive EC/96/48 governing the interoperability of high speed networks. This has been granted for an initial period of 18 months ending on January 1 2003.

On August 28 international cleaning group ISS purchased Danish train cleaning and light maintenance firm TraffiCare from AB Swedcarrier for DKr416m.

Turner & Townsend and Currie & Brown have formed a joint venture to pool their experience in the rail market. TCTB Rail has won a contract to provide commercial management services to Railtrack.

GE Transportation Systems has created a Global Signalling business unit from the former Harmon Industries and GE Harris businesses. Global Signalling is based at Blue Springs, Missouri. Following the purchase of Italian signalling supplier Siliani Harmon, GE has become a member of Unife.

Thrall Vagonka Studenka has announced plans to lay off 253 staff at its Moravia wagon plant this year.

The European Commission has approved the acquisition of rail manufacturer Thyssen Schienen Technik, a subsidiary of Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Steel AG, by Voest Alpine Stahl AG of Austria (RG 9.01 p568).

Following the award of eight contracts for wheelset maintenance plant worth a total of US$8·2m, Simmons Machine Tool Corp reported on August 30 that its order backlog is the largest in the company’s history.