Under a strategy to reduce cyclical demand, which makes it hard to maintain staff skills needed to work with small vehicle fleets, Stadler and Rhätische Bahn are to co-operate in the overhaul and repair of metre-gauge vehicles. Stadler will be general contractor and responsible for engineering, while RhB will undertake manufacturing to provide steady business for its Landquart workshops. Bogies and rack railway vehicles are not part of the agreement.

Faiveley Transport and MTZ Transmash have signed a framework agreement for the joint development, manufacturing and sales of rolling stock brakes in the CIS countries and Baltic states.

In January BEML began work on a factory at Palakkad in Kerala which will produce stainless steel and aluminium bodied wagons and defence equipment.

Despite a turbulent commercial vehicle market, strong sales growth in the Rail Vehicle Systems division allowed Knorr-Bremse to report a 4% increase in sales to €3·4bn during 2008. Important framework agreements were signed, and €360m of orders were won in China. The company expects the rail market to continue to expand, particularly in Asia, with negative effects from the economic crisis being unpredictable overall, and expected to show a time lag.

Following the start of test production, Stadler’s €30m Szolnok plant in Hungary is expected to reach full manufacturing capacity this month. It will weld aluminium bodyshells for Flirt multiple-units, with an annual output of 60 cars.

The foundation stone of the Rs17bn Railway Coach Factory at Rae Bareili in Uttar Pradesh was laid by Sonia Gandhi, President of the Indian National Congress party, on January 27. Completion is planned for 2010.

China Railway Track Systems Group has bought Longchang Railway Materials Factory.

On February 4 Québec-based hybrid and genset firm Railpower Technologies obtained protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act for 30 days expiring on March 6, to be extended as the court deems appropriate. ‘The initial order provides a framework for us to restructure our business,’ said Richard Laliberté of Railpower. ‘Our goal is to allow Railpower to be in a position to continue to assess all available alternatives’. Ernst & Young has been retained as financial advisor and McCarthy Tétrault is legal counsel.