Australia: The Australian Railway Research Institute has been formed in Brisbane, run by Dr Wardina Oghanna with backing from Queensland Rail and Spoornet.

Czech Republic: US investment group Bancroft Eastern Europe has taken a 70% stake in Bontrans, a joint venture with ZDB Bohumin that is to take over ZDB’s rail axle production plant.

France: On September 16 steel group Usinor confirmed that it was to sell its rail manufacturing subsidiary Sogerail and marketing company Matériel de Voie to British Steel for £83m in cash. The previous week British Steel shareholders approved a merger with Dutch steel producer Hoogovens announced in June.

Japan: Hitachi and Fuji Electric Co are to form a joint venture to develop power semiconductors for rail vehicle control systems.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd signed a co-operation agreement on September 15 for Bombardier Transportation to market in Europe and North America its airport peoplemover technology as used at Chek Lap Kok.

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