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News in Brief

14 Jan 2012

A €270m package to fund electrification of the (Paris –) Gretz-Armainvilliers – Troyes route and the Provins branch by 2017 was signed by RFF and the Ile-de-France and Champagne-Ardenne regions on December 9.

Last month Pakistan’s Railways Minister confirmed the country’s intention to accede to OTIF, the Inter-governmental Organization for International Carriage by Rail. 

On December 12 RENFE’s intermodal subsidiary Contren introduced a new service for Hupac between Barcelona and Antwerpen, operating three times a week. Using 1435 mm gauge lines throughout saves 6 h on transhipment at the French border, as well as enabling train lengths to be increased to 750 m and payload by 300 tonnes. 

Canadian Pacific has announced plans for new and extended passing sidings which will permit an 11% increase in transcontinental train lengths by the end of 2013. Intermodal trains are currently up to 3660 m long. 

The Czech Ministry of Transport is to sell non-operational property assets of national operator CD. This includes 900 station buildings, which could be sold to infrastructure manager SŽDC or local authorities. 

Middlemount Coal has completed a 16·5 km spur linking its mine to QR National’s Goonyella rail network, enabling coal to be shipped directly to the Dalrymple Bay terminal. With completion of the Northern Missing Link on December 19, the mine also has access to the port of Abbot Point. 

On December 14 EIB announced it was providing TCDD with a further €400m for the Ankara – Istanbul high speed line, taking the bank’s total support for the project to €1·25bn and the value of EIB support for the Turkish rail system in the last decade to some €2·4bn. The EU is also providing a €120m grant from Pre-Accession funds.   

Eurotunnel’s Europorte Channel subsidiary had been granted approval to operate its Class 92 locos on High Speed 1, opening the prospect of only one loco change on freight services between Britain and Europe. Commercial services will be launched early in 2012. 

US short line group Watco has formed Swan Ranch Railroad to operate within a new industrial park at Cheyenne, Wyoming. It has also reached agreements to acquire Birmingham Southern Railroad and to take a controlling interest in Wisconsin & Southern Railroad.