Bangladesh: Work will begin this month to convert the metre gauge line between Joydepur and Kamlapur station in Dhaka to dual metre and 1676mm gauge by October 2007. A contract awarded to Chinese company First Metallic Construction Co in January 2000 failed because of financial complexities, so BR has subcontracted local firm Max Automobile for the project, which is now costed at 3·2bn taka.

Belgium:Infrastructure manager Infrabel joined the European Rail Infrastructure Managers association on July 1.

Canada:Island Corridor Foundation appointed Southern Railway of British Columbia to operate freight and passenger services between Victoria and Courtenay from July 1, under the name Southern Railway Vancouver Island Ltd.

Croatia:HZ was restructured with effect from July 1, to comply with EU requirements to separate infrastructure and operations. The structure is based on Austrian Federal Railways, and comprises the four operating units HZ Cargo, HZ Putnicki Prijevoz (passenger), HZ Vuca Vlakova (traction) and HZ Infrastruktura.

Czech Republic:Prime Minister Jirí Paroubek inaugurated the completed 25 kV electrification and second track on the 47 km Kadan - Karlovy Vary route on May 26. Funded by the State Transport Infrastructure Fund and undertaken by Skanska, Viamont and EZ Praha, the KC2·7bn project will bring a 25min reduction in journey times from December.

On June 1 infrastructure authority SZDC ceremonially activated an ESA11 remote interlocking supplied by AZD Praha to manage the 103 km Plzen - Zatec-z? pad line from a control centre in Blatno u Jesenice.

Europe:Work has begun to rehabilitate the line from Kumrovec in Croatia to Imeno in Slovenia. Krumrovec's services will be incorporated into Zagreb's suburban rail network.

On June 7 Czech Railways, Bohemiakombi and Kombiverkehr ran their first thrice-weekly intermodal train from Hamburg to Lovosice on behalf of Hangartner Danmark.

International:Aiming to harmonise vehicle procurement frameworks, UIC has published Leaflet 345 on 'Environmental Specifications for New Rolling Stock'.

Netherlands:On July 13 Zuid-Holland announced it was awarding NS a three-year temporary concession to operate Gouda - Alphen aan den Rijn light rail services from December.

Spain:Transfesa subsidiary Activa Rail has been granted a licence to operate freight trains on the national network, joining Continental Rail, Acciona Rail Service and Comsa Rail from the private sector. Azvi and FCC have also submitted applications.

During trials on the Madrid - Lleida high speed line, a Siemens Class 103 trainset set a new national speed record of 385 km/h between Alcal? de Henares and Guadalajara on June 25.

Sweden:Banverket has approved proposals for the construction of a 42 km cut-off between Kalix and Haparanda. Designed for 30 tonne axleloads, it could open in 2011.

Switzerland:BLS L?€?tschbergbahn and Regionalverkehr Mittelland merged on June 27. The combined BLS AG has 2600 staff and 440 km of rail lines, with through running across a 690 km network.

United Kingdom:On July 4 Birmingham Intermodal Freight Terminal received its first train, carrying containers from Southampton. Operated by Roadways Container Logistics and located at the Birch Coppice Business Park near Tamworth, it is designed to handle up to eight trains a day.

USA: On July 1 Iowa Interstate Railroad completed its purchase of OmniTRAX's Great Western Railway of Iowa, a terminal shunting and wagon repair company with 50 km of track in Council Bluffs.

Metro-North Railroad has signed a new seven-year contract for New Jersey Transit to continue to operate the outer ends of the Port Jervis and Pascack Valley lines in New York State, which were historically tied to the New Jersey network.

Europe: The journey time for swap bodies, trailers and containers is 91/4h.

Spain: EuskoTren is installing driving simulators at three of its depots at a cost of €1·2m. The operator's 300 train and tram drivers will use the new facilities for training and for refresher courses every two years.

CAPTION: In order to obtain certification for use in Belgium and Germany, the lower noise levels produced by a sound-proofed Mitsui Rail Capital Europe Class 66 were measured during tests on the BLS route between Jerzers and Müntschemier at the end of June

Photo: Daniel Wipf

CAPTION: Siemens has completed a €500000 mock-up of a driving trailer for the Velaro high speed trains which will be supplied to China. The 8·8MW eight-car trainsets will have half their axles driven, and bodyshells 3265mm wide

Photo: H Hondius

CAPTION: On July 10 Iarnród éireann Chief Executive Dick Fearn, Spanish Ambassador José de Caravajal and CIE Chairman John Lynch officially launched Ié's fleet of Spanish-built inter-city coaches. CAF will deliver all 67 of the vehicles in time for the introduction of an hourly Dublin - Cork service in December

CAPTION: The first of 30 enclosed car carrying wagons ordered from Serbian firm Gosa by Iranian Islamic Republic Railways has been on test in Croatia at up to 160 km/h. A further 30 of the 26·4m long wagons which can carry 12 cars are to be assembled locally in Iran

Photo: Anton Papic

CAPTION: Test running has begun on a 10 km section of one bore at the southern end of the L?€?tschberg base tunnel using a BLS Class 465 locomotive fitted with Level 2 ETCS. BLS AlpTransit expects the entire tunnel to be available for trial runs in December.

Photo: BLS AlpTransit