Angola: After a 10-year hiatus, CFL resumed operations last month with the introduction of weekday commuter services running 30 km from Viana to Luada. Two of eight 1 067 mm gauge Cummins-engined diesel locos ordered from Sifang in China have now been delivered, and will be used to haul three coaches to accommodate 105 seated and 100 standing passengers.
Australia: Investment group Babcock & Brown Infrastructure announced on April 27 that it expected to complete its acquisition of Western Australia's railway infrastructure business by March 2008. BBI bought a 51% stake in WestNet Rail from the former Australian Railroad Group in June 2006, with an option to acquire the remaining 49%.
Bangladesh: The caretaker government's council of advisors has approved the signing of Unescap's Trans-Asian Railway treaty (RG 11.05 p728).
Canada: CN has signed a contract to move containers for Cosco Container Lines Americas. The Chinese-owned shipping firm is the first customer for Maher Terminals' Port of Prince Rupert container facility which is due to be completed in October.
China: A 10 km tunnel through the Jimian mountains in southern Fujian province been completed as part of the Wenzhou - Fuzhou line. The 300 km route is expected to open eight months early in June 2009, cutting a 6 h journey by bus to 2 h by rail.
Czech Republic: On April 26 SZDC re-opened an 8·9 km section of Corridor 1 between Breclav and the Slovak border which has been upgraded for 160 km/h operation by a consortium of Subterra and OHL ZS at a cost of KC1·73bn. Work is to begin this autumn on a KC2·75bn rebuild of the key junction at Breclav.
Europe: To improve the quality of cross-border freight services, EurasiaRailLogistics is to be established as a Moscow-based joint venture of RZD (40·1%), Railion Deutschland (34·9%), PKP (15%) and Belarusian Railway (10%).
This month the governments of Macedonia and Bulgaria will present the EU Council of Ministers with proposals for the re-opening of the cross-border rail link through Kjustendil. Funding of k200m will be sought from international financial institutions.
Germany: At its own expense, Veolia's Niederbarnimer Railway has begun an experimental weekday peak passenger service between Wensickendorf and Zehlendorf over a 3·4 km section of the Heidekrautbahn where services had been withdrawn in 1997.
Jordan: In order to give the newly-privatised Jordan Phosphate Mining Co time to negotiate a long-term transport contract, the government has suspended plans to privatise Aqaba Railway Operating Co, an operating business created from Aqaba Railway Corp with the assistance of consultancy CPCS.
Mozambique: Next month CFM-South will take delivery of a second batch of five refurbished Indian diesel locos on long leases. The railway is also spending US$31m to rehabilitate its own locos.
Netherlands: Faced with a continuing shortage of qualified train crews, freight operators Railion Nederland and ACTS are to establish joint training courses from autumn 2008.
Pakistan: Management of PR's loss-making Bolan Mail service between Karachi and Quetta has been taken over by Pakistan Railways Advisory & Consultancy Service, which has made profitable the Hazara Express and Rohi Express services and will pay PR a monthly fee.
Rwanda: A delegation from BNSF visited President Paul Kagame during April to advise the government on strategies for the further development of proposals for a railway between Kigali and the dry port at Isaka served by Tanzania Railways Corp, reviving previous plans from 1913 and 1984.
Spain: Built at a cost of €48·6m, 6 km of new double-track alignment has been brought into service at Queixas on the Santiago de Compostela - A Coruña route. It includes a 2·14 km tunnel where Rheda 2000 slab track capable of conversion to 1 435 mm gauge has been installed.
Switzerland: Work began last month to double the 3·4 km single-track route between Cham and Rotkreuz. Zug canton is contributing SFr20m to the SFr45m project, which will allow a 15 min frequency Baar - Zug - Rotkreuz service from December 2008, with a half-hourly service to Luzern.
USA: The Federal Transit Administration has given Florida Department of Transportation permission to begin the acquisition of property and a CSX route needed for a proposed 100 km commuter service linking Deland to Orlando and Poinciana. Half of the $600m cost will be met from federal funds, 25% from the state and the rest from local authorities. Opening of the first stage is planned for 2010.
- CAPTION: As subcontractor to Electro-Motive Diesel, ITS Rail of Welland, Ontario, is assembling a batch of GT36CW freight locos that are to due to be shipped from Canada to SNTF of Algeria in July. Under an order worth US$82m, EMD is supplying 16 units as well as 14 GT36HCWs for passenger duties (RG 3.06 p119)
Photo: Kevin Argue
- CAPTION: Iraqi Republic Railways has taken delivery of two Desec Tracklayer TL 70 turnout-laying machines which arrived at the port of Um Qasr. The contract includes the provision of spares and staff training in Finland
- CAPTION: In an effort to reduce risks at level crossings in Israel (RG 11.05 p676), four companies have each equipped three crossings and two ISR locos with obstacle detection and identification systems, which send images and data to control centres and cabs. Developed by ORAD Control Systems, ELTA Systems, Ortec and Magal Security, the trial system was recently inspected by Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz
- CAPTION: Testing is underway of 12 Siemens Desiro DMUs on the 35 km Sprinter line between Oceanside and Escondido in north San Diego County, California. Revenue services on the $440m mostly single track line are expected to begin in late December
Photo: J Wolinsky
- CAPTION: A pre-production trainset has arrived on the London Underground network from Bombardier's Derby plant under Metronet's programme to replace the Victoria Line fleet. It will undergo nine months of testing before the second set arrives next year. In total, 47 new trains will be introduced to passenger service from 2009