Argentina: Following an inaugural run on October 6, Ecotren is to operate a monthly tourist service between Salta and the viaduct at La Polvorilla, increasing to thrice-weekly from March 2008. Ecotren is investing 45m pesos on rolling stock refurbishment and two new diesel locos, while the provincial government has spent 27m pesos on track repairs on the 217 km route (RG 8.06 p432).
Deploying an ex-Renfe Class 593 three-car DMU, TBA has increased the frequency of its Buenos Aires — Rosario service to provide one train in each direction on weekdays.
Canada: On October 15 CN began operations at its C$20m Prince George intermodal terminal, which is intended to handle export traffic to fill empty containers returning to Asia through the Port of Prince Rupert.
On October 12 the government announced new operating agreements with CN and CP for the federally-owned fleet of 11 900 grain wagons. The railways can use the wagons at no cost, but must replace life-expired vehicles and pay for their use on non-grain traffic.
China: A 41 km freight feeder railway from Quzhou to Changshan in Zhejiang province was opened on September 28, the first line built with the aid of private finance since 1949. Construction of the 675m yuan line had begun in November 2005, with privately-owned Changshan Cement Co holding an 18·9% stake in the venture.
Czech Republic: CD's freight business will be separated into an independent joint-stock company CD Cargo on December 1, instead of April 1 2008 as originally planned (RG 9.07 p 524).
On September 7 Railtrans announced it was abandoning plans to launch a Praha - Ostrava open-access passenger service branded RT Express which was intended to compete with CD.
Europe: Last month Croatian Railways took delivery of four second-hand Class Y1 diesel railcars previously operated by SJ in Sweden. On October 1 Kosovo Railways had used two Y1s delivered during September to reinstate passenger services on the line from Pristina to Pec.
Railion, DFDS and RZD launched a weekly 16 h train ferry service between Sassnitz and Baltijsk near Kalinigrad on October 18. Able to carry 85 broad-gauge wagons, MS Vilnius has linked Sassnitz to Klaipeda in Lithuania since July 2006.
On October 5 work began on a 1·5 km extension of the Usedomer Bäderbahn from Ahlbeck in Germany across the border to Swinoujscie in Poland. The EU and Land of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are meeting 90% of the €2·4m cost.
France: On October 2 SNCF introduced a daily Paris - Mulhouse return iDTGV service via Strasbourg, with fares starting at €19. Over 3 million iDTGV tickets have been sold online since the first train operated on December 6 2004, with services achieving an average occupancy rate of 85%.
Proxirail is to be established as a short line rail freight operator in the Centre region. Launched at the instigation of local industry, the company will use SNCF traction and train crew, with the first services due to run early in 2008. The government and the Centre region are providing €30m for track renewals.
Macedonia: MŽ has announced plans to build a 3 km rail link to Skopje Alexander the Great Airport from Ilinden on the Skopje - Niš line. Travel time from Skopje would be 15 min, compared with 30 min by road.
Netherlands: On October 26 NS opened its first ServiceCenter at Amsterdam Centraal, with other major stations to follow. Passengers can obtain information and purchase domestic and international tickets at staffed desks, or book and print tickets on eight PCs, with assistance if needed.
Pakistan: This month PR will transfer responsibility for the Peshawar - Karachi Khyber Mail service to Pakistan Railways Advisory & Consultancy Services, which is to pay a fee worth 10% more than the state railway currently earns from the service.
UK: Chiltern Railways and software firm Masabi are undertaking a two-month trial of ticket purchase and delivery by mobile phone (RG 1.07 p31).
Plans to build the £650m Edinburgh Airport Rail Link have been dropped on the grounds of cost. The airport will be served by the city's planned tramway, as well as a new station at Gogar.
From November 14 Eurostar will sell through tickets from 68 UK stations to all SNCB stations and 75 French destinations.
USA: On October 22 short line company Genesee & Wyoming announced it was to acquire an 87·4% stake in Maryland Midland Railway for $29·1m in cash. Lehigh Cement is currently the largest shareholder and will retain its 12·6% stake.
- CAPTION: On October 10 the ITL Benelux subsidiary of German firm ITL took delivery of the first of four Class 230.1 diesel locos being rebuilt from DB V100 units by Alstom's Stendal plant. To be delivered by February 2008, the locos are eqipped with ETCS for the Betuwe Route
- CAPTION: Operating concessionaire Connexxion put the first of five Protos two-car EMUs ordered from Transmash Holding subsidiary Fahrzeugtechnik Dessau into service on the Amersfoort - Ede Wageningen line in the Netherlands on September 23
- CAPTION: Rolled out by Stadler on October 12, the first of 16 GTW DMUs for Veolia in the Netherlands conforms to the latest EU crashworthiness standards for regional trains. Impacts of up to 175 kJ are taken by the coupler, with an aluminium concertina structure absorbing a further 550 kJ. The front of the main frame can absorb 1 560 kJ