Austria: Work began on December 10 on the 6·5 km Siegberg tunnel on the 13·6 km Haag - St Valentin cut-off on ÖBB’s Wien - Linz main line.

China: CR plans to introduce a Shanghai - Hong Kong express before the British colony reverts to Chinese rule on July 1. The 1983 km journey would take 28h.

Czech Republic: CD has launched a motorail train between Praha and the High Tatras resort area in Slovakia. A premium SuperCity service with complimentary newspapers and at-seat refreshments was due to enter service on the Praha - Ostrava route on January 27.

Electric working between Brno and Adamov began on December 16; Zeleznicni Stavitelstvi is wiring the 30 km route from Brno to Skalice Nad Svitavou.

France: La Roche-sur-Yon will be served by through TGVs from December 1998 at a cost of Fr22m. Three diesel locomotives will be modified to haul TGV Atlantique sets to and from Nantes along non-electrified track.

SNCF’s freight division is seeking a state grant worth Fr2bn to fund investment in intermodal traffic in the next five years, focusing on capacity improvements around Dijon and on the Grande Ceinture belt route round Paris.

Germany: DB has begun work in Basel on an intermodal terminal able to handle 400 containers and swap bodies a day; it will open in 1998.

Great Britain: Eurostar Link services between Edinburgh, Manchester and Waterloo International ended on January 4; preferential fares will instead be available on Great North Eastern Railway and InterCity West Coast routes.

Netherlands: NS is to expand use of its Trace traffic control system with a view to doubling network capacity by 2005. Trace now incorporates a track-to-train data transmission function.

Pakistan: PR is to equip 94 major stations with modern signalling equipment incorporating track circuits following a pilot installation at Pabbi.

Paraguay: The Minister of Industry & Commerce has announced plans to invest US$150m in Fcpcal as a prelude to privatisation, including the construction of a new route to Ciudad del Este.

Spain: Five consortia have bid for a 10-year concession to operate the Madrid Dry Port intermodal terminal at Coslada and rail services to the ports of Algeciras, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia, which are shareholders in the facility.

USA: Amtrak, the FRA and nine states are funding a US$750000 study to develop frequent passenger services on routes from Chicago. Conventional and high-speed services to cities such as Minneapolis, St Louis and Cincinnati will be examined, along with funding and management options.

Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Overland eXpress consortium have signed an agreement for traffic, marketing, alignment, environmental and engineering studies for the Miami - Orlando/Tampa TGV project. FOX is to pay 25% of the US$9·5m cost, with FDOT providing the remainder.

Arizona State Governor Fife Symington has promised US$10m in seed money for a proposed commuter service in Phoenix.

California’s Alameda County Congestion Management Agency has voted to provide US$2·9m to fund commuter service over the 137 km Stockton - San Jose route. A three-year trial by the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission is to begin in January 1998.

Zimbabwe: Feasibility studies are being conducted for a new line from iron ore deposits near Kwekwe to Mutare on the Mozambique border; the ore would be exported through Beira.