Via Rail Canada. Although management had done an excellent job in downsizing, he said he would find it difficult to ask the federal cabinet to fund new rolling stock.

CN signed an agreement on January 19 for GEC Alsthom AMF Transport Inc of Montreal to maintain 50 rebuilt SD40-3 locos used to haul coal in western Canada.

China: CR has completed the 260 km Hengfeng - Nanping route in Jiangxi and Fujian provinces. The double-tracked 116 km Xuzhou - Lianyungang route was opened for traffic on December 24.

Work has begun on the doubling of the 147 km Xiaoshan - Ningbo route and construction of a marshalling yard to handle growing port traffic from Ningbo Beilun. The project is to be completed within four years at a cost of 1·3bn yuan.

Cuba: FdeC has purchased five three-car and three four-car EMUs from Catalunya Railways of Spain for its Habana - Matanzas route. The Pts315m deal was financed by the International Commerce Bank of Cuba and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya.

France: Eurotunnel has begun work on a workshop building at Coquelles. The 828m long two-track structure for maintenance of complete Le Shuttle rakes is due to enter service in June.

Great Britain: Drivers’ union Aslef and Virgin Rail have signed a letter of intent to form Millenium Drivers, a joint venture to recruit and train drivers at centres equipped with simulators in London, Crewe and Glasgow.

Poland: PKP has received the first of 15 first class coaches scheduled for delivery from H Cegielski this year. Each 54-seat vehicle has cost US$1m.

Spain: EU directive 91/440 has been formally adopted into Spanish law, allow-

ing third party access to the national rail network. Prospective operators of international intermodal services must have Spanish participation unless access is only required for transit purposes; other freight and passenger operators must comprise at least two other national railways.

Infrastructure authority GIF is to invest Pts64·4bn on the Madrid - Barcelona - French frontier AVE line in 1998. Civil works in progress between Zaragoza and Lleida will get Pts24·5bn and those between Calatayud and Ricla Pts9·4bn.

Feve has proposed a Pts10·3bn investment programme for 1998, including Pts4·4bn for new metre-gauge EMUs and Pts4bn for infrastructure improvements. The 1997-2002 business plan foresees a total investment of Pts66·3bn.

Patentes Talgo has begun negotiations with Siemens for a possible build of 300 km/h locos. A prototype 225 km/h trainset with passive tilt and Krauss Maffei power cars is due in June, with a variable-gauge unit following in October.

Madrid regional government has called tenders for a planning and feasibility study of an orbital regional metro route connecting Móstoles, Alcorcón, Leganés, Getafe, Fuenlabrada and Pinto.

Switzerland: BLS L