Austria: The 936m Birgl tunnel was holed through on April 28, as part of a project to double-track the 208 km Tauern line from Salzburg to Rosenbach.

China: On May 9 work began in Lhasa on a 919m bridge required for the Qinghai - Tibet railway scheme.

Europe: This month Logistica Mediterranea Cargo, a joint venture of Renfe and Trenitalia, is to introduce a weekly service between Reggio Emilia and Burriana near Valencia, with 15 gauge-convertible vans carrying 50 tonne loads each. A twice-weekly intermodal service linking Piacenza and Barcelona-Morrot is expected to start shortly.

Germany:DB and the Land of Brandenburg have reached an agreement for a 3 km extension of Berlin S-Bahn Line S25 from Lichterfelde Süd into central Teltow by 2004, costing €33m.

By 2005 €60m is to be spent to upgrade the 130 km/h Regensburg - Schwandorf - Weiden - Marktredwitz line for use by 160 km/h tilting trains.

Prignitzer Eisenbahn GmbH has signed a 10 year agreement to operate services in Brandenburg. The Land will provide an €8·3m annual subsidy, and PEG is acquiring eight Stadler Regio-Shuttle vehicles for Meyenburg - Pritzwalk - Neustadt, Putlitz - Pritzwalk and Neustadt - Neuruppin services.

Japan: JR East plans to lay optic fibre cables alongside two Shinkansen routes by 2008 to carry ATC data, removing the need to use Japanese Telecom Holdings Co infrastructure.

Netherlands: On April 1 Belgian open access operator Dillen & Le Jeune Cargo signed an agreement with ProRail for access to the Dutch network. DLC will run freight trains between Antwerpen, Roosendaal, Eindhoven and Venlo.

As part of the Randstadspoor project the transport ministry has approved the €27m quadrupling of tracks to the west of Utrecht and construction of two new stations to serve housing developments at Leidsche Rijn, for opening in 2010.

Russia: An EM2-O24 prototype EMU officially entered service on April 25. One of three new EMU designs being developed jointly by New Transport Technologies and the Ministry of Railways, it is air-conditioned and has three classes of seating.

Spain: A ceremony on May 6 marked the start of work on a 765m single-track spur that will enable Renfe to operate a circular suburban service in Sevilla from February 2004 (RG 3.03 p119). Costing €5·1m, the spur is part of €57·3m of infrastructure works, while €5·1m is to be spent on three new stations and up to €50m on two new EMUs and refurbishment of 12 trainsets.

ERTMS Level 1 signalling is being tested on Renfe’s Albacete - X