Argentina: Metropolitano ran its first commercial electric service on the 6·6 km Temperley - Claypole section of the Roca network on May 18. With this section completed at a cost of 12m pesos, Claypole - Florencio Varela forms the next stage of the electrification programme.

Austria: The carriage of mail by rail on the ÖBB network ceased on June 1, when the post office switched all bulk movements between sorting centres to road transport.

Australia: New health standards for railway workers were to be introduced in Australia on July 1, harmonising them across all states and territories for the first time.

Bulgaria: Transport Minister Nikolai Vassilev has awarded an operating licence to LPG distributor Bulmarket DM, which plans to run freight trains on the Rousse - Kaspichan route in the northeast of the country.

China: CR has started double-tracking the 145·8 km Zhanyi - Kunming section of the Guiyang - Kunming line. Costing 3·75bn yuan, the work is to be completed by the end of 2006.

On June 16 construction crews completed the longest tunnel on the Qinghai - Tibet line. Located 80 km from Lhasa, the 3345m bore is 4264m above sea level.

Congo: CFCO has restored a regular passenger and freight service on the 250 km Brazzaville - Loutete route, which was closed six years ago following war damage.

Europe: In its summer timetable, Russian Railways introduced five international passenger services, linking Moscow with Brussels and Thessaloniki, and Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Ufa with Berlin.

The German and Czech governments agreed last month to withdraw the Dresden - Lovosice rolling motorway service. Traffic collapsed following Czech accession to the EU which eliminated road border delays.

Trenitalia Cargo and Interporto Bologna have launched the Bravo project to boost traffic on the Brenner corridor by 50% over three years, with the backing of 15 other companies including railway operators and freight shippers. KombiConsult of Frankfurt will provide project management with funding from the EU's 6th research budget.

France: RFF has approved plans to electrify the 103 km Tours - Vierzon route, costed at €107m. Funding contributions are to be provided by the European Union, French government and the Centre region.

A €73·3m package of roof repairs, gauge enhancement to GB1, resignalling and new safety equipment for the Fréjus tunnel is now expected to be finished in 2007. Work is expected to start in 2005, once the Italian section of the project has been completed.

International: Chinese Minister of Railways Liu Zhijun and Kazakhstan's Minister of Transport & Communication Kazhmurat Nagmanov have signed a co-operation agreement to expand cross-border services.

Poland: Kolej Baltycka SA, a joint venture between Szczecin Harbour Co and Heavy Haul Power International of Germany, has started running its own freight trains using a GM Series 66 diesel loco.

Russia: RZD expects to invest 2·4bn roubles in reconstructing the railways in Chechnya over three years, starting with services from Groznyy to Gudermes and Prokhladnaya. A twice-weekly Moscow - Groznyy train resumed on May 30 after a five-year gap.

Spain: On May 22 a new station was opened on Renfe's Madrid suburban network, at La Garena between Torrejón de Ardoz and Alcal? de Henares, built at a cost of €8·5m.

Turkey: Following completion of track upgrading, TCDD accelerated passenger services between Ankara and Haydarpasa on June 4. The 567 km trip is now scheduled for 4h 30min, at a top speed of 150 km/h.

United Kingdom: Virgin Trains launched its first commercial Pendolino services with active tilt on June 14, together with 200 km/h operation over the 85 km between Hanslope and Atherstone. Further sections of the West Coast Main Line will be cleared for 200 km/h running ahead of the timetable change on September 27.

USA: On May 26 RailAmerica Inc subsidiary Central Railroad of Indianapolis announced plans to lease the 440 km Fort Wayne Corridor between Crestline and Tolleston from CSX Transportation.

Amtrak expects to accelerate its Boston - Portland Downeaster service on August 1 after reaching agreement with Guilford Rail System to raise the line speed from 96 to 127 km/h; Maine Governor John Baldacci has agreed to fund further track improvements at a cost of $6m.