Australia: Hamersley Iron has ordered 240 ore wagons from Smorgon Steel’s Bradken subsidiary at a cost of A$25m; first delivery is due in September.

Canada: In May CPR signed a C$28m three-year contract with Bell Nexxia covering all its telecommunications needs.

Bids closed on May 30 for seven diesel locomotives sought by VIA Rail in the first stage of a C$400m capital investment programme authorised by Transport Minister David Collenette on April 12. There is an option to supply a further 14.

GO Transit ordered 16 wheelchair-accessible bi-level cars from Bombardier for C$43m, to be delivered by July 2002.

Ethiopia: South Africa’s Spoornet, working on infrastructure projects in Ethiopia and Djibouti, is expecting to order rolling stock valued at R100m to re-equip the Djibouti-Ethiopian Railway.

France: SNCF sought bids in April for new rolling stock for the Villefranche - La Tour de Carol line, one of three metre-gauge routes to receive new stock over the next few years. The Blanc-Argent line is awaiting delivery in 2001 of five Type X74500 railcars being built by CFD Bagnères, while a design for renewal of the St Gervais - Vallorcine fleet has yet to be approved.

Great Britain: Railtrack has awarded five-year contracts valued at a total of £200m for supply of CEN60EI rail to three manufacturers: Corus Rail of Britain, Voest Alpine Schienen of Austria and Lucchini of Italy. Railtrack is to set up a rail welding depot in southern England to improve supply to the region; it will be capable of welding 216m lengths instead of the current 180m.

Midland Mainline has ordered 10 additional cars to increase part of its Turbostar DMU fleet from two to three cars. To be built by Adtranz, the intermediate cars will have a buffet bar and improved legroom.

Union Railways (North) has shortlisted 12 groups to tender for five infrastructure contracts on Phase 2 of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, including 20 km of tunnelling. Contracts are expected to be awarded in early 2001.

Panama: Rail welding on the Panama Railroad reconstruction is to be undertaken by Progress Rail Services subsidiary Chemetron Railway Products.

Poland: DB has ordered 850 freight wagons from the Gniewczyna rolling stock plant, assuring continued production there until 2004.

Russia: Moscow’s Voitovich passenger coach factory has been commissioned to build 16 air-conditioned coaches of Series 9510 to run at 200 km/h on the Moscow - St Petersburg line. Replacing the existing Aurora fleet, they will join another series of 200 km/h stock being built at Tver.

South Africa: Transnet’s subsidiary Transwerk is to build a pre-production trainset of 68 wagons for Swedish iron-ore mining group LKAB following trials with five prototypes (RG 4.99 p198).

Spain: On April 26 Renfe ordered an initial fleet of 11 four-car and three two-car Tren 2000 EMUs for its Cercanías surburban business. They will be built by a consortium of CAF, Siemens, Adtranz and Alstom, for delivery from April 2003.

Dimetronic, part of Invensys, has won a contract worth 25m euros to install distance - to - go transmission - based signalling on Madrid metro Line 10.

Switzerland: VBZ Zürich has ordered a further 58 Cobra low-floor trams from Adtranz and Fiat-SIG for SFr235.5m. Due for delivery from 2001, they must be built in Switzerland, although the location has not been decided.

USA: Wisconsin Central has awarded ABC-Naco Rail a $2·5m contract for a state-wide level crossing safety equipment project.

CAPTION: Taking shape in the Savigliano works of Fiat Ferroviaria is the next batch of wide-bodied Sr220 Pendolino trainsets for Finnish State Railways. Joining two locally-built prototypes, the first of the eight 6-car trains is due to be delivered this year and the rest by 2002


China: The Ministry of Railways is to issue bonds valued at 2bn yuan to finance six major railway and bridge construction projects.

Great Britain: Turnover at FirstGroup’s UK rail businesses was up 2% in 1999-2000, with operating profit up 11% to £46·2m despite a £21·2m reduction in revenue support grant.

Tunisia: The European Investment Bank has approved a loan of 50m euros to fund track doubling between Tunis and Sousse and upgrading of other rail infrastructure in the Sousse area.