Argentina: The federal government and Ferrovías have signed an agreement to purchase 17 two-car DMUs from Portuguese Railways for 9·6m pesos, to be deployed on the metre-gauge Belgrano Norte commuter route from Buenos Aires to Villa Rosa. The first six trainsets are due to arrive in Argentina by the end of August.

Bangladesh: BR has taken delivery of three broad-gauge locomotives bought from Indian Railways using part of a Rs2bn Indian credit. BR also plans to procure 50 broad and 80 metre-gauge carriages.

As part of a project to raise speeds, 16 locomotives, 50 carriages, eight brake vans and 180 wagons are to be converted from vacuum to air brakes by Knorr-Bremse at a cost of US$4·5m, funded by the Bangladesh government.

Belgium: SNCB has signed a letter of intent to order a further 70 M6 double-deck coaches from Alstom and Bombardier, including 32 driving trailer cars. The new vehicles are being acquired at a cost of €179m, including the conversion of Class 27 locomotives for push-pull operation.

France: UK freight operator EWS has won a two-year contract to provide infrastructure company Fertis with up to 14 Class 58 and 26 Class 56 locomotives for hauling ballast trains during construction of TGV Est.

India: In the current financial year, IR’s Kapurthala factory is to build 63 passenger coaches based on 24 vehicles supplied by Alstom LHB under a 1995 technology-transfer agreement.

Indonesia: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Sumitomo Corp have been awarded a ´6bn turnkey contract to build a new multiple-unit depot at Depok, 30 km south of Jakarta (MR04 p25). To be finished by July 2007, it will be financed by a loan from JBIC.

Iraq: The former Coalition Provisional Authority has ordered 240 container-carrying flat wagons from Greenbrier’s Polish subsidiary Wagony Swidnica.

Ireland: Solutions E2 Ltd has been awarded a €102000 contract to supply carpets for 80 carriages CAF is building for Iarnród éireann.

South Korea: On June 11 Taejung Electric Construction Co awarded Nexans a €1·5m contract to supply balise cables as part of the programme to install ATP on the Seoul - Pusan and Seoul - Yosu routes.

Spain: Within a budget of €36m, EuskoTren has called tenders for the supply of three or 12 electro-diesel locomotives weighing no more than 60 tonnes each. Bids have also been invited to supply 42 general-purpose flat wagons within a budget of €4·1m.

GIF has awarded Bombardier Transportation a €13·1m contract to supply signalling and telecommunications equipment for the 34·6 km Villar de Chinchilla - Almansa section of the Madrid - Alacant high speed line.

Spanish National Railways is proposing to fine Siemens €11m for late delivery of 16 Velaro E 350 km/h trainsets for the partly-completed Madrid - Barcelona AVE line. A revision to the original contract worth €401m is to be negotiated.

Turkey: In July Pfleiderer supplied the first of 500000 B70 concrete sleepers ordered by TCDD in a €20m contract for use in the modernisation of the Ankara - Eskisehir line.


Angola: The Indian government is providing a US$40m loan towards rehabilitation of CFN’s Namibe - Lubango route and bridges over the Giraul and Beiro rivers.

Brazil: The senate economy committee has approved the signing of a US$209m loan agreement between Japan Bank for International Co-operation and São Paulo Metro to fund Phases 1 and 2 of the Metro’s Line 4 project.

Romania: CFR is to invest €120m in upgrading the Valcele - Ramnicu Valcea line, cutting the Bucuresti - Sibiu journey time to under 2h from 2008.

Russia: On July 6 Standard & Poor’s gave Russian Railways a BB+ long-term credit rating on foreign and national currency loans, as well as an AA+ Russian national scale rating, with stable forecast.


Governor of Alaska Frank Murkowski has approved legislation allowing Alaska Railroad to raise up to $500m in bonds to fund construction of a 128·7 km extension to Fort Greely and a 24·1 km branch from Flag Hill to Blair Lakes. The Fort Greely line could later be extended to the Canadian border, as part of a planned 1800 km international rail link recently endorsed by Canadian Transport Minister Tony Valeri.

Australian Transport & Energy Corridor Ltd has announced plans to build a 210 km mixed-gauge line between Wandoan and Banana in Queensland. Intended as the first part of ATEC’s Melbourne - Darwin corridor, the A$200m Dawson Valley Railway will carry coal from the Surat Basin to the port of Gladstone, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2006.

Last month work began on a six-month feasibility study for a 1252 km rail link between manganese deposits near Dori in Burkina Faso and the Ghana rail network at Kumasi. Estimated to cost US$750m, the line would provide the landlocked country with access to the coast avoiding C