Australia: Victoria's Transport Minister Peter Batchelor plans to sign a new Melbourne tram franchise imminently. It is expected that Yarra Trams will operate the entire network following the withdrawal of NationalExpress.
Brazil: Technical and economic bids are due on January 6 from six shortlisted companies to carry out a feasibility study for Line 6 of the Rio de Janeiro metro. Costing US$1·02bn, the 35 km route connecting Tom Jobim airport and Barra de Tijuca with Duque de Caxias would open in 2009.
Canada: Lake City Way station in Burnaby on Vancouver SkyTrain's Millennium line opened on November 21.
China: Shanghai metro Line 5 opened on November 25. A total of 22 locally-assembled Alstom Metropolis trainsets will be used on the 17·2 km elevated route, which links Line 1 at Xinzhuang with Minhang development zone.
Hong Kong MTR has ordered a Motorola Compact Tetra radio system for public address and train communications on the Tung Chung line.
Czech Republic: On November 29 regular services began over the 3·6 km extension of Praha's tram network from Hlubocepy to Barrandov, built by Subterra and ZS Brno at a cost of KC2·1bn. Future plans include a KC1·3bn order for 20 new trams, and an extension to Malesice.
France: A public enquiry has approved plans to extend Strasbourg's light rail network by 13·5 km between December 2006 and June 2008 at a cost of €400m. Work is due to begin this year on the programme, which would also involve the creation of Line E.
India: According to West Bengal Minister for Transport Subhas Chakraborty, an American and a Japanese company have expressed interest in a Rs20bn proposal to develop an 85 km commuter line through Kolkata linking Roychowk with Naihati.
International: The most recent full members to join Alamys, the Latin American Association of Metros, are Transportes Ferroviarios de Madrid, Euskotren, Central and Supervia from Rio de Janeiro, and Tramvia from Barcelona. New associate members are Thales, Casesa, Alcatel, Necso, Mayser, Citef-Auxitec and Ardanuy.
South Korea: A 51bn won contract for an underground peoplemover at Incheon International Airport was awarded to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Sumitomo Corp and LG Industrial Systems on November 26. Opening in late 2008, the 900m line will have three rubber-tyred three-car trainsets.
USA: Bus operator Metro Transit has been selected to operate the Hiawatha light rail line in Minneapolis, expected to open in April. Lower insurance costs helped the public operator's $9m bid for three years win against three private-sector offers.
Opening of the 5 km Canal Street tramway in New Orleans has been delayed by three months from the scheduled date of December 6 to allow road resurfacing to be completed.
San Diego Association of Governments has selected a final alignment for the proposed 17·2 km Mid-Coast extension of San Diego Trolley north from the Old Town Transit Center to University City in La Jolla, expected to cost up to $677m.
Uzbekistan: The Kirov Tramcar Works at Ust-Katav in Russia is to supply 50 trams to the city of Toshkent.