Azerbaijan: Baku metro chief Tagi Ahmadov has complained that the state budget for 2001 only allocates 10bn manats for the network, compared to the 66bn manats needed. Repairs require 32bn manats, and a large percentage of the fleet is out of use awaiting repairs.

Belgium: Bombardier is to supply 10 low-floor intermediate sections for LRVs on the Belgian coastal tramway by summer 2002, at a cost of 6·2m euros. De Lijn expects to order two further batches of 11 centre sections each in 2001 and 2002, bringing the price to 19·8m euros.

Brazil: Rio de Janeiro state government is to borrow R$222·8m from federal development bank BNDES to fund the renewal and extension of the city’s metro over the next three years.

Bulgaria: Japan Bank for International Co-operation has approved a loan of US$118m for expansion of the Sofia metro, guaranteed by the state.

Canada: OC Transpo was due to take delivery last month of three Bombardier Talent diesel railcars for the Ottawa light rail project. Consultants have been appointed to study links between Kanata Business Park and Merivale Road, and from Place du Portage in Hull to Ottawa across the Prince of Wales bridge.

France: Paris Transport Authority carried record traffic last year, with metro trips up 4·7% at 1 240 million and RER traffic up by 5·1%. This year should see a major order placed for replacement metro rolling stock.

Great Britain: West Yorkshire PTE and Leeds City Council were granted a Transport & Works Order on December 20 covering the three routes of the city’s planned Supertram light rail network.

Italy: Palermo’s Azienda Municipalizzata Autotrasporti has been granted a 88m euro loan from EIB towards the construction of three tram lines, which are due to open in 2005. The 4·8 km Leonardo da Vinci line will have 13 stops, the 5·6 km Roccella line 15 and the 4·4 km Calatafimi line 12.

Netherlands: A 1·9 km light rail shuttle has been introduced between Houten and a new housing development at Houten Castellum, worked by an ex-Hannover LRV. The service uses one track of an NS quadrupling scheme due to be completed in 2005, with the aid of a portable 1·5 kV to 600V transformer.

HTM has taken an option to buy 50 second-hand trams from üstra of Hannover, to run on the Zoetermeer suburban line currently operated by NS.

Portugal: Indra of Spain has been awarded a 16·23 million euros contract to supply a new fare collection system to Metropolitano de Lisboa. Magnetic stripe ticketing will be introduced alongside contactless smart cards.

Spain: Metro de Sevilla has received nine bids for outline design of the city’s proposed four-line metro (RG 10.00 p630). Under a separate six-month contract worth Pts132m, abandoned tunnels between La Plata and Gran Plaza will be surveyed for use in the new scheme.

The Gregorio Marañón - Tribunal section of Madrid metro Line 10 reopened on December 21, following the completion of tunnel widening (RG 1.01 p51). The Pts3bn project included excavating new tunnels around the existing bores at Alonso Martínez and Tribunal.

Tunisia: European Investment Bank has approved a 30m euro loan towards the construction by 2005 of a 6·7 km light rail line linking Tunis central station to El Mourouj. Ten stations are to be built, 15 new vehicle sets acquired and 3·2 km of the existing Line 1 will be upgraded.

USA: Dallas Area Rapid Transit opened its first underground light rail station at Cityplace on December 18.