Australia: Victoria’s Public Transport Corp has called tenders for construction of 1·6 km of tram route in Melbourne, along Exhibition Street to connect with the Wattle Park line.

Bulgaria: Sofia Metro opened a 5 km section of its first line on January 28.

China: Creative Star Ltd had sold 3·7million Octopus smartcards by the start of February, with stocks of the adult ticket close to exhaustion. Delivery of an extra 2million cards is expected to begin next month.

France: The municipality of Toulon has invited expressions of interest for a Fr3bn light rail network. Work on a 10·5 km route from La Valette to Ollioules with 18 stations is planned to start in 2001 for opening in 2004, followed by a further 20 km in 2008.

Great Britain: Hampshire County Council and Portsmouth City Council are to apply for a Transport & Works Order to build the first 14 km of the South Hampshire Rapid Transit system from Portsmouth to Gosport and Fareham. Requiring £129m of public-private finance, including £37m for a 700m tunnel under Portsmouth Harbour, the light rail route would open at the end of 2003.

Israel: NRA and Logitec are to undertake a US$1·2m feasibility study of the proposed Beer Sheva LRT system, which would be built and maintained by Ramta. The study is expected to take nine months to complete.

Netherlands: Work is to begin this year on rebuilding the metro station at Amsterdam CS for the north-south line, scheduled to open in 2006.New Zealand: Pending discussions with Tranz Rail, Auckland Regional Council has aborted the tendering process for the city’s light rail project, returning $100000 deposits to five consortia.

Poland: Vagonmash St Petersburg and Skoda Dopravní technika Plzen of the Czech Republic are bidding to supply 108 cars for Warszawa Metro.

Russia: Skoda Dopravní technika Plzen is supplying electrical equipment for refurbishment of a six-car St Petersburg metro EMU by Vagonmash St Petersburg.

Turkey: Metropolitan Municipality of Bursa has invited bids for the supply of an automatic fare collection system that will embrace the city’s LRT network.

USA: Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority has ordered a communications system worth $5·7m, from HSQ Technology for its Tasman West light rail extension. American Systems Technologies Inc is to provide the signalling for $5m, and $1m will be spent on passenger information displays at each station.

Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s 1998 capital programme for 1998 includes work on the peoplemover linking JFK International Airport with Howard Beach subway station and Jamaica on the LIRR. PATH will get $58m for improvements, including refurbishment of Journal Square station.

Yugoslavia: Beograd City Transport was due to take delivery last month of 20 RT6N low-floor trams ordered from CKD Praha of the Czech Republic.