Estonia: Tallinn city government is seeking separation of commuter rail operator AS Elektriraudtee from national railway Eesti Raudtee. The aim is to merge the city’s electric railways with the tramways operated by Trammi-ja trollibussikoondis and sell them to the private sector as a single entity.

Germany: München airport authorities are proposing a faster link to the city centre than that provided by the existing S-Bahn service. Studies have costed a proposed 43 km Transrapid line at DM1·3bn. At the same time, the Bavarian transport ministry is proposing construction of an east-to-north curve which would give direct access to the airport station from the Regensburg and Passau lines.

Spain: Tecsa and Dragados y Construcciones have been awarded a Pts3·5bn contract to double and electrify the 12 km Tres Cantos - Colmenar Viejo route, due for completion within 15 months. Extension of Madrid suburban services to Colmenar Viejo is expected to increase ridership by an additional 3000 passengers a day.

Turkey: Istanbul Metropolitan Munici-pality has selected Gülermak AS to build the 1·8 km light metro extension from Yenibosna to Yesilkoy Airport at a cost of 7500bn lire. Bids are to be called shortly for a light rail line from Terminal to Mahmutbey and Ikitelli and a tramway linking Vezneciler, Edirnekapi and Gaziosmanpasa.

USA: The final section of the Los Angeles Red line metro will open for revenue service on June 24 (RG 3.00 p138).

Bids are being sought for a design-build-operate contract to build a commuter rail link between central New Orleans and the city’s international airport. The 19·3 km route would utilise one of the two existing rail alignments in a public-private partnership.

San Diego’s North County Transit District has appointed Frederic R Harris Inc to carry out final design of its proposed 35·4 km Oceanside - Escondido diesel light rail route, scheduled to open in 2004. Federal funding worth $152m is expected to be awarded in August.

Pasadena Metro Blue Line Construction Authority is seeking pre-qualification bids for a design and build contract covering the 21·2 km Los Angeles Union Station - Sierra Madre portion, including trackwork, electrification, signalling and 13 stations. The 1·1 km Chinatown viaduct section is being tendered separately (RG 3.00 p142).

The Surface Transportation Board has given its final approval for work to start on the Trenton - Camden light rail line, with agreement of New Jersey Transit’s purchase of the route from CSX (RG 7.99.p420). CSX and NJT will sign an operating contract setting out hours of access for LRVs and freight trains, but NJT will control all trains and maintain the route to FRA Class 2 standards.