Egypt: A total of 22 companies applied to pre-qualify for the Giza extension of Cairo metro Line 2. The National Authority for Tunnels was expected to produce a shortlist by the end of May.

Europe: The European Commission has appointed AEA Technology Rail to provide an overview and analysis of, and reasons for, the fragmentation of the Single Market for rail mass transit systems in Europe. Covering tramways, light rail and metros, the study is part of the Mass Transit Rail Initiative for Europe (Marie) project.

Great Britain: Almost all London Underground stations are now equipped with gates following completion of the latest stage of the Prestige smart card project being carried out by the TranSys consortium. Under a new £6m contract, TranSys is to supply 50 Cubic Q-Buster season ticket vending machines for LU’s busiest stations.

Construction of Nottingham’s light rail line was to start ’immediately’ following signature on May 11 of the final contract between the Arrow Light Rail Consortium and Greater Nottingham Rapid Transit. The 14 km line is expected to open in 2003 (RG 5.00 p273).

India: The UB consortium, negotiating the contract for construction of Bangalore rapid transit Phase I, has been asked to revise downwards its civil engineering cost estimates. Promoter Bangalore Mass Rapid Transit also believes that revenue projections have been underestimated.

Netherlands: Work on the RandstadRail (Rotterdam - Den Haag) and Randstadspoor (Utrecht) light rail projects is to be brought forward in an effort to stem the growth of car commuting in these areas. New budgetary arrangements favour rail projects over road investment until 2006.

RET Rotterdam has ordered 21 half-barrier installations from Siemens to re-equip level crossings at locations where the metro runs on the surface in the suburbs.

GVB Amsterdam has started a management course to retrain 400 employees in a drive to improve customer service.

July 2 sees opening of Utrecht’s Sneltram extension to Ijsselstein Zenderpark, 2·5 km with two stops. Delivery of rebuilt cars has started, bringing improved circulating space for wheelchairs and prams and on-board ticket vending.

Philippines: Further capacity improvements on Line 1 of Manila’s light rail network will be funded by a US$212m loan from the Japan Bank for International Co-operation. The money will pay for an additional 12 four-section LRVs and installation of ATC to reduce headways to 2min. Meanwhile, construction of Line 2 is suffering further delay as a result of problems with technical re-evaluation of bids for Package IV.

USA: The Minneapolis-St Paul light rail project moved to the final design stage in April following receipt of FTA approval.

As part of a bid to host the 2012 summer Olympics, Dallas is proposing to invest a further $300m in the regional rail network. Plans include light rail routes to Arlington and Grand Prairie, expansion of the Trinity Express commuter service, and the introduction of passenger trains on several freight routes.

CAPTION: Tracklaying is under way on the first metre-gauge light rail line in Bilbao, linking Atxuri and Basurto via Museo and Sagrado Corazón. The Basque government is providing Pts6bn towards the Pts7·2bn cost

CAPTION: Torino lopcal Railways is building a station to serve Caselle airport on the Torino-Ceres line. It is due to open later this year

Industry News

Canada: Railpower Technologies has raised funding of $C1·5m to support development of its Green Goat