The French region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais is funding accessibility improvements to 124 SNCF TER trainsets, including the installation of retractable wheelchair ramps and tactile surfaces to assist visually-impaired passengers. The €6m programme is due for completion by 2014.

Russian Railways subsidiary Second Freight Company has been renamed Federal Freight Company with effect from November 13.

French aluminium producer Alteo has renewed its haulage contract with DB Schenker subsidiary Euro Cargo Rail for a further three years. This will see ECR operating 14 trains a week between the port of Fos-sur-Mer and the Alteo plant at Gardanne, carrying 1·1 million tonnes of bauxite a year.

SNCF has made timetables for its Intercités and TER services available on its open data site at Station location data has also been made available, as well as access to a database enabling the next arrival and departure times to be obtained for a specific station.

The first consignment of 50 containers to be handled by the New Silk Road service introduced by KTZ and Interrail Holding AG departed from Wuhan in China on October 24, arriving in Pardubice in the Czech Republic on November 9 after covering 10569 km in 14 days. KTZ reports that the containers were transhipped at the break of gauge between China and Kazakhstan in a ‘record-breaking’ 10 h.

On November 16 at UP’s Proviso Yard in Chicago, US Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo launched ‘a collaborative effort’ aimed raising awareness among rail workers of the dangers of using electronic devices at work, aiming to make this ‘socially unacceptable’.

PSA Peugeot Citroën signed a contract to sell 75% of its logistics business Gefco (RG 10.12 p8) to RZD for €800m on November 6. Pending approval by the relevant competition authorities, the transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.

HZ Infra of Croatia has begun a €3·3m programme to upgrade the 11·8 km Pozega – Velika route, due for completion by May 1 2013 and including the raising of the maximum speed from 20 to 60 km/h. Reopening of the Pleternica – Caglin – Našice route, currently closed due to the poor condition of the infrastructure, is also planned.