EIB is lending €776m to Albali Señalización, the special-purpose vehicle formed to design, install and maintain signalling and telecommunications equipment on the Albacete – Alacant high speed line under a 20-year PPP contract. Albali is owned by investment funds CDC Infrastructure and Fond-ICOinfraestructuras, ADIF and suppliers Alstom, CAF, EMTE and Isolux.

Australia’s states and territories have agreed to the creation of a National Rail Safety Regulator, replacing seven separate organisations from January 2013.

On May 29 Russian Railways introduced REX Regional Express branded services from Moscow Belorusskaya to Mozhaysk and Zvenigorod, using ED4M EMUs modernised by TMH’s Demikhovo works.

The final 5·9 km of the Gautrain line to Park station in Johannesburg opened on June 7, having been delayed from March 2011 because of problems with a leaking tunnel.

Tenders have been invited for the final 70 km of Namibia’s Aus – Lüderitz railway rehabilitation. N$480m has been spent over 10 years but there has been no progress recently due to financial constraints and serious flooding in 2011. N$75m has been made available for the current financial year.

Russian Railways is trialling a microcredit scheme offering passengers loans to buy tickets with a 55-day interest free repayment period.

Austrian Federal Railways and Ferrovie Udine Cividale have launched MiCoTra, a cross-border passenger service between Villach and Udine

On June 1 a joint funding grant accord for regional railway modernisation was signed by the East African Community, Indian Trust Fund and Nepad-Infrastructure Preparation Project Facility,. US$1·8m is allocated to regulatory and legal harmonisation, appraisals of proposed links and the creation of a Railway Co-ordination Unit. The Indian government has provided US$428000.