The Nordhessen and Rhein-Main transport authorities have directly awarded incumbent DB RegioNetz’s Kurhessenbahn a contract to operate Kassel – Korbach, Korbach – Brilon Wald and Frankenberg – Marburg services totalling 1·32 million train-km/year from the December timetable change.

Mittelsachsen transport authority VMS is investigating acquiring its own fleet of 25 to 40 EMUs, which would be maintained by the supplier.

On October 16 Russian Railways announced that a 50bn rouble bid from Independent Transport Company was the best offer for RZD’s remaining 25% plus one share stake in Freight One. An offer from Sistema was disqualified on technical grounds. ITC paid 125·5bn roubles for a 75% minus two shares stake at privatisation in October 2011.

Track renewals have been completed between Moreno and Castelar under the government of Argentina’s 800m pesos programme of investment in the Sarmiento commuter route in Buenos Aires (RG 7.12 p29). Work between Castelar and Once was due to be completed within three months, with nine of the 18 EMUs to be ‘completely repaired’.

EBRD is providing a €10m state-backed loan to Montenegro infrastructure manager ZICG for emergency track rehabilitation on the Bar – Bijelo Polje line.

With capacity increased between Santos and São Paulo following the delivery of new rack locomotives from Stadler Rail (RG 7.12 p8), MRS Logística has launched a regular intermodal service from Santos to Sumaré. Formed of 28 wagons each capable of accommodating up to four TEU, the service operates at least three times a week.

On September 28 EIB signed a funding agreement covering the initial €100m tranche of the €300m that it is lending to the Bretagne region to fund construction of the Le Mans - Rennes high speed line (RG 9.12 p15). EIB says it is the largest public investor in the project, also lending €553m to the PPP consortium building the new line.

The Queensland government is to reduce its stake in freight operator QR National from 34% to 16%, Treasurer Tim Nicholls announced on October 8. The government would sell 432·3 million shares for A$1·5bn, with shares worth A$500m being sold to a small number of cornerstone investors and the remainder bought back by QR National, which is rebranding as Aurizon. Nicholls said the government had no ‘current intention’ to sell its remaining shares.