• Paths on the standard gauge network in Switzerland will be allocated by an independent organisation from April 1. Trassenvergabe AG, set up in December to manage and allocate paths, is owned equally by Swiss Federal Railways, BLS Lötschbergbahn, Südostbahn and the Association of Public Transport Undertakings. The move is intended to bring Swiss railway policy into line with EU regulations.
  • As part of a six-month programme (RG 12.05 p747), the UK government began a four-week trial of passenger screening equipment on the Heathrow Express platforms at London Paddington station on January 12.
  • EWS International has started test running in France with loco 66215, equipped with KVB and other French safety equipment before delivery on January 2. Under an agreement with Electro-Motive Diesel, EWS has appointed Eurailtest and IES to undertake certification by April for the JT42CWR design to run on the RFF network. EWS subsidiary Euro Cargo Rail hopes to operate up to a dozen Class 66 locos in France
  • The Asian Development Bank confirmed last month that it would provide US$400 000 towards the cost of a US$520 000 study of Chinese Railways, intended to support a policy reform programme. The Chinese government hopes that administrative and technical reforms will remove current constraints on investment which are hampering the railway's ability to meet increasing demand for freight and passenger transport.
  • Following local protests (RG 12.05 p760), Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced on December 10 that the government was suspending for six months the start of geological surveying work on the Lyon - Torino rail link through the Susa valley. He has also commissioned an environmental risk assessment to allay concerns about the release of dangerous minerals during the excavation work.
  • By December 2005, Amtrak engineering crews working on the $145m upgrading of the electrified Keystone Corridor between Philadelphia and Harrisburg in Pennsylvania had installed over 158 000 concrete sleepers and replaced or repaired 124 track-km of rail. Around 23 km of overhead wire has been replaced, and 10 km of curves realigned. Line speeds have already been raised on 40 km of the 170 km corridor, and work is on schedule for completion towards the end of this year.