CSX is to spend $6·6bn on capital projects over the next three years, according to Chief Financial Officer Oscar Munoz. He confirmed last month that the railway plans to invest $1·7bn this year, around $1·6bn a year in 2008-09 and $1·7bn in 2010. Around 60% of the money will go on infrastructure works, with 20% allocated to locos and wagons and 20% to IT plus network and terminal capacity enhancement.

On September 10 French intermodal operator Lorry Rail finally began revenue services on the Perpignan – Bettembourg corridor (RG 11.06 p724). Lorry Rail is running a single train of 20 Modalohr wagons with capacity for 40 semi-trailers, covering the 1 060 km in 13 h against 17 h to 22 h by road. At present the train runs every other day, but a daily service will begin by the end of this year after a further 26 wagons have been delivered.

Slovenian railway agency AZP has selected a consortium of Thales and Iskra Sistemi & Primorje for a €36·4m contract to renew the signalling and telecommunications equipment on the 46 km Divaka – Koper line, which forms part of European Corridor VI. Thales will supply eight LockTrac 6151 electronic interlockings plus axle-counters and electro-hydraulic point machines.

Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov opened the 223 km Tashguzar — Baysun — Kumkurgan railway on August 24. The US$447m line reaches 1 880 m above sea level as it crosses the Hissar mountains, and has cut 170 km from north-south routes as well as eliminating the need to transit Turkmenistan. Six stations serve Tashguzar, Dekhkanabad, Baysun, Kumkurgan, Okrabot and Darband, and housing and a school have also been constructed as part of the project.

Following a meeting with local politicians in Strasbourg on September 7, French Prime Minister François Fillon confirmed that the government expected work to start in 2010 on the second phase of LGV Est-Européenne, subject to agreement of the funding package. He said the government was also looking for 'rapid agreement' on the funding for the second phase of LGV Rhin-Rhône.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa and his Malawian counterpart Mbingu was Mutharika participated in ceremonies at the Mwami border crossing on August 25 to mark the resumption of work on the Mchinji – Chipata rail link, on which construction began in 1982. Civil works for the Malawi section were largely completed in 1984 with Canadian assistance, and Mwanawasa apologised for the delay in building the 24 km Zambian portion.

  • CAPTION: Israel Railways' new line from Ben Gurion Airport to Modi'in Outskirts was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on September 4. He was joined by Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz and the Mayor of Modi'in Moshe Spector. Revenue services from the new station had started on September 1, offering a journey time of 20 min to Tel Aviv. With the final 6 km to Modi'in Central expected to open before the end of this year, the line is projected to carry around 1·2 million passengers/year