Tshiuetin Rail Transportation of Canada is to receive up to C$12m of federal funds to continue passenger services providing the only surface transport between Sept-îles and Schefferville in northern Québec. The funding runs to the end of 2009.

On January 29 Network Rail signed an agreement granting freight operator First GBRf access to the British rail network from June 2008 until December 2016.

On January 24 Czech Railways began selling air tickets at selected major stations under the its CD Sky alliance with Slovak low-cost airline Sky Europe. Passengers must also buy a rail ticket to get to Praha Ruzyne airport.

French local authorities have approved a 35-year concession award to SNC-Lavalin for the design, construction and operation of a 5·3 km rack railway to the summit of Puy-de-Dôme at a cost of €76·4m. Due to open in June 2012, the line will be worked by four Stadler electric railcars.

President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana has announced government commitments of US$90m towards railway rehabilitation. Funds from the Canadian International Development Agency are to be used for feasibility studies into a railway linking the country with Burkina Faso.

Hungarian freight forwarder Masped has received an operating licence for its subsidiary Masped Cargo Private Rail. Last October Masped signed a letter of intent to provide a Hungarian distribution hub for containers arriving at the Slovenian port of Koper.

The US Commonwealth of Virginia is to provide $40m towards a $57m project to upgrade 80 km of Norfolk Southern track between Manassas and Front Royal.

Kansas City Southern de Mexico is to spend more than US$200m on capital investment projects this year, including US$100m for capacity enhancement works and track renewals. The programme also envisages the purchase of 35 locos and 600 wagons.

Construction of a 53 km line between Yaiva and Solikamsk in Russia is expected to begin this month. Opening is planned for 2009, with the 9bn roubles cost to be shared equally by the federal government, RZD and local industries.

Israel Railways is currently replacing 33 level crossings across its network. One of the most complex projects involves construction of a bridge to take the line between Na’an junction and Naha-Sorek over a busy motorway and the Sorek river. The railway is being temporarily diverted to a new alignment to allow bridge supports to be erected.