Delivery of 25 locomotives from India has allowed freight services to be restarted on the line north from Dar-es-Salaam to Tanga and Moshi in Tanzania. A third weekly passenger service between Dar-es-Salaam and Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika is now running, and Tanzania Railways has ordered 23 third class sleeping cars from India.

At the end of July Torch River Rail began operating a 45 km short line between Nipawin and Choiceland in Saskatchewan which was purchased from Canadian Pacific last December. The Canadian province has announced C$0·5m in grants for short line infrastructure projects.

A 52 km line from the railhead at Cahul to the short section of the Danube within Moldovan territory at Giurgiulesti was formally completed with the operation of the first train on July 25. The line is ‘a victory for all Moldovan people’, said President Vladimir Voronin, ‘for the first time in history Moldova gains access to the sea.’

Swedish infrastructure manager Banverket confirmed in July that the Citytunnel cross-city route in Malmö will open with the December 2010 timetable change, six months ahead of the ‘summer 2011’ deadline envisaged when construction work began in March 2005.

RailTransAuto formally opened a 25 ha car import terminal at Mikhnevo in Moscow on August 10. Finland’s VR hopes to increase shipment of cars to Russia by rail to 50000 vehicles a year, and in the longer term aims to carry a third of the 740000 cars imported by Russia each year.

Suburban services between Gyumri, Yerevan, Pemzashen, Artik and Erash in Armenia were resumed on August 2 by South Caucasus Railways, the subsidiary of Russian Railways which has a 30-year concession to manage the Armenian network (RG 7.08 p406). Yerevan – Tsovagyuh commuter services had been restored on July 12. The rolling stock has been provided by RZD, and contracts have been placed for repairs to 1000 wagons and 23 electric locomotives.

Chilean freight operator Fepasa has signed an agreement with the Port of Valparaíso that should see work start in the fourth quarter of 2008 on a new bulk terminal for copper exports, costing 200m pesos and involving the construction of a connection to the national network at Bellavista. Fepasa is currently carrying some 200000 tonnes of copper to the port each year.

Belarus Railways CEO Vladimir Zherelo has announced an agreement with RZD to increase speeds on the 610 km section of the Warszawa – Moscow corridor between Brest and Osinovka from 140 km/h to 160 km/h. Acquisition of tilting trains is being considered.

Gastrade, Unitranscom and Rail Cargo Austria will be granted licences to operate freight services in Bulgaria this month.

The Thomas Cook Overseas Timetable reports that rehabilitation of the rail network in Ecuador is expected to be completed in January (RG 6.08 p361). Two railcars have been built and three refurbished for use on the southern section of the 1067 mm gauge network, and a new railcar has been introduced in the north.

UK operator South West Trains is trialling biofuel made from diesel, soya and rape seed oil in a Class 159 DMU. ‘Widespread adoption will depend on a number of factors, such as pricing, taxation and the current debate on the overall sustainability of biofuel use’, said Ian Papworth, Director of Engineering at the Association of Train Operating Companies.