The Rhein-Ruhr and Westfalen-Lippe transport authorities named DB Regio as the winner of the Haard-Achse operating contract on January 11. Covering routes from Münster to Düsseldorf and Mönchengladbach, the contract will run for 15 years from December 2014, with annual train-km increasing from 3·02 million to 3·87 million.

On December 20 Czech private regional train operator Viamont Regio was renamed GW Train Regio, following its acquisition by construction company IDS Holding in October.

India’s Western Railway is setting up PPPs with three private sector firms to develop ‘deluxe’ toilets with showers and outside snack counters at Indore, Ratlam and Ujjain stations.

SNCF Geodis has increased the maximum length of Autoroute Ferroviaire trains operating between Le Bouou near Perpignan and Bettembourg from 750 m to 850 m, with each train now comprising 24 twin-section Modalohr wagons.

Polish railway holding company PKP SA has sold its 49% stake in CTL Pónoc to remaining shareholder CTL Logistics.

SNCF has combined its Téoz, Lunéa, Corail and Intercités long-distance passenger service brands under the single name Intercités.

Russian Railways is to allocate 700m roubles for the provision of station facilities for people with reduced mobility. Modifications will include escalators, lifts and accessible toilets.

A ceremony on December 29 launched construction of a 27·3 km, nine station 100 km/h rail link between Xi’an North station and Xi’an Xianyang International Airport. Work is expected to take four years at a cost of 9bn yuan.

On December 8 PCC Intermodal operated its first weekly intermodal train from Kutno in Poland to Moscow, with ITL Polska providing traction. Running via Kuznica Biaostockam, it was said to be the first private freight train to cross the Poland/Belarus border.

KTMB launched the Malayan Tiger service between Tupat and Johor Bahru during December. Aimed at tourists, it uses 14 refurbished coaches acquired from JR West and JR Kyushu.

On December 30 the German transport ministry and DB signed an agreement to eliminate a bottleneck on the Würzburg – Aschaffenburg route. A 7 km double-track bypass will replace the 925 m Schwarzkopf tunnel.