ZOS Vrútky and DVJ Dunakeszi of Hungary are refurbishing 26 coaches used on international services by Slovak Republic Railways. The first and second class vehicles are to receive new interiors, air-conditioning and plug doors, as well as disc brakes, anti-slide protection equipment and new dampers.

The Netherlands transport ministry is funding a 460m guilders programme to improve cycle storage facilities at all 380 stations by 2006. All outdoor racks are to be covered and the opening hours of staffed facilities extended to cover both first and last trains: around 40% of passengers arrive at stations by bike.

Reisebüro Mittelthurgau AG is offering for sale its Nostalgie Orient Express cruise train, citing high operating costs. These include track access charges and maintenance of rolling stock dating from the 1930s.

Prism Rail of Great Britain has awarded Sema Group a £6·4m contract to supply 156 Avantix MultiTicket TVMs over the next 14 months, to replace Quickfare machines at stations on LTS Rail and West Anglia Great Northern. The smart card-compatible machines will also issue tickets booked by phone or over the Internet upon insertion of a credit or debit card.

Ten years after its inception, the number of Netherlands Railways stations offering the Treintaxi service has risen from 30 to 112, covering 60% of households in the country. The number of passengers carried each year has risen from 0·7million to 3·7million, despite the end of NS and government support that has seen the price of each stage travelled rise from five to 10 guilders.

Wagons-Lits and SNCF are discussing a three-year extension to the contract to provide on-train catering (RG 11.99 p711), currently due to expire on December 31 2003. Key issues include revising the amount of subsidy from SNCF, comprising a total of Fr800m over six years with annual payments decreasing to zero by 2003. Wagons-Lits made a loss of Fr50m on a turnover of Fr460m in 1999, when SNCF provided Fr160m.

Swiss Federal Railways is selling its 40% stake in CityNightLine to German Railway; a formal agreement was due to be signed last month. SBB says it has no intention of withdrawing from overnight services, and CityNightLine trains will continue to run from Zürich and Basel to Hamburg and Berlin. CityNightLine was launched in 1995 as DACH Hotelzug, by DB, SBB and Austrian Federal Railways, but ÖBB withdrew in 1996.

CAPTION: Spanish Development Minister Rafeal Arias Salgado officially opened Renfe’s new station in Castelló on February 20, built as part of a Pts25·8bn programme to double-track and relocate underground the railway alignment through the city. A bus and coach interchange has been built next to the station, as well as 3204m2 of parking space for cars