The Great South Pacific Express, a joint venture between Queensland Rail and Venice Simplon Orient Express, is operating to altered schedules during the January to March wet season, running only on standard gauge lines south of Brisbane and through New South Wales. Running in North Queensland will recommence in April, with some changes to the timetable including an extra night between Kuranda and Brisbane.

SNCF’s Grandes Lignes business has acquired a 20% stake in the on-line customer loyalty scheme Maximiles, which will enable customers buying tickets from the railway’s website to earn points that can be exchanged for gifts. It is hoped that the Fr600m of on-line sales forecast for 2000 will rise to Fr1·2bn in 2001, around 4% of the Grandes Lignes total.

German Railway will introduce widespread changes in its timetable from June 10. DB will run 99 daily ICE services to Berlin, eight more than at present, and several Berlin - Hamburg IC/EC services will be replaced by ICE trains.

Investment capital fund company Apax Partners & Co has expressed interest in acquiring DB’s catering subsidiary Mitropa, although DBhas said it is not for sale.

The Vietnam Data Communications Company has won a US$1m contract to construct and install automatic ticket sales and booking infrastructure for Thong Nhat trains between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Entering service in April, the system will serve the two main cities and other stations along the route.

Station reconstruction work has begun at Chur, Switzerland. The station will gain a new subway and a travel centre in the first phase of work, to be completed by the end of 2004.

The treintaxi shared taxi scheme in the Netherlands has been revised after a 13% drop in passengers last year. Taxis will again be based at stands, rather than in depots, and the area served reduced from a 15 km to an 8 km radius to reduce waiting times. The service has been withdrawn from Amsterdam Zuid/WTC and Rijssen due to low usage, and now covers 115 stations.

NoordNed has installed CCTV recording equipment in trains around Groningen to improve customer security.

Deputy Director of Russia’s October Railway Vitaliy Mihno has announced the building of a new Ladojskiy station in St Petersburg to serve trains to and from Murmansk, Petrozavodsk, Yaroslavl and Vologda. The 5·4bn rouble project will open on the city’s 300th anniversary in 2003.

On February 5 British inter-city operator GNER removed its £3 charge for carrying bicycles. Future plans will see more cycle racks provided at stations.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has called for the installation of talking signs on BART stations, after small hand-held receivers were made available to visually impaired customers at the international air terminal.

ScotRail is equipping 16 stations in west central Scotland with low light level CCTV cameras and a Sensormatic help point linked to a remote monitoring centre at Paisley.