In Brief

n On November 26 London Transport extended its ’Home-Link’ taxi connection to and from five Underground stations in southwest London. Passengers using Morden, South Wimbledon, East Putney, Southfields and Wimbledon Park stations can book a cab to collect them for a flat fare of £2·50.

n Harmon Industries’ subsidiary SES Co has won a $4·7m contract to upgrade passenger information equipment on Septa’s regional commuter rail lines and for the metro and Norristown lines to be commissioned by December this year; the improvements are needed to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

n Electrification of the New Haven - Boston section of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor is on schedule for completion in the autumn. By the end of November all mast bases were in place, along with over two-thirds of the masts and one-third of the catenary.

n Italian catering group Autogrill is to take over the concession to provide on-station restaurants at 13 of French National Railways’ stations for Fr330m, including Nord and St Lazare stations in Paris.

n Amtrak broke the US$1bn mark for revenue for the first time in the financial year ending September 1998; a 4·5% rise in passengers to 21·1 million was the biggest jump for a decade. Amtrak’s mail and express parcels operations contributed $83m, while other business activities raised $93m. Despite federal support of $426m, Amtrak lost $95m over all, but this was $4m less than expected.

n DB has introduced an ’Online-Kiosk’ on-board Hamburg - Basel and Hamburg - Stuttgart ICE train pairs. The kiosk is provided in the service car and allows passengers to surf the Internet whilst travelling at 250 km/h.

n SNCF has introduced a non-stop Paris - Clermont Ferrand train; Le Volcan takes 3h 10min for the 420 km journey.

n From November 6 Vietnam Railways accelerated its Hanoi - Saigon services by 2h. The North-South Reunification Express now takes 32h, and other fast trains take 38h for the 1726 km journey.

n Britain’s Anglia Railways has improved its service for disabled passengers using electric buggies and scooters. The policy for carriage of these buggies has been revised with the assistance of disabled passengers and manufacturers, so that equipment up to certain maximum dimensions for each type of train will be carried if booked 48h in advance.