• The Russian Academy of Transport is to develop standards for high speed operations on 1 520 mm gauge railways, to allow compatible developments across the CIS countries.

  • Chattanooga Enterprise Center has appointed Arcadis to undertake a statefunded study into the feasibility of constructing a high speed maglev on a 225 km route linking Chattanooga to Nashville.

  • Colombia's Transport Minister Andrés Uriel Gallego announced on February 24 that the government hopes to call tenders later this year for construction of the long-planned cut-off between Chiquinquirá in Boyacá province and Puerto Carare in Santander at an estimated cost of US$250m. The line would provide a more direct route from the Cundinamarca region around Bogotá to the Fenoco main line running north along the Rio Magdalena valley to the Atlantic port of Santa Marta.

  • The Ministry of Works & Housing has appointed Systra and its UK subsidiary MVA Consultancy to undertake a 15- month strategic study of future transport needs in Bahrain, including options for light rail and metro development.

  • Plans for a new railway between the iron ore deposits at El Mutún in southeastern Bolivia and Puerto Busch on the Paraguay River became firmer on March 1 after the government reached agreement with Jindal Steel & Power Ltd of India on a 40-year concession to exploit 50% of the reserves. A concession contract was due to be signed within 45 days, under which Jindal would invest US$2·1bn in building an integrated steel plant and supporting infrastructure.

  • Spain's Ministry of Development has published proposals for construction of a 15·5 km line between O Porriño and Vigo. Budgeted at €241m, the line forms part of the high speed corridor being developed between the Portuguese frontier and A Coruña.