In June Air France's Vice-President, Development, Gille Bordes-Pages told Airline Business magazine that the company is looking for foreign partners to co-operate in the launch of rail services between Paris and French cities not served by air or high speed rail. 'We will do this as soon as deregulation occurs, which we expect to happen between 2012 and 2015.'

A US$4·7m study into proposals for a 1 900 km railway between Alaska and Yukon was released in mid-June. The cost is estimated at US$7bn, with revenues of US$7·8bn over a 50-year span.

According to Zambian President Mwanawasa, the new section of line being built westwards from the Mchinji railhead in Malawi 35 km to Chipata in Zambia is eventually to be extended to meet the Zambia — Dar-es-Salaam Tazara line near Mpika, about 250 km to the northwest.

On July 13 Turkish firm Yukcel Domanic presented Georgia's transport ministry with a completed feasibility study for the section of the Baku — Tbilisi — Kars line within the country. Azerbaijan is providing a US$200m loan for the route, and construction tenders will be called shortly.

Last month Malaysia's Transport Minister Kong Choy Chan said a five-year project to double track the Ipoh — Padang Besar route is expected to begin next year. A private finance initiative contract is being finalised with MMC and Gamuda.

The Russian and North Korean railways have agreed to form a joint venture to reinstate the cross-border rail link between a branch of the Trans-Siberian at Posyet and Tajin where a container terminal will be established (RG 5.07 p291).

A consortium headed by Kampac Oil of Dubai has won a build-operate-transfer contract from Ghana's Ministry of Roads & Transport for the rehabilitation of the 1 067 mm gauge railway from the Port of Takoradi to Kumasi, and the construction of an extension through to Hamile.