During a high-level summit in Marrakech last month, the transport ministers of Morocco and Spain reaffirmed their commitment to building a fixed link under the Strait of Gibraltar. €27m will be provided over two years to fund design of the 38·7 km twin rail tunnels, with the aim of calling tenders for a test bore in 2008.

Government approval is expected shortly for a 18bn yuan project to build a 180 km high speed link between Hangzhou and Shanghai. Steel-wheel technology is preferred, and work could start in 2004.

Investments planned for Russian Railways during 2004 include around 11bn roubles to fund the purchase of 60 locomotives and 580 passenger carriages and the modernisation of 400 locos, 650 coaches and 6000 wagons.

Sri Lanka's Ministry of Western Development has proposed an elevated light rail system for Colombo. Estimated to cost US$920m, a 34 km line would link Moratuwa with Kiribathgoda, and a 12 km route Pelawatta with Colombo Fort.

Bulgarian Transport Minister Anelia Kroushkova has said Japanese funds are available to part-finance the estimated US$334m cost of a rail link between Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Russian experts are carrying out a 60m rouble feasibility study over 37 days for a broad-gauge rail link from Khasan on the Far Eastern Railway to Rajin in North Korea, giving Korea access to the Trans-Siberian route.

During December India and Pakistan held discussions over restoring the Samjhauta Express between Amritsar and Lahore, which was suspended two years ago.