The New South Wales Rail, Tram & Bus Industry Union has said it will not oppose the privatisation of FreightCorp as long as it is sold with National Rail Corp. Secretary Nick Lewocki said the union is not pro-privatisation, but has to be pragmatic. It hopes to persuade the Commonwealth to allow FreightCorp to bid for NRC.

The government of Kazakhstan has completed plans for a 300 km rail link between Qostenay and Aqtobe, to carry traffic between the north and northwest of the country which must currently be routed via Russia. The project is costed at US$140m.

Freight Australia and a consortium involving Great Northern Rail have expressed interest in reopening the broad gauge Wolseley - Mt Gambier - Millicent line for freight. The South Australia government took control of the route after Australia Southern failed to restore trains within a two-year period (p367).

The government of Ethiopia has invited expressions of interest for the provision of services relating to the preparation, administration and monitoring of the concessioning of the 781 km Addis Abeba - Djibouti railway.

SNCF President Louis Gallois was due on May 17 to present the SNCF board with a revised budget for 2001, expected to show a loss of around Fr1bn following two weeks of industrial action in late March and early April (RG 5.01 p279). Gallois said on May 13 that he expected the company to move into profit in 2002.

On April 23 the Chief Director of Ghana's Ministry of Transport & Communications Ben Eghan announced plans to rehabilitate the Accra - Tema line, starting in 2002.

The private Grand Central Railway consortium has announced plans to introduce an open access trans-Pennine rail service from Salford to York and Newcastle upon Tyne from September 2002, using refurbished High Speed Train sets.

Wellington City Council's Transport & Infrastructure Committee has backed proposals for the government to buy back the city's commuter rail network from Tranz Rail. The decision was made on the chairman's casting vote.

Pakistan Railway is proposing to run container trains twice a week between a planned private sector container terminal at Lahore and Karachi Port; it envisages using 300 flatbed wagons to handle the traffic.

Romanian freight company CFR Marfa is planning to buy 52 new locomotives and overhaul 92 existing ones by 2010, at a cost of US$500m. It is also planning to purchase 2500 wagons and modernise 16000 more.

In April the Prime Minister of Tajikistan Oqil Oqilov discussed the funding of a planned Kofarnihon - Yavan line with officials from Chori Corp of Japan.

Islamic Iranian Republic Railways' Director in Mashhad, Ali Hojjati-Nejad, confirmed on May 12 that RAI had agreed terms with Turkmenistan Railway for the introduction of a through Almaty - Tehran passenger service via Sarakhs (RG 1.00 p 7).