• National Railways of Zimbabwe is planning to establish a mineral prospecting firm which General Manager Air Commodore Michael Karakadzai said will exploit 'under-explored potential' to earn critically-needed foreign currency. 'Since colonial days NRZ and Zimbabwean railways have jointly held mineral prospecting rights in South Africa,' he said.
  • Reversing a cancellation by the Minister of Transport during March, the Indonesian government has revived plans for a 98 km rail link between Simpang and Tanjung Api-api port on the east coast of Sumatra. Having received backing from President Yudhoyono, work on the Rp1 540bn project is to begin later this year.
  • Korea International Co-operation Agency completed a two-year feasibility study into a fast rail link between Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City during March. The 369 km line in southern Vietnam would allow speeds of 180 km/h and could form the first section of a high speed line to Hanoi, but the cost is put at US$7?8bn.
  • JR-Freight is to appoint an engineering committee which will look at options for the introduction of diesel-battery hybrid shunting locomotives in Japan.
  • The construction of a 800?km railway between Brazzaville and the north west of the Republic of Congo has been proposed by a South Korean consortium. The scheme is subject to feasibility studies and the granting of forestry concessions.
  • South Africa's Kwazulu-Natal province is developing plans for a Durban - Johannesburg fast rail link, to reduce the number of lorries on the N3 national road.
  • Mexican firm MHFM Transport Holdings has signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese firm Arias Asia and Japanese partners for the development of a US$2bn privately-financed electrified rail link across Mexico between the Pacific port of Salina Cruz and Coatzacoalcos on the Gulf of Mexico. A 25-year BOT concession is envisaged for the line, which would compete with the Panama Canal for traffic between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.