Last month the national railways of Russia and Ukraine established a joint working group to investigate high speed passenger services on three routes from Moscow to Kyiv, Adler and Feodosiya. Moscow - Kyiv is the priority, but RZD says 'it is still too early to estimate the time and cost of the project and the rolling stock to be used'.

On August 31 the Ministry of Transport of Vietnam authorised JICA to launch feasibility studies into the construction of two sections of standard gauge railway to link Hanoi with Vinh and Ho Chi Minh City with Nha Trang. In May, National Assembly deputies voted against plans for a US$558bn Japanese -funded high speed line between the country's two major cities.

Grupo Camargo Corrêa of Brazil has announced a US$15m investment programme at Argentinian freight operator Ferrosur Roca to handle increased traffic between Olavarría and Cañuelas for its Loma Negra cement business. Meanwhile, Vale Logística de Argentina has signed an agreement to take over operation of a 756 km section of the Roca network between Zapala and General Cerri, near Bahía Blanca, to carry future potash traffic (RG 6.10 p34).

Following approval from the six member states, the Gulf Co-operation Council Secretariat expects to start work in the first quarter of 2011 to establish a GCC Rail Authority, which will oversee the development of a 2200 route-km network by 2017 at an estimated cost of US$19bn.

A Chinese delegation is expected to arrive in Zambia this month to begin a feasibility study on the socio-economic viability of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway; a technical study for renovation of the line is already underway.

Riversdale Mining Ltd has announced its intention to build a branch from the Sena Line in Mozambique to serve its Benga coal mine near Moatize, which is due to start commercial production in the second half of 2011.

Israel's Transport Minister Yisrael Katz has unveiled plans to develop rail links into the West Bank, with branches from Rosh Ha'ayin to Nablus via Ariel, from Latroun to Ramallah and from Be'er-Sheva to Jenin. A line from Yad Mordechai to Gaza would allow direct services between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Mayor of Chicago Richard M Daley has established a committee to study the feasibility of developing an express rail link between the city centre and O'Hare International Airport, complementing CTA's existing Blue Line metro service.