n Look for the Swiss government to authorise a further tranche of funds for the NEAT base tunnel works; SFr645m was requested on November 25.

n Indian Railways is to invite international tenders shortly for the supply of advanced technology track maintenance machinery.

n Watch for development in the United States of an advanced fuel delivery system with automatic shut-off for diesel locos. The Association of American Railroads held a two-day industry seminar on December 10-11 to help define the design and performance specifications.

n Myanmar Railways is negotiating to buy nine main-line diesel locos from China’s Sifang works; they would have MTU 16V396 engines. MRC put into service four Sifang-built locos with MTU 12V396 engines in 1996.

n Expect a decision from the Hungarian government on construction of Budapest metro Line 4. A study by Sofretu and Symons-Travers-Morgan was submitted to the city council in November, and Mayor Gabor Demszky hopes work on the 5·4 km first stage could start in 1998.

n An Austral-Asian Railway Corp has been formed to promote the construction of Australia’s planned Alice Springs - Darwin rail link. On November 13 the governments of South Australia and Northern Territory signed an agreement pledging A$100m each to the project.

n Washington DC politicians and business leaders are to meet this month to review long-term funding sources to support WMATA’s metro and bus operations. Local sales and fuel taxes are being considered.