n French National Railway plans to increase its order with De Dietrich and LHB for the joint Franco-German TERX73500 lightweight diesel railcars from the initial 40 vehicles to over 100 to meet growing demand from the régions.
n Hongkong Tramways is planning a feasibility study into replacing its wooden double-deck cars by modern articulated vehicles; the 160-strong fleet is being rewired at a cost of HK$24m following a fatal electrical fire.
n London Transport expects to reach agreement this month with the Electronic Data Systems consortium for the Prestige private-finance concession. This would see smart-card ticketing equipment installed throughout the Underground and bus networks.
n British bus and rail operator Stagecoach Holdings and the French CGEA group, which is acquiring Linjebuss, are amongst bidders registering interest in Stockholm’s light rail operating concession, for which prequalification bids closed on January 9.
n Pakistan’s Cabinet Committee on Investment has approved proposals for privately-operated trains to carry liquefied petroleum gas between Port Qasim near Karachi and Faisalabad; the Temco consortium envisages an initial fleet of 35 tank wagons and imported diesel locos.
n Swiss freight shipper Giezendanner, which has formed a joint venture with SBB and FS, is looking to introduce CargoSprinter style freight railcar services between Rothrist and the canton of Ticino.
n Toronto’s Metro Council has requested federal and provincial support to buy redundant CN and CP routes used by GO Transit commuter services, as part of a plan to expand the city’s passenger rail network.
n Kowloon - Canton Railway Corp expects to submit the formal Project Agreement for its West Rail corridor to the Hong Kong Executive Council this month, with the aim of getting authorisation to start construction in September.n Siemens was expected to sign a contract with MTL Rail Ltd last month for supply of 16 three-car EMUs to Britain’s Regional Railways North East franchise; lease finance will be provided by Angel Train Contracts. Based on Siemens’ Class 332 Heathrow Express design, the trains will work local services from Leeds to Bradford, Ilkley and Skipton.
n Transport Ministers from Bulgaria and Russia signed a protocol at the end of last year for the development of a train ferry link between Varna and Novorossiisk, bypassing the present rail route through Ukraine.
n Vietnam Railways is seeking government approval for investment projects worth 35000bn dong over the next 20 years, including construction of the Ho Chi Minh City - Vung Tau, Hanoi - Pho Lu and Kep - Can Lai lines and reconstruction of the Hanoi - Haiphong corridor.
n Israel Railways is planning to lease one of German Railway’s VT611 tilting DMUs for trials next month, and a double-deck push-pull trainset during May.
n The first of seven Arlanda Express four-car EMUs being built for Sweden’s A-Train consortium by GEC Alsthom is expected to be rolled out at the Metro-Cammell works in Birmingham during May.
n The Sindh regional government announced in December that it planned to set up a new Karachi Metropolitan Transport Authority to take over control of the city’s long-planned light rail project from the federal government’s National Mass Transit Authority.
n Meeting in Kuala Lumpur at the end of December, leaders of the Asean countries reaffirmed their commitment to the trans-Asian rail link project despite the region’s current economic difficulties.
n A consortium of American Maglev Technology, Virginia Power and Lockheed-Martin announced in December that it hoped to build a 3·2 km test track in Virginia for 200 km/h trials from 2000.