n Queensland Competition Authority has recommended ending QR’s virtual monopoly of coal haulage within the state, and the introduction of access prices for private sector companies wanting to compete. The report claims opening up the network to competition could cause costs to fall by up to 30%, creating an economic boost of up to A$1·7bn and 10000 jobs in mining.
n The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees has agreed with Canadian National to set up a non-profit group with farmers, unions and others to lease and operate branch lines serving the grain prairies of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta. The partners hope to negotiate a final deal by June 1.
n Representatives of 20 states in eastern and southern Africa met in Lusaka on February 15 to discuss the proposed rail link connecting Rwanda and Burundi with Tanzania, including a connection from Mpulungu to the Tanzania - Zambia Railway.
n Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze has announced that China is interested in participating in the funding and construction of the planned Kars - Tbilisi rail link to Turkey.
n On January 11 Irish airport authority Aer Rianta announced that it had earmarked Iú100m to construct a peoplemover at Dublin Airport, with the aim of starting operation by 2006.
n Italian polititians have backed proposals for a road and rail bridge across the Messina Strait to Sicily, although a feasibility study by consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers and Bocconi University suggests that it would be cheaper to boost ferry links.
n Russia’s East Lines group has proposed building a rail link to its recently-modernised terminal at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, once traffic reaches 6 million passengers a year.
n Look for South Korea to apply for membership of the Organisation for the Co-operation of Railways (OSTD) in an effort to accelerate the development of rail links through North Korea to the Trans-Siberian Railway.
n Following a public enquiry held last year (RG 6.00 p373), RFF’s choice of route for the eastern Dijon - Mulhouse branch of the TGV Rhin-Rh