n The Railtrack board is due to consider a business case in the next few weeks for concentrating control of the British railway network into nine management centres, starting with an installation in Manchester to be built between 2001 and 2005.

n Argentina’s interior ministry and the provinces of Chubut and Río Negro have reactivated proposals to build the 700 km Transpatagonia rail link between San Antonio Oeste, Puerto Madryn, Rawson and Comodoro Rivadavia at an estimated cost of US$320m.

n The Septa board has approved a five year business plan to boost ridership and cut costs, including the introduction of magnetic or smart card fare collection equipment throughout the Philadelphia metro and commuter rail networks.

n German Transport Minister Matthias Wissmann emphasised in Berlin at the end of January that if the Transrapid maglev line between Berlin and Hamburg is to be ready for operation in seven years, construction would have to get under way this summer.

n Amtrak West was due to announce on February 18 a major programme to re-equip its San Diegan corridor service between Los Angeles and San Diego with new rolling stock, possibly DMUs.

n German Railway’s freight arm DB Cargo is looking to buy a fleet of powerful diesel locos; it is conducting tests with an ex-DR Class 232 fitted with a 4000hp Kolomna engine, and an Adtranz Blue Tiger. A Foster Yeoman General Motors Class 59 is also operating in Germany.

n Uruguay’s State Railway Administration AFE is expected to invite tenders later this year for construction of the proposed Tren de la Costa light rail line between Montevideo and El Pinar; 10 consortia have registered expressions of interest, including CAF, GEC Alsthom, Adtranz and Ferrostaal, Siemens and DE-Consult, and Bishop Austrans Pty Ltd of Australia.

n A private sector consortium known as Railway Service Corp has expressed interest in taking over Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor in Pennsylvania. RSC wants to run an hourly service using 40 ex-NJ Transit EMUs, rather than the Adtranz Flexliners which PennDoT is planning to buy for Amtrak (RG 2.98 p67).

n British infrastructure maintenance contractor Jarvis is understood to be close to signing a rail servicing contract with Eurotunnel.

n The planned sale of Australia’s National Rail Corp this year may be delayed, because the New South Wales government has not yet agreed to sell its shareholding in line with federal proposals.