n Expect Canadian Transport Minister David Collenette to announce a package of capital investment for VIA Rail to replace its long-distance passenger coach fleet, together with increased federal operating support.
n Look for Myanmar Railways to announce a major investment programme including new diesel locomotives and freight wagons to boost capacity.
n Saudi Railways Organisation has unveiled plans for development of a national rail network over the next five years at an estimated cost of 17bn riyals.
n Addressing the 8th Turkish States Friendship, Fraternity & Co-operation Convention in April, Turkish Transport Minister Enis Oksuz committed to reviving the planned Kars - Tbilisi line. He expected to sign a protocol with Georgia in three or four months and to start construction within a year.
n China’s State Planning Committee has decided to include the 300 km/h Beijing - Shanghai high speed line in the 10th five-year plan running from 2001-05. Construction techniques will be tested in advance on the 200 km/h Beijing - Shenyang passenger route.
n Sudan Transport Minister Lam Akol has commissioned feasibility studies for international rail links to connect the SR network with Chad, Ethiopia and the Central African Republic. This would allow these countries to ship freight through Sudan’s ports under the terms of the Comessa regional trade agreement.
n The governments of Rwanda and Burundi have backed proposals by the Kagera Basin Organisation for rail links to connect them with the Tanzanian port of Dar-es-Salaam. Burundi would get a 280 km line linking Bujumbura and the nickel mines at Musongati to the Tanzanian border at Rusumo. Rwanda is planning a 500 km route from Kigali to Isaka costed at US$3bn.
n Malaysian port operator KPM and Cambodian firm MSE have proposed the introduction of block trains to shuttle containers between Sihanoukville and an inland port near Phnom Penh. Also under discussion is a landbridge service to Malaysia once the 48 km rail gap between Cambodia and Thailand has been filled.
n The French city of Nice has launched plans for the construction of a light rail line along the coast to Villeneuve-Loubet, to be built by 2004 at an estimated cost of Fr1·1bn.