n Botswana Railways is planning to form a joint venture to build a new line to the border town of Kanzungula, which would link with Zambia Railways at Livingstone. BR hopes to restore the long haul transit freight lost when north - south traffic through Zimbabwe was diverted onto the Beitbridge - Bulawayo line.

n A plan to build a 70 km extension of Poland’s 1 520mm gauge Hrubieszów - Ciesle line into the Czech Republic was presented by the Czech Transport Minister and Russian Minister of Railways on March 23. Under a KC3bn deal to be financed by the by Israeli-Russian company Shiran, this would create a western terminal for the Trans-Siberian route at Bohumín-Vrbice by 2003.

n Proposals have been unveiled for the construction of a 46 km elevated railway through the Chinese city of Tianjin, to improve links between the port and the CR network.

n Plans are being developed for a rail link to the Estonian port of Paldski. Costed at 60m kroons, the line would become viablewhen the port’s freight throughput reaches 3 million tonnes/year; it is currently handling less than 1 million tonnes/year.

n Ghana’s Divestiture Implementation Committee has set up a subcommittee to prepare for outsourcing or privatisation of the national rail network.

n Pakistan Railways Chairman Lieutenant General Saeeduzzafar has backed proposals for a rail link with Afghanistan, which would help to increase trade in the Peshawar region.

n Russian domestic airline Transaero and RZD’s Moscow Railway have agreed to set up a rail service between the capital’s Paveletskaya station and Domodedova Airport. Modern outer-suburban EMUs will make the 45min journey every 30min, and check-in facilities will be provided at Paveletskaya.

n Spoornet of South Africa is considering whether to reconcession the 610mm gauge Port Shepstone - Harding line. The 121 km line has been operated by the Alfred County Railway since 1988, but has recently been hit by road competition.

n On March 11 Syrian Railways invited bids for construction of a 45 km high-speed electric railway linking Katana on the Lebanese border with Damascus and the capital’s airport. A second line would link Damascus with Deraa and the Jordanian border.

n A Croatian delegation to Moscow has elicited expressions of interest from Russian suppliers in the construction of an underground railway in Zagreb.

n The five shortlisted bidders for the concession to build the Jerusalem light rail network have been invited to comment on a draft of the concession contract.