nIndia’s Ministry of Railways is drawing up a 10-year programme to install automatic train protection on the IR main line network at an anticipated cost of Rs70bn. A decision between conventional signalling and satellite train location is expected shortly.

nSouth African power generator Eskom is considering the feasibility of building two rail routes totalling 90 km at a cost of R550m to link its power stations with coal mines in the Mpumalanga region.

nLook for rival Canadian operators CN and CPR to announce a track sharing agreement to boost capacity through the Fraser Canyon in British Columbia. One-way working would see heavier westbound trains using CN’s easier-graded track from Kamloops to Vancouver with eastbounds running on the CPR line.

nCroatian Railways announced in March that it was to allocate US$506m for capital investment over the next five years, split between US$207m for rolling stock and US$299m for infrastructure. A loan of DM100m will fund management restructuring along commercial lines. HZ is also to privatise its workshop subsidiary Tvornika Zejeznickih Vagonka of Bjelovar.

nThe Chinese and Japanese governments were expected to sign a railway co-operation and technical assistance agreement in Beijing on April 16, paving the way for JR-East, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi to bid for work on the planned Beijing - Shanghai high-speed line.

nA feasibility study completed in March has found that the planned 100 km Schuylkill Valley Metro would be cost-effective in easing traffic congestion around Philadelphia. Following existing rail alignments from the city centre to Norristown, Reading and King of Prussia, the line could be built in 2001-05 at a cost of US$720m for electric light rail or US$402m for diesel commuter rail.

nDresden University and the Land of Sachsen have funded a feasibility study for a metro network in Ho Chi Minh City. Routes under consideration include Bien Hoa - Phu Lam, Tan Son Nhat International Airport - Binh Thanh Market, and Cho Lon - Binh Thanh.

nLook for Hong Kong’s Kowloon - Canton Railway Corp to issue the tender specification for its WestRail EMU fleet shortly, following the development of interior and exterior design specifications by Transport Design International with Booz·Allen & Hamilton.

nLatvian Railways has earmarked 205m lats for network modernisation by the end of 1999, with the bulk to be invested in the main east-west corridor linking Latvian ports with the Russian border.

nNew Jersey Transit was due to receive expressions of interest last month for construction of the planned South Jersey light rail line linking Camden and Trenton, with the aim of awarding a contract by the end of this year.