n Look for an announcement this month of the preferred bidders to control Peru’s state rail network now run by Enafer. Under a process being organised by Mercer Management Consultants, the government will retain ownership of the infrastructure, and the concessionaires will be responsible for selling timetable paths to various train operators.

n Estonia’s South Western Railway Edelaraudtee has launched plans to build another cross-border rail link from Moisakula to carry freight into Latvia.

n The governments of Zambia and Namibia have agreed to build a US$10m bridge across the Zambesi river at Shesheke which would carry a rail link from ZR’s Mulobezi - Masese branch to Transnamib’s Grootfontein - Walvis Bay line via the Caprivi Strip.

n China’s Ministry of Railways is considering postponing the start of work on the Beijing - Shanghai high speed line from 2000 to 2006 because of pressure on the national budget deficit from the Three Gorges dam project.

n Tranz Rail of New Zealand is looking to acquire up to 13 former Australian National EL class diesel locos of 3300 hp through Chicago Freight Car Leasing to replace ageing DC class locos on South Island freight operations.

n Romanian freight operator CFR Freight is considering the construction of a standard-gauge freight network in Georgia, linking the train ferry berth at Poti with nearby industrial estates now accessible only by transhipment to 1520mm gauge stock.

n On May 6 the Caltrain board of directors agreed to seek funding for electrification of the San Francisco - San José commuter corridor over the next 10 years at a cost of US$376m.

n Philippines Department of Transport & Communications is proposing the construction of a light rail link from Manila’s domestic and international airports to the planned Line 1 / Line 3 interchange at Taft Avenue in the southern suburb of Pasay City.

n Los Angeles MTA has applied for state funds to revive plans for the MidCity and East LA extensions of the Red line metro and the Green line light rail branch to the international airport (MR99 p15).

n Watch for proposals to be firmed up in South Africa for a second iron ore heavy haul line from the mines at Sishen to a planned deep-water port at Coega, east of Port Elisabeth.

n Canadian consultant SNC Lavalin has launched proposals for an 18 km metro line in Montevideo costed at C$800m, which could be built under a 30-year BOT concession. It is the third metro study to be unveiled in the Uruguayan capital in the last year.