n Look for the state government of New South Wales to announce plans for the privatisation of Freightcorp; the A$1bn sale has been approved in principle by the cabinet, and discussions with local rail unions are expected to start later this month.

n Construction of a new commuter rail route in the East Rand could start in 2003, as part of a pilot project to concession out the operation of services in Springs, Germiston, Nigel and Daveyton; South African Rail Commuter Corp is expected to call for international tenders later this year.

n The government of Slovakia is expected to endorse proposals for the restructuring of the state railway into two businesses. Zeleznice SR would become an operating company, with ancillary services passing to a new Zeleznica Spolocnost (ZS).

n Nigerian Transport Minister Dr Kema Chikwe has signed an agreement with SNC Lavalin paving the way for construction of a fast rail link between Lagos and Abuja, including a 10-year operating concession. The line is costed at C$2·5bn, of which the Nigerian government would provide C$500m for land acquisition.

n Construction work on the planned rail network in Libya is expected to start in September, following the signing of a contract with China Civil Engineering Construction Corp (RG 4.00 p203).

n Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar has signed an agreement with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to finance a feasibility study into a high-speed line between Alexandria and Cairo, with a possible extension to Aswan.

n Look for tenders to be called shortly for the sale of Australia’s National Rail Corp, following a government decision at the end of May allowing state railway authorities to bid as part of a consortium but not independently. The federal Office of Asset Sales & IT Outsourcing has been appointed to manage the process.

n French National Railways is due to reinstate passenger services on the Pertuis - Aix-en-Provence line next year to carry Marseille suburban traffic. The line was closed in 1938.

n Meeting his new Spanish counterpart Francisco Álvarez Cascos on May 24, French Transport Minister Jean-Claude Gayssot confirmed that he expected the declaration of public utility for the TGV line between Perpignan and the Spanish border at Figueres to be issued in mid-2001.

n Amtrak West has unveiled proposals for a five-year expansion of California rail services at an estimated cost of US$3·9bn. This would include additional services in the Capitol, Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquin corridors and the restoration of a Los Angeles - San Francisco service withdrawn 30 years ago.

n Several European and US companies have expressed interest in the forthcoming privatisation of Romanian rail freight operator CFR-Marfa.

n Look for Line 1 of the Montpellier light rail network (RG 12.99 p822) from Mosson to Odysseum to enter service on July 1, following an official ceremony on June 30. Two days of free travel are planned, with the city bus network restructured from July 3.