n Hellenic Railways Organisation is to build an orbital rail route around Athens for the 2004 Olympic Games. Running from Spata Airport to Elefsina, it would connect with metro Line 1 at Maroussi, and with OSE’s northern main line at Menidi. A 20 km light rail line is to link the Olympic Stadium to Flisvos and Faliro.

n The Chilean Ambassador to Argentina, Jorge Arrate, has suggested reopening the disused trans-Andean rail link between Mendoza and Santiago, as a quicker option than building the Zapala - Lonquimay route to relieve international road links.

n Last month Netherlands Transport Minister Tineke Netelenbos informed parliament that studies for the HSL-Oost corridor between Amsterdam, Utrecht, Arnhem and the German border suggested that upgrading the existing line to add capacity would bring greater benefits than construction of a dedicated high speed line. A final decision is to be taken next year.

n South Africa’s Gauteng provincial government has appointed a consortium including Arcus Gibb to develop plans for an 80 km express rail link between Johannesburg, Pretoria and Johannesburg International Airport. To be completed by 2005, the line would be built by the private sector under a BOT concession.

n Spanish Minister of Development Francisco Alvarez Cascos and Portuguese Minister of Public Works Jorge Coelho have agreed to form a working group to develop plans for a high speed rail link between the two countries.

n Meeting in Aleppo last month, the Assembly of Directors of Middle East Railways agreed to plans for a rail link between Tehran and Damascus.

n Hungarian State Railways and the Gy