Minister of Public Works & Transport Randall Quirós announced last month that the government of Costa Rica is planning to reactivate the country’s rail network to carry freight as part of a programme to save fuel. Trial movements had been conducted for a commuter service across San José from Pavas in the west to the university in the east.

To relieve growing road congestion, the government of Trinidad is considering restoring rail services on the island, where the entire network was abandoned in the 1960s. Transport Minister Colm Imbert hopes to invite proposals this year for the first stage of an east-west route, but believes that the complete TT$15bn scheme could take 10 to 15 years.

KTZ President Yerlan Atamkulov confirmed last month that construction of the first section of the standard-gauge Trans-Kazakhstan Railway between Dostyk and Aktogai will start in 2006 for completion by the end of 2007, lifting capacity on the link with China by 35 million tonnes/year.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry announced on August 3 that agreement had been reached with North Korea to reopen road and rail links across the Demilitarised Zone at the end of October.

Pakistan Railways operated a test train at 142 km/h over the 40 km between Shershah and Shujabad on August 1, as part of a trial for faster inter-city operation once the Rs3·1bn double-tracking of the 121 km Lodhran - Khanewal line is completed in June 2006; PR is also looking at installation of ATP, with the aim of cutting the 16h Karachi - Lahore journey to 12h from 2008.

Brazil’s Ferrovia Tereza Cristina is developing plans to build a 236 km coastal railway linking the four main ports in Santa Catarina province: Laguna, Imbituba, Itajai and São Francisco do Sul.

Montréal transport authority AMT is developing proposals for commuter trains to Pointe-aux-Trembles, Rivière-des-Prairies and Repentigny, serving the eastern end of Montréal Island. If the C$92m project is approved by Québec Transport Minister Michel Despres this year, services could be running by December 2007.

Increased shipping costs through the Panama Canal have prompted the governments of El Salvador and Guatemala to consider a trans-isthmian landbridge service between the Caribbean port of Santo Tom