n Promoters of the 4500 km, A$10bn Australia Inland Rail Expressway linking Melbourne, Brisbane and Darwin expect to hold a groundbreaking ceremony on October 26. This marks the start of construction of a new bridge across the Macintyre River, between Boggabilla, NSW, and Carrington, Queensland.

n China’s Ministry of Railways has announced plans to spend 127bn yuan expanding the rail network in the western part of the country over the next four years. The package is likely to include work on the Kashi - Torugart section of the proposed Silk Road link to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan (RG 4.01 p223), following the signing of a preliminary accord between the three countries.

n Look for Kazakhstan Temir Zholy to call international tenders for a major renovation of its diesel loco fleet. Up to 150 locos are to be overhauled this year, and longer-term plans envisage the complete remanufacture of around 170 between 2004 and 2014.

n Philippine Senator Edgardo Angara has filed a bill which would formally establish a Mindanao Railways Corp, to develop the proposed 1bn pesos rail network linking the island’s urban and rural areas as a method of stimulating economic growth.

n ZSR telecommunications division Zeleznicne Telekomunicacie expects to start offering commercial telephone services from 2003, following the award of a 10-year licence by the Slovakian Telecoms Office to develop its infrastructure for public use.

n BNSF and a group of chemical producers have applied to build a 20 km industrial line serving the Bayport area of Houston, to compete with UP. Costed at $80m, the link would open in 2004.

n Construction of a 6 km rail link connecting the ports of Trieste and Koper to pan-European Corridors V and X is set to get under way next year following the signing of a draft agreement with Slovenian Railways on August 29.

n Iarnród éireann has commissioned Corus Rail Consultancy to undertake a £4m feasibility and design study for upgrading of the Dublin - Kildare line to carry an intensive inner-suburban service by 2005, including partial quadrupling and electrification.

n The Regional Council of the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean has published a study recommending a 70 km inter-urban coastal tram route between Saint Paul and Saint Benoît. Costing up to Fr1·5bn, the line could be ready in 2010-12.

n Feasibility studies are under way for a 20 km light rail line in Cape Town, paralleling the N1 road between Monte Vista and Tyger Valley, with branches to the airport and Canal Walk.

n Consultants have recommended the construction of a light rail line in the Malaysian city of Penang, as an alternative to building a second bridge between Penang and the mainland which would exacerbate the island’s worsening traffic congestion.