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Intelligence August 2002

01 Aug 2002

Australia: Victoria's Minister for Ports Candy Broad has announced a A$20m project to reinstate rail access to Swanson Dock West in Melbourne, with a 1·5 km dual-gauge line.

CityRail's first 130 km/h Millennium EMU entered public service in Sydney on July 1. Up to eight cars will be introduced each month, with all 81 in service by September 2003.

Austria: The trial has begun in Salzburg of 16 people charged with negligence in relation to the fire on the Kitzsteinhorn funicular near Kaprun, which killed 155 people on November 11 2000.

Canada: CPR plans to spend C$3·5m converting 50 intermodal wagons for Expressway piggyback traffic; 20 will enter service on Toronto - Detroit trains later this year, and the rest by early 2003.

CN is providing sleepers and financing to increase the maximum axleload and build a freight facility at Winfield on the Kelowna Pacific Railway in British Columbia.

Europe: From October 1 open access operator ERS Railways is to take over the Rotterdam - Germersheim service currently run by Railion.

DB and Contship Italia SpA have received approval from the European Commission to launch a joint venture called MarCo Maritime Container Services to move containers from Italian Mediterranean ports to Austria, Switzerland and southern Germany.

France: On June 24 RFF opened France's third fully-computerised signalling centre. Operated by two staff controlling 356 routes, it replaces two signalboxes at Chalon-sur-Saöne.

SNCF has opened at Nuits-sous-Ravières the third of 10 loading points to be established in the Bourgogne region to handle tree trunks following the storm of 1999. Local authorities and SNCF have each provided €1·7m towards the €5m scheme, which aims to increase the 220000 tonnes sent out by rail last year to 400000 by 2005.

Germany: On July 9 DB began a programme of upgrading work on the Leipzig - Chemnitz route to allow it to be used by tilting trains at up to 160 km/h.

Bombardier Transportation has completed a computer-based interlocking at Basdorf near Berlin for Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn AG.

Hungary: MAV is to replace its northern bridge over the River Danube in Budapest by 2005 at a cost of HF10m. The structure dates from 1955, when it was intended to be temporary.

Ireland: This month FaberMaunsell and Goodbody Economic Consultants are to present the results of a demand and cost study into service enhancements and proposed new rail corridors in County Cork.

Israel: IR inaugurated its new US$4m Hahagana station on June 30; at the southern end of Tel Aviv's Ayalon corridor, it is close to the city bus station.

New Zealand: Wellington Regional Council has announced that work to electrify the line from Paraparaumu to Waikanae could start in April.

Peru: PeruRail has begun using a track geometry inspection car built by FCTSA, with a power car rebuilt from a Metro-Cammell baggage car.

Spain: The prototype Talgo XXI trainset (RG 5.00 p316) set a new world speed record for diesel traction on July 9, when it reached 254 km/h during trials between Bujaraloz and Vallmanya near Lleida on the Madrid - Barcelona high speed line.

A 5·4 km branch has been opened to connect the port of Marín to the Renfe network at Pontevedra, between Vigo and A Coruña. The new line cost a total of €12m to build, including €4·3m to construct two tunnels with a total length of 1·3 km.

Switzerland: Subject to European cartel regulations, BLS Lötschbergbahn is to transfer 20% of shares in BLS Cargo AG to Germany's DB Cargo AG. BLS also plans to sell 2·3% of BLS Cargo AG shares to Italian intermodal company Ambrogio.

United Kingdom: The Rail Regulator has awarded open access passenger operator Hull Trains track access rights until May 2010. The company now plans to invest in 200 km/h rolling stock.

USA: Ashland station on MBTA's Worcester route is due to open to commuters on August 19. Stations at Southborough and Westborough opened on June 22, as part of Boston's $97m Worcester Commuter Rail Extension project. A $20m public-private partnership is to modernise MBTA's metro station at Charles Street/Massachusetts General Hospital.

Zimbabwe: Owing to a motive power shortage on NRZ, Botswana Railways' locomotives are to be permitted to work through to Bulawayo and Zambia Railways' locos to Thomson Junction.