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Intelligence October 2007

17 Oct 2007

Argentina: President Néstor Kirchner has announced that 7m pesos is to be spent on rehabilitating the 284·8 km Puerto Deseado — Colonia Las Heras route in the province of Santa Cruz. A 6·9m pesos investment package has also been announced for the 750 mm gauge Ingeniero Jacobacci — Esquel route in Chubut.

Bolivia: The first trainload of silver, lead and zinc concentrate has been dispatched from the San Cristóbal mine near Potosí, bound for the port of Mejillones in Chile. Regular traffic is expected to amount to 49 wagonloads a day.

Canada: On September 19 CN announced an agreement for Homburg Invest to purchase the Central Station complex in Montréal. The deal is expected to generate C$355m for CN, which will lease back its 17-storey headquarters building and the passenger facilities. CPR put the city's Windsor station up for sale in August.

China: Work is due to begin this month on the first phase of the 2bn yuan Chengdu Railway Container Terminal. The 200 ha facility will open in 2008 with an initial annual capacity of 1 million TEU, growing to 2·5 million TEU by 2020.

Europe: Work has begun to modernise and electrify the 9 km cross-border link between Lichkov in the Czech Republic and Miedzylesie in Poland. To be completed by mid-2009 at a cost of KC1·54bn, this will provide a continuous electrified route between the Balkans and northern Poland.

Warszawa-based CTL Logistic received a safety certificate permitting it to operate freight trains in the Netherlands on September 3. Bilaterial agreements enable it to offer through services from Rotterdam and Amsterdam to Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

From December 9 DB is to rebrand all its overnight services as City Night Line. DB Fernverkehr Chairman Dr Nikolas Breuel said on September 21 that DB will run 29 overnight services in nine countries, with trains from Praha, Wien and Milano extended to Amsterdam. Online purchase of tickets and reservations will be simplified.

France: Under a €9m ticketing investment programme for the TER network in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, Optima smartcards are being introduced which will also be valid for travel on bus services and Chemins de Fer de Provence. The system was due to be rolled out in the Alpes-Maritimes département this month, offered to 12 000 holders of TER season tickets.

Liechtenstein: Minister of Transport & Telecommunications Martyin Meyer has signed an agreement with his Swiss and Austrian counterparts creating a steering committee for the proposed FL.A.CH S-Bahn network.

Netherlands: Groningen province, the city of Veendam, ProRail and Arriva signed a memorandum on August 31 for the re-introduction of passenger services on the 7 km freight line from Zuidbroek junction to Veendam. The cost is put at €10m to €15m, with three more Stadler GTW trains needed.

New Zealand: Ontrack has completed a NZ$3·2m upgrade of eight stations on the Wairarapa Line from Wellington, using design concepts from Duffill Watts & Tse.

Russia: RZD is preparing documentation which will enable it to begin the process of privatising 22 rolling stock workshops by the end of the year, covering around a third of national wagon repair capacity.

Serbia: Following disputes over contractual terms, ZS and TriGranit have abandoned their partnership formed in June 2006 for the development of the long-delayed Prokop station project in Beograd. ZS has now begun negotiations with second-placed bidder Energoprojekt.

South Africa: The 861 km Orex heavy haul line was closed for a two-week period of concentrated maintenance activity during August, following similar successful shutdowns in 2005 and 2006. Work included installation of another 12 sets of Alstom C1H hydraulic points machines.

Class 10M5 EMUs rebuilt by Transnet Rail Engineering have been introduced on Cape Town suburban lines. These have new stainless-steel bodies and electronic control equipment on refurbished type 5M2A underframes and bogies.

Spain: The Ministry of Development reports that a total of 563 crossings have been removed so far under a €1·32bn level crossing safety plan for 2005-12. This aims to remove a total of 1 931 crossings and improve safety at a further 1 846 locations.

UK: Last month Network Rail began a £75m programme to be completed in February 2008 to resignal 37 km of railway between Birmingham and Warwick, and place it under the control of the West Midlands Signalling Centre.

Imerys has agreed a five-year contract for EWS to haul china clay from Cornwall to locations across Britain. There will be a 'significant increase' in the amount moved, and longer trains will be introduced.

Last month C Spencer completed an £11m refurbishment of Hull station, integrating the city's 19th century Paragon terminus with a new bus and coach interchange opened on September 16.

USA: A ceremony on August 22 marked the start of work by Union Pacific on a $90m intermodal terminal 22 km southwest of San Antonio, Texas. Replacing two sites within the city, the terminal will have an initial capacity of 100 000 containers a year.

Indiana Department of Transport has selected URS Corp to undertake a feasibility study by September 2008 for a proposed commuter line linking Muncie to Indianapolis and Bloomington.

A ceremony on September 6 marked the start of work on the Big Lake rolling stock maintenance depot for the 65 km Minneapolis-St Paul Northstar commuter rail project. The US Department of Transportation had released a $1·9m grant the previous day, and the $156·8m full funding grant from FTA was expected last month.

  • CAPTION: The first of 35 four-car and six-car low-floor Sprinter EMUs being supplied to Netherlands Railways by Bombardier and Siemens was rolled out at Uerdingen on September 24. During the event, NS announced it was exercising an option for a further 64 sets to be delivered in 2009-10 at a cost of €400m
  • CAPTION: Serco is due to begin acceptance testing this month with the first of 29 six-car Class 395 EMUs being built by Hitachi for domestic services on the UK's Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Unloaded at Southampton on August 23, the unit is designed to run at up to 160 km/h on existing lines, and up to 225 km/h on the CTRL. The Class 395s are due to enter service with Southeastern on services from London St Pancras in December 2009
  • CAPTION: In a ceremony at Ueno station, East Japan Railway unveiled the country's first new royal train for 47 years. The Series E655 EMU is equipped to run on both AC and DC routes, and is formed of six cars. The train will also be used as a five-car set for VIP guests and charter tours, without the imperial family's private coach
  • CAPTION: On September 1 High Speed Alliance ran a trial passenger train on the northern section of HSL-Zuid, formed of seven coaches hauled by Angel Trains Traxx locomotive 186 113. Around 300 passengers travelled free from Utrecht to participate in evacuation trials in the 7·2 km Groene Hart tunnel which lasted for around 1 h