On July 16 Chicago Transit Authority announced a pilot programme to remove the seats from a number of metro cars to increase capacity by 25 to 50 people per car. Eight-car peak trains would have one or two seatless cars, running initially on the Brown Line with the Blue and Red lines to follow. CTA President Ron Huberman said design work is underway, and a decision on whether to keep the seatless arrangement will depend on customer reaction.

Madrid Metro has opened a new station at Rivas Futura on Line 9 between Puerta de Arganda and Arganda del Rey, built at a cost of €16m including a 522-space park and ride facility. The station has 115 m long platforms capable of accommodating six-car Series 6000 trainsets.

Last month boring was completed on the first 2·2 km Manhattan tube between New York's Grand Central Terminal and the 63rd Street tunnel to Queens. On completion in about five years the East Side Access will bring Long Island Rail Road trains to Grand Central for the first time. A two-level, eight-track terminal is now being excavated under Grand Central by a joint venture of Dragados and Judlau Contracting.

The Metropolitan Authority of Greater Orléans has agreed an €89·6m contract with Alstom for the supply of 21 Citadis 302 cars for the French city's second tram route. The cars are expected to enter service in 2011.

As the city hosts Expo 2008 from June 14 to September 14, Spanish national operator RENFE has inaugurated its first suburban route in Zaragoza, having invested €10·7m in two Civia EMUs and station equipment. Line C1 runs for 16 km from Casetas to Miraflores via Utebo, Delicias and Portillo, with trains operating every 30 min in the peaks.

Ownership of the Tramlink light rail system in Croydon was transferred to Transport for London on June 27. Tramtrack Croydon Ltd held a 99-year private finance initiative concession to build and operate the 28 km network in south London, but on March 17 the shareholders accepted TfL's offer to purchase the business for £98m (RG 4.08 p212). FirstGroup remains as operating subcontractor.

The first of 37 Siemens SD160 LRVs ordered at a cost of €77m was unveiled in Edmonton on June 23. The high-floor cars have a slightly modified cab end compared to earlier SD160 builds, and will double the Canadian city's LRV fleet ready for the opening of the South Line extension next year.