Discussions are underway between the Department of Transportation & Communications and Metro Rail Transit Corp regarding the purchase of 73 additional cars for Line 3 of the Manila metro. The talks are separate from those taking place over the government's plans to buy out Metrostar Express, the consortium that built and operates the line.

The Indonesian government is reportedly to fund 42% of the construction cost of the Jakarta metro. The government is expected to seek financial support in the form of soft loans from the Japanese government. The first phase of the line from Lebak Bulus to Dukuh Atas is planned to open in 2014.

The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority has provisionally selected Veolia Transportation to operate the city's historic tram network for the next three years. The company saw off competition from First Transit and an employee-led team. The agreement is expected to be signed formally this month, and includes an option for a further two years.

The mayor of Milano, Letizia Moratti, is examining options for three metro lines to be built as part of the city's plan to host the Expo 2015 world fair. Improved suburban rail services and better links to Malpensa airport are also on the agenda.

Eight Comet I cars are to be bought outright by Septa for use on commuter rail services around Philadelphia. The former New Jersey Transit cars will be joined by a ninth vehicle for spares, and are intended to offer an interim capacity boost pending the arrival of 120 vehicles currently being built by Hyundai Rotem.

Singapore Land Transport Authority has awarded a S$231·9m contract to Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Corp for the construction of Promenade station on the Downtown Line, work on which is already underway.

Five groups have been shortlisted for a consultancy contract to assess options for grade-separating the Western Railway corridor in Mumbai. The project would involve shifting the Churchgate – Virar service to an elevated alignment. The consultant will also analyse the feasibility of similar measures for other suburban lines in the city.

Local officials are studying options for a commuter rail service to the West Valley district of Phoenix. The service would connect the city with Wickenburg, and the study will focus on how it might be accommodated along BNSF's right-of-way. Phoenix's first light rail line opens in December (RG 8.08 p480).

A second car has entered service on the Montmartre funicular in Paris. A single vehicle had been in service since the middle of last year following an accident in December 2006. The line is operated by RATP and carries 3 million passengers/year.

Construction of a 13 km extension to Stuttgart S-Bahn Line S1 began on July 23. The €32·5m project will take the route from Plochingen to Kirchheim, with a projected opening date of December 2009.

Dutch firm Smartrac is to supply Egyptian partner MasriaCard with ticketing smart cards for use on the Cairo Metro.

The financial restructuring of Bangkok Mass Transit System is progressing, although the company's plans to list on the Thai stock exchange are likely to be put back until at least the first quarter of 2009. BTS has identified 'three to four' financial partners to contribute to its restructuring plan, which is expected to be approved by the Central Bankruptcy Court this month.

Local authority approval has been granted for the long-planned $1·4bn project to extend Portland's MAX light rail network into suburban Milwaukee. The 10·5 km extension from Portland State University to Oak Grove would follow an existing railway alignment for part of its length. TriMet is now able to start seeking finance for the project, with federal funds likely to meet up to 60% of the cost.