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Rail News

3 February 2020. Volume 2, Issue 1

4 months ago by Rail Personnel

​Dear Readers

With the rail and aviation industries looking at ways to cut their carbon footprint it is good to learn that the International Union of Railways (UIC) has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The agreement outlines that each party will work to strengthen their cooperation in standard setting and interoperability initiatives, with a focus on data exchange standards supporting intermodal travel.

François Davenne, UIC Director General, said: “This MoU confirms the desire to really promote multimodality. Offering customers a single ticket for rail and air travel gives them the opportunity to choose the best of both worlds by optimising their journey as well as their carbon footprint. In addition, both IATA and UIC are currently developing tomorrow’s digital standards for ticketing applications: to work on established interfaces right from the design phase is an exciting prospect.” (Source: Global Railway Review)

Regards

Ceri Taylor

Editor

This Week's Headlines:

1 Feb 2020. Singapore. First section of Thomson-East Coast Line opens

The first 3·2km section of SMRT’s Thomson–East Coast Line (TEL) has opened for passenger service.

Source: Metro Report International

31 Jan 2020. UK. Refunds for Chinese unable to travel to UK due to Coronavirus

Following the outbreak of Coronavirus, which is preventing Chinese tourists visiting Great Britain, train companies across the UK are offering fee-free refunds for rail tickets purchased in China.

Source: Global Railway Review

30 Jan 2020. Spain. Thales awarded high-speed signalling maintenance contract

ADIF has awarded Thales the maintenance of the traffic control facilities of the Madrid-Seville and Cordoba-Malaga high speed lines.

Source: Thales

30 Jan 2020. Czech Republic. Arriva Vlaky leases Alpha Trains DMUs

Arriva Vlaky has signed a long-term agreement to lease five two-car Siemens Desiro Classic diesel multiple-units from Alpha Trains..

Source: Railway Gazette

29 Jan 2020. UK. Northern Rail to be nationalised

The Northern rail franchise will be nationalised, the UK government has announced, in a move that will bring a second train network under state control in less than two years.

Source: Financial Times

Rail News:

1 Feb 2020. Singapore. First section of Thomson-East Coast Line opens

The first 3·2km section of SMRT’s Thomson–East Coast Line (TEL) has opened for passenger service. This adds three stations to the SMRT network: Woodlands North, Woodlands and Woodlands South. The remaining five sections are expected to be completed by the end of 2024, with the Founder’s Memorial infill station opened in 2027. When finished, the line will total 43km and 32 stations. Six more stations, from Springleaf to Caldecott, are expected to open later this year. A further extension towards Changi Airport is planned for completion by 2040. The TEL is equipped with Alstom’s Urbalis 400 signalling and platform screen doors. It is operated using four-car aluminium driverless CT251 trainsets capable of transporting up to 1 280 people at 100 km/h, supplied by a consortium of Kawasaki Heavy Industries and CRRC Qingdao Sifang.

Source: Metro Report International

31 Jan 2020. UK. Refunds for Chinese unable to travel to UK due to Coronavirus

Following the outbreak of Coronavirus, which is preventing Chinese tourists visiting Great Britain, train companies across the UK are offering fee-free refunds for rail tickets purchased in China. China is one of the UK’s top 10 most valuable in-bound visitor markets and Chinese visitors spent £657m in 2018 during their trips in the UK. However, many tourists from China will no longer be able to make planned trips to the UK following the suspension of flights to and from mainland China as part of measures to stop the potential spread of the virus. This means many rail tickets will go unused. Companies offering fee-free refunds include all UK train operators and the independent ticket retailers Assertis, Atomised, Click Travel, Evolvi, On Track Retail, Raileasy, SilverRail, Trainline and Trip.com. The Business Travel Association has also recommended travel agents support this initiative. Passengers can claim a fee-free refund by contacting the company that they bought their ticket from.

Source: Global Railway Review

30 Jan 2020. Spain. Thales awarded high-speed signalling maintenance contract

ADIF has awarded Thales the maintenance of the traffic control facilities of the Madrid-Seville and Cordoba-Malaga high speed lines. The contract, to be carried out over 48 months, is valued at €68.77m. It includes both preventive maintenance, aimed at reducing the likelihood of failure of or disruption to the operation of any element in the system, and corrective maintenance, carried out after a fault has been noted. Additionally, it also includes predictive maintenance, based on monitoring of operations and on established parameters, to further optimise the availability of the high-speed lines in Spain. The Madrid-Seville high-speed line was officially opened in 1992 and Thales in Spain has been in charge of maintenance from the beginning, as well as maintenance of the La Sagra-Toledo branch, which added 21 km to the line's 470 km of double track in 2005, and of the Cordoba-Malaga line, which was brought into use in 2007.

Source: Thales

30 Jan 2020. Czech Republic. Arriva Vlaky leases Alpha Trains DMUs

Arriva Vlaky has signed a long-term agreement to lease five two-car Siemens Desiro Classic diesel multiple-units from Alpha Trains. The DMUs are currently operated by RegioJet in Slovakia. They will be used by Arriva’s Czech subsidiary on competitively-tendered passenger services on the Liberec – Turnov – Semily – Stará Paka route from December 2020 until the end of 2029. The deal expands Alpha Trains’ passenger rolling stock leasing activities to another country. ‘National railway markets in Europe are opening up to competition, and services and prices are becoming more comparable. We are pleased to be part of this development’, said Alpha Trains Group CEO Shaun Mills.

Source: Railway Gazette

29 Jan 2020. UK. Northern Rail to be nationalised

The troubled Northern rail franchise will be nationalised, the UK government has announced, in a move that will bring a second train network under state control in less than two years. The decision means the existing Northern franchise will be removed five years early from Arriva, part of Deutsche Bahn, and placed in the hands of the government’s “operator of last resort”. Grant Shapps, transport secretary, said the franchise, which stretches from Staffordshire to Northumberland and carries 108m passengers a year on 2,800 daily services, will be stripped from Arriva on 1st March. The operator of last resort will trial new technology to deal with overcrowding on trains as well as extending platforms at 30 stations on the Northern network to allow for longer trains, the minister said. Mr Shapps also admitted that many of Northern’s problems were down to “inadequate infrastructure” and announced a newly created cross-industry body, the North West Recovery Task Force. It will be co-ordinated by Network Rail, to deliver recommendations on how best to boost capacity and performance. frequent, reliable and modern services and unlock economic growth.

Source: Financial Times

29 Jan 2020. UK. Northern Rail is voted 'worst' train company in Britain

Northern Rail has been voted the worst train company in the country, with only 72% of passengers satisfied with the operator’s performance over the autumn, according to a survey by the Transport Focus watchdog. The dismal score, from a survey of 28,000, is the lowest in 20 years and follows months of delays, cancellations and strikes. It came as Government ministers are scheduled to confirm whether Arriva-run Northern Rail will be stripped of its franchise and, effectively, renationalised. West Midlands Trains was the second-worst operator, with 73% of passengers satisfied, while South Western Railway was third-worst with 74%.

Source: Daily Mail

29 Jan 2019. China. Rail freight from Wuhan suspended due to Coronavirus

Rail freight traffic from the Chinese province of Hubei, with its capital Wuhan, has come to a standstill. Trains are not permitted to leave the province until the end of February. Rail freight traffic from other provinces is still moving. For example from Xi’an, another major hub on the New Silk Road, freight trains run in and out as normal. Erik Groot-Wassink of Nunner Logistics, which operates several trains per week between Wuhan and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, said: “We are still able to re-route our trains from Wuhan to Xi’an. We just heard that one of our trains was able to cross the border with Kazakhstan in Khorgos, this was a great relief. His concern stemmed from rumours that several borders with China would be closed.). However, according to railway company RTSB all border crossings are still open for rail freight traffic. “The closures only concern passenger traffic, Kateryna Negrieieva from RTSB said.

Source: RailFreight.com

29 Jan 2020. New Zealand. Major investment to future proof rail

Minister for State Owned Enterprises Winston Peters says the funding of four major rail projects under the New Zealand Upgrade Programme is yet another step in the right direction for New Zealand’s long-term rail infrastructure. “Rail is a national strategic asset and strong investment is a no brainer. These projects will enable KiwiRail to deliver effective rail services and get our cities moving. A well-maintained reliable rail system reduces road congestion and road maintenance costs, seriously lowers carbon emissions, and allows for large volumes of freight across the country,” Mr Peters said. Four rail projects will be funded as part of the NZ$12bn infrastructure package: NZ$315m for improvements to the Wiri to Quay Park Corridor in Auckland including construction of a third rail line to ease the bottleneck between Wiri and Westfield; NZ$371m to extend electrification from Papakura to Pukekohe of the Auckland metro network by 19km; NZ$211m for improvements to the Wellington, Wairarapa and Palmerston North network and beyond; and NZ$247 million to develop the Drury railway station, with two new stations at Drury East and Drury West.

Source: Ministerial Press Release

28 Jan 2020. UK. Heathrow Express named as best rail service in 2019

Heathrow Express, the airport rail link service between London Heathrow Airport and Paddington Station, has been named by passengers as the best rail service in the UK, for the fourth year in a row. The results demonstrate the value of the non-stop service to airport customers. The results of Transport Focus’ 2019 National Rail Passenger Survey outlined that Heathrow Express achieved 96 per cent overall satisfaction from the 28,000 passenger participants, putting the service two per cent above any other operator in the country and 14 per cent ahead of the national average. Speed and reliability were the most significant results, standing out at 98 per cent and 95 per cent respectively.

Source: Global Railway Review

28 Jan 2020. UK. ORR opens market study on signalling

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has announced the opening of a market study that will explore and evaluate the supply of rail signalling systems. Over a five-year period, between 2014 and 2019, Network Rail spent over £4bn on signalling, a significant spend which is forecast to continue growing in the future. Head of Competition at the ORR, Tom Cole, said: The ability for Network Rail to drive value ORR’s market study will focus on the level of competition for the delivery of significant signalling projects, looking at the strength of competition for tenders, and, whether there are any barriers to innovation or new entrants entering with new technology solutions. In particular, the ORR will examine whether there is fair and commercially reasonable access to interlocking technology, and other aspects of the installed railway infrastructure base, which are necessary to deliver complex signalling projects in the UK.

Source: Global Railway Review

28 Jan 2020. UK. £500m fund to restore Beeching rail cuts goes ahead

A government fund is to be launched later to restore historic railway lines closed more than 50 years ago under the so-called Beeching cuts. The £500m promise was made in the Tory election manifesto in November. But Labour called the plan "meaningless", adding that £500m would reopen just 25 miles of railway. And the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) described the funds as a "drop in the ocean". The government is giving funding to develop proposals for two historic railway lines - £1.5m to the Ashington-Blyth-Tyne Line in Northumberland, and £100,000 to the Fleetwood line in Lancashire. And communities will be able to apply for some of the remainder of the £500m pot to restore their lines. Roughly 5,000 miles of track was closed and more than 2,300 stations were axed in the 1960s, mainly in rural areas, following the Beeching report. which aimed to cut the mounting debts of the nationalised British Rail by removing duplicated routes and closing the least-used branch lines of the railway.

Source: BBC

28 Jan 2020. Germany. DB halts delivery of IC2 trains from Bombardier

Deutsche Bahn (DB) subsidiary DB Long Distance is refusing to buy 25 new intercity trains from Bombardier due to technical defects Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported. The order is worth €400m (US$444m. At the heart of the problem lies the operating system of the trains which takes too long to boot up and crashes regularly if trains have to change direction, the paper said. DB confirmed that it was currently not accepting 25 intercity trains from a supplier it did not name, adding it was hoping the technical problems would be resolved soon. The company said it was examining whether to take legal steps. A spokesman for Bombardier said it is working with DB to resolve the problems and regrets the inconvenience the train failures have caused passengers.

Source: Reuters

28 Jan 2020. Portugal. Contract awarded for new Évora North to Freixo line

Infrastructure Portugal has awarded a €46.6m contract for the construction of a new 20.5km line between Évora North and Freixo as part of the future South International Corridor to Spain. The contract was awarded to Comsa Consortium, Fergrupo, and Constructora San Jose and involves the construction of eight overpasses, three underpasses and six bridges including the 575m Palheta bridge and the 358m Pardiela bridge. The single-track line will have provision for a second track to be laid. Two sections are already under construction between Freixo and Alandroal (20.5km) and from there to Elvas (38.5km). Work upgrading the 11km section between Elvas and Caia on the Spanish border was completed this month, including preparation for the installation of ERTMS and electrification, at a cost of €20.4m.

Source: International Railway Journal

28 Jan 2020. Australia. WA gives Fortescue green light for Eliwana rail construction

The Western Australian (WA) Government has granted a special rail licence for the construction and operation of Fortescue Metal Group’s Eliwana iron ore mine and rail project in the Pilbara region. Pacific Industrial Company (PIC) in Kwinana is manufacturing more than 2600 tonnes of fabricated structural steel into rail and road bridge girder modules for the Eliwana project .The road and rail bridge girders are the largest and heaviest to ever be constructed in Western Australia, according to PIC managing director Marco Mosole. The Eliwana mine and rail project includes 143 kilometres of rail development and a 30 million tonnes a year dry ore processing facility.

Source: Australian Mining

27 Jan 2019. Australia. Final Bombardier NGR train enters service in Queensland

Bombardier Transportation has recently celebrated the introduction into passenger service of the final New Generation Rollingstock (NGR) train for the Queensland Government. In addition to delivering the 75 commuter trains, Bombardier will also maintain the entire fleet at its Wulkuraka maintenance centre near Ipswich. The trains have been rigorously tested and commissioned to the highest requirements of TMR and Queensland Rail at the Wulkuraka maintenance facility. In addition, they have travelled more than eight million in-service kilometres and conducted over 150,000 passenger journeys since the first trains started service in December 2017. Last year, Bombardier Transportation signed a contract for AUD$335.7m with the Queensland Government to deliver modifications to the NGR trains currently being introduced to the South-East Queensland rail network.

Source: Global Newswire