2016: The year's biggest Railway Technology stories

The New Zealand Government announced it would work with Auckland Council on the NZ$2.5bn ($1.7bn) City Rail Link (CRL) project in Auckland, and the new £14.8bn UK Crossrail project was announced to be named the Elizabeth Line in honour of the Queen. Railway-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from 2016.


Main construction on $1.7bn Auckland City Rail Link to begin in 2018

The New Zealand Government announced it would work with the Auckland Council to bring forward the start date of the NZ$2.5bn ($1.7bn) City Rail Link (CRL) project in Auckland.

The government is currently working to bring forward a business plan and formalise its funding commitment from 2020, which the council has indicated would allow construction of the main works to start in 2018, at least two years earlier than envisaged.

The 3.5km CRL will extend the city's commuter rail network beyond the current terminus at Britomart to connect with the western line at a triangular junction near Eden Terrace.

London's Crossrail to be named the Elizabeth line

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced that the new £14.8bn Crossrail railway in the UK will be named the Elizabeth Line in honour of the Queen.

The Elizabeth line will transform travel across the city, as well as support thousands of new jobs and homes.

The Queen officially unveiled the purple line logo named after her and visited the Bond Street station underground site.

UK Government allots £300m for Crossrail 2 and High Speed 3 projects

The UK Government allocated £300m in the national budget for the proposed Crossrail 2 project and High-Speed 3 (HS3).

The investment follows recommendations by the new National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to back these two projects. The decision will see the government investing £80m to fund the development of Crossrail 2.

The UK will allot £60m for a fast rail link between Manchester and Leeds, the HS3, integrating it with High Speed 2 (HS2).

Vinci and Bouygues win $1.2bn Cairo metro contract

Vinci and Bouygues Construction secured a $1.2bn contract from Egypt's National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) for the construction of phase 3 of Line 3 of the Cairo metro.

The work under this project will be carried out by the joint venture led by Vinci Construction Grands Projets, alongside Bouygues Construction's subsidiary Bouygues Travaux Publics and their Egyptian partners Orascom Construction and Arabco Contractors.

The 67-month project covers civil engineering for phase 3, which includes the construction of 17.7km of track and 15 new stations.

Siemens and CRRC to provide 46 trains to BTSC

Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company (BTSC) awarded contracts worth THB11bn ($307m) to Siemens and Changchun Railway Vehicles (CRRC) for the supply of 46 new four-car trains.

Siemens will deliver 22 trains, while 24 will be supplied by CRRC. The locomotives are expected to provide necessary additional capacity to support increasing ridership of the BTSC's SkyTrain System.

They will feature the latest available technology, while further improvements will be made to efficiency and accessibility.

Switzerland opens world’s longest railway tunnel

Switzerland opened the world's longest and deepest railway tunnel, Gotthard Base Tunnel, connecting Erstfeld (Uri) with Bodio (Ticino) and passing below Sedrun (Graubunden).

The first flat low-level route through the Alps, the 57.09km-long Gotthard Base Tunnel comprises a 151.84km network of tunnels, shafts and passages forms a part of the AlpTransit project.

Wholly owned subsidiary of Swiss Federal Railways, AlpTransit Gotthard has constructed the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

Alstom receives €800m order from NS for Delivery of Intercity trains

French rail transport company Alstom secured a €800m contract to deliver 79 Intercity New Generation trains to Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), the national railway operator in the Netherlands.

With expected delivery from January 2020, the trains will operate on the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Breda line and the Den Haag-Eindhoven corridor.

Alstom's Europe senior vice-president Andreas Knitter said: “We are pleased to be entrusted by NS for the supply of a highly reliable, energy efficient, safe, and comfortable transport system for their passengers.

Astaldi joint venture wins €1bn contract for Brenner railway tunnel in Italy

A joint venture (JV) comprising Astaldi Group, Ghella, Oberosler, Cogeis and PAC secured a €1bn contract to build the Italian stretch of the Brenner Railway Tunnel.

As part of the deal, the JV will build an exploration tunnel and two main tunnels from Mezzaselva in Fortezza to the Italian border with Austria.

A total of 23km will be dug for the development, with 46km excavated using tunnel boring machines (TBMs).

Chicago Transit Authority to advance $2.3bn Red Line Extension project

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) in the US unveiled a draft environmental impact study (EIS) to obtain federal funding to advance the $2.3bn Red Line Extension (RLE) Project.

The project involves a 5.3-mile extension for the Red Line rail service to stretch from 130th Street to 95th Street, as well as the building of four new rail stations. These new stops are intended for near 103rd Street, 111th Street, Michigan Avenue, and 130th Street.

The EIS gives detail on potential benefits and impacts of both proposed options for the project. 

Swiss FOT approves Bombardier Traxx trains for Gotthard Base rail tunnel

The Swiss Federal Office of Transport (FOT) approved the use of Bombardier Traxx locomotives in the Gotthard Base rail traffic tunnel following installation of a European Train Control System (ETCS) software update.

Bombardier Traxx locomotives are upgraded with the new automatic train protection software and the authorisation milestone was achieved in cooperation between the FOT, SBB Infra, BLS Cargo and Bombardier.

Designed to increase traffic capacity and safety on mainline operations, the EBI Cab 2000 onboard train protection software allows higher speeds and shorter headways.