August's top stories: Alstom wins $2bn Amtrak order, £6.5bn Thameslink Programme

Alstom secured a $2bn contract from US-based rail operator Amtrak to design and build 28 new high-speed trains, Network Rail tested a new signalling system with the help of Govia Thameslink Railway’s (GTR) new Siemens Class 700 train at the ETCS National Integration Facility. Railway-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from August.


Alstom wins $2bn deal from Amtrak for high-speed trains

Alstom secured a $2bn contract from US-based rail operator Amtrak to design and build 28 new high-speed trains.

Once delivered, the new trains will be deployed on the US Northeast Corridor (NEC) between Boston and Washington DC.

Alstom will also provide long-term technical support, as well as supply spare components and parts for maintenance of the new trains.

Network Rail’s £6.5bn Thameslink Programme tests new signalling system

Network Rail successfully tested a new signalling system with the help of Govia Thameslink Railway’s (GTR) new Siemens Class 700 train at the ETCS National Integration Facility.

As part of Network Rail’s upgrade plan Thameslink Programme ran a Class 700 train through central London using European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 2 in-cab signalling.

This signalling allowed the trains to be driven automatically between St Pancras and Blackfriars stations, under driver supervision. It can enable operation of up to 24 trains per hour, which are planned to begin in 2018.

China Railway Construction wins $1.85bn deal for Kano city light rail in Nigeria

China Railway Construction provisionally secured a $1.85bn contract to build a light rail line in Kano State, Nigeria.

Awarded by Kano State Ministry of Works, Housing & Transport, the deal will see China Railway Construction building a total track length of 74.3km.

Once complete, the four-line track will be capable of carrying trains travelling at speeds of 100kmph.

More than $2.3bn planned for public transit investments in Canada

The Governments of Canada, Ontario, and a number of municipalities agreed to provide more than C$2.97bn ($2.3bn) in combined funding to improve public transit systems across the province.

The bilateral agreement aims to boost Canadian communities and help create jobs. Funding will be provided under phase one of the C$120bn ($92bn) plan Investing in Canada, which aims to support public infrastructure across the country over the next ten years.

Work planned under the fund includes new transit and signalling systems for railway tracks, upgrading of transit vehicles,  timely repairs to subway tracks, construction of new public transit express routes, and improvement of accessibility.

Crossrail awards maintenance facility construction deal to Alstom, TSO and Costain JV

Transport for London (TfL) subsidiary Crossrail awarded a £26m contract to a joint venture (JV) owned by Alstom Transport (UK), TSO and Costain to build a maintenance facility in Plumstead, London, UK.

The new facility will accommodate the staff and equipment required to look after the maintenance of the tracks and other infrastructure in the tunnels under London.

The newly awarded deal is the last major contract awarded under the project, which stretches across 40 stations in the UK.

Three consortia shortlisted to build $4.6bn rail project in Victoria

Continuum Victoria, Cross Yarra Partnership, and Moving Melbourne Together were shortlisted to develop the A$6bn ($4.6bn) rail project in the Australian state of Victoria.

To be built under the public-private partnership (PPP), the project will involve construction and fit-out of a 9km metro tunnel, as well as five new underground stations.

Victoria's premier Daniel Andrews said: “The best construction companies in the world are lining up to build the biggest public transport project in Australia, the Metro Tunnel.

 “Melbourne needs the Metro Tunnel and we’re not wasting a moment, major work starts next year. The Metro Tunnel will let us run trains so often that you don’t need a timetable, you just turn up and go.”

RailConnect JV wins $1.7bn contract to build and maintain 500 new carriages

The RailConnect New South Wales (NSW) joint venture (JV) secured a A$2.3bn ($1.7bn) contract with Transport for NSW (TfNSW) to build and maintain more than 500 new carriages.

Comprising Hyundai Rotem, Mitsubishi Electric Australia, and UGL Rail, the JV will provide maintenance and asset management services to the new fleet for a period of 15 years.

The new intercity fleet project will see the replacement of trains carrying customers from Sydney to the Central Coast, Newcastle, the Blue Mountains, and the South Coast.

Queensland begins construction of $321m Gold Coast Light-Rail stage two extension

The government of Queensland in Australia started major work on the A$420m ($321m) stage two of a 7.3km extension of the Gold Coast Light-Rail.

The extension is expected to be in operation in early 2018. According to urban infrastructure federal minister Paul Fletcher, the project will enable public transport users to have a one-transfer journey from Brisbane to the Gold Coast, with the option of halting at any of the 19 light-rail stations on the way.

Balfour Beatty secures $697m contract to electrify Caltrain rail corridor in US

Global infrastructure group Balfour Beatty won a $697m contract from Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board to electrify the 52-mile Caltrain rail corridor between San Francisco and San Jose in the US.

The contract is a part of Caltrain Peninsula corridor electrification project and Balfour Beatty Infrastructure will design and build a 25kV AC overhead catenary system to serve as the power source for the new high-speed trains.

Scheduled to begin in the next few months, the project will also see the building of two traction power substations, one switching substation, and seven paralleling substations.

ScotRail Alliance completes £60m Glasgow Queen Street tunnel upgrade project

ScotRail and Network Rail's ScotRail Alliance completed the £60m project to renovate and modernise the Glasgow Queen Street rail tunnel in Scotland.

The tunnel has been reopened after 20 weeks of closure for improvement work, which included refurbishment of 1,800m of concrete slab track and the installation of over 4,000m new rails through the structure.

The project also included the extension and transformation of the platforms and track layouts within Queen Street station in preparation for electrification of the main Glasgow-Edinburgh line next year.