Future Rail: Issue 49

In this issue: Learning from European HSR design, a corridor to the Baltic states, inner city rail construction, the Texas bullet, driver only trains, shaking up rail fares, and more


A journey through Europe’s high-speed railway stations offers rich insights into practical design that’s as effective as it is culturally relevant. Urban designer Luca Giaramidaro did just this, exploring what elevates a station from memorable to iconic. We hear of his travels and how European stations can inform plans for California’s $64bn HSR network.

Elsewhere, we catch up with the debate over the cost of a Texas bullet train system, look at the scope of the project to connect the Baltic countries to the rest of Europe, find out how Hong Kong built its South Island Line extension in such a densely populated city, hear how a major shake-up may be on the cards for UK rail fares, and ask just how safe are driver-only train operations.

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In this issue

Making a connection
The idea to connect the Baltic states to ‘the heart of Europe’ came closer to reality in January, when the prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania signed an agreement to complete the Rail Baltica project before 2025. We look at what this project could do for the Northern European countries.
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Hong Kong: Taking construction to the limit  
Hong Kong MTR’s new South Island Line extension was built across both elevated and underground structures in one of the most densely populated cities in the world. We speak to project manager Atkins about how this was achieved.
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Europe’s HSR hubs of inspiration  
San Francisco-based urban designer Luca Giaramidaro has travelled through many of Europe’s best HSR stations as he believes California can learn from the European experience when developing stations for the state’s $64bn high-speed rail plan. We hear what Giaramidaro learned along the way.
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Will Texans take a bullet?  
The proposed Texas bullet train has divided opinions across the state, but will rumoured backing from President Trump go in the project’s favour? We investigate the arguments to assess the real cost to Texans.
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Driver-only trains: What’s the big issue?   
Some UK transport unions have been striking over the introduction of driver-only trains on the Southern service citing supposed safety risks. But Office of Rail and Road assessments suggest DOO is safe. With a national safety framework for DOO on the way, we ask are driver-only operations really safe and are the strikes justified.
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Making fares fair   
Train companies have announced far-reaching changes to UK rail fares to help passengers buy the cheapest tickets. Trials are due to start in May, and could lead to most the radical overhaul of the fares system in more than 30 years, according to the Rail Delivery Group. We find out more.
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Next issue

Construction of an undersea rail corridor between Mumbai and Ahmadabad in western India is to begin in 2018, government reports revealed. We analyse the $14.5bn project which aims to replicate the world-famous Japanese Shinkansen technology to slash journey times across India’s territory.

We also explore Montreal’s controversial C$5.9bn rapid transit project with its proposed route to cut through a toxic waste sites, find out what went wrong with Queensland Rail’s new rolling stock, examine the impact of renewable energies on rail freight services, and hear about predictive maintenance.

For passengers, we ask if expanding London’s Night Tube service increase noise pollution, and talk to Raildar about using Google maps to follow train movements in real-time.

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