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January 4, 2016

2015: The year’s biggest Railway Technology stories

Crosslinx signs C$9.1bn contract for Crosstown LRT, Mexico to relaunch bidding for high-speed train contract, and Victoria opens $2.8bn Regional Rail Link. Railway-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from 2015.

By Nitin Kumar

Crossrail

Crosslinx signs C$9.1bn contract to build Toronto’s Crosstown LRT

Crosslinx Transit Solutions signed a C$9.1bn ($7bn) contract with Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Metrolinx to design, build, finance and maintain the Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit (Crosstown LRT) project in Toronto, Canada.

The project is being delivered using the Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) model, which protects taxpayers by transferring significant risks to the private sector.

According to IO, its rigorous and competitive procurement process enabled it to conclude a deal that is C$2bn below the original estimate.

Mexico to relaunch bidding process for $3.75bn high-speed train contract

The Mexican Government decided to relaunch the bidding process for $3.75bn high-speed train contract that was scrapped in November 2014.

The government, which will reveal preliminary terms on 14 January 2015, said the tender will be open for 180 days with similar terms to the original one.

Citing the government’s statement, Reuters reported that a supervisor will oversee the process to ensure the full transparency and legality of the process from the start of the bidding process.

Victoria opens $2.8bn Regional Rail Link

Melbourne RRL

Australia’s Victorian Government officially opened its A$3.65bn ($2.8bn) Regional Rail Link, with the final section of the project through Tarneit and Wyndham Vale scheduled to be opened for commuters on 21 June.

The Regional Rail Link paves way for more commuter rail services in regional centres and in Melbourne’s west.

The project removed major bottlenecks in Victoria’s rail network, as well as increased capacity for passengers in Melbourne’s west and Victoria’s major regional centres of Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.

Iran to invest $25bn in railway upgrades

Iran announced plans to invest $25bn over the next ten years in the modernisation and expansion of its railway network.

The investment is expected to extend Iran Railways’ track length from the current 15,000km to 25,000km by 2025.

The upgrade would support the efforts of the country to align with the regional rail networks in the Persian Gulf and the subcontinent to Central Asia.

India selects Japan for its first $15bn bullet train project

Japan will support India’s first bullet train project by providing its high-speed technology and a $12bn loan.

An agreement was signed to this effect by prime ministers of the two countries, Shinzo Abe and Narendra Modi, during the former’s recent visit to India.

According to previous media reports, the loan will cover 80% of the $15bn project, and is being offered at an interest rate of 1%.

China beats Japan to win Indonesian high-speed rail contract

Indonesia selected China over Japan to build its first high-speed rail link between Jakarta and the West Java provincial capital of Bandung.

China and Japan were lobbying for the $5bn contract, the biggest infrastructure project started by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Indonesia dropped its plan to build a high-speed rail link and decided to go for a cheaper rail link with medium speeds of 200km/h.

New high-speed train Frecciarossa 1000 makes inaugural journey in Italy

Frecciarossa 1000

Italian transport operator Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane put the new Frecciarossa 1000 high-speed train into service for the first time, running from Milan to Rome.

Bombardier and its consortium partner AnsaldoBreda were awarded a €1.54bn ($2.1bn) contract by Trenitalia in September 2010 to supply 50 Frecciarossa 1000 train units.

The cost a train set is €30.8m ($40.2m). Bombardier’s share of the contract is estimated at €652m ($889m).

Hungary opens Budapest train station as Europe struggles with migrant crisis

Hungary

Hungary reopened Budapest’s Keleti train station for migrants but cancelled trains to Western Europe.

This created confusion among the refugees seeking to travel to Germany, as they fought to board the trains with the hope of reaching their destination country.

Signs were put up and announcements made that the international trains are cancelled indefinitely.

China launches first new hydrogen-powered tramcar

China launched the world’s first hydrogen-powered tramcar, as part of the country’s efforts to tackle pollution.

The Xinhua news agency reported that the new environmentally friendly vehicle was developed by China South Rail subsidiary Sifang and was rolled off the assembly line in China’s eastern Shandong Province.

The tram can be refilled with hydrogen in three minutes and will be capable of running up to 100k/hm. Fitted with 60 seats, the tram is capable of accommodating more than 380 passengers.

Japan’s maglev train sets new world speed record

Japan’s magnetic levitation (maglev) train set a new world speed record of 603km/h (374mph) in a test run near Mount Fuji.

Owned by Central Japan Railway (JR Central), the train broke its own record of 590km/h that was reached during another test last week, BBC News reported.

Using maglev technology, which allows the electrically charged magnets to lift and move carriages above the rail tracks, the new train is expected to be operational by 2027.

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