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February 5, 2016updated 29 Nov 2021 6:24am

January’s top stories: EC finalises €12.7bn in grants for Connecting Europe Facility, Asia’s largest rail station opens

Construction starts on Indonesia's $5.5bn high-speed rail line, UK TfL to take command of entire London suburban rail network, and Indian Railways to invest $142bn by 2020. Railway-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from January 2016.

New Zealand

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

The New Zealand Government will 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.

EC finalises €12.7bn grants for Connecting Europe Facility projects

The European Commission’s (EC) Innovation and Network Executive Agency (INEA) signed the final grant agreements for the last batch of Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) projects.

The agreements will see 263 major European transport infrastructure projects, primarily located on the core trans-European transport network, included in CEF and will be supported by an EU investment of €12.7bn.

Of the total projects, 112 are rail-related and collectively worth €9.59bn with the EU’s contribution to the overall cost of these schemes ranging from 20% to 85%.

Asia’s largest railway station starts operations in China

Futian

Futian high-speed railway station opened in Shenzen, China, making it Asia’s largest underground railway station.

Operated by Guangzhou Railway Corporation, Futian station is the second largest underground railway station in the world after the Grand Central Terminal in New York City, US.

Located in the Guangdong Province, this railway station is one of the seven stops on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

Construction starts on Indonesia’s $5.5bn high-speed rail line

Indonesia started construction of South East Asia’s first high-speed rail link between Jakarta and the West Java provincial capital of Bandung.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the $5.5bn project was carried out by president Joko Widodo in Cikalong Wetan, West Java, which will be the location of one of the eight stations on the line.

A joint venture between an Indonesian consortium and China Railway International, PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia-China is building the 142.3km high-speed rail line.

UK TfL to take command of entire London suburban rail network

TfL

The UK’s Transport for London (TfL) launched proposals for a new era of rail travel to provide better, more reliable services for the city and south-east.

The proposals would see the transfer of rail services that operate mostly or wholly within the Greater London boundary to TfL when the current franchises are due for renewal.

Commuter services running from London Bridge, Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Moorgate, Victoria, Waterloo and London Bridge will be transferred under the plans.

Indian Railways to invest $142bn by 2020

Indian Railways (IR) announced plans to invest $142bn over the next five years, and intends to double the investment in the next five-year cycle.

Since last year’s railway budget, IR has implemented 110 reform measures and has reportedly fulfilled all the announcements made in the budget.

Indian Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has invited multilateral agencies to participate in the railway investment plan, including World Bank, International Finance, US Exim Bank and Overseas Private Investment (OPIC).

New York Governor unveils $3bn plan to rebuild Penn Station

Penn

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled plans to redevelop Penn Station in the US, as well as a neighbouring post office building into a grand gateway into Manhattan.

Dubbed the Empire Station Complex, the project will feature passenger improvements, including first-class amenities, natural light, increased train capacity, decreased congestion and improved signage to improve the travel experience.

Expected to cost $3bn, the project will be financed through a public-private partnership (PPP) and construction is scheduled to begin later this year and would be completed within the next three years.

Finland and Estonia agree to examine undersea rail tunnel link

Finland and Estonia agreed to explore the possibility to build an undersea railway tunnel connecting Helsinki and Tallinn.

The proposed tunnel will strengthen cooperation in the development of mobility and transport between the regions.

Government officials from both countries have also signed a memorandum of understanding committed to further investigating the project such as economic preconditions for the construction and operation of such a tunnel, as well as its socioeconomic impact.

CHSRA recommends $348m bid for high-speed rail contract

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) in the US is recommending a $348m bid to design and build a 22-mile segment of high-speed railway through the Central Valley in the state.

CHSRA identified California Rail Builders as the apparent best value proposer for the design-build services contract for Construction Package 4.

Comprising Ferrovial Agroman US, California Rail Builders has designed and build more than 65 high-speed rail projects across the world.

Lithuanian Railways gets €68m EIB loan to upgrade rolling stock

Lithuanian rail company AB Lietuvos gelezinkeliai (LitRail) secured a €68m loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support the modernisation of rail infrastructure and rolling stock in the country.

Since 1996, EIB has been supporting LitRail in modernising its locomotives and other rolling stock, as well as upgrading its infrastructure.

The current loan will be used to improve several railway infrastructures, renew schemes throughout the country and enhance rolling stock for passenger services.

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