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March 31, 2014

March’s top stories: US DOT’s $2.5bn funding, Northern direct award

US DOT sanctions $2.5bn for 26 transit projects, Bombardier agrees to supply 240 TRAXX Africa locomotives and Spanish FCC consortium wins €506m Doha Metro contract, while UK DfT awards rail services contract to Northern Rail. Railway-technology.com wraps up key headlines from March 2014.

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US DOT sanctions $2.5bn for 26 transit projects

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The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has sanctioned around $2.5bn in funds for around 26 rail, bus rapid transit (BRT), and streetcar projects across 16 states, under President Obama’s 2015 fiscal year budget.

Funded through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA’s) Capital Investment Grant Program, the projects are expected to create thousands of construction-related jobs, as well as increasing transportation choices.

The budget includes funding for eight brand new projects including Dyer Avenue BRT in El Paso, Texas; East-West Connector BRT in Nashville, Tennessee; and Green Line Extension outside Boston, Massachusetts.

$2.5bn rail project announced in Melbourne

Melbourne announced a rail project worth around $2bn-$2.5bn, as part of its broader plan to cater for growth.

The project seeks to deliver 25 new next generation, high-capacity trains; newly-rebuilt stations at Clayton, Murrumbeena and Carnegie; as well as a new train maintenance depot at Pakenham East.

Under the multi-billion dollar programme, the Pakenham and Cranbourne lines in the region will be remodeled with modern high-capacity signalling in order to provide a 30% capacity boost.

UK DfT awards rail services contract to Northern Rail

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The UK Department for Transport (DfT) awarded a contract to Northern Rail to operate rail services across the north of England.

Northern Rail will be offered £38bn to maintain and expand the railways over the next five years, and action to cap fares at inflation, under the contract that will back the government’s £600m investment in the region.

UK Rail Minister Stephen Hammond said: "Rail travel across the north will be transformed over the next five years through huge levels of government investment.

"We will also continue to work closely with the operator to deliver additional electric trains which will strengthen services across the network."

FCC consortium wins Doha Metro contract

A consortium led by Spanish infrastructure company FCC secured a €506m contract from the Qatar Railways Company to build a section of Doha Metro red line.

The consortium includes Citizen Services Group, Archirodon, Yüksel and Petroserv. It beat companies from Korea, Germany, Italy and India, among other countries to win the bid.

The contract covers the construction of three elevated stations at Barwa village, Al Wakrah and Qatar Economic Zone; a 6.97km section, as well as tunnelising the road at the entrance to Al Wakrah.

London Underground seeks supplier to build new air-cooled trains

London Underground is looking for a new supplier to build the next-generation ‘new tube for London’ walk-through and air-cooled trains.

A notice for expressions of interest to build the new trains was submitted by London Underground with the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) on 28 February with a formal tender invitation expected to be issued in early 2015.

The new tube service will run 250 new trains on the Bakerloo, Central, Piccadilly, and Waterloo & City lines.

Under the new programme, the tube will operate 100 trains for the Piccadilly line; 100 trains for the Central line; 40 trains for the Bakerloo line; and 10 trains for the Waterloo & City line.

Ankara Metro’s M2 Line opens

A 16.5km-long M2 line of the Ankara Metro communications-based train control (CBTC) project in Turkey entered into revenue services.

With 12 stations operational in discontinuous train protection (DTP) mode, Ankara Metro’s M2 Line opens after M3, the first of four lines of the CBTC project, was opened in February.

The M2 line runs from Kizilay to Çayyolu, Turkey, with a commercial speed of 80kmph, and will be operated by state-owned company Altyapi Yatirimlari Genel Mudurlugu (AYGM).

Bombardier agrees to supply 240 TRAXX Africa locomotives

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Bombardier Transportation South Africa signed an agreement with Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) for the supply of electric locomotives.

The contract will come into effect by end of March, following certain administrative approvals.

Bombardier will supply 240 TRAXX Africa locomotives which forms part of a complete fleet renewal programme involving four different suppliers.

CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive will supply 359 electric locomotives, GE Transportation 233 diesel locomotives, and CNR Rolling Stock 232.

Deutsche Bahn and Etihad Rail sign JV

A Deutsche Bahn (DB) subsidiary and Etihad Rail, UAE’s national railway network, signed a joint venture (JV) agreement to operate and maintain the new 264km freight line from Ruwais to Shah and Habshan in the country.

The ‘Etihad Rail DB’ JV will also serve as consultant for the operations of the future stages of the UAE rail network and will be led by Etihad Rail vice-chairman Mattar Al Tayer.

Etihad Rail chairman Nasser Alsowaidi said: "Deutsche Bahn and DB Schenker Rail are the ideal partners to help spearhead a successful, modern railway for the UAE for generations to come."

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