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December 1, 2013

November’s top stories: UK HS2 hybrid bill, Brisbane’s UBAT project

The UK Government published a hybrid bill for the High-Speed 2 (HS2) railway line, Crossrail completed its first train tunnel, Queensland is to build the world's first bus and train tunnel in Brisbane and MTR unveiled first Express Rail Link high-speed train in Hong Kong. wraps up the key headlines from November 2013.

November's top stories: UK HS2 hybrid bill, Brisbane's UBAT project

UK Government publishes HS2 hybrid bill

UK Government

The UK Government has published a hybrid bill that includes the powers necessary to construct and operate phase one of High-Speed 2 (HS2) railway line between London and the west midlands.

HS2 will connect eight of the ten major cities in the UK and will particularly benefit the midlands and the north.

Construction of the line from London to Birmingham is expected to begin between 2016 and 2017, with the line estimated to be operational in 2026.

The new line is vital to relieve capacity requirements on the other main rail routes into London.

London Underground to launch 24-hour service

The London Underground is launching a new 24-hour ‘Night Tube’ service at weekends.

The development is part of a package of measures for the future of tube service, which will see more staff available at stations to help customers buy the right ticket and plan their journeys.

From 2015, passengers will be offered weekend services through the night on core parts of the network.

The service will initially be provided on the Piccadilly, Victoria, Central and Jubilee lines, and key sections of the Northern line and will be expanded to include other lines in subsequent years.

Crossrail project completes first train tunnel

Crossrail image

London’s £14.8bn Crossrail project has unveiled its first train tunnel, marking a key milestone in modernising the transport network in the city.

Treasury chief secretary Danny Alexander, infrastructure minister Lord Deighton and deputy mayor for transport Isabel Dedring gained a glimpse of how the tunnel will look when it opens in 2018.

In addition, they helped enclose a time capsule in the remaining section of ‘Phyllis’, Crossrail’s first tunnelling machine. Phyllis bored 6.8km between Royal Oak and Farringdon stations in an 18-month period.

FCC completes trial run on Panama Metro Line 1

Spanish infrastructure company FCC has completed a trial run on the 13.7km Panama Metro Line 1, Central America’s first metro and the ninth in Latin America.

Panama President Ricardo Martinelli travelled the entire route of the metro line on board the Metro Unit 006.

Martinelli was accompanied by Canal Affairs Minister and Metro Executive Secretary Roberto Roy, other Cabinet members and the executives of the consortium formed by FCC and Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

Queensland to build world’s first bus and train tunnel in Brisbane

Queensland to build world's first bus and train tunnel in Brisbane

The Queensland Government in Australia has announced the $5bn Underground Bus and Train (UBAT) project in Brisbane.

In a reputed world-first, the project will have a 5.4km-long, 15m-wide double-decked tunnel underneath the Brisbane River to carry both rail and road traffic; two train lines will run in the lower section and two busway lanes in the upper.

The tunnel will be built 35-45m underground and will be dug with the largest bore ever used in the country.

MTR unveils first Express Rail Link high-speed train in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s metro operator MTR has unveiled the first of nine new aerodynamic high-speed trains, as part of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

The new train will operate on the Hong Kong section of the Express Rail Link, which aims to create a new experience for passengers travelling between Hong Kong and mainland China.

Currently being built by CSR Qingdao Sifang at a cost of HKD1.74bn ($224.4m), the trains are based on the design of China’s CRH380A model.

UK forms new rail industry supply chain forum

UK forms new rail industry supply chain forum

The UK Government has formed a new rail industry supply chain forum to bring together the Department for Transport (DfT), the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and industry stakeholders, to develop a strategy to enhance the country’s rail industry.

The new forum will encourage the expansion of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the rail industry, as well as assisting the government in building and understanding supply chain capability.

The forum will also help the UK Government execute projects such as Crossrail and the HS2 project. Intercity Express Programme (IEP) trains will start operating to Wales and the south-west by 2017, and along the east coast a year later.

Leeds station revamp receives final approval

Leeds city railway station has received the final approval from UK Minister for Transport Susan Kramer to revamp the station to provide better access for rail passengers.

The proposals to enhance the station, which were first introduced in 2009, include a new pedestrian entrance and access to the southern side of the station to and from the existing platform footbridge.

Led by Metro and Network Rail, the £17.3m project has been designed to support redevelopment and regeneration in the southern quarter of the city centre.

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