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October 8, 2015updated 29 Nov 2021 6:33am

September’s top stories: Europe’s migrant crisis, renationalisation of UK railways

Trains in mainland Europe were placed under heavy strain due to the migrant crisis, new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced plans to renationalise the UK’s railways, while China won the $5bn Indonesian high-speed rail contract. Railway-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from September 2015.

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Hungary opens Budapest train station as Europe struggles with migrant crisis

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

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

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

Borders Railway opens with new service in Scotland

scotland

The UK’s Network Rail and Transport Scotland opened Borders Railway, with trains running between Tweedbank and Edinburgh.

The service is the first regular passenger train between Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders in approximately 47 years. The original Waverley Line connecting Edinburgh to Carlisle was cancelled in 1969 during the Beeching cuts.

According to Borders Railway, the £300m new line is the longest domestic railway in the UK in more than 100 years, and was built on-time and on-budget.

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, started by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

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

Google reveals further details on its Wi-Fi plan for India’s rail stations

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Google announced additional details about its plan to provide public, high-speed Wi-Fi services at 400 train stations across India, in order to help get millions of people online.

The announcement was made by Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the company’s US headquarters ‘Googleplex’.

Google will collaborate with the Indian Railways and RailTel, which provides internet services through its fibre network along the railway lines.

Labour leader Corbyn proposes renationalisation of British railways

Newly elected Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn unveiled his plans to renationalise the UK’s railways.

The plans, which will include handing all rail franchises back to state ownership when they expire, were announced in Brighton at Labour’s annual conference.

If Corbyn becomes the next prime minister of the country, he plans to renationalise a third of franchises by 2025, with each route being taken over by the government as its franchise expires, reported the Independent.

George Osborne invites China to bid for £11.8bn HS2 project

UK Chancellor George Osborne opened the bidding process for phase one of the High Speed Two (HS2) rail project from London and Birmingham during his visit to China.

He invited Chinese firms to bid for seven contracts, worth £11.8bn, to build the line, including the surface route and tunnels. The seven contracts are split over northern, central and southern areas along the phase one route.

Subject to ministerial decisions later in the year, there will also be an option for additional contracts covering the route north of Birmingham.

Ethiopia starts first light rail passenger service in Addis Ababa

Addis

The Ethiopian Railway (ERC) started passenger services on Addis Ababa Line 1, the first modern urban commuter rail service in the country, as well as sub-Saharan Africa.

The $470m Addis light rail project, which opened following several months of test running, has been built over three years.

The 39-station railway project was undertaken by China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Company (CREEC), and was 85% funded by the Export-Import Bank of China.

Ireland to alter DART Underground design to reduce costs

Ireland decided to redesign the €3bn Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) Underground project in Dublin to cut costs.

DART Underground is a proposed rail tunnel that would run under the city centre, from the Northern Line to Inchicore on the Kildare Line.

Aimed at creating railway links between the national networks, the proposed project would have stations at Docklands, Pearse, St Stephen’s Green, Christchurch, Heuston, and Inchicore.

India to implement Japanese technology under $140bn railway modernisation plan

India sought Japanese technology to upgrade its railways as part of a $140bn five-year action plan.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be signed between the Indian Railways’ research wing Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), and the Technical Research Institute of Japan to undertake research work on modern technology.

Japan will send a team to India to study investment opportunities in 400 stations identified for modernisation through private partnership.

China Railway Construction completes $1.77bn Mashaer Railway project in Saudi Arabia

China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) completed construction of the $1.77bn Mashaer Railway project in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

Following completion, the project was handed over to the country’s Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, reports Al Bawaba.

The firm had been developing the project for the last six years to connect the holy cities of Makkah, Arafat, Muzdalifa and Mina.

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