German operator Bogestra orders additional Variobahn trams

German public transport operator Bogestra placed an order with Stadler to deliver eight additional Variobahn trams to strengthen its light-rail fleet.

The latest order came two months after the German operator commissioned Stadler to build six city-rail vehicles and modernise 25 B80D trains.

Following the delivery of eight Variobahn trams, Bogestra fleet will expand to 107 Stadler vehicles.

UK’s Midlands Connect submits £2bn rail improvement plan

Transport body Midlands Connect submitted a £2bn proposal to the government outlining a package of railway improvements to expand connectivity between the East and West Midlands.

The Midlands Rail Hub plan encompasses building 15 infrastructures to increase capacity and improve railway connectivity in the region. Additionally, the plan is expected to deliver significant benefits to the Midlands economy.

If approved, the proposals will be implemented in phases between 2024 and 2033. Midlands Connect submitted the plans in collaboration with Network Rail.

Network Rail awards signalling framework contracts worth £215m

UK’s Network Rail awarded 17 framework contracts with a combined value of £215m to deliver minor signalling works across the country.

The awarded contracts represent 17 route-based lots. It includes two framework contractors for seven of these routes and three framework contractors for the Western route.

The winning contractors include Balfour Beatty, Volker Rail, Amco, Amaro Signalling, Amey, Linbrooke and OSL.

Victoria deploys recycled plastic rail sleepers at Richmond station

The Government of Victoria in Australia announced the installation of railway sleepers made from recycled plastic at Richmond station in Melbourne.

The move is part of the government’s sustainability efforts and will support the transition to a circular economy.

Richmond station was equipped with the first of 200 Duratrack railway sleepers as part of an 18-month trial programme.

Bombardier-Downer EDI JV completes delivery of B-series trains to PTA

A joint venture (JV) comprising Bombardier Transportation and Downer EDI delivered the final B-Series electric multiple unit train for Western Australia’s Public Transport Authority (PTA) at the Nowergup Rail Depot.

The JV, known as EDI Rail Bombardier Transportation, was contracted in 2016 to deliver 30 electric multiple units to PTA.

Bombardier Transportation South East Asia and Australia region president Wendy McMillan said: “We are very proud to complete the delivery of the B-Series EMU train fleet to the full satisfaction of PTA and providing a comfortable and reliable transport solution for over 60 million commuters every year.”

First phase of ION Light Rail Transit in Ontario becomes operational

The first phase of the ION Light Rail Transit (LRT) in the Canadian province of Ontario started commercial operations.

The 16km light-rail line was implemented by GrandLinq Consortium under a contract awarded in May 2014. The consortium comprises Plenary, Meridiam, Kiewit, Aecon and Keolis local subsidiary Keolis Grand River.

Keolis Grand River will operate the line for the next ten years and will be responsible for maintenance for 30 years.

US FTA allocates $300m for BART’s Transbay project

US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) allocated $300m for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)’s Transbay Corridor Core Capacity project.

The project, which aims to bolster the capacity of the heavy rail system between Oakland and downtown San Francisco, was awarded through FTA’s Capital Investment Grants (CIG) programme.

Additionally, FTA agreed to advance the Transbay Corridor Core Capacity Project into the engineering phase.

Alstom to supply eight Coradia Lint regional trains to ODEG

Alstom secured a contract to deliver eight Coradia Lint regional trains to Ostdeutsche Eisenbahn (ODEG), a passenger rail operator in Germany.

The French rolling stock manufacturer will build these trains at its Salzgitter facility in Lower Saxony, Germany. The total value of the contract is around €45m.

These Coradia Lint diesel multiple-unit vehicles are environmentally friendly and complies with Stage 5 of European emission standards.

Network Rail equips 157 stations with customer information systems

UK’s Network Rail installed customer information systems at 157 stations across the South London, Surrey and Sussex regions.

The project involved a £10m investment by Network Rail and was carried out in collaboration with British train operators Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express.

Network Rail South East managing director John Halsall said: “Feedback from passengers tells us that the difference between a good or bad journey experience can be the quality and usefulness of the service information they receive on platforms and at stations.

“This investment responds to passenger feedback and is already improving journeys for passengers at hundreds of stations.”

Sound Transit receives first of 152 light-rail vehicles

Sound Transit received the first of 152 previously ordered light-rail vehicles (LRVs) at its Link Operations and Maintenance Facility in Seattle.

The Siemens-manufactured vehicles will more than triple Sound Transit’s current fleet of 62 LRVs, assisting it to fulfil the requirements of an expanding rail network.

In September 2016, the agency placed an order of 122 LRVs with Siemens, followed by another contract of an additional 30 vehicles in April 2017. The contract is valued at $642.5m in total.