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October 9, 2018updated 11 Oct 2018 4:12pm

September’s top news stories

Saudi Arabia opened its $7.87bn high-speed Haramain Railway, LIRR started its $2.6bn expansion programme to modernise congested Main Line, and Crossrail delayed opening the Elizabeth line until late-2019. wraps up key news stories from September 2018.

Saudi Arabia opens $7.87bn Haramain Railway high-speed line

Saudi Arabia opened a $7.87bn high-speed Haramain Railway to connect the holy cities of Mecca and Medina with Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City.

The newly opened Haramain Railway line spans 450km and is expected to transport 60 million passengers a year.

Furthermore, the line is set to connect to a new terminal at Jeddah airport, which is the main point of entry for Hajj pilgrims.

Construction starts on $2.6bn LIRR expansion in New York, US

New York commuter system the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) started a $2.6bn expansion programme involving modernisation of the congested LIRR Main Line.

LIRR expansion works include the addition of 9.8 miles of the third track between Floral Park and Hicksville, seven-grade crossing eliminations and seven bridge replacements, as well as modifications along the Main Line.

Additionally, modernising five stations, seven substation replacements and deployment of 7.5 miles of sound/retaining walls are included in the LIRR expansion project.

Start of Elizabeth Line services postponed to autumn 2019

Crossrail announced that the opening of the Elizabeth line, London’s upcoming 12th tube line, has been postponed from December this year to late 2019.

Under the revised schedule, the central section of the line running from Paddington to Abbey Wood will start operating in autumn 2019.

Crossrail, which is responsible for the implementation of the Elizabeth line, pushed back the opening in order to carry out final infrastructure and extensive testing along the route and ensure a complete safety of operations.

Canada approves $1.04bn for two transit projects in Vancouver

The Government of Canada approved funds totalling C$1.37bn ($1.04bn) for two major rapid transit projects of Metro Vancouver in British Columbia.

The Broadway Subway project and Surrey-Newton-Guildford Light Rail Transit project are expected to reduce traffic congestion and improve passenger transportation.

Alongside federal funding, the Government of British Columbia committed to contributing C$1.82bn ($1.38bn) for the two projects.

UK Government launches complete review of railway operations

The British Government launched a comprehensive review of UK railway operations in an attempt to improve the reliability and accountability of services nationwide.

The review of UK railway operations is claimed to be the most significant since the UK privatised rail services, and is led by former British Airways chief executive Keith Williams, supported by an external panel.

Various recommendations will be assessed by the panel to transform the railway operations model, including minimising disruption of services, utilisation of new technology, as well as strengthening franchises.

PKP Cargo, Pesa and IPS TABOR to develop autonomous train

PKP Cargo, Pesa Bydgoszcz and Poland’s Institute of Rail Vehicles TABOR (IPS TABOR) signed an agreement to develop an autonomous train.

The agreement was signed by PKP Cargo president Czesław Warsewicz, Pesa Bydgoszcz head Krzysztof Sędzikowski and IPS TABOR director Maciej Andrzejewski.

Under the deal, PKP Cargo co-develop a technical design based on the Pesa’s Gama locomotive platform, which will be verified by scientists from TABOR.

Transmashholding-Hungary wins deal to supply train cars to Egypt

The Transmashholding-Hungary consortium secured a contract worth more than €1bn ($1.17bn) to supply passenger car trains to Egyptian National Railways (ENR).

Under the five-year contract, Transmashholding-Hungary will deliver 1,300 sitting passenger cars to ENR. The consortium comprises organisations from Hungary and Russia.

Transmashholding-Hungary secured the deal after responding to a competitive bid,  called by ENR last year and saw the participation of manufacturing companies from China, Italy, India, and Romania.

Nexus shortlists bidders for £500m Tyne and Wear Metro contract in UK

Transport executive Nexus shortlisted five companies for the £500m contract to design, manufacture and maintain a new train fleet for the Tyne and Wear Metro in the UK.

The five bidders are Bombardier Transportation UK, CAF, Hitachi Rail Europe, Stadler Bussnang, and a joint venture between Downer EDI Rail and CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles.

Nexus owns and operates the metro system, and is currently negotiating with all the five entities. The successful bidder is scheduled to be announced at the end of next year.

Alstom’s hydrogen-powered trains start passenger service in Germany

Two Alstom hydrogen-powered trains started commercial passenger services in Germany’s Lower Saxony region.

The two Coradia iLint will operate on the Eisenbahnen und Verkehrsbetriebe Elbe-Weser’s (EVB) Elbe-Weser network. The trains were manufactured in Salzgitter, Germany

Capable of running at a maximum speed of up to 140km/h, the trains will operate on around 100km of rail line on behalf of Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen (LNVG), the rail transport authority in Lower Saxony.

ZF unveils AI-based system to improve tram safety

German company ZF unveiled an artificial intelligence (AI) based assistance system called ZF ProAI to help improve tram safety on networks by preventing collisions.

Initially designed to enable autonomous driving, the technology was demonstrated at InnoTrans 2018 and showcased its potential usage on rail vehicles.

The ZF ProAI central computer is capable of deep-learning, and can detect potential hazards and situations when people or other objects move around the vehicle.

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