Kerala Cabinet approves $9.3bn semi high-speed railway project

The Government of Kerala approved an Rs660.79bn ($9.3bn) semi high-speed rail (SHSR) project between Kasaragod and the state’s capital Thiruvananthapuram.

The 532km-long rail corridor is expected to be completed by 2024.

The centre and state government will contribute Rs77.2bn ($1.08bn) each. Half of the cost, Rs344.54bn ($4.8bn), will be attained through loans.


UK to conduct independent review to assess feasibility of HS2 project

The UK Government prepared to conduct an independent review of the High Speed 2 (HS2) project to assess the viability of the flagship high-speed rail project.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the terms of reference for the review, which will determine if the project should be approved as it was conceived, revised or scrapped entirely.

The review will be led by Douglas Oakervee and supported by Lord Berkeley as deputy chair, as well as a panel.


Bombardier-led consortium signs Cairo monorail contract

A consortium led by Bombardier Transportation signed an agreement with Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels to design and build two monorail lines in Cairo.

Other members of the consortium are local companies Orascom Construction and Arab Contractors.

The consortium will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the two lines for 30 years.


Network Rail to seek public opinion on £2.9bn rail upgrades

UK infrastructure manager Network Rail announced plans to seek public opinion on major rail upgrades to the TransPennine route in northern England.

The TransPennine route runs from Manchester, Leeds and York. Journey times between Leeds and Manchester are expected to be reduced to approximately 40 minutes following the upgrade.

The infrastructure manager will consult people living in proximity to the railway between Huddersfield and Westtown, Dewsbury, as part of the planning and development process for the proposed 13km route upgrade.


First Trenitalia named new operator of West Coast Partnership

The UK’s Department for Transport announced that First Trenitalia won the contract to operate the West Coast Partnership.

From December, First Trenitalia will operate West Coast Partnership until 2031.

The West Coast Partnership is set to provide a wide range of benefits to commuters, including new trains, increased number of seats, simplified fares and more frequent services on the West Coast Main Line.


Kiewit-Parsons JV to build $805.6m Foothill Gold Line extension

Kiewit-Parsons joint venture (JV) secured the main design-build contract for the Foothill Gold Line light rail extension in California, US.

The contract, awarded by the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority, is valued at $805.6m and involves building a nine-mile rail line segment from Glendora to Pomona.

Works include relocating the existing freight track, installing the light rail track system and building four light rail stations at Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne and Pomona.


Hitachi Rail tests new technology to remove station ticket barriers

Rolling stock manufacturer Hitachi Rail announced that it is testing prototype technology that may prevent long queues at ticket-barriers in railway stations.

The technology involves using sensors on trains that can detect and recognise an app on passengers’ smartphones while they board. The passengers will automatically be charged the respective fare once they off-board.

The smart technology eliminates the need to pay through a dedicated e-wallet manually and prevents long queues at ticket-barriers. Additionally, it will help to streamline the boarding process.


Loram agrees to acquire Aurizon’s rail grinding business

US-based Loram Maintenance of Way signed a binding agreement to acquire the rail grinding services business of Australian rail freight operator Aurizon.

Executed through the wholly owned Australian subsidiary of Loram, the deal includes Aurizon’s contracts to serve four customers.


UK Northern retires first Pacer train

UK-based rail operator Northern has retired the first unit from its fleet of Pacer trains, which have been operating for nearly three decades.

Unit number 142005 made its final trip carrying Northern customers between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge.

The vehicle entered service on 20 February 1987 and is said to have travelled more than three million miles in 32 years.


Italian Senate approves high-speed rail link with France

The Italian Senate approved the long-contested tranzAlpine high-speed rail link with France, which is opposed by one of the ruling coalition partners.

The Senate rejected a motion brought by the opposing 5-Star Movement, deepening its rift with the other coalition partner, the League, which supports the construction of the rail line.

According to a Reuters report, the motion was rejected by 181 votes to 110. Subsequently, another motion, brought by the opposition Democratic Party to support the project, was passed 180 to 109 in favour.