Rail news

Transport Canada introduces emergency rail safety rules following accident

Transport Canada has issued an emergency directive

Transport Canada has issued an emergency directive under section 33 of the Railway Safety Act to improve safety across the Canadian rail industry, following a train derailment in Quebec which killed 47 people.

According to the new directive, effective immediately, any train carrying dangerous goods must have at least two operators and cannot be left unmanned on a main track or sidings.

Rail operators must ensure that directional controls are removed from any unattended locomotives, preventing them from moving forward or backward on a main track or sidings.

Saudi Arabia awards $22bn Riyadh Metro construction contracts

Saudi Arabia's Arriyadh Development Authority

Saudi Arabia’s Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA) has awarded $22bn in contracts to three consortiums for the design and construction of a new automated Metro system in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia has awarded a $9.4bn contract to a Bechtel-led consortium, while Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC) received a contract worth $7.8bn and an Ansaldo consortium received a $5.2bn deal.

US firm Bechtel’s consortium includes Almabani General Contractors, Consolidated Contractors and Siemens (BACS) and will design and construct rail lines one and two of the overall six-line metro system, in addition to delivering train cars, signalling, electrification and integration of the new lines.

Spanish firm FCC’s work on the project will include construction of lines four, five and six, which includes 25 stations and will involve the construction of 64.6km of rail track, 29.8km of viaducts, 26.6km of underground track and 8.2km of overground track.

Network Rail debts to increase to £50bn by 2020, says ORR

Network Rail's net debt increased by £3.1bn

The UK’s Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has said the country’s railways are on the brink of a funding crisis, with Network Rail’s debt expected to reach £50bn by 2020.

In 2012-13, Network Rail’s net debt increased by £3.1bn and it paid £1.5bn in interest on its £27bn debt, the equivalent to just under a fifth of the revenue it receives from the government and train operators.

The rail operator’s focus on new project investments to increase the capacity of the current network could cost £2.5bn per year over the next two decades.

Hitachi wins £1.2bn order to supply trains for East Coast Main Line in UK

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The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded a £1.2bn contract to Hitachi Rail Europe to build additional Hitachi Class 800 series trains to operate on the East Coast Main Line (ECML).

Under the deal, Hitachi Rail Europe will build an additional 30 nine-car electric trains for the ECML at its at Newton Aycliffe plant in north-east England, which is scheduled to begin full production in 2016.

The 270 carriages are being ordered as part of the government’s £5.8bn Intercity Express Programme (IEP) for new rolling stock, scheduled to be operational on the ECML from 2019.

Deal signed for €1.5bn Emmerich-Oberhausen line upgrade

Germany's Ministry of Transport and Deutsche Bahn (DB)

Germany’s Ministry of Transport and Deutsche Bahn (DB) have signed a €1.5bn agreement to fund an upgrade of the 73km line between the Dutch border at Emmerich and Oberhausen.

The line is part of European Corridor A from Rotterdam to Genoa and connects the Beutwe Route and North Sea ports with the Ruhr area and the Rhine Valley freight corridor.

Due to the increase in freight traffic between the Dutch port and the Ruhr area, the line has become a significant bottleneck in the region.

A third track will be built between Emmerich and Oberhausen to help relieve congestion on the corridor.

78 killed after Spanish passenger train derails

78 people have been killed and more than 140 injured after a passenger train derailed and caught fire in the north-west Spanish region of Galicia.

The high-speed train, operated by state rail company Renfe, carrying 247 passengers, derailed as it approached a station outside the city of Santiago de Compostela.

The train was travelling on the express route between Madrid and the city of Ferrol on the Galician coast.

All the carriages on the eight-car train derailed, killing 74 people at the scene with a further four dying in hospital.

Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors wins $1.27bn Crenshaw/LAX corridor project

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) in California, US, has awarded a $1.2bn design-build contract for the Crenshaw/LAX transit corridor project to Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors.

Under the contract, Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors will build an 8.5-mile light rail line that will connect the existing Metro Green Line with the Expo Line.

Walsh/Shea, a joint venture between Walsh Construction and JF Shea Company, will also be responsible for carrying out work on both the Leimert Park and Hindry stations.

All Ways Travelling to develop pan-European multimodal ticketing system

The European Commission (EC) has selected a consortium led by Amadeus, which has been called All Ways Travelling, to develop and certify a multimodal, pan-European passenger information and ticketing system.

All Ways Travelling includes the European rail industry association (UNIFE), Zeppelin University, Thales, IATA and BeNe Rail, a joint venture between the National Belgian Railway Company (NMBS), and Dutch Railways (NS) for international sales and distribution.

The move is part of the EC’s Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area project, which aims to build a more efficient transport system to increase mobility across Europe, drive growth and associated employment within the transport sector, as well as reduce carbon emissions.

Under the first phase of the project, Zeppelin University is undertaking an in-depth study of multimodality, and is aiming to complete it by the end of 2013.

Australia allocates dedicated radio spectrum for rail industry

The Australian Government has allocated a dedicated radio spectrum for rail networks in the 1,800MHz band, which will allow more trains to run with greater frequency.

The licences have been allocated at a public interest price, claimed to deliver cost savings of $33.8m.

The spectrum will allow state rail authorities to implement next-generation wireless rail control and safety systems.

According to the government, the new systems will offer more frequent rail services, enabling up to 50% more trains at peak times.

Feasibility study for Singapore-Kuala Lumpur HSR project nears completion

Malaysia’s Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is expected to complete the ongoing feasibility study on the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high-speed rail (HSR) project by the end of the month and call a tender for the project by the end of 2013.

SPAD has been conducting the study since early 2012, including a detailed assessment on the technical and engineering aspects, cost, financial and operations and benefits of the rail project.

Once completed, the study will help speed up the process of constructing the HSR link project with a target to make it operational by 2020.

In February 2013, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur agreed to build the new HSR link in a bid to improve connectivity between the two countries.