DOT-111 tank car

Network Rail unveils £38bn railway transformation plan

Network Rail unveiled a five-year plan to invest £38bn in transforming the railways across the UK, boosting the country’s economy.

The plan for England and Wales will reduce congestion and provide additional trains, more seats and bigger stations for millions of passengers across the country.

Implementation of the plan’s funding period came into effect from 1 April, targeting the busiest parts of Britain’s rail network.

China Railway plans $116bn investment

National rail operator China Railway Corporation unveiled plans to invest around CNY720bn ($116bn), up by CNY20bn ($3.23bn) announced in its original plan, to build new rail lines this year.

The investment, which forms part of the government’s strategy to boost economic growth, will be used in the construction of 48 new railway projects, up from 44.

According to Guangzu, railway investment reached CNY61bn ($9.88bn) in the first three months of this year, up 9% from the same time last year.

Construction begins on $22.5bn Riyadh Metro project

Construction on the $22.5bn Riyadh Metro project started with digging work at five places in the city.

Expected to be completed over the next four years, the Riyadh Metro project includes construction of a 176.7km-long six-line automated metro network in the city and aims to enhance the travel experience in the capital.

Work that is currently underway covers for the metro station at King Khaled International Airport, Al-Olaya Station, its control centre and railway maintenance station, reports arabnews.com.

UK Government signs £2.7bn deal to build new IEP trains

IEP trains

The UK Government agreed a £2.7bn deal to build a new fleet of trains that will operate on the East Coast rail line to boost passenger services between London and Scotland.

The contract marks a major step forward in the transformation of rail travel on the key intercity route between London and Scotland.

Awarded as part of the government’s £5.7bn Intercity Express Programme (IEP), the new contract covers the manufacture of 497 new Class 800 trains agreed with Agility Trains, a consortium of Hitachi Rail Europe and John Laing.

Singapore LTA awards S$1.15bn contracts for Thomson and Eastern Region Lines

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority awarded S$1.15bn ($917.3m) worth of civil, electrical and mechanical contracts for the Thomson and Eastern Region Lines in the country.

Included in the contracts is construction of Mt Pleasant, Stevens and Maxwell stations; and installation of a communications system, signalling system and platform screen doors for the two mass rapid transit (MRT) lines.

RSEA Engineering Corporation secured a S$207m ($165.12m) contract for the construction of Mt Pleasant station and its associated tunnels, which will serve as the fifth Civil Defence shelter along the Thomson Line.

Egypt and China sign MoU for $800m railway project

Rail tracks

Egypt’s Ministry of Transportation signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Chinese Government, along with Aviation Industry Corporation of China, for the development of a new $800m railway project.

The proposed 80km-long two-way railway will be the first to use an electric traction system and connect Bilbeis City, Sharqeya, and El-Salam City in Greater Cairo.

The new railway will also be linked to the third metro line in the Salam station, Egypt.

Renfe to invest in surveillance technology for train cabins in Spain

Spanish rail operator Renfe revealed plans to invest in installation of surveillance technology in the driver cabins of 240 trains.

The move came in response to the Alvia train accident in 2013, which killed around 79 passengers and injured 170.

Renfe will invest around €3.8m to equip the train cabins with two systems of cameras and microphones, which will record the events taking place in the cabin on trains including AVE, Avant and Alvia services, reported The Local.

Netherlands Government to equip railway tracks and trains with ERTMS

The Netherlands Government is to invest €2.5bn to equip railway tracks and trains in the country with the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS).

The new ERTMS level 2 will replace the existing train safety system, and will be installed in all trains by 2022 and on Holland’s busiest lines by 2030.

ERTMS level 2 has already been tested in Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and other European countries. The installation of ERTMS will begin in 2016 and is expected to be complete over the next ten years.

Canada to phase out DOT-111 tank cars to ensure rail safety

Tank cars

Canada Transport Minister Lisa Raitt decided to phase out the 5,000 least crash-resistant DOT-111 tank cars in the country, in response to the recommendations following the Lac-Mégantic train derailment in July 2013.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada provided its initial recommendations regarding the ongoing investigation into the derailment, which involved 72 tankers carrying crude oil that killed 47 people.

The government introduced measures to strengthen Canada’s regulation and oversight of rail safety, and the transportation of dangerous goods, effective immediately.

France’s Alstom denies reports on takeover bids from GE

French train maker Alstom issued an official statement denying press reports that it has received takeover bids from US-based General Electric (GE).

The brief statement was issued by Alstom after Bloomberg reported on 23 April that GE is to take over Alstom in a potential transaction that would value the French company at approximately $13bn.