Network

China CNR and CSR Corporation merge to form new $26bn firm

China’s state-owned train manufacturing companies China CNR and CSR Corporation decided to merge in a bid to form a $26bn company.

The companies said this amalgamation will help them to compete with rivals in the market, including firms such as Bombardier and Siemens, Reuters reported.

It was estimated that the new company will have combined annual revenue of approximately $32.71bn. Last year, revenue of Siemens and Bombardier were $96.5bn and $18.2bn respectively.

Mexico to relaunch bidding process for $3.75bn high-speed train contract

The Mexican Government decided to relaunch the bidding process for a $3.75bn high-speed train contract that was scrapped in November 2014.

The government, which revealed preliminary terms on 14 January 2015, said the tender will be open for 180 days with similar terms to the original one.

The contract was cancelled after the government was accused of favouring the group consisting of China Railway Construction Corporation and CSR Corporation.

New international railway postal service from China to Russia launched

Postal

Russian Railways launched a new international postal delivery service for the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Russian Post (FSUE), which will allow packages to be delivered by rail from China to Russia.

In May last year, Russian Railways signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Chinese Railways for this postal delivery service. The international mail was earlier delivered to Russia only by air and road.

The first delivery was organised by Russian Railways Logistics, a part of the United Transport and Logistics Company (UTLC).

GCC to invest more than $200bn on regional railway projects

Oman Transport and Communications Minister Dr Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Salim Al Futaisi revealed that the governments of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are set to invest more than $200bn in railway projects across the region.

The minister made this announcement as part of the GCC Rail and Metro Conference 2015, which started in Muscat on 11 January.

Al Futaisi said: "Our challenge will not just be in how to ensure the success of executing these projects from a technical and operational point of view, but on how to exploit the socio-economic potential of these massive investments so to ensure the multiplier effect into our economies."

USDOT grants $1.33bn loan for East Link Light Rail Extension Project

The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) granted a $1.33bn loan to Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) for construction of the East Link Light Rail Extension Project in Seattle.

Announced by transportation secretary Anthony Foxx, the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan is expected to expand the popular Link system serving the Puget Sound region.

Foxx said: "This project will have a significant impact on the entire region and expand a world-class transit system."

UK’s first battery-powered train enters revenue service

Battery

Network Rail launched the UK’s first battery-powered train, a modified Class 379 Electrostar known as an independently powered electric multiple unit (IPEMU), in timetabled service this week.

In August 2014, the rail infrastructure operator started trials of this battery-powered train on a test track in Derby, UK.

This modified Class 379 Electrostar will service for five weeks between Harwich International and Manningtree stations in Essex based on a weekday timetable.

California breaks ground on high-speed rail project

California High-Speed Rail Authority in the US broke ground on the nation’s first high-speed rail system, as part of efforts to modernise the state’s transportation infrastructure.

High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors chairman Dan Richard said: "We now enter a period of sustained construction on the nation’s first high-speed rail system for the next five years in the Central Valley and for a decade after that across California."

It is being estimated that California will be spending approximately $4m a day for the next 1,000 days on the project that is expected to be completed in 2033, reported Fox News.

Network Rail completes £200m investment upgrade programme

Rail

The UK’s Network Rail completed a £200m investment upgrade programme at more than 2,000 locations around the country.

Network Rail said its investigation into engineering overruns at King’s Cross and Paddington on 27 December 2014 will continue and its initial findings will be unveiled shortly.

The company opened two new platforms and laid new track at London Bridge as part of the £6.5bn Thameslink programme.

NSW Transport to launch South West Rail Link on 8 February

Australia’s Transport for New South Wales (NSW) commissioned the South West Rail Link on 8 February, following more than three years of major construction and months of testing.

NSW premier Mike Baird said: "Opening well ahead of schedule and $300m under budget, the South West Rail Link is proof that when this government says it will build the infrastructure needed to transform this great state, we will deliver."

Delivered by the NSW’s Transport Construction Authority (TCA), the $2.1bn South West rail link project is a rail-expansion programme that aims to address the issues of reliability and passenger growth on the metropolitan rail network.

Aeroexpress to cease operations in Vladivostok and Kazan

Aero

Russian rail operator Aeroexpress decided to stop operations in the cities of Vladivostok and Kazan, saying the federal government has failed to reimburse its losses in the regions.

The firm also chose to focus on the Moscow region, where it operates on air-rail links between the capital and the three airports of the Moscow Air Transportation Cluster.

According to Aeroexpress chief operating officer Alexey Sorokin, company losses in 2014 amounted to RUR130m ($1.92m) in Vladivostok and approximately RUR62m ($918,293) in Kazan.