Victoria opens $2.8bn Regional Rail Link


Australia’s Victorian Government officially opened its A$3.65bn ($2.8bn) Regional Rail Link, with the final section of the project through Tarneit and Wyndham Vale scheduled to be opened for commuters on 21 June.

The Regional Rail Link paves way for more commuter rail services in regional centres and Melbourne’s west.

The project removed major bottlenecks in Victoria’s rail network, as well as increased capacity for passengers in Melbourne’s west and Victoria’s major regional centres of Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.

Flatiron-Dragados JV wins $1.23bn California high-speed rail contract

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) awarded a $1.23bn contract to a joint venture team Hochtief subsidiary Flatiron and Dragados USA to build a 60-mile (97km) stretch of the planned 520-mile high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, US.

The design-build project for the segment is called as California High Speed Rail Package 2-3. The project runs through California’s Central Valley, the counties of Fresno, Tulare and Kings, and the cities of Hanford, Corcoran and Allensworth.

Work under the project will include construction of at-grade and aerial sections of high-speed train infrastructure, grade separation structures, relocation of 5.5 miles (8.8km) of existing track and waterway crossings.

Talgo trains begin service in Russia


The first of Russian Railways’ (RZD) four Talgo trains begun its operations from the Kursk Railway Station in Moscow.

The new train will travel 440km on each trip between the two cities of Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod.

Running at a maximum speed of 200km/h, the train covers the distance in 3h and 35min.

UK Government delays Network Rail upgrades

The UK Government announced that it will delay or reduce a number of planned modernisation projects for railway infrastructure operator Network Rail .

Network Rail’s five-year £38bn investment programme is running behind schedule and over budget on several major projects. The operator controls around 2,500 stations, as well as tracks, tunnels and level crossings.

The electrification of the Midland mainline from London to Sheffield, and the TransPennine route between Manchester and Leeds that connects major cities across the north, will be postponed.

US FRA recommends actions to prevent speeding passenger trains

The US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA ) issued a safety advisory recommending actions that passenger railroads take to prevent trains from speeding.

The FRA has recommended commuter railroads to look for sharp track curves and adjust their automatic train control safety systems to prevent trains from going too fast there.

In order to control passenger train speeds, railroads should immediately identify locations where there is a reduction of more than 20mph from the approach speed to a curve or bridge, and the maximum authorised operating speed for passenger trains at that curve or bridge.

University of Nottingham developing low-maintenance track in UK


University of Nottingham in the UK is working on a five-year Track to the Future (T2F) research programme to develop low-noise rail track that requires minimal maintenance.

The £8.5m project will be carried out under a partnership between the universities of Nottingham, Southampton, Birmingham, and Huddersfield, as well as industry partners, including Network Rail.

T2F will help infrastructure operators and owners develop low-maintenance, low-noise tracks to support the continued increase in train frequencies, speeds and operating hours.

Russian Railways and Vossloh collaborate on high-speed rail production

Russian Railways and Vossloh agreed to co-operate in the development of track components for high-speed rail lines and localised production.

The companies have been testing a turnout designed for 27t axleloads and an expected life of 500 million tonnes (Mt), which is claimed to be 1.5 times more than its Russian equivalents.

Under the memorandum of cooperation, the companies will collaborate on developing new rail fastening elements and high-speed line components, according to Russian standards and requirements.

Ballard signs fuel cell tram framework agreement with Tangshan Railway

Canada-based Ballard Power Systems signed a framework agreement with Tangshan Railway Vehicle Company (TRC ) for fuel cell module development to power trams in China.

The deal will see development of a new fuel cell module that will be designed to meet the requirements of tram or ground transport vehicle (GTV) applications.

Under the deal, TRC trams will use next-generation Ballard fuel cell power modules designed specifically for this application.

Bombardier wins €431m contract to deliver 119 trams for Vienna

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Bombardier Transportation secured a €431m contract to deliver 119 Flexity trams from Vienna transport authority Wiener Linien.

The contract also includes a 24-year Flexcare maintenance management system agreement and options for 37 additional trams and maintenance services.

The FlexCare programme allows operators to maintain vehicles at their own depots under the overall responsibility of Bombardier.

Canadian National launches new app for real-time information about railcar contents

Canadian National Railway Company (CN) introduced a new mobile app called AskRail, which is designed to offer real-time information to emergency responders about a train’s railcar contents.

AskRail app is developed by the Association of American Railroads and its members, including CN and Canadian Pacific Railway.

This new mobile application will allow emergency responders across North America to view the contents of a railcar, find emergency contact information for the railways and search for resources in the event of a derailment.