Cape Town’s commuter rail has been declared as “on the brink of collapse”. With dwindling passenger numbers and sub-par frequency, the network is failing to relieve road congestion. We take a look at  the city’s new rescue plan. While in the US, we assess the key investments in Amtrak’s Ready to Build passenger rail campaign and showcase the new Hyperloop capsule designs.

Elsewhere, we hear how night time economies are making a strong case for extending transport services, find out how passengers’ use of onboard WiFi is helping to improve journey efficiency, and speak to passenger advocacy group Transport Focus about holding the industry to account and giving commuters a voice.

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In this issue

The challenges of managing night-time public transport

Emerging night time economy offers a new avenue to capitalise upon, prompting increasing numbers of European cities to extend their public transport services – but how does night transport and mobility differ from day time trips? An event by the UCL Transport Institute explores the issues of accessibility, safety and security, health and environment, as well as policy and governance.

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Amtrak rail infrastructure: ready to build

Amtrak has launched the ‘Ready to Build’ campaign, highlighting five critical investments it believes are vital to “the realization of a renewed, modern passenger rail system”. The projects include overhauling rail hubs, rebuilding bridges and constructing a new Hudson River rail tunnel. We examine these investments.

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Saving Cape Town’s public transport

In October, Cape Town’s commuter rail was declared to be “on the brink of collapse” by Mayoral Committee Member for Transportation and Urban Development Brett Herron. With dwindling passenger numbers and sub-par frequency, the network is failing to relieve road congestion. As a result, Herron announced that the city would assist Metrorail in managing the network. We look at the rescue plans.

Read more.

More spaceship than train: imagining Hyperloop

Transport design firm PriestmanGoode has unveiled its Hyperloop capsule designs for developer Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. In this special photo feature, we take a tour of PriestmanGoode’s space-age capsule concept and ask how it could re-define the passenger experience.

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How WiFi data is improving journeys across the tube

A pilot programme to collect de-personalised WiFi data across London’s tube has revealed that information could be used to reduce crowding and prioritise investment. For instance, data showed that commuters took as many as 18 different routes from Waterloo to Kings Cross, when only one or two are actually efficient. While better signposting is a big plus, we learn what else the data be used for.

Read more.

Giving passengers a say

As part of Network Rail’s ongoing reform programme, the firm is setting up supervisory boards to oversee services and hold the industry accountable, with all nine devolved routes to have boards by early 2018, and three franchises already covered. Here, we look into the involvement of passenger advocacy group Transport Focus and the breadth of issues it plans to focus on.

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In the next issue

Construction of the S1 Line in Beijing, China, has moved into its final phase. This project is being touted as the first to demonstrate floating magnet Maglev technology on a large scale. Will it be a success? We find out. Plus, we explore the role of railways and public transport in developing modern smart cities, take a look at the €380m Brennen Base Tunnel aka the world’s longest railway tunnel, visit the test site for Alstom’s hydrogen-powered Coradia iLint trains, and speak to Greenrail about its project that’s using railway sleepers for solar power.

In passenger services, we look into transport consultancy ITP’s recent survey to find out how wheelchair users are accessing public transport. We hear how insights have been used to develop guidance and policies for rail staff, and learn what barriers still exist for wheelchair users using train networks.

Yearbook Issue Available Now

In this special yearbook issue: A look back at the top stories of 2017 and what lies ahead for rail in 2018

In this special end-of-year issue of Future Rail, we examine key rail projects to watch out for in 2018 and revisit the top stories from 2017, including the Texas bullet train proposal currently dividing opinion across the Lone Star state, Japan’s luxury cruise train, the Shiki-Shima, and plans to revamp Penn State station.

We also spotlight regional developments, including Australia’s plan for a unified rail service, an ambitious repair plan for the New York Subway and a rumoured rail merger between Siemens and Bombardier, to rival the Chinese state-backed giant CRRC.

Plus, we review the biggest technological breakthroughs and explore how companies are tackling some of rail’s biggest challenges.

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