Greater Tokyo’s railway service reputation is under threat due to its eroding punctuality. The first-ever government study into rush hour train delays revealed that, surprisingly, 29 out of the 45 lines experienced delays on at least ten of 20 working days per month. So what’s changed? We examine the issues facing commuter rail in and around Japan’s bustling capital.

In the US, Amtrak has said it may suspend services that haven’t introduced positive train control technology by the end of the year, in accordance with the upcoming Congressional deadline. But implementation of the safety system is a mammoth task, and here we explore the technical and organisational challenges involved in rolling out PTC for passenger and freight services.

Also, we find out what’s entailed in the UK plans for a diesel engine phase-out, take a look inside the new Alstom tram which features a ground-based static charging system, learn how the Loco2 platform connects European rail operators to help passengers travel across countries on a single booking, and speak to a group of committed fare dodgers to find out why they believe public transport should be free and hear how they manage to consistently evade paying for train travel.

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In this issue

Working out the kinks of positive train control
With the Congressional deadline for positive train control implementation in the US fast approaching, Amtrak may suspend services lacking the safety technology by the end of the year. But successful installation and operation of this vital technology is no easy feat. We explore the technical and organisational challenges involved in rolling out PTC across US rail networks.
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The UK’s diesel phase-out and rail innovation
The UK Government has announced that diesel-only trains will be phased out by 2040. Currently 29% of the UK’s fleet is diesel and the move has been met positively from both campaigners. But what does the phase out involve? We find out.
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Inside Alstom’s new station-charging trams
In March, Alstom revealed its next-generation Citadis X05 trams. According to Alstom, the new Citadis X05 is the most innovative tram in the world, equipped with a ground-based static charging system. Soon to enter service in Nice, we visit the manufacturing site and meet the expert development team for a closer look at the technology.
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Delays ahead for Tokyo’s commuters
The first-ever government study into rush hour train delays for services in the Greater Tokyo region has revealed issues that don’t match up with the image of Japanese punctuality. According to the report, 29 of 45 lines serving Tokyo experienced delays on at least 10 of 20 working days per month. So what are the issues facing commuter rail in and around Japan’s capital?
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There’s no such thing as a free ride
As part of short-lived, experimental initiatives in Salt Lake City and Seoul, the authorities waived public transport fees on their urban rail and metro systems in order to encourage ridership and ease pollution caused by traffic. But while socially and environmentally these schemes seem to be paying off, does free transit make sense economically? Where do we draw that fine line and how can we strike a balance?
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Can competition lower train ticket prices?
Loco2 is a search engine for train tickets in the UK and throughout Europe. Future Rail speaks to the company’s CEO Dave Ashton to get his insight on the state of ticket pricing and accessibility across the continent, as well as the potential for tech innovation to streamline the ticket-buying process and make cross-Europe rail travel an easier proposition.
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Preview – Future Rail June

The Central Bi-Oceanic Railway Corridor is a proposed coast-to-coast railroad across South America. Planned ­­to stretch 2,333 miles between the Pacific coast of Peru, through Bolivia and across Brazil to the Atlantic Ocean. We profile this mega project to see what trade benefits it could offer the countries involved and their neighbours.

In the UK, Transport for London is feeling increasing financial pressure and we ask if the company can create enough commercial income to keep afloat or if there’s cause for concern. While in contrast, we talk to professional fare dodgers forming groups in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Ostergotland and Helsinki to learn why they believe public transport should be free and the lengths they go to break the rules.

Also, we look at the best and worst major rail hubs across the world, see the unveiling of the Virgin Azuma – the UK’s most high-tech rolling stock – and round-up the hottest new rail apps competing for commuter attention.

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