Future Rail is back for another issue packed with technology news and industry analysis. In this issue, we ask how Covid-19 will affect the UK’s flagship rail project HS2, find out how a change in existing regulation could spur rail freight expansion in Europe, and ask how metro operators can protect their networks from cyber attacks.

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In this issue

HS2: what questions remain to be answered?

The UK Government has finally committed to moving ahead with the now vastly over-budget HS2 high-speed railway linking London to the north of England, but questions remain around delivery delays, potential skills shortages, and the government review of phase 2b. Julian Turner answers the essential questions about this massive and controversial project.

Covid-19 Report — Updated twice a week Understanding the Covid-19 outbreak, the economic impact and implications for specific sectors

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Q&A: growing rail freight in Europe

The European Rail Freight Association (ERFA) is lobbying European institutions to improve market conditions for the development of rail freight, in particular by reforming the 2010 Rail Freight  Corridors Regulation. Julian Turner gets the inside track from ERFA secretary-general Conor Feighan.

Safety on high-speed rail: preventing disaster at hundreds of miles per hour

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Accidents on high-speed lines are much rarer compared to traditional networks, though two recent derailments in Europe show they’re not infallible. What can be learned from these derailments and how are global operators working to always be ahead of the curve when it comes to safety? Adele Berti reports.

Will Amtrak ever break even?

US rail company Amtrak had a banner year in 2019, bringing the network closer than ever to the operational break-even point after decades of losses. Can the US’s foremost passenger rail provider overcome the remaining barriers to profitability, or will political hostility and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic set it back? Luke Christou finds out.

The eye of the storm: boosting railway resilience in the UK

Winter 2020 saw a wave of storms batter the UK, flooding lines and villages and knocking out rail services all over the country. With more unpredictable weather forecast and more severe storms likely as climate breakdown accelerates, what are the lessons that need to be learnt now? Adele Berti reports.

The right frequency: achieving reliable connectivity on rail networks

With rail operators introducing more sensors and remote devices into their networks, reliable connectivity is crucial. Getting the best out of existing radio frequencies can create higher-capacity networks, as Ondas Networks co-founder and CEO Stewart Kantor tells Ross Davies.

Q&A: understanding cybersecurity on metro networks with Cylus

As operators continue to invest in improved connectivity and passenger experience on their metro systems, they inevitably become more exposed to cybersecurity threats. Adele Berti asks Cylus CEO Amir Levintal why and how companies can improve their defence strategies.

Legionella: is there danger lurking in railway water systems?

While only present at low levels, Legionella poses a significant health and safety concern that rail operators must take seriously. Luke Christou reports.

Next issue preview

A recent report from Swiss investment bank UBS claimed that the Covid-19 pandemic could accelerate the shift of passengers from air to rail. Next time, we ask: will the rail industry be poised to take centre stage in international travel after the crisis?

Also in our July edition, we round up the good deeds undertaken by rail companies during the pandemic, and find out whether emptier schedules have given US railroads a boost in their quest to implement positive control safety systems onboard locomotives.

Exploring onboard connectivity, we ask where 5G technology will benefit the railways now and in the future, and speak to software company Netskrt about how cloud analytics can enable high-quality video streaming services on trains. We also examine the spread of maglev technology after Hitachi began trialling its latest iteration of a maglev train in May, and ask how real-time, in-cab signalling tech could help Network Rail create the UK’s first ‘intercity digital railway’.

Finally, we discover the extraordinary story of the Canfranc International Railway Station in the Spanish Pyrenees. Retired after years of faithful service throughout the 19th century, could a new line being planned by the local Spanish Government breathe new life into the hub?

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