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ITF Railway News blog
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January 31, 2011
  Ghana railway deal

Modern railway lines for Ghana Railway Company Ltd will be built in the next few years following a US$6 billion contract signed by the Ghana Railway Development Authority with China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC).

New rail lines will connect Nsawam, near the capital Accra, with Paga, close to the border with Burkina Faso, and Tamale with Yendi, in the northeast. Construction is scheduled to commence in September 2011 for the first phase of the project and in June 2014 for the second phase.

Ghana News Link quoted Mike Hammah, the transport minister of Ghana, who stressed "the need for the development of railway infrastructure in the country as a means of accelerating economic growth and opening up the country."

State-owned CMC has been engaged in several railway projects in China, Turkey, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Source: Ghana News Link




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/31/2011 10:49 AM     Africa  

  India-Nepal railway

The Indian government has released the amount of INR100 million (US$2.2 million) to start the construction of a 70 km rail line towards its neighbour Nepal.

Indian Railways will implement the INR4.7 billion (US$103 million) project, which includes gauge conversion on a 30 km line linking Jai Nagar (India) and Janakpur (Nepal), and a new 40 km railway between Janakpur and Bardivas, The Hindu Business Line reported.

Nepal Railway Corporation Ltd has a 53 km narrow gauge rail network.

Source: The Hindu Business Line




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/31/2011 10:48 AM     Asia / Pacific  

  EBRD loan to reform Kazakh Railways

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has approved a US$200 million loan for Kaztemirtrans (KTT), a freight subsidiary of Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (Kazakh Railways or KTZ).

EBRD's eight-year financing is to support the state-owned railway to implement the restructuring of KTT and to review the railway regulatory system in Kazakhstan. In addition, KTT will purchase more than 3,000 freight wagons.

KTZ operates one of the world's largest railway networks, with a length of 14,205 km, which includes a 1,507 km stretch of the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Source: EBRD




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/31/2011 10:47 AM     Asia / Pacific  

  UAE rail contract

State-owned Union Railway, the developer and operator of the national railway of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has awarded a railway management consultancy project to a joint venture formed of US-based Parsons and France's Systra.

The Parsons-Systra joint venture will be in charge of the first phase of US$11 billion contract (preliminary designs, testing and commissioning) to build a 1500-km freight and passenger rail network across the UAE, starting with a railway linking the gas fields of Shah and Habshan to Ruwais.

The whole network will connect the main cities and industrial centres. It will also form part of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) project aimed at linking up the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

Parsons and Systra have been working together in other rail projects in the region, including the Dubai Metro. Founded in 1944 and owned by the Employee Stock Ownership Trust, the engineering and construction firm Parsons has been working in the Middle East for more than 40 years and has offices in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. Urban transport and rail engineering company Systra was formed in 1995 through the merger of SOFRERAIL (Société d'Etudes et de Réalisations Ferroviaires), founded by the French rail operator SNCF in 1957 and SOFRETU (Société d'Etudes et de Réalisations de Transports Urbains).

Sources: Parsons; Systra




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/31/2011 10:46 AM     ITF Arab World  

  Deutsche Bahn to sell Arriva unit

Deutsche Bahn AG has announced the sale of the entire train and bus business of its subsidiary Arriva Germany Group to a consortium led by Italian train operator Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) in partnership with Paris-based fund manager Cube Infrastructure.

The sale, a condition set by the European Commission in August 2010 for the acquisition of Arriva plc by Deutsche Bahn, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2011. Deutsche Bahn will manage Arriva Germany independently until the transaction is cleared under the European anti-trust legislation.

Source: Deutsche Bahn AG




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/31/2011 10:44 AM     Europe  

  Alstom high speed trains for ONCF

Morocco's minister for roads and transport and ONCF, the country's national railway (l'Office National des Chemins de Fer) have signed a €400 million contract with French company Alstom for 14 double-deck (Duplex) very high speed trainsets.

The Duplex trains, with a capacity of 533 passengers each, are scheduled to run at speeds of up to 320 km/h. The journey time between Casablanca and Tangiers will be cut to two hours and 10 minutes when the high speed line opens in December 2015.

On 24 December 2010, the African Development bank approved a €300 million loan to finance ONCF projects for the development of a railway connecting Tangiers and Marrakech.

Sources: Alstom; ONCF




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/31/2011 10:43 AM     ITF Arab World  

  China expands high speed railways

China is planning to build high speed railways towards southeast Asia to facilitate trade and investment with Laos, Thailand and Malaysia.

Having the world's longest high speed rail network of 7,531 kilometres, China had already agreed to complete by 2015 a high speed line to the Laotian capital of Vientiane. A new railway, mainly designed for freight, will link the Chinese city of Kunming with the ports of Thailand.

People's Daily Online reported that Canadian giant Bombardier and French group Alstom have signed agreements for the development of China's rail transport.

Elsewhere, the longest transportation route connecting the province of Jilin in northeast China and the port of Vladivostok in eastern Russia has been opened to promote trade and tourism between the two countries. Twice a week passenger trains will travel for 16 hours and 30 minutes on the 866 km railway.

Yu Tiejun, director in the Jilin provincial transportation bureau, was cited by People's Daily Online as saying that "Jilin Province will persuade the Russian side to open freight lines and eventually build an international land and sea transportation channel connecting Mongolia westwards as well as Japan and South Korea eastwards."

Source: People's Daily Online




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/31/2011 10:41 AM     Asia / Pacific  

  Spanish has enlarged the high speed network

Spain has a 2,665 km network of high speed railways, the world's second largest after China.

On 15 December 2010, a 314 km high speed railway between Madrid and Albacete was inaugurated, International Railway Journal reported. Three days later, a further 124 km line between Motilla del Palancar and Valencia was opened for the Spanish high speed trains AVE.

The high speed rail lines between Madrid and Levante and from Albacete to Alicante are planned to be ready for operations by 2014.

Source: International Railway Journal




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/31/2011 10:39 AM     Europe  

  Tunisia suburban rail project

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved a €119 million loan for the construction of two urban railway lines in the metropolitan area of the capital Tunis, including the acquisition of rolling stock.

La Société du Réseau Ferroviaire Rapide (Fast Rail Network Company) will initially operate two lines of 17.2 km and 14 stations. This is part of a wider urban railway network with a total length of 85 km, estimated to cost €550 million.

Source: EIB




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/31/2011 10:38 AM     ITF Arab World  

  Korea to invest billions in rail

The government of South Korea is planning to expand the network of Korea Railroad Corporation (Korail) from 3,400 km to 5,500 km and to make major investments in double tracks and electrifying.

Huh Joon-Young, CEO of Korail, was quoted by International Railway Journal as saying at the UIC High Speed congress held in Beijing in December 2010 that up to US$80 billion is to be spent on railway infrastructure over the next ten years.

Source: International Railway Journal




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/31/2011 10:37 AM     Asia / Pacific  

January 24, 2011
  RZD high speed project

Skorostnye Magistrali, a subsidiary of state-owned Russian Railways (RZD), has unveiled details of the Moscow - St Petersburg high-speed rail project VSZhM-1.

A 660 km rail track will allow trains to run at speeds of up to 400 km/h, cutting the travel time between the two cities to only 2.5 hours. The estimated cost of 1,200 billion roubles (US$38.4 billion) for the whole project is expected to be slashed by up to 40 per cent by using modern financial instruments including contract lifecycle management.

In June 2006, the Russian government ratified a programme to develop fast and high speed rail travel in Russia. According to the 2030 strategy approved in 2008, the Russian high speed rail network is to grow to more than 10,000 km from just 650 km at present.

RZD has recently announced a 350 billion roubles (US$11.2 billion) investment programme for the year 2011, and is planning to sell interest in some of its divisions by 2012. RZD has sold a 12.5 per cent stake in its cargo subsidiary OJSC TransContainer for US$138.9 million to FESCO Transportation Group.

Source: Russian Railways




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/24/2011 03:35 PM     Europe  

  CFM section completed

The first 332 km section of the Moçamedes Railway line in Angola is ready for operations, after passing safety tests for passenger and freight services.

When completed, Moçamedes Railway is expected to be used for transport of iron and manganese from the Cassinga mines, and to boost the development of the southern region of Angola, according to Railways Africa.

Caminho de Ferro de Moçamedes CFM (Moçamedes Railway) is a 756 km line from the port of Namibe (formerly known as Moçamedes) to Menongue. Following the study carried out by Indian consultant RITES in 2003, the government of India granted a US$40 million loan for the rehabilitation of CFM, which was heavily destroyed during the war.

Source: Railways Africa




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/24/2011 03:34 PM     Africa  

  Funding package for Western Australia rail network

Investments in the Great Southern Railway Line will amount to A$313.8 million, split between the federal government (A$135 million) and the state government (A$178.8 million).

The freight rail network of Western Australia is mainly used to transport grain for export to the country's ports. State premier Colin Barnett said: "From a community safety perspective, a robust rail freight network means fewer heavy vehicles on the predominately narrow country roads, making it safer for other vehicles, including caravans and school buses."

The whole project includes studies, upgrading of rail infrastructure and improvements to adjacent roads. Government officials said that although no rail lines would close, some non-economic lines would be put into care and maintenance.

Source: Western Australia Government




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/24/2011 03:32 PM     Asia / Pacific  

  Canadian pension funds acquire HS1


The UK government has sold a 30-year concession to run Britain's first high speed railway High Speed 1 (HS1) to a consortium comprising Borealis Infrastructure and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.

The Canadian consortium will pay £2.1 billion to operate the 68 mile line and several international railway stations between London and the Channel Tunnel. Under the terms of the contract, the government owns the infrastructure of the railway, whilst the concessionniare will have the rights to sell access to track and stations.

HS1 cost over £5 billion and is currently used by international Eurostar services between London and European cities, as well as by domestic high speed trains between London and Kent.

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is the largest single-profession pension plan in Canada with C$96.4 billion in assets at the end of 2009. Borealis Infrastructure is the infrastructure investment arm of the OMERS Worldwide group of companies, a Canadian pension plan with approximately C$48 billion in net assets. Borealis has invested more than C$7 billion in over 20 businesses.

Source: High Speed 1




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/24/2011 03:31 PM     Europe  

  ALL to run Rift Valley

América Latina Logística do Brasil SA (ALL) has signed a management and technical services agreement with Rift Valley Railways Investments (Pty) Ltd (RVRI), the operator of the national railways of Kenya and Uganda.

Logistics operator ALL is to assist RVRI in implementing its five-year rehabilitation and investment programme regarding track renewal and rolling stock maintenance. Under the terms of the deal, ALL will provide RVRI with key management and operational staff and access to new technologies.

Brown Ondego, executive chairman of RVRI, was quoted by allAfrica.com as saying:
"We chose ALL because they are leading rail operators who have proven their mettle in turnaround scenarios, including the much-studied privatisation of Brazil's national railway."

Publicly traded company ALL operates integrated railway and highway services in Brazil and Argentina. It runs some 21,300 km of rail network and employs 4,700 staff.

Source: allAfrica.com




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/24/2011 03:30 PM     Africa  

  BDZ has become a holding company

Bulgaria's state-owned railway company BDZ EAD has been restructured into a holding company in a move aimed at securing its financial stability and making it more attractive for potential investors.

BDZ EAD will have two subsidiaries for passenger services and freight operations, each with its own locomotives and rolling stock, Railway Gazette International reported.
The National Railway Infrastructure Company (NRIC) will continue to manage Bulgaria's 4,031 km rail network and a track access charge system.

In May 2010, the World Bank approved a Railway infrastructure rehabilitation project for Bulgaria, estimated to cost €159.85 million, of which a loan component represents €127.80 million.

Sources: Railway Gazette International; The World Bank




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/24/2011 03:28 PM     Europe  

  Private operators to be allowed in Angola

The government of Angola is ready to cooperate with local and foreign private companies interested in developing the country's railway network and providing quality transport services.

The Angola Press Agency ANGOP quoted Julio Bango, director of Angola's National Railway Institute (INCFA), as saying that both state-owned and private companies have to comply with the requirements of INCFA, which is in charge of licensing rail operators.

He made these remarks following a meeting between the presidents of the three main railway companies in Angola - Benguela Railway (CFL), Luanda Railways (CFL) and Moçamedes Railway (CFM) - who discussed the future of the country's railway sector with representatives of Angolan provinces.

Source: ANGOP




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/24/2011 03:26 PM     Africa  

  First private passenger services in Italy

On 15 November 2010, private rail operator Arenaways started its direct passenger services between the Italian cities of Milan and Turin.

Trains are formed of Bombardier electric locomotives leased from Luxembourg-headquartered Alpha Trains, and coaches built by Astra Vagoane Calatori of Romania. Infrastructure manager Italian Railway Network (RFI) has denied Arenaways the right to stop at intermediate stations, where it would be in competition with state-subsidised regional services provided by the national operator Trenitalia.

Arenaways SpA, founded in 2006, runs overnight trains with German DB Autozug between Düsseldorf and Hamburg in Germany and Alessandria (Italy).

Source: Arenaways




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/24/2011 03:25 PM     Europe  

  Corridor X gets EBRD financing

Upgrading of the European Corridor X is to benefit from two loans worth €117.6 million provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Renewal of track along key sections of Corridor X is part of the first EBRD project to modernise the rail infrastructure in FYR Macedonia. A €17.6 million sovereign loan will finance the upgrade of 53 km of railway line and a feasibility study for the completion of rail Corridor VIII to Bulgarian border. The Bank's Shareholder Special Fund, the Central European Initiative (CEI), and governments of France and Germany have committed a further €1.2 million grant.

The EBRD approved in September 2010 a €100 million loan to the Serbian state-owned railway company Zeleznice Srbije to renew over 111 km of rail track along Corridor X, and to purchase locomotives.

Corridor X is a major north-south transport route in FYR Macedonia and Serbia, providing connections to Central Europe in the north, and to Greece in the south.

Source: EBRD




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/24/2011 03:24 PM     Europe  

  Crash blast in Poland

A massive explosion rocked the Polish city of Bialystock in the morning of 8 November 2010 after a crash between two freight trains carrying petrol and diesel fuel.

One of the 33 fuel tanks exploded after the impact, followed by a second explosion which engulfed further wagons in flames. Reports said that 17 tank wagons caught fire, and two train drivers were injured. Warsaw Business Journal cited Jan Gradkowski, the chief firefighter of the Lubelski voivodship, who said that one of trains inexplicably derailed and collided with the train travelling on a neighboring track.

Source: Warsaw Business Journal




    Posted By: GabrielC @ 01/24/2011 03:22 PM     Europe  

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