The latest news, trends and data from the rail industry
ith the global rail industry facing increasing pressure to reduce its environmental impact, operators and governments are emphasising the importance of finding greener fuels and alternative propulsion methods to cut down on emissions. Electrification and battery power remain at the forefront of discussion around replacing diesel-powered locomotives, but many countries in Europe have highlighted the potential of hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) technology, which produces electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen in a chemical reaction, and leaves water as the only emission.
The introduction of hydrogen-powered trains on major rail networks is no longer a pipedream. French manufacturer Alstom’s revolutionary Coradia iLint has been a fixture in the headlines since its first appearance at InnoTrans 2016, with the train already running on several lines in Germany, and the company is now in discussions to bring it to other countries, including the US. Both France and the UK have outlined plans to introduce hydrogen-powered trains on their networks by 2022, with the latter testing a hydrogen train demonstrator, named HydroFLEX, on a mainline railway this year.
Recently, a study commissioned by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) and Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (S2R JU) analysed the extent to which fuel cells and hydrogen technologies could be introduced within the European rail market. The study showed that some of the current hydrogen-powered rail cases in Europe highlight a positive total cost of ownership for fuel cells, while in others it could be the ‘most adequate zero-emission alternative’.
The number of additional trees set to be planted by Eurostar in woodlands across the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Less than 2.5%
Global carbon emissions share for railway operations, according to a report by the Rail Industry Decarbonisation Task Force and rail body RSSB.
The cost of an ongoing Sydney Trains renovation project in Australia.
The new expected opening year for London’s Crossrail project, which was originally supposed to launch in December 2018.
The amount of UK rail passengers who submitted delay compensation claims in 2017/2018, according to a recent Transport Focus report, which found that as much as £100m went unclaimed during the period.
Maximum temperature along the Rail Baltica route, according to a new report into the effect of climate change on the multi-national project.
EU commits $966m to modernise Polish rail network
Charlotte City Council in North Carolina has awarded a $50m contract to engineering firm WSP USA to design the Silver Line light rail project. WSP USA will be responsible for the preliminary design and environmental work for the rail project. The 26-mile Silver Line project will connect Belmont to Matthews through uptown Charlotte and Charlotte Douglas International Airport. One of the major concerns raised about the project is its cost, which is expected to be finalised after 65% of the project design is complete. It is currently estimated that the project may cost between $3bn and $4bn and it is yet not clear how this will be financed. Until now, the majority of Charlotte Area Transit System's Blue Line extension
Nigeria awards $3.9bn Abuja-Lokoja rail line contract to CRC
German railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB) will invest €1bn in purchasing 30 high-speed trains to expand its long-distance fleet. The company has so far ordered 137 ICE 4, 23 ECx and 17 KISS trains for the coming years. This decision was approved by the company’s supervisory board and comes barely a month after DB unveiled plans to introduce more international services. The new trains will mainly serve the Cologne-Rhine-Main and Munich-Berlin high-speed lines. They will add around 11,400 seats to the service from December 2022 and each train will also be equipped with eight bicycle spaces. This move is a part of the company’s ‘Strong Rail strategy’ to double the long-distance passenger numbers.
Etihad Rail awards $435.5m contract to Hitachi Rail
The European Commission has approved funding of €22.2m to equip freight locomotives in the Netherlands with the latest traffic management equipment. The funding is part of the EU’s plan to make railway systems more interoperable without affecting competition in the sector. The funds will be used to install the latest version of European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) on the Netherlands’ 99 cross-border freight locomotives. Approximately 30%-40% of the European Core Network Corridors are to be installed with ERTMS by 2023. To adhere to regulations, the Netherlands is planning to install ERTMS on the majority of its rail network that forms part of the European Core Network Corridors. The EU also noted that owners of the trains will need to upgrade equipment to ensure the effective use of ERTMS.
Source: Railway Technology
The Extended Board of Railways (EBR) has approved the Rs159.9bn ($2.26bn) Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project in the Indian state of Karnataka. The additional details of the project, such as clearances and cost break-up, have not been revealed. Union Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi said: “In order to fast track the Bengaluru Suburban Rail, the Extended Railway Board met today and has given its clearance.” The project now needs to be approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). Angadi said: “With the approval of Extended Railway Board, the project has received 90% of the clearance required.
ComRes head of infrastructure James Rentoul, following a recent survey by the research consultancy finding that several UK rail companies believe the industry could stagnate in 2020:
“These results show uncertainty over the future prosperity of the rail supply sector. While business leaders are more likely to be optimistic than pessimistic, less than half feel that their industry is likely to grow in the coming year. At this early stage in CP6, we would expect greater confidence in the prospects for the sector, suggesting that the wider context of the Williams Review, Oakervee Review and Brexit, among other factors, is impacting on expectations.”
San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) president Darcy McNaboe, after rolling stock manufacturer Stadler signed a contract to provide a hydrogen-powered FLIRT train to a network in San Bernardino, California, US.
“Implementing innovative solutions like this first-of-its-kind passenger train is an excellent example of how we are demonstrating our commitment to the next generation in San Bernardino County. The hydrogen FLIRT will help us address the commuting needs of today while preserving our environment for a better tomorrow.”
Victoria Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne, following the completion of maintenance works on regional tracks near the Southern Cross Station in Melbourne.
“The track that was replaced at Southern Cross Station is one of the most used and most complex pieces of track on the regional network, which is why this maintenance work is so important. Replacing the ageing track with new modern infrastructure will improve performance and reduce the risk of delays or disruptions due to track faults in the area.”