DB Regio orders 19 Coradia Continental electric trains

15 November 2019

Stadler to deliver hydrogen-powered train to SBCTA

15 November 2019

Swiss rail manufacturer Stadler has secured a contract from San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) to deliver a hydrogen-powered train, which will be the first in the US.

Stadler will supply one FLIRT H2 type train with a provision for an additional order of another four trains.

The two-car FLIRT H2 features power packs between the cars, which contain fuel cells and hydrogen tanks.

SBCTA president Darcy McNaboe said: “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.”

Capable of operating at a maximum speed of 130kmph, the train can accommodate 108 seated passengers and has additional space for standing.

The train is expected to begin service in 2024 as part of the 14.5km Redlands Passenger Rail Project that connects Redlands and the Metrolink station in California.

Stadler US CEO Martin Ritter said: “Stadler is committed to designing and building green technology for the transportation industry. We are delighted that SBCTA shares our enthusiasm for this goal.

“We have an excellent relationship with SBCTA, and it is a great honour to partner with them to bring the first hydrogen-powered train to the United States.”

Last month, Stadler secured a €300m contract from Austrian Train Finance to supply 15 double-decker KISS trains to Austrian rail company WESTbahn.

The company also won a €165m ($182m) contract from Taiwan Railway Administration to supply 34 diesel-electric locomotives and a €600m contract to supply of 55 battery-powered FLIRT Akku multiple units to German public transport authority Schleswig Holstein (NAH.SH).

Alstom Spain updates signalling of Recoletos Tunnel

14 November 2019

Alstom has finished modernising the signalling of the Recoletos Tunnel in Spain.

The 7km-long tunnel is located between the Atocha station and Chamartín station in Madrid.

Whilst coordinating with road infrastructurre works, renovations were performed on the signalling and protection systems (ASFA Digital), as well as on catenaries, and new fixed communications systems were installed.

Alstom also updated the telecommunications wiring and replaced contiguous stations cabin equipment with new electronic interlocks (Nuevos Ministerios). The required blockages to adapt signalling in collateral stations Atocha and Chamartín to these new signalling systems were also made.

Alstom said that the modernisation work will boost the reliability of the line and improve facilities.

The tunnel sees around 3,290 circulations a week, with suburban trains making up 98% of the traffic.

In June last year, Spanish railway infrastructure administrator Adif began work to remodel the tunnel, including signalling renewal, track replacement and installing new catenaries.

Alstom Spain managing director Antonio Moreno said: “The Recoletos Tunnel project has been a real challenge due to the short deadlines and system complexity. The signalling leadership and experience of Alstom teams in Spain have allowed us to successfully achieve our commitment with the client.

“To reach this goal, a team of more than 140 people from different departments and expertise areas has been coordinated, working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with alternate shifts.”

In September, a consortium of Alstom-Setec Ferroviaire won a €50m contract to supply digital signalling technology to French national railway corporation SNCF Réseau.

In August, Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Alstom to develop digital technologies for railway signalling.

Siemens delivers first Vectron MS locomotive to Metrans

13 November 2019

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik subsidiary Metrans has received the first of ten Vectron MS locomotives from Siemens Mobility.

The new 6.4 MW locomotives can operate at a top speed of 160km/h. They are equipped with the national train control system and the European Train Control System (ETCS).

These vehicles are cleared for operation in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. They will also be able to operate in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Netherlands, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia after receiving the necessary upgrades and will be used on the transnational freight route across Central and Eastern Europe.

Metrans COO Martin Horinek said: “We are very happy to have received the first of ten Vectron locomotives from Siemens Mobility at our location in Prague.

“The expansion of our locomotive fleet to nearly 100 vehicles highlights our commitment to grow with the transport flows of the future. The flexibility of the Vectron locomotives makes it possible for us to deliver on our promises to customers even faster and more reliably.”

Siemens Mobility Czech Republic CEO Roman Kokšal added: “We see the reliability of vehicles in their daily operations as an essential condition for our customers’ satisfaction. We offer the availability of spare parts with guaranteed delivery within 24 hours and an experienced local service team.

“That is why we appreciate Metrans’s decision to cooperate closely with us on the maintenance of the progressively supplied locomotives.”

The trains are being manufactured at the Munich-Allach Siemens Mobility factory and the remaining nine are expected to be delivered by early next year.

Bangladesh train collision claims 16 lives, 58 injured

12 November 2019

Two trains have collided head-on in Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh, killing at least 16 people and injuring 58 others.

The incident happened in the early hours of 12 November when the Chittagong-bound Udayan Express hit the Dhaka-bound intercity train Turna Nishita.

Local news publication the Daily Star reported that this crash cut off rail communication between Chattogram-Sylhet and Dhaka-Noakhali.

The death toll is expected to rise as the fire service, police, army and border guard are still conducting rescue operations.

Speculation suggests that the collision occurred because signals were violated by one of the trains.

Bangladesh Railways Ministry information officer Shariful Alam said that train services from Dhaka to Chattogram stopped for seven hours and resumed at 10:25am local time after the track was cleared.

Rescue operations began after relief trains from the Akhaura and Laksam railway junctions reached the site.

Three committees have been formed to investigate this incident. Chief mechanical engineer Mizanur Rahman will lead a four-member committee and divisional transport officer for Chattogram Nasir Uddin will lead another four-person team. A third team will be led by the Brahmanbaria additional district magistrate.

Brahmanbaria district administrator Hayat Ud Dowlah Khan said: “The impact of the collision left a couple of compartments of the trains mangled, and rescue workers continued searching to reach passengers trapped inside.”

In July, Akbar Express collided with a stationary freight train at the Walhar Railway Station in Pakistan, killing at least 20 people and injured more than 70 others.

In February, over 20 people were killed and 43 were injured after a train crash at Cairo’s Ramses station in Egypt.

In January, four people were killed and 300 were injured when two trains collided in Pretoria, South Africa.

Indian Railways introduces new apps to bolster IT-enabled services

11 November 2019

Crossrail suffers new delay to 2021 and rise in costs to £18bn

8 November 2019

Londoners will have to wait until 2021 for the opening of Crossrail, a project that is now estimated to cost more than £18bn – up £2.35bn compared to the original £15.9bn budget – Transport for London (TfL) recently revealed.

Announcing the delay in a statement on Friday, TfL said that more time is required to develop signalling software and to get safety approvals for the railway, hence the need to postpone the opening.

Crossrail, designed to connect Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf from east to west across London, is the UK’s biggest infrastructure project in decades and was originally due to open in December 2018.

Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild had previously said that Crossrail would open between October 2020 and March 2021. However, today he warned that technical issues and testing would delay its launch date until 2021.

“Our latest assessment is that the opening of the central section will not occur in 2020, which was the first part of our previously declared opening window. The Elizabeth line will open as soon as practically possible in 2021,” he said.

“The Trial Running phase will begin at the earliest opportunity in 2020; this will be followed by testing of the operational railway to ensure it is safe and reliable.”

Wild said that this “hugely complex railway” must be completed “to the highest safety and quality standards”, and that TfL will provide further updates on the progress of the line early in 2020.

Despite the delay, Wild claimed that the Elizabeth Line has made good progress over recent months, with engineers currently working to complete the tunnels and stations by the end of 2019, Wild said.

“By the end of the year, Custom House, Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road stations will be complete and the project is on track to finish fit-out of the tunnels in January,” he continued.

“The central section will be substantially complete by the end of the first quarter in 2020, except for Bond Street and Whitechapel stations where work will continue.”

Commenting on the escalating budget, Wild said that the Elizabeth line will require additional funding “to cover the higher levels of risk contingency” and as a result, costs will increase considerably.

“The latest projections indicate a range of between £400m to £650m more than the revised funding agreed by the Mayor, Government and Transport for London in December 2018,” he concluded.

A statement with updates on works was recently sent to the London Stock Exchange to inform them of the changes to funding and timetables.

Reacting to the announcement, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, Mike Cherry described the delay as “a national embarrassment.”

“Another delay to Crossrail is disappointing to see and will leave a sour taste in the mouths of businesses and commuters who had been preparing for the start of the service in 2020,” he said.

“Small businesses along the route of the Elizabeth Line, from Berkshire to Essex and across London, have long been preparing for the start of the service in early 2020.

“This delay means another year of extra construction costs, another year of lost revenues and another year of strains on an already bursting public transport system.”

Uganda to overhaul old rail network to boost capacity

7 November 2019

Uganda is reportedly planning to revamp its 100-year old railway lines to improve cargo transport in the country.

Uganda Railways Corporation MD Charles Kateeba said that the work will be executed in stages and will entail an investment of €241m ($267m).

The corporation has reportedly received €21.5m from the EU and planning to raise remaining funds from international development lenders.

The 1,266km meter-gauge rail line was built by the British during colonial times 100 years ago to transport copper from the country.

The condition of the rail network deteriorated due to economic instability and political upheaval.

Kateeba said: “Due to lack of maintenance over the years, most of the network is now in disuse.

“We shall replace some areas which have been either removed by vandals or are badly worn.”

French engineering firm Sogea-Satom has been selected to provide services to revamp the rail network.

The work includes fixing rocks ballast on different sections, flattening sections, re-laying of tracks and repairing 500 freight wagons.

The latest decision comes after Uganda failed to garner funding of $2.2bn from China for of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) regional project.

Kateeba stated that Uganda’s delay in oil production was a factor in not receiving the funds.

Initially, the SGR was designed to connect Kenya’s Mombasa with different parts of the continent such as Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi.

In 2017, Kenya inaugurated its Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway.

China Road and Bridge was responsible for the construction of this $3.8bn project, with approximately 90% of the total funding coming from China.