Citadis Dualis tram-trains from Alstom begin service in France

16 December 2019

Nokia chosen by Deutsche Bahn to trial 5G automated rail operations

13 December 2019

German railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB) has selected Nokia to test standalone (SA) 5G technology for automated rail operations in Germany.

This move forms part of the railway company’s automated S-Bahn operation project. Deutsche Bahn expects that the trial will help it gain insight into the feasibility of 5G as the connectivity layer for digitalised operations in railways.

It has said that the project is an essential phase in developing the Future Railway Mobile Communications System (FRMCS) standard. This is based on 5G technology.

Automated trains with on-board drivers will be operating on the 23km stretch of the S-Bahn Line 21 from Berliner Tor by 2021.

This trial will also include the driverless shunting of empty trains near Bergedorf station. The Nokia 5G mobile network will transmit train control information during this process.

The Nokia solution is based on 3GPP standards for 5G network. It allows self-driving trains to transmit data to and from the trackside equipment.

Nokia Enterprise president and chief strategy officer Kathrin Buvac said: “We are very pleased to be Deutsche Bahn’s partner, bringing digital technology to the forefront of the Hamburg S-Bahn network and rail system.

“Together, we have worked to research, develop and deliver the world’s first 5G-based communication system for automated rail operation, an important milestone towards the Future Rail Mobile Communication System and a major step in making Industry 4.0 a reality.”

In April, Vodafone launched a live trial of its 5G cellular mobile communication technology at Birmingham New Street rail station.

In February, FirstGroup teamed up with Blu Wireless to deliver 5G Wi-Fi services to UK trains.

Last year, the UK Government conducted 5G connectivity trials on the TransPennine Railway route between Leeds and Manchester to improve internet connectivity of railways.

Orange Line Metro Train in Pakistan starts trial run

11 December 2019

The first trial run of the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT), an automated rapid transit system in Lahore, Pakistan has commenced.

Pakistani newspaper the Daily Times reported that Punjab Minister for Transport Jahanzaib Khan Khichi and Minister for Information and Culture Fayyazul Hassan Chohan inaugurated the first trip.

Construction work on the Orange Line began in 2015 and was originally scheduled to last 27 months. A Lahore High Court stay order and increasing costs delayed the project.

The Orange Line runs from Dera Gujran to Ali Town. Lahore Metro expects it to begin serving the public from March next year.

Its trains are capable of travelling at a maximum speed of 80kmph. It will operate at an average speed of 34.8kmph.

The 27.1km line consists of 25.4km of elevated track and 1.72km of underground track. The line has also 26 substations, of which two are underground.

With a capacity of 200,000 passengers each day, the train is capable of covering the entire route in 45 minutes.

In 2014, Pakistan entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China for the funding of the Orange line. The Exim Bank in China also provided a loan of $1.5bn for the construction.

Pakistan bought 27 trains to operate on the Orange Line with the investment from Exim Bank in 2016.

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

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) agreed to provide technical assistance to support the improvement of railways in the Central Asian region in January.

The CAREC partnership comprises Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Mongolia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

MBTA safety review panel submits recommendations

10 December 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.

Singapore LTA awards construction contract for Jurong Region Line

9 December 2019

The Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) has awarded a S$210.1m ($154.3m) contract for the construction of two stations on the Jurong Region Line (JRL).

The LTA awarded the contract to China Railway 11 Bureau Group (Singapore Branch). It includes the design and construction of the Jurong West and Bahar Junction stations (working names).

China Railway 11 Bureau Group will be responsible for design and construction, and for building 1.15km of viaducts along Jurong West Avenue 2, Avenue 4, Jurong West Street 64 and Street 75.

The Jurong West Station (JS6) is situated along the Jurong West Avenue 2 and beside Jurong West Street 23. The station will have one island platform that will serve trains that go to Choa Chu Kang and Jurong Pier.

Designers for Bahar Junction Station (JS7) have included two platforms, which will be linked with a bridge with travellators. One platform will be for trains heading to Choa Chu Kang and Jurong Pier. The other will serve trains to Peng Kang Hill.

The LTA expects construction to begin next year and end by 2026.

In September this year, LTA awarded two civil contracts for the construction of five stations on the JRL.

Shanghai Tunnel Engineering, Singapore, won the S$465.2m ($337m) contract. This involves the design and construction of the Choa Chu Kang, Choa Chu Kang West and Tengah stations.

Eng Lee Engineering-Wai Fong Construction joint venture won the S$274.3m ($198.7m) contract for the design and construction of Corporation and Hong Kah stations.

Last year, the LTA and the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) unveiled the alignment and station locations for the JRL. This is the seventh mass rapid transit line in the country.

The organisations have scheduled JRL to open in three phases from 2026. In the first phase, JRL (West) will start operations after which JRL (East) will start in the second phase in 2027.

Northern to launch trains for Lincoln, East Midlands and South Yorkshire

6 December 2019

Trenitalia receives contract to operate trains in Campania, Italy

5 December 2019

Italian rail operator Trenitalia has received a €680m contract from the Government of Campania in southern Italy to operate its regional trains.

The company will contribute €208.9m to the procurement of 37 new trains that will be made in Italy, while the Government of Campania will provide a further €180m.

The company will operate the trains for 15 years and be responsible for the renewal of the current fleet.

Campania region president Vincenzo de Luca, FS Italiane Group CEO Gianfranco Battisti and Trenitalia CEO Orazio Iacono all signed the 2019-2033 service contract.

IV Commission for Public Works and Transport president Luca Cascone, Trenitalia Regional Passenger Division director Sabrina De Filippis and Campania regional director Pietro Diamantini also attended the signing ceremony.

In the past five years, Trenitalia has seen significant improvement in its service. Its regional passenger satisfaction related to cleaning and information on board increased by 13%, while cancellations declined by 70% during this period.

This contract is part of FS Italiane’s 2019-2023 Industrial Plan. It has allocated €16bn for road and rail infrastructure, which includes €8.2bn for rail.

Last month, a partnership of FirstGroup and Trenitalia named the InterCity West Coast rail franchise in the UK Avanti West Coast.

First Trenitalia won the contract to operate the West Coast rail franchise in August. First Trenitalia will operate West Coast Partnership until 2031.

In June, Trenitalia placed a $643m order with Hitachi Rail and Bombardier Transportation for the construction and maintenance 14 Frecciarossa 1000 high-speed trains. The vehicles will be built in Italy and comply with all TSI requirements.

Russian Railways to provide services for mongolian rail line

4 December 2019

Ulan-Bator Railways has contracted Russian Railways International for technical consulting services for the Tawan-Tolgoi to Zuunbayan rail line in Mongolia.

Neither company has revealed the financial details of the contract. The contract is expected to be completed in the next 12 months.

Russian Railways International and one of the design institutes in Russia will provide technical consulting services for the railway line. They will provide recommendations regarding the construction work and train operations on the 414km line.

The rail line will connect with Ulan Bator Railway’s central railway line. It will help to transport coking coal from the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine.

Russian Railways International acting managing director Sergey Stolyarov and Ulan-Bator Railways head Damdinsuren Jigjidynymaa signed the agreement. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Mongolian Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh both attended the signing ceremony.

In August, the Research Institute of Railway Transport in Shcherbinka, Moscow, tested a high-speed electric train, Lastochka, at its experimental ring.

In June, Russian Railways placed an order worth almost €1.1bn with Siemens Mobility and Ural Locomotives to procure 13 high-speed Velaro RUS trains.

Russian Railways also signed a cooperation agreement with the JSC Tuva Energy Industrial Corporation (JSC TEIC) in 2017 for the construction of the Elegest-Kyzyl-Kuragino Railway Line.

In 2016, Russian Railways began operating a new Moscow to Berlin service. The service uses variable gauge Talgo trainsets and Patentes Talgo in Spain manufactured the train carriages.