Amtrak to debut green ‘Airo’ trains in 2026

16 December| Rolling Stock

US-based passenger railroad company Amtrak has unveiled a new train, known as Amtrak Airo, which will begin operations in 2026.

The new trains will operate on routes across the country, including Northeast Regional, Empire Service, Virginia Services, Keystone Service, Downeaster, and Cascades.

With the capacity to operate at speeds of up to 125mph, the new trains will provide near seamless transition between power sources.

The trains will feature modern and spacious interiors, as well as panoramic windows.

The fuel-efficient Amtrak Airo trains are expected to generate 90% less particulate emissions in diesel operations.

Its other features include enhanced lighting, improved technology with digital customer information systems and touchless restroom controls besides dedicated individual outlets, USB ports and onboard Wi-Fi.

16 July | Contract

Arup AECOM JV secures consultancy contract for Northern Link project

The Arup AECOM joint venture (JV) has secured a preliminary design consultancy contract from Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (MTR) to conduct the planning and design for the proposed Northern Link main line project.

Work will include the development of the scheme into an engineering design, preparing the construction programme and gazette plans, as well as determining the cost estimate.

The Arup AECOM JV will work closely with MTR’s Capital Works team to deliver the works.

10 January | Acquisitions

Patriot Rail closes Delta Southern Railroad purchase in US

US-based Patriot Rail Company has concluded the acquisition of Delta Southern Railroad (DSRR) after securing regulatory clearance.

The deal, whose financial details were not shared, was announced in September last year.

DSRR is a short line railroad that runs two line segments in Louisiana.

It operates more than 40 miles of track lines, catering to the Lake Providence Port and Madison Parish Port that are situated on the Mississippi River.

Its lines are located on the Kansas City Southern ‘Meridian Speedway’ as well as Louisiana Highway 20.

DSRR interchanges with Kansas City Southern and Union Pacific Railroad, and its addition to Patriot Rail’s network is projected to create more competitive options for rail shippers in Louisiana and across the nation.

With this purchase, Patriot expands its operational reach to 32 railroads, with a footprint across 23 states in the country.

6 January | Power

Siemens wins contracts to enable solar power use for UK rail

Siemens Mobility, in association with its partners the University of York and British Solar Renewables, has received two contracts to explore solar energy for powering the UK railways.

Under the first contract, the company will conclude the final stages of technical development to feed solar energy directly to trains.

This feasibility study will help address the engineering incompatibilities that have avoided renewable power feeding 25kV trains across the world.

The study is being financed by the Department for Transport through Innovate UK’s First of A Kind programme.

It is expected to help show the solar power of trains operating on the East Coast Mainline during this year.

The second contract will look into the prospects of launching a charging station and how it can facilitate charging on-train batteries in areas that are not electrified.

3 January | Projects

India to get its first underwater metro service this year

India’s Kolkata Metro Rail (KMRC) is set to complete the development of the country’s first underwater metro service by December 2023.

The upcoming project, called East-West Metro Corridor, will pass through the Hoogly river and link Howrah with Kolkata, reported ANI.

The project will be developed at a cost of more than Rs80bn ($967m), according to Times Now. KMRC has used German machines and other experts to build the tunnel, work inside of which is still undergoing.

The metro tunnel construction cost is around Rs1.2bn ($1.5m) per kilometre, which goes up to around Rs1.57bn ($1.9m) per kilometre during the construction of the tunnel underwater.

Once completed, the project will allow passengers to travel under the water for a stretch of half a kilometre within less than one minute.

21 December | Rolling Stock

Hitachi Rail’s Blues train begins passenger service in Italy

The sustainable and hybrid Blues train, constructed by Hitachi Rail for Trenitalia, has entered its passenger service in Sicily, Italy.

Under the framework agreement, Hitachi Rail will supply up to 135 Blues trains to Trenitalia that are valued at €1.2bn.

Around 22 Blues trains will operate in the Sicily region.

Claimed to be Europe’s first tri-modal train, the Blues train features a next-generation hybrid technology, which enables it to operate with diesel engines on non-electrified lines.

The technology also allows to operate these trains with pantographs on the electrified line, as well as with batteries on non-electrified lines.

With an acceleration of 1.10 m/sec2, the trains can attain a maximum speed of 160 km/h. The train can accommodate up to 300 people seated in the four-cars composition.

19 December | Light Rail

Stadler wins TINA trams contract in Netherlands

Rolling stock manufacturer Stadler has received a contract from Dutch public transport company HTM for the supply of 56 Total Integrated Low-Floor Drive (TINA) trams.

The contract also has an option for further vehicles.

The first TINA trams are expected to be commissioned for The Hague city in 2026.

Offering space for 237 passengers, each of the three-part compositions have a length of 36.5m. These vehicles have a maximum speed of 70 km/h.

It features a rotating bogie and multifunctional compartments to support passengers in wheelchairs, as well as a high interior and large panoramic windows.

The digital Uni-Board, located in the driver’s cab, enables to operate the tram easily and focus fully on the road traffic.

In brief

One killed and 57 wounded in Mexico metro train collision

A train collision on Mexico City’s metro line has resulted in the death of at least one person and wounded around 57 people, reported Reuters.

Nestlé Waters to use hydrogen-powered freight train from 2025

Nestlé Waters has unveiled plans to use a hydrogen-driven freight train, developed by Alstom and Engie, from 2025 in France.

HyperloopTT to go public through $600m SPAC deal

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is set to become a publicly listed company through a definitive merger agreement with publicly traded special purpose acquisition (SPAC) company Forest Road Acquisition Corp. II. 

Stadler wins contract for FLIRT trains in Finland

Rolling stock manufacturer Stadler has received a contract from the Finnish company VR Group for the manufacture and supply of 20 single-decker FLIRT multiple-unit trains.

Transdev wins contract for RheinRuhrBahn network

Transdev Rhein-Ruhr has received a contract for the operation of the S-Bahn Line 7 Wuppertal–Remscheid–Solingen in the Rhine-Ruhr Transportation Network in Germany.

GTR concludes first tranche upgrades to Southern’s fleet

UK-based train operating company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has concluded the first tranche of Southern Railway’s 75 ‘Class 377/4’ trains modernisation programme, which covered passenger priorities including information screens, at-seat charging, and power points.

15 December | Business & Operations

India to offload up to 5% stake in IRCTC at a discount

The Indian Government has announced an offer for sale (OFS) for up to a 5% stake in Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation.

The floor price of the OFS is Rs680 a share, which marks a 7.4% discount from Wednesday’s close of Rs734.70 on the BSE.

The offer will be open for subscription on the NSE and BSE on 15 and 16 December.

Overall, the transaction will involve the sale of 40 million equity shares. It will start with 20 million shares being offered for sale to non-retail that constitute a 2.5% interest in the firm.

The transaction is expected to help the government earn Rs27bn (around $327bn).

16 December | Acquisitions

Magnetic to acquire Aurizon’s East Coast Rail unit for $287m

Magnetic Rail Group has reached a binding deal worth around $287m (A$425m) with Australian freight rail transport company Aurizon for the acquisition of the East Coast Rail (ECR) business.

The transaction also includes the assumption of ECR’s existing debt facilities, which originally amounted to $338m (A$500m).

With $84.5m (A$125m) of the proceeds to be deferred for 12 months, the completion is targeted for early 2023.

The deal completion awaits clearance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

In brief

Alstom acquires South African car body shell manufacturing asset

French rolling stock manufacturer Alstom has bought the manufacturing assets of car body shells from TMH Africa for an undisclosed sum.

MainRail begins predictive algorithms trial in Mallorca

Technology startup MainRail has announced the development of predictive algorithms for the risk of rail buckling in ballasted tracks. MainRail started a pilot of its new predictive buckling module in the Mallorca Railway Network in Spain.

Alstom to supply additional VLocity trains to Victoria’s rail network

French rolling stock manufacturer Alstom is set to locally manufacture an additional 12 VLocity diesel motor unit regional trains in Victoria, Australia, due to an option in an existing contract being exercised by the Victoria Department of Transport.

Ballard to offer fuel cell tech for India’s hydrogen-powered trains

Ballard Power Systems has received a contract from rail system integrator Medha Servo Drives for the delivery of fuel cell technology for India’s first hydrogen-fuelled trains.

VLS acquires Safety Railway Service

I Squared Capital portfolio company VLS Environmental Solutions has taken over Safety Railway Service for an undisclosed sum.

Knorr-Bremse buys DSB Component Workshops

Germany-based Knorr-Bremse has taken over DSB Component Workshops from Danish state rail operator Danske Statsbaner in a deal valued at €50m.