Victoria opens ROI process for Suburban Rail Loop

17 June 2019

JNCTION wins funding for rail operator decision support tool

14 June 2019

London-based rail technology start-up JNCTION has secured government funding to develop a decision support tool for railway operators.

Funding was awarded by the Department for Transport (DfT) as part of Innovate UK’s First of a Kind (FOAK) competition.

The FOAK competition sought ideas and innovations that will help to make the UK railway network more efficient, sustainable and cleaner.

Overall, 24 innovative schemes were awarded government grants under this initiative.

JNCTION’s Decision Support Tool leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning techniques to facilitate decision-making during operational disruptions.

The tool automatically suggests alternative train plans based on historical data and previously devised contingency plans.

It is designed to minimise the impact and costs of service disruptions.

Furthermore, the system provides improved customer information through multiple channels to help passengers plan accordingly during disruptions.

The Decision Support Tool builds on the company’s existing information system, DART, which offers real-time information on the network.

JNCTION CEO MIke Lloyd said: “The announcement of the Innovate UK funding is great news for us as a small innovative British rail tech company, and an endorsement of the pioneering work we have done over the last three years.

“Our new system will be applicable to all train operators in the UK, and should result in more informed train planning decisions during disruption, and hence a better service for passengers.”

All 24 schemes selected under the FOAK competition will receive between £250,000 and £350,000 in grants.

Some of the other projects that received funding include Amey VTOL’s drone system, which can undertake aerial track inspections, and 4Silence’s plan to develop a noise-reducing wall for sound pollution caused by passing trains.

CAF to replace Docklands Light Railway trains

13 June 2019

Spanish rolling stock manufacturer CAF has received a contract from Transport for London (TfL) to deliver trains for Docklands Light Railway (DLR).

The scope of the contract includes the design, manufacture and supply of 43 automated trains.

The first 33 vehicles will replace the older fleet, which has been operating for around 30 years. The remaining ten units will be deployed to boost the capacity of the network.

With more than 400,000 journeys made each weekday, the DLR is an automated light metro system serving the Docklands area of East London. Currently, it is regarded as the busiest light railway network in the UK.

At the moment, DLR has 38km of track and comprises 45 stations with step-free access.

TfL director of rail and sponsored services Jon Fox said: “Replacing the oldest trains on the DLR and introducing a new modern fleet will ensure the railway continues to support the current and future growth in the Docklands area.

“With walk-through carriages, real-time travel information, air conditioning and mobile device charging points, the new trains will provide customers with a more comfortable and reliable service, replacing rolling stock that are nearly 30 years old and coming to the end of their operational life.”

The trains are expected to enter commercial service from 2023. They will feature air conditioning, the latest audio and visual real-time travel information and mobile device charging points.

They will be designed to ensure comfortable journeys for passengers with limited mobility, featuring three dedicated wheelchair spaces and three multi-use areas. These areas can be used to store pushchairs, bicycles or luggage.

Skanska to build light-rail line in Bergen, Norway

11 June 2019

Swedish construction company Skanska has secured an Nkr982m ($113.4m) contract to build a subsection of the light-rail system in Bergen, Norway.

The company signed the contract agreement with the Hordaland municipality.

The scope of the contract requires Skanska to build a light-rail line between Fyllingsdalen and Bergen city centre. It includes a 1,200m-long tunnel and a station hall.

The overall project involves the construction of infrastructure surrounding the tram line, associated deconstruction work and the development of multiple huge concrete foundations.

Construction works will begin this month and are expected to be complete by the end of 2022.

During the project, a number of steps are scheduled to be taken to reduce its carbon footprint. These steps include utilising biofuels, electrical machines and the use of low-carbon concrete.

Skanska noted that the project will be certified by Ceequal, a global certifying system that assesses suitability within construction projects.

In March, Skanska signed a $57m contract with Sound Transit in the US to carry out enabling work for the Lynnwood Link L300 light-rail expansion project in Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace in Washington, US.

The scope of works included demolition, temporary sediment and erosion control, advanced utility relocations, temporary parking construction, grading and earthwork across a 6km project before the construction of light-rail system commences.

Skanska is a development and construction company, with the majority of its operations concentrated across Sweden, Norway and Finland.

Last year, the company reported sales of about Skr67bn ($7.11bn).

Bombardier introduces light-rail vehicle safety system

11 June 2019

Bombardier Transportation has unveiled a safety system for urban light-rail vehicles at the UITP Global Public Transportation Summit in Stockholm, Sweden.

Called Collision and Overspeed Monitoring and Prevention Assistance System (COMPAS), the tool is developed in collaboration with the Austrian Institute of Technology and Mission Embedded.

COMPAS is designed to prevent derailing and increase safety for tram drivers and passengers.

It builds on Bombardier’s Obstacle Detection Assistance System (ODAS ), which was introduced in Germany in 2017. Currently, ODAS has been selected by five light-rail vehicle operators.

The latest light-rail vehicle safety system is equipped with two driver assistance functions, vision-based speeding prevention and an automated obstacle detection system.

COMPAS enables the tram driver to utilise digital track data and visual odometry to operate the tram in pre-defined speed limits. Accordingly, the system improves the safety of passengers, as well as pedestrians and other people around the running vehicle.

Bombardier Transportation Austria managing director Christian Diewald said: “We have completed the development phase of COMPAS and will shortly start the operational evaluation in two existing vehicle fleets.

“I am especially happy that we are testing this safety innovation in the new vehicles for our customer Wiener Linien in Austria, but also with our customer in Blackpool, UK.”

The latest system is expected to be authorised for commercial service by mid-2020. It is also expected to be upgraded with additional functions, such as increased vehicle autonomy, enabling automated operation in depots.

AIIB approves $335m for Bangalore Metro in India

10 June 2019

Russian Railways orders 13 high-speed Velaro RUS trains

10 June 2019

Russian Railways (RZD) has placed a nearly €1.1bn order with Siemens Mobility and Ural Locomotives, a joint venture (JV) of the Sinara Group and Siemens, to procure 13 high-speed Velaro RUS trains.

The latest order follows the initial contract for eight Velaro trainsets with Siemens Mobility in 2006, as well as an additional eight vehicles in 2011.

The latest contract includes maintenance services for the trains for 30 years. Following the delivery, the Velaro RUS trains will be maintained at the Siemens Mobility depot in St Petersburg.

Siemens Mobility CEO Sabrina Soussan said: “The fact that RZD is relying on Siemens Mobility for the third time in expanding its high-speed fleet reflects the strong performance of our Velaro platform, which increases value sustainably over the entire lifecycle, enhances passenger experience and optimizes availability.

“The Velaro has already proven its reliability in Russia after covering more than 50 million fleet kilometres since 2009.”

The high-speed trains will operate between Moscow and St Petersburg, bolstering passenger capacity on the 650km-long line.

The Velaro train, known as Sapsan locally, is designed to operate under extreme temperatures in Russia.

Each of these Sapsan trains can accommodate around 550 passengers.

Siemens president and CEO Joe Kaeser said: “The Moscow-St Petersburg route is already one of the most efficient high-speed connections in the world.

“We will continue to work together to expand this network and thus make an important contribution to the development of modern infrastructure in Russia and create qualified jobs in the country.”

Recently, Siemens Mobility won another contract from TriMet in the US to carry out mid-life overhaul services for its type-two and type-three light-rail vehicle (LRV) fleet.

Rail cybersecurity services provider Cylus raises $12m

7 June 2019

Israel-based rail cybersecurity services provider Cylus has raised $12m in a Series A funding round to support global expansion.

The round was jointly led by the company’s existing investors, Magma Venture Partners and Vertex Ventures.

Several new investors, including Cyient, Cerca Partners, GlenRock, Leon Recanati’s private investment company and FollowTheSeed, also participated in the round.

The round was joined by former Chancellor of Austria and the Blue Minds Company managing director Christian Kern, as well as Cylus’ previous backers Zohar Zisapel and SBI.

With the latest funding, Cylus has raised a total of $17m to date.

Cylus intends to use the proceeds to push its activities in the European Union, the US and Asia-Pacific region.

The Israeli firm also plans to use part of the funds to support research and development, as well as strengthen its team of cybersecurity and rail experts.

Cylus CEO and co-founder Amir Levintal said: “Rail systems have become technologically advanced, and the threat of cyber-attacks is constantly growing.

“We have already established strong relationships with key players in the rail industry and growing partnerships with leading rail operators. We are moving full steam ahead to scale our team and expand globally.”

Cylus focuses on assisting rail and metro companies in preventing cyber-attacks, which may cause service disruptions and other safety incidents.

Its CylusOne solution can identify cyber threats in signalling and control networks, trackside and on-board, as well as facilitate swift response.

Kern said: “As cyber-attacks increasingly threaten rail safety and availability, rail stakeholders understand the pressing need for substantial cybersecurity investment.

“Cylus’ solution is crucial to mitigating the escalating cyber threats railway companies face.”