Latest News

21 February

DB upgrades must not become a “valley of death” 

DB said a recent “dress rehearsal” proved the feasibility of the five-month closures concept. Credit: Uli Planz/Deutsche Bahn

German rail freight industry organisation Die Güterbahnen has expressed concerns over the proposed “general renovation” of the country’s rail infrastructure, stating there has been “too much bad news” about the Deutsche Bahn (DB) and Federal Transport Ministry-led project. 

Peter Westenberger, managing director of Güterbahnen, presented a status analysis of the wide-ranging project and highlighted three key issues including “exploding” costs, a failure to deliver projects in the timeframes promised, and a lack of capacity for diversions needed while infrastructure upgrades are carried out. 

The idea led DB CEO Richard Lutz to describe the need to weather a “valley of tears” of diversions and cancellations before welcoming improved services in the long term.

However, Westenberger said: “The ‘valley of tears’ proclaimed by Lutz must not become a valley of death for the railway industry and the transport transition. The corridor renovation strategy needs more efficiency and less superficial PR.” 

26 February

Queensland proposes direct line to Brisbane for Sunshine Coast

The Queensland Government in Australia has outlined its plans for a Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line connecting some of the region’s “key growth areas” with the South East Queensland rail network. 

The 37.8km rail line between Beerwah and Maroochydore would improve rail connections to the Sunshine Coast region, including in the capital city of Brisbane and the Moreton Bay region. 

Queensland Premier Steven Miles said: “A direct rail connection to the Sunshine Coast will unlock thousands of homes in the growing Sunshine Coast region and accelerate the release of new, affordable developments. 

The plan for the line would see it built in stages beginning with a 19km dual track between Caloundra and Beerwah, on the existing North Coast line, which is projected to cost between A$5.5bn ($3.6bn) to A$7bn ($4.6bn).  

21 February

Alstom India delivers first Meerut Metro trainset  

French rolling stock manufacturer Alstom has delivered the first of its India-built trainsets to the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) for its Meerut Metro system. 

The trainset is the first of three, each built of 10 coaches. The rolling stock is based on Alstom’s Adessia commuter model. Designed in Hyderabad and constructed at Alstom’s facility at Salvi in Gujarat, the trainsets are fitted out with a range of seating, wheelchair space, and modern amenities like WiFi. 

According to Alstom, the Meerut Metro is an urban Mass Rapid Transit System that will operate across a 25km line (14.80km elevated and 4.6km underground), connecting Partapur to Modipuram via 11 stations. The line also connects to the Regional Rapid Transit System which connects the Meerut line to Delhi. 

The project is a part of Prime Minister Modi’s “Made-in-India” policy, which aims to boost the country’s self-reliance. 

15 February

Netherlands best, Czechia worst in Europe on rail accessibility

The Netherlands has been ranked the best railway nation in Europe for accessibility, while the Czech Republic was marked as one of the worst in a new report

Created by online booking comparison website Omio, the report looked at three key points to determine its rankings: the percentage of stations with barrier-free entry to platforms, the percentage with tactile paving on platforms, and the percentage with digital information displays. 

The Netherlands achieved its ranking because 99% of its stations have tactile paving and digital displays, and 97% have barrier-free entry, though Sweden and Norway recorded the highest percentages for the latter, both with 99%. 

Omio also brought attention to issues in the UK, where only 61% of platforms were deemed to be accessible. The company said that though the UK has made progress in areas such as the availability of digital information screens, “British railway operators and decision-makers still have much work to do”. 

13 October

GWR to conduct UK’s first real-world FastCharge technology trials 

Great Western Railway (GWR) in the UK will conduct the country’s first real-world trial of FastCharge battery technology as part of its goal to phase out diesel-only traction by 2040. 

The technology utilises a 2,400kW charging system that allows battery-only trains to keep up with the quick turnaround requirements of timetable services on branch lines by completing a charge in just three and a half minutes. 

The UK rail operator will trial the system with a Class 230 battery train at West Ealing on its Greenford branch line, building on simulations conducted with some of its branch lines in Thames Valley, after which it was estimated that the tech could reduce the company’s emissions by more than 1,700 tonnes of CO2 per year. 

GWR had initially signed a deal with Vivarail in February 2022 to trial the battery-charging technology in the UK before buying the company’s IP, rolling stock and equipment relating to FastCharge after it entered administration in December 2022.