HS2 launches search for signalling and control systems contractor

18 May 2020

VINCI Construction-led JV wins €799m Grand Paris Express contract

18 May 2020

The VINCI Construction Grands Projects joint venture (JV) has been awarded a €799m contract by Société du Grand Paris for the construction of package 1 of Grand Paris Express Line 18.

Of the total contract, 20% is reserved for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

This first stage will connect Orly Airport to Massy-Palaiseau, and Line 18 will be extended to Versailles in the future.

The work for package 1 includes the digging of tunnels spanning 11.8km using two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) and construction of Antonypôle, Massy Opéra and Massy-Palaiseau stations.

It also includes 13 ancillary engineering structures, ten branches linked with the tunnel, and 850m of cut and cover.

The work will excavate more than one million cubic metres of material.

The contract is estimated to generate jobs for 700 people. The work is expected to last for 83 months, during which 148 full-time jobs will also be created for people in social integration programmes.

VINCI Group has also set up an endowment fund, named Chantiers et Territoires Solidaires, which is expected to aid the non-profit entity initiatives for jobs and communities situated near Grand Paris Express projects.

The consortium is also carrying out the work between Fort d’Issy-Vanves-Clamart and Villejuif Louis Aragon, along with the Noisy-Champs station works package. It is also responsible for the extension of Line 14 South towards Orly.

In 2018, the Alise joint venture (JV) secured a €71m contract to implement the electrical infrastructure of Grand Paris Express Line 15 South.

The JV is led by VINCI Energies through its subsidiary SDEL Transport Grands Projets, in collaboration with Eiffage Énergie Systèmes.

Rail travel bookings in the UK increase by 25%

15 May 2020

UK-based Rail Delivery Group has announced that there is a 25% increase in people planning for rail journeys this week, which has prompted train companies to urge passengers to only travel when necessary.

Passengers have been asked to only undertake essential travel amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which has increased the need for social distancing.

From next week, the rail industry has planned to increase services and operate longer trains, which are expected to boost social distancing.

Even with the additional services, the trains will only be able to accommodate around one-tenth of the usual capacity.

The rail industry has asked passengers to plan ahead and purchase tickets online, as well as not travel during rush hour.

Passengers are advised to wear a face covering and maintain social distancing.

Rail Delivery Group Nations and Regions director Robert Nisbet said: “To keep people safe, there will only be space on trains for as few as a tenth of the usual number of people despite train companies gradually increase services next week.

"We need people’s help to keep trains clear for those who really need them so we are asking people to consider alternatives like cycling or walking and if that’s not possible, to travel at quieter times.

“We are doing everything possible to keep passengers and staff safe, including cleaning trains and stations several times a day, managing capacity and increasing signage to help people get around.

“For those who do need to take the train, we ask that they plan ahead, consider others and stay safe when they use public transport. That means buying tickets online for quieter times of day, maintaining social distancing wherever possible, wearing a face covering and keeping hands sanitised.”

New Zealand allocates $717m to boost railway infrastructure

15 May 2020

The New Zealand Government has allocated NZD1.2bn ($717m) in its Budget 2020, which will be available to state-owned rail operator KiwiRail.

This funding will help in increasing the passenger numbers and freight on rail.

Last year, the New Zealand Governmentallocated NZD1bn ($651m) in its latest national budget.

The latest round of funding has allocated NZ$400m for replacing the old Interislander ferries and NZ$421m to aid the ongoing replacement programme for some of the oldest locomotives.

Additionally, the budget has allocated NZ$246m to ensure that the rail network in the country is reliable and resilient, which will include more than 3,000km of track, 1,000 bridges and nearly 100 tunnels.

It also topped off National Land Transport Fund with a contribution of NZD148m.

KiwiRail Group CEO Greg Miller said: “The government’s investment allows us to continue with our locomotive replacement programme and raise the standard of our rail lines, bridges and tunnels across the country. This will enable KiwiRail to offer better and more reliable train services for our customers, and move more of New Zealand’s growing freight task onto rail.

“This funding recognises that rail has a greater role to play in New Zealand’s transport sector and that it can make a valuable contribution towards lowering our transport emissions, reducing road congestion and saving in road maintenance costs, which benefits our nation as a whole.”

He added that the contribution to replace the three ageing ferries of Interislander and the landside infrastructure shows that ferry connection is important for the country.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford added: “The coalition government has a bold vision for a 21st-century rail network as outlined in the draft New Zealand Rail Plan. We need a resilient and reliable rail system to support freight and get our cities moving.

“Budget 2020 builds on the substantial investments we’ve already made in rail through past Budgets, the Provincial Growth Fund, and the New Zealand Upgrade Programme, which will help future-proof the economy and reduce emissions.”

Bombardier receives approval from Düsseldorf for FLEXITY trams

15 May 2020

Bombardier Transportation has announced that its Bombardier FLEXITY trams have received authorisation to start operation in the Düsseldorf and Duisburg network in Germany.

With this approval, public transport provider Rheinbahn can use the trams for passenger operations in the Düsseldorf metropolitan area.

Rheinbahn AG technology and operations board of management member Michael Richarz said: “We are delighted to have reached this important commissioning milestone. This will support our efforts to condense tram traffic cycles in Düsseldorf, planned for this year.

“With the new HF6 vehicles for the Rheinbahn, we are offering our passengers more services and more comfort. We are working closely with our supplier Bombardier Transportation to ensure that the other 56 vehicles are also authorised for passenger service as quickly as possible.”

Bombardier Transportation Germany head Michael Fohrer said: “We can look back on a long-lasting and incredible constructive partnership with Rheinbahn.

“I am very proud that our teams have worked hard and cooperated to ensure we achieved this important milestone. I am happy that these modern and energy-efficient FLEXITY high-floor trams can now commence passenger service.”

The company will supply 59 newly developed FLEXITY high-floor trams to Rheinbahn.

Approximately 1,000 FLEXITY trams from Bombardier are currently operational in 42 German cities.

Earlier this month, India’s National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) gave a letter of award to Bombardier Transportation to build and supply regional commuter and intracity transit trains.

Last June, Brussels Intercommunal Transportation Company (STIB) in Belgium placed its second order as part of a previously signed framework contract to procure additional Bombardier FLEXITY trams.

ÖBB Infrastructure begins construction on crossing bridge in Austria

13 May 2020

Greater Anglia to increase train services for social distancing

13 May 2020

UK train operator Greater Anglia has announced that it will increase the train services offered in a bid to maintain social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The change in the emergency timetable will safeguard the essential workers who have to travel.

Effective from 18 May, the operator will operate a changed Saturday timetable, which offers a higher frequency from Colchester, Clacton and Southend to London on the Great Eastern Main Line.

The service will also be increased on the West Anglia Main Line between Cambridge and Liverpool Street.

The regional rail service will continue according to the existing service while the Norwich to Cambridge service will operate as a direct service to Stansted Airport.

During the peak hours, the Norwich-London intercity service will not stop at Colchester or Chelmsford and will operate non-stop between Stratford and Manningtree.

Greater Anglia MD Jamie Burles said: “Our top priority is that customers and staff can travel safely while the coronavirus outbreak persists. We will continue to pay particular attention to cleaning high-contact areas on our trains and stations such as push buttons, door handles and grab rails.

“We would kindly encourage customers to buy tickets online or via our app. If that’s not possible then please use contactless payment on our ticket vending machines.

“We have marked up stations with tape and markings to help customers to socially distance.”

Last week, Greater Anglia started simulation training for drivers who will test-drive the company’s new electric commuter trains.

ARA accepts government’s decision to start industry oversight group

12 May 2020

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) announced that it has welcomed the Australian Government’s decision to establish an industry oversight group.

The team will spearhead the development and implementation of a train management system.

ARA CEO Caroline Wilkie stated that the application of an advanced train management system (ATMS) will deliver safety and efficiency benefits.

Wilkie said: “ATMS is a great example of Australian rail driving innovation to find new solutions that will make our industry better.

“The creation of the oversight group will bring significant industry knowledge to the table to guide this important next phase of the project.”

The organisation had previously supported the ATMS implementation for the Inland Rail and Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) network, which will aid in increased safety and productivity.

Wilkie added that it was "important to acknowledge other train management systems operated within the Australian network, particularly across metropolitan networks".

The National Rail Action Plan, led by the National Transport Commission (NTC), focuses on interoperability that will ensure one overarching system on the national network for freight trains.

ARTC and its technology partner Lockheed Martin developed the ATMA, which is currently operating between Port Augusta and Whyalla after extensive testing and development.

In March 2019, the UK Railway Industry Association (RIA) and the ARA agreed to enhance co-operation and collaboration between the two rail trade bodies.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the two rail associations during the UK rail trade delegation’s visit to Australia.