Alstom reports 8% growth in H1 sales

17 November | business & Operations

French rolling stock manufacturer Alstom has generated sales of €8.05bn in the six months to 30 September 2022, an 8% rise compared with the same period last year.

The company recorded €10.1bn in orders during the first half, but remained in loss after the purchase of Bombardier last year.

Its net loss group share for the first half stood at €21m, versus a loss of €26m in the previous year. Net loss from continuing operations narrowed to €5m from €15m.

However, the group posted adjusted net profit of €179m for the first half of fiscal year 2022/23, up from €172m in the prior year.

Adjusted EBIT increased to €397m corresponding to a margin of 4.9%, as against €335m corresponding to a 4.5% margin a year ago.

The company recorded free cash outflows of €45m in the first half, due to a €381m hit in operating working capital.

It has a net debt position of €2.3bn, as well as €833m of cash and cash equivalent as of September this year.

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.

9 november | Stations

New mural on show at Brixton Underground Station

A new large-scale public art commission at Brixton Underground Station is set to be unveiled on 17 November. The mural, called “Endurance”, was created by artist Shanti Panchal and will be on view for one year.

This work will be Panchal’s first public artwork since a 1993 tiled mural for the London Borough of Harrow.

The mural is the sixth in a series of commissions at Brixton Station. As part of the programme, artists will respond to the rapid development of the area and the wider social and political history of mural-making.

'Endurance' in particular is a community portrait that observes continued resilience and interdependency. Shown in the image are three scenes of Londoners; the people include an artist, an NHS worker, a waiter, and people at work and at leisure.

In the background are buildings, statues and sections of open public space that draw on the Brixton neighbourhood. The architecture seen behind the figures includes the Black Cultural Archives, Brixton Windmill, and the Tate Modern.

Present among the scenes are The African and Caribbean War Memorial and the Cherry Groce Memorial Pavilion in Windrush Square.

3 November | Projects

BAM Nuttall wins resilience works contract from Network Rail

BAM Nuttall has received a contract from UK-based Network Rail for the next phase of the South West Rail Resilience Programme (SWRRP).

The scope of the contract includes the designing of a series of resilience measures along the coastal railway between Dawlish and Holcombe in south Devon.

Designed to protect the track from falling debris from the cliffs, the scheme will enable South West’s key rail artery to connect with the remaining parts of the UK.

This year in April, the Department for Transport granted funding for the scheme, taking the total amount to over £150m for the SWRRP.

The resilience measures will consist of netting designed to retain the cliffs in some high-risk locations, as well as catch fences in others to stop any cliff material before it reaches the railway.

To inform the detailed design of the scheme, BAM Nuttall has commenced ground investigation works and site surveys along the 1km stretch.

Furthermore, the agreement is required for land access and consents for the work, which is anticipated to begin in the spring of next year.

26 October | High-Speed

Thales wins contract for high-speed train line in Spain

France-based Thales has received a contract for the delivery of technology for the Seville–Malaga–Granada high-speed train line in Spain.

The contract, which is valued at around €11.6m, has an execution period time of over 17 months. Under the contract, the company will provide traffic control systems for a new bypass link of around 1.7km.

The scope of the contract includes the delivery of interlockings and train detection systems for the new section, as well as an extension of the LZB train protection system and the European Railway Traffic Management System.

The company will also deliver fixed and mobile telecommunications systems as per the new operating conditions. Furthermore, Thales will be responsible for the maintenance of the new installations for six months.

19 October | Electrification

RIA North classifies line electrification priority in North England

The Railway Industry Association (RIA) North has published a new plan outlining the priority for electrification in the North of England.

Called ‘Greener, Faster, Better‘, the plan sets out a long-term plan for which passenger and freight routes should be prioritised for electrification, as well as other low-carbon technologies, such as battery and hydrogen-power.

The report identifies strategic freight lines, intercity corridors, and suburban networks across North England that should be top of the list to be electrified.

According to RIA North, the Midland Main Line and TransPennine Route Upgrade offer the greatest decarbonisation benefits – both of which the UK Government announced it will electrify as part of the 2021 Integrated Rail Plan.

The report shows that, even on existing electrified routes, there are still high proportions of both passenger and freight services using diesel propulsion, due to other sections of the journey not being electrified.

13 October | Rolling Stock

Southeastern’s high-speed Javelin trains set for £27m upgrades

Eversholt Rail, Southeastern, and Hitachi Rail have signed an agreement to upgrade the Class 395 Javelin trains.

The Javelins, operated by Southeastern, are used on high-speed services between London St Pancras and Kent using the HS1 line.

The £27m upgrade programme will future-proof the UK’s only true high-speed passenger fleet.

The project’s initial phase will take seven months and include design, engineering, and procurement, with the upgrade to the first of the 29 trains commencing in March 2023 at Southeastern’s Ashford Depot in Kent.

The upgrades will include a full interior refresh, including new carpets and seats, with proposed new seating layouts to assist people with reduced mobility.

The interior upgrades also include LED lighting and USB charging, as well as upgraded onboard live passenger information systems.

In brief

NSW Government commits to $113m Central Station upgrades

The New South Wales Government in Australia has unveiled plans to invest a further $113.6m (A$180m) for the modernisation of the rail network at Sydney Central Station.

Alstom opens expanded rolling stock facility in Taubaté, Brazil

Alstom has opened an expanded rolling stock facility at Taubaté in São Paulo, Brazil. To triple the plant’s manufacturing footprint to 60,000m2, the company invested €14m for the expansion and modernisation of the site.

DB Cargo UK begins deployment of ETCS on Class 66 locomotives

DB Cargo UK has started the installation of the latest version of the European Train Control System on a Class 66 locomotive, as part of the East Coast Digital Programme. 

Knorr-Bremse and Thales partner on rail automation

Knorr-Bremse has reached a memorandum of understanding with Thales to develop automatic train operation solutions for locomotive-hauled freight and passenger trains.

Arriva Group secures rail contract in Poland

Passenger transport services provider Arriva Group has received a new rail contract in Poland. Arriva will be responsible for rail transport in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship region.

Hitachi Rail unveils final designs of new train facility in US

Rolling stock manufacturer Hitachi Rail has unveiled the final designs and images of its new train facility in Maryland, US. The new $70m train factory and 800-yard test track will be constructed on a 41-acre site.

7 October | Business & Operations

Avanti West Coast placed on short-term contract

The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has placed rail operator Avanti West Coast on a short-term contract and challenged it to deliver the urgent increase in services required.

Over the past few months, Avanti has seen major operational issues on the West Coast Main Line it has been contracted to operate since 2019, primarily caused by a shortage of available drivers.

As such, The DfT has chosen to award the operator a 6-month contract extension to assess whether service levels can improve.

The West Coast Partnership (WCP) franchise, which Avanti operates, has been running under an Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement (ERMA) since September 2020 to provide continuity for rail passengers and the industry during the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

29 September | Technology

Tended’s geofencing wearable gets product acceptance

UK startup Tended has received product acceptance from Network Rail for its first-of-a-kind geofencing wearable safety solution.

The acceptance comes after two years of R&D and testing in live environments alongside Network Rail and their frontline workforce.

The geofencing wearable features a high-tech, rugged wearable accompanied by a planning dashboard.

The solution enables organisations to easily map out geofence zones over their worksites.

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.