SmartRail World

Chinese Group sole bidder for $3 billion Mexico H-S Rail project.

China continues to lead the way in high-speed rail as state backed China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) are the only group bidding to win tender for Mexico’s major high speed-rail project worth more than $3 billion writes SmartRail World's Abigail Francis. The proposed project plans to connect the industrial cities of Mexico City & Queretaro and carry an estimated 23,000 commuters a day, at high speeds of 300kph. The developments follow President Enrique Pena Nieto’s plans to reintroduce inter-city passenger services between major industrial cities following their privatization and subsequent dissolution over a decade ago.

CRCC have offered to build trains and 210 kilometres of railway as part of their $4.3 billion bid. The deal is set to place China in an extremely strong position to establish and win further contracts to construct more of Mexico’s high-speed passenger rail. Having built over 12,000 kilometers of track at home in less than a decade, China is pushing to export more of its high-speed technology abroad. CNR and CSR Corp are China's largest train builders, while CRCC and China Railway Group build track.

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Ensuring safety and communication at SuperBowl XLVIII.

"It was certainly an exciting time! But one that did come with a great deal of responsibility as well. It wasn’t just the day itself that challenged the system but also the build-up and days immediately afterwards..."

Today SmartRail World has an opportunity to find out more about the innovative work of PowerTrunk and speak to their CEO Jose Martin about the development of TETRA in the USA and their work at Super Bowl XLVIII with NJ Transit this past January. PowerTrunk Inc. is the subsidiary of Teltronic S.A.U. responsible for business development, distribution and customer support for Teltronic land mobile radio projects in North America. With nearly 40 years’ experience designing, manufacturing, implementing and supporting digital and analog land mobile radio turnkey projects, Teltronic S.A.U. has more than 300 systems installed in over 50 countries. In addition to transit, Teltronic also work across the public safety, oil and gas, transportation, and utilities industries.

The TETRA standard was developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and released in 1995 and I opened our discussion by asking Jose for the latest developments with TETRA in the USA; “TETRA is in wide use around the world for emergency, military, safety and other mission critical communications, in Europe, Asia, Africa and increasingly in Latin America it’s the primary LMR technology. But has only recently been deployed in the USA through the combined efforts of PowerTrunk, which got through FCC and Industry Canada certification with a modified version of the standard in 2009, and the TCCA, which requested the FCC a waiver, both undertakings ending up in a complete regulatory change in Canada in late 2011 and a partial change in the USA that opened certain portions of the spectrum to TETRA in 2012. Tetra offers a number of advantages for the user including higher data rates, improved data throughput in poor RF signal conditions, bandwidth on demand, concurrent voice and data, a standard interface (PEI) for 3rd party applications and more so it has been particularly exciting to see it being rolled out across the USA and Canada.”

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Improving passenger comfort through data management innovation.

"Notably, the biggest challenge is NOT the technology. All the pieces are already in place, or soon will be, for better engagement between passengers and trains. The main challenge is providing services with sufficient value to motivate the passengers to interact and participate."

Today SmartRail World speaks to Rick Pearson, Senior Solutions Engineer at Quester Tangent, a leading independent supplier of monitoring and diagnostic systems in North America. Quester Tangent has been providing train electronics and software solutions for the passenger rail transit industry for over 20 years. They work with the world’s major train manufacturers and transit authorities, with offerings including monitoring and control products, on-train displays, event recorders, communication and data networks, and passenger information systems.

LU: Thanks for the time today Rick, just how quickly are the demands of both passengers and the rail transit industry changing?

RP: As the saying goes: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Our passengers demand the same experience today as in the past: reliable transportation, personal safety and a comfortable environment. Transit authorities can find meeting these needs more challenging due to the increased use of technology, automation and computerization on board the trains and the wayside. Innovative approaches are required to maximize the use of these high-tech systems to improve the passenger experience and increase rider comfort.

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SmartRail Speaks: Jeremy Long, CEO European Business, MTR Corporation

"We were delighted to be awarded the operating concession for Crossrail. It’s a hugely exciting new train line that will making travelling across London easier than ever before. Not only will it make people’s lives easier, it will also transform travel habits of Londoners, encouraging people to re-think where they travel and explore new areas."

Today SmartRail Editor, Luke Upton speaks to Jeremy Long, CEO European Business at MTR Corporation, one of the most interesting and progressive organisations in rail today. MTR was established in 1975 as the Mass Transit Railway Corporation with a mission to construct and operate an urban metro system to meet the transport needs of Hong Kong. In June 2000 it was re-established as MTR Corporation Ltd and in October 2000 was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Since then MTR has expanded from its home base in Hong Kong to include international rail business in Stockholm, Beijing, Shenzen and Melbourne. In 2014 it was confirmed that MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Limited, have been awarded the Crossrail Train Operating Concession. The service will commence in phases from 2015 to 2019.

Luke Upton, SmartRail World Editor (LU): Thanks fo the time today, as CEO, European Business could you give us a little introduction into your role at MTR Corporation?

Jeremy Long (JL): Not a problem Luke, as Chief Executive Officer of the European Business of MTR Corporation, my role is to oversee all of our ventures in Europe which include the running of MTR’s London Overground joint venture with Deutsche Bahn, MTR’s Metro concession in Stockholm and the forth coming intercity service in Sweden. I also manage all franchise bids and other business development activity, including the recent successful bid for Crossrail. MTR is growing both at home in Hong Kong and here in Europe, we are therefore always looking for potential attractive opportunities to invest, tender and engage – whether it be operations, infrastructure, stations, rolling stock or other businesses.

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Project focus: Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) and STV.

In November 2007, the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) opened the South Corridor Light Rail Transit System (SCLRT), known as the “LYNX” Blue Line, marking the first use of light rail transit in the history of North Carolina, USA. The 9.6-mile project links south Charlotte with the uptown City of Charlotte, connecting local neighbourhoods and businesses. STV was involved in this project from the start, playing a lead role that included the design and construction management oversight of 13 bridges, 15 stations, infrastructure improvements, track/catenary system, and major facilities including the 92,000-square-foot vehicle maintenance facility and 1,000-space parking garage.

The SCLRT project offers significant social/economic impacts. The project improved the vitality of the 9.6-mile-long corridor, resulting in the conversion of an underutilized industrial area to a bustling commercial/residential neighbourhood. Many businesses have sprouted along the corridor, and mixed-use development has grown. The Center for Transit oriented development estimates that nearly 10,000 square feet of new commercial and residential development along the Northeast Corridor. The station areas have established their own unique social characters, becoming “meeting places” each morning for commuters.

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Exclusive e-book: Building the Smart Metro of the Future.

SmartRail World is proud to publish our latest exclusive e-book - Building the smart metro of the future where you will learn more about the growing need to develop a smart, sustainable and competitive metro in our fast evolving industry. 

By downloading this e-book, you will:
  • Gain insight into how drones are already being deployed on metros and railways globally and how they are highly efficient in terms of maintenance and security.
  • Read an exclusive interview with Jeremy Long, CEO European Business of MTR Corporation, about the big challenges and opportunities faced with the Crossrail project.
  • Learn about how the role of increasing digitisation impacts CBTC projects around the world.
  • Discover more about the major development projects at the Dubai Metro and the Dublin Metro.
  • Find out if free public transport is a dream or a reality?
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SmartRail Speaks: Dr. Bud Zaouk, Director, Transportation Solutions Group, QinetiQ North America.

“Today, there seems to be a more universal attitude to embrace technology to improve safety and efficiency. There are still the centuries of tradition for a relatively conservative industry, however, you can’t walk down an aisle of the annual trade shows without being impressed with new applications of technology…”

Today SmartRail World Editor Luke Upton speakers to Dr. Bud Zaouk, a 19 year veteran of safety engineering and product development with an extensive experience in managing and directing large and technically complex programs. In his role as Director of the Transportation Solutions Group at QinetiQ North America he is one of the key developers of the Intelligent Rail Integrity System (IRIS) that continuously monitors changes in rail temperature, stress and rail neutral temperature rail break and buckle. Dr. Zaouk holds a Doctor of Science degree in Transportation Safety Engineering and has published work in numerous international conferences and journals in many transportation safety areas.

Luke Upton (LU): As means of an introduction perhaps you could give any readers unaware of QinetiQ a little introduction into how you work with the rail industry?

Dr. Bud Zaouk (BZ): QinetiQ North America (QNA) is a leader in the transportation industry with a solid record of innovative and practical approaches that address today’s challenges with the technology of tomorrow. Our experience and capabilities position us to take on the 21st century challenges facing the industry. QinetiQ North America has been actively performing research and development for the federal government (Federal Railroad Administration), railroad industry and transit agencies for over 25 years.  Today, the knowledge base and staff have grown with capabilities to include areas of expertise that cover structural analysis and modeling, human factors (ergonomic evaluation, applied cognitive science, and organizational development and training) and technology innovation (diesel fuel vapor reclamation, acoustical warning device, wireless sensor motes, etc.).

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First driverless metro line in Paris set to be extended further.

Following on the news last week from London, where designs for driverless trains were revealed, Siemens has received an order from the Paris transit authority RATP (Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens) to supply the train control equipment and operational control system for the extension of the driverless metro line 14 in Paris. Siemens equipped the original stretch of Line 14 for automatic operation back in 1998 and thus established the first fully automated metro line with driverless trains in Paris. This new section will extend the existing nine-kilometer southbound line by four stations and six kilometers. The order volume is worth around 45 million euros and is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

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VIDEO | London Underground reveals driverless Tube train designs

New designs for the 'New Tube for London' - the next generation of Underground trains, which will come in to service from the mid-2020s have been revealed. The trains will serve London for more than 40 years and will be designed and built to be capable of fully automatic operation. But will be unlikely to be driverless, at least at the start of their operation with the new trains on entering service having an "operator" on board, putting to rest a belief by many and quelling trade union fears that they would be automated from the very start. Though this could be subject to change with London newspaper the Evening Standard reporting that the train could be built with a driver’s cab which could later be removed creating extra space for passengers.

Along with modernised signal systems, the trains will enable faster, more frequent and reliable services with fewer delays, as well as providing greater capacity on all four lines .The new design will also allow for air-cooling for the first time on deep-level sections of the Tube also features improved accessibility, with step free access from the platform as well as walk-through carriages and wider doors. See video above for more detail. 

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London joins the 24-hour a day metro club... 2 days a week.

“Running trains all through the night was once thought impossible, but ... we stand ready to take the tube to the next level.” – Boris Johnson, Mayor of London.

150 years ago, London unveiled the world’s first underground railway system. 150 years on, London is finally set to introduce 24-hour services, which are set to make the last train home a thing of the past. Following in the footsteps of major European cities, as well as New York, the ‘Night Tube’ to commence 24- hour weekend services on selected lines from the 12th September 2015. SmartRail Contributor and London commuter  Abigail Francis looks into how London is readying itself for the ‘Night Tube’.

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Chinese Group sole bidder for $3 billion Mexico H-S Rail project.

China continues to lead the way in high-speed rail as state backed China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) are the only group bidding to win tender for Mexico’s major high speed-rail project...Read more

Ensuring safety and communication at SuperBowl XLVIII.

"It was certainly an exciting time! But one that did come with a great deal of responsibility as well. It wasn’t just the day itself that challenged the system but also the build-up and days...Read more

Improving passenger comfort through data management innovation.

"Notably, the biggest challenge is NOT the technology. All the pieces are already in place, or soon will be, for better engagement between passengers and trains. The main challenge is providing...Read more

SmartRail Speaks: Jeremy Long, CEO European Business, MTR Corporation

"We were delighted to be awarded the operating concession for Crossrail. It’s a hugely exciting new train line that will making travelling across London easier than ever before. Not only will it...Read more

Project focus: Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) and STV.

In November 2007, the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) opened the South Corridor Light Rail Transit System (SCLRT), known as the “LYNX” Blue Line, marking the first use of light rail transit in...Read more

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