SmartRail World

International Rail News Roundup (3rd July 2015)

This week we bring you news of plans for a £600m metro network in Wales, a new generation of rolling stock in Train Zero, how Google and the FRA are working together to save lives on America’s rail crossings, a great analysis on the US and High-Speed Rail, we look at why Mastercard are moving into transit ticketing learn about a new maintenance contract for Siemens, plus our Rail Video of the Week which shows a very lucky escape for some passengers in Mumbai, India…

Metro Projects: £600m South Wales Metro to prevent transport 'chaos' (BBC Wales)

Up to £600m is to be spent on a new metro for south east Wales (potential network map pictured right) within five years, it has been announced. It is likely to be a mix of light rail, trams, improved trains and faster buses by 2020 in Cardiff and the valleys. It is in addition to planned rail electrification and will run as a "not-for-dividend" part of the next all-Wales rail franchise from 2018. The economy minister said it could be "chaos" on roads unless the issue of transport infrastructure is sorted out.

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SmartRail Speaks: Joseph C. Szabo, Executive Director, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).

"...with the interconnected nature of rail transport, congestion in Chicago doesn’t just affect the city or region but the global movement of goods."

There can be few figures in USA with as wide ranging a view of railroading as Joseph C. Szabo, former Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and newly minted Executive Director of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). A fifth-generation railroader, Szabo began his career with Illinois Central Railroad working numerous positions, including yard switcher and road trainman. A long-time official at the United Transportation Union (UTU), he combined labor union leadership with local government roles in his home village of Riverdale, a suburb of Chicago, before becoming in 2009 the first union official ever to lead the FRA, where he served until January, 2015. In his role as Administrator of the FRA, Szabo led a staff of more than 900 located in Washington, D.C., and at field offices across the nation. He joined CMAP as a senior fellow in days after leaving the FRA in January and assumed his new position on June 16th. Recently, Luke Upton, Editor of SmartRail World, caught up with Szabo in his new Chicago office to find out how it was to be home, the challenges of being the largest US rail hub, and much more…

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Google and FRA partner to tackle rising rail crossing accident rate.

Can one of the nation’s newest, fastest-moving industries help to solve one of transportation’s oldest problems? The US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) think the answer is yes and as a result are announcing a partnership with Google to make rail crossings safer for drivers and their passengers. Writing on her blog, ahead of a formal announcement next week, Sarah Feinberg, Acting Administrator of the FRA has confirmed that Google has agreed to integrate FRA’s GIS data, which pinpoints the location of the nation's approximately 250,000 public and private railroad crossings, into its mapping services. Adding railroad crossing data to smartphone mapping applications will supply drivers and passengers with additional cues that they are approaching a crossing. For drivers and passengers who are driving an unfamiliar route, traveling at night, or who lose situational awareness at any given moment, receiving an additional alert about an upcoming crossing could save lives. 

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CBTC commercialization boost as world's first LTE 4G pilot completed.

Huawei and Alstom, have together announced the successful completion of the world’s first live pilot test of 4G LTE multi-services based on Communications-based Train Control (CBTC). The pilot project, which includes Passenger Information System (PIS) and live streaming of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) images marks a major step forward in the LTE commercialization of CBTC services. The pilot was carried out in dynamic conditions on metro lines near Valenciennes in France and saw Huawei optimizing the network planning, broadband data services, and mission critical voice trunking services, and Alstom providing the technology integration support. The development aims to improve operational services, reinforce security control and enable remote diagnostic of the on-board equipment while reducing operational costs.

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Russia turns to China for rail development as West renews sanctions.

With EU and US trade sanctions against Russia renewed, China is continuing to take advantage of the situation and is set to deliver high-speed rail to the country. The Wall Street Journal has reported that the state-owned China Railway Group has penned a contract to plan and design the 770km high-speed line between Moscow and Kazan – the largest current infrastructure project in Russia. The WSJ report, quotes Vladimir Yakunin, the president of Russia’s state-owned JSC Russian Railways, stating that China Railways Group will work with Russian firms in consortium. Who will be constructing the railway itself has not be confirmed but the Chinese were deemed “quite likely” by Yakunin. Sanctions forbade any French, German or Spanish companies submitting a bid for this contract and Yakunin (pictured), a close ally of Vladimir Putin, is currently banned from travelling in the US and EU. So where does this leave Western companies and the massive Russian rail market?

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International Rail News Roundup (26th June 2015)

This week we bring you news of developments for the Doha Metro, further good news for Bombardier, a firm new message on the delayed deployment of Positive Train Control (PTC) in the USA, how text messaging is improving passenger experience in Altamont, a maintenance contract in Stockholm, plans for an ‘Oyster card’ in Manchester and of course our Rail Video of the Week from Seattle which is particularly mesmerising today…

Metro Projects: Arcadis lands $22m deal on Doha Metro project (Construction Week)

Arcadis has won a $22m (QAR80.1m) contract to provide architectural, branding, design and construction consultancy services for the Gold Line metro line in Doha, Qatar (pictured right). The appointment follows an earlier involvement on comparable activities on the Red Line South metro line, also in Doha. For the Gold Line project Arcadis will work on behalf of the contractor, ALYSJ JV, a joint venture of several international and local construction and engineering firms.  The ultimate client for the project is the Qatar Rail Company.

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