SmartRail World

Eurostar beats growth challenges as London-Marseille line confirmed

Eurostar, the high speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, has reported continued growth in both passenger volumes and sales revenues in the first half of 2014 despite some challenges from a number of different factors. In the first six months of the year, passenger numbers rose 2% to 5.0 from 4.9 million in the same period in 2013.  Sales revenues also grew by 0.5% to £456 million from £453 million in H1 2013. Whilst a new direct route to Marseille is also confirmed.

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“As America grows, so must our investments in transportation”

As Congress considers legislation to avoid a shortfall of the Highway Trust Fund, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and 11 of his predecessors offered the following open letter to Congress. In addition to Secretary Foxx, Secretaries Ray LaHood, Mary Peters, Norman Mineta, Rodney Slater, Frederico Peña, Samuel Skinner, Andrew Card, James Burnley, Elizabeth Dole, William Coleman and Alan Boyd all signed the letter. Their message: Congress’ work doesn’t end with the bill under consideration. Transportation in America still needs a much larger, longer-term investment.  The text of the letter is below, it makes interesting reading:

"This week, it appears that Congress will act to stave off the looming insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund. The bill, if passed, should extend surface transportation funding until next May.

We are hopeful that Congress appears willing to avert the immediate crisis.  But we want to be clear: This bill will not “fix” America’s transportation system. For that, we need a much larger and longer-term investment.  On this, all twelve of us agree.

Taken together, we have led the U.S. Department of Transportation for over 35 years. One of us was there on day one, at its founding. We’ve served seven presidents, both Republicans and Democrats, including Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

Suffice it to say, we’ve been around the block.  We probably helped pave it....

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'Teflon Thailand' on track for rail business

In deciding where the location of the Asian edition of the SmartRail event series was to be held, the team had some difficult choices. There are many fantastic locations around Asia that could host this landmark gathering of 3000 rail professionals, but in the end the decision was an easy one – Bangkok in Thailand was confirmed as the host. Thailand has a developed rail infrastructure with its metre-gauge rail system one of the best in the world, and train travel is easily the best way to get around & see the country. Plus with at least US$93 billion confirmed rail infrastructure spend planned by 2021 and its excellent location and thriving city of Bangkok it was an easy choice.

SmartRail Asia is on track to be a major industy event with nearly 100 executive speakers confirmed along with a large Expo and an expected attendance of around 3000 delegates at the BITEC in Bangkok between 26th and 28th November 2014. The growth and progress of this event has been strong through 2014 but many of you will be aware of the recent political developments in Thailand that have also taken place this year. After six months of political strife and after failing to broker an end to a seven-month feud between the government and protesters, May 22nd saw the intervention of the Royal Thai Armed Forces led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha. The rail sector continued to function throughout this and the foreign firms working within the industry in Thailand on current projects suffered no direct disruption; however, all new projects have been on-hold since the dissolution of the previous government at the end of last year.

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End of the line - 10km stretch of track stolen in South Africa

Metal thieves in South Africa have stolen nearly 10km (6 miles) of working railway track near Johannesburg causing about $2.3m (ZAR 24.5 million) of damage. Over the course of several months the line was stolen by a gang described as “experts” by local rail officials. Ten kilometres of rail equals 960 tons of steel and an estimated $120,000 (ZAR 2.6 million) on the scrap market according to local reports.

The theft has left 34 brand new train cars stuck at the maintenance plant just as they were due to be put into use, and the depot which repairs Metrorail carriages now fears for its future with about 700 jobs potentially at risk. Meetings have been held with concerned parties, including Prasa, Transnet and local officials, who say plans are in place to immediately rebuild the track. Hopefully this particular crime spree is over with local papers reporting at least 23 people have been arrested in relation to the crime.

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From the world’s most challenging environments to a railroad near you; the Rajant Corporation journey.

The availability of wireless network communication has quickly moved from being novelty to something most of us take for granted. Today, instant access to wireless broadband in the office, at work, and countless locations in between is something we enjoy. Yet there are still circumstances where the delivery of network communications is a challenge, for example in military and mining operations where there are many moving assets and changing connections. It’s in these environments where Rajant first developed their solutions that are now being deployed for railroads in the US and soon further afield. Today we talk to Peter Lenard, Senior Vice President at Rajant Corporation based in Malvern PA about their remarkable experience, product development and what they are offering to the rail industry.

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11 amazing images from the Crossrail project

Today SmartRail World showcases 11 amazing photographs from the Crossrail project in London. The 118-kilometre (73-mile) railway line is one of Europe's largest railway and infrastructure construction projects and is due to begin full operation in 2018, serving London and its environs by providing a new east-west route across the city. The project's main feature is 42 km (26 miles) of new tunnels. Work on the central part of the line—a tunnel below Central London —and connections to existing lines that will become part of Crossrail began in 2009 after several decades of proposals. See above for 'Completion of eastbound cavern at Stepney Green shaft' on 14th May 2013 (Picture: Crossrail) and click read more to see some stunning pictures from this meg project….

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The remarkable 'BatTram' leads a Russian Revolution in tram design

A unique and innovatively designed tram has been unveiled this week at a trade show in Russia. The creators of the R1 have set out to “change attitudes towards the very idea of public transport.” And the design of this 'BatTram' as some are labelling it is certainly eye-catching with elements of Batman, Blade Runner and your iPhone all being an influence. The designer himself, Alexsey Maslov has cited as his influences; “retro futurism of the 80-s, neo art deco and imperial style." The R1, or Russia One, was developed by a subsidiary of Uralvagonzavod, a company best known for producing advanced Russian tanks allied with Atom Experimental Design Bureau.

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VIDEO: ‘Opal Man’ promotes smart card use on Sydney transport network

A striking new advertising campaign has been launched in Sydney, Australia to promote the Opal smartcard payment system. The adverts, led by ‘Opal Man’ – a lycra-clad comic superhero style character – who changes a woman’s life by offering greater transport freedom, spontaneity and ease of use – launched this week. "Opal Man" launch comes amid a major marketing boost for the $1.2 billion smartcard project, the contract for which was signed by the former Labor government in 2010.

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Nation building through rail; HSR and South Korea.

"South Korea has really seen benefits on a number of levels from the development of high-speed rail and increasingly other nations are too.”

The post-war economic development of South Korea (known popularly as Miracle on the Han River) saw rapid and significant export-fuelled economic growth leading to democratization, industrialization, technological innovation, an education boom, a large rise in living standards, successful hosting of Olympics and FIFA World Cup and emergence of multinational conglomerates such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai-Kia. And one of key factors in this development, as both a cause and effect, has been the growth of a national rail infrastructure followed by a High-Speed rail (HSR) network.

Since 2004, when the first HS passenger train departed, South Korea has become one of the leading global nations in the development of dedicated HSR routes. Operated by KORAIL (Korea Railroad Corporation, formerly Korean National Railroad) the first public high-speed trains ran on April 1, 2004. Today SmartRail World takes a look at the development of HSR in South Korea and speaks exclusively to Professor Ilkwon Chae, Chief Researcher, Graduate School of Environment Studies, Transportation Studies Group at Seoul National University and adviser to the Korean government.

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Innovative designs unveiled for South Africa’s new rail fleet.

By Thomas Mooney

“…significant milestone in the long journey we have been on so far, a journey of transforming and modernising our passenger rail system”.

South African Transport Minister Dipuo Peters this week unveiled the final design of the new state-of-the-art trains set to hit the South African railway tracks towards the end of 2015. The unveiling comes following Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA) R51 billion deal with Gibela Rail Transport Consortium. Gibela, which is led by French transport infrastructure giant Alstom, plan to manufacture a total of 600 trains over the next 10 years. The first 20 of which will be manufactured in the Alstom Lapa (Brazilian) plant.

However, the deal will come as welcome news to South Africans as Gibela have also announced their plans to set up a plant in Dunnottar, 10km north of the Nigel, for the manufacturing of the remaining 580 trains.

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Eurostar beats growth challenges as London-Marseille line confirmed

Eurostar, the high speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, has reported continued growth in both passenger volumes and sales revenues in the first half of 2014 despite some challenges...Read more

“As America grows, so must our investments in transportation”

As Congress considers legislation to avoid a shortfall of the Highway Trust Fund, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and 11 of his predecessors offered the following open letter to Congress. In...Read more

'Teflon Thailand' on track for rail business

In deciding where the location of the Asian edition of the SmartRail event series was to be held, the team had some difficult choices. There are many fantastic locations around Asia that could host...Read more

End of the line - 10km stretch of track stolen in South Africa

Metal thieves in South Africa have stolen nearly 10km (6 miles) of working railway track near Johannesburg causing about $2.3m (ZAR 24.5 million) of damage. Over the course of several months the...Read more

From the world’s most challenging environments to a railroad near you; the Rajant Corporation journey.

The availability of wireless network communication has quickly moved from being novelty to something most of us take for granted. Today, instant access to wireless broadband in the office, at work,...Read more

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