SmartRail World

Terror train wreck threat from new rail signal system – security specialist.

"We know that the risk [of a cyber-attack] will increase as we continue to roll out digital technology across the network..."

Hackers have the ability to tap into the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) currently being trialled in the UK and cause havoc according to a leading rail expert. Professor David Stupples told the BBC that plans to replace the current system based with a computer based one could leave the rail network exposed to cyber-attacks. Prof. Stupples - an expert in networked electronic and radio systems at City University in London - said if someone hacked into the system they could cause a "nasty accident" or "major disruption". "It's the clever malware [malicious software] that actually alters the way the train will respond," he explained. "So, it will perhaps tell the system the train is slowing down, when it's speeding up."

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New York subway ridership number hits 65 year high.

“The renaissance of the New York City subway is a miracle for those who remember the decrepit system of the 1970s and the 1980s…”

Following the release of new Metropolitan Transit Agency (MTA) New York City transit figures, subway ridership in the Big Apple are at their highest level for more than 65 years. Ridership grew 2.6% to 1.751 billion customers in 2014, with some 5.6 million customers riding the subway on an average weekday and 6 million customers on an average weekend. Weekday ridership rose by more than 132,000 last year, and by more than 500,000 over the last five years. At its busiest, the subway system carried more than 6 million customers on 29 weekdays in the last four months of 2014 – a level not seen since the post-World War II boom.

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3D printing; opportunity or challenge for the rail industry?

"3D printing has the potential to change the whole world..."

The 3D-printed sedan car unveiled in China last month is just the latest in a growing list of items that have been successfully printed using this technology. The 3.6-metre-long, 1.63-metre-wide vehicle was printed with low-cost composite materials in five days and then assembled for a test drive. Although not the most visually stunning of vehicles, and powered by rechargeable batteries travelling at a modest maximum speed of 25mph its another example of what can be achieved with 3D printing.

But what is 3D printing? And does it offer some serious potential for the rail industry? SmartRail World finds out...

Well, we begin with a definition - 3D printing (known to some as additive manufacturing or AM) is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created. As it has become more widespread, applications have included design visualization, prototyping/CAD, metal casting, architecture, education, geospatial, healthcare and entertainment/retail.

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603km/h! Rail land-speed record smashed by Japan, once again.

Despite growing competition from other nations, in particular China, Japan has reiterated its role as the world’s leader in high-speed rail travel in breaking its own rail land-speed record. The maglev train belonging to the Central Japan Railway Company (CJR) hit a speed of 603km/h (375 mph/h) to set a new global benchmark. It is the second time in a week that the CJR’s state-of-the-art train has broken its own record. The seven-car Lo Series maglev, carrying 49 CJR employees reached the record speed today in what officials have described as a “comfortable trip” and came less than a week after the 2003 record of 518 km/h was smashed with a speed of 590 km/h. (Photo: AFP).

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Carbon neutral rail freight launched by DB Schenker in the UK.

"Rail freight already offers significant environmental benefits when compared with road – each tonne transferred by rail rather than road cuts CO2 emissions by 76%"

DB Schenker Rail UK has launched a pioneering product that allows customers to offset 100% of their CO2 emissions. Eco Neutral from DB Schenker enables customers to compensate in full for the CO2 emissions generated through their rail freight services by backing climate change projects that transfer technology and combat poverty across the globe. DB Schenker Rail UK is the first rail freight company in the country to offer a fully carbon neutral product to the market. It has partnered with climate protection organisation Atmosfair, which acts to protect the climate by compensating greenhouse gases through the use of renewable energies, to deliver the scheme. DB Schenker has a stated aim of generating all traction current from renewable sources by 2050 with the first step is to increase the percentage of renewable energy to 35 percent by 2020.

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GSM-R from telecom service to a mission-critical rail safety element.

Voice and data communications have always been mission-critical for railway operators. As well as ensuring trains run on time, operators rely on communications infrastructure and services to prevent accidents and keep passengers safe.

When the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS) was introduced by the EU in the late 1990s, to increase international interoperability of train networks in different countries, GSM-R was chosen as the communications standard to support it. While GSM-R promised significant benefits in terms of seamless cross-border communications and cost efficiency, its potential to increase rail safety and security was not, at the time, widely considered.

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“We are now passing under Mount Everest” - China considers mega rail tunnel.

"...workers may have to dig some very long tunnels.”

China is proposing building a railway line linking it to Nepal that would pass through a tunnel built under Mount Everest, according to recent reports in Chinese state media. The 1,956 km Qinghai-Tibet railway already links China with the Tibetan capital, Lhasa and a proposed extension would go under Mount Everest in connecting to the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. Though it is unclear to what extent China have discussed this with the countries through which the line will be built, the country is certainly not shy of developing mega projects within rail. And the bulders of the existing line already has some significant firsts including the Tanggula Pass, which, at 5,072 m (16,640 feet) above sea level, is the world's highest railway line and Tanggula Railway Station at 5,068 m (16,627 feet) is the world's highest railway station.

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SmartRail Speaks: Lord Berkeley (Chairman of the Rail Freight Group)

"Rail is growing but to grow further and more efficiently, we need to foster a more ‘can-do’ attitude..."

Earlier this month, our Editor Luke Upton, swapped the modest surroundings of the SmartRail World office, for the more salubrious setting of London’s House of Lords, to meet Lord Anthony Fitzhardinge Gueterbock, 18th Baron Berkeley – more commonly known as Tony Berkeley, chairman of the Rail Freight Group (RFG), Board Member of the European Rail Freight Association (ERFA), both hereditary and life peer and career-long transport advocate. A civil engineer by training, Lord Berkeley worked across a number of major international projects, before holding senior positions within the construction of the Channel Tunnel for 15 years.

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Just five years after opening, Dubai Metro confirms further expansion.

An announcement in Dubai today has confirmed that the Metro system will be further extended by 14.5 kilometres, a route termed ‘Route 2020’. Approved by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the new line will branch out from Nakheel Harbour and Tower station to the Expo 2020 site near Al Maktoum International Airport. Dubai Metro since it first opened in 2010 and is the longest fully automated metro network in the world with a total route length of 75 kilometres. Running across two lines, the daily ridership has climbed to an average of 377,000. The new route will stretch the total network of Dubai Metro to 90km, while the entire rail network, including the Dubai Tram, will extend to 101km.

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“What would you build if you could build anything?”

That is the question posed at the opening of HackTrain – the first ever train hackathon in Europe which took place last month in the UK. Now, what’s a hackathon some of you may ask? Hacking might sound bad. But in this case it’s not. A hackathon is simply an event, normally lasting several days, in which people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming typically around a specific area or industry. Departing from London’s King’s Cross railway station, 40 of the best developers, designers and entrepreneurs formed into ten teams to travel through four major UK cities. With each team competing to conceive, design and create disruptive solutions for the UK’s railway industry over a 56-hour journey, all at 200km/h (125mph).

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Terror train wreck threat from new rail signal system – security specialist.

"We know that the risk [of a cyber-attack] will increase as we continue to roll out digital technology across the network..." Hackers have the ability to tap into the European Rail Traffic Management...Read more

New York subway ridership number hits 65 year high.

“The renaissance of the New York City subway is a miracle for those who remember the decrepit system of the 1970s and the 1980s…” Following the release of new Metropolitan Transit...Read more

3D printing; opportunity or challenge for the rail industry?

"3D printing has the potential to change the whole world..." The 3D-printed sedan car unveiled in China last month is just the latest in a growing list of items that have been successfully printed...Read more

603km/h! Rail land-speed record smashed by Japan, once again.

Despite growing competition from other nations, in particular China, Japan has reiterated its role as the world’s leader in high-speed rail travel in breaking its own rail land-speed record. The...Read more

Carbon neutral rail freight launched by DB Schenker in the UK.

"Rail freight already offers significant environmental benefits when compared with road – each tonne transferred by rail rather than road cuts CO2 emissions by 76%" DB Schenker Rail UK has launched a...Read more

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