This week’s International Rail News Roundup returns to its usual Friday spot, welcoming you to the weekend! Today we take a look over the week to learn more about the contracts awarded in Thailand for the construction of the Red Line project and see how Metra intend to increase safety on their trains with the use of cameras. We also catch up on the progress of London’s Crossrail, see the opening of Japan’s Hokkaido Shinkansen high-speed rail line and explore why German operator Mitteldeutsche Regiobahn (MRB) has installed women only carriages. In this week’s Rail Video of the Week we see how Network Rail are working to protect and manage the environment whilst carrying out rail works.
Rail Safety: Metra Testing Cameras on One Railcar (Mass Transit)
“There is no doubt that we are in favour of having security cameras inside our railcars” said Metra Police Chief Joseph Perez early this week as Metra began testing the use of camera’s within their vehicles. The preliminary tests have been funded by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and will collect data through May to determine how best to use and implement camera’s across Metra’s 1,028 passenger railcars.
Rail Projects: Contract Award for Thailand Red Line Construction Project – MHI, Hitachi and Sumitomo (Business Wire)
This week State Railway of Thailand (SRT) have announced that they have awarded contracts to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Hitachi Ltd, and Sumitomo Corporation. The 32 billion Thai Baht contract will cover the implementation of the electrical systems and turn-key packages on the new Red Line construction project, which is only one of the ‘mega infrastructure projects’ being led by the Thai government. Hitachi will design and build rolling stock, Mitsubishi will design and procure systems other than rolling stocks, and Sumitomo will be responsible for administration work and the local installation work.
Passenger: Germany joins ranks of nations offering women-only rail carriages (SmartRail World)
German operator, Mitteldeutsche Regiobahn (MRB), has introduced women-only rail carriages to some of its services, provoking heated debate and a denial that it’s linked to a recent spate of assaults on women. A spokesman for the network said that the initiative was intended to encourage a safer atmosphere for all female travellers in general. Children, including boys up to the age of ten, will also be allowed to in the carriages, which run on the 50-mile Leipzig to Chemnitz line in Eastern Germany. This is not a new concept, women-only carriages are used frequently in countries such as Japan, India, Mexico, Brazil, Egypt as well as across the Middle East.
Rail Maintenance: Crossrail's £30m works successfully completed (Railway Technology)
Over the four day Easter weekend a workforce of more than 3,000 – dubed the “orange army” Network Rail Crossrail programme director Matthew Steele – carried out £30 million of works in preparation for London’s Crossrail programme set to open in May 2017. The preparations were carried out on existing railways in London, Essex and Berkshire. Network rail hope that the introduction of new, faster and more reliable electric trains will increase capacity and allow them to run a more dependable service.
High-speed Rail: Hokkaido Shinkansen inaugurated (Railway Gazette)
Over the weekend the formal opening ceremony for Japan’s Hokkaido Shinkansen high-speed rail line was attended by over 2,500 people. The line will run through Japan’s third main island, connecting Shin-Aomori in Honshu to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, the line will also easily connect passengers to services for Tokyo. Operated by JR Hokkaido, the line will cover 149km of track and four 10-car Series H5 trainsets will run at speeds of up to 260km per hour. Governor of Hokkaido Harumi Takahashi has praised the line for “promoting local development and revitalisation throughout the island.”
Rail Video of the Week: Managing Vegetation: Working with Neighbours and Nature on the London North West Route
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