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International Rail News Roundup (31st July 2015)

Posted by SmartRail World Staff on Jul 31, 2015

Hitachi_New_TrainsThis week we bring you news of a line extension in Barcelona, a major contract for Hitachi for new trains to be deployed in the West of England (pictured right), a safety promise from a Senator in Washington DC, pressure from the European Union for the Irish government to put the nation’s rail system out to tender, another success for Bombardier - this time in the familiar surroundings of Toronto, see smartcards go live in the Philippines, a Wi-Fi (and Uber partnership) from MARTA in Atlanta and of course our Rail Video of the Week, this week from Scotland featuring a very large rail bridge being swung into place…

Metro Projects: FGC opens Barcelona suburban line extension (International Rail Journal)

Catalan Government Railways (FGC) inaugurated a 4km extension of Barcelona's standard-gauge suburban Line S1 to Terrassa on July 28. The €401m extension runs entirely underground with three new stations, including an interchange with Renfe Rodalies lines R4 and R12 at Terrassa-Estació del Nord. Preliminary works on the line started in October 2003 but construction suffered several delays due to project changes and a shortage of funds. Contractors involved in the project included Spanish Construction companies Copisa, OHL and FCC, along with Siemens Rail Automation.

Transport Safety: I will not rest until Metro produces safety results,’ senator says (Washington Post)

Frustrated by safety problems that have persisted for years, U.S. senators from Maryland and Virginia are pushing to shake up the leadership of the Metrorail system and set new standards for emergency procedures. An amendment to the Senate transportation bill was introduced Tuesday, the latest attempt by public officials to address a deep well of financial and safety problems at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

 Future Railway:
Irish Government under pressure from EU to put rail services up for tender (Irish Times)

The contract to run rail services in Ireland should be put out to international tender, the European Commission has proposed, a move that could have serious ramifications for Iarnród Éireann. The Government is strongly resisting the idea, amid concerns it could cause major financial and industrial relations problems for the State. Iarnród Éireann’s 10-year contract to run Ireland’s rail services is up for renewal in 2019. The contract is typically awarded to the State-owned body Iarnród Éireann, but the European Commission is arguing the Irish transport sector needs to liberalise further.

Preventative maintenance: Bombardier wins $308m vehicle maintenance contract for new Eglinton Crosstown LRT (Railway Technology)

Bombardier Transportation has secured a $308m contract from the Crosslinx Transit Solutions Maintenance General Partnership consortium, to provide 30 years of maintenance on Flexity Freedom light rail vehicles. The trains will be operate on the new Toronto Eglinton Crosstown line in Canada. Crosslinx will maintain the entire system on behalf of the winning consortium responsible for designing, financing, building and maintaining the 19km-long transit line.

Metro ticketing: Pilot test for 'tap and go' system starts at LRT-2 in the Philippines (CNN)

The Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) started testing its new "tap and go" system on Monday (July 20), selling a limited number of the new contactless smart cards at its Legarda Station.

“Under the testing phase, a limited number of new single journey and stored value tickets branded as ‘beep cards’ will initially be sold for P 20.00,” the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said in a statement on Sunday (July 19). The new tickets could be bought at designated windows and at two ticket vending machines inside the station.

Passenger Wi-Fi: MARTA in Atlanta deploying further Wi-Fi and partnering with Uber (SmartRail World)

Wi-Fi will be available on 50 buses as part of a plan to have internet connectivity on all buses, trains and rail platforms by March 2016. This Wi-Fi will be free for passengers and has been made possible by tapping into the unused band-with from its new 4G surveillance camera system. It’s been a busy few months for MARTA, with this security system being ‘smart’ in that it analyses video using artificial-intelligence that “learns” to distinguish normal behaviour from that it deems suspicious on doing so alerts the authorities to possible issue.

Rolling Stock: First Great Western and Eversholt sign Hitachi AT300 train contract (Railway Gazette) - pictured above.

UK: Operator First Great Western and leasing company Eversholt Rail formally signed a £361m contract to procure and finance 22 five-car and seven nine-car Hitachi AT300 inter-city trainsets on July 30. Hitachi Rail Europe Chief Operating Officer Andy Barr said the AT300s would be built in Japan, with Hitachi’s new plant at Newton Aycliffe in northern England concentrating on the Class 800/801 Super Express Train fleets ordered under the Department for Transport’s Intercity Express Programme and EMUs for the Abellio ScotRail franchise. However, ‘key components for the West of England fleet will still be provided by the UK supply chain’, he added.

Rail Video of the Week: A 2000+ tonne Scottish rail bridge slides into place. (SmartRail World)

A new video from Scotland today that reveals a new rail bridge, weighing in excess of 2,000 tonnes, sliding into its final position over what will become the new M8 motorway, to join the existing Cutty Sark rail bridge at Bargeddie, Glasgow. The three minute video footage shows the complex engineering challenge beginning with the onsite construction of the bridge, the possession of the railway line and the bridge slide, and concludes with footage of the all important rolling stock making an appearance with the first passenger train successfully crossing the new bridge as scheduled.

What is the International Rail News Roundup? There’s never a shortage of global rail news stories, but keeping track of those launches, announcements, innovations, take-overs and developments that are crucial to your business can be a challenge. So the team here at SmartRail World bring you a regular Friday roundup of some stories you may have missed from both SmartRail World and global media sources. For the latest news, as it happens subscriber for free to SmartRail World.


Recent Editions of the International Rail News Roundup:

24th July 2015

17th July 2015

10th July 2015.

3rd July 2015


SmartMetro Incoprating the 6th Annual CBTC World Congress

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