In this week’s international rail news roundup we see how the development of the a Gulf rail network is failing to match the rapid growth of the region’s metros, learn of a renewed focus on safety on rail cars in California, see more controversy with rail ticket pricing in the UK, get a glimpse of the future of freight rail, see another contract for Bombardier this time in China alongside its local partner, take a trip on a ‘workshop on wheels’ offering new opportunities for maintenance, and this week’s Rail Video of the Week appears to be a nightmare for most commuters – an office on-board a subway train…
Metro Projects: Regional GCC rail system falters while local metro rail projects flourish (Gulf News Journal)
The fate of a rail system that would span the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is unclear as the region’s states waffle over the feasibility of the long-awaited project. GCC states must decide soon if the rail project is to be operational by 2020, according to the latest analysis by MEED Projects. Meanwhile, metro projects in Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Mecca and Riyadh are pushing ahead quickly as those areas increase on local rail projects. That means efforts to develop the ambitious GCC railway track that would link the six states have been sluggish.
Transport Safety: Metrolink examining safety of state-of-the-art rail cars in wake of Oxnard crash (LA Times)
After a Metrolink commuter train slammed into a pickup truck near Oxnard this year, injuring 27 people and killing the engineer, railroad officials were quick to claim that new crash-resistant passenger coaches appeared to save lives and reduce injuries. Now, however, Metrolink is trying to determine whether a design flaw in one of the state-of-the-art cars played a role in derailing the train. The evaluation marks a setback in the regional passenger railroad's campaign to employ advanced safety technology to help rebuild public confidence after a 2008 head-on collision in Chatsworth killed 28 and injured 135.
Ride BART to a satisfying career that lets you BOTH 1) make a difference to Bay Area residents, and 2) enjoy excellent pay, benefits and stability. BART is looking for people who like to be challenged, work in a fast paced environment, and have a passion for connecting over 400,000 daily riders to work, school and other places they need to go. BART offers a competitive salary, comprehensive health and medical benefits, paid time off, plus CalPERS retirement in the future.
Metro ticketing: We are not obliged to offer cheapest tickets, says First Great Western (Guardian)
Train companies are under no obligation to offer passengers the cheapest tickets available, one of the largest firms in the UK has claimed. According to emails that came to light on Friday, it is First Great Western’s policy to presume that people have already researched the cheapest fares “by the time the passenger is requesting their tickets at the booking office”. In the emails, the company said it was “unrealistic” to expect its staff to ensure that the tickets being sold were the cheapest available. That meant some passengers could be sold the higher-priced “anytime” tickets during off-peak hours.
Future Rail: Freight train of the future (Rail Engineer)
The prosaic rail freight wagon rarely features in the pages of Rail Engineer. With so many stories about all aspects of railway engineering, this is perhaps not surprising. But rail freight is important. It accounts for 11% of UK rail train revenue and has the potential to take goods off the roads, to save fuel and CO2 emissions. Yet, in Europe, rail freight has stagnated and accounts for only 10% of freight transport. This concerns the European Commission (EC) which has an objective that 30% of road freight movements over 300km should shift to other modes by 2030.
High-Speed Rail: Bombardier wins $381m contract to deliver 15 high-speed trains for China (Railway Technology)
Bombardier Sifang (Qingdao) Transportation (BST) has secured a CNY2.4bn ($381m) contract from China Railway Corporation (CRC) to deliver 15 additional CRH380D high-speed trains. The new eight-car trainsets will be an integral part of the country's developing high-speed railway network. BST secured an initial order in September 2009 for 70 CRH380Ds, the first of which was delivered this March to CRC. A joint venture between Bombardier and CSR Sifang Locomotive and Rolling Stock, BST is one of China's leading manufacturers of railway passenger cars and rolling stock.
The first of a new fleet of engineering trains, which Network Rail says will revolutionise its repair programme, will enter service next week. The mobile maintenance trains (MMTs) provide a ‘workshop on wheels’ for engineers and track workers as they carry out repairs and upgrades, featuring an extendable covered work area that allows access to the track below, while providing floodlighting, protection from passing trains and shelter from the weather. Each train will also have a workshop; two built-in two-tonne cranes to move heavy equipment; multiple electric, hydraulic and pneumatic power points; space to carry all the tools and supplies required and a welfare area with kitchen and toilet.
Rail Video of the Week: Weird workplaces: Working on a refurbished Tube train (BBC) - pictured.
What is it like to work in a refurbished tube train car or carriage? For a group of people in Shoreditch, in east London, this is a daily reality, as they explain on the BBC. Who needs a regular temperature in the office anyway?
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: