This week we bring you news of a new line in Prague confirming it is going to deploy driverless trains, new safety rules in Canada on the two year anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic explosion, the purchase by Škoda Transportation Group of Finnish rolling stock builder Pritech Oy, research in the UK that has identified a series of measures that can extend the lives of railway lines, a contract for a multi-modal ticketing system to cover Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, tips on getting the most out of passenger Wi-Fi in Boston and of course our Rail Video of the Week, where we explore how Apple Pay works on the London Underground…
Metro Projects: New Prague metro line to feature automated trains
The long-planned fourth metro line will likely have driverless trains, according to the most recent decision by councillors at Prague City Hall. The first section of the metro line is now planned to be completed by 2022 and run from Pankrác, where it will connect with the current C line, to Pisnice in the southern part of the city, according to news server iDnes.cz. City Hall is now also in the process of acquiring the necessary 750 parcels of land for the project. Planning and engineering are expected to take three years and construction an additional five years.
Transport Safety: Transport Canada announces new safety rules in wake of Lac-Mégantic (The Star Canada)
Two years and a month after a runaway freight train exploded in Lac-Mégantic, killing 47 people, Transport Canada and the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration unveiled new rules Wednesday aimed at preventing a repeat of the tragedy. The regulations require railway companies to follow stricter guidelines when leaving trains unattended and set out new rules for operators whose job it is to secure tank cars to the tracks.
Rolling Stock: Škoda Transportation buys majority stake in Transtech (Railway Gazette)
On August 4 Škoda Transportation Group of the Czech Republic announced that it had completed the acquisition of a controlling stake in Finnish rolling stock manufacturer Transtech from investment company Pritech Oy. Ilka Brotherus will remain as a minority shareholder through family company Sinituote Oy, and the Transtech name will be unchanged. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. ‘Škoda Transportation has been extremely successful over the last couple of years, particularly in export markets’, said Tomáš Krsek, Chairman of Škoda Transportation Group. ‘Our main long-term plan is to strengthen the company’s position in Western Europe in particular. The acquisition of Finnish company Transtech is one of the steps that will take us towards our goal.’
Preventative maintenance: Research identifies cost saving rail maintenance measures (New Civil Engineer)
A five-year Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) research programme has identified a series of measures that can extend the lives of railway lines. The £3.1M Railway Track for the 21st Century research programme has used such as computerised on-train monitoring and trackside measurement to measure pressures on track and show how these can be alleviated. The outcomes include using vegetation on clay embankments to better deal with swelling and shrinking. Researchers also said better earthworks assessment can reduce landslips and that piles can stabilise sloping cuttings and embankments.
Metro ticketing: Kuala Lumpur multi-modal ticketing contract awarded (Railway Gazette)
Land transport authority SPAD has awarded Australian company Vix Technology a A$27m contract to design, supply and operate a unified multi-modal ticketing system covering Kuala Lumpur and the wider Klang Valley. The cashless payment system is to be rolled out from early 2017, and will enable passengers to pay for rail, metro, monorail and bus services using a single smart card. It will support contactless prepayment, debit and credit cards, as well as NFC mobile phones.
Passenger Wi-Fi: Tips to get the most out of Wi-Fi on a train (TechRepublic)
My local public transportation system is run by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) and consists of subways, commuter trains, buses and even ferries. The MBTA took a public relations beating this past winter for providing subpar service, but in their defensc we did have the snowiest winter on record in the Boston area. One element through which the MBTA is redeeming itself is free Wi-Fi service on its commuter rail lines. Implemented in 2014 at a cost of over $5 million, this service applies to more than 250 train cars as well as some ferries and train stations around Boston.
Rail Video of the Week: We Use Apple Pay On London Transport (The Londonist)
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