China Focus: Rail investment back on track

A white-collar worker surnamed Shi is among millions of Chinese eagerly awaiting the launch

of a high-speed railway linking the cities of Beijing and Wuhan.

"The new line will cut travel time from Beijing to Shijiazhuang, my hometown, to just 50

minutes from two-and-a-half hours," Shi said.

The railway, which is expected to start operation at the end of December, is part of broader

government efforts to build a high-speed passenger rail network by 2015 to tackle gridlock

and drive economic growth.

Government-led investment has proven to be an effective way to bolster the economy amid

slowdowns. In 2009, when the financial crisis raged, the government succeeded in prompting

instant and rapid economic growth by introducing massive investment projects.

"The country intends to boost economic growth by stepping up investment amid the current

slowdown and the rail sector is worth investing in," said Zhao Jian, an economics professor

at Peking University.

Recent data from the Ministry of Railways supports Zhao's view. During the first 11 months

of the year, fixed-asset investment in railways, including railway infrastructure investment

and train purchases, totaled 506.97 billion yuan (81.1 billion U.S. dollars), up 3.1 percent

year on year, the ministry said Tuesday.

After years of explosive growth, railway construction stagnated following a train crash in

the city of Wenzhou that left 40 people dead and hundreds injured in July 2011.

But the government has picked up the pace in recent months, with railway infrastructure

spending surging 142 percent year on year to reach 70.1 billion yuan in November.

"Approvals of several inter-city rail projects were the main reason behind the large amount

of rail infrastructure investment seen in recent months," said Shen Zhengyuan, an analyst at


The government has approved a series of infrastructure projects worth more than 1 trillion

yuan since September to reinvigorate economic growth, which slowed for a seventh straight

quarter to 7.4 percent from July to September.

Wang Mengshu, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said he expects the rail

investment boom to continue in 2013.

"The government may keep its railway investment target unchanged at 630 billion yuan next

year," he said.

According to the 12th five-year plan for railway development, China will invest 2.3 trillion

yuan in railway infrastructure during the 2011-2015 period.

China will have around 120,000 km of railway in operation, including 40,000 km of high-speed

railway, by the end of 2015. The country's railway network will feature four east-west lines

and four north-south lines by the end of the same year, according to the plan.

However, a lack of funds has been a persistent problem for the Ministry of Railways,

especially when it is struggling to cope with rising operating costs and mounting debts.

The ministry's debt-to-asset ratio climbed to 61.81 percent at the of September, official

data showed.

The ministry's after-tax losses stood at 8.54 billion yuan during the first nine months of

the year, compared with annual profits of 15 million yuan in 2010 and 31 million yuan in

2011, respectively.

By the end of September, the ministry's total assets totaled 4.3 trillion yuan and its debts

amounted to 2.66 trillion yuan.

However, analysts said the ministry's debt levels will drop as the high-speed rail network

takes shape.

"High-speed rail investment has a long payback period. The high debt-to-asset ratio will

fall accordingly after the ministry's high-speed rail projects generate stable returns,"

according to Shen.  



Mongolia wants no rail link with China for security?

The width ensures that the rails cannot connect to China's, which are 85 mm closer together.

So at the border, either the train undercarriages will need to be changed or the coal

transferred to trucks, adding costs in delivering the fuel to Mongolia's biggest customer.

When it comes to China, Mongolia will only go so far and no further.

Mr BattsengelGotov CEO of Mongolian Mining Corporation said that "This is a political

decision. In the world's rush to get rich off China, Mongolia works mightily to ensure that

Chinese investment does not become Chinese dominance. It's a balancing act shared by many

countries, especially on China's periphery.”

Fully 90% of Mongolia's exports coal, copper, cashmere and livestock go to China which in

turn sends machinery, appliances and other consumer goods that account for a third of

Mongolian imports. The rising trade with China now amounts to three fourths of Mongolia's

economy, one of the highest ratios in the world.

Coal country is where Mongolia's balancing act is put to the test. Chinese demand for copper

and especially coal has propelled the Mongolian economy to one of the world's fastest

growing, making some wealthy and driving down poverty in a still poor country.

Tsogttsetsii, the county seat closest to Mongolia Mining Corporation's coal mine and the

planned railroad, bursts with activity. A new airport and apartment complexes rise out of

the empty, tawny Gobi. It's worth noting that physical cutoff can never ensure security in a

real sense. Under the context of globalization, no country can afford to isalote itself from

its neighbors, especially for Mongolia, whose economy is highly dependent on trade with









China keen to win rail contracts

With the time for bidding for Thailand's high-speed train projects growing closer, China is

aggressively lobbying the government to select its train and construction technology.

Chinese authorities claim their products could save substantial costs.

Chinese Deputy Railways Minister Lu Chunfang yesterday told Prime Minister Yingluck

Shinawatra that its construction costs average only US$20 million per kilometre compared

with $81 million in Japan and $50 million in Germany.

Government spokesman Tosaporn Serirak yesterday said China has also convinced the government

of its advanced construction technology and safety measures.

It is also committed to hiring Thai workers to handle the construction.

Mr Lu was quoted as saying China has long and vast experience in high-speed train

construction that prevents accidents. Its systems run in different temperature areas and


According to China's proposals, Thailand's system could be developed with two levels of

speed - 300 kph and 250 kph - and fares.

Tickets for the faster trains would cost about 2.50 baht per person per km, while those for

the slower train would be 2.10 baht per person per km.

Thailand and China signed a memorandum of understanding on April 15 to conduct a feasibility

study for the Bangkok-Chiang Mai and Bangkok-Nong Khai high-speed rail links.

Transport Minister Chatchart Sithipan and Mr Lu met on Thursday at the second meeting of the

joint steering committee for rail development.

Mr Chatchart said China has shown its intention to invest, particularly in the 615-km

Bangkok-Nong Khai route.

That route could be used to transport goods, while China would later build a railway to link

it with Dawei port in Myanmar.

The route is a strategic rail link in the Mekong subregion, as it can link Laos, Chon Buri's

Laem Chabang Port, Cambodia and Myanmar.

The government plans to open international bidding early next year on the first phase of the

high-speed rail project. 


China pitches Ayutthaya as first high speed rail stop

Chinese government officials advising Thailand on the development of its high-speed train

network have suggested that it begin with a 54km route linking Bangkok and Ayutthaya.

Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt met recently with Chinese officials who advised him on

the network.

They suggested that the Bangkok-Ayutthaya route be a good starting point as it would fall in

line with the government's push to have the ancient capital serve as host for the 2020 World

Expo, Mr Chadchat said on Friday.

Thailand is competing with other countries to host the expo following the success of the

Kingdom's pavilion at this year's World Expo in South Korea.

The route proposed by the Chinese officials would terminate at Phachi station in Ayutthaya.

The government has been studying setting up potential long-haul high-speed lines from

Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Bangkok to Nong Khai.

These were tabled at a recent meeting between Thai and Chinese officials.

The Bangkok-Chiang Mai route initially was set to use trains that travelled between 250-


However, the Chinese team studying high-speed rail development in Thailand suggested that

faster trains travelling at 300kph would be more appropriate for the route, even though they

would cost 20 billion baht more.

They reasoned that higher fares could be charged for the faster trains.

Costs for the construction of this route are estimated to be about 300 billion baht.

The 615km Bangkok-Nong Khai route is estimated to cost about 298 billion baht. The

construction of the line is also aimed at facilitating freight transportation linking

Thailand, Laos as well as China.

China is interested in bidding for the two projects and is ready to compete against other

countries to build the high-speed train system.

Officials from the country said it can build the system for 460 million baht per kilometre,

Mr Chadchat said.

A round of bidding is expected to take place next year, Chula Sukmanop, chief of the Office

of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning, said. 




Bombardier forms China joint venture company

Bombardier Transportation and Shanghai Shentong Metro Group Co., Ltd. Friday announced the

formation of a joint venture company, Shentong Bombardier (Shanghai) Rail Transit Vehicle

Maintenance Company Ltd.

The joint venture will focus on the repair and maintenance of urban public transit vehicles

in China, offering customers the services of daily maintenance, intermediate repairs,

overhauls, refurbishment, and technical consultation.

The joint venture intends to leverage each company's expertise 'in terms of technologies,

equipment, and businesses to deliver high quality, reliable trains that are safe to

operate," Bombardier said. "It will harness Bombardier's global capability in providing

whole life services for metros in which its state-of-the-art technologies will reduce down

times and extend the life of the Chinese operator's fleets."

Jianwei Zhang, president of Bombardier China, said: "This joint venture for metro cars

maintenance marks a new milestone for Bombardier Transportation business in China. Through

its participation in a number of railway projects in China, by successfully providing rail

vehicles, signaling, propulsion, locomotives, light rail transit and automated people

movers, Bombardier has earned an excellent reputation and has gained a great understanding

of the specific needs of the Chinese rail market."

Said Bombardier Transportation President Services Laurent Troger, "Today's announcement

underlines our long standing relationship with Shanghai Shentong. Bombardier looks forward

to a mutually beneficial partnership that will provide world class services to our customers

in China. We are committed to making this collaboration a great success as part of

Bombardier's overall strategy of working in partnership to develop China's rapidly expanding

rail network."

The strategic partnership also will deliver a new level of after-market service and support

in the region. 



Does ground-breaking China-Czech Republic train signal new era in railway transport?

A pilot cargo train recently set a new record for covering the vast distance between China

and the Czech Republic. The train, carrying 50 containers with computer parts arrived in the

Czech city of Pardubice just 16 days after it set out from central China. Will more such

trains follow in the near future? And does it mean that trans-Asian railway transport is now

competitive with deep see routes?

The train covered the distance of 11,000 kilometres between the Chinese city of Wuhan and

Pardubice in the Czech Republic in 16 days, travelling nearly 700 kilometres each day of the

journey. Crossing Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland on its way, the train carried fifty

containers of computer parts to the Czech factory of the multinational electronics maker

Foxconn. From the Chinese border onwards, the cargo train was operated by the Swiss company

Interrail. Pavel Lagov is the director of strategy and business development for the firm’s

Russian branch.

“I wouldn’t say it was the very first experience for our company because some months ago,

we moved some containers between Shanghai and Switzerland just to prove to our customers

that technologically, the route is operational and we can do the job. But when it comes to

block trains, it was a first for us. In fact, we were the first as far as I know to reach

the Czech Republic within 16 calendar days.”

The ground-breaking cargo train set off from the capital of the central Chinese province of

Hubei on October 24. Six days later it reached the Chinese-Kazakh border where the cargo had

to be reloaded onto a train of a different gauge. The journey across Kazakhstan took four

days, and it took the train another five to cover the territories of Russia and Belarus. On

day 15, the train reached the Polish border where it was reloaded again. It reached its

final destination a day later, in the record time of 16 days. Pavel Lagov from Interrail

says the pilot project provided the firm with an opportunity to test the feasibility of the

route, and test a new system of clearing the customs.

“We have offices at the borders which are responsible for the processing of the documents.

As soon as the train was dispatched from Wuhan, we knew we would have approximately five

days to get the paperwork done. We sent all the railway bills, invoices and packing lists

for the entire train to the border.

“Our people went through them with the customs officials, corrected the few discrepancies

and when the train arrived, all the documents were almost ready, they were stamped, and the

train did not wait for a single minute longer.”

Although shorter travelling time is the railway’s biggest advantage compared to sea routes,

the method of transport is still too expensive for most companies.

“If cargos are transported by ship from China to Europe, the transit time would be

approximately 42 or 45 days and the price per one 40-ft container would be over between

5,000 and 5,500 US dollars. Moving cargo by train, the transit time significantly decreases.

Depending on the destination in Europe, it might be between 16 and 25 days. But the speed

comes with a price unfortunately. The approximate price would be between 8,600 and 8,900 US

dollars per container.”

That’s a price the customer – in this case, Foxconn – was willing to pay. But regular

railway transport of cargos from China to Europe would not be feasible without subsidies

from the Chinese government, says Lagov.

“Railway routes are still non-competitive in comparison with deep sea shipments. Therefore,

the Chinese government, knowing that very well, subsidizes these railways deliveries because

it understands very well that without subsidies, the prices would be much higher.”

The Swiss-based InterRail is optimistic about the future of trans-continental railway

transport. But what do other European train operators think of it? I asked Petr Lochman, who

is executive director of the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies, a

lobby group.

“The price is one factor, the other is technical compatibility along the journey. There are

different gauges along the line; it of course depends on whether you go through the Russian

territory or through Turkey, Azerbaijan. Bu that decision also affects the travelling time.

And there are also the parameters of the line which is something you have to take into

account as well.

“We have dispatched some pilot trains, this is all possible. But you have to set up special

conditions for the train journey which is something that’s not available under normal

circumstances. So there is still a lot of improvement that needs to be achieved before we

come to more regular services between China and Europe.”

The company AWT is Europe’s largest private provider of rail freight services. The firm’s

external affairs director, Petr Jonák, says railway transport needs a push to become

competitive in the long run.

“It’s a proof of outside-the-box thinking. I’m a bit sceptical about regular rail freight

transport across Asia to Europe in the short term. But over the mid- and long term, this is

the way companies, countries, the EU, and all the stakeholders should think and develop the

whole segment.”

For the time being, however, European train providers are faced with more immediate

problems. Railway’s share in freight transportation in Europe has been declining over the

last few years. In many countries, including the Czech Republic, private rail transport

providers have to follow lengthy bureaucratic procedures to have their trains approved for

operation. Lobbyist Petr Lochman again.

“We have a company, NTV, that operates trains in Italy. It took them more than three years

to authorize one high-speed train. So it’s an expensive exercise, and it’s an obstacle for

any competition. The whole business is relatively capital intensive, and if you have to add

the costs for authorization, it makes it almost impossible. Instead of doing that, you will

switch your business to another transportation mode, possibly road, because it’s much


The European Commission is preparing new legislation, referred to as the fourth railway

package, which should facilitate these procedures. It should also allow for more competition

in railway transport which is for historical reasons dominated by state-owned firms. Keir

Fitsch is from the cabinet of the European Commissioner for Transport.

“Firstly, we will hopefully have a much larger research programme in the new financial

period. We work with manufactures to actually develop railway products which will make

railway attractive.

“But the most important thing is addressed in the fourth railway package which we are

adopting towards the end of the year. It will actually ensure that railways have competition

internally which will allow people who want develop new services, who want to innovate, to

do so.”

Private rail transporters also complain of high fees that the state-owned railway companies

collect for letting them use their tracks. In the Czech Republic, this had led to a

situation when most private freight trains bypass the country, according to Petr Jonák of


“The rail fees in the Czech Republic are now the highest in central and Eastern Europe.

They are higher than in the neighbouring countries, in Germany, Poland, Austria and

Slovakia, and this is a real problem. For operators of transit transport across more

countries, it’s quite easy to avoid the Czech Republic and take their trains through those


However, the Czech railway market has seen some interesting developments, mainly in the

passenger segment. Two private operators – RegioJet and Leo Express – have launched

regular services. The authorities have also announced that railway fees would decrease next

year to make railway transport more competitive. Petr Jonák hopes railway will see a boom

similar to that which air travel registered more than a decade ago.

“We expect that the railway market will in the coming years go through something similar to

what air transportation experienced in the 1990. That would mean huge development,

liberalization and the unbundling of private companies like AWT in freight transport in

Central Europe, or Leo Express and other Czech private companies in passenger transport.

They will enter the state-owned domain and will bring a new level of efficiency.” 




Why India should go slow on high-speed trains from China 

China and India may not agree on where their boundaries run, and may be waging cartographic

war over Arunachal Pradesh, but their Strategic Economic Dialogue in New Delhi on Monday

seemed keen to emphasise closer economic and trade cooperation as the antidote to the

strains in their relations.

In particular, the two sides were believed to be exploring a tentative agreement to get

Chinese technical know-how to upgrade India’s creaky railway system, and perhaps even

develop high-speed railway networks of the sorts that now criss-cross China and have

‘shrunken’ the country, so to speak, for travelers. They were also to consider

collaborating to upgrade major train stations and expand heavy freight railway haulage.

The Strategic Economic Dialogue between India and China, modeled on the US-China SED, was

initiated in order to ensure that political frictions, of the sorts that keep cropping up

from time to time – largely over the unresolved border dispute – do not spill over onto

the realm of bilateral trade, which has boomed over the past decade, and the cooperation

between the two countries on multilateral forums like the WTO and international Climate

Change summits.

That wish hasn’t entirely come true. The growing trade imbalance, which is heavily weighted

in China’s favour has caused much anguish and heartburn among Indian officials. For all the

evolution in their trade relationship, the terms of the trade are overly grotesque.

Commodities and raw materials make up much of India’s exports to China, whereas finished

goods from China make up the bulk of the reverse trade. And with iron ore exports from India

slowing down in recent months, the trade imbalance has been accentuated even further.

India has urged China to relax controls on Indian exports in the area of services and pharma

sectors, but that hasn’t been forthcoming. Yet, India perseveres, wary of escalating the

rhetoric on the only area that is touted as a success in their bilateral relations.

And now, it is evidently looking to ‘grease the tracks’ by getting China to collaborate on

modernizing its railway system. But although it’s being projected as an area of

cooperation, the move has the potential to accentuate the skewed nature of the trade

imbalance, and give rise to yet more heartburn on the Indian side.

That the Indian railway system is in dire need of upgradation is not in doubt. But the

wisdom of looking to embrace high-speed rail technology from China is fraught with several


The first of these is the macro picture on the economics of high-speed railway systems.

Building a high-speed railway system is a capital-intensive undertaking, and typically the

costs and borrowings are laid on upfront in order to finance the laying of new tracks, and

the new railway cars and locomotives. That investment can be recouped only over years even

if the fare is high enough to offer a sufficient return on investment.

As this World Bank study, conducted in 2010, established: “The demographic and economic

conditions that can support the financial or economic viability of high-speed rail are

limited… High-speed projects have rarely met the full
ridership forecasts asserted by their promoters and in some cases have fallen far short. The

overall financial performance of high-speed train services depends on enough people being

able to pay a premium to use them.”

Many projects, it observed, took long periods to complete (in many cases, over a decade)

creating a heavy capital and debt burden before any cash in-flows. “And any delay in the

passenger ramp-up period, or a shortfall in ridership or yield, can quickly create financial

stress. Many lines internationally have run into trouble and had to have either restructure

debt or seek additional funding from Government.”

Given the political reality of India, where railway fares haven’t been hiked in years,

thereby effectively running the railway budget to the ground, it is hard to visualize a

situation where populist-minded politicians will contemplate pricing fares sufficiently high

in order to render high-speed railway commercially viable. And given the huge delays that

typically characterize projects in India, this could prove to be as big white elephant, one

that trundles at 250 kmph. That’s a recipe for disaster, and will only compound the

enormous holes in the budget that the inevitable bailout of the aviation industry in India

will have caused.

Second, China’s high-speed rail technology, which was essentially ripped off from the

Japanese but integrated fitfully with Chinese hardware, has been on test for two years now.

The July 2011 mishap, involving two high-speed trains in Wenzhou in eastern China, focused

attention on the flawed technology and the manner in which safety considerations were

overlooked in the rush for results and showcase high speeds.

And although there have not been any grievous mishaps involving high-speed railway systems

in China, the trains have had to be slowed down as a concession to safety considerations,

which has diminished their appeal from the time they were launched. Even as of now, China’s

high-speed railway service hasn’t yet met the quality threshold – no satisfactory enquiry

was conducted into the accident, and in fact the haste with which the authorities buried a

high-speed rail compartment involved in the accident evoked uncharacteristic protests. Which

is why there is a case for prudence on India’s part – rather than rushing into an

agreement to import their technology.

It is true, of course, that sometimes it’s easier to build from the scratch than to upgrade

an existing creaky railway system. But the skewed economics of high-speed rail systems, our

politicians’ incapacity to price fares right, and the imperfect nature of the Chinese

technology, all it a high-risk, low-return endeavour.

Amtrak looks to new NEC trainsets

In testimony Dec. 13 before the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Amtrak

President and CEO Joe Boardman said the company “is advancing plans to acquire new next-

generation high-speed trainsets and ending its plans to purchase 40 additional high-speed

passenger cars to add to the existing Acela Express fleet, in order to better meet strong

and growing ridership demand on the Northeast Corridor.”
“In early 2013, Amtrak will issue a Request for Information (RFI) to formally start the

process that will replace the existing 20 Acela Express trainsets and procure additional

trainsets to expand seating capacity and provide for more frequent high-speed service on the

NEC,” Boardman said. “Moving directly to new high-speed trainsets is the best option to

create more seating capacity, permit higher speeds, and maximize customer comfort, all while

improving equipment reliability and reducing operating costs. The previous plan to add 40

new passenger cars with newer technology to the older Acela trainsets was a stop-gap

measure, posed technical challenges, and was determined not to be cost effective and

insufficient to handle new ridership growth projections”

Boardman said that, in the past two years, “Amtrak has moved forward a number of major

proposals designed to address the NEC’s growth and development needs. First is the NEC

Upgrade Program to bring the corridor up to a state of good repair, add additional capacity

to allow limited service growth, and make targeted trip-time improvements for all existing

intercity, commuter, and freight services. Among the elements is the Gateway Program to

build vital track, tunnel, and station capacity into the heart of Manhattan to support

Amtrak and commuter rail growth.

"Second is the next-generation high-speed rail program to provide America’s economic,

political, and cultural capitals in the Northeast with the world-class 220 mph high-speed

service the region deserves. With possible operating profits over a billion dollars annually

and ridership well into 40 million riders a year upon full buildout, Amtrak expects that

private capital, probably in the form of a public-private partnership, could play a

significant role in this project.”

Boardman noted that Amtrak’s proposals are detailed in the Amtrak Vision for the Northeast

Corridor 2012 Update Report.

Boardman said that “only after the public sector has allocated significant funding and

committed itself to a project of this magnitude that the private sector is willing to enter

the deal and deliver value for money. Once these services are generate revenue streams,

these projects can and will attract private funding that can help repay initial capital


The hearing—the final full T&I Committee hearing of the 112th Congress—was led by outgoing

Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.), who over the years has been one of Amtrak’s harshest critics,

as well as a critic of the Obama Adminstration’s high speed rail program. Mica, using oft-

repeated rhetoric, issued a statement following the hearing in which he said that “NEC

high-speed rail development has had a problematic history and it has been a squandered asset

for too long. In fact, Committee Republicans highlighted the underutilization of the NEC in

their ‘Sitting On Our Assets’ report in October 2010. Amtrak’s acquisition and use of the

Acela has been plagued with problems, and while true high-speed rail averages a minimum of

110 miles per hour, Acela averages only 83 miles per hour between D.C. and New York and only

72 miles per hour between New York and Boston. High-speed rail in the NEC makes sense if

done properly. There has been some recent progress. The NEC was finally designated a high-

speed corridor, an environmental review is under way, and the NEC Advisory Commission is

moving forward in its planning. However, Amtrak’s $151 billion, 30-year plan is simply too

much money and too long, and we must bring in the private sector if NEC high-speed rail is

going to become a reality.”

Continuing on his private-sector-funding push, Mica (misnaming New York’s Grand Central

Terminal), touted, “I began my Chairmanship this Congress with a hearing in Grand Central

Station on the need for private sector involvement in developing Northeast Corridor high-

speed rail, and with today’s final scheduled Full Committee hearing of the Congress, we’ll

examine the issue again nearly two years later. While I have been a vocal critic of Amtrak,

I am also a strong proponent of high-speed rail, passenger rail, and transit. But we have to

ensure that any rail development or project makes sense, in places where there is the

greatest need and at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayers.”





 New Gensets for UP at Proviso Yard

Union Pacific, which 10 years ago broke new ground in locomotive technology by working with

a major supplier to develop a Genset locomotive for yard service, on Dec. 12 unveiled one of

seven ultra-low-emitting locomotives (ULELs) that have been deployed at Proviso Yard,

Northlake, Ill., in the greater Chicago area.
The new 2,000-horsepower Genset locomotives, RP20CDs built by RJ Corman Railpower, are

powered by three 667-hp ultra-low-emission U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) off-

road Tier 3-certified diesel engines that reduce NOx emissions by 80% and PM (particulate

matter) by 90%, while using up to 37% less fuel compared to older switching locomotives. The

fuel savings also reduces greenhouse gases up to 37%.

These locomotives differ from many Genset yard locomotives in that they are six-axle, with

six traction motors, rather than four-axle. The two additional traction motors give this

version of the Genset switcher increased tractive effort compared to four-axle Gensets,

“something that will be useful while the new locomotives are working to push railcars over

the hump, where gravity then takes the cars into destination-specific tracks at the Proviso

Rail Yard,” UP said.

“We continue to voluntarily research and develop new technologies to reduce locomotive

emissions and this latest version of the Union Pacific Genset locomotive is another end

product of that hard work," said Union Pacific Senior Vice President Corporate Relations Bob

Turner (pictured, with Cook County (Ill.) Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “Union Pacific

is committed to preserving our environment by reducing emissions to help improve air quality

and conserve fuel.”

Working with National Railway Equipment Company, Union Pacific began developing a prototype

Genset switcher locomotive in 2002 and today has 172 ULELs working in California, Texas, and

the Chicago area. UP General Director Car and Locomotive Engineering Mike Iden led the

railroad’s efforts to develop a switching locomotive that would use multiple smaller

diesel/traction alternator powerplants, running in microprocessor-controlled combinations of

one, two or three engines, to produce the required horsepower levels when needed. Iden’s

idea was to package the diesel engine, traction alternator, and cooling system radiator in

one compact, easily replaced module called a Generator Set or “Genset.”

“Modern off-road diesel engines are capable of providing the lower power required by

typical switching locomotives while reducing fuel consumption and, most important, exhaust

emissions,” UP noted. “Several other U.S. railroads continue to follow Union Pacific’s

lead and are using similar Genset switching locomotives,” UP said. “Several Genset

locomotives are also in use in Canada and South America. A railroad in Germany has ordered

them as well.”

Since 2000, UP has invested approximately $6 billion to purchase more than 3,500 locomotives

that meet EPA Tier 0, Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3 emissions standards. Also since 2000, UP

retired more than 2,650 older locomotives and overhauled or rebuilt nearly 4,150 locomotive

diesel engines with emissions control upgrades. More than 80% of the railroad’s

approximately 8,200 locomotives are certified under EPA Tier 0, Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3

emissions standards.

UP noted that it is “constantly developing and evaluating innovative technologies. In

addition to the development and implementation of Genset locomotive technology, we evaluated

experimental technology, such as the Oxicat-equipped, long-haul locomotive and the DPF

(diesel particulate filter) equipped, low-horsepower yard locomotive. Initial tests showed

the Oxicat reduced PM by 50%, hydrocarbons by 38% and CO (carbon monoxide) by 82%. The DPF

reduced PM by more than 70% in tests. We developed a comprehensive plan to reduce

unnecessary locomotive idling time, and all new locomotives have automatic stop-start

equipment and older locomotives are being retrofitted with it. Locomotive shutdowns can save

15-24 gallons of fuel, per locomotive, per day. More than 70% of our locomotive fleet is

equipped with this technology. We assisted in the development and testing of the first five

Caterpillar-Progress Rail PR30C locomotives ever built that employ urea SCR (selective

catalytic reduction) to achieve Tier 4 emissions standards. We partnered with EMD to

develop, test, and deploy 25 SD59MX locomotives that are relatively low emitting despite the

fact they do not use urea SCR. One of these experimental locomotives is fitted with EGR

(exhaust gas recirculation), DPFs, and DOCs (diesel oxidation catalysts) to achieve

emissions levels well below the Tier 3 standard. We are continuing to test a ULEL Genset

locomotive that has been fitted with a Johnson Mathey DPF to further reduce PM beyond its

normal low level.”






Air China cooperates with high-speed rail

Air China Ltd will launch its joint operating agreement with the Shanghai Railway

Administration on Dec 1, the latest move by a Chinese airline to make high-speed rail a

partner rather than a competitor.

Passengers will be able to buy high-speed rail tickets between Shanghai and four nearby

cities — Suzhou, Hangzhou, Changzhou and Wuxi — when booking tickets on Air China's

flights arriving or departing from one of the two airports in Shanghai.

Air China is also working on connecting the railway with its international flights and

exploring more junction cities, said Jin Yingjie, deputy general manager of Air China's

marketing department.

Air China is not the first carrier to make such a deal.

China Eastern Airlines Co Ltd started to sell high-speed rail tickets at the end of April,

and Hainan Airlines Co Ltd has connected its flights with the high-speed rail in Hainan

province since April.

The rail system's four main north-south routes, which are expected to be completed this

year, will heighten competition with airlines, and the agreements may be a way for airlines

to better compete, some business insiders have said.




Chun Yu to Net Lucrative Biz Opportunities in Rail Construction in China 

Chun Yu Works & Co., Ltd., one of Taiwan’s largest fastener makers by output, is poised to

explore huge business opportunities in rail construction in China starting in 2013.

Institutional investors pointed out that China will budget RMB530 billion (about US$88

billion) to build a total of eight more new high-speed and coastal railway lines, after

completing several ones in 2012, which will become operational continually a year later.

This, as part of the Chinese government’s 12th Five-year Plan, will surely trigger more

market demand for fasteners to allow tremendous business chances for Taiwanese fastener


Among them, Chun Yu will be the biggest beneficiary of China’s high-speed rail construction

plan, for this veteran maker has built a complete product lineup and sound distribution

network in the country, and has obtained international certificates for its special

fasteners used in high-speed railways.

Prepared for the abovementioned business pie in China, Chun Yu, which has suffered a

significant slowdown of contract orders like most of its peers in the fourth quarter of

2012, will see a promising outlook in 2013.  







CSR Appears at Modern Railways 2012

On November 27, the 11th China International Modern Railway Technology & Equipment

Exhibition, Asia’s largest of its kind, kicked off in Beijing. CSR appeared with star

models including higher-speed test train and CRH6 intercity EMU. CSR President Liu Hualong

and Vice President Wang Jun attended the opening.

CSR booth drew wide attention. Soon after attending the opening ceremony, Lu Dongfu,

minister of railways and He Huawu, chief engineer of the Ministry of Railways visited CSR

booth in the company of CSR President Liu Hualong and Vice President Wang Jun; Ma Yunshuang,

general manager of CSR Qingdao Sifang Co., Ltd. and Xia Chunsheng, general manager of CSR

Sifang Co., Ltd.

CSR booth also attracted a host of journalists from the Xinhua News Agency, the China News

Agency, Economic Daily and Guangming Daily. A multitude of media outlets including news

covered CSR. Remarkably, CCTV News Channel preferentially introduced CRH6 intercity EMU and

higher-speed test train.

Higher-speed test train is a mobile high-speed train test platform for prospective

researches that may be rated as a “speed explorer”. Developing the train is intended to

explore the critical value of high-speed train systems at extreme speed and carry out

prospective, basic and theoretical researches on the safety and reliability of high-speed

train systems, structures and materials at a speed of 500km/h.

CRH intercity EMU is a new means of transport developed to address the demand of China’s

fast regional economic development and the rise of city agglomerations for intercity rail

transit, filling a gap in the domestic field of rail passenger transport equipment. CRH6

covers 200km/h, 160km/h and 140km/h intercity models with different speeds, different

marshalling forms and different passenger capacities. 






QSY Ranks among China’s Top 50 Gear Manufacturers

In late November, Qishuyan Institute Co., Ltd. QSY stood out in the selection of “Pacific

Precision Forging Cup” China’s Top 50 Gear Manufactures to rank among “China’s Top 50

Gear Manufacturers & Top 10 Innovative Enterprises & Top 10 High-tech Enterprises”.

Organized by the Gear Sub Association of the China General Machine Components Industry

Association and the Industry and Market Research Division of the Mechanical Industry

Information Research Institute, the event involves five categories--“Top 10 Influential

Enterprises”, “Top 10 Innovative Enterprises”, “Top 10 High-tech Enterprises”, “Top 10

Promising Enterprises” and “Top 10 Profit-making Enterprises”. Through entry, voting,

initial selection, candidate publicity and expert review, 50 enterprises made the list of “

China’s Top 50 Gear Manufacturers” eventually.




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