MTR awards Hong Kong signalling contracts

MTR Corporation has awarded Thales a contract to supply and install Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) for Hong Kong's $HK 64.9bn ($US 8.36bn) Shatin – Central Link (SCL).


The SCL comprises two sections of new railway: the 11km six-station NSL between Tai Wai and Hung Hom in Kowloon, due to be completed in 2018, and a 6km, four-station extension of the East Rail Line between Hung Hom and Admiralty on Hong Kong Island, which will open in 2020. This will create a 57km east-west rail corridor linking Wu Kai Sha with Tuen Mun.


As part of the project, Thales will modernise the CBTC systems it originally installed in 2003-04 on the Ma On Shan and West Rail lines.


MTR also expects to invite bids in January for the replacement of existing signalling systems with CBTC on the Island Line, Kwun Tong Line, Tsuen Wan Line, Tseung Kwan O Line, Airport Express, Tung Chung Line, and Disneyland Resort Line.






Indian Railways invites bids for new coach factory

INDIAN Railways (IR) will shortly invite tenders to set up a rail coach factory at Pallakad in the southern Indian state of Kerala at an estimated cost of Rs 6bn ($US 101.7m.)


Proposed as a joint venture, the facility will have capacity to manufacture 400 aluminum coaches annually. Request for Qualification (RFQ) will be opened next week and the process of short-listing bidders will be completed by March 2014. The factory is planned to become operational in three years.


IR plans to contribute 26% equity in the project, which will take up a 96.3 hectare site. The Railways have already acquired land for the project.


The new coach factory was included in the Railway budget of 2008-09, but has remained on the backburner until now.


An inter-ministerial group of officers has approved the draft RFQ, which will be uploaded onto the official website IR (


• Bombardier, Siemens and CSR are among six companies that have shown interest in participating in IR's project to build a new electric loco factory at Madhepura in Bihar after the request for qualification documents were opened today. Financial bids for the project will be invited by January.







PKP Intercity invites bids for new emus

PKP Intercity has issued a tender for the delivery of 10 new single-deck emu cars along with a 16-year maintenance service contract for the vehicles.


The chosen manufacturer will have 30 months to deliver the vehicles from the date the contract is signed. Parties interested in bidding for the contract are invited to contact Magdalena Czajka at The closing date for bids is October 1 2013.






Construction of Tokyo - Nagoya maglev to start in 2014

JR Central has confirmed that construction of the inaugural 286km section of its Yen 5.1 trillion ($US 51.97bn) maglev line between Tokyo and Nagoya will commence as early as April next year.


JR Central says that 248km, or almost 90%, of the inaugural section of the line will be tunnels and that it will make public the Preliminary Environment Assessment report of it maglev project this autumn. Work on the project is scheduled to be completed by 2027 when the service will offer a journey time of 40 minutes between the two cities. The subsequent Nagoya - Osaka second phase is scheduled to be completed by 2045 and will offer a total journey time between Tokyo and Osaka of 1h 7mins.


JR Central says it will fund the project through a mixture of its own cash flow, loans and bonds.


The announcement follows the completion of a five year project to extend the railway's maglev test track from 18.4km to 42.8km. Test runs of maglev trains at 500km/h resumed on the track on August 29.


A five-car train is being used for the trials at first with another nine cars set to be delivered by 2015 ahead of 12-car train tests. The prototype Series L0 is 2.9m wide, 3.1m high and 25m in length. It has no cab and uses a 2+2 seat arrangement.





How high-speed rail will bring Hong Kong and China closer together

Tunnelling works are almost complete on a new high-speed line designed to open up Hong Kong to mainland China. It is a project not short of critics, with some who question the line’s benefits and others who believe it will deal a blow for Hong Kong’s independence.


Simon Tang, MTR’s general manager for the project’s tunnelling programme, felt there was still some hostility from the campaign groups and politicians who very publicly opposed the construction of the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong line, dubbed Express Rail Link (XRL), between 2009 and 2010.


Despite protests against the new line, work began on the Hong Kong section – the second phase of the route – in 2010. The following year, the Guangshen section between Guangzhou and Shenzhen officially opened.


Three years on and the seven tunnel boring machines (TBMs) currently constructing the 26 kilometre-long tunnel between Hong Kong and the Chinese border are now nearing the end of their subterranean journey. Tunnelling is around 86 per cent complete and by the end of the year, 90 per cent of the south-bound alignment should be finished.


At HKD $62.4 billion (US $8.05 billion) XRL sits comfortably alongside the world’s most expensive infrastructure projects. But unlike the others, opposition hasn’t been heavily focussed on price. The issue for some quarters of Hong Kong is actually that the 142 kilometre line would lead to greater cultural integration with mainland China, not just stronger economic ties.


“This is a very politically sensitive project,” said Simon. “One element is that this is basically opening up Hong Kong as a southern gateway to China. There are a bunch of politicians in Hong Kong who really want to drive for the suffrage of Hong Kong. So there is one group of politicians like that. Whatever is linked or tied to China, they are against.


“The other part is that this is not a rail-to-property model, meaning along the line there is no benefit to the real estate values because we don’t have any stations in between.”


For the government, the project’s main benefit is its potential for growth. The XRL will bring Hong Kong closer to China’s prosperous economic hubs, namely the future ‘megacity’ of the Pearl River Delta (PRD). Official figures suggest that, since the 1970s, around 30 per cent of all foreign investment in China has centered around the PRD.


Hong Kong to Guangzhou will take less than 50 minutes. From there, passengers have access to mainland China’s 16,000 kilometres of high-speed railway.


On course to open in 2015, the line also includes a spectacular four-floor underground terminus station in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon district, which is aiding a regeneration of the area.


Excavation of the 11-hectare site has now reached track level and work will soon begin from the bottom up, starting with the installation of the new track.


Speaking about the economic benefits, Simon said: “Hong Kong has only got about seven million people and it’s not grown much in the last five to eight years. The reason for that is that Hong Kong is a limited size. So, I think the government is trying to expand the economy by trying to get a closer integration to the Pearl River Delta Region.


“By building this and linking it with the high-speed national rail network in mainland China, then we have the benefit of a bigger economic circle.”






Uzbekistan speeding up railway electrification in the south

TASHKENT (TCA) — During the past month Uzbekistan’s state railway company Uzbekiston Temir Yullari (Uzbekistan Railways) announced two tenders to purchase equipment for electrification of 466 kilometers of railways in the south of the country.





Beijing issues anti-pickpocket subway guide


The Beijing subway map may guide passengers wherever they want to go in the city, but the producers of a new "anti-pickpocket map" hope it will ensure they arrive with all their belongings in tow.


The guide book drafted by staff of the capital's busiest subway station, Guomao, was published on Friday to help passengers deal with the notorious underground thieves.


The so-called "anti-pickpocket map" offers information ranging from police warnings on which stations are most prone to pilferage to tips by frequent subway travelers on keeping property safe.


"Pickpocketing seriously affects subway operations, especially at rush hours. We have tightened security patrols in the station, but we also hope the guide book will help raise public awareness of how to deal with the thieves," Li Runling, Party chief of Guomao Station told Xinhua.


Guomao Station, a crowded interchange station in Beijing's central business district located in the eastern part of the capital, sees an average of 450,000 passengers every day.


According to the guide book, four daily periods carry the highest risk of pickpocketing: 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., 1 to 3 p.m., 5 to 7 p.m., and 9 p.m. to the end of train operations.


Tourists and drunken passengers make easy prey for thieves.


Tips given in the book include putting your cash, credit cards, and passport in a well-zipped, properly sealed bag, and holding it to your breast.


"The morning and evening rush hours are most dangerous as thieves usually take the 'Golden Moment' to 'work' when passengers are flowing in or out of carriages," said Li.


The guide book now is currently only available in Guomao Station, but it will soon be introduced to nearby stations like Shuangjing, Jinsong and Jintaixizhao, according to Li.


Beijing's 14 subway lines carry over 8.5 million passengers on an average day, according to the Beijing Subway Company.


Second phase of Shanghai subway Line 11 begins operation

The second phase of Shanghai's subway Line 11 - between Jiangsu Road Station and Luoshan Road Station - began operation on August 31.


There are 12 stops along the second phase of Line 11, including three transfer stations - which serve more than one line.


Line 11 operates from 5:30 am to 11:51 pm, and the second phase has two routes running every day between Anting and Sanlin stations, and North Jiading and Luoshan Road stations. A train runs between Jiading New Town and Sanlin every five minutes during peak hours on weekdays, and every 10 minutes between North Jiading and Jiading New Town, Anting and Jiading New Town, and Sanlin and Luoshan Road Station.


Line 11 starts at Jiangsu Road Station and heads to three destinations: North Jiading, Anting and Luoshan Road Station. Some of the trains have a final stop at Sanlin Station, so passengers to Luoshan Road Station may have to get off at Sanlin and wait for the next train that goes all the way to Luoshan.


The design of the stations along Line 11 focuses on Shanghai’s historical sites, such as Longhua Station, which features a traditional Buddhist style and is named after the famous Longhua Temple. It has a yellow ceiling - the traditional Buddhist color - and the characters of its name were written by the abbot of Longhua Temple.


The designers of the second phase of Line 11 have strived to create an eco-friendly subway line. Many LED lights were used in public places to save energy and the cost of maintenance, and noise barriers were set up next to residential areas or in open spaces – the first such initiatives in Shanghai.







Poznan Fast Tram extension opens

THE 2km southern extension of the Poznan Fast Tram (PST) to the new Poznan West station was officially presented to civic leaders and the media on August 29 before the start of passenger services on September 1.


The new terminus is situated on the north side of Poznan Glówny mainline station and is served by three tram routes. Construction has been underway for several years as the new line was originally due to open before the Euro 2012 soccer championships held last year in Poland, when several matches were played in Poznan.


The double-track extension has one intermediate station at Rondo Kaponiera, which is still under construction. The new Poznan West tram station has a 108m-long glass overall roof and two platforms, both with escalators to subways connecting it to the mainline platforms and concourse at Poznan Glówny.


The extension runs in a cutting alongside the mainline railway and will replace sections of street running in the area around the exhibition grounds. The total budget for the project was Zlotys 131m ($US 40.3m), including Zlotys 55m from European Union sources.







Alicante expands light rail network

THE light rail network in Alicante became Spain's largest on September 4 with the official opening of the city's fourth line, which links the city centre with the university and the nearby town of San Vicente del Raspeig.


Line 2 services share tracks with the three existing lines (1, 3 and 4) on the 1.6 km underground section between Luceros and Museo Arqueologico, where they diverge onto the 7.4 km, 11-station branch to San Vicente.


With a commercial speed of 20km/h, headways on the new line will be 15 minutes for most of the day, with an eight-minute interval service at peak times. Initially the line will have a maximum capacity of 4000 passengers per hour and 3 million passengers are forecast to ride the line in its first full year of operation.


Construction started in late 2006 and the metre-gauge line was completed in 2011, following a total investment of more than €100m in the infrastructure and €50m on the LRVs.


Between late 2010 and spring 2013, the regional government tried and failed to find a private sector contractor to take responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the line, which is now operated directly by FGV.


Services on Line 2 are operated by a fleet of 14 Bombardier Flexity Outlook LRVs. Each five-section 34.4m-long vehicle accommodates 50 seated and 150 standing passengers.


The first light rail line was opened in Alicante 10 years ago, and the network now totals 33km, larger than the systems in Barcelona (29km, two lines), Madrid (27.5km, three lines) and Valencia (27km, three lines).






The Moscow Metro Is Like a Gorgeous Russian History Museum

The Moscow metro is one of the most extensive and heavily traveled subway systems in the world, transporting about 9 million people around the city each day.


But it also serves as a sort of museum of Russian history. Opened in 1935, the marble walls, high ceilings, stained glass, mosaics and chandeliers were a testament to the values of Joseph Stalin and his Communist party. Ironically enough, while the stations were built and designed with Soviet labor, the main engineering work was done by British workers.


Stalin ordered the arrest of many British engineers on the project for espionage, because they had gained so much inside knowledge about the city's subway system. The engineers were eventually deported and whatever business climate existed between the two countries was effectively killed.


The system is currently under expansion, and is expected to grow an additional 90 miles by 2020. That would make it the third largest subway system in the world, behind Beijing and Shanghai.









Japan Rail resumes magnetic train tests

Japan Rail ( JR ) yesterday (August 29th ) confirmed that it has resumed tests for its famed Maglev Shinkansen train, which is capable of achieving speeds of more than 505 kilometres per hour through the use of levitation achieved through magnets.


It was the first test to be carried out on the technology since September 2011, with operator JR Tokai confirming that a five-car train completed a successful test in Yamanashi Prefecture, west of Tokyo.


The large amount of time in between tests was required to extend the tracks out from 18.4 kilometres to the 42.8 kilometres required for greater speeds. JR Tokai confirmed that it expects to run a 12-car train on the same course for the next test.


As part of the event yesterday, transport minister Akihiro Ota, Yamanashi governor Shomei Yokouchi and JR Tokai chairman Yoshiyuki Kasai were among those who travelled on the train.


Crash paralyzes South Korea rail line

SEOUL – A collision between a bullet train and a local passenger train Saturday paralyzed a key South Korean rail artery, transport officials said, but there were no serious injuries.


The high-speed train was rammed onto its side by the local train as it was traveling through Daegu railway station, the Transport Ministry said in a statement.


Eleven passenger coaches, including 10 from the high-speed train, were derailed in the accident, which paralyzed the crucial route between Seoul and the southern city of Busan for nearly three hours.


All passengers — 870 on both trains — were safely evacuated and taken by bus or taxi to nearby East Daegu Station.


Yonhap news agency said a few passengers suffered minor cuts as they attempted to escape through the windows.


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