Serco to operate Dubai metro until 2019

SERCO is to continue operating and maintaining the 75km Dubai metro network until at least September 2019 after signing a five-year contract extension with Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).


The deal is worth around £355m and includes an option for a further two year extension.


Serco provided pre-launch consultancy and planning for the metro network from 2007 and began operating and maintaining the initial 10-station section of the Red Line when it opened in September 2009. The company has also operated the Green Line since it was inaugurated in September 2011 and became responsible for engineering and maintenance in 2012.


The automated metro currently carries around 120 million passengers per year and according to Serco has achieved 99.9% reliability.


Last month Serco was awarded a further contract by the RTA to operate Dubai's Al Sufouh Tramway.






Nippon Signal CBTC for Delhi Metro Line 8

DELHI Metro Rail Corporation has awarded Nippon Signal, Japan, a contract worth around $US 38m to supply Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) for Line 8, the city's first driverless metro line, which is currently under construction.


Nippon Signal will supply its Simple-structure and high Performance ATC by Radio Communication (Sparcs) system for the 36.4km line, which will follow the outer ring road south of the city from Janakpuri West to Hauz Khas, Kalindj Kunj, and Botanical Garden in Noida. Line 8 will have 26 stations, 12 of them underground, and 19km of the route will be elevated or at grade with the remaining 17.3km in tunnels.


The first phase of Line 8 will open in June 2015 and services will be operated by six-car trains, but with peak headways of 2min 15sec and a commercial speed of around 35km/h, hourly capacity will be higher than on existing lines.


The deal is the first Indian metro signalling contract to be awarded to a Japanese supplier.







Jerusalem Old City rail link proposed

ISRAEL's Ministry of Transport, Israel Railways, and the municipality of Jerusalem are reportedly developing plans for a 2.5km extension of the new Tel Aviv – Jerusalem direct line, which is due to open in 2018, to Jerusalem Old City.


According to a report on Globes Online on October 21, the extension would link Binyanei Ha'uma station, which is currently under construction with Mamilla near the Jaffa Gate, and is expected to cost around Shekels 2bn ($US 567m).


The proposals have not yet been formally presented to transport minister Mr Yisrael Katz, and are expected to face opposition from planning authorities in the city, which favour the expansion of the light rail network.






Bahia concludes Salvador metro phase 2 PPP

THE government of the Brazilian state of Bahia has signed a Reais 4bn ($US 1.85bn) PPP contract with Brazilian infrastructure concessionaire CCR for the construction and operation of the second phase of the metro network in the state capital Salvador.


The deal encompasses the 24.2km east-west Line 2, which will link Lauro de Freitas Avenue and the city's airport with Bonocô in the city centre, as well as the 5.6km eastern section of Line 1 between Acesso Norte and Pirajá. The two lines will intersect at Bonocô.


The contract also includes preparations for the extension of Line 1 to Águas Claras.


Construction is expected to take three-and-a-half years to complete, and CCR will operate the network for 27 years.





Alstom to upgrade Virgin Pendolinos

VIRGIN Trains has awarded Alstom a contract worth around €12m to upgrade its entire fleet of 56 class 390 Pendolino tilting emus, which are used on the West Coast Main Line between London, the West Midlands, Manchester, and Glasgow.


The contract covers the refurbishment of interiors, bar, kitchen facilities, and toilets. Interior spotlights will be replaced with LED units and new vinyl wraps and decals will be applied. Vestibule venting will be improved and carpets will be replaced.


The work will be carried out by Alstom over an eight-month period at its depots in Oxley near Wolverhampton and Longsight, Manchester.






Shanghai metro Line 11 reaches Kunshan

THE first extension of the Shanghai metro network into a neighbouring province was officially opened on October 18, when commercial services began on the 6km western section of Line 11 between Antig and Huaqiao station in Kunshan, which is situated in Jiangsu province.


The completion of the Yuan 1.85bn ($US 301m) three-station elevated extension takes the total length of Line 11 to 72km, making it the city's longest metro line.


The journey time from Huaqiao to Jiangsu Road station in central Shanghai is around 60 minutes.


Services on Line 11 are operated by a fleet of 58 six-car type A trains supplied by CSR Zhuzhou.





China's bullet train maker supplies cars to Delhi metro


The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has bought 21 railway cars from the leading bullet train maker in China.


The company had sold 15 subway cars to DMRC in 2010. CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive is a subsidiary of a major Chinese train manufacturer, CSR Corporation.


Chinese state media quoted a statement from the company as saying that the trains would be more energy efficient and thus be an industry model because India is affected by power shortages.


CSR is China's leading bullet train maker, and CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive manufactures European-standard metro trains, the statement added.


China’s railway sector has rapidly developed in the last three decades.


During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Beijing visit last week, India had sought China’s help in developing infrastructure in the sector.


While railways in India carry more people, the railway sector in China is ahead in carrying freight.


“We are seeking their expertise to find out if trains can run up to 200 km per hour on existing tracks. Also, if heavier loads can be moved on the existing track,” Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairperson of Planning Commission, had said in a briefing on Singh’s visit last week.


He added that China has deep expertise on moving heavy loads through the rail network.


“On modernisation of railways, India and China's interests coincide. And not as aid but as a commercial interest, we have offered two railway stations to China to modernise,” Ahluwalia added.


He said till the early 80s, the level of sophistication of the railway networks in both countries was at par. But then China made rapid progress in the next three decades.


China has the world’s longest network of high speed trains with routes crisscrossing nearly 10000 km already functional.


For example, a high speed train that connects Beijing and Shanghai completes the journey of over 1300 km in five hours.


Hi-speed rail development "new highlight" in China-Thailand strategic cooperation

China's potential participation in Thailand's high-speed railway project will become a "new highlight" of the two countries' strategic cooperation, as it will further boost economic and trade cooperation, strengthen bilateral ties and enhance regional connectivity.


"Connectivity is opportunity," Pansak Winyarat, chief economic adviser to Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, said recently in a Bangkok seminar to introduce Thailand's railway schemes.


Noting that China's southwestern region has grown to be a major driving force in the country's economic growth, Pansak said a high-speed rail network connecting the region with Southeast Asia would serve the interests of both sides, as they could better complement each other's disadvantages through faster and cheaper transportation of goods and passengers.


It will facilitate industry upgrades of both regions and bring about common development, he said.


On a domestic scale, the economist said the multi-billion-U.S.-dollar system was also designed to speed up the movement of goods and passengers within Thailand, promoting domestic consumption and boosting economic growth.


In particular, the project will help alleviate poverty in areas along the railway line, as business would thrive, sprouting restaurants, convenience stores and hotels, he added.


Located in the center of Southeast Asia, Thailand has been hoping to become a regional logistics hub. But those who visit the kingdom could be surprised to see how outdated its rail system is.


Equipped with narrow gauge and decrepit cars, the rail system in Thailand lags behind the country's economic growth and fails to satisfy its growing business and tourism demands.


The Yingluck administration, since taking office in 2011, has been determined to make a change. In September, the lower house of the parliament gave the green light to an infrastructure overhaul scheme worth about 2.2 trillion Thai baht (about 70 billion U.S. dollars), aiming to modernize and expand the land transportation system throughout the country.


With a head station in Bangkok, the proposed layout of the high-speed rail network will link the country's major provinces with each other and with its neighboring countries, including China, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore.


There are four main routes: Bangkok-Pitsanuloak, which will be stretched up to Chiang Mai, which is viewed as the country's northern logistics hub and tourist destination hub; Bangkok-Nakorn Ratchasima, which will be extended to Nong Khai province, viewed as the gateway to the Lao capital of Vientiane; Bangkok-Rayong, the country's eastern seaboard industrial hub and deep-sea port; and Bangkok-Hua Hin, a flourishing tourist destination and gateway to the southern region.


Among them, the northeastern line, which connects Bangkok and Nong Khai, is grabbing the most attention as it will traverse through Laos to reach China's southwestern Kunming city.


The first phase of the project is set to be completed by 2020. By then, Thailand is expected to become the first country in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN) to offer high-speed railway services.


China's high-speed rail technology has developed and proved its reliability and capability within its own territory, and now will take that abroad. Many Thai politicians and analysts have pointed out that compared with Japan and other bidders, China holds advantages in price, technology and experience.


During his three-day visit to Thailand earlier this month, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang conveyed his country's willing to participate in Thailand's high-speed railway project, stressing that "railway cooperation can become a new highlight in China-Thailand cooperation."


"There is enormous potential for railway cooperation between our two countries and China is keen to advance such cooperation," said the Chinese premier when addressing the Thai parliament.


Following his speech, Jua Rajaseeha, chairman of Thailand's House Transport Committee, told Xinhua that China has the modern technology for high-speed trains which would be suitable for Thailand.







Express rail service to boost China-Europe trade

A regular express train from Poland to Southwest China's Sichuan Province is expected to be inaugurated by the end of this month, authorities with Sichuan's Chengdu City have said.


The first one-way express rail service in the opposite direction from Chengdu to Lodz in central Poland, crossing Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus began running on April 24.


The rail transport is organized by China's Chengdu Hatrans YHF Intermodal Logistics, and Lodz-based logistics firm Hatrans is the train operator in Poland.


"Twenty-three trains have so far traveled from China to Poland, transporting 1,886 TEUs," said director of the General Office of Chengdu Municipal Leading Group for Modern Logistics Development.


The one-way service, traveling 9,826 km in 12 days is eight to 10 days faster than ordinary trains.


But thus far has traveled back empty to China during the initial trial operation period.


The operation of the railway from Poland back to China is expected to help boost Sino-European trade, transporting products including European cars to China next month.







China-Europe rail service to be inaugurated soon

A regular express train from Poland to southwest China's Sichuan province is expected to be inaugurated by the end of this month, authorities in Sichuan's Chengdu city said Thursday.


The first one-way express rail service in the opposite direction -- from Chengdu to Lodz in central Poland, crossing Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus -- began running on April 24.


The rail transport is organised by China's Chengdu Hatrans YHF Intermodal Logistics, and Lodz-based logistics firm Hatrans is the train operator in Poland.


"Twenty-three trains have so far travelled from China to Poland, transporting 1,886 TEUs," said Chen Zhongwei, director of the General Office of Chengdu Municipal Leading Group for Modern Logistics Development.


The one-way service, traveling 9,826 km in 12 days, is eight to 10 days faster than ordinary trains, but thus far has travelled back empty to China during the initial trial operation period.


The operation of the railway from Poland back to China is expected to help boost Sino-European trade, transporting products including European cars to China next month.






Rail+Metro China 2014 will be held in Shanghai

Since its debut in 2002, Rail+Metro China has obtained support from many government departments and associations including National Development & Reform Commission, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Construction, Ministry of Transportation, Shanghai Municipal Transport and Port Authority, China Association of Metros, China Civil Engineering Society, China International Engineering Consulting Corporation, Shanghai Shentong Metro Group Co., Ltd., etc.


Rail+Metro China 2014 will be held from 17-19 June at Shanghai New International Expo Center with a much increased scale. It will focus on 10 categories of railway systems, including subway, light rail, monorail, tram, maglev, suburban railway, intercity rail, regional railway, heavy haul railway and high-speed railway systems.


Rail+Metro China 2014 & Tunnel China 2014 will for the first time be co-located with Transport Logistic 2014, a leading show for the entire transportation, logistics and air cargo industry in Asia. This will undoubtedly provide you a unique global platform to display the state-of-the-art technology and equipment of the complete transportation industry.









Midas wins high-speed train contracts in China worth RMB167.5m

Midas Holdings Limited announced that its subsidiary, Jilin Midas Aluminium Industries Co., Ltd, has been awarded contracts by CNR Changchun Railway Vehicle Co., Ltd and CNR Tangshan Railway Vehicle Co., Ltd to supply aluminium alloy extrusion profiles and certain fabricated parts for the manufacture of high speed trains.


The contracts are worth an aggregate sum of RMB167.5 million.


Mr Patrick Chew, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Midas, said, “We are delighted that our major customers continue to place their trust in our capability and performance. Through these contract wins, we will supply aluminium alloy extrusion profiles and certain fabricated parts for high speed trains that will operate at speeds up to 350km/hr. Our ability to compete and win contracts at this level positions the Group well to benefit from the developments in China’s passenger rail transportation sector.”


The contracts are expected to contribute positively to Midas’ financial performance from 2013 to 2014.




China rides high on high-speed train system

The high-speed rail lines have, without a doubt, transformed China, often in unexpected ways.


The cavernous rail station at Changsha for China’s new high-speed trains was nearly deserted when it opened less than four years ago. Not anymore. Practically every train is sold out, although they leave for cities all over the country every several minutes. Long lines snake back from ticket windows under the 50-foot ceiling of white, gently undulating steel that floats cloudlike over the departure hall. An ambitious construction program will soon nearly double the size of the 16-platform station.


Just five years after China’s high-speed rail system opened, it is carrying nearly twice as many passengers each month as the country’s domestic airline industry. With traffic growing 28 per cent a year for the last several years, China’s high-speed rail network will handle more passengers by early next year than the 54 million people a month who board domestic flights in the United States.


Li Xiaohung, a shoe factory worker, rides the 430-mile route from Guangzhou home to Changsha once a month to visit her daughter. Li used to see her daughter just once a year because the trip took a full day. Now she comes back in 2 hours 19 minutes.


Business executives like Zhen Qinan, a founder of the stock market in coastal Shenzhen, ride bullet trains to meetings all over China to avoid airport delays. The trains hurtle along at 186 miles an hour and are smooth, well-lighted, comfortable and almost invariably punctual, if not early. “I did not think it would change so quickly. High-speed trains seemed like a strange thing, but now it’s just part of our lives,” Zhen said.


China’s high-speed rail system has emerged as an unexpected success story. Economists and transportation experts cite it as one reason for China’s continued economic growth when other emerging economies are faltering. But it has not been without costs - high debt, many people relocated and a deadly accident. The corruption trials this summer of two former senior rail ministry officials have cast an unfavorable light on the bidding process for the rail lines. The high-speed rail lines have, without a doubt, transformed China, often in unexpected ways.


For example, Chinese workers are now more productive. A paper for the World Bank by three consultants this year found that Chinese cities connected to the high-speed rail network, as more than 100 are already, are likely to experience broad growth in worker productivity. The productivity gains occur when companies find themselves within a couple of hours’ train ride of tens of millions of potential customers, employees and rivals. “What we see very clearly is a change in the way a lot of companies are doing business,” said Gerald Ollivier, a World Bank senior transport specialist in Beijing.


Productivity gains to the economy appear to be of the same order as the combined economic gains from the usual arguments given for high-speed trains, including time savings for travelers, reduced noise, less air pollution and fuel savings, the World Bank consultants calculated.


Broader move


Companies are opening research and development centers in more glamorous cities like Beijing and Shenzhen with abundant supplies of young, highly educated workers, and having them take frequent day trips to factories in cities with lower wages and land costs, like Tianjin and Changsha. Businesses are also customizing their products more through frequent meetings with clients in other cities, part of a broader move up the ladder toward higher value-added products.


Li Qingfu, the sales manager at the Changsha Don Lea Ramie Textile Technology Co., an exporter of women’s dresses and blouses, said he used to travel twice a year to Guangzhou, the commercial hub of southeastern China. The journey, similar in distance to traveling from Boston to Washington, D.C., required nearly a full day in each direction of winding up and down mountains by train or by car. He now goes almost every month on the punctual bullet trains, which slice straight through the forested mountains and narrow valleys of southern Hunan province and northern Guangdong province in a little over two hours, traversing long tunnels and elevated concrete viaducts in rapid succession. “More frequent access to my client base has allowed me to more quickly pick up on fashion changes in color and style. My orders have increased by 50 percent,” he said.


China’s success may not be easily reproduced in the West, and not just because few places can match China’s pace of urbanization. China has four times the population of the United States, and the great bulk of its people live in the eastern third of the country, an area similar in size to the United States east of the Mississippi. “Except for Boston to Washington, D C, we don’t have the corridors” of high population density that China has, said C. William Ibbs, a professor of civil engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.


China’s high-speed rail program has been married to the world’s most ambitious subway construction program, as more than half the world’s large tunneling machines chisel away underneath big Chinese cities. That has meant easy access to high-speed rail stations for huge numbers of people - although the subway line to Changsha’s high-speed train station has been delayed after a deadly tunnel accident, a possible side effect of China’s haste.


New subway lines, rail lines and urban districts are part of China’s heavy dependence on investment-led growth. Despite repeated calls by Chinese leaders for a shift to more consumer-led growth, it shows little sign of changing. China’s new prime minister, Li Keqiang, publicly endorsed further expansion of the 5,900-mile high-speed rail network this summer. He said the country would invest $100 billion a year in its train system for years to come, mainly on high-speed rail.


High-speed trains are not only allowing business managers from deep inside China to reach bigger markets. They are also prompting foreign executives to look deeper in China for suppliers as wages surge along the coast. “We always used to have go down south to Guangzhou to meet with European clients, but now they come up to Changsha more often,” said Hwang Yin, a sales executive at the Changsha Qilu Import and Export Co. The only drawback: “The high-speed trains are getting very crowded these days.”






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