India establishes High-Speed Rail Corporation

INDIAN Railways Minister Mr Mallikarjun Kharge announced on October 29 that the country has established a High Speed Rail Corporation (HSRC) to prepare financial and implementation models, including the preparation of project-related studies and development of technical standards, for high-speed rail in India.


High-speed rail has been under discussion in India for the last 17 years, but appeared to take the first concrete step forward earlier this month, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Indian Railways and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for a feasibility study into the construction of a 540km high-speed line between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.


A preliminary study carried out by consortium of Rites, Italferr, and Systra, estimated the cost of the project at Rs 700bn ($US 13.2bn).


"High speed plans are very much on the fast track now," says HSRC chairman Mr Satish Agnihotri, who also chairs IR's project unit Rail Vikas Nigam, the parent company of HSRC.


IR plans to set up a High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) as a regulatory body which will supervise administrative, institutional, and financial issues. "The HSRA will be set up shortly," Railway Board chairman Mr Arunendra Kumar confirms.


IR is also working on plans to strengthen and upgrade track and signalling systems to increase speeds for long-distance passenger trains from 120km/h to 160-200km/h. A Japanese-sponsored study is being carried out to look at the possibility of running Rajdhani trains at up to 200km/h between Delhi and Mumbai.


India's high-speed plans are likely to gain momentum after the forthcoming general election, which will be held in May 2014.






Seoul Line 9 operating contract extended

SEOUL Metropolitan Government and the SML9 consortium have awarded a consortium of Transdev and RATP Dev a 10-year contract to continue operating and maintaining Seoul metro Line 9.


The 27km triple-track line from Gangnam in the southeast of the city to Gimpo International Airport is the first privately-operated metro line in Korea, and also the first to operate express services. Around 430,000 passengers use the 25-station line on a typical weekday.


The line has been operated and maintained by Transdev and RATP Dev since its inauguration in 2009.


The consortium says it expects to generate more than €525m in revenues over the 10-year term of the contract.







Škoda reveals first 28T LRV for Konya

ŠKODA Transportation unveiled the first of 60 type 28T low-floor LRV for the Turkish city of Konya at its plant in Plzen, Czech Republic on October 29.


The 32.5m-long five-section articulated vehicle can accommodate up to 364 passengers and complies with European requirements for Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRM).


Škoda says the vehicles meet stringent fire safety standards for operation in the 4.5km light rail tunnel in Konya and are designed to operate in multiple with automatic couplings.


The 21km Konya tram network opened in 1991 with a fleet of Duewag GT8 trams acquired from Cologne.


In March this year the municipal government placed a €104.7m order with Skoda for 28T vehicles from Škoda to replace the GT8s and provide additional capacity.






More investment for São Paulo rail network

BRAZILIAN president Mrs Dilma Rousseff and governor of the state of São Paulo, Mr Geraldo Alckmin, announced on October 25 that a further Reais 5.4bn ($US 2.47bn) will be made available for commuter rail and metro investment in São Paulo.


Brazil's National Development Bank will provide loans totalling Reais 1.5bn and Reais 1.34bn will come from the federal government's general budget. The source of the remaining Reais 2.56bn has not yet been finalised.


Paulista Metropolitan Trains Company (CPTM) projects set to benefit include the 30km extension of Line 13 from Brás to Guarulhos International Airport, the extension of Line 9 from Grajaú to Varginha, and the extension of Line 2 to Dutra in Guarulhos. The funds will also support the modernisation of 18 existing stations and the construction of the new União de Vila Nova station on Line 12.





Urgent repairs for Thailand's Northern Line

FOLLOWING a spate of derailments, State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has suspended all services on the Bangkok – Chiang Mai line north of Uttaradit for urgent repairs.


Work began on September 16 on the Baht 2.8bn ($US 90m) project, which was due to be completed by the end of October, but SRT governor Mr Prapat Chongsanguan has since said that due to heavy rain and a shortage of suitable labour, services will not resume until December 1.


The work being carried out at various locations along the 300km line involves track renewal and reinforcement of the subgrade. Wooden sleepers in poor condition are being replaced with concrete sleepers.


The line normally carries around 2000 passengers per day.






Istanbul's Bosphorus rail link finally opens

TURKEY celebrated the completion of the rail connection between the European and Asian sides of Istanbul on October 29, with the inauguration of the Lira 9.2bn ($US 4.6bn) Marmaray link beneath the Bosphorus.


The opening ceremony, which was held to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic, was attended by Turkish President Mr Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Japanese Prime Minister Mr Shinzo Abe, Romanian Prime Minister Mr Victor Ponta, and Somali President Hasan Sheikh Mahmud.


The 13.3km tunnel between Üsküdar on the Asian side and Sirkeci on the European side includes a 1.4km section of immersed tube tunnel constructed at depths of up to 60m below sea level, making it the deepest tunnel of its type in the world.


Shuttle services will initially operate between Kazilicesme and Üsküdar until the rest of the project is completed. The line will ultimately run for 76.3km from Halkali in the west to Gebze in the east, reducing the journey time from 1h 45min (by train and ferry) to 1h 4min. The Marmaray line is expected to carry 1.5 million passengers per day by 2015.


The new railway is one of the first in the world to combine ERTMS and CBTC. On the surface, train detection is by jointless track circuits, and the two commuter tracks are fitted with both CBTC and ERTMS, while the third track will only have ERTMS. The tunnel will have both types of train control but train detection will be by axle counters. Fall-back lineside signalling will be installed throughout the Marmaray line.


Hyundai-Rotem is delivering a fleet of 34 10-car and 20 five-car emus for the line under a €580m contract signed in November 2008. Some of these trains are being assembled in Turkey by Eurotem a joint venture of Hyundai-Rotem and Turkish partner Tüvasaş.


The link was first proposed as long ago as 1860 by the Ottoman sultan Abdoul Medjid, but it was not until 2004 that the project was approved by Erdogan, then mayor of Istanbul.





First Chilean ERTMS contract awarded


CHILEAN State Railways (EFE) has awarded Bombardier a $US 21m contract to supply and install ETCS Level 1 on the 22km Santiago Alameda – Nós line, the first commercial deployment of ERTMS in Chile and only the second in South America.


Bombardier will supply its Interflo 250 system for the project, including Ebi Lock 950 R4 computer-based interlocking, Ebi Screen control centre, and Ebi Track train detection systems. The contract also includes onboard equipment and five years' maintenance.


The installation of ERTMS together with other infrastructure enhancements will allow the introduction of high-frequency MetroTren suburban services between Santiago and Nós, with trains running at four-minute interval at peak times. This will be supplemented by an enhanced Rancagua Xpress, which will operate at 15-minute intervals in peak periods, running non-stop from Santiago to Nós, and calling at all remaining stations to Rancagua.


In addition to resignalling, the $US 260m MetroTren modernisation project includes the acquisition of a fleet of emus from Alstom.


EFE expects the improvements to suburban rail services in Santiago to increase MetroTren ridership from around 7.5 million passengers to 18 million passengers.


Bombardier is currently installing ETCS Level 1 on the 225km SuperVia commuter network in Rio de Janeiro, which will allow headways to be reduced to three minutes. The project is due to be completed in 2015.


Mongolia pushing for rail, pipeline links with China, Russia

Mongolia has agreed to establish a working group with China to oversee the construction of new road, rail and pipeline infrastructure connecting the two countries with Russia, a member of a Mongolian government delegation to Beijing said.


The official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said landlocked Mongolia aimed to become a " transit corridor" to facilitate trade between its two giant neighbours and reduce the costs of delivering Russian commodities like oil and natural gas to energy-hungry Chinese markets.







India Overhauling Strategic Rail, Road Lines Near Disputed Borders With Pakistan, China For Faster Troop Movements

India has launched an overhaul of its transport infrastructure, including construction of railway lines and roads near the country’s borders with Pakistan and China, to facilitate swifter and easier movement of troops, in the wake of increased skirmishes along its shared borders over recent months.


The Indian government is laying 14 strategic railway lines in the border states of Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand in the north, Arunachal Pradesh in the northeast and Rajasthan in the northwest, while 3,812 kilometers of new roads (2,368 miles) have been planned along the disputed border with China, Press Trust of India, or PTI, reported on Sunday.


India’s Defense Minister A.K. Antony had said in parliament in September that China had an upper hand in terms of infrastructure near the border and described it as the “collective failure” of successive governments at the center.


“I have no hesitation to say that China is in a better position than India in terms of border infrastructure,” Antony had said. “It is a mistake, it is all of us who are to be held collectively responsible for it. It is a historical legacy.”







INDIA:We are not getting Metro coaches from China: DMRC

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation on Tuesday denied reports of receiving 21 metro coaches from a Chinese manufacturer.


"We would like to clarify that the DMRC has neither placed any order nor received any Metro coach from the Chinese train manufacturer, CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive, as claimed by the reports published in some media," said Anuj Dayal, executive director (corporate communications), DMRC.






Moscow metro driver dies after falling from moving train

A train driver on the Moscow metro died after apparently falling out of a moving train, Russian investigators said on Sunday.


The incident took place late Saturday as the train was travelling along a busy line in southern Moscow, the Investigative Committee said in a statement.


"A train pulled into Ryazansky Prospekt metro station without a driver, using automatic braking," investigators said.


"Two minutes later, the driver of the next train found the driver's body under the live rail in the tunnel between Kuzminki and Ryazansky Prospekt stations."


It was unclear how the driver ended up on the tracks and why the door of his cabin was open.


"The driver apparently fell out due to his own carelessness," the spokesman for Moscow metro police, Alexei Myshlyayev, told the RIA Novosti news agency.


Myshlyayev said that security camera footage confirmed that no one else was in the driver's cabin at the time.


The Moscow metro, famed for its ornate stations with chandeliers and statues, is vital to the traffic-snarled capital, with ridership of more than nine million on working days.









Beijing to construct 6 new subway lines

Construction of six new subway lines in Beijing is expected to start by the end of this year to help ease traffic in the Chinese capital.


The six lines, with a total length of more than 90 km, are expected to be operational by the end of 2016, bringing the city's total track length to more than 600 km, according to the Beijing City Subway Construction Management Company on Tuesday.


They include downtown lines and lines linking suburban areas with the downtown.


Currently there are 17 subway lines running in Beijing with a total length of 456 km. The city's subway system carries approximately 10 million passengers daily on workdays.




CSR's Subway Train Running on the First Across-Province Line in China

The first across-province subway line is put into trial operation from Kunshan, Jiangsu Province to the central district of Shanghai, and the subway train providing passenger transport service is made in Hunan.


At 9 Am. on October 10, the first across-province subway train was started on time. This high-quality subway train was developed by CSR Zhuzhou Company, 6 cars in group, with operating speed of 100 km/h, using A-type subway car with the maximum loading capacity to meet the huge demand for urban passenger transport.


As this line is put into operation, it will be a only one hour''''s direct ride from Huaqiao Station in Kunshan, Jiangsu to Jiangsu Road Station in the central district of Shanghai, about 70 minutes'''' ride to Xujiahui District, presenting great convenience to the people working across cities.


As introduced by technical expert of Zhuzhou Company, in the development of this subway train, cutting-edge technologies such as light-weight car-body design, advanced network-based integrated control technology, disc brake system, intelligent energy-efficient air conditioning control system are used to present higher reliability, lower energy consumption and more comfortable riding environment.


In addition, to ensure stable and effective operation of subway train, Zhuzhou Company set up after-sale service station at the operation site, where 20 workers provide 24-hour service.


Since 2009 when the #11 subway train was first delivered to the owner in Shanghai, Zhuzhou Company has supplied 58 high-quality A type subway trains for #11 Line, which have successfully served Shanghai World Expo, international F1 FSAE and other events. Additionally, Beginning with the project of #4 Subway Line in Shanghai in 2002, Zhuzhou Company has supplied nearly 1,000 high-quality subway trains to Shanghai, providing great convenience and comfort for the people.






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