Cautiously optimistic outlook for global rail industry

THE latest SCI Rail Business Index regarding the current and expected business environment, based on a survey of top managers from around 100 representative companies from the global rail industry, reveals a cautiously optimistic outlook for 2014.


"Although 2013 was affected by uncertainties due to the economic and financial crisis, at the end of the year the mood in the rail industry is once again improving," says SCI Verkehr. "Not only is the current business environment evaluated by the managers interviewed better than in the previous quarter for the third time in a row, but the outlook for 2014 is cautiously positive. "In the last quarter of 2013, the top managers interviewed evaluated their current business environment as better than in the previous quarter for the third time in a row," says SCI Verkehr. "This allows an upward trend to be detected in the industry for the first time.


Almost 40% of managers interviewed have evaluated the current business environment as good."


SCI Verkehr says this is the first time evaluations as good as in 2012 have been achieved. Nevertheless, they are still a lot lower than during the last peak in mid-2011, and it is not clear yet how far this upward trend will continue.


Almost 20% of businesses asked are positive about their current order backlog. In comparison with 2012, the proportion of companies with a small order backlog has reduced substantially, and in the last quarter of 2013, fewer than 25% of companies expect demand to fall.


Regarding the outlook for the first half of 2014, 25% of managers surveyed foresee a better business environment, while around 65% expect no major change. "Strikingly positive is the fact that since the end of 2012, the proportion of interviewees with negative expectations has halved," says SCI Verkehr.


SCI Verkehr points to a number of positive indicators. Germany - Europe's economic powerhouse - expects to increase infrastructure spending. Even the southern European countries of Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece, which were hit very badly by the economic crisis, offer reasons to be hopeful. In Spain, the expansion of the high-speed rail network will continue to receive substantial funding with a large share of the €8.5bn budget being allocated to existing and new high-speed projects. China is also continuing to invest in high-speed rail with orders just placed for 258 trains.


Finally, the overall positive outlook has consequences for the labour market. Almost a third of businesses interviewed expect to take on more employees in 2014, while only a few businesses want to cut staff numbers.






Singapore opens first phase of Downtown Linek

SINGAPORE's Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsein Loong inaugurated the initial 4.3km section of the city's Downtown Line on December 21.


The following day Singapore Land Transport Authority offered passengers their first chance to sample the driverless line with free travel on the six-station stretch from Bugis to Chinatown.


Speaking at the opening ceremony at Downtown station, Lee said the completion of the project marks the beginning of a major expansion Singapore's rail network, which is set to double in length to 360km by 2030.


Services on the initial section of the Downtown Line are operated by a fleet of 11 Movia C951 metro trains supplied by Changchun Bombardier Railway Vehicles, China.


Construction is well underway on the two remaining phases, which will take the total length of the line to 42km. The second 16.6km phase from Bugis to Bukit Pajang is due to open in 2016, while the 21km third phase from Chinatown to Expo will be completed in 2017.







Chinese rail projects approved

The final 527 km of the Southern Xinjiang line between Aksu and Korla opened for traffic on December 5 with the departure of a freight train from Aksu. The 1449 km line has been built in stages with the fiorst phase opening in 1984. It is designed for 160 km/h operation.


Construction of the Yancheng – Lianyungang railway will start soon. Expected to cost 26bn yuan, it will include 234 km of double track and 76 km of single-track branch, with 12 stations and 90 bridges and viaducts totalling 149 km. Primarily intended for passenger services, the line will be designed for 200 km/h running. Opening is planned for the end of 2017, along with the Qingdao – Lianyungang and


Shanghai – Nantong lines which will together form a coastal route linking the Shandong peninsula with the Yangtse delta.


The National Development & Reform Commission has confirmed plans for the 224 km Huanghua – Dajiawa line to improve links around the Bo Hai coast for passenger and coal transport. The route starts at Huanghua Nan and runs through Cangzhou, Bingzhou and Dong-ying, crossing the Yellow River at Datianjia and heading east to Weifang and Dajiawa.


A Lianyungang – Zhenjiang line will run for 312 km along the coast of Jiangsu province. The planned 420 km Nanchang – Ganzhou line would have stations at Xiangtang, Fengcheng, Zhangshu, Xingan, Xiajiang, Ji’an, Taihe, Wan’an and Xingguo.


A 574 km line would run from Yinchuan to Xi’an, and include double tracking of sections of the 266 km line from Pingliang to Xi’an.


A 366 km line between Quzhou and Ningde costing 30·5bn yuan has been approved, as well as work to enhance capacity of the E’mei to Mi’yi section of the Chengdu – Kunming railway.






CRS Granted Golden Tripod Award

On November 29, the 9th Annual Meeting of Chinese Securities Market themed "Power's Dream and Positive Energy" was held in CPPCC auditorium in Beijing. More than 200 peoples were present at the meeting, including leader of the authorities, economists, executives of financial institutions, leaders of listed companies, making discussion on new power, positive energy in regulation, market update and reform in regulation and registration system. And CRS was granted Golden Tripod Award on the meeting.


This annual meeting has been started since 2004, which is intended to provide a communication platform for intelligence sharing and promoting rational reform, and has become one of the most influential summit meeting in industry of securities in China. This award to CSR implies acceptance of CSR by the capital market, and also indicates CSR's strength, helping to enhance investors' confidence and promoting CSR's influence in capital market.





CSR's New Passenger Train Ready to Serve this Spring Festival

S train ticket is in short supply but in great demand during Spring Festival, surge of passenger transport on railway is in the favor of the public. Recently, CSR's 160km/h new passenger electric locomotive has been approved by Administration of Railway of China, and will serve this Spring Festival.


The Administration of Railway of China has officially grant an approval for design of HXD1D AC driving electric express locomotive by CSR's Zhuzhou Company, and issued certificate for it. It is the fourth electric locomotive project approved for admission following HXD1, HXD1B and HXD1C.


As reported, this electric locomotive can operate continuously at a speed of 160km/h, hauling direct train (headed with "Z") and express train (headed with "T"). Mass production and industrialization of this locomotive will largely meet the market demand in China, materially promote economic growth, resulting in great economic and social benefits.


As known, as a leading model transforming from DC electric locomotive to AC driving pre-express electric locomotive, this model of locomotive has filled the gap in large-power AC driving electric locomotive in China, and will become a major locomotive operating in the main passenger railway lines across most of China, adaptable to a wide range of natural environment conditions in China.






CSR Again Rank among Top 100

Recently, the final list of Top 100 listed companies with Hong Kong Stocks of 2013 was announced formally in Hong Kong and CSR was successfully selected for the second time.


This selection is launched jointly Tencent and Finet Group Limited, with assistance of Hong Kong Economic Journal and advisory group of City University Business School of Hong Kong, and analyzed and interpreted by The First Finance Research Institute. It is the first selection launched by the Mainland and Hong Kong focusing on companies listed in Hong Kong, winning great confidence of professional institutions and the market. This selection is based on weighed combination of market value, net profit, dividend return rate, turnover and shareholder return rate as reported the most lately prior to June 30. The scores have been evaluated and certified by the evaluation group.


This selection is intended to set up a most trustworthy ranking list of companies listed in Hong Kong, building a new value pole in Hong Kong's stock market, commending the Top 100 companies' achievement and providing guide to high-value investment for the investors. CSR's second ranking among this list indicates that CSR's operation achievement and corporate value have been accepted by Hong Kong's capital market, facilitating investors' further understanding of the company's operation achievement, further enhancing CSR's image in capital market.





CSR Participate in Bids in 20 Cities out of 27 Nationwide


Over more than 40 years' evolution, China has become the country where urban rail transportation is growing fastest. Currently subway train networks in 37 cities across the country have been approved, with the total distance up to 5,790 km, 400 km longer than the north-to-south distance across China, CSR has participated in bids in 20 cities out of 27 nationwide, accounting for nearly 75%.


As flourishing development of urban rail transportation, the suppliers are introducing more green and smart urban rail vehicle products. For example, CSR possesses R&D platform for Classes A, B, and C subway train, and has developed low-board tramcar, energy-stored tramcar, noise-free and environment-friendly middle-/low-speed magnetic levitation train. By the end of December of 2012, CSR has obtained 58.33% of new orders placed in the recent three years for urban rail vehicles. According to statistics, subway lines of nearly 18,000 km in more than 50 cities are in construction or planning now. It is predicted that accessible lines will be more than 3,000 km by 2015, and 10,000 km by 2020, one fourth of the equator length. Modern tramcar lines (including long-term ones) planned across China will be approximately 5,000 km by 2020. In addition, with fast development of city group in China, inter-city lines planned nationwide is about 15,000 km by 2020, and 2,800-km lines is predicted to be constructed before 2015. CSR's CRH6 inter-city EMU will help the inter-city lines in Pearl River Delta district to put into operation firstly among the other city groups.



December 20, 2013 - China Metro-Rural Holdings Limited (the "Company") is pleased to announce the closing for the issuance of US$15,000,000 principal amount, 10 per cent.


Convertible bonds (the "Bonds") due 2016 convertible into ordinary shares of the Company ("Ordinary Shares") at an initial conversion price of US$1.3 per share, in a private placement, where US$5 million of which was issued to one of the major shareholders (the "Major Shareholder") and the remainder to certain independent third parties (the "Investors") (the "Bond Offering"). In addition, the Major Shareholder and one of the Investors have committed to purchase further US$10 million and US$5 million convertible bonds, respectively, with the same terms of (the "Bonds") from the Company within the 90 days of the closing.


The use of proceeds is intended for provision of start-up capital for a property development project in Zhoukou City, of Henan Province of the PRC. The Bonds are convertible during their entire tenure and holders of the Bonds may redeem the Bonds early after 18 months. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which the offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.







Russians to start work on Serbian project in March

RUSSIAN Railways International, a subsidiary of Russian Railways (RZD), will start in January to mobilise workers and equipment to enable work to begin in March to upgrade 370km of lines in Serbia and supply diesel trains to Serbian Railways.


This follows the acceptance on December 18 of a $US 800m export credit by Russia's Ministry of Finance to finance the $US 941.2m project. The project involves for the following work:


construction and electrification of a 16km-long second track on the Belgrade - Pancevo line reconstruction of six sections totalling 112km of Pan-European Corridor X track upgrading and construction of a second track on the new 44km Stara Pazova - Novi Sad line reconstruction of the 200km Belgrade - Vrbnitsa section of the Belgrade - Bar line, and the supply of diesel trains manufactured by Metrovagonmash, Russia.







First SiC traction inverter unveiled by Mitsubishi Electric

MITSUBISHI Electric, Japan, has launched a 1.5kV dc traction inverter system which incorporates what it claims to be the world's first all-silicon carbide (SiC) power modules made with SiC transistors and SiC diodes.


The all-SiC inverter is designed to reduce power loss, size and weight compared with conventional insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) power modules and hybrid power modules made with Si transistors and SiC diodes. The new all-SiC power modules are expected to help reduce power consumption and cut the size and weight of equipment used in high-power trains such as those operating on the Shinkansen network. Mitsubishi Electric says the switching loss is about 55% less than that of one of its conventional inverters incorporating IGBT power modules. The new system is also to regenerate more energy as it can make use of regenerative brakes in all speed ranges. Total energy consumption of onboard systems, including motors, is cut by about 30% compared with conventional systems. Size and weight are reduced by about 65% compared with conventional inverter systems with IGBT power modules and by around 30% compared with existing hybrid inverter systems with SiC diodes. The number of components is reduced by integrating SiC transistors and diodes into one package per inverter circuit phase.


Overall energy saving can be reduced further by transferring regenerated electric power from the trains to stations when they have been equipped with station energy-saving inverters (S-EIV).


The main circuit of new traction inverter system comprises a two-level PWM inverter with regenerative brakes. There are four 180kW self-cooled traction motors with parallel control.


The dielectric strength voltage of SiC is about 10 times greater than that of Si, and SiC devices can operate at higher temperatures than Si devices because of the high breakdown voltage and low conduction loss of thinner semiconductors.


"Unlike the continuing development of SiC diodes, development of SiC transistors has proven difficult due to problems with crystal preparation, which requires highly advanced insulation and package technologies capable of withstanding high temperatures," says Mitsubishi Electric.


Development of SiC power modules has been partially supported by Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (Nedo).


In October 2011, Mitsubishi Electric produced a traction inverter for 600V and 750V dc electrification incorporating the first large-capacity hybrid SiC power modules. With help from Tokyo Metro, the system was field-tested on trains operating in revenue service on the Ginza Line, where Mitsubishi Electric says it reduced energy consumption by 38.6% compared with the conventional inverters in other trains operating on the same line.






EMD and UVZ plan Russian locomotive venture

RUSSIAN locomotive and rolling stock manufacturer Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with EMD to study potential opportunities for jointly developing a new range of diesel locomotives for 1520mm-gauge railways in Russia and the CIS region.


UVZ says that the two companies expect to deliver demonstrator units for performance testing and certification in Russia before the end of 2014.


Under the MoU, UVZ and EMD will also look at establishing a joint engineering team to develop a 3355kW mainline diesel-electric locomotive using EMD ac traction systems and EMD's 16-710 diesel engine. The two companies aim to achieve 50% Russian content in the manufacture of these locomotives.


The deal could also see EMD latest natural gas technologies introduced to the 1520mm-gauge market.


UVZ says it is working towards concluding a definitive agreement with EMD in the coming months.









Delivery starts of Vossloh locomotives to BASF

THE first train consisting of six Vossloh three-axle G6 shunters has been dispatched to BASF in Ludwigshafen, Germany.


BASF has ordered 16 35km/h G6 shunters as well as four 120km/h four-axle DE 12 locomotives from Vossloh and delivery will be completed in February 2014. When the locomotives arrive in Ludwigshafen, they will be repainted in BASF livery before starting shunting and mainline operations in Ludwigshafen and at other BASF sites. BASF is the first company to use Vossloh's full range of three and four-axle diesel-electric locomotives which feature high commonality of components and a uniform operating philosophy which is designed to aid both operation and maintenance.


Vossloh will assist BASF to optimise maintenance and spare parts logistics for its locomotive fleet.




High-speed train: Chinese brand of economic diplomacy

Over the last months, China's high-speed train has played an increasing visible role in the world's rail network, dubbed as a new Chinese brand of economic diplomacy. As a matter of fact, not only high-speed train embraces its golden era of "going global", the whole equipment manufacturing industry is also facing opportunities.


During Cameron's visit to China in December, he was given a made-in-China high-speed train model, highly recommended by Premier Li Keqiang. During his Central and Eastern Europe visits in November, Premier Li Keqiang, together with his counterparts from Hungary and Serbia, announced a plan to build a railway connecting Belgrade and Budapest, the capitals of the two countries. He also reached a deal with Rumania PM to build a high-speed railway in Romania. Earlier before, Premier Li gave China's high-speed railway technology a promotion in Thailand - buying high-speed rail with rice, supported by an exhibition in Bangkok showing off the advanced technology, safety and cost advantages of the Chinese system.


High-speed train has become a new brand of economic diplomacy and a crucial part of "going global".


High-speed train becomes the "pacesetter"


The world has been stepping in the golden years of developing high-speed rail since the recent two years; with enormous market demand as the strong impetus. The USA, Russia and Brazil have made high-speed rail development plan of unprecedented scale in succession, even the "old high-speed rail countries" like France also have said one after another to extend the mileage and improve the quality. It is predicted that, according to the high-speed rail plans of the countries, the total high-speed rail mileage of the world will exceed 50,000 kilometers to the year of 2020, and the new mileage in the coming seven years will reach over 30,000 kilometers, bringing over USD1.1 trillion valued direct investment in high-speed rail. The driving effect of high-speed rail on the world economy, if calculated according to the added value of whole industrial chain, is even stronger.


China high-speed rail, which has the longest operational mileage and fastest speed per hour in the world, has formed strong experiences with technology, management talents and whole industrial chain in engineering practices. Bai Yong, Expert from Machinery Industry Information Center, told the reporter that after years' development, at least 70 percent of high-speed rail has been localized, relevant patent problems have been solved, and the production and export of high-speed rail has had the strength.


There have had more than 100 leaders of states, politicians and delegations made on-the-spot investigations on China high-speed rail. At present, China Railway Construction Corporation have undertaken ordinary railway construction, electrification renovation construction and high-speed rail construction projects almost in countries like Libya, Nigeria, UAE, Oman, Iran, Kazakhstan, Australia, Venezuela......Currently tens of countries like the USA, Russia, Brazil, Saudi Arab, and Turkey all wish China to join the railway projects of the countries, some projects have been commenced.


It is known that to the end of 2010, China had established high-speed rail cooperation with over 50 countries and regions with a total contract value of USD26 billion.


Open the ASEAN market


High-speed rail is ushering in a good time for "going global", the key is to play the card well. High-speed rail projects cannot flourish everywhere at the same time but should have places of emphasis. At present, the best thing is to coordinate and implement relevant mutual policy measures between China and ASEAN countries.


Firstly, take the easiest the first and move toward gradually. Some countries like Thailand may start early. We can build the first high-speed rail invested in ASEAN countries as the image project of China's investing high-speed rail in the whole ASEAN and close the distance between China and ASEAN countries. At the meantime, drive the development of marine fishery resources, mineral resources exploitation and tourism industry through high-speed rail, offering infrastructure support to generate a better trade creation effect between China and ASEAN free trade area. Capital and labor service shall be impelled through the export of high-speed rail technology to welcome a golden development period of service trade.


Secondly, there should be rear support. In China there should have an institution to coordinate the going-out of high-speed rail and enable the unified "going global" of enterprises related to high-speed rail, which shall join the forces and provide the ASEAN countries with the most efficient and premium high-speed rail services.


Moreover, reinforce financial service. We should make efforts to form South East Asian infrastructure investment banks, so that relevant countries can get rid of the dilemma of high-speed rail construction, what is to say, the spirit is willing spirit but the flesh is weak. The construction of high-speed rail costs a lot of money, the lowest cost in China is RMB46 million Yuan per kilometers while the highest reached RMB180 million Yuan. The financing matters can be solved only through the financing support of infrastructure investment banks.


Promote the upgrading of manufacturing industry


In today's economic globalization period, enterprises which want to master core and high technology, seek for the breakthrough of advanced production process and grasp the strategic initiative, must seek for global opportunities, compete with the master players, snatch the market shares and go through the difficulties. The manufacturing industry has reached a consensus on this. Now with the new high-speed rail business card, China's equipment manufacturing industry will welcome new development opportunities along with the project-driven products demand.


Lv Ying, Deputy Secretary General of China Construction Machinery Association, said when he was covered by the Reporter, that the export of engineering machinery products had a rapid growth in the previous two years. But in recent one or two years, it has been affected by the economic environment of international market, the increased international trade barriers and the problem of RMB exchange. It is undoubtedly a great news for engineering machinery industry as the government is promoting high-speed rail projects.


He said that as a large system engineering, high-speed rail projects will use a lot of engineering machinery equipment intensively during the construction process, and will generate multi-variety and all-round product demands. Domestic engineering machinery equipment has exercised for years by practice in high-speed rail construction of China, and has made lots of adaptive improvements; both the technology and service are very mature. Therefore, engineering machinery industry attaches high importance to the expansion of high-speed rail in international market and is expecting to amount to something.






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