Alstom to assemble LRVs in Brazil

ALSTOM has announced plans to invest €15m in new assembly line at its Taubaté hydro manufacturing plant in the Brazilian state of São Paulo to produce light rail vehicles for the South American market.


Alstom says it expects operations to begin at the 16,000m2 facility by December.


The first vehicles off the assembly line are likely to be the fleet of 32 Citadis LRVs ordered by the VLT Carioca consortium for the 28km Porto Maravilha LRT in Rio de Janeiro in September 2013. Alstom says it expects to build the first of these vehicles in Europe before assembly moves to Taubaté.


The Porto Maravilha LRVs are due to be delivered between early 2015 and mid-2016.






Four shortlisted for Tel Aviv Red Line infrastructure contract

TEL AVIV Metropolitan Mass Transit System (NTA) announced on January 13 that four international consortia have prequalified for the railway systems contract for the city's planned 22km light rail Red Line from Petakh-Tikva to Bat Yam.


Expressions of interest were invited in 2012 for the contract which includes track, signalling and train control, electrification, and security systems.


The prequalified consortia include:


Alstom Transport and Israeli partner Minrav Engineering & Building; Bombardier and Danya Cebus, Israel TAT, comprising Colas Rail, Thales, Systra and the Israeli companies Shapir Civil and Marin Engineering, and Sefarad Infrastructure, comprising Spanish companies. Ineco, Indra, Isolux Corsan, Isolux Ingenieria, Corsan-Corviam Construction, and Metro de Madrid. The winning bidder will be selected in the second quarter of this year and the contract will be signedat the beginning of next year.


At a meeting with the prequalified bidders in Tel Aviv on January 13, NTA chairman Mr Alex Wishnitzer stressed that the city intends to proceed with construction of all eight planned mass transit lines. "We have full support from all parts of the Finance Ministry to budget the additional lines and we also have the full support of the Transport Ministry," he says. "The overall cost of the project is around $US 28bn and if needed, we'll find external financing sources."


Wishnitzer also promised that NTA will appoint a new general manager for NTA within the next few weeks.


NTA's Red Line manager Mr Tony Burchel added that he expects the first line to be completed on schedule. "I don't see any reason why the Red Line will not be completed as promised in October 2021 or even earlier," he says. "There is no doubt that problems will arise, but with cooperation we'll be able to fulfill the mission."


Within the next three months NTA will introduce a high-frequency bus service on the Red Line route, which it hopes will encourage greater public transport use on this corridor in readiness for the start of light rail services.







Hitachi gains TSI certification for onboard ETCS

HITACHI announced on January 14 that its onboard ETCS equipment has been fully certified by a notified body in accordance with the European Control Command and Signalling Technical Specification for Interoperability (CCS TSI).


According to Hitachi, the equipment has demonstrated compliance with all relevant TSI and EN norms at Safety Integrity Level 4.


Hitachi Rail Europe's "Verification-Train 3" project has been testing ETCS Level 2 onboard equipment in Britain using a Network Rail class 97/3 locomotive, which has undergone trials on the Cambrian network in mid-Wales. This included testing the interoperability of the system with Ansaldo STS trackside equipment.


During the trial the locomotive was driven under its own power and used ETCS Level 2 via a GSM-R radio network in various operational modes including staff responsibility, on-sight, shunting and full supervision. Hitachi's system was successfully identified on Network Rail's Cambrian Signalling System and Control Centre in Machynlleth without any failures.


With the completion of the certification process, Hitachi is now preparing to install the equipment on the fleet of class 800/801 Super Express Trains, which have been ordered for the Great Western and East Coast main lines as part of Britain's Intercity Express Project (IEP).






Turkmenistan launches new Bereket – Etrek tender

TURKMENISTAN's Ministry of Railway Transport issued an international invitation to tender on January 14 for the contract to complete construction of the 1520mm-gauge railway between Bereket and the Iranian border near Etrek, which will form part of a new 686km north-south line between Kazakhstan and Iran.


Construction began in March 2010, but the project stalled when the Turkmen government terminated its contract with Pars Energy, Iran, after it emerged that the 100km line would not be completed by the contractual deadline of December 2012.


In addition to the construction of the railway, the new contract includes the completion of locomotive servicing facilities at Bereket.


The deadline for submission of bids to the ministry is February 14 and the line is expected to open before the end of the year.


The 146km section of the route from Uzen, Kazakhstan, to the Turkmen border near Bolashak, and the 80km section of the line in Iran both opened last year.





Hanoi suburban railway proposal submitted

VIETNAM Railway Administration has submitted a draft proposal to the Ministry of Transport for the construction of a 38.4km standard-gauge suburban line serving western districts of Hanoi.


The double-track line would be designed for 100km/h operation and would link Van Cao in the central district of Ba Dinh with Thach Binh in Thach That, with a journey time of around 30 minutes between the terminus stations. The line would serve new residential developments as well as the National Convention Centre, National Stadium, and the national administrative area.


According to local media reports, the cost of the project is expected to be around Dong 14.9 trillion ($US 2.87bn) and construction will be divided into two phases due to be completed in 2019 and 2024.






China plans Yuan 630bn rail investment in 2014

CHINA Railways Corporation (CRC) has announced plans to invest Yuan 630bn ($US 104.2bn) in fixed assets in 2014, a reduction of more than Yuan 30bn on its investment budget for 2013.


China's state news agency Xinhua reported on January 9 that around 6000km of new lines are expected to open this year, quoting CRC general manager Mr Sheng Guangzu. CRC says the country's railway network grew to more than 100,000km last year, including more than 10,000km of high-speed lines. The government aims to expand the network to 120,000km by 2020.


CRC expects to carry 2.27 billion passengers in 2014, compared with around 2 billion last year, while freight volumes are projected to increase by 2% to 3.28 billion tonnes.


CRC's debt-to-asset ratio reached 63.2% by the end of the third quarter of last year, with debts of Yuan 3.06 trillion – up from Yuan 2.66 trillion at the end of 2012 – and assets of Yuan 4.84 trillion.





Softronic Hyperion ready for testing


ROMANIAN rolling stock manufacturer Softronic has unveiled the prototype of its new Hyperion emu, which is expected to begin mainline testing next month.


The Hyperion has been developed by Softronic at a cost of around €5m and the 70m-long four-car prototype train was built at the company's Craiova plant in southern Romania.


The articulated train will be offered in 160km/h and 200km/h variants and will seat between 150 and 188 passengers. The 160km/h dual-voltage (3kV dc and 25kV 50Hz ac) prototype is equipped with two powered and three unpowered bogies, with four asynchronous traction motors, each rated at 430kW, generating a total output of 1.72MW.


Softronic says the train is equipped with ABB traction motors, Lucchini wheelsets, and Knorr-Bremse brakes. Air-conditioning systems have been supplied by Klimat-Fer, Italy.


China to electrify Belarus-Lithuania link

BELARUS Railways (BC) has awarded China National Electric Import and Export Corporation (CUEC) a contract to electrify the 80km line from Maladzyechna, 72km northwest of Minsk, to Gudohay and the Lithuanian border.


Work is due to begin later this year and the $US 90m project will be completed by the end of 2015.


Lithuanian Railways (LG) is planning to electrify the line from Novaya Wilnya near Vilnius to the border at Šumskas which would complete the electrification of the line between Vilnius and Minsk.


The two schemes are part of a larger international project to complete electrification between the Black Sea ports of Ukraine and Klaipeda on Lithuania's Baltic coast. Later this year Ukrainian Railways will begin erecting catenary on the Berdichev - Zhytomir - Korosten - Vystupovichi line.







CSR First Export Its New Acoustics Material to USA

Recently, CSR Age New Material under Zhuzhou Office has successfully delivered to General Electric (GE) high-end sound absorption material for locomotive. It is the first time that China's new acoustic material is introduced to overseas market. “”


This product is a sound absorption material attached to glass-fiber panel with porous leather, applied on side wall of locomotive to reduce noise. Improvement in environment-friendly performance is the key to the breakthrough. The technical R&D team has decided through many formula optimization and sample verification that, during centrifugal drawing of glass-fiber, environment-friendly vegetable oil is added as plasticizer and for control of centrifuge shaft speed to obtain high-flexibility and high-strength environment-friendly glass-fiber panel material. Finally, Zhuzhou Office of CSR won the bid for supply for GE's acoustic product with excellent environment-friendly performance of its product.







Trial operation starts on Delhi metro Phase 3

DELHI Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) launched trial operation on the first completed section of the third phase of the city's metro network on December 30, when secretary of the Indian Ministry of Urban Development Dr Sudhir Krishna and Mr Mangu Singh, chairman of DMRC flagged off the first test train on the 3km Central Seretariat – Mandi House stretch of Line 6.


The underground line is the first phase of the 9.4km northern extension of Line 6 to Kashmir Gate, which will relieve the congested interchange between Line 2 and Line 3 at Rajiv Chowk.


DMRC says public services are due to begin running between Central Secretariat and Mandi House in March, six months earlier than originally planned, and the extension will increase metro ridership by around 70,000 passengers per day.


Phase 3 will add another 137km to the metro network by 2016, including the city's first driverless lines.






CSR Awarded Two Prizes

Recently, Ministry of Finance, CSRC, SASAC, along with Shenzhen Bodi Enterprise Risk Management Technology Co. Ltd., have jointly issued Internal Control Index of Chinese Listed Company (ICICLC) for 2013.


The result indicates that, CSR is among the best in the appraisal of internal control index, ranking Grade AAA, the highest grade, and awarded two prizes - Outstanding Leadership of Internal Control and Top 100 Enterprise of Internal Control. It is the second time that CSR is awarded the prize following ranking 7 with respect of internal control index in 2011, and CSR hereby has awarded the specific prize for internal audit and control by external professional institution consecutively for three years.


It is the third years when internal control index of listed company is issued. Leaders of Ministry of Finance, CSRC, SASAC, the Chinese Association of Internal Audit, Beijing National Accounting Institute and Chinese Internal Control Research Center were present at the conference, gave keynote speeches, and granted the prizes to the enterprises.


ICICLC is a general appraisal of internal control and risk management level of Chinese listed companies, and has become a measurement and wind indicator for internal control capacity of the listed companies in China. ICICLC is issued to provide visual representation of internal control capacity of listed companies for regulation authorities and investors, and plays a significant role in promoting construction of internal control system, elevating risk control capacity, normalizing operation of capital market and pushing forward sustainable economic development.









China's New Rail Project Could Fast Track One Of Its Neghbors Into Deep Debt

China is moving forward with its massive plan to build a 120 mph railway that would reach all the way to Singapore from Southwest China. Problem: The railway will have to go through some of its neighboring countries, including Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia — which could bring significant changes to these countries, for better or for worse.


According to the Telegraph, the project is set to be completed by 2019 and would require building “154 bridges and 76 tunnels, as well as 31 train stations,” just to get the railway from the Laos-China border to Laos’ capital city, which is about 260 miles in between. For an agricultural and rural country like Laos that only has two miles of functioning train track, this high-speed rail system would bring a significant environmental and economic changes in the next 5-6 years.


China has long been one of the biggest investors in Laos, as the latter provided minerals like potash and other resources like rubber. But the Chinese government has a bigger interest in Laos than just its resources — the Telegraph speculates that it would become an economic vassal for China in the future with the completion of this railway system.


But the bigger question lingers as Laos plans to borrow $7.2 billion $7.4 billion from Beijing to pay for its section of the railway, which would inevitably throw the country into one of the heaviest debts in its history, instantly making it world’s fourth most-indebted nation. Experts warned that this plan is simply unaffordable and predicted that the yearly interest on the loan would equal up to 20% of Laos’ annual government spending.


The Laos’ government is moving forward with the plan, even if it means destruction and transformation of many of its rural villages mostly because it can’t stop the Chinese. Since Laos is a landlocked country, it’s expecting the railway to possibly open up a cheaper and faster way to export goods and drive development of the impoverished economy.




CSR Obtain Order of 2,160 Subway Trains and Lead Domestic Market for Five Years

On December 19, bid for subway trains of Line 11 in Shanghai was opened, and CSR obtained orders of 2,160 trains in 20 projects, accounting for more than one half (54.24%) of the market share, setting a new record in the history. As known, there are currently three qualified candidates - CSR, China CNR and Beijing Subway Vehicle Equipment Company Limited.


According to statistics issued by an industrial bid site, in 2013, there are bids for 3982 (three cars in one group) cars in 34 projects in 20 cities, setting a record in the history, among which CSR has obtained orders of 2,160 cars in 20 projects, accounting for more than one half of market share.


As reported by analyzer, with introduction of urban rail transit plan, there is a trend of explosion in urban rail transit market demand. According to statistics in Annual Report of Urban Rail Transit in China issued by the authorities, there are 50 cities where 400 subway lines in total has been planned, with total distance exceeding 14,000 kilometers. According to statistics, so far, 36 cities across the country have been approved for their Rail Transit network planning and construction, in total distance of 5,790 kilometers, among which 28 have called for bids and 18 have put lines into operation. It is predicted that the lines in operation will be more than 3,000 kilometers by 2015, and 7,000 kilometers by 2020.


With flourishing development of urban rail transportation, the suppliers are introducing more green and smart urban rail vehicle products. “” Currently, CSR not only has possessed R&D platform for Classes A, B, and C subway vehicles, but also has developed fully low-board tramcar, energy-stored tramcar, ultra-low-noise and environment-friendly middle-/low-speed magnetic levitation vehicles.


CSR's middle-/low-speed magnetic levitation vehicles have been in trial run and will be applied in Changsha Airport and Changsha South Railway Station. CSR's fully low-board tramcar will serve the Second World Youth Olympic Games in Hexi and Qilin, Nanjing in 2014. Energy-stored modern tramcar is an innovation in the world, which is cost-efficient and environment-friendly, really leading the industry. In June 2013, CSR won a bid for project of Guangzhou Hai-Zhu Line Tramcar, and hereby Guangzhou is expected to become the first city in the world using this energy-efficient modern tramcar.


As known, CSR also takes leadership in inter-city EMU and obtained approval for inter-city EMU models - CRH6A with speed level of 200km/h and CRH6F with speed level of 160km/h, basically covering suburb, urban and regional rail transit markets.






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