No.460issue(2014 02 07)

Construction to start on extension of delayed Taipei airport link

TAIWAN's Bureau of High Speed Rail (BHSR) says construction of a southwest extension of the airport rail link between Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TTIA) and Zhongli station will commence this month, while testing is now underway on the primary Taipei Railway Station - TTIA section of the much-maligned 51km project.


Work on the extension, which will link with Taiwan's high-speed network at Taoyuan, was due to commence by the end of 2012. However, the government failed to find a single bidder for the project and after the sixth failure, it decided to split the undertaking into two separate contracts.


Continental Engineering won the civil engineering contract in November and is due to start work at the end of the Chinese Lunar New Year festival this month, while BHSR says it plans to open bidding for the electrical engineering element of the project in the middle of this year.


Despite the year-long delay, BHSR says it is still hopeful of the line becoming operational by the original date of June 2018.


BHSR says that testing is now underway on the Tapei - TTIA section of the line and Taiwan's minister of transportation and communications Mr Yeh Kuang-shi says the government hopes to open the first section of the railway by the end of next year, over two years after the expected October 2013 opening date.


Construction on the Tapei - TTIA section commenced in 2006 but BHSR reported in April 2013 that installation of the line's electrical and mechanical components had fallen behind schedule, delaying the project beyond its expected opening date of October 2013. BHSR ordered the complete replacement of electrical wires used in the signalling system after some were found to have cracks in their insulation. It also cited a dispute between the lead E&M contractor, Marubeni, Japan, and its minor partners Hitachi and Kawasaki, as adding to the expected delay.


NHSR director general Mr Chu Shu took responsibility for the delays and resigned from his position in May 2013, while local news reports state that Marubeni is expected to be fined $NT 12m ($US 396,000) for every day it exceeded the October 2013 delivery deadline for the project, with the penalty capped at $NT 2.5bn. However, BHSR could seek additional restitution from Marubeni for financial losses resulting from the delayed launch of the airport service.






RZD to double spend on Trans-Sib and BAM by 2020?

RUSSIAN Railways (RZD) may have to double funding for proposed improvements to the Trans-Siberian and Baikal – Amur railways to better serve the growing volumes of coal being transported from the Kuznetsk Basin, the biggest production site in Western Siberia, according to the Russian Institute of Economy and Transport Development.


A report issued by the RZD-sponsored thinktank states that to meet demand, investments of around Roubles 1.2 trillion ($US 34.08bn) are required on the two lines up to 2020. This is twice the initial Roubles 562bn approved by the Russian cabinet in April. The report estimates that RZD will be transporting 71.8 million tonnes of coal on the two corridors in 2020, double the 32.5 million tonnes carried in 2012.


However, according to The Moscow Times, a recent audit by Deloitte, PwC and Ernst & Young identified billions of dollars of possible savings in the financial plan for reconstruction of the two corridors, while it stated that RZD had overestimated volumes on the two lines over the next seven years by 25 million tonnes.







Etihad Rail to launch services by the end of the year

ETIHAD Rail expects operations to begin on its inaugural UAE railway project, the 266km line from Shan and Habshan to Ruwais, by the end of the year with construction almost complete and testing now underway.


The railway will utilise a fleet of seven SD70ACS locomotives supplied by EMD and 240 covered hopper wagons from CSR to carry sulphur from the region to the port at Ruwais on the Persian Gulf coast for export.


The project is the first phase of the United Arab Emirates' railway network and is being financed by a $US 1.28bn five-year loan. The second phase will run from the Saudi Arabian border to Al Ain, and Mr John Lesniewski, Etihad Rail sales director, told Middle East Rail 2013, which was held this week in Dubai, that tenders for its construction are close to being awarded.


"We expect construction to start between now and the summer," he says. "We plan to connect it to the GCC by 2018."


Elsewhere in the Gulf, Kuwaiti officials say they are in the process of hiring consultants for its section of the 2000km GCC network, while Omani officials say they could miss a 2018 deadline for the development their section. Mr Abdulrahman Al Hatmi, director of Oman National Railway, says he hopes the first contract for the proposed 170km line will be awarded by the end of the year, adding that the Omani section of the GCC network is considered the most expensive per-kilometre because of mountainous terrain. He says it could cost more than $US 3bn to build.


"The prequalification for the design and build will be announced by the end of March," Al Hatmi says. "Hopefully we will launch the tender in August and after we qualify, we will invite the shortlisted to start bidding."


Al Hatmi says the Omani government is considering entering the debt market for the project either by the end of the year, or when the contract is about to be awarded, and admits this could add time to the project.


"If you want to close a financing deal, it takes time to do that," he says.






JR East’s first battery emu to enter service in March

THE first battery emu for JR East, which was delivered in January, will enter service in March enabling through operation on the partly-electrified line between Utsunomiya and Karasuyama.


The Series EV-E301 train will run as an emu on the 11.7km section from Utsunomiya to Hoshakuji which is electrified at 1.5kVdc enabling the batteries to be charged. The train will then switch to battery operation for the remaining 20.4km non-electrified section to Karasuyama. A short overhead catenary feeder section has been installed at Karasuyama station for battery charging. The 100km/h train consists of two cars, each powered by two 95kW traction motors and fitted with a 600V 95kWh lithium ion battery. The train, which has a lightweight stainless-steel car body, was built by Japan Transport Engineering Company, formerly Tokyu Car Corporation, and now an affiliate of JR East, with Hitachi traction equipment and GS Yuasa batteries.


JR East started to develop a battery emu in 2009 by converting its Kumoya E995 battery dmu. Trials were conducted in 2012 on the Karasuyama line and on the Hachiko line near Tokyo. JR East says it plans to introduce battery emus on the Karasuyama line in the future.





New GE locomotives delivered to Mozambique

MOZAMBIQUE's minister of transport and communications Mr Eusébio Saíde unveiled the first four of 10 GE Transportation C30ACi diesel locomotives for Mozambique Railways (CFM) on January 29.


The 1067mm gauge locomotives were ordered in 2011 at a cost of $US 41.2m for use on passenger and freight trains on CFM's southern route serving the port of Maputo. They will be capable of hauling longer and heavier trains than the current fleet of 12 older locomotives, and will reduce the need to lease traction from abroad.


The locomotives were assembled at the Transnet Rail Engineering (TRE) Koedoespoort plant in South Africa, where similar class 43 locomotives have been produced for Transnet Freight Rail.


In November GE and TRE delivered six C30ACis to Kumba Iron Ore for use at its Sishen mine in the South African province of Northern Cape.






French companies to upgrade Algerian coaches

ALGERIAN National Railways (SNTF) has awarded a joint venture of Faiveley Transport and Compin, France, a €75m contract to modernise 202 long-distance and suburban coaches.


Faiveley's share of the contract is worth €45m and includes new doors and air-conditioning, passenger information systems, and braking components. Compin will supply new seats for the vehicles.


All of the refurbishment work will be carried out at SNTF workshops in Algeria.





Aeroexpress ridership reaches 20 million


RUSSIAN airport express operator Aeroexpress carried more than 20 million passengers for the first time last year with ridership increasing on its services in Moscow and Vladivostok.


Traffic to the three Moscow airports – Domodedovo, Seremeteyvo, and Vnukovo – rose by 13.2% to reach 16.8 million, a 13.2% increase over the total for 2012 which gives Aeroexpress a 23.8% share of the market for travel between Moscow city centre and these airports. Ridership on the commuter route between Moscow Savyolovsky and Lobnya also rose by 19.6% to 2.5 million passengers.


In Vladivostok, Aeroexpress carried 721,500 passengers, while the new Kazan Airport service has carried 41,700 passengers since its inauguration in December.


Construction contract awarded for Zambian Northwest Railway

ZAMBIA's Northwest Rail Company (NWR) has awarded Grindrod, South Africa, a contract to build a 290km railway linking copper mines at Lumwana and Solwezi with smelters at Chingola near the border with Democratic Republic of Congo.


Grindrod said in an emailed statement on February 3 that it expects construction to begin by the end of the year, subject to the completion of a feasibility study on phase 1.


In a second phase, the line will be extended 300km to meet Angola's Benguela Railway near Jimbe. Phase 1 is intended to service existing ore and finished copper traffic, while phase 2 is intended to open up a new corridor to the port of Lobito, which would allow Zambia to import oil directly from Angola and could stimulate further mining activity in Zambia's Western Copperbelt.


The estimated capital cost of phase 1 will be $US 489m, while phase 2 will cost around $US500m. The new railway will reportedly have a design capacity of five million tonnes.


The government of Zambia granted NWR exclusive rights to develop the railway in July 2006.







Moscow opens new section of metro Line 8

MOSCOW celebrated the completion of another new stretch of metro line on January 31, when the city's deputy mayor for urban development and construction Mr Marat Khusnullin inaugurated the 3.5km western section of Line 8 from Park Pobedy to Delovoy Tsentr.


The two-station underground section includes some of the deepest tunnels on the Moscow metro network, reaching depths of up to 88m below the surface.


The line is currently isolated from the rest of Line 8 and will be served by a shuttle service until the Novokuznetskaya – Delovoy Tsentr and Park Pobedy – Ramenky sections are completed in 2015.


The journey time between Park Pobedy and Delovoy Tsentr is three minutes and services operate at 10-minute intervals.







Go-ahead for Bangalore metro phase 2

THE Indian cabinet announced on January 30 that it has approved plans for the Rs 264bn ($US 4.2bn) second phase of the Bangalore metro network.


According to a statement issued by the Government Press Bureau, the national government will provide Rs 5.28bn towards the project, while the state of Karnataka will contribute Rs 5.28bn. The remaining Rs 12.14bn will be financed through debt. The 72.1km second phase will be implemented by Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in which the Indian and Karnataka government each hold a 50% stake.


The project comprises two new lines and four extensions to the two existing lines:


Purple Line Mysore Road – Kengeri (6.5km, five stations) Purple Line Baiyyappanahalli – Whitefield (15.5km, 14 stations) Green Line Puttenhalli – Anjanapura (6.3km, five stations) Green Line Hesaraghatta – Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (3.8km, three stations) Line 3 RV Road – Bonmasandra (18.8km, 16 stations), and Line 4 Gottigere – Nagawara (21.2km, 18 stations)


Construction of the second phase is expected to take between five and six years.






Testing underway on Algiers LRT extension

ALGERIAN transport minister Mr Amar Ghoul formally launched test operation on the 6.9km eastern extension of Algiers light rail Line 1 from Bordj El Kiffan to Dergana on January 29.


The Bordj El Kiffan – Kahouat Echergui section is due to be inaugurated on April 16, with public services due to start running on the remaining section to Dergana in July.


Around 185,000 passengers per day are expected to use Line 1 when the extension is fully operational.


The initial 7km phase of the line opened in May 2011 and the 9.1km second phase from Les Bananiers to Lycée and Les Fusillés was commissioned in June 2012.









Italferr to support Ethiopian railway projects

ETHIOPIAN Railways Corporation (ERC) has appointed Italferr, the engineering subsidiary of Italian State Railways (FS), to provide consultancy services for maintenance and operations on the new 656km Addis Ababa standard-gauge line and the Addis Ababa light rail network, which are both being built by China Railway Engineering Company (CREC).


The €1.23m contract was signed at the head offices of ERC in Addis Ababa on January 28.


Italferr will begin work next month and is expected to spend around eight months on the two projects, working in conjunction with two other Italian companies, Metropolitana Milanese and Technital.








CAF/Sinara unveil Moscow metro train mock-up

URBAN Transport Solutions (UTS), a joint venture of CAF and Russia's Sinara Transport Machines unveiled a mock-up of its proposed new-generation metro car for Moscow Metro at the city's All-Russia Exhibition Centre earlier this month.


UTS is planning to offer the design in a forthcoming tender for new metro trains, which is due to be launched next month. Moscow Metro intends to order up to 3000 new metro cars by 2020 to replace life-expired vehicles and provide additional capacity for the expansion of the network.


UTS will be competing with Siemens and local partner Russian Machines, who unveiled their mock-up at the Expo 1520 exhibition in Shcherbinka last September.






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