No.461issue(2014 02 14)

India looks to foreign investors to fund rail projects

DURING the announcement of an interim budget of Rs 643bn ($US 10.26bn) for Indian Railways for 2014-15, India's railways minister Mr Mallikarjun Kharge outlined plans to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to fund infrastructure projects.


Kharge told the Lok Sabha, India's lower house of parliament, that Indian Railways' proposal to obtain foreign investment to fund high-speed and semi-high-speed (160-200km/h) rail projects is likely to be approved shortly by the cabinet. Kharge reiterated that concrete progress on the Mumbai - Ahmedabad high-speed project is likely after the completion of the Jica-sponsored survey. Semi-high-speed services are planned on the Delhi - Agra and Delhi - Chandigarh lines. "Our plans are to make one of these routes operational by the year end," IR's chairman Mr Arunendra Kumar said later.


The railways minister emphasised the need to continue reforms initiated by the ruling coalition. He said the Rail Tariff Authority (RTA) would shortly become operational. He also announced plans to run 17 premier trains using the so-called dynamic pricing model akin to that used by airlines and introduce 72 new train services.


IR's financial performance is a continuing cause for concern. Its operating ratio climbed three percentage points from 87.8% to 90.8% for the current financial year. IR has suffered a substantial reduction in passenger revenue, while fuel costs have spiralled. As a result of a shortfall in earnings, the ministry's planned outlay for the current financial year has been cut by almost Rs 40bn from Rs 633bn to Rs 593bn.


A new government will assume office in India in May following national elections, when a full railway budget will be presented.






Korail invites tenders for HS train fleet

KOREA's national rail operator, Korail, has issued a call for tender for 15 10-car high-speed trains for operation on the new Wongang line which opens in 2017 and will link Wonju, southeast of Seoul, with the east coast city of Gangneung.


The 300km/h trains will have a design speed of 330km/h and a maximum output of 8.8MW powered by induction motors.


Each train will have 420 seats, seats and toilets for disabled passengers, a nursery, passenger information monitors, ample luggage storage, and compartments for use by train crew.


Korail wants the first train to be delivered by December 31 2016, with a second batch of six trains to be supplied by June 30 2017 and the remaining eight trains to be delivered by October 31 2017.







Dubai plans metro extensions

DESIGN and planning of three extensions which will add 35.4km and 33 stations to Dubai's metro network is well underway, according to the acting CEO of Roads and Transport Authority's (RTA) Rail Agency, Mr Abullah Yousuf Al Ali.


The extensions include adding 20.6km to the existing 22.5km Green Line which opened in September 2011 from the current terminus at Jaddaf south to Academic City. The project includes a 12km elevated and an 8km underground section and will add 11 new stations to the line's existing 18 stops.


The 52.1km Red Line, which opened in September 2009, will be extended south by 3.5km from its current eastern terminus at Rashidiya to Mirdiff, while a further 15km will be added south from the western terminus at Jebel Ali to the Expo 2020 site near Al Maktoum International Airport. In total 12 new stations will be added to the route.


"The designs and details of the expansion projects are currently being worked out and work on the project will begin soon," Al Ali said on the sidelines of last week's Middle East Rail event held in Dubai. "All extensions will be ready in time for Expo 2020."


Al Ali added that the Dubai Metro has played an important role in changing public perceptions about public transport since it opened, which is reflected in public transport now accounting for 13% of all transport in Dubai compared with 6% in 2006.


RTA is aiming to increase this by 1% every year over the next 20 years, and currently carries around 500,000 passengers per day on the Dubai Metro, at around half of its operating capacity.






RZD to sell half its stake in Aeroexpress

THE board of Russian Railways (RZD) has decided to sell half of its 50% holding in airport express train operator Aeroexpress which it acquired in 2008.


The transaction will be carried out through RZD subsidiary Delta-Trans-Invest and the price will be based on the market value calculated by an independent appraiser. Traffic on Aeroexpress' four routes in Moscow, its Vladivostok Airport link and its recently-opened link to Kazan Airport has been rising steadily and topped 20 million passengers for the first time last year.


Aeroexpress also acts as RZD's ticketing agent for the Sochi Airport rail link which is currently serving visitors to the Winter Olympics. RZD says that more than 530,000 passengers have used the rail services in Sochi serving Olympic venues since February 6 when passengers were allowed to travel free of charge.





Three consortia prequalify for Lima metro Line 2

PROINVERSIóN, Peru's private investment promotion agency, has prequalified three consortia for the $US 6.5bn construction, operation and maintenance contract for Lima Metro Line 2, a 35km east-west underground line that will connect the district of Ate Vitarte with the city centre and Callao on the Pacific coast.


Technical and economic offers for the project are due on February 21, with ProInversión expected to award the contract for the 35-year concession on February 28.


The shortlisted consortia are:


Consorcio Nuevo Metro de Lima, which comprises ACS and FCC, Spain, Impreglio, Italy, AnsaldoBreda, and Cosapi, Peru


Consorcio Metro Subterráno de Lima, which consists of Astaldi, Italy, and ICA, Mexico, subsidiary Controlador de Operaciones de Infraestructura, and


` Consorcio Metro de Lima Line 2, which includes Brazilian contractors Odebrecht, Andrade Gutierrez, and Queiroz Galv?o Constructora, and Gra?a y Montero, Peru.


The project encompasses construction of 35km of underground railway, including an 8km branch to Jorge Chavez International Airport which will eventually form part of Line 4, as well as 35 stations and depot, electrification, signalling and telecoms systems, and the supply of rolling stock.


The new line is expected carry 644,000 passengers per day, including 24,000 per hour at peak times, and offer a journey time of 45 minutes.






Israel Railways reports strong traffic growth

PASSENGER traffic on Israel Railways increased by 12% from 40.4 million journeys in 2012 to 45.1 million last year, with traffic growing by 25% since 2009.


The main increases in 2013 were recorded on the following new and upgraded lines: Hod-Ha-Sharon - Tel Aviv: 27% Beer-Sheva - Tel Aviv: 25% Jerusalem - Tel Aviv: 25%, and Yavne West - Tel Aviv: 24%. Punctuality averaged 93.3% in 2013, compared with 90% in 2012 and 86.6% in 2011. The improvement has been achieved mainly by better management of train operations, completion of track doubling between Nahariya and Beer-Sheva, and introduction of Vossloh Euro 4000 and 3200 diesel locomotives.


Israel Railways plans to introduce a new timetable in June which will see increased frequencies on several lines and improved services to Haifa and Beer-Sheva.





Brazilian logistics company wants to study 1200km railway


ESTA da Luz Participa??es (EDLP), a Brazilian logistics company, has applied to the federal government to carry out a feasibility study for a new 1200km north-south railway called Ferrogr?o.


According to BN Americas, the line would run from a port at Miritituba on the River Tapajós on the opposite bank from the city of Itaituba south to Lucas do Verde to connect with the planned Centre West Integration Railway. The cost of the project is estimated at Reais 6bn ($US 2.5bn). Ferrogr?o would carry soybeans, grain and other agricultural products north to the port for export generating about 60 million tonnes of freight a year.


EDLP says an investment fund is already interested in helping fund the project and it is looking for other backers.


Test running of first Santos LRVs to start in June

EMTU, which is managing a project to build a 16.9km light rail line linking S?o Vicente with Santos, Brazil, says that testing of the first LRV will start in June.


"By the end of June, when we'll make our first trip, a major part of the LRT infrastructure should be completed," said EMTU's CEO Mr Joaquim Lopes during a visit to the works on February 4.


Tremvia Santos, a consortium of TTrans and Vossloh, is supplying a fleet of 22 seven-section 43.7m-long stainless-steel LRVs. The first three vehicles are due to arrive from Spain in May, while the remainder of the fleet is being assembled in Brazil.


The first section under construction is 11km long and runs from S?o Vicente and Councillor Nébias in Santos to the port. The second stage will be 5.8km long and connect Councillor Nébias with Valongo Terminal in the old centre of Santos. The light rail network will be fully integrated with buses to serve about 70 million passengers/day.







Manila to adopt automatic fare collection

THE AF Consortium of Ayala Corp and Metro Pacific Investments (MPIC), which recently won the contract to upgrade ticketing on urban rail lines in Metro Manila, says it will spend $US 40m on the automatic fare collection project.


The AF Consortium offered Peso 1.08bn ($US 24m) for the 10-year public-private partnership scheme, the highest premium bid received, which includes a Peso 800m transaction fee and a Peso 270m availability payment. Ayala and MPIC are partnering with MSI Global to rollout the fare collection solution which will establish a "tap and go" automatic ticketing system similar to the Octopus system used in Hong Kong and will replace the existing magnetic stripe ticketing used on the network's three elevated lines.


The project will upgrade facilities at 44 stations on the network and 328 turnstiles used on LRT Line 1, 229 on LRT Line 2, and 171 on MRT Line 3. Each partner will contribute an equal share of the investment cost for the project which is expected to take 18 months to complete. The consortium also has the option to extend the contactless card system to businesses outside of the transport sector.


"We will not charge passengers a single cent," says MPIC president Mr Jose Ma K Lim. "All of the capex we will recover through the use of the cards in other places like convenience stores, on buses and in coffee shops."







Salvador metro train contract awarded

CCR, which was awarded a Reais 4bn ($US 1.65bn) construction and operation concession for the second phase of the Salvador metro in the Brazilian state of Bahia, has decided to purchase a fleet of 49 four-car trains from a consortium of Hyundai Rotem, Korea and Iesa, Brazil.


The trains will be assembled at Iesa's plant in S?o Paulo state using components supplied by Hyundai Rotem. The project also involves modifications to six trains supplied by a consortium of Mitsui, Japan, and Hyundai Rotem in 2008.


CCR is responsible for extending Line 1 by 5.6km to the east and constructing Line 2, a 24.2km east-west line. Both lines are due to be completed by spring 2017 and CCR will operate the network for 30 years.






Adif awards €28m electrification contract

SPANISH infrastructure manager Adif has awarded a consortium of Alstom and Isolux Corsán a €28m contract to design, construct and maintain a traction substation and catenary system for the 44.3km link under-construction between La Robla in León and Pola de Tena, Asturias, which will eventually form part of the León to Gijon high-speed line.


For its 50% share of the contract Alstom will contribute engineering and project management as well as the supply of the catenary system, 2x25kV traction substation and autotransformers, including the associated traction power control system. Alstom Spain will manage testing and commissioning of the entire system.


The new high-speed line includes the 25km Pajaras tunnel which is currently under-construction and will be Spain's second longest tunnel when complete. The new line is set to shorten the distance between Asturias and Castile-León by 33km and enable trains to travel at up to 300km/h on dual-gauge tracks.









Mexico to invest $US 9.4bn in passenger and freight rail

MEXICO's Transport and Communications Ministry (SCT) has announced plans to invest at least Pesos 125bn ($US 9.4bn) in 13 passenger and freight railway projects.


According to BN Americas, SCT rail director Mr Carlos Almada made the announcement at the ExpoRail 2014 conference held this week in Cancún. He says the proposed projects include the Mexico City -Toluca, Mexico City - Querétaro, and Yucatán peninsula passenger projects at a cost of Pesos 95bn.


Long-distance passenger services all but disappeared in Mexico following the privatisation of the national railway during the 1990s and the failure to set up a government-operated passenger service akin to Amtrak in the United States.


These investments are considered a major step towards reintroducing passenger trains, while a further Pesos 30bn will be spent on improving railfreight infrastructure. This includes enhancements to the Aguascalientes - Guadalajara line, which includes the construction of Manzanillo tunnel that will double freight capacity to 4 million TEUs and reduce the distance between Manzanillo and Altamira by 200km, or 16 hours.


Other projects include the Coatzacoalcos, Celaya and Matamoros bypasses, which will increase line speeds, and in Coatzacoalcos will divert transport of hazardous materials away from the city centre.




Oman to issue design and build prequalification tender this month

OMAN's minister of transport and communications, Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi, this week confirmed that a tender for prequalification of contractors for design and build, and systems packages for Oman's national railway project will be issued this month.


Al Futaisi said that the systems contractor will act as a subcontractor to a design and build contractor, with both having to submit one combined bid. He says that if the prequalification tender proceeds as expected, he anticipates awarding the 171km Sohar - Buraimi construction contract by the end of the year, and civil works to commence on Oman's first railway project in the first quarter of 2015. The prequalification tender will be valid for four years, with any prequalified contractor able to bid for subsequent railway contracts.


"When we float the other segments, say from Buraimi to Ibri, to Sinaw to Duqm, and so on, we will not do another prequalification," Al Futaisi says. "The same prequalified parties will be able to bid for the next segments, unless four years lapse at which point we will announce a further prequalification."


Al Futaisi's comments conflict with the director of Oman National Railway, Mr Abdulrahman Al Hatmi's, views expressed earlier this week that he expects prequalification tender to be issued "by the end of March."


The government confirmed in its 2014 state budget that Rials 1bn ($US 2.6bn) has been earmarked for the country's railway project in the initial phases of its development, and Al Futais made the prequalification announcement during a contract signing for three consultancy agreements relating to design of the country's proposed 2244km railway network and the development of Omani Railway Company.


Italferr will conduct preliminary design of the entire network under a contract worth Rials 13.6m. The Italian firm secured a letter of intent for the contract win last August, beating off competition from DB International and National Engineering Office, Oman. Under the second Rials 293,000 contract, Abu Taman Grant will provide consultancy services to develop the organisational structure of the Omani Railway Company, while the third contract relates to developing brand identity and trademark for Omani Railway Company, and was agreed with Dar al Takwwn Advertising Agency in a Rials 92,500 deal.


Al Futaisi says that field works including geographic and geological surveys for the project have already begun, while the design contract includes a training programme for Omani engineers.


"The consultant will train 10 Omani university graduates who will travel to Rome next month to receive the required training which will enable them to become railway engineers," Al Futaisi says. "A special programme is in place to establish them as the nucleus of Omani Railway Company."


Al Futaisi added that the results of a tender to select the project management consultant are still under consideration, with five bidding consortiums led by Parsons-Brinckerhoff, Tecnicas Reunidas, Spain, Hill International, United States, Dohwa Engineering, Korea, and Parsons International, awaiting the results.


"They had some comments with regard to the evaluation of the offers and we are replying to them," Al Futaisi says. "We are hoping that it will happen shortly. A reward is now required because the project management consultant will review the preliminary designs. It's clear that [Italferr] is moving very fast and is already submitting to us the drawings for the first segment. We need the project manager to review them so we hope this announcement will come very soon."






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