No.463issue(2014 02 28)

Mongolian freight traffic set to double by 2020

MONGOLIAN State Railways (MTZ) says it expects freight traffic to almost double on its 1815km network by 2020 after volumes reached record levels in 2013.


MTZ carried 21 million tonnes of freight last year, and forecasts volumes increasing to 34 million tonnes next year and 45 million tonnes in 2020.


MTZ is a 50:50 joint venture between Russian Railways (RZD) and the Mongolian government. The company was created in 2008 under reforms which aimed to bring private sector investment into the country's railways.






Funding boost for Kamchik Pass railway

THE UZBEK Reconstruction and Development Fund has allocated a $US 280m loan to help finance the construction of a new railway through the Kamchik pass in eastern Uzbekistan, which will allow east-west freight traffic to bypass northern Tajikistan.


According to local press reports, the money will be used to buy construction equipment and fund civil works on the $US 1.9bn project, which involves building a 129km electrified line between the existing railhead at Angren and Pap to create a direct connection between the capital Tashkent and Uzbekistan's second-largest city Namangan.


Reaching an altitude of 2267m above sea level, the Kamchik pass carries the only highway between the two cities entirely in Uzbek territory and it is the only route that could feasibly be taken by a railway through the narrow strip of Uzbek territory between the Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan borders.


Construction is expected to take around five years to complete, and will include two major tunnels.


Last November China's Eximbank agreed to provide Uzbekistan with a $US 350m loan to help finance the $455m Kamchik Tunnel, which is being built by the China Railway Tunnel Group. The 19km tunnel is due to be completed by mid-2016.







CSR unveils new inter-city train for Iraq

CHINA Southern Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation (CSR) formally presented the first of a fleet of ten diesel trains for Iraqi Republic Railways (IRR) to Iraq's ambassador to Beijing Dr Abdul Karim Mostafa and other dignitaries at the CSR Sifang plant in Qingdao on February 17.


The 160km/h 10-car long-distance train has two power cars and accommodates up to 343 passengers.


According to reports in the Iraqi media, the value of the order is around $US 115m and the trains are expected to be used on services from Baghdad to Basra and Um Qasr in the south of the country.






Moscow orders 832 metro cars from TMH

MOSCOW Metro has awarded a contract to supply and maintain 832 metro cars to a consortium of Transmashholding (TMH) subsidiaries Metrovagonmash and Transleasholding in a deal worth Roubles 144bn ($US 4.1bn).


Deliveries are expected to begin later this year and will continue until 2017. The vehicles will be formed into eight-car trains and the first sets are expected to enter service on Line 8 when the Novokuznetskaya – Delovoy Tsentr and Park Pobedy – Ramenky sections open next year.


The consortium will maintain the fleet for its entire 30-year lifespan.


The order is being financed by Moscow city council in instalments over 15 years.





Toshiba wins Taiwan HS station E&M contract

TAIWAN High Speed Rail Corporation (THSRC) has awarded a Yen 2.8bn ($US 27.5m) turnkey contract to Toshiba, Japan, for installation of electrical and mechanical (E&M) systems at three new stations.


The stations at Miaoli, Changhua and Yunlin are being built on the existing 345km high-speed line linking Taipei and Kaohsiung. The contract includes public address, passenger information systems, signalling, electrification, power supply, and a maintenance management information system. The new stations are due to open by the end of next year. This will be followed in 2016 by the opening of a 9.2km extension from Taipei to Nangang, for which Toshiba and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries won the E&M and trackwork contract in July 2013.


In addition, Toshiba and Kawasaki Heavy Industries received an order in May 2012 from THSRC for four additional 12-car trains to expand its fleet.






Trains set to return to Okinawa

OKINAWA, the only Japanese prefecture without a railway, is to develop plans this year for a 69km line linking the capital Naha on the southern part of Okinawa Island with Nago in the north.


According to a report on the proposals in the Japan Times on February 20, the prefecture suffers some of the worst traffic congestion in Japan. A survey carried out by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism in 2010 found main roads in Okinawa were as congested as those in Tokyo and Osaka.


The article states that detailed plans for the project will be drawn up by 2015 with the aim of starting construction in 2019, although the line will not be completed until 2029. Services will be run by a private company and the prefecture expects operations to be profitable if ridership exceeds 40,000 passengers per day.


A 12km monorail line opened in Naha in 2003, but the last of Okinawa's conventional railways, the Minami Daito sugar-cane railway, ceased operations in 1983. A network of railways once radiated from Naha, although much of the system was destroyed during the Second World War and never reopened.


Okinawa has a population of around 1.4 million and the capital Naha is home to 321,000 people.





Vossloh wins Mongolia fastening contract


SAMSUNG C&T Engineering and Construction Mongolia has awarded Vossloh Fastening Systems a contract to supply its MNG 30 fastening system for a new heavy-haul line in Mongolia.


Shipments of the fasteners, which will be manufactured in Werdohl, Germany, is set to commence in a few weeks according to Vossloh and will be completed in the first half of 2015. MNG is a modification of Vossloh's W30HH fasteners which are used with concrete sleepers on ballasted tracks, and will be applied to 270km of track on the 217km line.


Vossloh says MNG 30 is suitable to handle the coal shipments on the line, which will run from mines at Tavan Tolgoi to Gashun Sukhait on the Chinese border. The system has also been adapted to withstand Mongolia's harsh climate and the challenging soil conditions on the line which will run through the Gobi desert.


Seoul metro Line 5 extension moves forward

SEOUL Metropolitan Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (SMRT) has issued an invitation to tender for a contract to carry out detailed design for the 7.7km eastern extension of metro Line 5 from Sangildong to Hanam.


A prefeasibility study for the five-station extension was completed in 2011 and construction is expected to start next year. Commercial services are due to begin in 2020.


At 52.3km, Seoul Line 5 is already the world's third-longest fully-underground metro line after Guangzhou Line 3 (67.3km) and Beijing Line 10 (57.1km).







China-Russia rail bridge

The construction of a cross-border railway bridge linking Russia and China officially began on Wednesday in Russia's far eastern Jewish Autonomous Oblast.


The 6,735-meter bridge will connect Tongjiang port in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province with the Russian village of Nizhneleninskoye.


Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui and Russian Deputy Transport Minister Alexey Tsydenov attended the commencement ceremony in Nizhneleninskoye.


The bridge, designed with an annual passage capacity of 21 million tons, is expected to highly improve the transportation conditions of Tongjiang port and offer a shortcut between China and Russia. The construction is forecast to take two and a half years with an estimated total investment of 2.58 billion yuan ($422 million).


The project's investors are China Railway Engineering Corporation, the Heilongjiang provincial government, and the Far East & Baikal Region Development Fund Open Joint Stock Company.







Driverless metro train arrives in Hong Kong

The first metro train for Hong Kong’s South Island Line (East) was delivered to Siu Ho Wan depot on February 19. This is the first of 10 three-car trainsets being supplied by Changchun Railway Vehicles Co, which are to be equipped for unattended train operation.


According to metro operator MTR Corp, the train has undergone 5 000 km of test running on the supplier’s test track. Following initial testing at Siu Ho Wan Depot, the fleet will be moved to Wong Chuk Hang depot in late 2014 for final testing and commissioning before entering passenger service next year.


The 7 km South Island Line (East) is to run from Admiralty to South Horizons with three intermediate stations. The ‘medium capacity’ line will operate services at 3 min peak headways. MTR says that around 60% of the works have been completed.






China elements enhance Brazil World Cup

Before the Brazil World Cup beginning, EMUs made by CNR are operating in Brazil Rio de Janeiro. Local people said:”New passenger cars are good looking with air conditioner and we are enjoy travelling by the fleet to work and home”.


In 2007, two major events in order to help that will be hosting the World Cup and the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, for improving the reception capacity, the World Bank and Brazil Government had jointly invested US $ 12 billion to improve urban public transport infrastructure. There are 30 EMUs are operating in Rio de Janeiro. Another 30 will be put into services before the Brazil World Cup beginning from CNR. Total 90 cars will be delivered by CNR.









CNR inked RMB37.21 billion yuan contract

On January 6, CNR released late notice of major contracts total RMB 37.205 billion yuan. CNR is not only in the leading position of over 300 km/h EMU products in China but also in the high-topped globally.


Under the contract, CNR 2013 bid for EMU will be delivered in 2014.




Chinese railway interests—in Mexico?

A Mexican legislator who happens to be a member of the nation’s opposition National Action Party (PAN) has said that the Chinese government is interested in participating in the country’s railroad system, should its structure be drastically altered under a bill now being considered in the Senate (upper chamber) of Mexico’s Congress.


Earlier this month, Mexico’s lower chamber overwhelmingly approved a reform of the country’s existing rail freight legal framework that would force open access upon two concession-holders: Grupo Mexico, which operates Ferromex and Ferrosur, and Kansas City Southern de Mexico. Under the terms of the bill, Grupo Mexico and KCSM would be forced to share their lines or risk losing them. They would also have to publish rates they charge customers for interconnections with routes owned by other companies.


According to a report filed Feb. 26, 2014 by Reuters, National Action Party member Juan Carlos Muñoz, who also heads the lower house of Congress’ transport commission, said Chinese rail companies (as well as some U.S. firms) have expressed interest in the Mexican rail freight market if the reform bill, which seeks to open up the sector to more companies, is approved. He did not disclose any names.


“What’s this proposal aiming to do? Bring new players into the market,” Muñoz told Reuters. “There’s an interest in China to enter Mexico’s rail market, the United States and China.” He said any potential newcomers would benefit from a recently approved overhaul of Mexico’s energy sector, which is looking for foreign investment.


“Rail freight is crucial for Mexico’s fast-growing auto production and manufacturing sectors, which are key to economic growth, and the energy reform is also expected to boost sales,” Reuters said. “However, some customers, like steel producers, say the lack of competition makes for exorbitant freight prices.” (Editor’s note: Sounds a lot like the complaints of so-called “captive shippers” in the U.S.)


“U.S. railroad companies already have investments in Mexico,” Reuters noted. “KCSM is owned by Kansas City Southern, while Union Pacific Corp owns about a quarter of Ferromex.”


Muñoz said the pending bill “could allow these companies to set up their own businesses, without local partners. Union Pacific ... has a great opportunity to separate itself, to become a new concession-holder without being involved with Ferromex. It opens an impressive opportunity for them.”


Muñoz said that if the bill is approved, large industrial companies, like cement producer Cemex, could build their own lines, use their own cars and locomotives, and pay the current concession-holders for access. Muñoz added that he expected the Senate to make certain changes to counter the argument made by the current concession-holders that the proposed bill sets a bad precedent as Mexico tries to lure new investors into its oil and gas sector. “[We’re] certainly looking to give legal certainty in all international areas,” he said. “We don't want to generate a bad impression abroad.”


Ferromex and KCSM are now considering legal challenges to the bill, which they say ignores a concession granting exclusivity for another 14 years.






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