No.467issue(2014 03 28)

Deal reached on Trans-Kalahari Railway

THE GOVERNMENTS of Botswana and Namibia have signed an agreement to build the Trans-Kalahari Railway (TKR), a 1500km heavy-haul line linking Botswana's coalfields with the existing railhead at Gobabis in Namibia.


As well as the new line from Botswana, the TKR project will involve complete rehabilitation of the TransNamib line from Gobabis, via the capital Windhoek, to serve the new port at Walvis Bay. Construction costs for the TKR are estimated at $N 100bn ($US 9.2bn), and financing will be sought from the private sector.


The agreement was signed by Mr Tom Alweendo, director general of Namibia's National Planning Commission and Botswana's minister of minerals, energy and water Mr Onkokame Kitso Mokaila. The ceremony took place at Bird Island near Walvis Bay, the location where Namibia Ports Authority intends to construct the new North Port Bulk Container Terminal, which will be fed by the TKR.


Mr Charles Siwawa, chief executive officer of the Botswana Chamber of Mines, said that Chinese and Indian demand for the more than 200 billion tonnes of coal in Botswana's central Karoo basin could boost his country's economic growth prospects.


The railway will also expand freight capacity on congested transport corridors within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and is also expected to provide greater access to global markets for other landlocked countries in the region like Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.






Myanmar to tender rail modernisation projects

THE government of Myanmar is expected to issue international tenders in the coming months for the upgrading of the country's main rail arteries, according to reports in the local media.


A report by Eleven News Myanmar on March 22 quotes Mr Kyaw Kyaw Myo, assistant general manager for the country's Ministry of Railways as saying that 13 lines have been identified for modernisation in the medium-term, five of which have been prioritised for urgent upgrading.


The priority routes include:


Rangoon – Mandalay Mandalay – Myitkyina Bago – Mottama – Yay Rangoon – Pyay, and the Rangoon Circular Railway The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has reportedly offered to provide a $US 202m loan for the Rangoon – Mandalay project and the government plans to obtain a $US 100m loan for the upgrading of the Bago – Yay line. A loan application will be submitted to Korea's Exim Bank for the modernisation of the Mandalay – Myitkyina line.


Myanmar Railways operates a 4800km metre-gauge network, which carries around 63 million passengers and 3.5 million tonnes of freight per year.







Tram ForCity ready for application in China

According to Czech government website, the first prototype of the low-floor tram by CSR Sifang, ForCity,has passed all tests in China. This tram model is supported by Škoda Transportation, the Czech company who signed with its Chinese partner a ten-year contract granting the license to the technology last June.






Manila plans urban rail expansion

THE Philippine Department of Transport and Communications (DOTC) held a meeting with prospective investors in Manila on March 20 to outline proposals for a major expansion of the capital's rail network.


According to a report in The Philippine Star on March 21, DOTC assistant secretary Mr Jaime Feliciano says the government wants to increase daily public transport ridership in Manila from around 1.2 million 2.2 million passengers per day by 2017.


The headline project is a Pesos 135bn ($US 2.98bn) metro line running east-west from Taguig to Pasay and Makati, which would link fast-growing districts south of the city centre. The 20km line would have 11 stations and a 16km underground section, with the remaining 4km running on an elevated alignment.


The DOTC says it expects to submit the plans to the National Economic and Development Authority for approval in the second or third quarter of this year, with the aim of launching tenders for construction in the second quarter of 2015.


Another project currently being developed is a 90km north-south commuter line linking Malolos with Manila and Calamba, which could be extended to serve Clark International Airport. The total cost of the line is expected to be Pesos 284bn, although no timescales have been provided for tendering.


The government is also planning to further extend light metro line LRT1 south to Dasmarinas.





Hyundai to build railway in Indonesia,joining hands with RZD

According to news released by Indonesian authority lately, Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction will be responsible for building a railway line in this country.


The project is expected to be implemented jointly by Kalimantan Rail, RZD and Hyundai. The work includes building of a railway line and a marine terminal for exports of coal from the coal fields located in East Kalimantan region of Indonesia in the 4th quarter of 2018.


The length of the railway line will be 190 km with the annual volume of transportation up to 30 million tons .The investment in the project is estimated at $1.7 billion.






Russian company to provide rolling stock to Ulan Bator Railway,Mongolia

According to Russian news, Russia’s leading producer Tver Carriage Works will be the supplier of 15 passenger rail cars for the mentioned railway, also the longest one of Mongolia.


It is said all the rail cars will be produced and supplied to the customer in the second quarter of 2014.





UAE-Germany joint venture for rail operation and maintenance formed


UAE’s Etihad Rail has signed an operations and maintenance joint venture agreement with Germany’s DB Schenker Rail, according to European media March 22nd news.


The joint venture is set up to provide operations and maintenance expertise for the first phase of Etihad rail network,commercial freight operations of which are expected to begin this year.


Makkah Underground system contract pre-qualification is on

March 24th news from SAUDI ARABIA,the Development Commission of Makkah & Mashaaer is inviting global applications to prequalify for the railway system contract for Phase 1 of the Makkah underground which is expected to operate in 2019.


The scope of contract includes track, power, 1.5KV DC bottom-contract third rail electrification, CBTC-Grade Of Automation Level 4-, station and depot fit-out, control center,telecoms, fare collection system, platform screen doors and overall system integration.


Please keep in mind the deadline for applications is May 26th,2014. The RFQ is planned for July, and the contract is set to be awarded in the second quarter of 2015.


Revenue services of Line B should be in place 45 months after the notice to proceed, with Line C in 51 months.


Last but not least, the contract might be carried on to next 2 phases in next 7 years.







Record results for Brazil's MRS Logistics

BRAZILIAN railfreight operator MRS Logistics carried a record 151.6 million tonnes of freight in 2013 according to the company's annual results, which show net profits increased by 6.6% year-on-year to Reais 469.4m ($US 202m).


MRS says volumes grew significantly in the second half of the year after a lacklustre first quarter, when it was hit by poor weather and operational issues with customers.


Ebitda rose by 9% to Reais 1.2bn, a 9% increase compared with 2012, while net income grew by 1.6% to Reais 3bn.


MRS Logistics shareholders have approved a budget of Reais 996.4m for 2014, including Reais 364.6m for infrastructure, Reais 451.6m for locomotives and rolling stock, and Reais 113.4m for signalling.


MRS Logistics is positive about its prospects for 2014 and expects volumes to grow by 11.5% to 174.2 million tonnes this year. Revenues are expected to rise 13% to Reais 3.75bn.







Winning bidder emerges for Lima metro Line 2

PERU's private investment agency Proinversión has announced that just one bidder now remains in the tender for the PPP contract to finance, build, operate, and maintain the second metro line in the capital Lima after two of the three prequalified consortia failed to submit viable bids.


Proinversión says it expects to sign a contract on March 28 with Consorcio Nuevo Metro de Lima, a consortium of ACS Dragados and FCC, Spain, Salini Impreglio, Italy, AnsaldoBreda, Ansaldo STS and Cosapi, Peru. According to a press statement issued by the agency, the other two consortia reported that their proposals would not meet the $US 6.5bn cost stipulated in the feasibility study, meaning they were unable to present a viable economic offer.


The winning bidder will provide $US 1.2bn in financing in return for the 35-year concession to operate and maintain the line.


Proinversión says it is satisfied the tender has been conducted in a transparent and competitive way.


The 27km east-west underground line will connect the district of Ate Vitarte with the city centre and Callao on the Pacific coast. 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.


The PPP contract includes construction of an 8km branch to Jorge Chavez International Airport, which will eventually form part of Line 4, as well as 35 stations, a depot, electrification, signalling and telecoms systems, and the supply of rolling stock, which is expected to cost around $US 871m.






Israel awards contracts for three new lines

ISRAEL's National Transport Infrastructure Company has awarded a Shekels 800m ($US 230m) contract for infrastructure works on three new lines to a consortium of Israeli companies Shikun & Binui and Leisco and German Rail (DB) subsidiary DB Bahnbau.


The contract covers the installation of track, signalling and telecommunications, and tunnel safety systems on the following lines:


Haifa – Beit She'an (68km) Acre – Carmiel (22km), and Herzilya – Kfar Saba (18km) Four bidders participated in the tender and one other consortium, comprising TSO (France), Indra, (Spain) and TAN Eathmoving Works (Israel) reached the prequalification stage.


The Acre – Carmiel and Tel Aviv – Kfar Saba lines will be the first sections of the Israel Railways network to be electrified.









Construction to begin next month on Niger – Benin railway

CONSTRUCTION is expected to begin on April 7 in Niamey, the capital of Niger, on a 1050km railway link with Benin's capital Cotonou.


The line will cost an estimated €1bn and forms part of a larger project intended to link the two countries with Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.


France's Bolloré Group, the strategic partner for the project, is mobilising funds to ensure the railway is completed within four years.


Up to 40% of the construction costs will come from strategic partners, 10% each from the governments of Niger and Benin, and 40% from private sector partners in the two countries.


The Niamey – Cotonou railway will form part of a 2500km West African rail loop which will eventually connect Benin and Niger with the cities of Abidjan in Ivory Coast and Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso.


The project is intended to boost regional economic development by facilitating exports of agricultural products, livestock and mineral resources.




Zambia awards ERTMS Regional contract

ZAMBIA Railways Limited (ZRL) has selected a consortium of Bombardier, Huawei and local contractor GMC Technologies in a $US 51m contract to supply and install ERTMS Regional on the 980km Chingola - Livingstone line.


Bombardier will supply its Interflo 550 communications-based ETCS solution and automatic train protection (ATP) for the project, while Huawei will provide GSM-R, which will be equipped with its IP-based ATCA core network and distributed base stations. Huawei's microwave technology will support communication between the base stations, which according to the Chinese supplier have been specially designed for the Zambia project and will help to reduce ZRL's capital expenditure as well as the system's susceptibility to vandalism and theft compared with fixed networks. The microwave backhaul will support mission-critical GSM-R and signalling as well as non-mission critical CCTV.


ERTMS Regional, which was first introduced on the Västerdal freight line in Sweden in 2012, is designed to offer a cost-effective train control and ATP for low-density lines by eliminating much of the costly equipment required in a traditional ERTMS installation.


ZRL received a grant of $US 120m from the Zambian government in 2013 to upgrade the single-track line, and has since awarded 32 local companies contracts to rehabilitate infrastructure with the goal of increasing speeds on the approximate 500km section of the route from Chililabombwe to Livingstone to 80km/h by November 2015.


According to local press reports, ZRL has provided prompt payments to enable the local firms to buy the equipment required to carry out the work. ZRL hopes to complete upgrading work on the entire route in the next three years.






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