No.474issue(2014 05 16)

Unrest hits Egyptian rail traffic

PASSENGER traffic on the Egyptian National Railway (ENR) network has plummeted by 87% year-on-year as a result of continuing political turmoil, according to annual figures released by the country's railway authority.


ENR carried just 2.7 million passengers in March 2014, compared with 20.7 million in March 2013.


Revenues from passenger traffic fell by 34% year-on-year, representing a loss of around $US 3.5m in turnover, according to the Egyptian government.


The Railway Authority suspended most train services last August amid security concerns following the removal from office of the country's president Mr Mohamed Morsi in July. While some services connecting Cairo to Upper Egypt resumed in November, there were more temporary suspensions of traffic in March 2014 in the Nile Delta region, as well as in Upper Egypt, caused by sabotage and the discovery of suspect packages.






Contractor chosen for Constantine LRT phase 2

A consortium of Alstom, Isolux Corsan and Algerian construction company Cosider has been selected as preferred bidder for a contract to build the second phase of the light rail network in Algeria's third-largest city Constantine.


The Dinars 34.7bn ($US 441m) contract covers the construction of a 10.5km line linking Zouaghi in the city centre with the new town of Mendjeli to the south, together with a 2.7km branch to Mohamed Boudiaf International Airport. The line is due to be commissioned within 35 months of contract signing.


The initial 8.1km section from Benabdelmalek to Zouaghi was inaugurated in July 2013. The line is operated and maintained by Setram, a consortium of RATP Dev, France, Algiers Metro Enterprise (EMA), and Algiers Urban and Suburban Public Transport Enterprise (Etusa) under a 10-year contract.







China to build Nigerian coastal railway

NIGERIA's Federal Ministry of Transport signed a $US 13.1bn framework contract with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) on May 6 for construction of the 650km coastal railway from Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, to Port Harcourt, Benin City, and Lagos.


The deal was announced by CCECC's parent company China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) at the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges.


The new line will have a single-track length of 1385km with trains running at up to 120km/h. The 22-station line will cross 10 of Nigeria's 36 states, including the oil producing Niger Delta region.


In the last 20 years, Chinese companies have built and upgraded around 4500km of railway in Nigeria.






Azerbaijan orders 8.8MW locomotives from Alstom

ALSTOM has won a €300m contract from Azerbaijan Railways (ADY) for 50 type KZ8A 8.8MW electric locomotives. The contract was signed in Baku in the presence of the president of Azerbaijan Mr Ilham Aliyev and the French president Mr François Hollande.


Assembly of the locomotives will start in 2016 at the EKZ plant in the Kazakh capital Astana. EKZ is a joint venture of Alstom, Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ), and Transmashholding, Russia.


The 120km/h locomotives are powered by asynchronous traction motors and are able to haul freight trains weighing up to 9000 tonnes. Around 40% of the ADY rail network is currently electrified at 3kV dc, but this is being converted to an AC system.


The contract includes an option for the construction of a depot, maintenance, technical assistance and training. The option will be negotiated during the next six months.





Deal signed for East African standard-gauge line

THE Chinese premier Li Keqiang and the president of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta signed an agreement on May 11 for the construction of a 609km standard-gauge railway linking the port city of Mombasa to the Kenyan capital Nairobi.


The agreement was witnessed by East African presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Salva Kiir of South Sudan as the line will be extended from Nairobi to the Uganda capital Kampala, and later to Rwanda's capital Kigali and Juba in South Sudan.


The initial Mombasa - Nairobi section will be constructed by China Roads and Bridge Construction at a cost of $US 3.6bn, which is considerably less than the $US 5.2bn estimated earlier by a Kenyan parliamentary committee.


The Chinese contractor was appointed without competitive bidding after Kenya agreed to this as a condition for Chinese funding. China will finance 90% of the project while Kenya will provide the remaining 10%. China will provide a $US 1.6bn commercial loan and $US 1.63bn as a concessionary facility.


Work on the project will start in October and is due to be completed in March 2018.


Li's visit to Kenya was the final leg of a four-country African tour which included Ethiopia, Angola and Nigeria. During his Nigerian visit, Li also signed a framework agreement involving China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation for the construction of a $US 13.1bn railway in southern Nigeria linking Lagos with Port Harcourt. The 600km line would have a maximum speed of 120km/h and 12 stations.






Construction begins on Setif LRT

A CEREMONY was held in Setif, Algeria, on May 8 to mark the official start of construction on the city's light rail network.


The first phase comprises two lines, one running 15.5km from the city centre to serve the eastern suburbs and the other running 7.2km south from the city centre to Ain Trick. The network will have 30 stations, seven with park-and-ride facilities, and peak services will operate at four-minute headways.


A joint venture of Alstom and Turkish construction company Yapi Merkezi was awarded a €380m contract last year to build the first phase, which is due to be completed in 2017.





CNR Changchun unveils prototype suburban train


CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles has rolled out a prototype electric multiple-unit branded 'Rapidtransit'. Described by the manufacturer as an 'inner-city rapid rail vehicle’, it is intended for use on services linking major cities with their expanding suburbs, satellite towns and airports.


Announcing the roll-out of the trainset on April 24, CNR said that while the domestic rolling stock industry now offers products for the high speed, inter-city, metro, light rail, tram and maglev sectors, it lacks vehicles suitable for outer-suburban routes of up to 100 km, a new market sector in China with strong growth potential as cities expand radially and become polycentric.


The EMU is to be offered as a customisable design, with three, six or nine cars, using aluminium alloy bodyshells. A maximum speed between 120 km/h and 160 km/h can be specified, faster than metro trains designed for short-distance services and with more rapid acceleration than inter-city trainsets. The prototype is designed to switch automatically between 25 kV AC power supplies on heavy rail routes and 1·5 kV DC overhead on metros, enabling through running between networks.


To demonstrate the available options, one driving car of the three-car prototype has five doors per side, while the other cars have three doors. Interior options include luggage racks and a range of seating layouts including high-capacity metro-style longitudinal seating and a long-distance option with more comfortable seats arranged 2+2. There are no toilets.


Free metro travel spreads the peak load

Land Transport Authority is to extend its free pre-peak metro travel scheme by one year to June 23 2015. Passengers who end their journey at 18 central metro stations before 07.45 on weekdays get free travel, while those exiting between 07.45 and 08.00 get a discount.


About 7% of commuters have shifted their travel out of the morning peak since the introduction of free travel in last June. This has resulted in a more even distribution of ridership, with the ratio of peak (08.00–09.00) to pre-peak (07.00–8.00) travel falling from 2·7 to 2·1.


An LTA survey found most commuters who changed times did so because of the free travel. Two out of three of those who had not shifted said this was because they do not have flexible work arrangements, and so LTA is to intensify efforts to encourage organisations to implement flexible working arrangements.







Maglev Shinkansen work to start this year

Construction of JR Central’s Chuo Shinkansen between Tokyo Shinagawa and Nagoya using superconducting maglev technology is expected to start towards the end of this year, possibly in October or November.


The date will depend on satisfactory completion of the environmental impact assessment process following the publication of a report last September. At that time JR Central also announced details of the route and the location of intermediate stations.


Work is expected to start at several sites, with construction teams likely to commence with the major tunnels because of the long lead times; a high proportion of the alignment will run in tunnel.


JR Central has tested and developed the technology on the ‘priority section’ of the alignment in Yamanashi prefecture since 1997, which was extended last year from 18·4 km to 42·8 km.


The 286 km line is due to be open in 2027, but there is pressure to complete another 5 km segment linking the priority section to the site of the planned station at Kofu in time for the 2020 Olympics. This would allow JR Central to demonstrate its superconducting maglev technology to large numbers of visitors.


JR Central has committed to bear the ¥5·4tr construction cost of the Tokyo – Nagoya line; the company has already spent ¥355bn of its own capital on extension of the test guideway.







Camrail launches Yaoundé – Douala InterCity express

A non-stop passenger service linking Yaoundé to Douala was introduced on May 5, three days after an inauguration ceremony led by Prime Minister Philémon Yang and Bolloré Africa Logistics CEO Dominique Lafont.


Bolloré’s railway concessionaire Camrail says the trains will offer ‘a level of comfort never previously available in the country’, providing an attractive travel option on a route where the ‘road death toll is one of the highest in the world’.


There are two ‘InterCity’-branded trains each way per day, leaving Douala at 06.00 and 14.45 and Yaoundé at 10.25 and 19.20. The 263 km journey takes 3 h 40 min, but there are plans to reduce this to 3 h. Fares are FrCFA9 000 in first class and FrCFA6 000 in premium class.


Camrail has ordered a total of 55 coaches from CSR Nanjing Puzhen. The InterCity trains comprise two first class air-conditioned cars with 64 seats and four ventilated premium cars with 88 seats. Last year six CC2500 diesel locomotives were supplied by National Railway Equipment Co.


At the launch ceremony the Prime Minister said the national five-year railway master plan with an estimated budget of FrCFA15 000bn would transform the metre-gauge network, starting with the modernisation of 175 km of track between Batchenga and Nkaa.






Aecom awarded Jeddah public transport contract

Jeddah Metro Co has awarded Aecom Technology Corp an 18-month contract worth US$28m to provide consultancy services to support the preliminary planning and design phase of the Jeddah Public Transport Project.


Last year the Council of Ministers approved a 45bn riyal transport plan for the city — which includes a three-line light metro, buses and ferries — to be completed within seven years.


‘We are delighted to play a key role in this important programe and to support the Jeddah Metro Co,’ said David Barwell, Chief Executive, Aecom Middle East. ‘Our global team of transportation experts is well equipped to deliver a programme that will provide the residents of Jeddah with access to a safe, reliable and sustainable public transportation system.’









MIDDLE EAST:Working more closely together

A number of joint committees are to be established by Saudi Railway Company and Etihad Rail to implement best practice in railway projects under a partnership accord signed in Abu Dhabi on May 10.


The two railway companies foresee the partnership forming the basis for a wider programme to develop common technical and operational standards which would apply to railways being developed across the GCC countries.


'We already work closely with our GCC neighbours in an effort to ensure that technical standards and technology for the railway network in the GCC are consistent, and this agreement will pave the way for greater co-operation, collaboration, and the exchange of knowledge with SAR', explained Faris Saif Al Mazrouei, Acting CEO of Etihad Rail.




Mombasa - Nairobi standard gauge line funding agreed

An agreement to finance the construction of a 609 km standard gauge railway between Mombasa and Nairobi was signed on May 11 by Cabinet Secretary for the Treasury Henry Rotich and the President of China Exim Bank, Li Ruogu. China Exim Bank is to meet 90% of the US$3·60bn cost, with the remaining 10% to come from the government of Kenya.


President Uhuru Kenyatta was joined at the signing ceremony by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who was on a state visit during which the two countries signed 17 bilateral deals worth more than KSh500bn. The presidents of Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan and a minister from Burundi also attended the event, reflecting the intention that the line will form the first phase of a US$8·1bn international network serving Kampala, Kigali and Bujumbura with a branch to Juba by 2020.


President Kenyatta had ceremonially launched construction of the project on November 28 2013, but work was subsequently halted while two parliamentary commissions investigated whether procurement rules had been followed when the contract was awarded to China Communications Construction Co subsidiary China Road & Bridge Corp. Main works are now expected to start on October 1 this year, for completion within 42 months.


The line is to be built to Chinese ‘class 1’ standards, designed for robustness and low maintenance. The route runs from Mombasa Port to Nairobi’s Embakasi Inland Container Depot, with passenger stations at Mombasa, Mariakani, Voi, Mtito Andei, Sultan Hamud, Athi River and Nairobi (Embakasi). The single-track line will have 33 crossing points with 1·2 km loops, and no level crossings.


A total of 56 diesel locomotives, 1 620 wagons and 40 coaches are to be supplied. The line will be designed for trains with trailing loads of 4 000 tonnes or double-stack intermodal trains up to 216 TEUs, with the possibility of future electrification.


The government expects the line to cut freight shipping costs from the current US$0·20 per tonne-km to about US$0·083 per tonne-km, and enable a businessman to ‘have his breakfast in Nairobi and be at the Port of Mombasa in 4 h to load cargo onto a train, then be on hand to take delivery in Nairobi that same evening.’






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