No.475issue(2014 05 23)

Dammam public transport network approved

AN integrated public transport network of light rail and buses in Dammam could cost Riyals 60bn ($US 16bn) and be implemented by 2021, following its approval by Saudi Arabia's Council of Ministers on May 19.


"The project needs a year to a year-and-a-half for studies to be carried out and to identify locations and stations," says the mayor of Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, Mr Fahad Al-Jubair. The light rail network will comprise two lines. One line would run south from Tarout Island via Al Qatif, Dammam and Dhahran to Al Khubar, the starting point for the King Fahd Causeway which connects Dammam with Bahrain. The second line would run along on King Fahd Road in Dammam northwest towards King Fahd International Airport.


The June issue of IRJ will have an in-depth report on urban transit developments in Saudi Arabia.






Four groups prequalify to equip Israeli HS line

ISRAEL Railways has prequalified four groups for the design, installation and maintenance of slab track and electro-mechanical systems on the A1 fast rail link between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.


The four groups comprise: DCME Plus Group consisting of Israeli companies Dania Sivus and Menolid Heruth Systems, with PEC&S Planning Engineering, Consulting & Services, Germany, and China Civil Engineering Construction Company.


Jerusalem Railway Partners Group consisting of Israeli companies Sikun-Ubinuy-Solel Bone Infrastructures and Lesico, plus Eiffage Rail, Germany, and Elcnor, Spain.


Shapir-PRS-Pasca joint venture consisting of: Shapir Civil and Marine Engineering, Israel, and Spanish companies Ingeneria y Construccion Pacsa, and Power & Railway Solutions, and Electra Boegl joint venture consisting of Electra Infrastructures Hasharon Excavators, Israel, Signon Schweiz, Switzerland, and Max Boegl, Germany.


The contract involves laying 46km of slab track type, implementation of civil engineering works including finishing tunnel, bridges, and interconnecting sections, installing electro-mechanical systems to support railway operation, monitoring the integration of infrastructure installation including electrification, and maintaining the systems that the sub-contractor will install.


"The railways are managing the implementation works along the whole alignment while maintaining the schedule towards opening the line at the end of 2017," says Israel railways' general manager Mr Boaz Zarir.







Nigeria invites companies to prequalify for rehabilitation projects

NIGERIAN Railway Corporation (NRC) is inviting contractors and consultants to prequalify by June 9 for a range of contracts to rehabilitate the railway as part of the federal government's Railway Rehabilitation Programme.


The projects which will be funded from NRC's 2014 budget cover several areas:


procurement of tools, equipment and materials for emergency repairs and maintenance of tracks emergency repair and maintenance of track, bridges and culverts; renovation or upgrading of stations and other buildings, together with associated facilities. facilities management; provision of project management consultancy services; training and development of human resources; procurement of 1067mm-gauge and standard-gauge locomotives, coaches, wagons, railway inspection vehicles and cranes; rehabilitation of 1067mm-gauge locomotives, coaches, wagons, railway inspection vehicles and cranes; procurement of rolling stock consumables and spare parts, and; procurement or rehabilitation and installation of equipment for mechanical/electrical, signalling and telecoms, security, ICT facilities.






Bosnian railway seeks help following devastating floods

BOSNIA's Srpske Republic Railways (ŽRS) has issued an urgent international request for assistance following severe flood damage caused by heavy rain, which has affected much of the Balkans over the last week.


At least 43 people have died and tens of thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes after the worst floods to hit the region for a century.


"Although many railway workers lost their property, everyone who was able to reach their workplace has come to save our railways," says Mr Dragan Savanović, CEO and chairman of ŽRS. "Being a very small railway, but very significant to our country's economy, we are not in a position independently to fully restore the damage incurred. We hereby ask our colleagues and railway administrations across the world for solidarity and help so we can re-establish railway transport as soon as possible."


Flooding has caused widespread damage to infrastructure and equipment and numerous facilities are unserviceable.


Savanović says ŽRS urgently needs wooden and concrete sleepers, UIC 60 and S49 rails, ballast, track and catenary maintenance vehicles, road vehicles, and machinery to stabilise embankments. ŽRS is also requesting IT equipment and office furniture as offices have been damaged by floodwater.





China plan to Build Railway Connecting US and Asia

China has plans to build a 13,000 kilometer high speed rail line to connect China and the United States requiring a tunnel under the Bering Strait connecting Russia and Alaska.


In addition to the China to U.S. plan, Chinese media report there are others in the works including a Trans-Asian Railway Network connecting China with Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Another plan would follow the ancient “Silk Road” trading route through China to major European cities. There are also plans to build rail lines in Africa including a high speed line in oil rich Nigeria and yet another linking South Sudan with the Kenyan port of Mombasa.


Daybreak Asia’s Ira Mellman asked Louis Thompson, a former railway advisor to the World Bank, if such plans, especially the China to U.S. plan, could be accomplished. “Physically, of course it can be done,” said Louis Thompson who had extensive experience in China and throughout Africa, “but economically and financially, I think it would be very questionable.”


“In one sense,” said Thompson, “it represents justifiable Chinese pride in the accomplishments they have made with high speed railways that they have in China.” “At the same time,” he said, “trying to apply that same idea and that same approach to a railway from China all the way through the Bering Straits to the United States through Alaska and Canada would be an entirely different proposition.”


Thompson said successful and economically profitable means of transportation between China and the U.S. by way of air and ship already exist. A passenger system, he said, may not be viable. He said there are even reports that China’s own high speed rail system may not be economically viable.






GE’s Immelt confident Alstom deal will succeed

SPEAKING at the 2014 Electrical Products Group conference in Florida on May 21, Mr Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE, said the acquisition of Alstom's power division is "a deal which we expect to close." He said GE is targeting closure in 2015.


"It's a deal that is executable, that we are confident in," Immelt told delegates. "There's a win here for GE, a win for Alstom, and a win for France. We wouldn't have started if we didn't think we can finish."


There has been opposition to the deal from the French government as it would leave Alstom's railway business in a vulnerable position - Alstom's transport division accounts for only 30% of total turnover.


Siemens is trying to mount a counter offer by offering to acquire Alstom's power division in exchange for merging its railway business with that of Alstom's. However, Alstom is believed to favour the GE deal.


Immelt said that GE has already successfully acquired two smaller Alstom divisions in the past. "Our biggest advocates in France are the employees of Alstom's Belfort plant which we acquired in 1999. We have talked about adding employment in France."


Immelt also said GE will continue "to work constructively" with the French government. Referring to GE's expertise in company acquisitions, Immelt said: "This is a company that has done a lot of this in the past. We know how to do due diligence, we know how to work with governments, and we have an impeccable reputation in France. We like this deal, and we are confident in this deal."





Russia and China to construct first rail bridge across Amur River


Russia and China have agreed to build the first cross-border rail bridge over the Amur River by 2016, following President Putin’s visit to Shanghai. The bridge will cut transportation times and increase trade.


Construction of the bridge is scheduled to start within the next few months.


"It is the first ever bridge between Russia and China. Now generally there are no bridges between our countries: neither automobile, nor railway," Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund told journalists on Tuesday.


"RCIF [Russia-China Investment Fund] not only builds financial bridges between Russia and China, but also invests in the infrastructure to benefit both countries," Dmitriev said in a press release on Tuesday.


The bridge will be a project of the Russian-Chinese Investment Fund and will be able to handle 21 million tons of traffic a year. It will connect the Jewish Autonomous Region with the Chinese province of Heilongjiang.


The new export corridor will make it easier to transport oil and gas from the new fields developed in Eastern Siberia and the Far East.


It will also significantly increase the turnover of goods and competitiveness of Russian exporters in the region. The new route will reduce the distance to the end customer by about 700 kilometers compared to other rail routes.


According to Kirill Dmitriev "railway border crossings in the region are currently operating close to maximum capacity.The future development of new natural resource deposits and increased level of traffic over the next 10 years means the region could face a shortage of export transportation capacity."


In the first day of a two-day trip to China Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said the two countries will increase their bilateral trade. According to the President in 2013 the trade turnover between Russia and China grew almost 2 percent to about $90 billion.


Following the same pace Putin expects the trade to reach $100 billion by 2015.


$1.6bn Lahore metro train deal signed with China

Pakistan and China signed on Thursday a $1.6 billion agreement for a metro train project in Punjab, the first of its kind in the country.


Financed by China, the Orange Line Metro Train Project will be completed within three years and Chinese companies will design, construct and monitor the project. The Punjab government will provide all facilities for speedy completion of the project.


The work on the project will start this year and will be completed within 27 months.


The signing ceremony of the agreement, witnessed by President Mamnoon Hussain and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, was held in Shanghai.


Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and the Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Xu-Shaoshi, signed the agreement.


Speaking on the occasion, Mr Shahbaz said the project would help an estimated 250,000 passengers a day and the number would go up to 500,000 by 2025.


He said the project would be completed within the stipulated period and after completion it would be extended to other cities of the province.


He said the PML-N leadership had promised to the masses provision of modern travelling facilities and this agreement with China was meant to fulfil that promise. He thanked China for helping Pakistan in this and several other development projects in the country.


The metro train project route will be from Thokar Niaz Baig, Multan Road, Chauburji, The Mall, Laxmi Chowk, Railway Station, Garhi Shahu Bridge, GT Road, Pakistan Mint up to Dera Gujran.


The total length of the project is 27.1km and its 25.4km track will be elevated.


Earlier, addressing a meeting held under the chairmanship of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Mr Shahbaz Sharif said that eradication of poverty was essential to eliminate extremism from Pakistan and the country could defeat terrorism and extremism only by acquiring modern education and emulating the example set by China for fast progress and prosperity.


PRESIDENT LAUDS TIES WITH CHINA: President Mamnoon Hussain has said that multifaceted partnership between Pakistan and China with focus on economic and trade relations, will usher in an era of prosperity for the people.


According to Ms Saba Mohsin, the Press Secretary to Mamnoon Hussain, the president expressed these views during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of conference on interaction and confidence building measures in Asia (CICA).


She said the two leaders discussed bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.


President Mamnoon congratulated his Chinese counterpart on assuming the chair of CICA. He expressed the confidence that under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, this forum would play a meaningful role in peace and development in Asia and beyond.


The two leaders expressed satisfaction on the China-Pakistan Economic corridor and called for speedy completion of the projects.







Beijing subway built to survive carpet bombing

Beijing Subway Line 1 is the safest subway in China, able to survive 100 air bombings, said Wang Mengshu, a tunnel and underground construction expert, during an interview with China Economic Weekly.


The construction of the line started in 1965 and finished four years later. Against the background of the Cold War, it was built according to the highest standards of civilian use, able to resist atomic radiation, chemical attacks and germ warfare, Wang said.


Originally designed as an emergency project during times of war, the line could transport five army divisions from suburban Beijing to downtown area every day, and could provide shelter for the public, according to Wang.


Line 1 opened to the public in 1981, and is the busiest line in Beijing. Today, it has 23 stations in operation, running from Pingguoyuan in the west to Sihui in the east, passing through or near Xidan, Wangfujing, Dongdan, the Beijing CBD, China World Trade Center and commercial centers.


The subway network in Beijing totaled 465 kilometers last year. It carried a daily maximum of 11.06 million passengers. By the end of 2014, track length of the subway will reach 527 kilometers as Line 7 and parts of Line 6, Line 14 and Line 15 come into operation.







Sino-Russian deal on New Moscow subway construction

Russian state-owned developer JSC Mosinzhproekt, China Railway Construction Company, and China International Fund signed an agreement this Monday on cooperation in the construction of a new subway line southwest of Moscow, reports the website of the Beijing-based Economic Observer.


The New Moscow project covers 148,000 hectares, and requires an urban plan that integrates the surrounding suburbs. The model of this plan is Beijing's plan to develop eleven new satellite cities between 2005 and 2020. The New Moscow project aims to double the size of Moscow.


Since its approval in 2012, this project has attracted investment of more than US$40 billion. It is expected that by 2035 that investment will reach US$2000 billion.


Reorganization of the existing traffic infrastructure is needed to link Moscow to the suburbs. The line will start from the station of the third interchange circuit Ulitsa Novatorov, extending to Stolbovo station. The estimated length of the line is 14.9 km, and it will connect six stations.


The line will bring in international and professional skills, creating a huge amount of job opportunities for Moscow, says Marat Khusnullin, the deputy major of Moscow. This is the first agreement of its kind signed between Moscow and China and the finer details of the project still remain to be discussed. Preliminary reports state that the project will be worth tens of billions of dollars. Khusnullin says that Moscow has begun the primary examination of the project in the hope of setting a date for construction as soon as possible. It is an extremely complex project in terms of legal procedures, involving many different contracts. Moscow is currently in intense negotiations with certain companies, according to Khusnullin. Sergey Cheremin, minister and head of the Department of Foreign Economic and International Ties, told a reporter from the paper that China is very experienced and efficient in the construction of subways. The subway is the core infrastructure of Moscow, and it can efficiently ease the pressure of surface traffic.


Moscow has also signed a cooperation agreement with Beijing Municipal Institute of City Building & Design.






Taiwan president orders probe of subway stabbings

President Ma Ying-jeou ordered Taiwan's police ministry to investigate what led a university student to stab four people to death on a crowded subway train in an attack that stunned this low-crime island.


The violence Wednesday at the start of rush hour in Taipei, a city of some 6 million people, was the first knife attack in the capital subway system's 18-year history. Another 21 people were injured before the attacker was captured.


"I feel extremely shocked and hurt by this grave event," Ma said on his Facebook page. He said he told the Cabinet to "order the National Police Agency to do all it can to check into the situation behind this case."


The suspect, a central Taiwan university student named Cheng Chieh, had said in an Internet commentary that he "wanted to do something big this year."


Students may be increasingly prone to violence because of pressures facing graduates, said Steve Chen, director of the Conflict Study and Research Center at Chang Jung Christian University in Taiwan. They complain of a tough market for private sector or government jobs and, for men, little interest in compulsory military service, Chen said.


"They feel there's no hope," he said. Passengers rushed out of the attacker's train car when it arrived at the Jiangzicui station on the metro's main east-west line, shouting for people on the platform to flee, according to news reports. Photos showed a train car floor and the station platform next to it splattered with blood.


Police arrived within minutes and took the suspect into custody. Taipei's metro system raised security from Wednesday afternoon as trains resumed service just after 5 p.m. and into Thursday. About 1.78 million people ride the metro daily.


"I thought the metro system was OK today, although some people on the train were discussing the incident," said commuter Alice Chen, an accountant in her 40s. "They said it was terrifying. It's terrifying but I think it's a one-off incident."









Caspian corridor agreement

A tripartite agreement to complete the 167 km missing section of the planned north–south corridor along the west of the Caspian Sea was reached by the heads of the national railways of Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia during the 60th meeting of the Council for Rail Transport of CIS States during May.


Under the agreement Russian Railways is to build the Iranian section of the route between Rasht and the border with Azerbaijan near Astara, while Azerbaijan’s ADDY will be responsible for construction of the section within its territory.


Construction of a 165 km line linking Rasht to the Iranian network at Qazvin is now nearing completion with opening planned by the end of this year. Once completed, the cross-border route is expected to carry 1·4 million passengers and 5 to 7 million tonnes of freight a year.




Incheon Airport maglev unveiled

The Incheon Airport maglev demonstration line was unveiled with a ceremonial run on May 14. Passenger service is due to begin in mid-July on the first domestically-developed urban maglev line.


The 6·1 km route with six stations links Incheon International Airport with Yongyu. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Transportation launched the Urban Maglev Programme in 2006, with Korea Institute of Machinery & Materials undertaking R&D work. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in August 2010 and the line was built at a cost of 260bn won.


Four trains built by Hyundai Rotem have been certified for passenger service. They will run with a maximum operating speed of 110 km/h.


KIMM President Im Yong-Taek said that metro Line 2 in Daejeon, in the centre of the country, would use maglev technology. Passenger service on the 36 km route with 30 stations is due to start in 2020 with forecast ridership of 13 000 passengers/day.


Hyundai Rotem Vice Chairman and CEO Han Kyu-Hwan added that Hyundai Rotem plans to develop maglev lines in St Petersburg and Jakarta.






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