No.479issue(2014 06 23)

Transmashholding presents next generation EMU in Sochi

TVERSKOY Wagon Plant, a subsidiary of Transmashholding (TMH), Russia, presented a mock-up of its next generation EMU at the 9th 1520 railway forum organised by Russian Railways (RZD) in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.


The first of the Iwolga EMUs, series EG2Tv, will be designed for operation on high-density urban routes, and TMH plans to offer it to RZD for the new Moscow Circle Railway service. Tverskoy will produce the first two prototypes by the end of this year and hopes tocertify them for operation in late 2015.


Using the Iwolga platform, Tverskoy plans to create a range of single and dual-voltage EMUs for city, suburban, regional, and inter-regional services. The maximum speed of the new-generation trains will range from 160 to 250km/h.






GE, Siemens-Mitsubishi sweeten Alstom bids

WITH Alstom's board set to meet on Monday at the latest to reach a decision on the takeover of its power division, both General Electric (GE) and Siemens-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) have improved their offers in an attempt to address concerns and get their respective deals over the line.


GE acted first on Thursday to appease the French government and union's worries over jobs by offering to create 50:50 joint ventures in grid, nuclear and renewable assets. GE says it has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Alstom to boost its remaining transport activities by selling its signalling business to Alstom and allowing Alstom to enter collaborative pacts for services, technology, manufacturing and support in the United States.


Under its plan GE would acquire all of Alstom's gas turbine division, which accounts for around a third of its revenue from power. GE says its valuation of Alstom's power assets remains unchanged at €12.4bn but that the cash element of its bid would be reduced because it is buying fewer elements outright. It has also committed to create 1000 jobs in France.


"We have reached agreements with Alstom's management that will create an alliance between our companies in both spirit and practice," says GE chief executive Mr Jim Immelt, who is set to meet French president Mr François Hollande today. "It creates jobs, establishes headquarters decision-making in France and ensures that the Alstom name will endure."


Siemens and MHI officially announced their revised offer this morning. The parties have increased the cash element of the bid by €1.2bn to €8.2bn, raising their valuation of Alstom's energy business to €14.6bn. MHI also intends to buy a 40% stake in Alstom's combined steam, grid and hydro businesses rather than its original offer to set up three separate joint ventures, and will increase its cash contribution by €800m.


Siemens is contributing a further €400m and in addition to its letter of intent to explore creating a European railway champion, Siemens says it has offered to enter immediately into a joint venture in "mobility management" including railway signalling with Alstom.


"The specified proposal continues to preserve Alstom's current perimeter in almost all of its activities, enhances its industrial sustainability, and strengthens its financial structure," Siemens said in a statement. "Such [a] proposal is superior industrially, financially and socially."


According to The Financial Times, the French government viewed the Siemens-MHI bid as having a "slight advantage" because their proposal was based on forming a partnership with Alstom, not a takeover. However, the official said that if the GE offer "ticked the sovereignty box," the bias would shift because its proposal was more straightforward to implement and was favoured by Alstom's board.


There are concerns at Alstom over MHI's long-term intentions for the steam turbine business and whether MHI would merge them with existing operations. Alstom is said to be leaning towards the GE offer, in part due to concern that MHI may veto any future tender bids which competed directly with its own interests.


The French government, which now holds the right to veto any deal, is set to state its preference over the weekend before the Alstom board meets on Monday.







Uganda lines up Chinese firms for new lines

THE government of Uganda is planning to invite six Chinese companies to compete for contracts worth up to $US 8.3bn to expand the country's railway network.


Ugandan works minister Mr John Byabagambi told Bloomberg that Uganda has signed an exclusivity agreement with China but he declined to name the companies in question. He said that bidding documents will be ready by July 10 and that the intention is to sign engineering, procurement and construction contracts.


Byabagambi says the new standard-gauge network will speed up freight shipments and carry heavier loads than the country's existing metre-gauge network. The first phase of the project encompasses around 1000km of lines from the border with Kenya to Rwanda, and to a town close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Work on a new line to Gulu and on to South Sudan will take place later, Byabagambi says.


The proposed developments in Uganda follow the start of construction in Kenya on a new line from Mombasa to Nairobi which will be extended through Uganda to the Rwandan capital, Kigali. The Kenyan project is expected to be completed in 2018 and cost $US 13bn, with Byabagambi stating that funding is being sourced from China and Russia.


In addition, Tanzanian president Mr Jakaya Kikwete said in April that his government, along with Rwanda and Burundi, are seeking transaction advisors to secure financing for a $US 4.2bn cross-border railway.






MRCE orders more Vectron locomotives

LEASING company Mitsui Rail Capital Europe (MRCE) has awarded Siemens a contract to supply an additional 20 Vectron AC locomotives, taking its Vectron fleet to 35 units.


The 15kV ac 6.4MW locomotives will be equipped with ETCS and will be capable of operating at up to 200km/h.


Siemens says the locomotives are being assembled at its Allach plant near Munich and the first unit has already been handed over to MRCE.


MRCE was founded in 2004 and owns a fleet of around 300 locomotives, which are in use with passenger and freight operators across Europe.





Istanbul orders driverless trains for Line M5

ISTANBUL Metropolitan Municipality has awarded Mitsubishi Corporation and CAF, Spain, a €119m contract to supply 21 six-car driverless trains for metro line M5, which is currently under construction.


CAF will assemble the trains while Mitsubishi will supply electrical systems including automation equipment. The fleet will be delivered between 2016 and 2017.


Line M5 will link Üsküdar with Ümraniye and Çekmekköy on the Asian side of the city. The 19.7km line will have 16 stations, including an interchange with the Marmaray link at Üsküdar, and the journey time between the two termini will be around 27 minutes.






CNR trains ordered for Manila Line MRT3

THE Philippine Department of Transport and Communications has awarded CNR Dalian, China, a contract worth around Yuan 540m ($US 87m) to supply 12 four-car light metro trains, which will be used by Manila Metro Rail Transit Corporation to increase capacity on Manila's congested Line MRT3.


CNR says the 31m-long 2.5m-wide vehicles will have a maximum speed of 65km/h and the first train will be delivered within 18 months.


The 16.9km Line MRT3 was designed to carry around 350,000 passengers per day although ridership is currently around 600,000 passengers per day.





President Aquino renews PNR charter


The corporate charter of national operator Philippine National Railways was extended by a further 50 years on June 18, when President Benigno Aquino signed into law Republic Act 10638.


PNR was established as the state railway in 1964, tasked with managing the 1 067 mm gauge main line network on the island of Luzon, which at that time totalled more than 1 000 route-km. Over the intervening decades, a shortage of investment, competition from other modes and frequent storm damage has led to a substantial contraction in PNR’s operations, and today it runs just a limited commuter service on part of the 480 km main line between Manila and Legaspi.


A number of local politicians have been pushing for the renewal of PNR’s charter to enshrine commitments to improve the quality of rail services on Luzon. The Act is understood to require the acceleration of railway rehabilitation works; PNR has previously suggested that daily trains between Manila and Legaspi could be reintroduced from September, once bridges damaged by typhoons in 2012 have been repaired.


Mechi-Mahakali Electric Railway construction launched

Minister for Physical Planning & Transport Bimalendra Nidhi laid a foundation stone to officially launch construction of the Mechi – Mahakali Electric Railway Project on June 15.


The 108 km first phase of the planned 945 km east–west line will run from Simara to Bardibas. Agreement to build the first 5 km within two years were signed with contractors in December, but the start of work was delayed while compensation for landowners was finalised. Two further construction packages covering 65 km and 28 km sections are to be tendered shortly.


The line is described as ‘the first railway project initiated by the Nepalese government in the history of Nepal’. At present the country’s only railways are a 762 mm gauge cross-border line from India, and short broad gauge spur over the border into Sirsiya Inland Container Depot.


Nidhi said he was ‘grateful to all the political parties for reflecting a sense of shared ownership for this national pride project’, and urged landowners not to create problems over compensation, saying the government is ready to provide the legally- required amounts.


‘We need to recognise that it’s the right to development that translates democracy from thin paper to thick action’, he said. ‘The railway will play an essential part in the development of Nepal and act as a catalyst of socioeconomic change.’







Guangzhou supercapacitor tram unveiled

CSR Zhuzhou has unveiled what it says is the first tram to be powered only by supercapacitors.


In June 2013 Guangzhou Metro Corp subsidiary Guangzhou Tram Co signed a contract with CSR Zhuzhou for seven 100% low-floor trams. The first two will be produced in Zhuzhou, with the subsequent five assembled in Guangzhou. The first vehicle is currently undergoing static testing before being shipped to Guangzhou for dynamic tests. The trams are due to enter passenger service in December.


Siemens is supplying propulsion and control, braking and auxiliary systems, including powered bogies, under a technical licensing and co-operation agreement.


The onboard supercapcitors will be automatically charged from a ground-level power supply at stops. This will normally take between 10 sec and 30 sec. The trams are able to run for up to 4 km between charges. According to CSR Zhuzhou, the braking energy recovery efficiency is more than 85%. Mobile charging vehicles are to be used in case of faults at the charging points.


The four-section tram is 36·5 m long with a capacity of 386 passengers. Floor height at the entrance is 325 mm. There are five sets of doors, 10 ‘priority seats’ and two wheelchair spaces. The stainless steel bodied trams are capable of a maximum speed of 70 km/h, a maximum gradient of 60‰ and a minimum curve radius of 25 m.


The trams are to run on a circular route in the Haizhou district of Guangzhou. The first 7·7 km, 10-stop section will link Canton Tower and Wanshengwei and is due to open in late 2014.







Stadler signs Baku–Tbilisi–Kars sleeping car contract

Stadler Rail has signed a contract to supply Azerbaijan Railways with 30 gauge-changing sleeping and dining cars for use on future Baku – Tbilisi – Kars – Istanbul services.


The SFr120m contract announced on June 12 is Stadler’s first in Azerbaijan. It covers the supply of five types of coach to be delivered from the Altenrhein plant in Switzerland between mid-2016 and mid-2017, as well as spare parts and staff training. There is an option for an additional 70 sleeping cars.


‘The development of new products and tapping into new markets is very important to us’, said Stadler Rail CEO and owner Peter Spuhler. 'This is the only way to ensure our Swiss plants will be working to capacity in the medium term.' Growth in CIS markets is a strategic objective for Stadler, as the financial situation in western Europe has reduced orders from its traditional markets.


The coaches are to be operated as 10-car rakes each offering with a total of 257 beds. The air-conditioned vehicles will have controlled emission toilets and emergency generators able to provide power for 24 h.


The coaches are to equipped with the DB AG/RAFIL Type V system of adjustable wheelsets to accommodate the change of gauge from 1 520 mm to 1 435 mm standard gauge which will be located at Akhalkalaki in Georgia when the Kars – Tbilisi line opens.






Huawei awarded north–south line GSM-R contract

Huawei has been awarded a contract to supply GSM-R for the 133 km Buzhun – Serhetyaka and 23 km Bereket – Chilmammet sections of the north-south railway which is under construction to link Uzen in Kazakhstan with Bereket and Etrek in Turkmenistan and Gorgan in Iran.


Huawei has previously installed GSM-R on the 289 km Chilmammet – Gyzylgaya – Buzhun section of the corridor, and on the east–west Turkmenbashi – Ashgabat line.


The company is to supply GSM-R equipment including DBS3800 distributed base stations and tower-mounted remote radio units designed to minimise the impact of antenna feeder loss on radio network coverage while satisfying a local requirement that equipment rooms cannot be located close to the towers.


Announcing the contract on June 11, Huawei said it has now rolled-out GSM-R across more than 24 000 km of railway worldwide, and achieved a 55% market share of new GSM-R contracts awarded in 2013.









United Wagon Co to offer transport services

United Wagon Co has established a subsidiary to offer freight transport services to the coal, metallurgical and chemical sectors using modern wagons produced at its Tikhvin plant.


Vostok1520 is intended to complement the UWC group’s Tikhvin manufacturing and Rail1520 leasing activities. It is initially focusing on local routes within Russia, but plans to expand into the long-distance and foreign markets.


The introduction of wagons offering 25 tonne axleloads and longer maintenance intervals is a ‘complicated but very interesting process’, according to Vladimir Sosipatov, Managing Director of Vostok1520.


"We can be considered as innovators, who are responsible for the first experiment, but this experiment will advantage the industry in general. Today it is very important for shippers to have opportunity not only to purchase or lease innovative wagons, but to get access to technological innovations without financial risks".




Extra station to serve Shinagawa redevelopment

East Japan Railway has announced plans to build a 50th station on its busy Yamonote Line circular suburban railway in southern Tokyo.


As yet un-named, the station is intended to spur urban development on a 13 ha site currently occupied by stabling sidings for the 1 067 mm gauge Tokaido Line. JR East is in consultation with the government and Tokyo Metropolitan Government about redeveloping this land.


Expected to open in 2020 to coincide with the city’s hosting of the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, the new station will split the current 2·2 km section between Tamachi and Shinagawa stations. It will be located in the Konan district of Minato-ku, 1 300 m south of Tamachi and 900 m north of Shinagawa, which provides an important interchange between the Yamanote Line and the monorail to Haneda International Airport.


According to JR East, the Yamanote, Keihin-Tohoku and Tokaido lines would be realigned to the east, closer to the Tokaido Shinkansen stabling sidings, to free up land on the western side of the site where it can be accessed from the Daiichi-Keihin road. The double-deck suburban station would have two island platforms and four tracks, serving both the Yamanote Line and the north-south Keihin-Tohoku cross-city line. The main entrance will be located in a public square above the tracks.


The development zone would also be served by Sengakuji station on Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation’s 1 435 mm gauge Asakusa metro line, which runs under the main road. This line is shared by through trains from the Keikyu Main Line and Keikyu’s Haneda airport service.






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