No.482issue(2014 07 11)

Indian government seeks foreign investment in rail

OUTLINING structural reforms for India's rail network by splitting the policy making and operational functions, India's BJP-led NDA government has backed the previous UPA government's initiatives to allow 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the rail sector to fund major projects including high-speed schemes.


The government has recognised that internal revenue generation and government funding are insufficient to meet future needs. India's new railways minister Mr Sadananda Gowda announced during his maiden railway budget speech in the lower house of parliament on July 8 that a proposal to allow FDI in the rail sector has been put forward for approval by the cabinet. The move to allow the use of FDI for infrastructure construction was mooted by outgoing railways minister Mr Mallikarjuna Kharge in his interim budget speech last March. Under the existing policy, approval by India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) is mandatory for foreign investors.


"The new policy proposes to do away with the FIPB precondition," the chairman of Indian Railways (IR), Mr Arunendra Kumar, explained later. "This will enable IR to directly take a call on FDI proposals."


IR has been staring at a financial crisis, with an operating ratio of 93.5% during last fiscal year and dwindling revenue surpluses which are down from Rs 117.5bn ($US 2bn) in 2007-08 to Rs 6.1bn in the current financial year. This has prevented IR from funding large projects such as the proposed diesel and electric locomotive factories at Madhepura and Marhoura in Bihar.


There is also a huge backlog of uncompleted projects. As Gowda pointed out, of the 674 projects worth Rs 1578.8 billion sanctioned in the last 30 years, only 317 have been completed. Completing the balance requires an investment of Rs 1820bn. Overall, projects worth Rs 5000bn are pending.


The highest ever outlay of Rs 633.6bn has been proposed in Gowda's budget, with a nominal sum of Rs 1bn earmarked to undertake preliminary work on constructing the 543km Mumbai - Ahmedabad high-speed line. The government and Indian Railways will fund Rs 467.5bn, which is Rs 93.8bn more than in the previous railway budget. The remainder will come from issuing bonds, and other sources.






UVZ unveils prototype Russia One LRV

URALVAGONZAVOD (UVZ) unveiled a prototype of its model 71-410 Russia One (R1) low-floor LRV at the Innoprom 2014 international trade fair in Yekaterinburg on July 9.


The articulated vehicle was built by UVZ subsidiary Uraltransmash and has been styled by Moscow-based industrial designer Mr Alexey Maslov.


The 23.8m-long three-section prototype accommodates up to 210 passengers, 35 of them seated.







Omsk metro design contract awarded

THE government of Russia's Omsk oblast has awarded Sibmost, Russia, a Roubles 84.6m ($US 2.5m) contract to carry out detailed design on the first light metro line in the city of Omsk.


The contract covers the initial 7.5km phase of Line 1 from Biblioteka Pushkina to Prospekt Rokossovskogo, which will have five stations and a bridge across the River Om between Biblioteka Pushkina and Nina stations.


The total cost of the project is expected to be around Roubles 7.3bn excluding rolling stock.


Construction began on the first tunnels for the metro as long ago as 1992 but work was halted due to financial constraints.






JR East previews new Yamanote Line trains

JR EAST has released artist's impressions of its forthcoming E235 EMU, which will enter service from next year on the Yamanote Line, one of the busiest commuter lines in Tokyo, which carries around 3.8 million passengers a day.


The 1.5kV dc 11-car trains will be formed of five unpowered and six powered vehicles, which will be equipped with VVVF traction inverters. The E235s will also be the first trains in the JR East fleet to be equipped with oil-free compressors.


A pre-series train is due to be delivered to JR East for trials next March ahead of the introduction of the fleet from autumn 2015 onwards.


The E235 features internal and external styling by industrial designer Ken Okuyama, who has previously designed cars for Porsche, Ferrari, and Maserati.





EMD secures African locomotive orders

EMD has secured four separate orders to supply locomotives to customers in Africa.


The orders include 15-18 GT42AC units for Botswana Railways (BR); 13 GT38 LC-3s for Tanzania Railways, which will be assembled by DCD in South Africa; 12-15 GT46ACs for Gabon; and an as yet unspecified number of GT38ACs for CFCO in Congo.


EMD has increased its activities in the African market in recent years, securing an order for 50 2.46MW class 39.200 locomotives for Transnet Freight Rail in South Africa and upgrading class BD-2 diesels for BR.






Rift Valley Railways capital investment plans

Kenya – Uganda railway concessionaire Rift Valley Railways plans to make capital investments totalling more than US$100m during the current year. On July 8 the operator announced the final US$69·6m drawdown from a US$164m debt facility which was raised from international financiers in 2011 to fund a US$287m five-year turnaround programme launched in January 2012.


The final drawdown will fund GPS equipment to improve operations, increases in freight capacity and infrastructure works including rehabilitation of 366 km of the Nairobi – Kampala route. RVR is adding 1 400 wagons to its fleet, and will soon take delivery of 20 locomotives ordered from GE as well as 10 locomotives which are being refurbished in RVR’s workshops.


RVR has so far spent US$120m under the five-year modernisation programme. According to Karim Sadek, Managing Director of RVR investor Qalaa Holdings (previously known as Citadel Capital), there has been ‘more investment in revitalising the Kenya – Uganda railway system in the past 26 months than in the previous 26 years’, and this has succeeded in attracted new contracts from steel, oil and grain shippers.





Diesel-hydraulic locomotive developed


A 1 260 hp diesel-hydraulic locomotive for shunting and light freight applications has been developed by Grampet Group’s Electroputere VFU rolling stock manufacturing and Reloc Craiova refurbishment subsidiaries. Branded ‘Terra Nova’, the four-axle locomotive is targeted at export markets. Initial discussions have begun with potential customers, while certification tests are underway. The companies say they have the capacity at Craiova to produce 360 locomotives over 10 years. Terra Nova is powered by two 630 hp Caterpillar C18 engines, each driving a TR43 hydraulic transmission. It has a top speed of 100 km/h and a maximum tractive effort of 230 kN, and complies with EU Stage IIIB emissions regulations. The central cab is designed to offer a comfortable driving position with good all-round visibility for shunting. The fuel tank has a capacity of 3 000 litres. According to the manufacturer, the locomotive could be supplied for any gauge from 1 000 mm to 1 600 mm.


Chinese-backed Tehran – Mashhad electrification contract signed

A consortium bringing together Chinese companies CMC and SU Power with subsidiaries of local industrial group MAPNA has been awarded a contract to install and maintain overhead electrification equipment on the 926 km Tehran – Mashhad line, and procure 70 electric locomotives.


The engineering, procurement, construction and finance contract was signed by national railway RAI on June 29. Construction is expected to take 42 months, followed by a five-year maintenance period. The project is to be financed from Chinese sources, with a 15% contribution from the Iranian government.


The existing infrastructure is to be upgraded to increase maximum speeds on the route from 160 km/h to 200 km/h, with the capability of 250 km/h operation in the future. This is intended to increase capacity from 14 million to 35 million passengers/year and reduce journey times from 12 h to 6 h.


Work to upgrade the line had been officially launched with a ceremony in February 2012.







Contractors prequalify for Makkah metro civil works

The Mayor of Makkah Osama Al Bar has announced that 10 of the 16 international consortia which expressed interest in the two civil works contracts for Phase 1 of the city’s metro project have prequalified to submit tenders.


Civil works contracts 1 and 2 are expected to be signed in October, for construction to begin in mid-2015. Testing would begin in 2017 for full operations from early 2020.


Applications to prequalify for Contract 3 covering railway systems works closed on June 16, and Development Commission of Makkah & Mashaaer has invited expressions of interest in Contract 4 which covers the supply of rolling stock.







China Nanjing opens two lines

Nanjing metro Line 10 and suburban line S1 to the airport opened on July 1. Line 10 was built as a 15·9 km Olympic Stadium – Yushanlu extension of Line 1’s 5·7 km Andemen – Olympic Stadium branch, which it has now absorbed. Line 10 has one elevated and 13 underground stations, and an end to end journey time of around 40 min.


The 35·8 km Line S1 was originally planned as metro Line 6. It connects Nanjing South station with Lukou International Airport, with six intermediate stations and 16·9 km of the route elevated. Construction began in December 2011, and CSR has supplied 15 six-car Type B metro trainsets.


A 50 km second phase from the airport to the Gaochun district is scheduled to open in 2015.






Double-tracking progress in Sumatra

Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Dahlan Iskan attended celebrations on the island of Sumatra on June 10 to mark completion of 22 km of double-tracking between Niru and Prabumulih on the 370 km Palembang – Bandar Lampung line.


In addition, 11 stations have been opened along the route, five in Lampung province and the remainder in South Sumatra. In part, the investment in stations is intended to help manage strong seasonal demand for passenger services, especially during the Eid al-Fitr holiday. The line is typically served by two PT KAI long-distance passenger trains each day, and also carries large volumes of coal traffic.


PT KAI President Ignasius Jonan indicated that a further 266 km of railway in southern Sumatra would be double-tracked to increase capacity for both passenger and coal traffic, and suggested six more stations could be opened.


In the north of the island, a groundbreaking ceremony held on May 22 marked the start of double-tracking on the 26 km line between Medan and Kuala Namu international airport. Due for completion by the end of this year, the work is expected to cost 150bn rupiah. Subsequent phases envisage grade separation of the route to remove 12 level crossings in the city of Medan by 2017 at a cost of 3·9tr rupiah.









Barcelona trials low-energy metro station

BARCELONA Metropolitan Transport (TMB) is installing new energy-saving technologies at Passeig de Grácia station on Metro Line 3 as part of the European Union-funded SEAM4US project, which is developing systems to reduce non-traction energy consumption at metro stations by at least 5%.


Following an analysis of the entire Barcelona Metro network, Passeig de Grácia was selected as the pilot station for the system, which monitors a range of environmental parameters including temperature, humidity, outdoor weather conditions, and passenger volume through a network of around 50 sensors. Subsystems such as lifts, escalators, ventilation and lighting are automatically regulated according to the prevailing conditions.


TMB says that if the SEAM4US pilot is successful the technology could be rolled out at other stations on the Barcelona metro network.


TMB's partners in SEAM4US include the Polytechnic University of Barcelona, Marche University, Kassel University, and the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), Fraunhofer, Germany, Almende, Netherlands, and Cnet, Sweden.


The project is being funded with the aid of a €2.9m grant from the EU's Seventh Framework Programme.




Krakow orders longer LRVs from Pesa

KRAKOW Transport Authority (MPK) signed a Zlotys 291.2m ($US 95.5m) contract with Pesa Bydgoszcz on July 3 for 36 Krakowiak low-floor LRVs which at 43.83m in length will be longer than any vehicles in MPK's current fleet.


The 2.4m-wide vehicles will accommodate up to 313 passengers, 102 of them seated, and will be used on Krakow's busiest tram lines including Line 4 from Wzgórza Krzeslawickie to Brownowicami Malymi.


Deliveries will begin in the middle of next year and MPK expects to receive the entire fleet by September 2015. The vehicles will replace the type 105Na high-floor trams, which will be withdrawn.


The LRVs are being ordered with the aid of Zlotys 171.8m from the European Union Cohesion Fund.


Krakow's 85km tram network has 25 routes with 358 stops and carries around 190 million passengers per year. MPK is planning further investment in its tram fleet with the acquisition of an additional 36 32m-long vehicles over the next few years.






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