No.490issue(2014 09 05)

CNR and CSR halt share trading amid merger reports

THE WORLD's largest rolling stock manufacturers CNR and CSR have suspended trading of their shares following reports in the Chinese media that the Chinese government is looking to merge the two companies.


A report published on the Chinese business news website Caixin on September 4 says unnamed sources within China Railways Corporation (CRC) and the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) have confirmed that the government is planning a merger of the two suppliers with the aim of creating a more competitive market player to boost the international presence of China's railway industry.


The sources claim that the two companies have submitted a merger plan to SASAC. CSR wants CNR to delist from the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges but CNR is pushing for the creation of a new parent company with the two suppliers as subsidiaries. SASAC is said to favour the CSR plan, although the report says CRC, the largest customer of the two suppliers, is opposing a merger in any form and the manufacturers are "lukewarm."






Germany – China freight train launched

DB SCHENKER and Zhengzhou International Land Port Development and Construction Company launched a new direct Germany – China freight service on September 1, when the first train was flagged off from the Billwerder terminal in Hamburg by Dr Karl-Friedrich Rausch, DB management board officer for logistics and the governor of Hunan province Mr Xie Fuzhan.


The multi-customer train is carrying 41 containers and is expected to complete the 10,214km journey within 17 days, more than 20 days faster than the sea voyage. Products on the first train include industrial robots for a major engineering company in China.


The train runs via Poland, Russia, and Kazakhstan, with the containers being transhipped from 1435mm gauge to 1520mm gauge wagons at the Polish-Belarusian border and back to standard-gauge vehicles at the Kazakh-Chinese frontier.


A Zhengzhou – Billwerder service began operating last August and has carried more than 40,000 TEU since its launch.






Tianjin metro reaches Binhai Airport

TIANJIN Binhai International Airport joined the Tianjin metro network on August 28 with the start of commercial services on the 4km eastern extension of Line 2 from Konggangjingjiqu to the airport's newly-completed Terminal 2.


Services on Line 2 are operated by a fleet of six-car type B trains supplied by CNR Dalian.


China Southern Airlines became the first airline to switch from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 on August 28, and the 248,000m2 terminal is designed to accommodate up to 50 million passengers per year. The new terminal will temporarily handle all passenger traffic at the airport to allow the refurbishment of Terminal 1.






$US 870m first-half loss for China Railways Corporation

CHINA Railways Corporation (CRC) has reported a loss of Yuan 5.36bn ($US 870m) after tax for the first half of this year, compared with a profit of Yuan 2.57bn in the first half of 2013.


According to financial reports posted on, the official website of China's bond market, CRC revenues declined 2.4% year-on-year to Yuan 478m. Total investment in fixed assets increased by 8.9% year-on-year to Yuan 235.2bn.


Liabilities increased from Yuan 3.27 trillion at the end of March to Yuan 3.43bn at the end of March to Yuan 3.43 trillion at the end of June. The total value of CRC's assets at the end of June was Yuan 5.33 trillion, giving a debt-to-equity ratio of 64.4 to 35.6.





Tanzania seeks advisor for PPP rail upgrade

TANZANIA is in the process of securing an advisor for a $US 1bn public-private partnership (PPP) scheme to upgrade Tanzania Railways' (TR) 970km metre-gauge line linking Dar es Salaam with Dodoma, Tabora and Isaka.


"The government has already borrowed $US 300m from the World Bank through the Tanzania Intermodal Railway Project for the upgrading the line," Mr Shabaan Mwinjaka, permanent secretary with the Ministry of Transport, told delegates attending the 5th East and Central Africa Roads and Rail Infrastructure Summit in Dar es Salaam on August 26.


Canadian consultancy Canarail finalised a detailed engineering study for the project in February, which includes track renewal to increase rail weight from 28kg/m to 40kg/m.


The scheme is part of the partially-donor-funded Big Results Now (BRN) programme which includes the purchase of rolling stock and remanufacturing of locomotives and wagons at TR's Morogoro workshops.


Mwinjaka says TR's network is facing serious challenges such as ageing infrastructure, inadequate operational skills and expertise, low availability and reliability of rolling stock, and poor track condition and maintenance. TR is seeking private sector partners in a bid to reverse the deteriorating trend. Mwinjaka added that the low axleloads and aged bridges have contributed to the decline in passenger journeys which fell from 684,000 in 2002 to 500,000 in 2012, and steep drop freight traffic from 1.6 million to 200,000 tonnes during the same period.






Second Mansky tunnel bore opens

Contractors Stroy-Trest and SK Most handed a ceremonial key to Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin on August 26 to officially open a 2 465 m second bore built to increase capacity at Mansky tunnel on the Tayshet – Abakan line.


Capacity in the Krasnoyasrk region has been restricted by outdated infrastructure, including the single-track tunnel built in the 1960s. Yakunin said the opening of the second bore was ‘an event of a huge importance’, with RZD ‘looking forward to an increase in freight traffic’ which will require development of railway infrastructure in the east.


Construction began in 2005, with 9·54 m and 3·56 m diameter Lovat TBMs used to bore the main tunnel and a parallel service and drainage tunnel. The ballastless track is designed for a maximum speed of 60 km/h rather than 25 km/h in the older bore, and the waterproofing and lining materials are expected to have a life of 100 years.





Ulaanbaatar Railway modernisation strategy


An agreement outlining a strategic partnership for the development of Ulaanbaatar Railway was signed by the Minister of Roads & Transportation Amarjargal Gansukh and Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin on September 3.


By March 1 2015, the ministry and RZD are to agree to terms of reference and appoint consultants to prepare financial and technical feasibility studies for modernisation and construction projects, which would be funded from UBZD’s resources and borrowing. Completion is envisaged by 2020. The main projects under consideration are:


Modernisation of the 1 100 km north – south route from Sühbaatar on the Russian border to Dzamïn Üüd/Erenhot on the Mongolia/China border, including electrification and/or construction of a second track; Construction of the 545 km northern railway west from the Erdenet branch to Ovoot, to support coal mining developments; Construction of a 215 km Ovoot – Arz Sur line, which would connect at Kyzyl in Russia’s Tuva Republic with a planned 411 km line to Kuragino and thus the Trans-Siberian corridor; Studying the possibility of increasing use of the 239 km Choybalsan – Ereentsav line in the northeast; In the west, RZD says a railway line is planned ‘linking Russia and China through Mongolia to export from Russia to China, India, Pakistan, and other countries in the region’.


The agreement was signed in the presence of President Elbegdorj and President Putin of Russia, who said ‘developing the railway network will help Mongolia to open up rich but for now hard to access deposits and make broader and more effective use of its potential as a transit country.’


UBZD was established in 1949, equally owned by the Mongolian and Soviet (subsequently Russian) governments. RZD is now responsible for the Russian state’s stake in the 1 815 km network, and the aim of the agreement is to develop export and transit freight, particularly from Russia to China, to strengthen UBZD’s role in the Eurasian transport network.


Yakunin ‘emphasised the importance’ of using 1 520 mm gauge for future Mongolian lines, with RZD ‘noting that constructing infrastructure using other standards will lead to the unnecessary duplication of services and an increase in operating costs.’


Riyadh - Dammam high speed line study contract awarded

A consortium led by Spanish firm Consultrans signed a 6·6m riyal contract to study options for the construction of a Riyadh – Dammam high speed line on September 2.


The 10-month study commissioned by Saudi Railways Organisation will consider routes, technical requirements, costs, demand forecasts and potential revenue for a line suitable for electric trains running at between 300 km/h and 350 km/h.


SRO envisages that a journey time of 1½ h could grow the passenger market and encourage air passengers to travel by rail, doubling ridership compared to the existing passenger service of five through trains each way per day taking 4 h 20 min to cover 450 km.


According to SRO President Mohamed Khaled al Suwaiket, the high speed study does not affect ongoing works to upgrade the two existing lines between Riyadh and Dammam to increase freight capacity and cut passenger journey times to around 3 h.







Rio metro train on test in China

The first of 15 trainsets ordered for Rio metro Line 4 is undergoing testing at the CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles factory in China. In mid-October it will leave for Rio, with arrival scheduled for December. Deliveries are due to be completed in 2015, in time for the opening of the line in the first half of 2016.


The 16 km Line 4 will run from Jardim Oceânico in Barra da Tijuca to Nossa Senhora da Paz in Ipanema, with four intermediate stations. Ridership is forecast to be 300 000 passengers/day.







One-year postgraduate metro programme

The Secunderabad-based Institute of Metro & Rail Technology has welcomed its first intake of 17 students for a one-year postgraduate programme in metro and rail technology.


Organised in partnership with consultancy firm Barsyl, the IMRT course has extensive industry involvement, providing ‘case study-based learning, individual and group work, industry visits, project work, continual assessments and simulations.’


Among IMRT’s industry partners are Monash University in Melbourne, Bentley Systems, the University of Delaware and IIT Kharagpur.






Bombardier Transportation inaugurates Kuala Lumpur hub

Bombardier Transportation has formally opened a regional centre of expertise for system engineering and integration in Kuala Lumpur.


The office will accommodate more than 100 engineering, project management, systems integration and signalling specialists, supporting rail projects in Malaysia and the Asia-Pacific region.


‘This investment strengthens our ability to meet customer needs and ensures that we are well prepared to deliver upcoming projects in the Asia-Pacific region’, said Pierre Attendu, President of the Systems Division.


Projects underway include the supply of Cityflo 650 communications-based train control for the 51 km Klang Valley MRT Line 1, and 14 four-car trainsets and linear induction rail for the Kelana Jaya light metro line.









São Paulo monorail Line 18 concession signed

Sole bidder ABC Integrado has been awarded a 25-year PPP concession to build, operate and maintain São Paulo monorail Line 18.


The consortium is made up of local firms Primav, Encalso and Cowan, as well as Benito Roggio Transportes from Argentina. It is to invest R$1·9bn in the R$4·2bn project, with the remainder coming from public funds. The concessionaire is to receive an annual concession payment of R$316m, 0·27% below the R$317m ceiling in the tender documents.


The 15 km Line 18 with 13 stations would link São Paulo with the neighbouring ABC Region. Construction is due for completion in 2018.




Vocational training in Castilla

The national government, the regional authority for Castilla y León and national operator Renfe have signed an agreement covering the establishment of a vocational training scheme for railway maintenance staff.


The ‘dual professional training’ scheme is intended to provide vocational qualification in mechanical and electrical engineering skills to young people seeking to develop a career with Renfe. The courses will be held at Valladolid’s Juan Herrera Vocational Training Centre. The agreement covers an initial intake of 20 students in the 2014-15 academic year and a further 20 students for the following academic year.


Students will be offered around 2000 h of tuition, of which just under half would be provided at Renfe sites focusing on practical and theoretical aspects of rolling stock maintenance. Areas of study will include the operation and maintenance of braking systems, HVAC equipment, diesel and electric drivetrains and auxiliaries.


Renfe says that the launch of the training scheme in Valladolid marks the start of a ‘renewal of professional skills’ within the Spanish rail sector, and that it expects to expand the dual vocational training programme to more educational institutions across the country in the months ahead.






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