No.494issue(2014 10 19)

NORTH KOREA Railway research stepped up

Investment in research to develop local skills in locomotive production, track components and IT systems has been stepped up in North Korea, reports the State Academy of Sciences.


SAS’s Branch Academy of Railway Science subsidiary has achieved ‘many successes’ in developing IT-based processes for rail transport, and it reports ‘improving efficiency’ with its ‘stationary rail-butt welder’ design.


The Railway Vehicles Institute has established an ‘integrated production system’ in the wiring division of the Kim Jong Thae Electric Locomotive Complex, as part of a research programme aimed at producing high-power designs.




First Rio Line 4 metro train rolls out

The first trainset for Rio metro Line 4 rolled off the production line at the CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles factory in China on September 29. The Type A trainset is due to arrive in Rio in December.


The six-car trainset has capacity for 2 240 passengers. The stainless steel body is intended to prevent rust in the humid climate, and powerful air-conditioning would keep the interior temperature at 20°C to 23°C even when the external temperature reaches 50°C. The air-conditioning is designed to shut off automatically if smoke is detected to stop smoke and potentially dangerous gases from entering the passenger compartment.


The train has a maximum speed of 100 km/h and is fitted with overspeed protection.


The 16 km Line 4 will run from Jardim Oceânico in Barra da Tijuca to Nossa Senhora da Paz in Ipanema. It will serve the Olympic Village, and athletes and spectators are expected to take the metro to events at the 2016 Olympic Games. According to CNR, the front of the train resembles a smiling face, to show that Brazil welcomes its visitors with a smile. The windows are made from plastic rather than glass, to prevent breakage by less restrained spectators after certain sporting events.


Deliveries of the 15 trainsets are due to be completed by June 2015, in time for the opening of the line in the first half of 2016.




First trams arrive in Zhuhai

The first two trams for Zhuhai Line 1 have arrived in the Chinese city from AnsaldoBreda’s Pistoia factory in Italy.


The remaining eight trams will be assembled at CNR Dalian’s factory under a 10-year licensing agreement signed between the two firms in 2012. The five-section Sirio vehicles will be used on the 8·7 km Line 1.


Ansaldo STS is providing its TramWave ground-level power supply under licence to enable catenary-free operation.




MAPNA to build diesel locos under licence

Vossloh and MAPNA Group have reached a ‘long-term partnership’ agreement for the German firm’s G1206 four-axle multi-purpose diesel locomotive to be produced under licence in Iran.


Imminent changes to European regulations will preclude future deliveries of the G1206 to customers in the EU, but Vossloh believes the design is sound and suitable for use elsewhere in the world.


MAPNA plans to assemble an initial two 1·5 MW locomotives in Iran as a pilot project, modified to suit the local climate and designated type G1206-IR. It anticipates a large order from national railway RAI.




King Abdullah Financial District monorail revealed

The first monorail vehicle for the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh was officially unveiled at InnoTrans by Pierre Attendu, President of Bombardier Transportation’s Systems Division, and Waleed Aleisa, Project Manager at Al Ra'idah Investment Co.


The vehicle stopped off in Berlin while being delivered to Saudi Arabia from Bombardier’s monorail centre in Kingston, Canada.


The KAFD developer Al Ra'idah Investment Co was the launch customer for the Innovia 300 monorail. Turnkey construction contractor Saudi Oger signed a US$241m contract with Bombardier in 2010. Systra advised on the project.


Attendu said the Innovia 300 rubber-tyred driverless straddle monorail is ‘a game changer for urban transport’, with its ‘futuristic’ appearance and low land-take making it ‘the perfect choice for fast-growing cities’.


Bombardier is supplying six units for the KAFD line, which will have six stations on a 3·6 km elevated loop. The 29·5 tonne two-car sets are 26·7 m long and 3 142 mm wide, with a high-capacity interior having an off-set aisle to enable passengers to move around the central bogie which protrudes into the passenger saloon. The bodyshell and many components are derived from light metro cars supplied to Vancouver, Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere. The traction equipment includes Mitrac TM 600PW controls and permanent magnet motors, giving a maximum speed of 80 km/h.


While the KAFD line is designed for short hops between buildings, the second Innovia 300 order covers a 24 km high-capacity route which will form Line 15 of São Paulo’s metro network. This will have 54 seven-car trainsets and is designed to carry up to 48 000 passengers/hour in each direction. Bombardier says this offers a higher capacity than surface light rail, with lower land-take than an elevated light rail line and lower costs than an underground metro. The initial section with two stations is now in operation.




King opens refurbished Casa-Port station

King Mohammed VI has formally opened the refurbished station at Casa-Port in the city of Casablanca.


The terminus has been redeveloped at a cost of 400m dirhams under a project led by national railway ONCF. The company says that station’s location ‘at the heart of a city undergoing wholesale modernisation’ means that it can be properly integrated into the urban realm for the first time. As well as serving the commercial port, Casa-Port is also close the marina regeneration zone and the Hassan II mosque.


The station development is intended to create ‘a hub of inter-modality’ with facilities tailored both to transport users and those seeking leisure options. The station encompasses around 33 500 m2 of covered space, and it is designed to handle up to 20 million passengers a year or 5 000/h at peak times. It consists primarily of three main zones: a space for passengers, a subterranean car park and an office development for ONCF itself.


The main building includes a 7 000 m2 platform level, of which the passenger waiting area covers 3 000 m2, shops and cafes 650 m2 and ticket offices 355 m2. Immediately below is an inter-floor mezzanine with car and taxi access points, while the first basement level is given over to an 8 400 m2 retail and dining complex. The second and third basement levels are home to 480 car parking spaces, from where direct lift access is provided to the platforms.


The roof, atrium and platform shelters have all been designed to reflect the best of ‘contemporary architecture’ while respecting the ‘classical principles’ of Moroccan aesthetics. Improved passenger facilities include digital information screens, CCTV, light-sensitive glazing and adjustable lighting.




SRT plans multimodal hub at Bang Sue


State Railway of Thailand has reactivated long-standing plans to develop land around Bang Sue station on the northern edge of Bangkok under a property deal aimed at reducing the company’s debt pile.


Three plots of land have been identified by SRT, and these would be developed for mixed commercial and retail use. But the national railway also envisages Bang Sue as the location for a multimodal hub combining main line, suburban and metro services.


Bang Sue is already served by a station on SRT’s metre-gauge main line network and by metro authority MRTA’s Blue Line. SRT is also leading construction of the Red Line, a metre gauge high-density suburban line which already runs west from Bang Sue to Taling Chan, a distance of 15 km. This would be extended through the city to an interchange with the standard gauge Suvarnabhumi airport line at Makkasan.


SRT’s property plans also envisage relocating the main station for long-distance trains to Bang Sue from Hua Lamphong. This would also provide space for development of a terminus for any future standard gauge passenger lines built to link Bangkok with northern cities, Laos and China.


SRT’s plans still require approval from the Transport Ministry and the State Enterprises Office, before formal feasibility studies can be launched.


Japanese railway test centre opens to support export drive

What Mitsubishi Heavy Industries describes as Japan's first comprehensive railway transport system verification facility was officially opened on October 2.


The Mihara Test Centre is located at the Wadaoki plant of MHI’s Mihara Machinery Works in Hiroshima Prefecture. It is being made available for use by all private and public organisations as part of a national strategy to develop the export market for Japanese railway technology.


The centre has a 3·2 km loop, with dual-gauge tracks able to accommodate 1 435 mm or 1 067 mm gauge vehicles running at speeds up to 100 km/h. There is also provision for 1 000 mm gauge. The tracks include an elevated section and rails meeting European specifications, with curve radii and gradients to ‘global standards’. There are facilities for testing noise and vibration, signalling, power, control and communication systems.


The Mihara facility also has test tracks for automated guideway transit peoplemover cars, and ‘high-speed surface transport’ maglev vehicles.


Guests at the opening ceremony included government officials, representatives of universities and railway companies, and 30 schoolchildren, who rode round the new test track on a Hiroshima Electric Railway Co low-floor vehicle.




New trams enter service in Daugavpils

The first six of 12 UKVZ trams ordered earlier this year entered passenger service in Daugavpils on September 30. The remaining six are to be delivered in April 2015.


Tram operator Daugavpils Satiksme ordered eight type 71-623 single-section trams and four type 71-631 three-section trams from the Russian manufacturer for €6·5m. The three-section variant has six axles and four 125 kW traction motors, whereas the single-section variant has four axles and four 50 kW traction motors.


In January 2013 Belkommunmash was selected to supply 12 trams, but the contract was terminated in March 2014 when the Belarusian company was not able to meet the contract terms. Previously, a tender was called in late 2011; Vagonmash’s winning bid was withdrawn when it was revealed that the company did not meet the regulations of the competition.


The new rolling stock is part of a tram modernisation programme that began in 2011. This includes renovation of 6·2 km of the 1 524 mm gauge network and improving accessibility. EU funds will meet 83% of the total cost of the modernisation.




Tokaido Shinkansen turns 50

Celebrations were held in Tokyo on October 1 to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the world’s first high speed line, between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka.


The current operator of the Tokaido Shinkansen, JR Central, re-enacted the launch with a ribbon-cutting at 06.00 before dispatching the first train of the day. Whereas the original Series 0 trainsets took around 4 h to cover the 515 km at a maximum of 210 km/h, the latest Series N700A sets running at up to 285 km/h offer a fastest timing of 2 h 25 min.


JR Central pointed out that during 50 years of operation, no passengers had been killed in a train accident on the high speed line, which has now carried more than 5·6 billion passengers. ‘The Tokaido Shinkansen has greatly contributed to Japan’s economy, culture and society’, said JR Central President Koei Tsuge, adding that it has become ‘a symbol of Japan’s technology’.




Buenos Aires metro Line C upgrade

Metro authority SBASE has awarded Siemens a €30m contract to upgrade Buenos Aires metro Line C.


Siemens will supply its Trainguard MT train control, Controlguide Vicos operations control system for the depot operations control centre in Constitución, Airlink radio transmission and Sicas electronic interlockings, as well as a new passenger information system.


Commissioning of the signalling is planned for the end of 2016. The north-south line is 5 km long with nine stations and carries 340 000 passengers/day, making it one of the busiest on the network. For this reason, the upgrade is due to take place without interruption of normal service.




Dubai metro expansion plans

Dubai Roads & Transport Authority is studying proposed alignments for extensions of the city’s two metro lines that would open in time for Expo 2020.


An 18·5 km extension to the Red Line is planned from Jebel Ali to the Expo 2020 site with 12 stations. At the other end of the line, a 3·5 km one-station extension from Rashidiya to Mirdif City Centre has been approved, with a proposal being studied to extend it further south to Al Warqa’a.


The Green Line would be extended by 20·6 km from Al Jaddaf to Academic City with 11 stations. Of this alignment, 12 km would be elevated and 8·6 km underground.


Four further lines have been proposed. The north-south Purple Line would connect the city’s two airports; the Gold Line would link Dubai Marina area, Arabian Ranches and Deira. Both are due to open by 2025.


The Blue Line would run north-south parallel to Dubai Bypass Road, and the Pink Line would run east-west from City of Arabia to Al Sufouh. These are due for completion by 2030.




Siemens awarded Sosa – Wonsi Line signalling contract

Hyundai Information Technology has awarded Siemens a €20m contract to supply signalling and automation equipment for the 23·4 km Sosa – Wonsi Line which is under construction in the Greater Seoul area.


Announcing the contract on September 29, Siemens said the north–south orbital route scheduled to open in late 2017 would be the first line in Korea with ‘continuous mixed running of mass transit and mainline trains’.


Siemens is to supply its Trainguard MT automatic train protection with automatic train operation functionality, Airlink radio equipment and Sicas ECC electronic interlockings. In addition, the line will be equipped for ETCS Level 1 operation.


The Sosa – Wonsi Line will branch off the existing Seoul – Incheon Line at Sosa and run south to Wonsi New Port in Ansan. It will have 13 stations, including interchanges to Seoul Metro Lines 1 and 4 and the line to Ansan.






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