One year after the launch of Fokus Bahn NRW, an initiative overseen by the federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia, the state transport minister Hendrik Wüst draws positive conclusions.
The federal state has been providing financial and organisational support to the rail industry for the past year to bring about improvements in local passenger rail travel. NRW now sees positive results: a new control centre in Duisburg has been established where employees from the various train companies work together under one roof. If there are operational disruptions, they can quickly get on the same page and implement the best solution for passengers.
The launch of a joint industry campaign featuring local German singer Guildo Horn has also been a success. It reached 60,000 interested individuals.
Training models that go beyond individual companies help utilise the rail companies’ training capacities more effectively. 13 train operating companies have now signed an agreement to mutually reimburse each other of training costs, which has created new incentives for continual training. The NRW agreement is creating an impulse nationwide and has been taken over by three further federal states.
“When the alliance launched a year ago, the goal was the implement the timetable change of 2019 as smoothly as possible for commuters. The participants have achieved that. I would like to thank them all for that. We've shown: when we all work together to achieve a better local passenger rail service, we're successful. We have to continue on this path.”
A shortage of skilled workers will hit the entire rail industry in the coming years with almost 40 percent of the current workforce reaching retirement age. At the same time the local passenger rail travel is set to grow by around 25 percent over the same timeframe. The rail industry believes it will need more than 1,700 train drivers in the next five years. In order to raise the number of applications coming in long-term, the alliance is explicitly targeting women and migrants.
A Fokus Bahn online survey with almost 1,000 participants revealed that nearly half of the female respondents (47 percent) considered the job of train driver an attractive proposition. However, the actual current percentage of women train drivers is only 4 percent, despite the job offering great opportunities, such as getting back into work at a good wage.
More than 50 highly qualified migrants in the Ruhr Area expressed their interest in becoming train drivers in recent weeks. They’re participating in information events, suitability checks and railway-specific language courses at Fokus Bahn’s partner foundation Stiftung Bildung und Handwerk. A mentoring programme with former train drivers has been put in place to accompany the applicants through the demanding training process.
Fokus Bahn NRW is a programme aimed at improving local rail services in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia and this is something an industry alliance is working on. The alliance, which was established in 2019, includes the Zweckverband Nahverkehr-Rheinland, the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr and the Zweckverbund Nahverkehr Westfalen-Lippe as well as the local rail operators. The programme has been set up with an initial runtime of three years. In 2020 the transport ministry is supporting it with around one million euros.
A new contractor is being sought to lead the enabling works programme for the new Automated People Mover at Interchange Station in Solihull.
European Locomotive Leasing Group (ELL) has signed a framework agreement with Siemens Mobility for the order of up to 200 Vectron locomotives.
Morocco's national railway operator, ONCF has launched a tender for the acquisition of 168 new trains.
Siemens Mobility has been awarded a contract to supply up to 55 new light rail vehicles to Metro Transit for the St. Louis MetroLink network.
Porterbrook and Siemens Mobility have signed a 1.7 million GBP deal to install a Rail Charging Converter at the Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre.
On 29 November, the opening day of Rail Live! showcased some of the ongoing decarbonisation initiatives underway in the rail industry.
Alstom and Transdev have officially unveiled the first Omneo train set to operate on the Marseille-Toulon-Nice line in France.
The first trains have carried passengers to the City of London using European Train Control System (ETCS) digital signalling.
The West Midlands Rail Executive has partnered with the Great British Railways Transition Team to deliver a more locally accountable railway.
Eurostar train services between the Netherlands and UK will be suspended for six months due to renovation works at Amsterdam Central.
The UK government is investing 5.3 million GBP in FOAK funding to make the nation's railways more modern, efficient and accessible.
The West Devon town of Okehampton recently held a community celebration for the second anniversary of its fully reopened Dartmoor Line.
Knorr-Bremse has been contracted by Alstom to equip 52 Movia metro trains for Bhopal and Indore with braking and air conditioning systems.
Network Rail has awarded contracts valued at 61.5 million GBP for the delivery of the East Kilbride Enhancement Project in Scotland.
Alstom has been awarded a 300 million EUR contract to equip the RER B and D lines in Île-de-France with NExTEO signalling technology.
Network Rail has announced that the first ScotRail electric train has completed test runs on the Glasgow-Barrhead line in Scotland.
In coordination with NJ TRANSIT, Amtrak has begun the procurement process for the Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project.
Siemens Mobility has completed its delivery of 21 Desiro ML Cityjet trains to ÖBB for operation in Vorarlberg, Austria.
Brightline has awarded a contract to ENSCO Rail to provide autonomous railway inspection technology for its expanded Florida network.
Furrer+Frey has completed an upgrade project at Eurostar's depot in London with the installation of moveable electrification equipment.
Alstom has delivered the first of 60 new Flexity trams (streetcars) to the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).
Newag has received a contract from Akiem to supply 30 Dragon 2 electric locomotives for operation in Central Europe.
RedCabin recently announced the results of the first Rail Interiors Awards as part of the Red Cabin rail summit in Vienna.
Sydney Metro has provided an update on its TBMs constructing the new 23-kilometre Western Sydney Airport (WSI) metro alignment.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority has agreed to construct a station connecting to Hollywood Burbank Airport.
Testing of London's new Piccadilly line trains, which are being built by Siemens Mobility, is now underway in Germany and Austria.
Alstom has delivered the 40th Flexity light rail vehicle to Gothenburg, Sweden.
Liverpool City Region Mayor, Steve Rotheram and Transport Secretary Mark Harper have signed a rail devolution deal for Merseyside.
Derby City Council has responded to Alstom's announcement that it plans to end rolling stock production in the city.
DfT has announced a funding boost of 400,000 GBP as part of its commitment to build a brand-new railway station in Bradford.
Deutsche Bahn (DB), Stadler and AngelStar are preparing Alstom-made locomotives in Germany for the European Train Control System (ETCS).
Adif, Renfe and CAF have announced that the FCH2RAIL project's bi-mode hydrogen train has begun tests on the Torralba-Soria line in Spain.
Plans to open the first portion of the Birmingham Eastside Metro extension have been brought forward due to ongoing complications related to HS2.
London Northwestern Railway (LNR) has introduced the first Class 730 electric trains on the West Coast Main Line.
Île-de-France Mobilités, SNCF Voyageurs and Alstom have inaugurated the RER NG train for the RER D and RER E lines in Île-de-France.
Network Rail has completed the first major stage of its project to modernise railway signalling across Cornwall, UK.
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) has contracted Alstom to modernise and replace its Skylink APM system.
Hitachi Rail has been contracted to supply 30 ETR1000 trains to Trenitalia for use on the Italian high-speed network.
MBTA has launched a Track Improvement Program that will eliminate all speed restrictions on its network by the end of 2024.
SBB has announced a tender to purchase ten new single-deck multiple-unit trains for regional services in the Seetal valley, Switzerland.
Rolling stock leasing company, Beacon Rail has ordered 10 Vectron locomotives from Siemens Mobility to operate on the Rhine-Alpine corridor.
CPK will purchase more than 100 electric multiple units through its rolling stock procurement programme for Poland's new high-speed network.
HS2 has now passed the halfway point of construction on what is set to become Britain's longest railway bridge.
Network Rail has announced that its renovation and expansion of Gatwick Airport rail station will open on 21 November.
LNER has selected CAF as the successful bidder to deliver 10 tri-mode trains to operate on the East Coast Main Line.
SBB Cargo has opened a new workshop in Chiasso, Switzerland for reprofiling locomotives, freight wagons and multiple units.
Norman Baker, Director of External Affairs at Campaign for Better Transport presents a vision for a fairer and simpler rail ticketing system.
Alstom is building a modern depot in central Bucharest to provide maintenance services for the city's new electric Coradia Stream trains.
Hitachi Rail is upgrading the interlocking system for Rio Tinto’s autonomous heavy haul rail network, AutoHaul™ in Western Australia.
Transport for London and Google have announced a collaboration to bring Google Street View to a number of London's busiest Tube stations.
A metro train has completed its first test run from Tallawong to Sydenham on the Sydney Metro City & Southwest route.
The FRA has awarded nearly 10 billion USD to Amtrak for the modernisation of critical infrastructure on the Northeast Corridor (NEC).
Deutsche Bahn has contracted four companies to renovate the Riedbahn line to establish a high-performance network.
From 24-26 October, Global Mobility Call brought together rolling stock manufacturers to discuss the 'train of the future.'
Organised by IMechE, the Rolling Stock Whole Life Cost Optimisation seminar will explore all technical aspects of rolling stock lifecycle.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority has released a RFQ for design services for track and OCS connecting Merced to Bakersfield.
Wabtec and Roy Hill have unveiled the FLXdrive locomotive: the first battery-powered, heavy-haul freight locomotive for mainline service.
In the Czech Republic, Brno City Transport Company (DPMB) has ordered an additional 15 ForCity Smart 45T trams from Škoda Group.
Alstom has been awarded an 8-year extension on its services contract to maintain CrossCountry’s Voyager and Super Voyager fleet in the UK.
The Coventry Very Light Rail project has commenced vehicle testing on a track at the Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre in Dudley.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority has unveiled 3D modelling, sketches and virtual simulation designs of its future electric trains.
BERNMOBIL has officially commenced regular services of the new Stadler TRAMLINK vehicles in Bern, Switzerland.
The UK government has scrapped plans to close rail ticket offices following objections from Transport Focus and London TravelWatch.
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has approved Network Rail’s 43.1 billion GBP plan for Control Period 7 (CP7).
Hitachi Rail has secured clearance from the European Commission for its 1,660 million EUR acquisition of Thales’ GTS.
Serbia’s Ministry of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure has signed a purchase agreement with CRRC for 20 high-speed EMU trains.
AusRAIL PLUS, a construction update on the Sydney Metro, a chat with Taketsugu Matsumoto from Mitsubishi Electric, the Tree Seas Initiative...
MTA has begun work on the reconstruction of the 130-year-old Park Avenue Viaduct in East Harlem, New York.
Norfolk Southern is deploying digital train inspection portals to enhance rail safety across its US network.
Amtrak has signed a service development agreement for the return of intercity passenger rail services between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
On 25 October, Global Mobility Call in Madrid hosted a panel discussion about the strategic transformation of railway stations in Spain.
Edmonton’s Valley Line Southeast light rail transit (LRT) will open for passenger service on Saturday 4 November.
The multi-year renewal and upgrade of Singapore’s North-South and East-West lines (NSEWL) has now been completed.
Swiss International Air Lines passengers can now connect to Zurich or Geneva Airport thanks to an extension of the Air Rail network with SBB.
Lessor Alpha Trains is expanding its fleet, having signed a new contract with Stadler for 12 EURO9000 locomotives.
Passengers were able to experience the new ICE interior design for the first time, when the new-look train took its inaugural journey.
HS2 has unveiled the names of the next pair of tunnel boring machines that will construct the high-speed rail line: Emily and Anne.
J. Murphy and Sons Ltd has been awarded the construction contract for Cambridge South station, part of the proposed East-West Rail route.
New Tyne and Wear Metro trains from Stadler undergo special crush load testing ahead of entering passenger service.
Metrolinx has appointed AECOM to serve as the technical advisor for its Hamilton Light Rail Transit (LRT) line in Ontario, Canada.
Class I freight railroad company, CSX has expanded its partnership with Siemens Mobility to implement digital solutions for freight rail.
Last week, Exeter Transport Summit highlighted the need for multimodal travel to integrate rail services into the wider transport network.
Alstom has inaugurated India’s first semi high-speed RAPIDX regional train on the Delhi-Meerut corridor with hybrid Level 3 ETCS technology.
Deutsche Bahn AG (DB) has signed an agreement to sell the Arriva Group and all remaining Arriva national companies to I Squared.
From December 2023, 18 new Desiro HC double-decker trains from Siemens Mobility will commence service on the Franconia-Thuringia Express.
Transport for London (TfL) has awarded a 43 million GBP contract to Balfour Beatty to upgrade the London Underground's Piccadilly line.
SNCF Voyageurs and Alstom have presented the first of five battery-powered trains to operate in regions across France.
Transport for Greater Manchester and the Great British Railways Transition Team have partnered to deliver an integrated rail network.
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has rolled out the first five R211 subway cars on the Staten Island Railway.
Chicago's commuter rail operator, Metra has been awarded a 169.3 million USD grant to purchase zero-emission, battery-powered trainsets.
Canada's Minister for Transport, Pablo Rodriguez has launched the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the nation's High Frequency Rail project.
Transport for Wales (TfW) has launched a public consultation on its plans to construct five new railway stations in South East Wales.
Deutsche Bahn is investing 55 million EUR in new AI and robotics technologies to support the maintenance of its growing ICE fleet.
Stadler has received an order to build four hydrogen-powered trains for the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) and Caltrans.
Alstom and FLOX Robotics have announced a collaborative project that will deploy technology to help avoid railway wildlife collisions.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will provide 197 million USD in funding to help transit agencies replace ageing passenger railcars.
Škoda Group has signed a contract to supply 30 electric multiple unit (EMU) trains to Uzbekistan Railways.
Alstom has concluded its demonstration of the first hydrogen-powered train to provide commercial service in North America.
The Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) has ordered an additional eight S700 light rail vehicles (LRVs) from Siemens Mobility.
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