All the important rail news of the week, summed up for you in one place: our Railway-News Industry Insider Week 17 for 29 April–03 May 2019:
Line 2 of the Panama Metro began commercial operations at 6pm on Thursday, 25 April 2019. Grupo de Empresas (GdE), of which Alstom is the lead member, had the task of delivering an integrated metro system. It consists of 21 Metropolis trainsets, traction substations and Alstom’s CBTC solution Urbalis (a signalling technology for metro systems). The technology’s ability to handle traffic means there can be a train every 90 seconds on Line 2 of the metro.
Plans for a direct rail link between London and Bordeaux by 2022 could benefit 1.2 million travellers by bypassing Paris and avoiding passport checks. However, in order for this plan to succeed Bordeaux must first be able to perform passport checks. Passengers currently have to disembark in Paris for this. Once the direct link is established, it would bring the journey times down to 5 hours. The key rail infrastructure stakeholders involved include HS1 Ltd, LISEA, SNCF Réseau and Getlink (Eurotunnel). HS1 Ltd is now involved in advanced planning, creating a pre-planned and agreed timetable along with train routes.
The National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR) is considering changing its name to reflect a wider remit and capture the growing necessity for higher technical skills in all areas of advanced transport and infrastructure projects. NCHSR has launched a formal consultation which is open until 29 May, suggesting the new legal name be the ‘National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure’.
This summer Amtrak will continue the infrastructure renewal programme at Penn Station in New York. Amtrak is budgeting around 30 million USD (26.88 million euros) for this year’s upgrades. Work on the JO railroad interlocking will begin 28 June. The desired completion date is 2 September. During this period critical infrastructure such as switches and turnouts will also be renewed.
Skoda Transtech won a contract to supply seven new restaurant cars to Finnish government-owned railway company VR. The contract has a value of around 600 million Czech korunas (23.38 million euros / 26.07 million USD). Skoda has said the restaurant cars will enter service in 2021–2022 and will all feature a pressure-tight design with excellent thermal insulation to combat Finland’s severe climate.
Read more | Skoda to Supply New Restaurant Cars for VR
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) will be refurbishing a further 27 F40 commuter rail locomotives. This is a continuation of their pre-existing contract under which 10 of these ‘legacy locomotives’ are already being remodelled. MBTA and Motive Power, Inc. signed the original contract for a value of 26.9 million USD (24 million euros). The new contract is worth around 78.3 million USD (70 million euros). Motive Power, Inc. expects all the refurbishment work to be complete by the late autumn of 2021.
Read more | MBTA Overhauls 27 Additional F40 Locomotives
Due to the safety requirements imposed by the Israel Security Agency, CRRC Changchun has manufactured light rail vehicles for Tel Aviv that are ‘explosion-proof’. The train’s features include a curved roof, a non-ferromagnetic bottom, blast-resistant windows and more. The light rail vehicles are due to enter service on the Red Line in 2021, when it opens.
On Saturday 4 May tram drivers from all over the European continent came together in Brussels to demonstrate their skills and discover who’s best at the 8th European TramDriver Championship (ETDC). Organisers of the ETDC say participating teams will face various tests and challenges they would encounter in their working lives. This year’s ETDC fell on the same weekend that Brussels celebrated the 150th anniversary of its tramways.
We have published our Railtex magazine, our second magazine of the year, in conjunction with the event set to take place in Birmingham, UK, on 14–16 May 2019. The contents include an in-depth showcase of suppliers and advertisers who will be attending Railtex 2019 such as Axminster Carpets, Nomad Digital, Mechan and more. And as always, we have a wide range of editorial contributions, from Hitachi to the Department for International Trade.
The University of Colorado A Line in Denver is celebrating having reached 20 million passenger journeys since it opened on 22 April 2016. To mark this milestone, the RTD, DTP and Northeast Transportation Connections will be hosted a ‘ridership appreciation event’ with coffee and light refreshments at Central Park Station on Friday morning.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has published its Net Zero report, part of which outlines how the UK transport industry must change to stop global warming. For rail specifically, the report says electrification should be planned on a rolling basis to remain cost-effective. Alternative technologies, such as hydrogen power, should also be encouraged. Siemens has issued a statement in favour of the report.
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