The Railway-News Industry Insider for the week 22–26 October 2018:
DB Digital Ventures, part of Deutsche Bahn AG, has announced it is partnering with Canadian start-up Kepler Communications to push forward the development of nano satellites that will help deliver seamless connectivity for a wide variety of applications, including the rail freight and logistics industry. Kepler Communications recently successfully completed testing of its satellite with Phasor antennas.
Swiss transport operator Aargau Verkehr AG has announced it has chosen Stadler Tramlink rolling stock for the narrow-gauge light rail line currently under construction in the Limmat Valley. The definitive contract will be issued in autumn 2019 and the railway line itself is expected to open in December 2022.
Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) will make several improvements to its services with the introduction of the new timetable in December 2018. It will run an increased number of long-distance trains, including cross-border services. It will also put new trains on the line, such as Cityjet Desiro ML trains and the Cityjet TALENT 3 trains that were recently presented at InnoTrans.
RB Rail AS held a meeting with qualified contractors to present the technical design requirements for two sections of the infrastructure project: a 71km section in Estonia and a 78km section in Lithuania. Twelve companies attended the meeting. They will have to submit their proposals for tender by 27 November.
The Belgian national railway operator Infrabel has signed a four-year agreement with British Steel for the supply of up to 40,000 tonnes of rail a year, which equals more than 3,000km of rail during the contract period. Deliveries are to start in January 2019. The steel will be manufactured in England before being transported to the company’s rail rolling plant in France.
Digital technologies are becoming increasingly important in the rail sector as well. And not just for operating and maintaining trains but also for enhancing the customer experience. High-speed rail operator Eurostar has taken a new step in this direction, by installing a humanoid robot at its St Pancras departure lounge. Pepper, as it’s called, can inform and entertain passengers as they wait.
Transport and logistics operator Metrans, a subsidiary of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG, has received its 40th TRAXX locomotive from Bombardier. The event was marked at the company’s container terminal near Prague and has brought the total number of locomotives owned by the company to 80.
Adif has announced it intends to invest more than 67 million euros by 2027 in acquiring and maintaining four auscultation vehicles for conventional and high-speed networks that are already in service as well as for lines currently under construction. The funds will be spent on a high-speed train that is equipped with axles that can run on the Iberian gauge and on standard gauge. It will be fitted with ERTMS and will have a top speed of 330km/h (standard gauge) and 300km/h (Iberian gauge).
Driving instructors in Gdańsk are stepping up their efforts to teach new drivers about level crossings. PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. is continuing its workshops for instructors. Their goal is to prepare future drivers so they will be better at crossing railway. In the first three quarters of 2018 there were 164 events at railway crossings in Poland where 40 people died and 27 were seriously injured.
With new technologies and automation on the rise, it is vital for the rail industry to attract employees who have new skills in these areas. Latvian Railways, together with the International Union of Railways (UIC), has organised the international conference “Attraction of new talents in conditions of growing competition and open labour market”. It will be held in Riga on 29 October and will feature representatives of the rail industry from countries such as Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Norway, Russia, Belarus, Great Britain, Cameroon and Morocco.
RSSB and partners have developed a way of measuring the rail industry’s social value by means of the ‘Common Social Impact Framework for Rail’. It looks at a number of monetised, quantifiable and qualitative measures so assess the ‘social good’ of a scenario. RSSB wants the rail industry in the United Kingdom to adopt the framework. To achieve that it is hosting a webinar on 28 November for a Q&A.
Bombardier Transportation announced in July 2018 that it has signed a 20-year maintenance contract with an undisclosed partner in the southeast Asia region. The company has now revealed this contract is with Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Co. Ltd. The contract is to cover all the Bombardier INNOVIA monorail 300 systems that will run on the pink and yellow lines of the Bangkok Skytrain.
Alstom is to begin shipping its 15 Coradia Polyvalent trains to Senegal following their order in 2016. The rail vehicles will be moved from the ports of Le Havre to Dakar, where they will be reassembled and undergo final testing. The trains are intended to run on the TER rail line between Dakar city centre and the new international airport.
Africa’s largest train manufacturing plant has opened in Dunnottar, South Africa. It will manufacture 580 six-car X’Trapolis Mega commuter trains for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa. The order, which was for 600 such trains, was signed in 2013. 20 of these trains have already been delivered. They were manufactured at Alstom’s Brazil factory. The first wholly South African-produced train is expected to leave the facility by the end of 2018.
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