First, Trenitalia win West Coast Partnership franchise

THE government has awarded the West Coast Partnership to a consortium of FirstGroup and Trenitalia. Transport secretary Grant Shapps and Keith Williams, chair of the Rail Review, have described the deal as ‘vital to deliver the swift introduction of significant benefits for passengers’. The new contract is also designed to ‘fit

FirstGroup replaces Virgin to run West Coast route

FirstGroup, along with Italian firm Trenitalia, will operate train services on the West Coast Main Line from December 8, the Department for Transport has said. The joint partnership was awarded the West Coast Partnership (WCP) contract, which also includes responsibility for running the first HS2 trains from 2026. But the DfT said

Unipart Rail Shortlisted for Two HR Awards

Unipart Rail has been shortlisted for two Personnel Today Awards 2019. Lucy Weaver is named in the HR Director of the Year category and Unipart Rail is up for the Graduate Scheme of the Year category. Unipart Rail Graduates As HR Director for Unipart Rail, Lucy Weaver is responsible for more than 850

Industry Insider Week 31 – 12 Must-Read Rail Stories

All the important rail news of the week, summed up for you in one place: our Railway-News Industry Insider Week 31 for 29 July–02 August 2019: Rail yard behind the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, Virginia © Donnie Nunley under licence Business Stadler manufactures the Berlin S-Bahn at its Pankow site © Railway-News Stadler

Sakhalin diesel railcars outshopped

RUSSIA: Three Class RA3 diesel multiple-units to operate regauged regional railway routes on Sakhalin were formally unveiled by Transmashholding on July 26, at a ceremony attended by the Deputy Chairman of the Sakhalin oblast government Vitaly Gudin, RZD’s Deputy General Director, Passenger, Dmitry Pegov, and the First Deputy General Director

25 More Light Rail Vehicles for San Diego

Siemens Mobility has been awarded a contract for 25 S700 low-floor Light Rail Vehicles (LRV’s) from San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System (MTS). The first Siemans S70 from the 2011 order, departs the San Diego Train Station © Paul Sullivan under license Changing Standards The new vehicles, which will replace the existing Siemens Mobility

Legal row over track safety rule change

BELGIUM: Infrastructure manager Infrabel said on July 30 that it had been forced to defend itself and changes in its maintenance policy in a case brought before the Brussels Francophone Business Court by freight operator Lineas. Services run by Lineas and other operators had been affected by an unexpected change

Prestigious design award for Hackney Wick project

London Overground’s Hackney Wick station, which reopened after extensive redevelopment and expansion in May 2018, has won a prestigious design award from the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE).  The ambitious redesign, which transformed the North London Line station from a neglected site into a modern and attractive transport interchange, won

Register Now for the 3rd ASEAN Rail Summit

Malaysia: As the fastest-growing region in the global economy, Southeast Asia emerging economies have attracted worldwide attention. It is estimated that by 2020, ASEAN is expected to become the fifth-largest economy in the world. As one of the important countries in ASEAN, China has always maintained close cooperation and exchanges.

Auckland City Rail Link contract signed

NEW ZEALAND: The main contract for construction of the tunnels and stations on the Auckland City Rail Link was formally signed on July 19, at an event attended by Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff. Project promoter City Rail Link had selected the Link Alliance consortium in April,

European Commission Says Yes to Latvian Railway Electrification

The Latvian rail network electrification project has received the go-ahead from the European Commission. The European Commission’s independent technical assistance experts published positive results about both the project and its economic feasibility. In 2017 the Cabinet of Ministers also said it was in favour of the Latvian Railways project. Electrified railway line

£20 million fund to help disabled rail passengers

Disabled rail passengers will benefit from a £20 million fund to boost accessibility, the Department for Transport (DfT) said. Railway station operators will be able to bid for a share of the investment for small-scale improvements such as textured paving, handrails and raising platform heights. Disabled rail passengers will benefit from a

Bringing a Freight Line Back to Life in Colombia

Colombia is a country that has seen more than its fair share of political struggles. At the same time it is filled with opportunities, including for the rail sector. Railway lines in the country have fallen into disuse. One company, Holdtrade Atlantico, wants to reinstate a freight railway line in

Beyond the Digital Buzzwords

The New European Rail Supply Industry’s Vision on Digitalisation By Tommaso Spanevello, Public Affairs Manager, UNIFE In recent years, digitalisation has been advancing at increasing speed across all industrial sectors, public entities and society at large; and the rail sector is no exception. While sometimes perceived as being conservative, the truth is that rail

FRA awards $326m for rail infrastructure works

USA: More than $326m in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure & Safety Improvements and Special Transportation Circumstances grant funding for 45 rail infrastructure projects in 29 states has been announced by the Federal Railroad Administration. ‘These investments in inter-city passenger and freight rail will benefit surrounding communities, make grade crossings safer and improve

War of words grows on second SWR strike day

THE war of words between South Western Railway and the RMT has become more heated on the second day of five 24-hour walkouts. The dispute over on-train staffing and the future role of guards has been running for months, but the latest action is the most intensive yet. Although the RMT claimed

18 June: news in brief

South Western strikes begin THE first of five days of strikes has begun on South Western Railway, after new talks last week failed to reach agreement over on-train staffing and the role of guards. The walkouts have closed the Shepperton branch, and trains on the Hampton Court branch will run only

South Western strikes set to go ahead

FIVE days of strikes are set to go ahead on South Western Railway from tomorrow, after new talks failed to reach agreement over on-train staffing and the role of guards. The walkouts will close the Shepperton branch, and trains on the Hampton Court branch will run only when passengers will be

13 June: news in brief

Southeastern rescue deal THE Southeastern franchise has been extended until 10 November at least, after two months of talks between Southeastern’s owner Govia and the Department for Transport. Time had been running out for the negotiations, and without an agreement the DfT would have been forced to take over as ‘operator

1960s Railtours with a difference

For this month’s Practice & Performance , Keith Farr takes a nostalgic look at some notable steam rail tours from the 1960s One fine June evening in 1967, a friend and I were enjoying dinner in the restaurant car of the 17.05 Euston-Carlisle. During the soup course we were discussing our

Brazilian line reopens after safety shutdown

BRAZIL: Mining giant Vale resumed regular operation of freight services on the Belo Horizonte branch of Estrado de Ferro Vitória a Minas on June 6, after confirmation that the railway would not be affected by the possible collapse of tailings at a nearby abandoned iron ore mine in Minas Gerais

Southeastern deal unresolved as deadline approaches

THE Department for Transport remains locked in talks with Govia over another extension to the Southeastern franchise, barely two weeks before the present contract is due to end. It was in June 2017 that the DfT announced that four bidders had been shortlisted for South Eastern. They were Govia, Stagecoach, Trenitalia

7 June: News in brief

Frankenstein A second rail union has called for privatisation to be reversed in the wake of a Transport Focus survey of how much passengers trust the railway industry, which left Southern trailing the list. However, the percentage of users who do trust Southern has risen from 17 per cent to

RMT ballots for strike after Underground talks fail

PAY talks between London Underground and the RMT have collapsed, and the union is preparing strike ballot papers for its 10,000 London Underground members. Transport for London said it is now asking the conciliation service ACAS to help with the next stage of negotiations. The union claimed that there had been no

FirstGroup investor war gathers strength

THE internal battle in FirstGroup, which operates Great Western Railway, South Western Railway and TransPennine Express, is becoming a war of words between the board and what it sees as a rogue investor. Ahead of an Extraordinary General Meeting later this month, First has launched a determined counter attack on US-based

Two Unipart Rail Leaders Named Everywoman Awards Finalists

Two Unipart Rail leaders have been named as finalists for awards celebrating remarkable women in the transport and logistics sector. Kelly Pepper (left) and Karen Beardsley Karen Beardsley and Kelly Pepper are shortlisted in the Supply Chain category at the 12th annual Everywoman Awards (Transport & Logistics), to be held in June. Managing

RMT sounds warning as Underground pay talks start

A NEW round of London Underground pay negotiations is due to begin tomorrow (5 June), and the RMT has prepared the way by making a ‘clear demand’ for ‘a deal that reflects the growing workload and pressures’ which it says affect the staff. One point of contention, according to the RMT,

Opportunities amid uncertainty in the UK rail market

UK: Rail Industry Association Chief Executive Darren Caplan sees good opportunities for UK firms in both the home and export markets, despite a period of uncertainty. Speaking to Railway Gazette at the Railtex exhibition in Birmingham on May 15, Caplan stressed that the record £48bn settlement for Network Rail’s Control

CRRC locomotive on test in North Macedonia

NORTH MACEDONIA: National operator MŽ Transport is testing the first of four CRRC Zhuzhou electric locomotives it has ordered to haul freight on the north–south corridor between the Serbian and Greek borders. The €8m order signed in January 2017 was financed using part of a €50m loan from the European Bank

Elevated section of Buenos Aires commuter line inaugurated

ARGENTINA: President Mauricio Macri inaugurated a new viaduct on the Retiro – Tigre branch of the Mitre suburban railway serving Buenos Aires on May 10. The 3·9 km structure between Avenida Dorrego and Avenida Monroe eliminates eight level crossings. Two stations on the section have been rebuilt. Belgrano station reopened on May

Artesyn Launches New 10 Watt Isolated DC-DC Converter

Artesyn Embedded Technologies has extended its range of low power output industrial DC-DC converters with the launch of the ATA series 10 watt isolated DC-DC converters, comprising 14 variants. Targeting a diverse range of applications, including instrumentation, data communication, telecommunication and computer peripheral equipment, industrial automation and mobile battery-powered systems,

Nürnberg S6 contract awarded

GERMANY: Bayern transport authority BEG has awarded DB Regio a contract to operate the future route S6 of the Nürnberg S-Bahn network. The contract runs from the December 2021 timetable change to December 2030. It covers the operation of around 600 000 train-km/year on the Nürnberg Hbf – Neustadt (Aisch) – Markt Bibart route,

Coming up in the May 2019 issue of The RM: City of Wells sold to East Lancs after £320k fundraising success

Brighton-built ‘West Country’ Light Pacific No. 34092 City of Wells can officially call the East Lancashire Railway (ELR) its permanent home after the Bury line successfully completed the locomotive’s purchase following an 18-month fundraising campaign. The 1949-built Bulleid 4-6-2 was first offered for sale in 2017 by its owners Richard Greenwood,

Underground staff to be balloted in jobs dispute

THE RMT has announced a ballot for industrial action by London Underground staff in protest at changes which the union claims amount to ‘attacks on jobs, staffing levels, pay and working conditions as part of a concerted assault on the workforce’. A London Underground process aimed at reducing costs, known as

East Coast Rail Link back on

MALAYSIA: Construction of the East Coast Rail Link to open up the country’s eastern seaboard is set to resume next month, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced on April 15. Contracts had been awarded in 2017 for China Communications Construction Corp to develop the 530 km ECRL linking Port Klang on the west


For this month’s Practice & Performance, John Heaton FCILT takes a look at Britain’s first tram-train operation in Sheffield, which runs from the city centre to Parkgate, Rotherham, using a mix of tram and rail tracks. A RIBBON of rails bisects Sheffield’s inner-city industrial twilight zone. Satanic forges hulk over the

South Eastern franchise award delayed

UK: The start of the next South Eastern passenger franchise has been delayed ‘while we make a decision on the competition’, Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling confirmed to parliament on April 9. The Department for Transport is negotiating a short-term extension to its current agreement with Govia. This would

CRRC tests ‘variable configuration’ EMU

CHINA: CRRC Tangshan has completed pre-delivery testing of a variable configuration electric multiple-unit, which is designed to be formed of two power cars and up to 16 single or double-deck coaches. The train has been designed to enable operators to configure train lengths in response to changes in passenger demand, unlike

Punctuality rules to tighten next month

TIMETABLES should be ‘fact, not fiction’, said a transport watchdog, after new rules measuring the punctuality of trains were announced by the Rail Delivery Group. From April actual train timings will be published to the minute at every calling point. The industry is already making internal use of this information in