IRJ - February 2011 - (Page 6)
Legal challenge to Italian no-stop order
Keith Barrow Associate editor
TALY’s Office for the Regulation of Railway Services (URSF) is facing pressure to back down on a decision to ban international trains run by foreign operators from stopping in northern Italian cities. URSF agreed on December 6 to a request by Trenitalia to abolish all intermediate stops within Italy on trains operated by DB ÖBB-EuroCity, a cooperative venture between German Rail (DB), Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) and LeNord, Italy, on the grounds that they were abstracting
revenues from regional services operated by Trenitalia. The ban, which affects services from Munich and Innsbruck to Milan, Bologna, Verona and Venice, was due to come into effect just one week later, but following a legal challenge by DB a three-month moratorium has been granted on all except the Venice trains. The European Commission is reportedly demanding an explanation from the Italian government over the decision, and says URSF does not appear to have properly analysed the commercial objectives of DB ÖBB-EuroCity or properly consulted with the operator. The move is also
opposed by the Austrian government and Italian regions, which have petitioned the Transport Ministry. DB and ÖBB have appealed against the ruling at a court in Rome, although the case has been adjourned until February 24 to give Trenitalia time to submit new documents. In December Italy’s first domestic open-access inter-city operator Arenaways filed a complaint with the country’s antitrust authority concerning a decision by the URSF which prohibited intermediate stops for its Turin - Milan services, again on the grounds that it would have a negative impact on Trenitalia regional services.
China - SE Asia high-speed link makes progress
EuroCity services from Bologna to Munich would run non-stop to the Austrian border if the URSF ruling is upheld. Trenitalia argues these trains are abstracting revenue from regional services. Photo: Keith Fender
LANS for two sections of a proposed high-speed railway from China via Laos, Thailand and Malaysia to Singapore are making rapid progress. Mr Somsavat Lengsavad, deputy prime minster of Laos, has confirmed that construction of a $US 7 billion line from Vientiane to Kunming in China will start as soon as April and take four years to complete despite some of the challenges the project faces. The 421km railway will have 190km of tunnels, and bridges and viaducts totalling 90km. China will fund 70% of the work and Laos 30%. Meanwhile, China and Thailand have agreed in principle to build a 1500km standard-gauge line designed for speeds of 200-250km/h from Nong Khai, near the Laotian border, via Bangkok to Padang Besar in northern Malaysia. The cost of the project is estimated at Baht 248 billion ($US 8.16 billion) with a 19.1% economic rate of return. Construction is estimated to take four years. A 51:49 Thai-Sino joint venture is proposed to build the line, and then operate it for 30 years initially, renewable for another 20 years.
Sri Lanka steps up investment
which is estimated to cost $US 355 million, is expected to be completed in 2015, including the 48km second phase which is due to be completed in 2012, and the 39.5km third section from Hambantota to Kataragama. Work is also set to commence on establishing a line between Veyangoda and Kalutara South after a feasibility study was completed. The new line is expected to open by 2013 and will operate electric trains with a fleet of up to 15 Chinese-built locomotives.
Spain to build railway test centre
RI LANKA Railways inaugurated a new line between Colombo Fort and Maradana on December 28 as the country steps up efforts to improve its network. Plans are progressing to construct the 27km first phase of the proposed Matara - Kataragama railway between Matara and Beliatta after Chinese International Trust and Investment Company (Citic), which is constructing the entire project, began a feasibility study. Work on the line,
HE Spanish government has approved the construction of what it claims will be the world’s largest railway test centre when it opens in 2015. The ƒ344.45 million project is being promoted by the Development Ministry and will be implemented by Spain’s infrastructure manager, Adif. Funding will come from the Ministry of Science & Innovation and the European Regional Development Fund. Located in Bobadilla, between Cordoba and Malaga, the centre will have 55km of standard-gauge track with a
9km circuit with long-radius curves suitable for testing trains at speeds of up to 450km/h. There will also be a 20km dual-gauge ring with a maximum speed of 220km/h. A further 5km of track will be used for testing LRVs as well as conducting other types of test and will have sections with small-radius curves, S-shaped sections for testing curvature, and sections with different gradients. The government hopes the test centre will become a hub for railway research, allowing new technical developments, and aiding Spanish exports.
IRJ February 2011
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