IRJ - April 2011 - (Page 12)
CAF dmus touch down in Northern Ireland: The first of 20 CAF class 4000 dmus for Translink NI Railways was unloaded in Belfast Docks on March 14 having completed its journey from Spain by ship. The three-car dmus were ordered in March 2009 and are a development of the class 3000, 23 of which were supplied by CAF to Translink between 2002 and 2004. The class 4000 is five tonnes lighter than its predecessor and features a driver assist system for more efficient acceleration and braking, fuel-efficient transmission, and reduced exhaust gas emissions to comply with EU Stage IIIa standards. Two more trains will arrive in the next few weeks and three sets will undergo simultaneous testing this summer.
50% revenue growth this year after it revealed volumes rose from 2.04 million tonnes in 2009 to 3.15 million tonnes in 2010. Lotos Kolej, the railfreight subsidiary of government-owned petroleum company Lotos, also saw volumes rise 35% to 8.4 million tonnes. Infrastructure secretary Mr Cezary Grabarczyk signed a 10-year contract with PKP Intercity (PKP IC) for the provision of long-distance services. The agreement means PKP IC has the guarantees it requires to proceed with the procurement of 20 Alstom Pendolino tilting emus.
The government is reportedly close to securing a $US 800 million loan from the Russian government to fund an upgrade of the Serbian section of the Belgrade - Bar (Montenegro) line. Further talks are expected to take place this month.
ERA ruling clears Channel Tunnel for distributed traction
HE French government’s strong objection on safety grounds to the operation of distributed-traction passenger trains in the Channel Tunnel, as planned by Eurostar and German Rail (DB), has been overruled by the European Railway Agency (ERA). ERA confirms that the current rules authorising vehicles to operate in the Channel Tunnel “do not explicitly prohibit distributed power, provided an equivalent level of safety” to the existing Eurostar trains, which have power cars at each end, “is demonstrated.” The announcement was made by ERA in its response to a request by the Channel Tunnel Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) for its technical opinion on the operation of trains in the Tunnel. In March 2010, IGC completed a review of the safety rules governing the operation of passenger trains.
It accepted the request to abolish the need to split a train in the tunnel in an emergency and the principle of distributed-traction trains. However, when Eurostar announced in October an order with Siemens to supply 10 distributed-traction highspeed trains, the French government claimed this would jeopardise safety, despite the fact that Alstom, France, had also offered Eurostar its distributedtraction AGV (IRJ November p2 and p4). ERA says European Union legislation, in particular the technical specifications for interoperability covering rail tunnel safety, prevail over national rules for the authorisation of vehicles running on Trans-European networks. ERA says that the existing requirements for vehicle authorisation in the Channel Tunnel are not clear,
transparent or fully notified. It also wants the IGC’s remaining unduplicated requirements to be brought into line with EU legislation. ERA says the IGC cannot mandate a particular design solution, and requirements can only relate to compatibility with the Channel Tunnel infrastructure. DB, which plans to introduce Siemens distributedtraction ICE trains to London, welcomes the ERA report as a first step. “Due to the positive ERA report and our ongoing collaboration with the IGC, we are optimistic to obtain clearance for our ICE trains by early summer,” says Mr Ulrich Homburg, DB management board member for passenger transport. “Subsequently we will expect to start full implementation later this year of our project to connect London to mainland Europe from 2013.
Transnet has confirmed the reinstatement of Mr Siyabonga Gama as head of Transnet Freight Rail, nine months after he was dismissed having been found guilty of misconduct relating to the award of certain contracts. Transnet says the appointment of its new executive committee has ended almost two years of uncertainty following the group’s failure to appoint a permanent replacement for its previous chief executive Ms Maria Ramos.
Public transport operator Alsa has obtained a license to operate rail services. The company says it intends to compete with Renfe when the long-distance passenger market is liberalised next year.
Tenders launched for Israel’s Jezreel Valley Railway
SRAEL National Roads Company (NRC) has invited the first tenders for a new line that will revive part of the route of the former Hedjaz Railway. The 60km Jezreel Valley Railway from Haifa southeast to Afula and Bet Sha’an will eventually form part of a link between
Turkish State Railways says that nearly three million passengers have travelled on the country’s first high-speed line since it opened in March 2009. Last year 1.9 million passengers used the service between Ankara and Eskisehir. IRJ
Israel’s Mediterranean coast and northern Jordan. The Shekels 4 billion ($US 1.12 billion) double-track line will be built for 160km/h operation and will be used by passenger and freight services. The initial tender covers the 7.5km section between KfarBaruch and Adashim Creek
near Afula. Tenders for the remainder of the line will be issued this year, and the whole line will be completed by 2016. The transport ministries of Israel and Jordan are planning the next phase of the project, which will extend the line east over the Sheikh Houssain Bridge to Irbid in Jordan.
IRJ April 2011
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