IRJ - June 2010 - (Page 8)
DB International in bribery probe
Rail gets $A 1 billion in Australian budget
Photo: John Hoyle
HE AUSTRALIAN government’s 2010-11 budget will provide $A 996 million ($US 881.4 million) for seven major projects on Australian Rail Track Corporation’s (ARTC) network, including: curve easing on the Sydney to Brisbane line between Maitland and the Queensland border costing $A 170 million and taking 14 months to complete a $A 24 million, 20-month track and signalling upgrade to allow more overtaking on the Sydney to Melbourne line a $A 312 million, 25-month project to replace 794km of 47kg/m rail with 60kg/m between Cootamundra and
Whyalla to allow heavier axleloads and higher speeds, and a $A 110 million project, for similar work as well as upgrading bridges and turnouts in Victoria between Albury and Geelong which will take 13 months to complete a $A 253 million, 13-month project to replace timber sleepers with 1.04 million concrete sleepers on the interstate line between Parkes and Broken Hill in New South Wales a $A 32 million, 16-month project to build additional passing loops between Gheringhap and Maroona in Victoria, and re-railing the line between
Koolyanobbing and Kalgoorie in Western Australia and installing two new passing loops at a cost of $A 95 million. In response to the budget announcement, Australasian Railways Association CEO Mr Bryan Nye says that the extra investment would enhance energy security by reducing Australia’s reliance on imported fuels. However, he suggests that while investment is welcome, Australia’s freight sector needs rapid reform to ensure that the right mode of transport is chosen for the right task. Nye believes that reform of economic regulations governing road pricing and rail access charges should be reviewed.
ERMAN Rail (DB) called in auditors from KPMG on April 23 to investigate claims of bribery in its consulting subsidiary DB International. DB International has been under investigation since 2005 for allegedly bribing officials in Algeria, Rwanda and Greece, but new evidence uncovered by prosecutors in Frankfurt has prompted DB to initiate the audit.
CFS to invest €747 million
YRIAN Railways (CFS) says it plans to spend more than ƒ747.2 million by 2020 rehabilitating its network. Mr Georges Mokabari, director general of CFS, says that the investment will include regeneration of around 1450km of existing railway as well as building eight new lines totalling 1350km. A budget target of ƒ81 million per year has been set to complete the work, which will increase capacity to 5.3 million passengers per year.
Cuba plans modernisation programme
Photo: Quintus Vosman
Student Agency takes on CD with RegioJet
ZECH travel agent and bus operator Student Agency has launched a rail subsidiary, which will bid for regional contracts in the Czech Republic. RegioJet embarked on a publicity tour of the country in April, using two Siemens Desiro dmus leased from Alpha Trains (formerly Angel Trains International). The train visited regions where RegioJet has already submitted binding bids to
operate regional passenger services. All these contracts were awarded to Czech Railways (CD) last year, but private operators argue the regions breached European Law because they did not have a proper tendering procedure. RegioJet recently acquired nine Skoda electric locomotives from North Milan Railway (FNM) with the aim of setting up long-distance services in the Czech Republic
and on some international routes. Student Agency plans to bid for these contracts when the Czech Ministry of Transport launches tenders for these services at the end of the year. The company says that if this process is not fully open to CD’s competitors, RegioJet will launch a two-hourly open-access service between Prague, Ostrava and Zilina (Slovakia) to compete directly with CD.
HE CUBAN government has announced plans to repair its entire national railway network as well as acquire new equipment. Vicepresident Mr Antonio Enrique Lusson, an 80-year-old veteran of the 1959 Cuban revolution, outlined the government's strategy last month. The plans include accelerating the rehabilitation of the island’s central main line from five to three years as well as re-establishing four technological centres in 2011 to train new railway workers. According to official figures, the Cuban government spent $US 595 million on railway infrastructure and equipment in 2009 including the procurement of 28 diesel locomotives from Russia; it also bought 100 locomotives from China in 2008.
IRJ June 2010
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