IRJ - October 2011 - (Page 7)
Spain - Portugal high-speed link dead for now
HE Euro debt crisis engulfing Spain and Portugal appears to have scuppered plans to build a high-speed line between Lisbon and Madrid. During a visit to Portugal, the leader of Spain’s opposition Popular Party, Mr Mariano Rajoy, said that the high-speed line “would only be implemented when better times arrive,” while Portuguese prime minister Mr Pedro Passos Coelho in a visit to Madrid said that the economic conditions meant
Portugal is no longer in a position to continue investing in high-speed. The Portuguese government has spent É116.1m on the project since 2009, according to accounts released by high-speed network company, Rave. However, Coelho defended the need to build a standardgauge freight line to connect the Portuguese port of Sines with Elvas on the Spanish border. Spain and Portugal have set up a working group to look at ways of implementing the project,
which at an estimated cost of É500m, is É200m more than if it shared tracks with the highspeed passenger line from Poceirão to Caia. “In terms of economic growth this is a bigger priority than passenger transport,” Coelho says, adding that Spain and Portugal will continue to explore high-speed with the aim of resuming the project at a later date. “We are ready to study an alternative formula to ensure we don’t lose European funding that was earmarked for this project.”
to low, easily-accessible platforms that will include ramps for wheelchair access. The work is in advance of the introduction of a new fleet of 18 Flirt emus and 20 GTW dmus on order from Stadler which will be delivered in 2013-14.
Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) has no plans to shut down its railways and rely solely on lorries when it becomes responsible for delivering cane from farms to mills, according to executive chair Mr Abdhul Khan. Khan says the railway system could be reduced or increased depending on the results of a study. FSC operates 72 diesel locomotives and more than 9000 wagons on its 597km, 600mm-gauge network.
DB establishes network fund for small projects
ERMAN infrastructure manager DB Networks has created a new Network Fund worth around É130m which will be used to pay for small short-term projects intended to increase capacity, remove bottlenecks and improve service quality. In cooperation with freight and passenger customers, DB Networks has identified 50 projects which will be funded
up to 2015. These include the partial reopening of a yard in Bremen and the introduction of new signals at Rosenheim and Holzkirchen stations which will help to expand services south of Munich. The fund will be updated annually, enabling the implementation of additional projects up to and beyond 2015. “With the Network Fund we are breaking new ground in
financing infrastructure,” says DB Networks CEO Mr Oliver Kraft. “We are expanding our scope in demand through network expansion and can thus better address the needs of our customers. At the same time through this new form of financing we are making a major contribution to the strengthening of the network and laying the foundation for additional traffic.”
Following a meeting of transport minister Mr Peter Ramsauer, and representatives from German Rail (DB), Siemens and Bombardier, 60 of the 100 Bombardier Talent 2 emus delivered to DB will enter service at the December timetable change at reduced speeds of 140km/h. Meanwhile, the delivery of 16 new class 407 ICE trains has been pushed back until February 2012 pending the approval of newly-designed axles. The 3756m Eierberge tunnel, which was constructed for ƒ140m, and which DB says is the longest in Bavaria, has been holed through. The tunnel is the longest of eight on the Halle - Erfurt Ebensfeld high-speed line.
Irish Rail plans track upgrades to cut journey times
É175m plan is being drawn up by Irish Rail (IE) to increase the proportion of lines passed for 160km/h operation. The plan will run from 2012 to 2016 and will cut journey times significantly from Dublin to the main cities in western and southern Ireland. At present only 50km or 19% of the Dublin - Cork line is passed for 160km/h operation, but the improvements would save 25 minutes to achieve a journey time of 2h 20min. The maximum speed on the Dublin - Galway line is 130km/h and only 63% of the route is passed for such speeds. The upgrades will reduce journey times between the capital and the west coast by 33 minutes to around 2 hours. IE has already invested in new trains capable of running at 160km/h, so the plan will not require any additional investment in rolling stock.
Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) expects its Hungarian freight unit, Rail Cargo Hungaria (RCH), to finish 2011 with a ƒ10-12m loss, which is smaller than expected, and well below the ƒ67m loss reported in 2010. ÖBB CEO Mr Christian Kern says RCH, which controls about 80% of Hungary’s railfreight market, could be profitable by 2013.
Regiojet ready for take-off: Czech open-access operator RegioJet was due to launch its first trains between Prague and Ostrava on September 26, in direct competition with Czech Railways (CD). Initially two return services per day will operate on the 346km route, although RegioJet plans to operate nine trains per day from the December timetable change. The journey time of 3h 30min is around 30 minutes slower than CD’s flagship Pendolino service, but faster than competing locomotive-hauled trains. Another open-access operator, Leo Express, is also planning to launch services between Prague and Ostrava using Stadler emus.
Indian Railways (IR) is investing $US 1.2m to install a
IRJ October 2011
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