UK: The 'deep alliance' between infrastructure manager Network Rail and passenger operator South West Trains went live on April 29, with a 'single senior joint management team' now responsible for infrastructure and train operations on NR's Wessex Route, one of the busiest commuter networks in Europe. Planned to run until the end of the current SWT franchise on February 4 2017, the alliance aims to improve efficiency and the management of disruption by facilitating more collaborative working and faster decision-making. Network Rail Chief Executive David Higgins said the launch 'marks a new phase in the evolution of Network Rail as we continue to push decision-making away from the centre, empowering our front-line managers to run the railway more effectively'. He stressed that Network Rail would continue to focus on delivering its obligations to all train operators, including freight companies, 'protecting the interests of all customers whilst maintaining the seamless operation of the whole network'. Aligned objectives and incentives are promised by the alliance partners, with a single management team for London Waterloo station, better planning of track maintenance work and an improved response to disruption. Staff terms and conditions and collective bargaining agreements remain unchanged, but 'operational efficiencies' are expected from joint training, communications and occupational health processes.
- Subscribe to Rail Business Intelligence for in-depth analysis of the UK rail market.
RUSSIA: Siemens' Wien plant has completed the first of 200 sleeping cars which Russian Railways ordered in July 2009 for use on services to western Europe. Designed for 200 km/h and meeting RIC standards for use on the rail networks of UIC members, the cars will swap bogies at the breaks of gauge. TMH's Tver plant will produce the 1520 mm gauge bogies and undertake some assembly work.
USA: Revenue service on the first phase of Los Angeles’ Expo Line light rail route starts at 05.00 on April 30, following an official inauguration on April 27 and a weekend of free rides and public celebrations. Under construction since 2006, the 13·8 km first phase diverges from the existing Blue line to follow a former Pacific Electric railway alignment as far as Culver City, adding 10 new stops. However, services are initially only running as far as La Cienega/Jefferson, and not serving Culver City or Farmdale where construction is continuing. The 10·6 km second phase from Culver City to Santa Monica will add another seven stops in 2016. The line is being built by the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority, and then handed over to Los Angeles MTA to operate. Phase I is costed at $932m, and Phase II at $1·5bn. Los Angeles Mayor and MTA Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa joined local officials and representatives of both authorities for the official inauguration ceremony on April 27, at Expo Park/USC Station near the University of Southern California. He said the opening of the Expo Line marked ‘a critical step towards creating the multi-faceted transit network that Angelenos deserve’. Expo Line Construction Authority Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky said the long-awaited line was the first rail extension west of Western Avenue ‘since the dismantling of the red car system more than half a century ago’, adding that it would serve ‘one of the most underserved areas of our region’. It brings the city’s metro and light rail network to a total length of 140 km.
TURKEY: The IZBAN suburban rail joint venture of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality and state railway TCDD has awarded Hyundai Rotem a YTL340m contract to supply 40 electric multiple-units to accommodate growing ridership in Turkey's third most populous city. The EMUs will be manufactured in Turkey by the Hyundai Eurotem joint venture of Hyundai Rotem and local partners for delivery from February 2014. The Korean firm said this local content helped its bid come in lower than rival offers from Spanish firm CAF, which has previously supplied 33 three-car EMUs to IZBAN, and China's CSR Zhuzhou. Hyundai Rotem said it has now won orders to supply Turkish customers with around 1000 EMUs, DMUs, LRVs and electric locomotives with a total value of $1·8bn, and it is now planning to use Turkey as a base for supplying Egypt, Sweden and 'other areas around the region'. 'Hyundai Rotem and TCDD have achieved win-win development through their deep bond of brotherhood based on trust,' said Hyundai Rotem President & CEO Min-ho Lee when the Izmir EMU contract was signed on March 17. 'Hyundai Rotem will return friendship, trust and respect to Turkey by demonstrating the highest quality and the state-of-the-art technology in this Izmir EMU project.'
- Eurotem General Manager Kim Jeong-Hoon described the company's expansion plans in the April 2012 issue of Railway Gazette International, which subscribers can access in the digital archive.
CHINA: CNR Dalian has begun delivering 23 six-car Type B trains for Tianjin metro Line 2. The air-conditioned trains have a total capacity of 1832 passengers and top speed of 80 km/h. They will be equipped for automatic train operation, with 2 min headways. The 22·8 km east-west Line 2 will run from the main station to the airport economic zone, with 18 of its 19 stations underground.