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December 06, 2013

International & UK Railway News Friday 6th December 2013


South Africa's long-distance rail network to be fitted with Siemens signalling.

Munich, 2013-Dec-04
  • South Africa's biggest rail signaling project to make Gauteng's rail network safer and more efficient
  • Order is worth some 180 million euros
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has commissioned Siemens to provide new rail signaling systems and overall train protection systems for the regions surrounding Johannesburg and Pretoria (Gauteng Province). The order is worth a total of some 180 million euros. The signaling equipment will be installed during ongoing rail operations and is due to be completed by 2018.

"The Siemens solutions for infrastructure modernization make an important contribution to further consolidating the standing of the densely-populated Gauteng Province as one of South Africa's leading trade and industry hubs" said Sami Atiya, CEO of the Siemens Mobility and Logistics Division. "The new train protection system not only increases capacity, but also ensures more flexibility, greater safety and fewer delays."

To ensure continuously reliable management and monitoring of rail traffic in the province Gauteng, Siemens was given an order in 2011 to upgrade one-quarter of the obsolescent signaling systems and to build an operations control center for the Gauteng Region. The order was worth 90 million euros. The new order now calls for the modernization of the remaining three-quarters of that trackside signaling equipment. The operations control center is scheduled to take over control of the entire rail network in Gauteng as of 2018. The modernization work will involve the installation of a total of 83 Trackguard Sicas S7 type interlockings. Siemens will also install its Clearguard ACM 200 axle counting system, a track vacancy detection system that determines whether line sections are clear or occupied and which plays a key element in fail-safe rail operation.

Covering an area of 18,000 square kilometers, Gauteng is the smallest but most densely populated province in South Africa. With the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria, it forms the economic center of South Africa. It is responsible for generating around ten percent of Africa's total GDP.

With around 25,000 km of track, South Africa's railway network is the largest in Africa and the tenth largest in the world. Freight transport is a strong branch of the country's economy, and one that relies almost exclusively on the rail network. Siemens had already been commissioned in South Africa by Transnet Freight Rail to equip the 860-kilometer-long Orex line with 22 Trackguard Sicas S7 interlockings. This rail link between the North and the West is reserved exclusively for the transport of iron ore and is currently the second longest freight line in the world.

International Railway Journal

EUROPEAN transport commissioner Mr Siim Kallas has called on the Baltic states to work together to make the standard-gauge Rail Baltic link between Estonia and Poland a reality..

ARGENTINEAN president Mrs Christina Kirchner signed a $US 2.47bn financing agreement with Mr Zhang Chun, CEO of China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) in Buenos Aires on December 5, which will fund the renewal of infrastructure and rolling stock on the metre-gauge Belgrano Cargas network.

THE mayor of Chicago Mr Rahm Emanuel and Illinois governor Mr Pat Quinn announced on December 5 that Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will invest $US 492 in the modernisation of the Blue Line O'Hare Branch,... US News

  • CTA to launch largest improvement plan of Blue Line O'Hare Branch in 30 years
  • Senator and short-line industry constituents push for extension to Section 45G tax credit
  • Tank cars: RSI committee urges PHMSA to approve new-car design, consider proposed safety modifications for older fleets
  • U.S. rail traffic tallied gains in November, AAR says
  • High-growth areas need transit to reach economic potential, APTA says
  • UTA to open new S-Line streetcar this weekend
  • Illinois, Ohio commissions advance crossing projects
  • MassDOT's Davey named construction association's 'Person of the Year'

  • US Federal Railroad Administration

    Federal Railroad Administration Issues Emergency Order to Metro-North Railroad on Speed Restrictions and Locomotive Crew Staffing

    WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today issued an Emergency Order (EO 29) to Metro-NorthCommuter Railroad (MNCW) to take specific, immediate steps to ensure its train crews do not exceed speed limitations.  The EO requires Metro-North to modify its existing signal system to ensure speed limits are obeyed and to provide two qualified railroad employees to operate trains where major speed restrictions are in place until the signal system is updated.

    “Safety is our highest priority, and we must do everything we can to learn from this tragic crash and help prevent future derailments,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “While we assist the National Transportation Safety Board in carrying out its investigation, this Emergency Order will help ensure that other Metro-North trains travel at appropriate, safe speeds.”

    EO 29 requires Metro-North to provide the FRA with a list of main track locations where there is a reduction of more than 20 mph in the maximum authorized passenger train speed by December 10, 2013. Further, Metro-North is ordered to identify appropriate modifications to its existing automatic train control system or other signal systems to enable adequate advance warning of and adherence to such speed restrictions.  These modifications will help prevent another over-the-speed-limit event if a locomotive engineer fails to take actions to appropriately slow or stop a passenger train.

    In the meantime, Metro-North is ordered to operate trains with two qualified train crew members in the controlling locomotive cab or passenger car control compartment at the locations where speed limits change by 20 mph or more until the signal work at these locations is complete.  Additionally, the railroad must submit to the FRA for approval an Action Plan that ensures the safety of its operations for passengers and employees by December 31.  The plan must contain target dates and milestones for implementing necessary signal system modifications.

    “Last year was the safest on record for our nation’s rail industry,” said FRA Administrator Joseph C. Szabo.  “Even with a 43percent decline in train accidents nation-wide over the past decade, we must remain steadfast and vigilant to ensure passengers and employees are safe.  The public deserves better and our mission is to drive continuous safety improvement.”

    The EO is a mandatory directive to the railroad, and failure to comply with its requirements will result in enforcement actions against the railroad or individuals who violate it.  Today’s EO follows a letter issued by the FRA earlier this week calling on Metro-North to launch a safety stand-down with all employees and to fully implement the confidential close call reporting system, which has helped improve rail safety on other lines.

    The Federal Railroad Administration had already increased its oversight and enforcement of Metro-North’s rail lines following the May 2013 crash, including additional inspections of its lines and audits of Metro-North’s operations and compliance with federal regulations.  FRA is also planning to conduct an extensive investigation of the carrier’s safety compliance with all regulated railroad safety disciplines. Latest updates...

    UK needs a long-term rail strategy: Arriva boss
    The UK managing director of Arriva, Bob Holland, has criticised the UK government for failing to develop a long-term rail strategy. 

    EIB to provide funding for PKP Cargo to upgrade rail fleet
    The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide €47m of funding to Polish rail freight operator PKP Cargo to upgrade its fleet. 

    South West Trains-Network Rail alliance to upgrade tracks at London Waterloo station
    The South West Trains-Network Rail alliance will upgrade tracks at London Waterloo station during the Christmas period with an investment of about £1m in order to improve reliability on one of the busiest sections of railway in Britain. 

    Huawei launches first urban rail transportation solution for Zhengzhou Metro
    Information and communications technology solutions provider Huawei has launched the first urban rail transportation solution featuring enterprise LTE (eLTE) for Zhengzhou Metro in China.

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