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May 01, 2012

World Railway News Digest. 1st May 2012

CTA to renovate seven rail stations in USThe Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) in the US is planning to carry out $86m worth of projects to renovate seven stations on the heavily-travelled Red Line El stations.       
Network Rail signs signalling framework agreementNetwork Rail has signed a framework agreement with Signalling Solutions, Invensys Rail, Infrasig and Ansaldo for the development and design of a European-standard signalling system to be deployed across the UK rail network.       
CAF to supply Urbos 3 trams to CentroSpanish rail maker CAF has signed a £40m contract with Centro, the UK's West Midlands transport authority, to supply 25 Urbos 3 trams.       
Atlas Iron and QR National plan independent rail line in Pilbara of Australia
Atlas Iron has signed a memorandum of understanding with rail freight carrier QR National to explore the feasibility of an independent railway in Western Australia's Pilbara region costing around A$3.5bn ($3.6bn). US Railroad News

Pittsburgh port authority weighs fare hike, service and staff cuts

Project Green Fleet seeks railroads interested in applying for EPA grants

CTA opens first new 'L' station in 18 years

Amtrak unveils plan for fleet replacement

RTA: Tie purchases plummeted, production climbed in March

Baltimore mayor urges CSXT to build intermodal facility in city; NS locomotive shop workers set safety record

GWI reports Q1 results, announces NS line lease in Alabama

May 1: Updates from MAC Products, Wabtec, Koppers, Axion Power and The Andersons

International Railway Journal

MotivePower clinches Australian locomotive order
WABTEC subsidiary MotivePower has received an order for 10 standard-gauge MP33C diesel locomotives from Chicago Freight Car Leasing Australia (CFCLA Rail). The locomotives will be delivered next year.
Suzhou opens first metro line
COMMERCIAL services began on April 28 on the first metro line in Suzhou, a city of more than 4 million inhabitants situated in China's eastern Jiangsu province.
High-speed rail competition starts in Italy
NTV, the world's first open-access high-speed train operator, carried its first passengers on April 28 with the launch of Italo services between Milan, Florence, Rome and Naples. "This has been an important day for us and I believe also for the country because, for the first time in Europe, travellers have the opportunity to choose," declared Mr Giuseppe Sciarrone, managing director of NTV, at the launch. "We have lowest prices in Europe and offer services at least on a par with the best in Europe."

Prorail plans Leeuwarden- Groningen upgrade
DUTCH infrastructure manager Prorail is to upgrade the non-electrified line between Groningen and Leeuwarden in an effort to meet demand for a second hourly fast service between the two towns. The Euros 120m project, which is due to be completed by the end of 2017, is being supported by the provinces of Friesland and Groningen, the cities of Leeuwarden and Groningen, and the municipalities along the line.
KiwiRail to relaunch Overlander service
KIWIRAIL is relaunching its only North Island long-distance passenger train, which operates between Auckland and Wellington, in a bid to make the service profitable

Regulator’s plan to ensure a ‘great deal’ from Great Britain’s railways

1 May 2012
The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has set out its plan for this financial year, focused on bringing the rail industry together to ensure high levels of safety, delivering more for customers and reducing costs.
The regulator’s business plan for 2012-13, ‘A great deal from Britain’s railways – safe, reliable, efficient’, sets out three clear priorities which will guide ORR’s work throughout the year ahead:
  • Reducing the industry’s costs. Driving down costs is key to delivering better value for money in the rail industry. In particular, ORR will focus on aligning incentives and supporting more industry collaboration through the Periodic Review of Network Rail’s outputs and funding requirements. The regulator will provide more information than ever before, through benchmarking of performance standards and value for money, and publication of new disaggregated data at route and service level.
  • A sharper focus on customers. ORR will work to demonstrate its effectiveness in improving the experience of passengers and freight customers, developing its role to put passengers at the heart of what it does and taking forward the recommendations of the independent capability review. The regulator will drive greater transparency across the industry particularly on costs, and the provision of greater rail performance data will help users customers make better-informed choices.
  • Excellence in safety culture and management across the industry. The regulator will continue to take a zero tolerance approach to industry-caused fatalities, working towards ever-decreasing safety risks across the whole industry.
ORR Chief Executive Richard Price said:
“This is a pivotal year for Great Britain’s railways. Decisions we take this year, as part of our Periodic Review of Network Rail’s outputs and funding, will shape the direction of travel for our railways into the next decade. As Great Britain’s railways flourish with massive investment and booming passenger numbers, we need to maintain our focus on improving value for money and ensuring safety, while placing the customer at the heart of everything we do.
“Collaborative working across the rail industry is the key to success. A focus of our work over the coming year will therefore be in developing the right incentives and providing more information aimed at ensuring the whole industry – Network Rail, train operators, rolling-stock companies and the wider supply chain - works better together.
“I am pleased to see businesses across the railway improving the way they work together through, for example, ‘alliances’ between Network and train operating companies and Network Rail’s devolution of key functions to new rail regions across Britain.
“As we look to the railway to improve performance, so too will ORR focus on improving its capacity and capability. This will ensure that we do everything we can to improve value for money, customer service and safety across the rail industry as a whole.”

Ex-train driver fined for serious failings after overrunning London station platform

1 May 2012
A former South West Trains driver has today been fined £400 and ordered to pay costs of £500 after pleading guilty at Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court to serious failings after overrunning a London train station platform.
At 17.40 on 13 February 2011, Frank Smith was driving the South West Trains service from Twickenham to London Waterloo when he overran the platform at St Margaret’s station, where it was due to stop. After using the emergency brake, the train came to rest past a signal at the end of the platform.
An Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) investigation found that after overrunning St Margaret’s station, Mr Smith failed to follow safety procedures as he neglected to inform the signaller of the train’s overrun; reversed the train back on the platform without authorisation and without driving from the leading cab in the direction of travel and, after allowing passengers off the train, passed a ‘stop’ red light signal without authority. A safety system stopped the train, but Mr Smith reset this essential safety device without contacting the signaller for the necessary authority to do so and continued towards his destination. In slightly different circumstances these failures by Mr Smith could have resulted in a collision or derailment.
David Keay, ORR’s Head of Inspection, said:
“Mr Frank Smith failed to take reasonable care for the health and safety of passengers on the train and station platform after the train he was driving overran the platform at St Margaret’s train station in south west London last year. This is a serious offence which could potentially have had terrible consequences.
“People in positions of responsibility, like Mr Smith, must comply with health and safety law. If they do not, they put their lives, and the lives of others, at risk. Where serious failings are found, those at fault must be held to account.”

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