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Channel Tunnel ‘ready for Brexit’

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Eurostar train exits the Channel tunnel

Channel Tunnel concessionaire Eurotunnel is prepared for the UK’s scheduled departure from the European Union on October 31 ‘no matter the outcome’, it said on September 2.

The company said there would no change to immigration formalities for the 22 million passengers/year who use Shuttle and Eurostar services. Additional VAT refund services would be available at the terminals if needed.

For goods, there would be new regulations in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, with customs predeclarations on each side of the Channel before trucks arrive at the Folkestone and Coquelles terminals. Eurotunnel has made investments to enable it to continue to handle the 5 000 lorries which pass through the Channel Tunnel every day.

‘Pit stops’ have been created at Folkestone and Coquelles to ‘regroup’ the checks and controls already conducted by Eurotunnel before boarding. In future these would also enable the scanning of customs documents. Eurotunnel said it would be possible to check 20 lorries at a time ‘in just a few short minutes’.

Lorries which are declared ‘Green Route’ by customs officials would cross as today. A customs and sanitary/phytosanitary control zone has been built on the Coquelles terminal for ‘Orange Route’ vehicles that the authorities want to check in more detail. This has nine inspection bays and 100 parking places where the French authorities can check goods from the UK, without disrupting through traffic.

There is a 240-space secure parking zone for lorries heading to the UK. Eurotunnel Customs Support services will help drivers get their paperwork in order, if needed. Eurotunnel said £130bn of goods passes through the Channel Tunnel each year, equivalent to 26% of trade between the UK and the EU.

Cross-Channel high speed train operator Eurostar told Railway Gazette that ‘at this point we expect to maintain services on the existing basis and timetable following Brexit. We are working closely with the governments and have made preparations to ensure we continue to operate in either a deal or no-deal scenario.’

Source: railwaygazette.com

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Thales and Vodafone conduct driverless trial using 5G

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Κινητό δίκτυο 5G

Thales and Vodafone are claiming a world first by operating a driverless train controlled remotely via a 5G mobile network. The driverless trials are being carried out at the Smart Rail Connectivity Campus in Erzgebirge, Germany, using Thales’ Lucy laboratory train, while Vodafone has installed one of the first 5G base stations in the Erzgebirge region of Saxony, Germany.

To enable Lucy to be controlled remotely, Vodafone uses the 5G technology Network Slicing, which helps different virtual networks share a physical network structure, but provides a separate 5G network for railway trials. This means that remote-controlled mobile radio capacities are always available to control the train remotely, even if numerous users in the immediate vicinity also surf the internet.

In addition, the data is processed directly on-site in a small data centre in the immediate vicinity of the mobile base station via a Mobile Edge Cloud (MEC). Because the data does not have to travel long distances, it can be processed without delay. The 5G technology enables bandwidths greater than 500MB/second on the test track and reduces the latency, or data delay, to less than 10 milliseconds.

Thales has provided the control and safety systems for the 5G project in the Erzgebirge. This includes the installation of the test environment and sensors, along with a remote control system for the train in cooperation with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and Railergy.

“We’re putting 5G on the tracks for the first time,” says Mr Alexander Saul, managing director corporate customers with Vodafone Germany. “Together with our industrial partners, we are examining which new applications will be possible with 5G.”

“5G opens up a whole world of new possibilities,” says Mr Yves Joannic, managing director of Thales Germany and responsible for the company’s Transportation division. “Up to and including 4G, consumers were the first to benefit from every new generation of wireless technologies.

By contrast, 5G’s main interest lies in B2B markets. This next generation of mobile technology will be the foundation for the digital transformation of B2B and, in the broadest sense, will be the backbone of industrial operations, which will benefit the rail sector in particular.”

Support

The project is being supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research’s Change Through Innovation programme.

The Smart Rail Connectivity Campus is a joint project of more than 100 partners from industry and research, led by the Technical University of Chemnitz, the city of Annaberg-Buchholz, with the participation of Erzgebirge Railway, the Fraunhofer Institute, ENAS and IWU.

 

Source: railjournal.com

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VOAK Motorway, top-priority project for Crete island

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ΒΟΑΚ, Βόρειος Οδικός Άξονας Κρήτης

Crete’s Northern Motorway Axis (aka VOAK) is a top priority for the island and supports its tourism, Mr. Stavros Arnaoutakis, the Regional Governor stated, during a joint meeting of all Hotelier Associates, focused on VOAK and infrastructure.

«The main thing to pay attention to for Crete’s tourism is infrastructure» he said, pointing out that 49% of the island’s GDP has created the need for modern motorways, aesthetic and functional upgrades at Heraklion Airport and progress regarding the new airport in Kasteli area.

For VOAK, Mr. Arnaoutakis stressed that there must be initiatives by the central Government as it is a project that has been under discussion for many years and needs to go ahead.

Mr. Arnaoutakis explained that he has already briefed the PM during a recent meeting at Maximos Mansion, who set the project as the first priority of Crete, underlining that «we are looking forward to seeing the new architecture, taking advantage of the positive steps that have been taken so far».

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«Hybrid» tolling system under development by Olympia Motorway

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Αυτοκινητόδρομος Ολυμπία Οδός

According to sources from the concession company of Olympia Motorway, «hybrid» tolls are under development that promise to operate a proportional tolling system, available only to those with Olympia Motorway’s e-pass.

The logic is simple: e-pass users will enter the Motorway and will be billed normally at toll stations. When they leave, they system will calculate the miles that have not been used (i.e. until the next toll station) and an amount of money will  be reimbursed to their accounts.

For its part, Olympia Motorway sees a «fair» charging system that introduces the desired proportionality, without investing large funds.

It is worth noting that, as secure sources report at ypodomes.com, the possibility of the development of «hybrid» tolls is provided by the Olympia Motorway’s concession contract amendment in 2013.

This also makes it possible to be the very first motorway concession project that proceeds in this way and, if implemented successfully, could be a benchmark for the rest of the country’s motorways.

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