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German parliament approves €86bn investment plan

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German Railway DB train

The German parliament approved a €86bn budget for investment in the country’s rail infrastructure under the LuFV III performance and financing agreement for 2020-2029 on November 15.

This follows an agreement reached on the budget between German Rail (DB) and the Federal Ministry of Transport (BMVI) in July. However, the federal government contribution’s to LuFV III has been reduced from €62bn to €51.4bn with national rail infrastructure manager DB Network responsible for most of the remaining investment.

The new LuFV III represents a 41% increase in spending over the previous LuFV II which ends this year. Under the new arrangements government funding for infrastructure will be around €5.6bn in 2025-2029 compared with around €3.5bn for the last five years.

Following recent criticism from the Federal Court of Auditors, DB’s access to the funds will be in tranches and funds from 2025 may be withheld if agreed objectives and controls are not met, although political agreement on how this will be achieved has yet to be reached. BMVI will be required to report every two years on progress versus targets for the rail investment programme and the Federal Court of Auditors is expected to play a greater role in ensuring DB budget control and project delivery targets are met.

Much of the funds will be spent on improving the overall state of repair of the rail network, which the German parliament said earlier this month totalled €49bn. The money will also be used to increase capacity at congested pinch points on the network to enable the introduction of the planned regular interval timetable from 2030.

Under scrutiny

DB is a key beneficiary of the federal government’s climate protection package, announced in late September. This will add another €20bn in rail investment up to 2030 with a capital injection into DB of €11bn planned in stages over the next decade. This will provide DB with significant additional capital, reducing the short term need to raise finance through borrowing or the sale of subsidiaries such as Arriva, which has been put on ice as all the offers received were below the book value of the company.

However, lobbyists representing DB’s passenger and freight competitors have raised significant concerns over the government’s decision to channel climate-protection spending solely into DB, as they fear unfair cross subsidy to DB’s freight and other services plus non-transparent prioritisation of investment to suit DB rather than the overall market. Legal advice obtained by opponents of the proposed capital increase for DB suggests it could be illegal under European law as it constitutes state aid to a state-owned company.

Source: railjournal.com

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First Citadis LRV for Paris T9 inaugurated

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Alstom Tram Citadis

The first Citadis LRV designed and built by Alstom for the Paris light rail Line T9 was inaugurated in Orly on December 3. The vehicle was launched by Ms Valérie Pécresse, president of the Île-de-France region and president of Île-de-France Mobilités, Mr Christian Favier, president of the Departmental Council of Val-de-Marne, Ms Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, and Mr Michel Lepêtre, president of the Grand-Orly Seine Bièvre EPT (Public Territorial Establishment).

Île-de-France Mobilités awarded Alstom a €70m contract in November 2016 to supply 22 Citadis X05 LRVs, which are due to enter service in December 2020 on Line T9 which connects Porte de Choisy to the suburb of Orly. Delivery began in November and will be completed in October 2020.

The 45m-long vehicles can carry up to 314 passengers. The design was created in partnership between Alstom’s design and styling teams and the Design Saguez & Partners agency.

The Citadis LRV has eight double doors on each side along with an enlarged, interior that facilitates movement and speeds up boarding and alighting by 20%. It features 45% glass surfaces, 100% LED lighting, eight multimedia screens displaying a dynamic route map, USB sockets and bench seats.

Alstom says the LRV is also more energy efficient than the previous Citadis LRVs with improved energy consumption linked to the traction and auxiliaries. The overall cost of preventative maintenance has been reduced by 18%, and the materials used are 99% recyclable.

 

Source: railjournal.com

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Athens Metro Line 4: Signing of the «golden» contract approaches

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Μετροπόντικας κατά την εκσκαφή

A major step regarding the tender for Athens Metro Line 4 is expected in the following days as, according to well-informed sources, Attiko Metro’s BoD will reach a decision for the continuation of the process.

This means that the tender will resume and, for a period of 10 days, the 2 remaining consortia will be able to scrutinize each other’s technical dossiers.

Then, if they wish, they will be able to file appeals against each other for a period of about 30 days, that -once again- could go as high as the Council of State.

This will be the next crucial point for the completion of the tender. Market sources are quite sure that both parties will try in a legal way to disqualify their opponent in order to continue alone in the 1.8bn-euro (incl. VAT) «golden» bids.

«The contract is that big, giving so much business and financial strength to the winner for the next decade, that it will take a battle that may be judged on the most unlikely deficiencies that could be observed in the technical offers», the same sources told ypodomes.com.

A turning point for the tender

In Attiko Metro, however, they do not hide their optimism that, in any case, after a «difficult» 2019 with multiple judicial hurdles, we are finally at the end of the process.

A major goal is for the contract to be signed in 2020, allowing the beginning of the construction phase. For now, there are not any guesses on when exactly we will reach the «point zero» of the tender, which is the day when the bids are going to open.

In the event that both AKTOR-ANSALDOBREDA-HITACHI consortium and AVAX-GHELLA-ALSTOM consortium are still in the race, we will have to wait in order to find out who will become the contractor for the construction of Athens’ new Metro Line 4.

The absolute criterion will be the discount rate. Officials close to the tender believe there won’t be any very big discounts due to the very high budget that increases dramatically the risk.

The «golden» contract will have an initial duration of 96 months, that is, 8 years. The funding of the project will be secured by NSRF 2014-2020 and EIB.

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Battery trains to be tested in Denmark

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Τραίνο που κινείται με μπαταρίες

Suppliers are to be invited to test battery-powered trains on regional lines in late 2020 and early 2021, ahead of a potential order which could see battery trains enter passenger service from 2025.

Under an agreement between the Ministry of Transport & Housing and the Sjælland, Midtjylland and Capital Region authorities, trials are to be undertaken on HL’s Helsingør – Hillerød line north of København and on the Lemvigbanen linking Vemb, Lemvig and Thyborøn in Jylland.

The agreement announced on November 29 follows a study into options for battery operation in northwest Sjælland which was undertaken by the ministry, national operator DSB and Movia.

This analysis found that the Holbæk – Nykøbing Sjælland local line would be suitable for battery operation, with the need to replace the current diesel trains in around 2025 providing an economically sensible time to switch. Battery trains could also be used on the Kalundborg – København route, with co-ordination allowing the provision of though services between Nykøbing Sjælland and København.

‘A test of battery trains in Denmark will provide the parties with useful experience from practical operation before we potentially place an order’, explained Transport Minister Benny Engelbrecht. ‘At the same time, it will allow passengers to try battery trains in everyday life. My hope is that from the mid-2020s we will see battery trains in daily operation.’

Source: railwaygazette.com

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