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Sofia metro Line 3 contract finalised

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The contract to supply rolling stock and signalling for Sofia metro Line 3 came into effect on March 15 with the confirmation of 70% EU funding. Sofia Metropoliten placed the €140m order with a consortium of Siemens and Newag in September.

The scope covers 20 three-car trainsets and signalling for the 8 km, eight-station first phase of the east-west line, due to open in 2019. Siemens will supply Trainguard MT onboard and wayside communications-based train control equipment, Trackguard interlockings, Controlguide OCS train control, voice radio and data transmission, SCADA, the wayside digital communication network and half-height platform edge doors. The trains will be built with driver’s cabs, although the line will be equipped for GoA3 automated operation.

The rolling stock order includes options for up to 10 more trainsets. These will be based on Siemens’ Inspiro family, with car bodies supplied from Siemens’ Wien plant and bogies from Graz. Final assembly and static testing will take place at Newag’s plant in Nowy Sącz in southern Poland, and Newag will be responsible for servicing during the warranty period. The air-conditioned trainsets will be fitted with pantographs.

The partly underground Line 3 will eventually reach 18 km long with 18 stations.

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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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China poised to open 350 km/h automated railway

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Bullet train China

Automated operations are due to start before the end of this year on the 174 km high speed line linking Beijing with Zhangjiakou in Hebei province, one of the host cities for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Journey times will be cut to around 50 min compared with about 3 h by trains using the 190 km conventional line.

Designed to carry visitors to the Olympic venue at up to 350 km/h, the line will be ‘the smartest in the country’, according to Mo Zhisong, Chief Engineer responsible for train control systems at China State Railway Group, which until June this year was known as China Railway Corp.

Speaking at a press event last month, Mo said tests had shown that the smart railway improved operational safety and comfort, enhanced on-time performance and cut energy costs. Automatic driving and dispatching systems and intelligent substations are among 67 ‘smart technology projects’ deployed on the line. Different types of intelligent robot will be available at stations to assist passengers and handle luggage. During the trials, a test train reached a maximum speed of 385 km/h.

Design of the 53·5bn yuan railway was carried out by China Railway Engineering Consulting Group with the help of a suite of software from Bentley Systems. The line includes 10 tunnels, one of which is 1·2 km long, and 64 bridges. One of the 10 stations will serve the Great Wall visitor site at Badaling and is located up to 102 m below the surface.

Source: railwaygazette.com

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Railway: Maintenance works to be carried as PPPs with NSRF 2021-2027 funds

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Σιδηροδρομικός σταθμός με ηλεκτροκινούμενες γραμμές

OSE is now in full preparation in order to enter to inaugurate a new era. The new administration is mainly focused on maintenance works, lines’ reopening and a general restructuring of the Organization towards more modern standards, enabling it to transform the country’s railway.

Maintenance to be prioritized

More particularly, there is a priority for maintenance works and redevelopment of existing lines. According to OSE sources, preparations have already begun for the tendering of extensive maintenance projects. The important news is that these projects are eligible for funding by the new NSRF 2021-2027, so planning will be directed to the new funding period.

It is also almost certain that the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport prefers long-term contracts with the PPP method, as ypodomes.com had previously revealed. This solution, according to the same sources, will provide continuous maintenance of the network and its upgrading to the European standards.

A network with many users

OSE’s interest has also shifted to expanding its customer base. Freight transport seems to be able to transform the railway into a new major playee. It is reminded that, in addition to TRAINOSE, Rail Cargo, PEARL and other companies have also entered the freight transports game.

Meanwhile, major groups of companies such as Motor Oil and HELPE have expressed interest in connecting to the national network, creating interest for other companies to invest and accelerate the transport of their products via the railway network.

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