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Violeta Bulc: Bilateral Air Safety Agreements, Port Regulation, and Ljubliana

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Violeta Bulc describes a full week from Strasbourg Mission to Slovenia.

«This week started with some very good news – just three months after its adoption by the European Commission, the Aviation Strategy is already starting to deliver. Now that we have received the backing of the Member States, the Commission will start negotiations with China and Japan in view of concluding Bilateral Air Safety Agreements (BASA). Such agreements will enhance air safety worldwide and contribute to the global competitiveness of the European aviation industry.

They will offer European companies new business opportunities in China and Japan, two key aeronautical nations. More trade means more growth and jobs in Europe .I am delighted that all our work on the Strategy is starting to pay off so early. And yet these agreements are only one pillar of the ambitious external aviation policy. This year we will seek to negotiate comprehensive aviation agreements with several key partners – including China – in order to improve Europe’s global connectivity.

On Monday, I travelled to Strasbourg, where I was pleased to see that the European Parliament greenlighted the Ports Regulation, an important step to make European ports more competitive and increase financial transparency. The Regulation will deliver on the Commission’s agenda for investment, growth and jobs. It is good news for future sustainable transport, it will facilitate private investment in ports, encourage more efficient public investments and port services, as well as contributing to legal stability for port workers.

I believe that ports are engines for growth. A competitive port sector is critical to the well-functioning of the internal market, and our seaports are gateways from the trans-European network to the rest of the world. I look forward to working with the European Parliament and the Council of the EU to reach a final agreement.

Later in the week, on Thursday, I visited Ljubljana, European Green Capital 2016. I am very proud and happy to see Ljubljana taking the lead in many innovative projects, also in the area of transport and mobility. In order to ensure sustainable development it is very important that a green city is also a smart city, open for innovation.

The Commission encourages cities’ efforts for a healthier and friendlier environment for their citizens, and the Slovenian capital has been very successful in this regard. During my visit to Ljubljana, I took part in my 3rd Citizen’s Dialogue in Slovenia, this time together with my colleague Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

We spoke about circular economy and its benefits for development, environment, and people. I emphasised that transport is a resource-intensive sector, both for the construction of transport infrastructure and the manufacturing and operation of vessels and vehicles.
Therefore, infrastructure, energy and vehicles should be brought within the circular economy with the aim to make transport as resource efficient as possible. I always enjoy talking to citizens about the challenges, successes and efforts they are facing. I am delighted to see many valuable proposals and opinions, which will help us to see where and how we can contribute more to the people in Europe.»

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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

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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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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DB approves purchase of 30 high-speed trains

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German Railway DB train

German Rail’s (DB) Supervisory Board has approved the purchase of 30 high-speed trains, in addition to the 137 Siemens ICE 4, 23 Talgo ECx and 17 Stadler Kiss trains that are also on order.

The new trains will be used to increase capacity, especially on the Cologne – Frankfurt high-speed line and on services between Munich and Berlin.

DB issued a call for expressions of interest for a framework agreement to supply up to 90 high-speed EMUs in October. The specifications call for at least 11,400 seats across the fleet, along with eight bicycles spaces per train.

DB will also invest €500m in its ICE workshops, creating 600 new jobs. The DB facility in Frankfurt-Griesheim will be significantly expanded to increase maintenance capacity, while plans are already underway for the Cottbus workshop to be expanded.

Source: railjournal.com

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