Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 03:16:32 AM EST
Three news this time: Dubai Metro to expand upon success, the first application of ETCS on a suburban network, and electrification in Iran.
Railway Gazette: RTA backs Dubai metro extensions
UAE: Following two separate studies, Dubai's Roads & Transport Authority has confirmed its intention to seek government approval to build a 20 km extension of the metro Green Line from Etisalat to International City, Academic City and the Dubai Lagoons for opening within five years.
A 12 km extension of the Red Line from Jebel Ali to the border with Abu Dhabi is also proposed, subject to developments along the route going ahead.
...On February 22 the Dubai government announced a US$675m financing package which will allow the 10 km Phase 1 of the delayed Al Sufouh Tram project to be completed by November 2014.
As I argued in Local Rail and its dKos versions, the key to the success of urban rail systems is to launch them, as they have the nature to gain a critical mass of riders who will guarantee support for further expansion. Dubai Metro was the first of several on-going projects in the previously completely urban-rail-free Gulf oil states. The ability of mass transit in the richest of the rich and luxury-mad societies in the region to draw enough passengers was viewed with scepticism, especially after the Dubai property market crash from late 2008. However, in spite of economic collapse and project delays, ridership on the first line doubled from 30 million in 2010 to 60 million (about 165,000 a day) last year, while the second line (which had its opening delayed until September last year) was just 10% short of its bold target of 100,000 a day in December.
Railway Gazette: ETCS Level 1 goes live in Madrid
SPAIN: The Ministry of Development announced on March 1 that ETCS Level 1 signalling had been brought into use on RENFE suburban route C4 in Madrid, running from Parla in the south via Atocha, Sol and Chamartín to Colmenar Viejo north of the capital. According to the ministry, this is the first application of ETCS on a suburban network in Europe.
...The adoption of Level 2 is also planned for the Madrid suburban network with the aim of increasing capacity.
ETCS stands for European Train Control System, which is supposed to improve interoperability in Europe, but had difficulties and only got rolling recently (as detailed in 310 km/h with ETCS).
Railway Gazette: Tehran - Mashhad electrification project launched
Electrification and infrastructure upgrades will raise the top speed of passenger trains from 160 km/h to 200 km/h, and allow journey times on the 926 km route to be cut from around 12 h to 6 h. Capacity will be increased with a view to raising annual traffic from 13 million to 20 million passengers.
A second phase of upgrading could enable tilting trains to run at up to 250 km/h and raise annual capacity to 50 million passengers.
Not much reported alongside its nuclear ambitions, Iran's industrial policy also includes the expansion of railways, which existed only in the north and west of Iran at the end of the Shah's reign. Relative to the country's size, this is a nation-building project comparable to China's rail programme in ambition, albeit it is much slower due to massive delays reminiscent of the East Bloc in its last decades, and that's true for this project, too.
The Tehran-Mashhad line is the busiest in Iran. Its double-tracking and upgrade for the current 160 km/h was finished only in March 2003. This line shows that Iran is coming under the European rail sphere of influence, meaning the import of standards as well as vehicles (diesel locos from Alstom as well as express diesel multiple units from Siemens and Slovenian partner TVT-Nova). The electrification contract, however, was awarded exactly three years ago: they didn't hurry.
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