Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 11:43:27 AM EST
This week's themes are: cross-Chunnel freight success, Denmark and ETCS L2, Swiss support against strong currency, and new markets for China's rail industry.
Railway Gazette: DB Schenker to boost London - Poland service
EUROPE: DB Schenker Rail is to add a second weekly train between Barking and Wroclaw in September, and it hopes to expand the operation to a daily service by the end of 2013, according to CEO Dr Alexander Hedderich.
Speaking at a reception at the Polish embassy in London on February 9, he confirmed that the weekly train which began running on November 11 had been a great success. Offering a 60 h journey time, the train is the first regular service to bring UIC-gauge wagons to the London area via High Speed 1, carrying a mix of traffic in 9 ft 6 in high swap bodies and containers.
Punctuality during the first three months is reported to have been good, and Hedderich said this practical demonstration of service quality was helping to attract business. Trains are typically running 100% loaded from Poland, and about 70% on the return...
Through freight traffic is where the Channel Tunnel came most short of expectations earlier. One problem was the incompatibility of railways (narrower loading gauge, that is cross section, for British lines). The other problem was disinterest on the part of French railways and the French state. For example, there is no locomotive approved for both the Channel Tunnel and the normal French network.
:: :: DENMARK AND ETCS L2 :: ::
Railway Gazette: Esbjerg electrification approved in four-point Danish transport plan
DENMARK: Electrification of the main line from Lunderskov west to Esbjerg heads a four-point programme of rail investment approved by the government and opposition parties on February 7.
The 56 km electrification project is to be completed in 2015 at a cost of DKr1·19bn. This will enable DSB to procure electric trains rather than diesel stock for København - Esbjerg services, reducing operating costs and making 10 IC3 DMUs available for use elsewhere.
This is a small news, yet a watershed moment. For long years, governments and railway managers of Denmark held out with a view that the rest of Europe are wrong and retaining diesel service is more economic than electrification. At present only Copenhagen's suburban network, the main international through line, and a branchline near the German border are under overhead line. The change of mind, which started in the last two years of the previous right-wing government already, seems to be owed to two reasons: rising oil prices and trouble with the new IC4 express diesel multiple units. The big news here is that electrification will now start much earlier than in the non-committal plans of last year, which were for after the completion of a big decade-long re-signalling project (see below).
Railway Gazette: Fjernebane resignalling contracts signed
DENMARK: Infrastructure manager Banedanmark signed two contracts on January 31 covering the installation of ETCS infrastructure across its entire main line network as part of its DKr18bn Signalling Programme. The Fjernbane West and East contracts have a total value of DKr5·8bn.
...The programme will see all legacy signalling on the main line network replaced with ETCS Level 2 by 2021. The two Fjernbane contracts both envisage pilot routes being converted by 2018. These pilots on the Frederikshavn - Langa route in Jylland and Roskilde - Nastved - Koge in Sjaelland would precede a phased rollout over the following three years. The S-bane CBTC is now also expected to go live in 2018, two years ahead of the original schedule.
Signalling and train control systems are the biggest interoperability issue hindering cross-border traffic in the EU. ETCS/ERTMS is the new system that is supposed to bring standardisation, but its roll-out is rather slow due to technological and economic problems (I wrote the diary 310 km/h with ETCS on this subject). Switzerland and Denmark are the first two countries planing a system-wide, complete replacement, and Denmark chose the more advanced (but until now more troubled) Level 2 (which uses wireless communication between trains, track and dispatching centres). The awarding in the news was the key step towards actually implementing a total replacement.
|VAE: ETCS Level 2 für neue Strecke- Nachrichten bei Eurailpress||UAE: ETCS Level 2 for new line - News at Eurailpress|
|Ansaldo STS wird den ersten Bauabschitt des nationalen Bahnprojekts in den Vereinigten Arabischen Emiraten mit ETCS Level 2 ausstatten.||Ansaldo STS will equip the first phase of the national railway project in the United Arab Emirates with ETCS Level 2.|
|Es geht dabei um die 266 km lange Strecke vom Industriegebiet Shah über Hahshan zum Hafen von Ruwais. Die Bauarbeiten an der Strecke haben Mitte 2011 begonnen.||It's about the 266 km line from the Shah industrial area via Habshan to the port of Ruwais. The construction of the line began in mid 2011.|
Due to the fact that it has well laid-out standards and multiple competing suppliers, despite its troubles on the EU home market, ETCS/ERTMS has been chosen for several new and upgraded rail lines beyond the EU.
Railway Gazette: Thales to upgrade Turkish high speed line to ETCS Level 2
TURKEY: National railway TCDD has awarded Thales a 20m contract to install ETCS Level 2 and GSM-R communications on the existing 251 km high speed section of the Ankara - Istanbul route.
Deployment of Level 2 in place of the present Level 1 supervision is expected to increase capacity on the section between Sincan and Eskisehir, which opened in March 2009 as Turkey's first 250 km/h route.
The ETCS Level 1 to Level 2 upgrade in Turkey represents growing confidence in the long troubled Level 2 technology, but let's wait with the conclusion that it is over its teething troubles until it gains service reliability in the now started projects.
:: :: SWISS SUPPORT AGAINST STRONG CURRENCY :: ::
|Schweiz: BAV unterstützt EVU wegen Frankenstärke- Nachrichten bei Eurailpress||Switzerland: [Swiss traffic authority] BAV supports rail companies because of strong franc - News at Eurailpress|
|Das Bundesamt für Verkehr (BAV) hat jetzt an vier Bahngesellschaften (BLS Cargo, SBB Cargo International, Crossrail und TX Logistik) zusammen 21 Mio. CHF ausgezahlt.||The Federal Office of Transport (FOT) has now paid out altogether SFR 21 million to four railway companies (BLS Cargo, SBB Cargo International, Crossrail and logistics TX).|
| Die Höhe der Auszahlungen erfolgte abhängig von der effektiven Anzahl gefahrener Züge sowie den währungsbedingten Ertragseinbußen der Unternehmen. Anlass für die Zahlung ist eine Abfederung der Frankenstärke - insgesamt hat das Parlament 870 Mio. CHF dafür bereit gestellt, von denen aber nur maximal 28,5 Mio. CHF für den alpenquerenden Kombinierten Verkehr verwendet werden dürfen.||The amount of the payments was dependent on the effective number of trains and the currency-related losses for businesses. The reason for the payment is an alleviation of the strong franc - the Swiss parliament readied a total of SFR 870 million for this, however only only a maximum of SFR 28.5 million of this can be used for transalpine combined transport.|
:: :: NEW MARKETS FOR CHINA'S RAIL INDUSTRY :: ::
Railway Gazette: Wind Chaser urban maglev unveiled
CHINA: A prototype maglev trainset for medium-capacity urban transport applications has been unveiled by CSR Zhuzhou.
The manufacturer envisages the 'Wind Chaser' design being used in cities of less than 2 million people, where a full metro might not be required...
...The maglev is expected to be quieter in operation than a steel-wheeled metro trainset, according to CSR Zhuzhou President Xu Zongxiang, offering advantages in an urban environment. However, it would have a higher energy consumption than an equivalent conventional vehicle.
I doubt that the technology can be made as cheap as conventional rail, due to the track. The vehicle may be free of rolling noise, but not aerodynamic noise. And in cities, the only real benefit of maglevs, speed, won't show that much. In short, I don't predict a greater future for this than for Transrapid.
Railway Gazette: First Chinese DMU for Tunisia unveiled
Announcing the shipping of the first unit from Shanghai during January, the manufacturer said the development of the diesel-hydraulic multiple-units for export 'marks a great breakthrough of China's technology', making use of European standards for design, verification and production.<py<img src="http://www.railwaygazette.com/uploads/pics/tn_tn-sncft-dmu-csr.jpg">
As usual, I recommend Globalisation catches up with rail industry? for a background on the global rail export market and China's entry on that market.
Railway Gazette: Contract awarded for Ethiopian electric railway
ETHIOPIA: The second of three major contracts covering the construction of a 656 km standard gauge railway to replace the out-of-use metre-gauge line linking Addis Abeba with Djibouti has been signed by the government's project promoter Ethiopian Railway Corp.
Under the 1·18bn birr deal signed on on December 16, China Civil Engineering Construction Corp is to build a 339 km single track, electrified line..
An agreement covering the 330 km western section between Addis Abeba and Mieso was signed with China Railway Group in October.
As discussed in the last issue of Rail News Blogging, China is hard at work trying to maintain its massive rail construction industry even after the domestic gold rush, by funding projects in the developing world, especially in Africa.
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