Rail Safety and Standards Board: New Safety Management Intelligence System goes live on 5 December

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The rail industry is set to benefit from a completely new Safety Management Intelligence System which goes live on 5 December. 2016.

The new system marks the first step in replacing the increasingly outmoded technology used to power the industry’s risk and reporting systems. The system currently in use was introduced in 1997 and no longer offers the potential sought after by rail companies in order for them to make the next step change in health and safety risk control.

RSSB’s Director of System Safety, George Bearfield said: Britain’s railways are among the safest and most intensively used in the world, built on a mature approach to health and safety, and evidence-based decisions grounded in high quality data. But the systems we’ve relied on thus far, won’t take us any further.

Industry wants to exploit new technology to better understand and improve health, wellbeing and safety even further. The Safety Management Intelligence System is a completely new product, representing a transformation in safety intelligence capability to the rail industry, and on 5 December will go live to replace the old SMIS system.

The new Safety Management Intelligence System is capable of marshalling far greater amounts of incident data, analysis and business intelligence and will provide companies with more freedom to create their own safety intelligence reports. It will also have a far more contemporary and user friendly interface meaning they can carry on accessing high quality business intelligence to support safety decision making.

Rail firms will also benefit from updated risk-based data sets and added capabilities that reflect the way the railway has changed in the last 20 years, including the roll-out of new traffic management systems like ERTMS.

The Eurotunnel Group: Shuttle Traffic for July 2016

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The Eurotunnel Group will from this month onwards adopt the practice of publishing its Shuttle traffic on a monthly basis. The numbers of trucks, cars, and coaches transported will be published around the 15th of each month.

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July 2016 saw record-breaking monthly Truck Shuttle traffic for the ninth consecutive month, compared to the corresponding period in previous years. Traffic saw a 9% increase compared to the month of July 2015, with 137,091 vehicles transported. For the period January-July 2016, there has been a 10% increase in traffic compared with the same period of 2015.

In terms of cars, Passenger Shuttle traffic saw a 7% increase compared to the month of July 2015, with 317,424 vehicles transported – setting a new record for the month of July, and shattering the previous record which was set in July 1998. For the period January-July 2016, there has been a 2% increase in traffic compared with the same period of 2015.

The figures for the month of August will be published on Thursday 15 September 2016 prior to the opening of trading.

Abellio selected as preferred bidder for East Anglia Rail Franchise

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We welcome the decision of the Department for Transport (DfT) to select Abellio as Preferred Bidder to run the next East Anglia rail franchise from 16th October 2016.

Abellio’s bid for the East Anglia franchise will deliver a transformation for the passenger.  We will replace every one of the current vehicles with new, modern, high performing trains.  This, coupled with significant journey time improvements, a 55% increase in seats into London in the morning peak and more than a thousand additional train services each week will deliver a step change in what our passengers experience day to day.

Dominic Booth, Managing Director of Abellio UK, said: “This is great news not only for Abellio but for the whole of East Anglia.  We are pleased to become preferred bidder to deliver a transformation in rail services across the region.  It will enable us to build on the successes of the two short East Anglian franchises we have run since 2012, and we commend the DfT on running a transparent and rigorous procurement process.

Our plans will greatly improve our customers’ experience with faster and more reliable journeys on new trains with higher frequencies and reduced journey times, to support the socio-economic well-being of East Anglia, one of the country’s most successful and fastest growing areas.”

Our plans include:

  • £1.5bn investment to replace one of the oldest train fleets in the country with 1,043 completely new electric and bi-mode vehicles by 2020, with additional capacity added and many existing trains refurbished before the
  • 32k more seats into London in the morning peak – up from 58k to 91k (a 55% increase)
  • More trains to more places – 1,144 additional weekday services (an increase of 13%)
  • Improved journey times, including some trains achieving Norwich in 90 minutes and Ipswich in less than 60 minutes
  • Free high quality WiFi on all new and refurbished trains, and at every station
  • Improved punctuality, with PPM improving from 89.7% to 92.9%. Delivered through a more robust timetable, investment in infrastructure, people and process and through an Alliance with Network Rail
  • Investment in the local economy and jobs with £120m spend on depots, including a new maintenance facility at Manningtree
  • We will take on 20 trainees per year, with a minimum of 30 apprenticeships by 2019
  • An investment programme to improve our customers’ journey experience, including: nearly £60m on improving stations, with major schemes at Broxbourne, Cambridge, Cheshunt, Harlow and Southend Victoria; digital customer information screens at all 131 stations; improved ticket offices and more ticket vending machines; and nearly 1,800 additional car parking spaces and 4,000 additional cycle parking spaces.

Alstom awarded a frame contract to supply 150 regional trains in Italy

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Alstom will provide Trenitalia, the Italian national operator, with 150 new medium-capacity regional trains within a frame contract worth about €900 million. This includes an option for maintenance services. The first order concerns 47 trains totalling €240 million. It is expected that Alstom will begin delivering the first trains in early 2019. 

This award confirms the excellent work done by our company in the field of regional transport over the last 15 years. Alstom has had an excellent return on experience with its Coradia Meridian, a successful train that fully respected delivery times, product quality and reliability. This new order offers us the opportunity to reinforce our customer proximity and continue working with the Italian Regions and Trenitalia to improve local transport in the country”,declared Andreas Knitter, Senior Vice-President for Europe at Alstom.

The new medium capacity regional trains for Trenitalia are single-deckers featuring two train lengths and up to 321 seats. This solution is adapted to different configurations and capacity needs for regional and suburban transport. The train offers a wide range of easily combined interiors, liveries and accessories. Every Region can easily personalise its trains using an interactive configurator.

To date, more than 100 Coradia Meridian are already operational in Piedmont, Lombardy, Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio, Marche, Abruzzo, and will soon enter in service in Trentino and Sicily. While preserving the best characteristics of its forerunners, this evolution of Coradia trains for Trenitalia will be even more innovative as a result of the many solutions designed to satisfy the needs of the different Italian Regions. This train is the fruit of Alstom‘s careful project design and experience in fleet management.

Passengers will appreciate the comfort, space, brightness and exceptional services offered by these trains, all of which create a completely new travelling experience, such as the Wi-Fi network, the audio/video information and entertainment service, and the system of live digital video surveillance cameras for passenger safety.

The train will be even more environmentally friendly than the previous generation of regional trains with a significant decrease in energy consumption per passenger, despite the greater installed power required for the air conditioning system. All of the consumable materials are recyclable up to 95%.

The three Alstom sites in Italy will be involved in the design and manufacturing of the new regional trains for Trenitalia: Savigliano (1,000 employees), Sesto San Giovanni (340 employees), and Bologna (600 employees). The contract will also create help developing Alstom’s Italian network of suppliers.

Bangkok’s New Mass Rapid Transit Purple Line Starts Operation

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Marubeni Corporation (TOKYO: 8002) and Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) today announced that Bangkok’s new Purple Line officially began commercial operation on August 6. A joint venture formed by Marubeni and Toshiba was awarded a contract in 2013 to supply railway systems and maintenance services for the line.

The Purple Line is 23-km mass transit railway line that connects northern Bangkok and Nonthaburi Province to the northwest of the city. Constructed by Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (“MRTA”) with the support of Japanese yen loans, the line will improve traffic flows and alleviate congestion on routes between central Bangkok and Nonthaburi Province, where population density matches that of Bangkok.

The JV was awarded a rail system supply contract with a scope that included rolling stock, signaling, power supply and communications. The JV was also awarded a 10-year maintenance services contract, which will be executed with East Japan Railway Company (“JR East”).

The Purple Line’s rolling stock was manufactured by Japan Transport Engineering Company (“J-TREC”), a subsidiary of JR East. The new line is the first in the Bangkok rail network to operate Japanese rolling stock; rolling stock from European manufacturers has traditionally dominated the market. This is also the first overseas project where a Japanese team that includes a Japanese rail system operator will deliver long-term maintenance services for a railway line.

Marubeni and Toshiba will continue to export high-quality Japanese railway technologies in cooperation with JR East and other Japanese companies, and contribute to the further improvement of transportation in Thailand.

Long-distance passenger numbers on the Russian Railways’ network increased by 8% in July 2016

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According to the latest figures, 96.5 million passengers were transported on the infrastructure owned by Russian Railways in July 2016, an increase of 0.5% on the same month last year. Long-distance passengers rose 8% to 12.5 million, although suburban passenger numbers fell 0.5% to 84 million.

Passenger turnover in July 2016 amounted to 16.1 billion passenger-kilometres, 7.2% more than in the same month of 2015.

In January-July 2016, a total of 580.4 million passengers travelled, 0.5% less than during January-July 2015. Long-distance passenger numbers amounted to 57.9 million, up 3.7%, while suburban passengers fell 1% to 522.5 million.

Since the beginning of 2016, passenger turnover on the network owned by Russian Railways has increased by 3.1% compared to last year and amounted to 69.9 billion passenger-kilometres.

Bombardier Awarded Contract for the Supply of 125 BiLevel Cars to Metrolinx

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Rail technology leader Bombardier Transportation announced today that Metrolinx, the Province of Ontario’s regional transportation agency for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), has exercised options for the purchase of an additional 125 next-generationBOMBARDIER BiLevel commuter rail cars for service with GO Transit in Toronto. This order is valued at $428 million CAD ($328 million US, 294 million euro). Production is scheduled to start in Thunder Bay in Q2, 2018 and final delivery is expected in Q1, 2020.

“Bombardier is Thunder Bay’s largest private sector employer. This investment, the latest in a long series of investments by our government in mass transit will help ensure that a significant workforce remains at Bombardier contributing greatly to the economy of Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario,” said Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan.

“This is exciting news for Bombardier and our region,” said Michael Gravelle, MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North. “Investments like this, will create jobs and keep people right here in Thunder Bay working and our community strong for years to come.”

The BiLevel coach is the most popular double-deck commuter rail car in North America with over 1,300 currently in operation, or on order with, transit authorities in 14 metropolitan regions across Canada and the United States. These newest generation cars feature upgrades to door and air conditioning systems, increases in energy efficiency, and enhancements to amenities that make the passenger experience even better. This order for additional BiLevel cars will support GO Transit’s overall service expansion plan to meet ridership growth.

Every day, close to 1.5 million Ontarians rely on Bombardier rail vehicles to make their daily commute on the Toronto subway, streetcar systems or GO Transit commuter trains. To help rail transit agencies maximize the utilization of their assets, Bombardier provides a full range of products and services for the entire lifecycle of train operations and ensures substantial investments in advanced engineering, research and development and technology testing. In GTHA, Bombardier maintains and operates GO Transit’s commuter train fleet, the largest commuter rail system in Canada.

“We are proud of our long-standing partnership with Ontario”, said Benoît Brossoit, President, Bombardier Transportation, Americas Region. “By providing industry-leading performance with our rail vehicles and services, Bombardier has been an ally in the development of public transit in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area for over 20 years. Today, with our manufacturing sites and thousands of local employees, our commitment to Ontario remains as strong as ever.”

Bombardier Transportation is the only global rail manufacturer with an important presence in Canada. In Ontario, Bombardier relies on a workforce of close to 6,000 highly qualified employees and three manufacturing sites, Thunder Bay, Kingston and Downsview.

Great Western Railway increases Hitachi Intercity fleet size with new multi-million pound order

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Great Western Railway (GWR) has confirmed it will order an additional seven bi-mode Intercity Express Trains as part of a new multi-million pound deal with Hitachi Rail Europe and its finance partner Eversholt Rail Group.

These trains are in addition to the 57 trains Hitachi Rail is delivering to GWR as part of the UK government’s Intercity Express Programme (IEP) from next year, and the separately financed 29 trains ordered last year that will come into passenger service in 2018.

The new trains will be built by Hitachi Rail Italy at its Pistoia manufacturing facility.

Mark Hopwood, Managing Director, Great Western Railway said:

“This complements the 86 brand new trains due to start operating across the GWR network next year. They give us greater flexibility in our fleet to deliver faster more frequent services and additional seats for customers, particularly while Network Rail completes the modernisation of the Great Western Main Line.”

Mary Kenny, Chief Executive Officer of Eversholt Rail Group added:

“We are delighted to extend our partnership with FirstGroup, GWR and Hitachi to deliver more new high-quality trains that will enhance the passengers’ journey experience.”

Karen Boswell, Managing Director of Hitachi Rail Europe said of the deal announcement;

“Hitachi is pleased GWR and Eversholt Rail Group have exercised one of the options they have with us to increase their fleet. This further strengthens our working relationship with two major customers. It is a further endorsement of our current work delivering modern, high-speed modern trains, connecting people and communities across the GWR network.

“The iconic image of this brand new, high-speed fleet operating on a railway rich in heritage will be another landmark moment for Hitachi and one we are delighted to make a reality.”

Maurizio Manfellotto, CEO of Hitachi Rail Italy, highlighted:

“This extended train order highlights the success of Hitachi Rail as a group, which includes increasing demand for our facilities in Italy. Hitachi Rail Italy is particularly proud of this further proof of trust in our capabilities, and we are working hard to deliver a train fleet that meets the expectations of Great Western Railway and its own customers”.

“These new trains will be high-speed Intercity, equipped with hybrid traction, and will have on board the best technologies to meet passenger comfort and safety”

Vossloh Locomotives wins major locomotive contract

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  • French leasing firm Akiem orders 44 locomotives of the type DE 18
  • Order volume of €140 million
  • First deliveries expected from 2018 onwards

Vossloh Locomotives in Kiel, subsidiary of Vossloh AG, signed a contract for the delivery of 44 DE 18 diesel-electric locomotives with French company Akiem S.A.S. Akiem is one of the leading leasing firms for rail vehicles in Europe. The volume of the order amounts to about €140 million. The locomotives for Akiem will be produced at the new Vossloh Locomotives location in Kiel Suchsdorf and shipped from 2018 onwards. In addition to the relocation of the production site, the order supports the improvement in the revenue and earnings power of Vossloh Locomotives, which had already been presumed in the planning.

Dr.h.c. Hans M. Schabert, Chairman of the Executive Board of Vossloh AG: “The order is a great sales success for Vossloh Locomotives and provides our new location in Kiel Suchsdorf with a very good basic capacity utilization for several years. We will move into the new facilities starting in fall of 2016.” Thomas Schwichtenberg, Managing Director at Vossloh Locomotives adds: “We are very pleased with the confidence Akiem has shown in us and with this major order, which proves that our locomotives are top performers.”

Vossloh Locomotives is part of Vossloh’s Transportation division. In the course of its strategic focus on the rail infrastructure business, which was agreed in 2014 and has been pursued consistently since then, the Group intends to sell the activities of the business area or to transfer them into suitable partnerships by end of 2017 at the latest in order to open up the growth perspectives that are specific for the vehicle business.

Challenging Q2 for Eurostar following Brexit & Brussels attacks

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Eurostar, the high speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, today reported a challenging second quarter of 2016, as business demand softened in the run-up to the EU referendum and leisure traffic continued to be impacted by the Brussels terrorist attacks.

Uncertainty over the UK’s future relationship with Europe has resulted in a drop in business travel, whilst on the leisure market there has been a continued slowdown in traffic from international markets, the USA and Japan in particular. Passenger numbers in the second quarter of the year were down 3% compared to last year (2.7 million Q2 2016: 2.8 million: Q2 2015) and sales revenues were 10% lower year-on-year (£208 million Q2 2016: £232 million Q2 2015).

In the month of June,  the number of travellers increased by 2% following an increase in demand during Euro 2016. With three quarters of the matches being staged in Eurostar destinations, over a million passengers travelled by high-speed rail, with fans from across Europe creating a celebratory atmosphere in stations, on board and in the host cities. The success of the Welsh team boosted travel in the final stages of the tournament, as thousands of Welsh fans chose to take the train to the game.

Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said:
In the run up to the EU referendum we experienced a slowdown in business travel and the uncertainty following the vote to leave, combined with the Brussels terrorist attack, has continued to dampen demand. At the same time, as a business trading on both sides of the Channel, a drop in the pound typically drives an increase in demand for leisure travel from the continent as customers take advantage of lower cost trips to London.

Transformation of Gare du Nord in Paris
Over the coming months, passengers can look forward to a complete transformation of the Eurostar space at Gare du Nord with the redesign and extension of the departure area and the opening of a new business lounge set to be unveiled towards the end of 2016.

The new look lounge will transform the experience  for business travellers and will include a brand new catering offer from Eurostar’s Business Premier culinary director, Raymond Blanc.
This refurbishment forms part of a wider regeneration plan at Paris Nord, which will see a range of new shops and restaurants opening next year.

Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said:
The transformation of Gare du Nord and the opening of our new business lounge mark the next phase of our investment in our stations and our commitment to giving our customers the best possible experience at every stage of their journey.

With a lead-in price  from just £29 one way, no additional charges for luggage or seats and a direct link between city centres, Eurostar represents a highly competitive alternative to travelling by plane.   For more information visit www.eurostar.com