Referendum: Eurotunnel remains a vital link, maintains outlook

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The British electorate has chosen to change its status in relation to the European Union.

In this new context, which will take many months to resolve, Eurotunnel confirms its vocation to facilitate exchanges between the UK and France and as a motor for development between the UK and continental Europe.

The result of the referendum will not affect the activity of the Channel Tunnel Concession. The Group maintains its outlook1.

The Channel Tunnel was established under the binational Treaty of Canterbury signed 30 years ago by the sovereign British and French governments

The United Kingdom has never been part of the Schengen area, people and goods travelling through the Channel Tunnel will remain subject to current border control procedures (UK Border Force, French Police Aux Frontiers and Douanes).

A reduction in the value of sterling would reduce the amount of the Group’s debt in that currency, would increase costs for maritime competitors and would support British exports, which would compensate for any potential negative effects.

The Channel Tunnel is an important element in the supply chain between the UK and continental Europe. 1.5 million trucks cross between the UK and the continent via the Tunnel each year. Outside the EU, the British would continue to consume high value products transported from continental Europe2.

The Channel Tunnel is an infrastructure which provides a unique level of speed, ease, and security to the 21 million tourists and business travelers who use it each year. Its value and practicality are exceptional, particularly in the current geopolitical context.

Jacques Gounon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Groupe Eurotunnel SE stated: “The Channel Tunnel fixed link was established with an international treaty between two sovereign states. Our Anglo-French vocation is to offer our customers a constantly improving and more competitive transport service. I am confident that we will achieve our goals”.

EBITDA 2016 €560 million and EBITDA 2017 €605 million, at a constant exchange rate of £1=€1.375

44% of UK exports are to the EU and 53% of its imports come from the EU. 7 of the UK’s main commercial partners are members of the EU

BRIGHTLINE REVEALS INNOVATIVE TRAINS UNDER CONSTRUCTION

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During an exclusive behind the scenes tour at the Siemens manufacturing facility in Sacramento, California, where the company’s trains are being constructed, Brightline, the only privately-funded express passenger rail system in the country, unveiled the first look at its locomotive and passenger coaches, including key features of the car interiors.

With Brightline, we are reimagining what it means to travel by train in America and have taken a thoughtful and innovative approach to how we designed our trains. From the comfort of our custom-designed seats to the convenience of smartly-designed bathrooms, we have carefully and deliberately focused on the details that matter,” said Michael Reininger, president of Brightline. “We are working closely with Siemens through all stages of the manufacturing process and are incredibly proud to see these spectacular trains coming together.”

“We’re proud to be building these advanced technology Brightline locomotives and passenger coaches in America, for America, while providing highly-skilled jobs throughout our nearly 1,000 person Sacramento manufacturing plant,” said Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Rolling Stock. “This is a significant milestone for our manufacturing plant, for future Brightline riders that will soon experience a new era of transportation in Florida, and for the nation to see higher-speed rail systems continue to become a reality.”

Locomotive
At the Siemens facility, Brightline revealed its first completed locomotive shell, constructed of carbon steel. The Charger diesel-electric locomotive has a distinct angled, sleek nose. A fuel-efficient Cummins diesel-electric engine built in the heart of Indiana will power the locomotive with 16 cylinders pumping up to 4,000 horsepower for optimum reliability and consistency. The lightweight engine is certified to meet the ultra-low emissions required by EPA Tier 4 standards, with additional benefits including reduced noise and excellent response.

Brightline trains are built as integrated trainsets, comprised of two locomotives and four high quality stainless steel passenger cars. The integration improves ride quality and makes for a much quieter ride. There will be a bright yellow locomotive on each end, for high reliability and redundancy. The locomotives will also feature an ergonomic cab design for the train’s engineers. The trains can be extended to include up to 10 passenger cars as the system and ridership grows.

Accommodating All Travelers
Brightline is the first fully accessible train, exceeding ADA compliance standards and addressing the needs of guests by providing end to end mobility for all travelers.  To do this, Brightline trains feature level boarding, utilizing retractable platforms that are integrated into the train car door systems. Prior to the doors opening, the platforms will extend up to 12 inches from the train and pivot to create a flush surface for passengers to cross, making it easy for those with mobility challenges, pushing strollers or luggage to board Brightline.

Once onboard, guests will find Brightline aisles are 32 inches, wider than any other train, providing ample space for wheelchairs and strollers to easily glide throughout the coach with access to all areas, including the restrooms. Interior vestibule doors will also slide open and close automatically.

Intuitive Interiors
Within the passenger coach cars, Brightline has placed an emphasis on comfort and convenience. Custom-designed, ergonomic leather seats are up to 21 inches wide with in-seat recline and are spaced to provide ample leg room. Corresponding tables feature individual retractable trays for holding drinks and devices. Power outlets including USB connections are built into seats (both under the armrests and in the seat pedestals) and in tables (pop-up style units), so that guests will have easy access to power whenever needed. Large windows have been designed and aligned with all seats to offer unobstructed scenic views. High ceilings and open luggage shelves create a welcoming and inviting ambiance.

Brightline will offer a range of different seating arrangements in two product offerings: Smart and Select. With both options, riders will be able to reserve specific seats when booking tickets through Brightline’s mobile application, website or station kiosks. Seats will be offered as single or doubles, along with quad arrangements where double seats face each other with a table in between. Riders can choose their configuration based on their travel needs. Each product will offer a range of amenities and pricing.  Riders will also be able to add additional items such as parking and ground transportation to their booking to further complete their travel experience, making it seamless from door to destination.

Each coach will also include a restroom that has been thoughtfully designed. Spacious restrooms feature universal access and a touchless environment. The sink is integrated into the vanity area that also includes a large back-lit mirror and a faucet that both rinses and dries. Changing tables are recessed into the wall and when opened offer ample space. Hooks for bags and coats have been thoughtfully placed for maximum convenience.

Train Construction Progressing
The trains are being built by nearly 1,000 employees at Siemens 60-acre rail manufacturing hub. Siemens has also developed a robust and diverse base of U.S. rail suppliers to support the next-generation of rail manufacturing for Brightline including components from more than 40 suppliers across 20+ states with additional suppliers still being added. The company will also be providing full service and maintenance for the Brightline trainsets, supporting full-time employment for approximately 70 Siemens and 40 Brightline employees.

The first completed trainset is expected to be delivered to Brightline later this year. Brightline is scheduled to begin service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach beginning in mid-2017.

FirstGroup/MTR joint venture to bid for South Western franchise

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FirstGroup is pleased to announce that MTR Corporation (UK) will join the Group in a joint venture to bid for the South Western rail franchise, following the assent of the Department for Transport.

Commenting, Steve Montgomery, First Rail Managing Director said:

“We are pleased that we will be partnering with MTR in a joint venture to bid for the South Western rail franchise, for which we were shortlisted in February 2016. We have extensive expertise of running commuter, inter-urban, regional and long distance services – such as those that make up the South Western franchise – and a strong track record in delivering passenger growth. MTR run successful suburban and commuter railways; their knowledge from running London Overground and TfL Rail on behalf of Transport for London will add further depth and understanding to an important component of this franchise.

“Together, FirstGroup and MTR will develop an innovative and value for money proposal that will deliver better connectivity and significant improvements for South Western customers. Our bid will keep people moving and communities prospering across the region.”

Notes

1. MTR Corporation (UK) will take a 30% stake in the joint venture

2. Both FirstGroup and MTR hold ‘Pre-Qualification Questionnaire Passports’ with the Department for Transport which shows that they have satisfied basic financial and other competence criteria and allows them to Express an Interest in submitting franchise bids to Government

3. MTR run the current London Overground concession in a joint venture with Arriva. This operation serves Clapham Junction, the busiest station on the network and a key hub for the South Western franchise. In addition, they have been selected as the operator of the new Crossrail/Elizabeth Line service and run TfL Rail services from London Liverpool Street station.

FirstGroup plc (LSE: FGP.L) is the leading transport operator in the UK and North America. With £5.2 billion in revenues and 110,000 employees, we transported around 2.2 billion passengers last year. Each of our five divisions is a leader in its field: In North America, First Student is the largest provider of student transportation with a fleet of around 47,000 yellow school buses, First Transit is one of the largest providers of outsourced transit management and contracting services, while Greyhound is the only nationwide operator of scheduled intercity coach services. In the UK, FirstGroup is one of Britain’s largest bus operators running a fleet of some 6,200 buses, and we are one of the country’s most experienced passenger rail operators, carrying around 140 million passengers last year.

Deutsche Bahn intensifies cooperation with railroad and vehicle manufacturers in China

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(Beijing/Berlin, 13 June 2016) Deutsche Bahn is increasing its general presence in China. In the course of Chancellor Dr Merkel’s visit to the country, agreements were signed in Beijing today with the aim of expanding projects in the rail sector.

Speaking in Beijing, Chairman of the Management Board and CEO of Deutsche Bahn AG Dr. Rüdiger Grube said, “The People’s Republic of China is an important market for us and will remain so in future. In view of the plans to invest more than 300 billion euros in transport infrastructure, we wish to benefit from the growth and potential in China. Our expertise is in high demand and our successful international activities also strengthen our position in our home market of Germany.”

Two Memoranda of Understanding were signed today, one of which was with the Chinese rolling stock manufacturer CRRC (China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation) confirming continuation of the parties’ cooperation in the establishment and optimization of a maintenance system for high-speed multiple units and the provision of mutual support in remedying operating problems related to wheel-on-rail contact. CR operates an approx. 19,000-km long high-speed network with a fleet of 1,400 trains. DB will provide maintenance and repair support for the company.

“There is a second project of which I am particularly proud: Our experts from DB Engineering & Consulting are the first foreigners to work on a regional transport project in China. As part of a consortium, they have a consultancy contract for the operation of regional transport routes in Dalian, a city with a population of 6 million,” said  Dr. Grube.

DB has been active in China since 1966. DB Schenker alone has more than 5,000 employees in the country. Amongst other things, DB was involved in the construction of Metro Shanghai, the development of the high-speed network and the Transrapid in Shanghai. As China meanwhile also offers good products for the rail sector, DB has had a procurement office in Shanghai since the end of 2015.

 

Abellio orders 43 TALENT 2 EMUs for Baden-Württemberg

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  • Abellio to receive new fleet of regional trains valued at 215 million euro
  • All trains to be equipped with Wi-Fi
  • Another successful tender for Bombardier in Germany’s Baden-Württemberg region

Rail technology leader Bombardier Transportation has won a contract to supply European rail operator Abellio Rail Südwest GmbH with 43 BOMBARDIER TALENT 2multiple unit trains. The order is valued at approximately 215 million euro ($244 million US).

Starting in June 2019, the new electric multiple units will gradually enter passenger operation on the Stuttgart regional network in Baden-Württemberg’s Neckar Valley region in Germany. Bombardier will supply all 43 trains to Abellio by June 2020. The multiple-unit trains will be built at the Bombardier site in Hennigsdorf, Germany and the bogies are to be produced at the Bombardier plant in Siegen, Germany.

“Abellio has already established a long-standing successful collaboration with Bombardier, which we will now continue in the Neckar Valley region network. We consider the company a reliable partner and together with them we will happily provide our passengers with a comfortable and safe travel experience on the way to their destination,” said Abellio CEO Stephan Krenz at an event to mark the contract signing. “With these new vehicles, we also want to set new standards in Baden-Württemberg that attain the same quality of leadership as we have achieved on the North Rhine-Westphalia networks,” explained Krenz.

“This order is a great achievement for Bombardier’s rail business and it also signifies the continuation of our successful and cooperative relationship with Abellio,” said Germar Wacker, President of Mainline and Metros, Central/Eastern Europe at Bombardier Transportation. “We are pleased that Abellio relies on our modern TALENT 2 trains to further expand its mobility offering in Germany. These vehicles feature a high degree of passenger comfort and score points with their strong performance in terms of energy efficiency and reliability.”

The TALENT 2 trains for Abellio will be configured into 24 three-car and 19 five-car train sets, each with 163 or 273 seats respectively. These vehicles will be equipped with Wi-Fi and provide easy access for travellers with limited mobility as well as space for either 24 or 39 bicycles. In total, more than 350 of Bombardier’s TALENT 2 trains are already in service on Germany’s rail network. These trains form the backbone of the German national rail operator Deutsche Bahn’s regional fleet and are also in use by private transport companies such as Abellio, National Express and the Southwestern German Transport Company (SWEG). Thanks to their modular design principle, the TALENT 2 train can be flexibly adapted and used as both commuter and regional transport.

The contract with Abellio is another achievement for Bombardier in the most recent tenders in Baden-Württemberg. The company asserted itself last year as a train supplier for Deutsche Bahn Regio AG with the TALENT 2 trains during the tender for the regional network Gäu-Murr. The so-called “Baden-Württemberg Model” is supporting the vehicle financing for both networks. This arrangement sees the transport company selling the vehicles to the regional rail authority of Baden-Württemberg (Landesanstalt Schienenfahrzeuge Baden Württemberg, SFBW) with the regional rail authority leasing them back to the transport company.

Board of Directors of Russian Railways praises Company’s activity in 2015 to improve efficiency

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The Board of Directors of Russian Railways has conducted a review of the Company’s performance in 2015.

“We discussed the results of our work at Russian Railways in 2015. Despite the difficult economic situation, the Company improved its key performance indicators, maintained reliability and stable operations and made profits and dividend payments to the budget by increasing efficiency. The Board of Directors gave the Company a positive assessment. We hope that the government will support our findings,” said Arkady Dvorkovich, Chairman of the Board of Russian Railways and Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, after the meeting.

In his turn, the President of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov noted that the Company had reduced costs in 2015 and thus achieved savings of 39.8 billion roubles. In addition, revenues from the sale of subsidiaries amounted to 19 billion roubles.

“We have increased our revenue base and reduced expenditure across virtually all areas of our work,” said the Company’s President.

Eurostar reports strong forward bookings for Euro 2016 as fans take the train to the game

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Eurostar, the high speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, today reports strong forward bookings for the Euro 2016 tournament as football fever kicks in.  With direct high-speed Eurostar services to the main host cities including Lille, Paris, Lyon and Marseille, nearly half a million passengers from across the UK are scheduled to travel during the tournament.

Over the last few weeks Eurostar has seen a surge in ticket sales, with June 10th proving to be the busiest day as the hosts open the tournament in the Stade de France in Paris.  With the successful introduction of Eurostar’s new fleet of e320 trains at the end of 2015, football fans can now connect to the free onboard wifi and entertainment system to follow their team whilst on the move.

Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said:

We have seen an unprecedented demand from football supporters keen to get the Euros by train. With our city-centre to city-centre services and a brand new state-of-the art fleet of trains, we are ideally placed to carry fans from the UK direct to the heart of the action in France.

Challenging first quarter of 2016

The strong bookings for Euro 2016 follow a challenging first quarter of the year. Travellers remain cautious following the terrorist attacks in Brussels and demand is dampened.

The impact has been particularly evident in international markets with Eurostar reporting a slowdown in travellers from the US and Asia. As a result, passenger numbers in the first three months of the year were 2.2 million, a 3% reduction on the same period last year (2.3 million: Q1 2015) and sales revenues were 6% lower year on year (£201 million Q1 2016: £215 million Q1 2015).

Testing for the new London-Amsterdam service

Plans for the launch of Eurostar’s new route between London and Amsterdam are gathering momentum as the new e320 train was tested on the Dutch network for the first time last month.  The journey marked the initial phase of a comprehensive testing programme with commercial services expected to start at the end of next year.

With journey times of around four hours and a city-centre to city-centre service, Eurostar will revolutionise travel between these capital cities offering a comfortable and convenient alternative to the airlines.

Nicolas Petrovic continued:

The start of testing for the e320 on the Dutch network marks a major milestone in the run-up to the launch our new service.  With over 3 million passengers travelling by air between London and Amsterdam, this new route is key to our growth plans.  Our fast, comfortable, point-to-point service is set to transform travel between these important financial and tourist hubs.”

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

“Rail Baltica”: essential decisions should be taken jointly by Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia

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High-level transport ministries representatives of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have agreed for closer political level cooperation on “Rail Baltica” railway project in the meeting of 16 May in Riga.

This will facilitate an agreement on intergovernmental treaty, which should structure necessary commitments at the States level implementing “Rail Baltica” fast conventional European gauge railway in all three countries, as well as define basic conditions for completing this strategic project.

Representatives concluded that intergovernmental treaty has to take into account interests of all participating countries and ensure sustainable framework for coordination of actions between the countries.

R. Sinkevičius: I hope that construction works of Phase 2 of Rail Baltica will start soon

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Rimantas Sinkevičius, the Minister of Transport and Communication of Lithuanian considers the key event of the year for European transport – the TEN-T Days  to be another opportunity to discuss the details of further implementation of Phase 2 of the Rail Baltica Project with European politicians and experts.

“This is an excellent opportunity for presenting Rail Baltica. I believe that the project that has been recognised as a priority EU project will receive due attention. I also hope that our neighbours will also start the preparatory and construction works under the Rail Baltica Project which is financed by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)”, says Minister Rimantas Sinkevičius.

It should be noted that Phase 1 of the Rail Baltic Project that has already been completed by Lithuania is considered a success story by the European Commission (EC). A section on the North Sea – Baltic Corridor on the EC‘s website states that, despite recession and lack of funds, Lithuania undertook the construction of the 1435 mm gauge railway and completed the line between the Lithuanian-Polish border and Kaunas.

Lithuania and its partners – Latvia and Estonia have already agreed with the European Commission that, along with the works on the Rail Baltica line, the implementation of a European signalling and control system (ERTMS) in the section between the Lithuanian-Polish border and Kaunas will be funded. This is a very important agreement, showing the economic viability of Rail Baltica in the nearest future.

“We will do our best to achieve that the second phase of the project is successful as well. I am grateful to Ms Catherine Trautmann, the European Coordinator for the TEN-T North Sea – Baltic Corridor who is investing lots of energy to ensure that the project partners undertake the works of construction of the European gauge railway in their respective countries”, says Minister Rimantas Sinkevičius.

This year the TEN-T Days are held in Rotterdam on 20–22 June. The development of the Trans-European Network is the main subject of the event, with a focus on the issues of implementation and financing of the main network corridors.

Violeta Bulc, the European Commissioner for Transport, and Melanie Schultz van Haegen, the Minister of Infrastructure and Environment of the Netherlands, are inviting the EU Ministers of Transport, Members of the European Parliament, and other interested parties to take part in discussions held during the TEN-T Days.

Alstom awarded major re-signalling project in the UK

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Alstom [1] has been awarded a contract by Network Rail for the full re-signalling of the Great Western Main Line between Reading and Paddington in the west of London. This major contract is worth over €100 million [2]. 

Network Rail and Alstom have worked in close collaboration to develop an interlocking solution based on Alstom’s Smartlockrange that will be ready for ETCS installation allowing trains with ETCS capability to operate on that section of the line. Smartlock interlocking proven solutions has been developed for the most complex and challenging major railway re-signalling projects. The works, which include both the renewal of the existing Interlocking and some track remodelling, have already started in order to maintain the tight delivery programme. They are due to reach completion by the end of 2017.

Alstom is very proud to take part in this project and will provide Network Rail with state-of-the-art, proven and reliable solutions” declared Nick Crossfield, Managing Director Train Control solutions in UK.

In February 2014, Alstom joint venture, ABC Electrification Ltd, had been selected as one of four suppliers to deliver a €2.4 billion electrification programme which will electrify more than 3000 kilometres of Britain’s railways over the next seven years. In November 2015, Alstom was awarded a Network Rail framework agreement to design and develop European Train Control System (ETCS level 2) using Alstom’s proven Atlas technology, and was awarded recently a first contract to deploy ETCS trainborne solution on intercity trains.

Alstom is now responsible for providing signalling renewals and enhancements as primary supplier in three out of eight geographical regions in the UK: Central East, Great Western Inner and Great Western Outer. Alstom also is the secondary supplier in four other geographical regions: Scotland, Central West, Wales and Western and Kent and Anglia.


[1] Through SSL: Alstom acquired 100% of Signalling Solutions Ltd (SSL), in the United Kingdom in May 2015. On 1 April 2016 SSL was formally integrated into Alstom.
[2] Booked in Q4 of fiscal year 2015/16

About Smartlock 400
The latest generation in computer-based interlocking systems for station and line control, Smartlock 400 reduces operating costs through the full automation of route settings and direct links to station services such as passenger information systems. The fully integrated train detection system, direct interface with point machines and signals (no need for traditional signalling relays) and remote diagnostics help to reduce maintenance costs. Installation can be simplified thanks to the system’s modular architecture and extensive factory testing of the final configuration.