JAPAN: A memorandum of understanding to jointly assess business opportunities in the Japanese light rail and tram markets was signed on June 19 by Alstom and Japan Transport Engineering Co, the former Tokyu Car rolling stock business which is owned by East Japan Railway.
The companies are to undertake a one-year study of the opportunities to participate in the modernisation of existing networks, which Alstom said are mostly over 30 years old, as well as the development of new lines.
They also aim to identify opportunities for Alstom’s Citadis tram family and catenary-free electrification technology to be used in Japan, and the development work which would be needed to meet Japanese standards.
FRANCE: Ansaldo STS has been awarded a €13m contract to supply an ETCS Level 2 overlay for the signalling on the LGV Sud-Europe Atlantique high speed line.
In 2011 Ansaldo STS was awarded a €47m contract to provide TVM430 cab signalling for the line.
The latest ETCS contract awarded by Cofely Ineo and Systra and announced on June 19 is worth €13m, and has an option worth a further €4·9m.
LGV SEA will link Tours and Bordeaux, and will have a total length of 343 route-km including connections to the existing network. The route is being built for 320 km/h operation.
FRANCE: SNCF and RATP announced on June 17 that they were putting in place a unified management team to run Paris RER Line B, which is run by the national operator north of Paris Nord and by the city transport agency to the south.
Train crews have been operating through between the two halves of Line B for some time, instead of changing at Paris Nord, and control of the signalling on RFF’s northern section was migrated to RATP’s control room at Denfert-Rochereau last year.
The two operators said that putting in place a direction de ligne unifiée would improve the quality of service offered to passengers. The announcement follows extensive consultation with the unions, and saw the appointment of Jerome Lefebvre to head up the new organisation, reporting to both RATP President Pierre Mongin and his SNCF counterpart Guillaume Pepy.
Creation of the DLU is expected to address three main objectives:
improve the punctuality of Line B services; provide better information for passengers; facilitate the management of disruption.
Putting the responsibility for all Line B operations under a single line manager is expected to simplify operational processes and accelerate implementation of measures to improve the quality of service. Similarly, a pilot project is already underway to ensure that the same information is provided to passengers across the whole line, avoiding situations where SNCF is telling people one thing and RATP something different.
Between now and the end of this year, staff working for SNCF, RATP and RFF will be relocated to a single management office adjacent to Denfert Rochereau station. This is expected to facilitate dialogue and co-operation, particularly in response to any incidents that may arise.
The new structure is to be ‘accompanied by a major investment plan’ to renovate the line, funded by Ile-de-France transport authority STIF, the region, the national government, and the two operators. The ‘B Nord+’ project will see the modernisation of stations and the creation of dedicated tracks for Line B between Paris Nord, Roissy airport and Mitry-Claye, along with a redesign of the timetable and renovation of the rolling stock. This will be followed by a similar master plan for B Sud.
SPAIN: The 165 km of high speed infrastructure between Albacete and Alacant entered service on June 18, having been officially opened the day before by the Prince of Asturias, heir to the Spanish throne.
Prince Felipe was accompanied by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, as well as Development Minister Ana Pastor, Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo and the presidents of the Castilla-La Mancha and Valencia regional governments.
Built at a cost of €1·92bn, the new line has cut the fastest Madrid – Alacant journey time by 50 min to 2 h 20 min. This is expected to be reduced to 2 h 05 min once work to commission ETCS Level 2 signalling is completed and the maximum speed can be raised to 300 km/h.
RENFE is operating 18 services a day between Madrid and Alacant, calling at stations on the high speed line at Cuenca, Albacete and Villena. There are also daily Alvia services from Alacant to Santander and Gijón, operated with gauge-changing Class 130 trainsets, as well as a service to Vigo operated at weekends and other peak periods using electro-diesel Class 730 trainsets.
With the opening of the route to Alacant taking its total length to 3 100 km, the Ministry of Development says that Spain now has the world’s second-largest high speed network and the largest in Europe.
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