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USA: The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has released a Tier I combined Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision (FEIS/ROD) for the High Speed Ground Transportation (HSGT) project that will connect Atlanta to Chattanooga. 

The chosen route includes eight rail stations and is estimated to take 88 minutes to travel from the first to the last station along the corridor. The route will begin on the eastside of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (HJAIA) at the proposed HJAIA/Southern Crescent Station and end at a proposed downtown Chattanooga station.

“This combined FEIS and ROD is a product of nine years’ work from FRA and its state partners,” said FRA Deputy Administrator Heath Hall. “The administration is working diligently to remove barriers, which slow down the environmental process so that people can get to work rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.”

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) studied the corridor as part of Georgia’s 1997 Intercity Rail Plan, which recommended further study – specifically with an emphasis on high-speed rail service. During the scoping process of the study, GDOT and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) identified 15 unique corridors between Atlanta and Chattanooga. GDOT and TDOT then subjected those corridors to a screening process and ultimately narrowed down three corridors for the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision.

The FEIS/ROD provides information on train technology, maximum operating speeds and station location options. However, decisions on these issues, as well as the exact alignment within the preferred corridor, will be part of a Tier II NEPA study, if additional funding is secured.

Atlanta to Chattanooga HSGT FEIS ROD 4

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LUXEMBOURG: Minister of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure François Bausch has announced two tram extensions, one of which will connect the airport to with the future Héienhaff interchange. The first 4.9km line will run from Luxemburg central station to Cloche d’Or with seven stops and the second 3.9 km extension will run from Luxexpo via Héienhaff to Findel Airport.

The total cost for the construction of the two extensions is estimated at EUR214 million, the first extension coming up to EUR114.9 million and the airport extension EUR99.1 million.

Both lines are scheduled to open at the end of 2021.

2017 10 09 presentation MDDI extensions 07 39

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EIB Bangalore Loan

INDIA: The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide EUR 500 million to support the construction of a new 18 station Rapid Transit line in Bangalore and the purchase of 96 train cars for use on the line.

This support for investment to expand the second longest urban metro system in the country is the largest ever EIB loan in India and also the largest ever support for sustainable transport outside Europe.

The new line will cut travel times for some journeys from 2 hours today to 15 minutes.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is expected support the project in the first ever joint financing between the EIB and AIIB.

“Daily travel for hundreds of thousands people on the Namma Metro will be transformed by expanding urban transport in Bangalore. The impressive Reach 6 project shows how a world city is providing 21st century sustainable transport for its citizens. The EUR 500 million financing agreed with the European Investment Bank demonstrates Europe’s commitment to support world class climate related investment across Asia and the increased momentum of EIB financing for urban transport across India. This new loan follows backing for the impressive Lucknow Metro last year.” said Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for South Asia.

Once operational in 2021 the new 22km Reach 6 metro line will transform transport in the southern Indian city. Reach 6 is a key part of the second phase of the Bangalore Metro and a key component of the future rail link to Bangalore Airport. More than 800 people are expected to be employed during construction.

The Bangalore Metro is the first infrastructure project to be jointly financed by the European Investment Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. It is the EIB’s second sovereign loan with the Republic of India.

As well as providing EUR 450 million for construction of the new Lucknow Metro, In recent years the EIB has supported investment in urban transport across Asia in Hanoi, Vientiane and Bangladesh.

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CHINA: Singapore based investment management and holding company Sapphire Corporation Ltd announced that its subsidiary Ranken Railway Construction Group has secured two new contracts for municipal metro and rail transit lines in China, worth S$176 million.

The contract includes building part of the 24.5km Dalian Metro Line 5, connecting to Dalian Metro North-South Line 1, which links to the upcoming Jinzhouwan International Airport. The Metro Line 5 is scheduled for completion in November 2019.

Ranken has also secured part of the municipal construction contract for the second phase of Urumqi Airport Rail Transit Line. The 13.35km line will have six stations, of which Ranken will build a 3.6km section between International Airport Station and Terminal 4. The contract is scheduled for completion on December 2019.

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USA: Stadler and the Texas-based Fort Worth Transportation Authority (FWTA) have introduced the first FLIRT for the TEXRail commuter rail line at APTA Expo 2017.

The contract for delivery of eight FLIRT trains was signed in June 2015. The multiple unit trains, which are powered by diesel-electric propulsion (DMU), will soon be used for travel on the TEXRail line between Fort Worth and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport’s Terminal B. This is the first time that Stadler has sold one of its FLIRT trains in the USA.

“We are excited to bring these sleek rail cars to Fort Worth and Dallas,” said Paul Ballard, president/CEO of FWTA. “We have been viewing the many stages of manufacturing and completion, and we could not be more pleased. APTA EXPO visitors are in for a real treat.”

Peter Spuhler, Group CEO and owner of Stadler, says: “We are proud to be able to present our best seller for the first time in the USA today in association with the FWTA, and are convinced that the FLIRT trains, which are built in the USA, will cut a fine figure in Big Sky Texas, and offer passengers in and around Fort Worth a new level of travel comfort.”

The eight FLIRT trains fulfil the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The wide front doors and spacious lower floor area make it easy for passengers to board and disembark. Each train comes equipped with 224 seats with side tables and USB ports as well as an ADA toilet, thereby meeting the various convenience requirements of passengers. The new FLIRT trains are scheduled to become a part of TEXRail’s commercial fleet in December 2018.

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UK: Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has said its train companies Southern, Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Great Northern will not only honour the rail tickets of Monarch passengers returning to the UK early or late, but it will also refund or rearrange tickets it has sold through its stations or websites.
 
Passengers can travel on a different date if they have advanced pre-dated rail tickets returning from Luton and Gatwick airports. Even if their journey takes them onto the network of another operator, they can still get a new ticket if it was bought at one of GTR’s ticket offices or from one of its websites (this will not be possible if it was bought from a third party, such as Trainline).
 
Refunds are also available for pre-booked tickets to and from Gatwick and Luton bought from Southern, Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Great Northern, who will waive the usual £10 administration fee.
 
For outward-bound passengers or those who decide not to travel, we will also honour, or refund the cost of any rail tickets to Gatwick or Luton airports that were purchased from us.
 
Passengers will need to show proof of their flight booking with Monarch, such as a booking confirmation, receipt or boarding pass (printed or on a phone app) along with confirmation of the new flight, if this is a new outbound journey.
 
People who bought their tickets from another retailer (such as Trainline) will need to buy a new ticket and apply for a refund from the original retailer. GTR cannot confirm the refund policy of third parties.
 
GTR Chief Operating Officer Nick Brown said: “People stranded or otherwise affected by the Monarch problems have enough to worry about and this is something we can do to ease the last leg of their journey.”

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USA: The Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) has unveiled the BNA Vision, the growth and expansion plan for Nashville International Airport (BNA), including an on-site hotel and a transit station to accommodate plans for future light rail.

In July 2016, MNAA first announced the preliminary plan for BNA Vision, releasing conceptual images and articulating the need for a major airport expansion in response to steep passenger increases and robust regional growth. The past year has been a period of intense planning and design, led by Corgan. Through this process, the original conceptual images have now given way to the final architectural renderings, revealing the actual look, feel and features of the proposed renovation.

In Fiscal Year 2017 ending June 30, more than 13.5 million passengers travelled through BNA, setting an all-time passenger record for the fourth consecutive fiscal year. And the record pace continues, with current projections estimating passenger traffic will exceed 23 million by 2041.

The design celebrates the spirit of Nashville, including the authentic craftsmanship of instruments, especially the acoustic guitar, and reflecting the natural beauty of the city’s many parks and green spaces. The central entrance hall emphasizes the charm and hospitality embedded in the overall design and experienced throughout the terminal. The food, music and culture found at Nashville International Airport will be a seamless extension of the sights, sounds and flavours that make Music City a celebrated destination.

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INDIA: Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is preparing for the March 2018 opening of the new Magenta Line 8 connecting the Domestic Terminal 1 of Indira Gandhi International airport with New Delhi and Noida.

This is great news for budget airline passengers, as Airport Express Metro Line, connecting the airport with the city centre, stops short at Terminal 3, meaning that Domestic Terminal passengers had to take a shuttle bus to make the final leg of the airport access journey.

The Magenta Line airport stop will be located across the road from the Domestic Terminal, connected via underground subway equipped with travellators.

The airport connection is part of the Phase 3 development of the Janakpuri West – Botanical Garden Magenta corridor.

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F1 2017 Transfer Package Social Media DRAFT 01

MALAYSIA: Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL) has formed a partnership with Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix race taking place from 29th of September until 1st of October.

ERL has launched a KLIA Transit Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix Transfer Package, combining a train ride on the KLIA Transit and a dedicated shuttle bus service to take passengers from the KL Sentral Station to the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) in just 50 minutes.

ERL is offering three types of packages

  • RM200 for return trips on all three days (29th September to 1st October 2017)
  • RM170 for return trips on Saturday & Sunday (30th September and 1st October 2017)
  • RM55 one-way trip on any one of the three days

Passengers can purchase the tickets at selected KLIA Transit and KLIA Ekspres ticket counters at KLIA Sentral or the airport. Alternatively, the tickets can be bought online at www.sepangcircuit.com.

F1 2017 Transfer Package Social Media DRAFT 02

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USA: Port Authority New York New Jersey has selected a Mott MacDonald-led consulting team to implement the vision plan set out by the Airport Advisory Panel for the redevelopment of John F. Kennedy Airport.

"Our plan for a transformed JFK envisions a unified, state-of-the-art airport to meet the demands of current and future passengers, and with this action, we're making these plans a reality," Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "The new JFK will be a crown jewel of the New York City transportation network, an airport of the calibre that New Yorkers deserve, and a centre of economic vitality and activity."

The specific goals of the vision plan set out by the Governor's Airport Advisory Panel include the creation of a seamless, interconnected terminal system, world-class customer service, a vastly overhauled roadway access network to reduce time-consuming bottlenecks, enhancements to JFK AirTrain together with the expansion of rail mass transit with the focus on developing a one-seat ride to and from the airport, development of modern cargo facilities and improvements to aeronautical infrastructure.

Along with Mott MacDonald and Grimshaw Architects, the new team comprises expert firms including TranSolutions, Harris Miller Miller & Hanson, VJ Associates, ACB Architects, EnTech Engineering, Naik Consulting, Reichman Frankle, and Holmes Keogh to meet a 30% minority and women-owned businesses goal.

Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said, "The planned redevelopment of this important worldwide gateway to New York is vital to transforming JFK into the top rank of airports globally. Customers are accustomed to traveling through state-of-the art airport facilities the world over, and deserve no less from this nation's leading international airport."

At JFK Airport, the Mott MacDonald and Grimshaw Architects' team will develop a plan in line with the recommendations from the Governor's Airport Advisory Panel to guide JFK Airport's redevelopment, while creating long-term program planning and project support as well as short-term operational enhancement initiatives. On airport, in addition to the integration of terminals, the planning work will include redesigning the on-airport traffic pattern, centralizing parking lots, ensuring world-class customer amenities in retail, dining and business centre capabilities, expanding taxiways and fostering enhanced state-of-the-art security technology.

A major task for Mott MacDonald and Grimshaw Architects will be developing forecasts of JFK Airport's aviation demands - passenger numbers, cargo tonnage, type of jet fleets and general aviation needs - anticipated through mid-century, while analysing the requirements to meet expected peak demand needs. Key priorities include optimizing airfield capacity to reduce ground delays, improving rail access and capacity to and from the airport and developing best-in-class cargo facilities and operations.

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MALAYSIA: Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL) is collaborating with Visa International (Asia Pacific) to encourage the use of Visa payWave directly at its KLIA Ekspres gates. Getting onboard KLIA Ekspres is faster with contactless transactions, and now all Visa payWave credit and debit cardholders will get to enjoy 15% off their KLIA Ekspres fare when they travel between Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA & KLIA2) and KL Sentral Station.

“We are committed to working with partners that can provide value-added services for the benefit of our passengers. With Visa payWave, they can quickly board the KLIA Ekspres just by tapping their card at the gate without the hassle of queuing to purchase tickets,” said Noormah Mohd Noor, Chief Executive Officer of ERL.

“As the fastest airport transfer in town, this partnership with Visa fits ERL’s mission to provide a seamless travel experience that is fast, reliable, convenient, and now even more affordable,” she added.

Visa payWave is a payment feature that lets customers use their enabled Visa cards or mobile device at the gate or point of sale (POS). The customer simply waves his card or mobile device in front of the secure reader, instead of swiping it or handing it to a cashier.

Said Ng Kong Boon, Visa Country Manager for Malaysia, “Visa payWave is now embraced by Malaysians and we are seeing double digit month-on-month growth for the number of transactions. By enabling contactless acceptance at KLIA Ekspres gates, international Visa payWave cardholders are also able to use their Visa payWave cards when they travel on the trains. We believe more people will embrace the use of their Visa payWave cards with this attractive offer provided by ERL.”

The 15% discount promotion is now running until 31st March 2018, and is only applicable to transactions using Visa payWave cards at the KLIA Ekspres gates. This offer is not valid for ticket purchases at the counter, kiosk and online or for travel on KLIA Transit.

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USA: Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has installed interactive touchscreen kiosks at Dallas Love Field airport allowing passengers to plan their onward journey on ground transport. 

The kiosk from CHK America provides interactive information for the seven million passengers arriving in Dallas each year to help them transition from airline travel to DART rail and bus services. The interactive kiosks provide route information into wayfinding messages that users can easily read and understand.

“DART is always looking for ways to better engage riders and potential riders at all points of contact, and this interactive map is a perfect tool to provide information on how to ride and where customers can go as soon as they land at the airport,” Nevin Grinnell, DART Vice President of Marketing and Communications and Chief Marketing Officer, said.

Rick Wood, CHK America’s President and CEO commented: “Deploying the ConnectPoint® Interactive Kiosk at Love Field is a significant step forward in providing airline passengers with the information they need to successfully transition to DART’s outstanding transit services.”

The web-enabled ConnectPoint® Interactive Touchscreen Kiosk integrates with tracking and location systems, scheduling systems and other DART information systems to provide comprehensive information to customers. Touchscreen technology allows for intuitive interaction with the information to explore transit options and to create specific routes, including an overview of entire routes, next departure times as well as detailed local mapping for each stop. The kiosks also provide trip-planning tools that include detailed travel directions for public transportation, cars, bicycling and walking.

Texting and email options are included for easy transfer to a mobile device. The kiosk can push out route deviations as they happen, generate revenue via location-based advertising and leverages smart phones at the decision-making point (i.e. the stop).

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UK: London Stansted’s new CEO, Ken O’Toole, has called on the Government to put in place a national aviation strategy that not only supports airports to grow but ensures the spare capacity available today is used to generate the biggest positive impact for consumers and the economy.

Speaking to a 500-strong audience of infrastructure experts at the London Infrastructure Summit, Ken O’Toole said a lot more can be done to improve the UK’s connectivity with the rest of the world to ensure it succeeds as an outward-facing trading nation as the country prepares to leave the EU and at a time when airport capacity is at a premium.

Ken O’Toole said:

“The UK is going to need the aviation industry to be at the top of its game over the next 10-15 years to build a prosperous and global Britain. First and foremost, we need to ensure that we make the most productive and efficient use of the capacity we have already.

“We will shortly be applying to raise our planning cap so that we can make full use of our runway. Securing that approval would enable Stansted to meet 50% of London’s expected passenger growth over the next decade, double our economic output to £2 billion and create thousands of new jobs.”
Mr O’Toole went on to stress the importance of rail and road connectivity:

“If we are serious about getting the most from our airports, joined up thinking on road, rail and aviation policies should be a priority for Government.

“In the case of Stansted, a key priority is creating the best possible rail links from the airport to London and Cambridge. Faster journey times will not only expand our reach but also, and most importantly, strengthen our ability to attract the increasing number of long-haul airlines that wish to serve London.

“Stansted offers the 'primary growth opportunity’ in the south over the next 15 years and businesses and passengers will reap the benefits with increased global connectivity, trade opportunities and more choice.”

Mr O’Toole also reiterated industry calls for the reform of Air Passenger Duty. He stated that the UK has the highest rates of aviation taxation of any developed nation, by some margin, which inhibits demand and affects the ability to compete against EU and global competitors for airline capacity.

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CHINA: Chengdu Metro Line 10, connecting Shuangliu International Airport with the city centre, has officially opened for passenger services on 6th of September.

The 10.9 km line runs underground with total of six stations – Taiping Park, Jin, Huaxing, Jinhua, Shuangliu Internatinal Airport Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

Journey between the airport and the city centre is 12 minutes, with trains running on 8 minute intervals during the peak times. Initially the trains will run from 6am in the morning until 11pm at night and, depending on the demand, the timetables might be adjusted in the future.

Chengdu Metro Line 10 will be the first one in the network to accept mobile payments on the automatic ticket machines via WeChat. It is expected to roll out this function on all Chengdu Metro lines by the end of the year.

The airport line trains are decorated with Chengdu’s iconic destinations, cultural and art symbols. The train cars are also equipped with large passenger information screens, displaying maps, transfer information, walking directions and station facilities. Airport stations have live train arrival and departure information screens.

Chengdu Metro A Line 2

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UK based passenger experience consultancy Transporting Cities has released three case studies considering passenger journey experience on Heathrow Express, Sydney Airport Link and West Midlands/Birmingham Rail.

For the two air-rail links, Transporting Cities has focused on journey experience for arriving international passengers travelling through the airport onwards to the city rail link, identifying the escape points along the way.

“I would say that the biggest challenge in providing excellent journey experience is recognising that passengers’ assumptions on services are informed by their home systems. In the case of major airports, passengers are arriving from far flung destinations and will interpret rail services differently whereas the user experience has usually been designed by a local planner,” Liam Henderson, Founder of Transporting Cities said, “we come to a system fresh and provide this external viewpoint”.

The assessments assumed the role of a first-time user and were conducted as a walkthrough from plane to train. Beginning at the gate, the route proceeded through the arrivals process into the public arrivals area, before entering the rail station and boarding platform.

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“It was extremely helpful to have an external entity consider the plane to platform path, working with an objective perspective and providing invaluable insight. The report has served in identifying opportunities to test and improve the passenger journey, reaffirming the need to revisit and improve elements that had already been identified historically but had not received license to implement,” Gavin Clare-Campbell, Project Manager - Commercial Sales at Heathrow Express commented.

According to Liam, after receiving feedback from operators he sees that there is more work to be done to advocate for the needs of the passengers who are unfamiliar with the service.

“Making the system accessible for these passengers will increase the overall user experience. I think there is an opportunity for some level of standardisation in information provision across major airports so that a visitor to any global airport can expect to see a familiar guide through to the rail service.”

Liam will be presenting the findings at the annual Global AirRail Conference, taking place in Brussels on 13-14 November. 

GARA Brussels Logo

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Tallinn Tram

ESTONIA: Tallinna Linnatranspordi Aktsiaselts (TLT) will officially open the fourth Tallinn Tram line to the Airport on 1st of September.

Construction on the new link from the future Rail Baltica station at Ülemiste to Tallinn Lennart Meri Airport started in August and was carried out by AS Merko Ehitus Eesti and KMG Inseneriehituse AS.

“In addition to a quick connection between the city centre and the airport, the tram also gives new development opportunities in Ülemiste city,” said Taavi Aasa, Chairman of the Tallinn City Council and TLT Supervisory Board.

The tram extension was completed in cooperation with the city and the state.

“The new tram line, which links the airport, Rail Baltica’s future main passenger terminal in Ülemiste and the Tallinn city centre, is the first tangible result of Rail Baltica, a major infrastructure project in the region,” said Kristjan Kaunissaare, coordinator of the Rail Baltica project at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

The tram stop is located next to the airport terminal which will be connected by a glass gallery from October.

On Mondays through Saturdays, the first tram will arrive at the airport at 5.25 AM and at 5.45 on Sundays. The last tram from the airport to the city centre will leave at 0.45 AM.

Tram tickets cost 2 euros when buying from the driver, however registered Tallinners use public transport free of charge. The journey to the city centre takes approximately 15-17 minutes.

Work on upgrading the public space adjacent to the airport tram line will continue until November. Landscaping, pavement tile installation and parcel construction work will be performed according to the Keevis street design project. The work will continue on the city square on the airport's back-street and at the construction of the airport terminal building and the northern branch of the Airport. In addition, stationary traffic management and outdoor lighting will be built.

Opening of the 700-meter tram extension makes Tallinn Airport one of the most easily accessible capital airports in Europe. The total cost of the tram route to the airport is EUR 12.5 million, of which EUR 9.8 million was covered by CEF and the rest by the City of Tallinn.

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USA: The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) District will begin full passenger train service on Friday 25th August.

SMART is the San Francisco Bay Area’s newest transportation option for travel, offering passenger rail service in Sonoma and Marin counties. SMART’s initial 43 miles of rail corridor includes 10 stations, from the Sonoma County Airport to Downtown San Rafael. Future extensions include: Larkspur, which is scheduled to be completed in 2019; Windsor; Healdsburg; and Cloverdale. The full project will provide 70 miles of passenger rail service, connecting SMART passengers with jobs, education centers, retail hubs and housing along the Sonoma-Marin corridor, and a bicycle-pedestrian pathway.

“We are proud to say that we are ready to roll,” said SMART Board of Directors Chairwoman Debora Fudge. “This is the result of years of hard work from SMART’s staff, its team of contractors and consultants, and Federal Railroad Administration Regional Administrator James Jordan and his team. Successfully opening a new transit system is a major accomplishment—and we will remember this day for generations to come.”

SMART train service will be free of charge on opening day, afterwards fares for everyone will be 50 percent off the regular price through Labor Day, 4th of September 2017. Regular fares will be in place on 5th of September. Under SMART’s fare structure, commuters can purchase 31-day passes at significant discounts. Seniors, youth and passengers with disabilities also receive 50 percent off fares. SMART uses Clipper® cards, the same payment system used by other Bay Area transit providers, for a seamless trip. SMART will run 34 trips each weekday, and 10 trips on weekends.

“This is truly historic. We want to thank the public for their support, and for providing the North Bay with a state-of-the-art transportation system. This system will bring relief to commuters stuck on Highway 101 and provide a stress-free way to travel. It will also provide a major economic boost for both Marin and Sonoma counties,” said SMART Board Vice Chairwoman Kathrin Sears.

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CANADA: The Board of Directors of Metrolinx, operator of North America’s first dedicated airport express rail service UP Express, appointed Phil Verster as its new President and CEO.

Over the last 12 years, Mr. Verster has overseen operations and major construction of some of the most complex and customer intensive rail services in England, Scotland and Ireland. Among his most recent assignments as a Managing Director of Britain’s Network Rail have been running Scotland’s railway operations, the ScotRail Alliance, and initiating work on the East West Railway, a new rail line between Oxford and Cambridge.

Mr. Verster was selected following an international search on behalf of Metrolinx. His start date is October 1, 2017.

“We’re implementing a $34-billion transit build – the biggest transit investment in Ontario’s history and one of the largest in the world today. We’re quadrupling the number of weekly GO Train trips - from 1,500 to 6,000. We’re electrifying key GO rail lines to provide 15-minute express service all day long throughout the region, and we’re building new LRT lines to tie the region together. We are delighted the Mr. Verster has chosen to join Metrolinx," Rob Prichard, Chairman of the Metrolinx Board said.