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ERL Deepavali Kolam at KL Sentral

MALAYSIA: Express Rail Link (ERL) has partnered with Lashini.my, a one-stop marketplace for fashion and lifestyle, to host a diversity-inspired Deepavali Kolam at the KLIA Ekspres Arrival Hall located within KL Sentral Station in celebration of the Festival of Lights this year.

As a highlight of the Kolam unveiling, the Deputy Director General (Planning) of Tourism Malaysia, Yang Berusaha Encik Zulkifly bin Md Said, who was representing Yang Berhormat Datuk Mohamaddin bin Ketapi, The Honourable Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, was invited to light a traditional Indian lamp, known as Kuthu Vilakku. The lamp lighting symbolises the triumph of light over darkness.
 
The cultural attraction will kick start ERL’s initiatives to support Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign and is expected to attract locals and tourists for a feast for the senses.
 
Noormah Mohd Noor, Chief Executive Officer of ERL said: “While ERL may just be regarded as an airport transfer provider to many air travellers, we are determined to play our part and support the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign for the good of the country. Through our partnerships with Tourism Malaysia, online travel agents, hotels and other partners, we will work together to promote Malaysia to the world as a preferred destination in 2020. We are looking to further enhance our transport packages for tourists such as the KL TravelPass and Discover Kuala Lumpur, and we are working with new partners to offer more value-for-money products.

ERL Deepavali Kolam at KL Sentral 2 

“When tourists fly into Kuala Lumpur, one of their first Malaysian experiences will be on board our train as they make their way into the city. With our impeccable 99.7% on-time performance and safety record, we aim to provide a great first impression to these visitors,” she added.
 
Spreading over 1,600 square feet, the Deepavali Kolam was drawn using 500kg of broken rice mixed with organic colours, and is the largest freehand Kolam in a public space. Kolam, usually drawn outside the doorstep, ushers in goodness and symbolises the celebration of life. It is a sign of invitation to welcome all into the home while also making the place look beautiful.
 
The design of the Kolam was conceptualised by Pinnacle Events Stylist and is inspired by the beauty, vibrant colours and magnificence of the peacock – the focal point of the Kolam. The intricate art piece showcases a vivid array of colours that represent the unity and diversity of Malaysians. It also appropriately features the Visit Truly Asia Malaysia 2020 logo. Employees from the design agency, Lashini.my and ERL participated in the laborious but fun activity which took a total of 26 hours to complete.
 
Modern elements such as the train and e-commerce conveniences depicting today’s mobility and connectivity are infused with a traditional colourful design that represents prosperity. This collaboration embraces the fact that our people are modern and connected, yet are rooted in traditions that every Malaysian can relate to and enjoy.
 
The Kolam will be on display at KL Sentral from 22nd to 31st October 2019. Everyone is invited to view the stunning display, pose at the Kolam and tag #deepavali #diwalilights #kliaekspres #VM2020 #VisitMalaysia2020 on social media.

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UK: Heathrow Express, the fastest route between London Paddington and Heathrow Central, has announced its popular £5.50 ticket fares will now be available every day of the week. The new low online fares ranging from £5.50 to £16.50, available for both peak and non-peak times throughout the week. 

The new ticket pricing coincides with the launch of a new multi-lingual website and app. A guaranteed number of discounted tickets will be released for every day of travel for advanced online purchase thanks to the new dynamic pricing structure.

Similar to an airline style yield management system, this increased availability of discounted tickets beyond weekends, extends the value offered by the transport provider that has frozen prices since 2018 and offers a permanent kids travel free initiative.

Previously the cheapest weekday travel available was £12.50 when booked 90 days in advance rising to £16.50 for bookings up to 14 days before travel.

Now, customers booking in advance will see fares available for £5.50, £7.50, £10.00, £12.50, £15.00 or £16.50 depending on availability.

Additional front-end improvements to the website and app allow travellers faster booking, clear ticket and price options, personalised suggestions using customer location and booking history and automated next train times. This is presented in an easy to navigate, responsive application.

In parallel, Heathrow Express are upgrading their API technology which is currently integrated with various partners’ booking systems for fast processing of ticket requests from corporate clients or trade partners.

A new JSON REST API Developer Portal with a sandbox environment is being created which will allow partner developers to co-create and test their own integrated API system ensuring Heathrow Express ticket sales works seamlessly alongside their own platforms before being launched to customers.

The portal is currently being piloted by Distribusion with an expected full release in the new year. Once this happens, the system will be rolled out to third parties in the trade such as TMCs, ground transfer operators and airlines to integrate Heathrow Express tickets into their booking systems.

Each of the recently launched improvements by Heathrow Express are prompted by the commitment to ensure the process from booking a ticket to travelling is simple and stress-free.

Les Freer, Heathrow Express Director, said: “Rolling out our £5.50 one-way fare across the week means thousands more customers can travel for less with Heathrow Express. Speed and convenience is crucial to Heathrow Express customers who have rated us top in the National Rail Passenger Survey three times in a row and our new website and app delivers on these too. Our continued investment in technology will improve the customer experience for both trade partners and end users making the booking process more personalised, quicker and simpler to use.”

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USA: Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) received two grants from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania totalling $924,900 for a platform improvements project at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (SEPTA) Airport Regional Rail Line stops.

PHL was awarded $500,000 from the Multimodal Transportation Program (awarded in March 2019) and $424,900 from PennDOT’s Aviation Transportation Assistance Program, Aviation Development Program, and the Multimodal Fund (awarded in August 2019) for rehabilitating platforms and canopies at PHL’s four stops on SEPTA’s Airport Line.

“Our Airport serves more than 32 million passengers annually,” said PHL CEO Rochelle “Chellie” Cameron. “With departures to and from Center City every 30 minutes, SEPTA’s Airport Line provides those visitors and airline crews flying in and out of PHL with a convenient travel option to Philadelphia and the surrounding region. The rail line’s connection to many other SEPTA services, makes the train a vital transportation necessity for many of the 21,000 airport employees.”

SEPTA’s Airport Line, which began service in 1985, provides 2.1 million annual trips to and from PHL. Trains access all PHL terminals, with platforms at Terminals A, B, C/D and E/F. The funding received from the Commonwealth will provide necessary structural and aesthetic upgrades to all locations without impacting service. Work is anticipated to begin in May 2020.

“SEPTA and Philadelphia’s Division of Aviation have a vested interest in supporting and, when necessary, collaborating on, multimodal projects that help move our shared passengers to points across the Delaware Valley,” said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. “The proposed work at the Airport Line stops will create an enhanced transit gateway for residents and visitors traveling to and from PHL.”

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SWITZERLAND: Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) and Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) now offer customers a ‘Flugzug’ rail service between Lugano Station and Zurich Airport for travel on or after 16 October. Selected SBB rail connections between Lugano and Zurich Airport will be issued with a SWISS flight number, and the cost of the rail journey is included in the SWISS flight ticket price.
 
The ‘Flugzug’ timetable offers 14 daily services in each direction between Lugano Station and Zurich Airport. The new rail service thus provides travellers between the two points with even more flexibility than the present four daily flights. The rail services concerned also cover all the relevant SWISS connecting flights from and to its Zurich hub. The new ‘Flugzug’ services are bookable now for travel on or after 16 October, on the SWISS website or at any travel agency.
 
SWISS is keen to ensure that the Ticino region is well connected with its Zurich Airport air travel hub. The present arrangement is an interim solution, and SWISS and SBB are working closely on optimising the ‘Flugzug’ rail service which as a SBB feeder rail service until now only existed between Basel and Zurich Airport.

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UK: Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has completed a five-year £2bn programme to transform passenger journeys with more than 1,500 new carriages, turning one of the UK’s oldest fleets into one of the most modern.

Since September 2014 when it launched, GTR has overseen the introduction of four fleets of trains and expanded one other, transforming journeys for thousands of passengers:

  • 116 brand new Class 387/1 carriages (29 units) – initially used on the Thameslink network, now on Great Northern, operating as far as King’s Lynn
  • 108 brand new Class 387/2 carriages (27 units) – serving Gatwick Express between Brighton, Gatwick and London Victoria
  • 1,140 brand new Class 700 carriages (115 units) – serving the entire, expanded Thameslink network
  • 150 brand new Class 717 carriages (25 units) – serving the Great Northern Moorgate route
  • 12 Class 171 carriages (4 units) for Southern – adding to the existing fleet and facilitating the first longer 10-carriage services between Uckfield and London Bridge

GTR has overseen what is thought to be the biggest cascade of rolling stock since privatisation – a total of more than 1,500 new carriages brought into the franchise, and almost 900 cascaded out. A further 880 were cascaded between routes within the network.

The new trains (717s) have capacity for 943 people – that’s nearly 100 more people per journey than those they replace (an 11% increase). The new trains also feature live service updates from London Underground, open and interconnected carriages, allowing passengers to walk from one end of the train to the other, the latest accessibility features, a brand new ‘snow mode’, which changes the way the brakes work to improve reliability in snowy conditions, a train monitoring systems to facilitate a condition-based maintenance regime, and are capable of operating with ERTMS.

 

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USA: Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) started construction of the new 26-mile Silver Line regional rail service from Plano to DFW International Airport.

Opening in December 2022, the $1.1 billion project will provide passenger rail connections and service that will improve mobility, accessibility and system linkages to major employment, population and activity centers in the northern part of the DART Service Area. The Silver Line will traverse a total of seven cities: Grapevine, Coppell, Dallas, Carrollton, Addison, Richardson and Plano.

The Silver Line service will include 10 stations across the alignment, providing new transit opportunities for North Texas residents and delivering greater capacity and connectivity, spurring economic development, and supporting workforce development across the region. The stations are DFW Terminal B, DFW North, Cypress Waters, Downtown Carrollton, Addison, Knoll Trail, UT Dallas, CityLine, 12th Street and Shiloh Road.

DART's Silver Line will interface with three existing rail lines: The Red/Orange Lines in Richardson/Plano, the Green Line in Carrollton and the Orange Line at DFW International Airport. In addition, at DFW International Airport, the project will connect to the Trinity Metro TEXRail Regional Rail Line to Fort Worth, providing passengers with the opportunity to travel 60 miles across the North Texas region.

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CHINA: China's new mega airport Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX) has officially opened for operations. The airport is located is expected to serve the needs of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei areas. With a 46km-distance from Tiananmen Square, a 67km-distance from Beijing International Airport and a 26km-distance from Langfang City Center, Daxing Airport aims to become the main airport hub of the region.

The fastest way to travel to and from the airport is the New Daxing Airport Express Line. Travelling up to 160km/h, the trains reach Caoqiao Station in 19 minutes, costing 35 RMB (4.4€ / 4.8$). In the near future, the transit Line 20 (Line R4) will also be added to the existing network. The Beijing–Xiong’an intercity railway links Daxing airport to Beijing West Railway Station. The travel time is about 20-35 minutes, depending on the disembarking point.

Daxing Airport Express Line started trial operations on 26 September 2019. Passengers will be able to use the in-town check-in facilities at the City Terminal at Caoqiao station.

Initially serving 45 million passengers per year, Beijin Daxing will accommodate 72 million travellers by 2025 and is planned for further expansion to serve up to 100 million passengers and 4 million tonnes of cargo annually.

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USA: The Port Authority New York New Jersey (PANYNJ) Board of Commissioners approved the biennial reassessment of the agency’s 2017-2026 Capital Plan, which includes an additional $4.8 billion for critical Port Authority projects. The major elements of the reassessment are:

  • A new AirTrain Newark and additional dollars for AirTrain LaGuardia, both projected to be funded by incremental project-related revenue
  • Addition of three new projects: PATH Improvement Plan; electric vehicle infrastructure; and planning for a new Newark Liberty Terminal Two
  • Adjustments to the Capital Plan regarding JFK Redevelopment and Newark Terminal One to take account of prior Board actions and funded by incremental project-related revenue

Of the $4.8 billion increase, approximately $4.5 billion, or 94% of the increase, is projected to be funded by additional project-related revenues, including revenue increases from the following: terminal rents; airline cost recoveries; user fees; anticipated receipt of passenger facility charges; Hurricane Sandy recovery; and airport improvement grants associated with certain projects.

“The Port Authority is committed to rapid progress on all our critical capital projects to deliver the 21st century transportation infrastructure that the region deserves. The $37 billion Capital Plan that the Board approved today is part of that commitment,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “This Capital Plan funds major infrastructure projects like the new AirTrain Newark, the AirTrain LGA and redevelopment at JFK and Newark and makes good on sustainability commitments, such as new, clean electric vehicle charging stations, the PATH improvement plan, and planning for a brand-new Terminal 2 at Newark Airport. Both the original 2017-2026 Capital Plan and the modifications approved today provide for extraordinary and unprecedented levels of investment needed to replace and upgrade our facilities to meet the standards of 21st century infrastructure."

The increases to major projects are all projected to be funded through additional revenues associated with these projects.

  • New AirTrain Newark ($1.64 billion increase; $2.05 billion total): The reassessed Capital Plan provides for a new AirTrain Newark for $2.05 billion. This represents an entirely new project. The new AirTrain project replaces the planned spending of $300 million to keep the old AirTrain in a state of good repair. The increase is informed by previously authorized planning efforts and will be covered by: airline cost recoveries; rental car fees; future period PFCs; farebox revenue; and $110 million of reduced spending elsewhere in the Aviation Capital Plan. This major new commitment is in direct response to a request from Governor Murphy. The proposal targets a start to construction in late 2020 or early 2021.
  • JFK Redevelopment ($1.9 billion increase; $2.9 billion total): With respect to the already announced JFK Redevelopment Project, this change represents the technical Capital Plan provision catching up with the authorizations made by the Board in October 2018. Approximately $2.9 billion of the $13 billion JFK project will be spent on Port Authority infrastructure, e.g. roadways; airfield improvements; a ground transportation center; and utilities and electrical substations. The original 2017-2026 Capital Plan provided $1 billion for spending on PA infrastructure. This incremental cost of $1.9 billion is projected to be funded from private sector sources – rental revenue from private terminal developers and airline cost recoveries. The contribution from private capital remains at $12 billion of the $13 billion total cost of the redevelopment program, as reflected in the Board’s October 2018 approval.
  • AirTrain LGA ($390 million increase; $2.05 billion total): The reassessed Capital Plan provides for a $2.05 billion project to build an AirTrain to serve LaGuardia Airport. The current capital plan included $1.5 billion in spending for this project. The revised project cost is informed by the planning efforts and preliminary engineering analysis underway as a result of previously authorized spending by the Board. The increase to the Capital Plan is $390 million, net of $160 million of reduced spending on other Aviation projects. This increase is projected to be covered by multiple sources, including: farebox revenue; airline cost recoveries; and future period PFCs.
  • Newark Liberty Terminal One Redevelopment ($350 million increase; $2.7 billion total): In February 2018 the Board reauthorized this project because the total cost to complete the project increased by $350 million to $2.7 billion due to market conditions increasing construction costs. The additional funds required for this increase are projected to be fully provided by revenues from the new terminal.
    Funding New Projects

The reassessment provides funding for the Capital Plan for three key initiatives:

  • PATH Improvement Plan ($200 million): As announced in June, the PATH Improvement Plan includes three core elements: increased capacity on the Newark-WTC line by 40% and all other lines by 20% by 2022; a six-point plan to reduce system delays; and a series of actions to improve customer experience including full integration with the MTA’s new tap-and-go fare payment system, OMNY.
  • Electric Vehicle Infrastructure ($50 million): As the first public transit agency in the country to embrace the Paris Climate Agreement, the Port Authority’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions across its facilities includes the aggressive introduction of all-electric vehicles. These funds will provide the electric charging infrastructure needed to support the electric vehicle initiative, including: 1) infrastructure needed for the conversion of airport shuttle buses to an all-electric fleet; 2) the conversion of 50% of the agency’s light vehicle fleet to electric; and 3) charging stations for public use at various parking facilities.
  • Planning for Newark Liberty Airport Terminal Two ($35 million): Just as Newark Terminal A is currently being replaced by the new Terminal One, the reassessed Capital Plan enables planning to replace the existing Terminal B with a new Terminal Two. This is the next step to increasing capacity, improving passenger experience, and moving Newark Liberty International Airport, consistent with all Port Authority airports, to world class standards.

For more detailed information on each of the 2017-2026 Capital Plan, click here.

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USA: The Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has allocated $125 million to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Silicon Valley Phase II project. This is the first project to receive a funding allocation under FTA’s Expedited Project Delivery Pilot Program.

The BART Silicon Valley Phase II project is a 6.5-mile extension of the BART system from the Berryessa Station through downtown San Jose to the City of Santa Clara. The total estimated project cost is $5.58 billion and VTA has requested $1.395 billion in federal funding through FTA’s Pilot Programme. 

Santa Clara Station, located adjacent to the Santa Clara Caltrain Station and Santa Clara University, will be the end of the line station for VTA's BART Phase II Extension. The station is located near Mineta San Jose International Airport and there are plans to link the station to the proposed Transit-Oriented Joint Development, although it is not clear if this development will include access to the airport.

Santa Clara Station

FTA’s Expedited Project Delivery Pilot Program streamlines project delivery of new transit infrastructure that meets programme requirements. By encouraging innovative partnerships and funding from a variety of sources, projects can be completed more quickly, making better use of taxpayer dollars and bringing new transit service to growing communities.

To receive funding under the pilot program, Santa Clara VTA must fund at least 75% of the project cost through local, state and other non-federal contributions, including a public-private partnership. In turn, FTA will expedite the review and evaluation of application materials under a streamlined review process as authorized by law.

The funding allocation will be awarded to VTA once it meets all program requirements needed to proceed to a construction grant agreement.

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UK: Dozens of towns and cities across the UK could benefit from Midlands Engine Rail, a £3.5 billion improvement programme to transform the region’s rail network, launched by Sub-national Transport Body Midlands Connect.

Made up of seven projects, which includes improved connectivity to Birmingham Airport, the programme is strategically-important in supercharging the Midlands Engine economy and is designed to drive sustainability, productivity and social mobility across the whole region. It also includes and builds upon the flagship Midlands Rail Hub scheme; aimed at boosting east-west connectivity, which was submitted to Government in June 2019.

Set to be delivered in stages from 2022 to the completion of HS2 Phase Two, Midlands Engine Rail will provide a much-needed capacity boost for national, local and regional rail services, creating space for 736 more passenger trains on the network each day. Over the past two years, rail passenger numbers have risen faster in the Midlands than anywhere else in the UK.

You can download the full report here: https://www.midlandsconnect.uk/media/1593/final-mer-report.pdf

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POLAND: The European Commission adopted three major Cohesion Policy projects, modernising the Polish rail and road network and increasing travel safety while reducing costs and travel time.

EU-funded works will replace the outdated technology and set up a modern communication system along almost 14,000 km of railway line throughout the country. In addition to improving passenger safety and reducing travel time, this project will allow Poland to move towards introducing the European Rail Traffic Management System, which will integrate Polish rail lines with the European railway network. The project should be operational as of July 2023.

More than €117 million allocated to upgrade Silesia's railway services, which includes upgrading and electrifying 46 km of railway lines, building or refurbishing stations, platforms, viaducts and bridges in northern Silesia. It will also make platforms accessible for people with reduced mobility and build a new International Airport station at Pyrzowice, which serves the regional capital of Katowice.

Works will restore traffic on the Tarnowskie Góry-Zawiercie line while creating safe and reliable links to and from Pyrzowice airport. Once finished in May 2022, this project will improve the efficiency of freight transport and ensure reliable connections for passengers. It will ultimately boost local economic development.

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THE NETHERLANDS: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will replace one of its daily services between Brussels and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (“Schiphol”) with seat capacity aboard the Thalys high-speed train. In recent months, KLM, Thalys and NS Dutch Railways have developed a long-term plan to reduce the number of flights between Brussels and Schiphol. The basic premise being that the product should match its current appeal to customers.

KLM has regularly indicated that it is in favour of replacing short-haul flights with rail services, as long as trains fully match the speed, reliability and comfort that air travel offers passengers. The decision to reduce flight frequency from five to four flights a day on the Brussels-Schiphol route, in combination with the improved Air&Rail product aboard the Thalys, is a first step. KLM intends to gradually cut back the number of flights between Brussels and Schiphol. The Brussels-Schiphol route is used by passengers who catch connecting flights to intercontinental destinations at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

“Intermodal transport involving trains and planes remains a complex and challenging business. Speed is key, not only in terms of the train itself, but also the transfer process at the airport. We aim to make maximum progress in both areas. Reducing our frequency from five to four flights a day is a good way of gaining more experience with Air&Rail services," KLM President & CEO Pieter Elbers said.

This step is part of KLM’s commitment to “Fly Responsibly”, which aims to create a sustainable future for air transport, but it also reflects our commitment to the sector plan Smart and Sustainable. Next to that, KLM is faced with slot restrictions at Schiphol. By replacing short-haul flights with rail services, scarce slots can be used for services to long-haul destinations. Rail services will maintain feeder traffic to Schiphol, while network quality improves thanks to the more varied range of available destinations.

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USA: The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors awarded a contract to KDG+DE Construction Support Services for $25.9 million to provide construction support for the Airport Metro Connector (AMC) 96th Street Transit Station project. This is the first time a female-led consultant group has been selected to work on a large Metro project. 

KDG+DE is a partnership of KDG Construction Consulting and Destination Enterprises. The AMC station will be built at the intersection of Aviation Boulevard and 96th Street and will serve Metro Rail and local bus lines. The station will also be the transfer point between local transit and the future Los Angeles World Airport (LAWA) Automated People Mover that will provide quick rides to and from LAX passenger terminals.

Metro expects to begin heavy construction in mid-2020 with the station forecast to open in 2023, the same year as the LAX people mover is scheduled to debut. 

The AMC 96th Street Station is a design-bid-build project, meaning that all design plans and specifications will be completed by Metro’s design consultant prior to award of a construction contract.

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USA: The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) has launched a new programme designed to provide state funding for transportation projects while also leveraging local and private funding.

The new Cost Share Program will provide funding to local entities for transportation projects that improve safety, support job retention and growth, improve access or mobility, relieve congestion and help areas across the state improve the transportation system.

Up to $50 million will be available in the program for fiscal year 2020. The on-going program, which has at least $11 million available, requires a minimum of 15% non-state cash match. Additional consideration will be given to project applications that commit more than the minimum required match amount. The funding above the base $11 million comes from a one-time, $50 million State General Fund transfer. A minimum 25% match is required for projects to qualify for the one-time funds.

The Cost Share Program is open to all transportation projects including roadway (on and off the state highway system), rail, airport, bicycle/pedestrian and public transit. Funds from the program can only be used for construction.

“Creating the Cost Share Program allows us to leverage both state and local dollars to help address important transportation needs across Kansas,” said Kansas Secretary Julie Lorenz. “We look forward to working with Kansas communities to build projects that improve safety and keep the Kansas economy moving.”

Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis beginning 3 September 2019, and will be reviewed twice annually, in October and March. To be included in the first review period, applications must be submitted by 11 October 2019. Selection criteria will include consideration of projects that meet programme objectives, eligibility categories and requirements. Geographic distribution also will be considered during project selection. More details can be found here: http://www.ksdot.org/Assets/wwwksdotorg/Headquarters/PDF_Files/pressrelease2019/Cost_Share_Program.pdf

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Spain's Ministry of Development has released a tender for a Feasibility Study build a new railway station at Alicante-Elche airport and link it to the existing route between Murcia and Alicante.

Currently the Alicante-Murcia railway service rund on a single electrified track bypassing the airport and has to make a reversal at the San Gabriel stop, which increased journey time and efficiency. The Feasibility Study will look at how to best connect the line with the airport and eliminate the reversal at San Gabriel.

The allocated funding for the work is EUR 489,566.00.

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UK: TSP Projects was released from the British Steel portfolio last week and has been acquired by international mass transit, mobility and infrastructure company SYSTRA. From now, TSP Projects will become a wholly owned subsidiary of SYSTRA Ltd.

TSP Projects’ extensive experience in the UK heavy rail sector creates an opportunity for SYSTRA to strengthen services in transportation solutions across all aspects of rail engineering, complex infrastructure and transport planning.

Pascal Mercier, SYSTRA Ltd CEO said: “As the signature team for transportation solutions, SYSTRA is committed to providing clients with truly specialist expertise, delivered locally. This acquisition is a game-changer for our UK & Ireland business, placing us among the leading UK consulting engineering firms. This is a good fit between two like-minded companies with a shared commitment to excellence, safety and innovation.”

With a large portfolio of ongoing works on the books TSP Projects are active on a number of large rail projects including Leeds Railway Station roof and concourse transformation, Gatwick Station, Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) and the East Coast Power Supply Upgrade (PSU).

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FRANCE – Alstom will supply 13 trains to the Hello Paris consortium, in charge of operating the CDG Express, the express train line which will link the centre of Paris with the Charles-de-Gaulle international airport. These new trains, which stem from the Coradia Polyvalent range, will be especially designed to the CDG Express line to cater for the airport passengers.

“Alstom is delighted to support the Hello Paris consortium as part of the CDG Express project. Manufactured in France, this train will be a showcase of French expertise, which millions of passengers will discover when arriving at and departing from Charles-de-Gaulle airport, and it is a source of great pride for all our employees,” explains Jean-Baptiste Eyméoud, Senior Vice President France at Alstom.

The trains will be entirely designed and manufactured in France. Six of Alstom's 13 sites in France are involved in the project: Reichshoffen for the design and assembly, Ornans for the engines, Le Creusot for the bogies, Tarbes for the traction, Villeurbanne for the on-board computerised systems and Saint-Ouen for the design and safety equipment. In all, this project represents 400 direct jobs at Alstom and 1,200 indirect jobs in the French rail sector.

Hello Paris consortium formed by Keolis and RATP Dev will operate the CDG Express, a direct rail service between Paris Gare de l’Est (East Station) and Charles de Gaulle airport, which is due to open by the end of 2025.

The contract comprises a 6-year preparatory period (2019-2025), and a 15-year operating period (2025-2040).
With trains running every day and every 15 minutes from 5am until midnight, CDG Express will link Paris’ Gare de l’Est station to Terminal 2 at Charles de Gaulle airport. The 32km distance trip will only take 20 minutes. 

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RUSSIA: Russian Railways are building a railway line Sheremetyevo Airport's new the Northern Terminal Complex (NTC). The new railway line will connect Terminal B and Terminal C, which are currently being built. The project is carried out as part of the Russian Railways investment programme and will increase the airport's accessibility and reduce congestion on the road network.

The project is planned to be implemented in two stages. The first stage involves the construction of the Sheremetyevo-1 station in the NTC and a single-track branch that will connect the new station with the existing Sheremetyevo-2 station located in the South terminal Complex (STC, Terminals D, E and F). This will allow to operate a train shuttle between North and South Terminal Complexes with 15 minutes intervals. The delivery of phase one is estimated to be completed in 2022.

The second stage of the project involved a construction of a two-way connecting line from the Sheremetyevo-1 station with the existing routes of the Moscow railway. 

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Aeroexpress

RUSSIA: Aeroexpress is introducing a new on-board menu and expanding the list of complimentary options for business class passengers on all routes.

An updated menu with some new healthy meal items is now offered in standard and business-class carriages. This includes healthy breakfast meals and protein bars, as well as some combos for young travellers. Goods for kids are also available in the catalogue, including colouring pages, riddles, puzzles, and finger puppet theatre kits. Adult passengers can purchase Aeroexpress-branded travel accessories.

Business class passengers will have an extended list of complimentary options, including sparkling and still water, coffee, black and green tea. From now on, passengers travelling business class will receive free travel kits containing slippers and branded wipes.

The company has equipped all standard carriages with coffee machines. After the train departs, passengers will be offered to buy freshly brewed coffee.

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UK: Gatwick has published its new five-year Capital Investment Programme (CIP) which highlights more investment in automation and technology as an enabler of sustainable growth. New initiatives include robotic parking and automated boarding technology, which will speed up boarding and give passengers more choice about how they spend their time.

Gatwick’s total investment since 2009, combined with this new five-year plan rises to £3.21 billion. Gatwick now serves 46 million passengers a year, and the airport is committed to exploring how to continue growing sustainably, providing jobs and boosting the local economy.

The single biggest project to be delivered within the next five years is the Pier 6 western extension which will offer over half a million more North Terminal passengers the opportunity to embark and disembark their aircraft via a jetty-served stand, as well as improved gate waiting areas. The design incorporates automated boarding technology which uses biometrics to process passengers through e-gates straight onto the aircraft.  

Several new projects are identified within this CIP, including:

  • Biometric auto-boarding technology development and next phase of testing.
  • Robotic car parking – a trial will begin this autumn in South Terminal offering passengers all the benefits of valet parking, without the need to surrender their keys, and making more efficient use of existing car park space. Robotic car parking is already in place at VINCI Airports’ Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport – the experience of which will aid the introduction of this new service at Gatwick.
  • Railway station development – Gatwick will invest £37 million to complement the £150 million that the Department for Transport has committed to upgrade the station. Work starts in spring 2020 and is expected to take two years.
  • Infrastructure to support greater use of electric and hybrid vehicles by passengers and staff, in particular on the airfield.

The Capital Investment Programme is a rolling five-year plan which is published annually. This allows the CIP to be refreshed regularly as market conditions and operational needs change. It is published on the Gatwick website and can be found here. Last month, Gatwick also published its final master plan setting out how the airport could develop in the most sustainable way over the next 15 years.