News Archive

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QATAR: Qatar Rail launched the prequalification process for operation of the future Doha Metro and Lusail Tramway on May 7 for Industrial Awareness Day.

55 companies participated in the prequalification, with a total of about 600 companies attending the event. The event was launched on Industrial Awareness Day in a bid to encourage more private sectors to participate in Qatar rail projects.

According to Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti, Transportation Minister, 15% of the companies already involved on design and construction contracts are from the private sector. 70% are local firms and 30% foreign.

Doha Metro will link the Hamad International Airport, formerly known as New Doha International Airport, with Msheireb downtown Doha and surrounding cities. Lusail tram will work as the transportation backbone for the new Airport City in the north.

The Doha Metro and the Lusail tram network both consist of four-lines and are scheduled to open in stages 2018-20. The projects are part of Qatar Rail’s national development programme.

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AUSTRALIA: A North Canberra Community Council meeting in April assured that Canberra Airport rail link will be included in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government’s stage two proposal of Capital Metro.

Ground has yet to be broken for the construction of the $800 million first stage. Notwithstanding an imposition of the government’s coffers, the airport link would be an important connection for Canberra.

"We haven't seen any detail about a route, although we have had confirmation from the ACT government that a link to the airport is included in stage two," said the airport’s manager of planning and environment, Kathryn Scarano.

A spokesmen for the Minister for Capital Metro said that the government is working on a light rail master plan for a Canberra-wide light rail network.

The airport has lobbied hard for a light rail link to the city for many years, it released its own three-stage plan in 2013.

A public consultation on the light rail plans is expected to take place later this year.

The 12 km Capital Metro’s first stage will have 11 tram stops connecting Gungahlin to Canberra city centre with construction expected to start in 2016.

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CHINA: The opening of Express Rail Link’s new railway station, West Kowloon Terminus, will be delayed until at least 2017 with the rail link’s budget possibly raising by 30 percent.

West Kowloon Terminus would be a major connection hub for Hong Kong International Airport’s Airport Express, the Express Rail Link and the rest of the Mass Transit Railway (MTR).

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Michael Tien Puk-sun, legislator and former railway boss, estimated that the rail link from Hong Kong to Guangzhou will likely surge to HK$85 billion, more than 30 percent the original HK$65 billion budget set in place in 2011.

Tien warns that contingency funding is running out and if they don't use any more money, the link may not even open in 2018.

The government has ordered another, more comprehensive review of the project and will factor in risk allowance in the new cost overrun.

The review is due to be completed the first half of 2015 and a report will be submitted to the MTR board and the government. The two sides are then expected to discuss how to settle the budget.

The 26-km Express Rail Link runs from the terminus in West Kowloon to Shenzhen, the Hong Kong section of the greater 142 km Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong line.

Eventually the rail will connect to Beijing, making it the world’s largest rail network. The West Kowloon Terminus will span 430,000-sq-m, including 15 tracks, commercial spaces, plus customs and immigration for travellers.

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USA: Parsons has been selected by the City of Chicago’s Department of Aviation to replace and expand O’Hare International Airport’s Automated Transit System (ATS) on a design-build basis.

"The City of Chicago is pleased to move forward with the expansion of O'Hare's Airport Transit System," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "This project and the ensuing Consolidated Rental Car Facility (CRCF) will allow O'Hare to continue building for a more efficient and sustainable future while creating a more convenient experience for the millions of travellers who depend on O'Hare."

Parsons will manage construction of the project, which involves replacement of the existing ATS between terminals and a 2,000‑ft extension to service the new consolidated rental car station as well as expansion of the maintenance and storage facility and replacement of the existing 15‑vehicle fleet with 36 new rail cars with automated vehicle control, traction power, and communications improvements. Parsons will also self‑perform the design for the traction power, communications, and track work while performing systems integration and commissioning work for the entire project.

Rendering of the Consolidated Rental Car Facility with ATS extension at O'Hare

“Parsons is pleased to partner with Chicago’s Department of Aviation on this important project at O’Hare International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world,” said Todd Wager, Parsons Group President. “The airport ATS replacement and expansion project will save time and enhance convenience for the many travellers to Chicago.”

O’Hare International Airport’s ATS is a 3‑mile, dual‑lane, fully automated, driverless rail system that operates 24 hours per day, 7 days a week among the airport’s four airline terminals and Parking Lot E (Remote Parking and Long‑Term Parking). The ATS expansion will replace bus curbside pickup of rental car customers, mitigating traffic congestion and improving air quality through the reduction of vehicle emissions.

This $310 million project is Parsons’ third design-build automated people mover (APM) project. Parsons has also provided construction management services on numerous other APMs.
This contract is part of the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) $782 million CRCF project that will consolidate all of the rental car companies into one facility, as well as offer new public garage parking for airport passengers.

As with all CDA capital improvement projects, no local or state tax dollars will be utilized for this project. Funding for the CRCF project was secured in July of 2013 in the form of a Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan of $292 million, in combination with previously issued and authorized general airport bond revenues making available the funds to finance a $782 million multi-modal development project.

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CANADA: Union Pearson Express (UP Express) and VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) have announced a partnership that will see VIA Rail passengers purchase UP Express tickets when booking VIA Rail itineraries online at viarail.ca.

This intermodal agreement with UP Express enables travellers to book a trip between Toronto Pearson International Airport and Toronto's Union Station as a connecting trip with VIA in a single transaction. Passengers will book their tickets online at viarail.ca and receive a combined itinerary including an UP Express ticket between Union Station and Toronto Pearson. 

"We are excited to be able to provide this rail-to-rail ticketing solution at what will be the two busiest transportations hubs in Canada," says Kathy Haley, President of UP Express. "With this partnership, we are certain that guests of UP Express and VIA will benefit from a seamless journey from points leading into and out of Union Station through to Toronto Pearson."

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The partnership with UP Express brings the number of VIA Rail intermodal partners to 22 across Canada, making travel on a connected network more seamless, convenient and attractive to their customers. It will enable residents from communities across southern Ontario and Quebec to connect to Canada's busiest airport.

"The launch of this new service marks an extremely important step for passenger transport in our country's largest metropolitan area. With this partnership, all travellers along VIA Rail's routes can now seamlessly link to Canada'sbusiest airport, Toronto Pearson – which is a big plus for those of us who don't want to drive", says Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and CEO of VIA Rail. "The more travellers leave their cars at home, the better it will be for both the environment and the economy considering that traffic congestion in Toronto alone costs up to $6 billion annually to the economyi."

VIA customers will be able to purchase tickets online at viarail.ca starting May 11, 2015 for trips starting June 6, 2015, the date of UP Express's service launch.

"As a division of Metrolinx, our goal is to improve the transportation and transit network in our region, specifically by creating a faster, more convenient and reliable choice for getting to the airport from downtown. The involvement of VIA Rail with UP Express provides even more connectivity through Union Station to Toronto Pearson." said Haley.

Both VIA Rail and UP Express, together with Toronto Pearson International Airport, are hosting the Global AirRail 2015 Conference and Awards in Toronto on 20-22 May. Delegates of the event will be among the first international travellers able to test UP Express services, prior to the official service launch on 6th of June.

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