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During the past month, our members have been sending us their thoughts and actions during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Over the current weeks, we would like to continue this as an active Q&A process, so if you would like any questions circulating, please send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.?subject=GARA%20-%20Questions%20submission%20" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-' + path + '\'' + prefix + ':' + addy90822 + '\'>'+addy_text90822+'<\/a>'; //--> .

Are you still maintaining normal services, or have you introduced revised timetables?
The majority of responses have begun a reduced service by up to three quarters of the usual operations. Those remaining are either currently investigating a reduced service to ensure the safety of passengers and staff, or are under a governement ordered suspension of service.

How are you managing staff patterns and rosters?
All participants have reduced staffing where appropriate, through the furlough of non-essential workers to the relocation of important employees. Those members who have currently suspended services have no staff working aside from duty managers doing daily checks on stations.

What channels are you using to communicate with passengers and what is your current media strategy?
Participants are using all existing forms of online communication including socials, email, website updates and app notifications. Onboard comms have also been updated for the current situation for those passengers still travelling on services. Public awareness materials are being shown at all stations with press releases whenever a government update is issued. A few participants have cancelled paid media for the time being.

If your city is badly affected, are you offering any complimentary travel passes or incentives?
All cities have been affected by the current situation, some more than others. Currently no travel passes or incentives are being offered although are being considered.

How have you revised your vehicle and station cleaning protocols?
All participants have increased cleaning intensity and frequency of customer and staff areas including touchpoints, ticketing machines and the vehicles themselves. Staff have had updated cleaning guidelines to keep on top of this and some have added additional sanitising stations.

Are you experiencing supply chain issues – and do you have a plan?
Fortunately no participant had noticed any supply chain for the usual items issues with the majority are creating detailed plans to prevent any major disruptions. Most have noted an issue with procuring high priority items such as sanitiser and face masks.

What are the main reasons and considerations in deciding to stop services completely?
All participants agree that a serious impact to public health would be a main deciding factor however it is important to keep travel options open to key-workers such as health professionals and shop workers. Those who have suspended services note that by temporarily suspending services now when there is limited demand, they are proactively managing our costs at a time when there is minimal revenue being generated. This is to ensure the future of the company and protecting staff employment for the longterm.

What happens to the staff during this temporary suspension of service?
Staff are kept up to date with current decisions, relocation and furlough options open to those non-essential staff.

What happens to the rolling stock during this period? Opportunity for additional maintenance?
No additional maintenance scheduled for any participants however due to the reduced service some maintenance may be brought forwards during daytime hours.

How long do you estimate it would take to recover to previous levels of ridership?
Unknown. All participant answers range from 6 months – 2+ years. Due to the level of uncertainty regarding individual governments travel restrictions it is impossible to tell when ridership will return to the usual levels. It is safe to assume that even once restrictions are lifted airlines will struggle to rebound due to public awareness of the sanitary risks associated with air travel.

We are continually monitoring the world wide situation with regards to our future events and their format. We are proposing to hold some live webinars a the beginning of June and look forward to supporting each other.

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Take the survey here and let us know how you are affected in this current situation.

During the past month, our members have been sending us their thoughts and actions during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Over the current weeks, we would like to continue this as an active Q&A process, so if you would like any questions circulating, please send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.?subject=GARA%20-%20Questions%20submission%20" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-' + path + '\'' + prefix + ':' + addy71496 + '\'>'+addy_text71496+'<\/a>'; //-->

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FRANCE: The worldwide railway organisation UIC and the International Air Transport Association IATA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote innovation and develop activities of common interest, mostly in the field of ticketing on 30 January 2020.

IATA is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 290 airlines or 82% of total air traffic. It supports many areas of aviation activity and helps formulate industry policy on critical aviation issues. IATA’s aim is to assist airlines by simplifying processes and increasing passenger convenience while reducing costs and improving efficiency.

In a similar way as IATA is for the airlines, UIC is for the railways the worldwide professional association representing the railway sector and promoting rail transport.

Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of IATA, said: “As customers increasingly seek sustainable travel options, it is important that providers work together to offer seamless exchanges of passengers and passenger information. IATA has extensive experience in facilitating standards development to support intramodality and our MoU with UIC is an important step toward strengthening this activity.”

François Davenne, UIC Director General, said: “This MoU confirms the desire to really promote multimodality. Offering customers a single ticket for rail and air travel gives them the opportunity to choose the best of both worlds by optimising their journey as well as their carbon footprint. In addition, both IATA and UIC are currently developing tomorrow’s digital standards for ticketing applications: to work on established interfaces right from the design phase is an exciting prospect.”

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Istambul Airport Metro

Picture from the press office of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure of Turkey

TURKEY: The President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Minister of Transport Mehmet Cahit Turhan have broken ground of the Gayrettepe-Istanbul Airport Metro project, which will connect Istanbul New Airport, currently under construction.

Minister Turhan expressed the importance of subways in the rail public transportation infrastructure for the city, "at this point, all four corners of Istanbul were connected by metro thanks to the subway constructions that were initiated during your Metropolitan Municipality period and continued during your Prime Ministry and Presidency. We build on a 7-day, 24-hour, 3-shift basis, " the Minister said.

According to the Minister the new metro line M11 will be 37.5 kilometers long, with nine stations along the route, and maximum speed of 120 km/h, making it the fastest underground train line in Turkey. The journey between the Istabul New Airport and Gayrettepe, will take about 35 min.

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RUSSIA: Russian Railways have announced that it will build a new shuttle trains to Sheremetyevo Airport North Terminal Complex (Terminals B and C). The first phase of the work is scheduled to be completed at the beginning of 2022 and will include an 8km rail line, linking the new Sheremetyevo-1 station.

"At the first stage, a railway line will be built that will connect the terminals D, E, F and B, C. This will allow organizing the movement of electric trains between the North and South terminal complexes," said the head of the Moscow Railway (a branch of Russian Railways ) Mikhail Glazkov.

The work has already started on the first flyover. The first phase of the work will link Sheremetyevo's South Terminal Complex to the North with trains running every 15 minutes.

The second stage involves connecting the new rail link with the Moscow Railway towards Savelovsky direction, as part of the Belorussko-Savelovsky project WDC-1.

After completion of the full range of works, the capacity of the railway infrastructure at Sheremetyevo Airport will increase from 38 existing to 72 pairs of trains per day. From Moscow, trains to the airport will depart every 15 minutes.

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Zapin performance by JKKN dancers

MALAYSIA: Express Rail Link (ERL) kicked off its Visit Malaysia 2020 Campaign on Friday, 17th January. This initiative is a collaboration between ERL and National Department for Culture and Arts (JKKN), and supported by Tourism Malaysia to showcase Malaysia’s diverse cultures to visitors arriving at KL Sentral. There will be a cultural performance twice a month (except in May and August) at the KLIA Ekspres Arrival Hall, starting 17th January 2020. 

ERL is taking several initiatives to support the government in achieving the targets of 30 million tourist arrivals and RM100 billion in tourist receipts this year. Besides the cultural performances, ERL is also organising a Monthly KLIA Ekspres Ride & Win Campaign starting 1 February 2020 in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia and with the support of tourism partners for prize sponsorships, to spice up the VM 2020 Campaign and create more excitement for inbound visitors. This new campaign is open to all KLIA Ekspres customers, who buy train tickets during the campaign period and enrol online to win monthly grand prize, sponsored by the tourism partners.
 
Noormah Mohd Noor, Chief Executive of ERL said: “ERL will play our part to promote Malaysia as a preferred destination, and work together with Tourism Malaysia, hotels, travel agents and other partners to support the Visit Malaysia 2020 Campaign. We will continue to provide special promotions such as the Family Package and Group Saver as well as enhance our transport packages for tourists such as KL TravelPass and Discover Kuala Lumpur to better meet the tourist needs.”
 
“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,” said Noormah.

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Kyiv Boryspil Express new trains 1

Ukrainian Railways JSC press picture

UKRAINE: The Kyiv Boryspil Express service, operating between Kiev Pasazhyrsky central railway station and Boryspil International Airport, has received brand new Ukrainian-made diesel trains. The trains have three 170 seat carriages allowing to carry 470 passengers each way.

The DPKr-3 diesel trains were built in 2019 and has the maximum operating speed of 140km/h. The trains are equipped with six luggage racks in each carriage, power sockets and digital screens. The trains are wheelchair accessible.

The Ukrainian Railways JSC and the Ministry of Infrastructure are now exploring the possibility to electrify the route.

“Electrification of the airport route will allow the rolling stock currently in use on the airport line to be used for regional transport,” said the Ukrainian Railways CEO Yevgeny Kraytsov.

The Kyiv Boryspil Express has also celebrated its one millionth passenger in December 2019.

“Two major events have coincided today: the millionth passenger and the launch of a new diesel train. We are in high demand for our express trains in peak hours, when not even the double train configuration is enough. But thanks to the new trains we will be able to meet this growing demand,” said Yevgeny Kravtsov.

The Kyiv Boryspil Express trains started operating from November 2018 with up to 58 journeys a day.

Currently the trains run from the central railway station to the airport with an intermediate stop at Darbytsya station. Works are underway to upgrade platforms at Vydubichi station so it can be introduced on the airport express route.

 

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GERMANY: The new Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) is finally set to open on 31 October 2020, after the Supervisory Board approved the proposal on 29 November 2019. Scheduled flights will end in Tegel one week later, on 8 November 2020. In that time, there will be three major relocation steps in which all flight operations will move from Tegel Airport to BER.

The Supervisory Board also passed the 2020 budget. The operating result planned for 2020 is around EUR 86 million due to the one-off charge for commissioning of BER (ORAT programme). 

“The date is set: BER will open on 31 October 2020. All the work that still needs doing at BER is being done intensively. There is still much to be done in the next eleven months. The finished building must become a functioning airport," Chief Executive Officer of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH Engelbert Lütke Daldrup said. 

Deutsche Bahn will also start its operations as soon as the new airport is open.

"We had already completed our tracks and platform facilities in time for the originally scheduled date in October 2011, and will be ready when the flight operations begin", Deutsche Bahn representative for Berlin Alexander Kaczmarek said.

During the long delay of the airport opening, the train stations was undergoing regular safety checks with empty trains running time to time to ventilate the tunnel and the station. The signalling technology at the airport station on tracks 2 and 3 was retrofitted in 2012.

On the dedicated Airport Express Train, the travel time to the airport from the main Berlin station will be 35 min (20 min after the Dresden Railway starts operating), compared to 51 min on the S-Bahn.

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Picture from Metrolink Press Services

Picture from Metrolink Press Services

USA: Metrolink riders traveling to Ontario International Airport (ONT) now have a new mobility option with sponsored Lyft rides from four Metrolink stations and Omnitrans transit centers thanks to a partnership with the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA).

Alan Wapner, President of the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) who also serves on the Boards of Directors of Metrolink and SBCTA, described the partnership as an important next step in making sure ONT meets the needs of one of the fastest-growing population and economic centers in the United States.

“A big part of what sets Ontario International Airport apart is its access and convenience, and as an airport authority, we are committed to exploring all options that allow us to maintain that competitive edge, increase commuter and transit options and grow the right way,” Wapner said.

The program covers up to $35 off each Lyft ride connecting ONT with one of the Metrolink stations at Montclair, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga and Ontario-East. SBCTA is funding the $396,000 pilot program to increase public transportation ridership servicing ONT.

“Local control of the Ontario International Airport has spurred significant, positive, change for one of our county’s greatest assets,” SBCTA President Darcy McNaboe said. “To enthusiastically support this change, we are creating a pilot program that helps connect transit to the airport. The information we gather from this program will help us develop future connections that will ease congestion, improve communities, and continue to make San Bernardino County great.”

The Metrolink Montclair, Upland and Rancho Cucamonga stations are on the San Bernardino Line, while the Ontario-East Station is part Metrolink’s Riverside Line.

Fifty-two Metrolink trains make stops Monday through Friday at the stations where the free Lyft service is offered. Customers also have weekend options on the San Bernardino Line where 20 Metrolink trains stop at the stations on Saturday and six trains make stops on Sunday.

“Through this partnership, travelers and workers alike have a convenient, reliable transportation option to get to and from the Ontario International Airport without needing to own or rent a car or worry about parking,” said Bakari Brock, senior director of City Partnerships at Lyft. “We’re proud to be working with SBCTA, Metrolink, Omnitrans and Ontario International airport to help improve connections between regional transit and airport.”

To participate in the program, riders need to enter the GOSBCTA code into the Promos field in the Lyft app one time, and the subsidy will apply automatically to any eligible ride; the code will automatically renew at the end of each month. Riders without smartphones can participate by calling 909-235-5544. Riders with specialized mobility needs, such as a motorized wheelchair, can also request an on-demand ride by calling 866-946-4938. Eligible trips run between ONT and one of the four Metrolink stations and take place during transit operation hours (3:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.).

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MALAYSIA: GoCar Malaysia, a homegrown car-sharing company, and Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL), the operator of both the KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit services, have partnered up to improve the mobility needs of travellers. Starting from 4 December, travellers will be able to connect seamlessly to and from KLIA and KLIA2 with GoCar at selected ERL stations such as KL Sentral (KLIA Ekspres Arrival Hall and Departure Hall), Bandar Tasik Selatan and Salak Tinggi.

To commemorate GoCar's new partnership with ERL, travellers can now save 28% on any GoCar bookings at KL Sentral Station when they purchase a KLIA Ekspres + GoCar Package online. On top of that, GoCar has a new hub at Salak Tinggi Station which enables travellers to take a One-Way Trip or round trip GoCars.

"Connectivity has always played a vital role in the transportation industry, even more so these days. Similarly, as travellers, we are also looking for that seamless experience when it comes to mobility," said Nicholas Tan, President of GoCar Malaysia. Tan further added, “We are excited to work with ERL to realise this shared vision and bring this convenience to more travellers who are going to or from KLIA and KLIA2.”

Noormah Mohd Noor, Chief Executive Officer of ERL said, “We are delighted to officially forge our partnership with GoCar Malaysia. This KLIA Ekspres and GoCar package would offer a seamless journey for our customers who appreciate the speed and reliability of our train service, as well as the flexibility and convenience of car-sharing while contributing positively to reducing their carbon footprint. With Visit Malaysia Year 2020 just around the corner, it is timely that we can offer visitors such a versatile package, together with GoCar Malaysia.”

Both companies are also working hand-in-hand to promote the use of alternative transportation to create a more sustainable living environment. Current issues such as traffic congestion and poor air quality can be greatly remedied as the number of personal cars decreases.

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UK: The 1,000 tonne structure was built off site near the Percival Way roundabout and rolled down into position. The move, which had been exhaustively planned using the latest computer simulation tools, took approximately just over two hours. 

Ciaran Scanlon, LLAL Programme Delivery Director, said: “This has been an exciting achievement and a hugely significant milestone in the delivery of the innovative DART scheme. The whole project has been full of engineering challenges and to move an object of this size ranks as one of the biggest. To see such a large object calmly trundle down the A1081 under complete control was a great testimony to both the vision of the project and the technical expertise of our contractor, VolkerFitzpatrickKier (VFK)."
 
Once operational in 2021, the £225m Luton DART (Direct Air-Rail Transit) will speed travellers from Luton Airport Parkway station to the terminal of London Luton Airport in well under four minutes.
 
Passengers will be able to travel between St Pancras and London Luton Airport in just 30 minutes using the fastest trains, then transferring easily to the Luton DART. The scheme will be a double-shuttle, fully-automated people-mover, based on the latest system technology and design innovation, capable of operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cable-driven system is energy efficient and environmentally friendly. It will contribute significantly to LLAL’s target of encouraging at least 45 per cent of all travellers to the airport to use public transport.
 
Phil Hobson, VFK’s project director at the Luton DART, said: “This was an especially challenging project milestone to reach and required a huge collaborative effort between all parties. The team worked incredibly well together to successfully install the bridge. Every aspect of the installation was specialised and complex. From setting up the temporary ramps to moving the bridge, which took us over two hours. Each operation over the weekend was expertly planned and we are really pleased to have reached this vital point in construction of the project.”
 
The project is being funded and delivered by Luton Council’s airport company, London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL).

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Global Report 2019

Passenger transport and operations consultancy North Star, has released its seventh annual Global Air-Rail Market Share Report. The report evaluates a sample of worldwide Market Share trends of rail connections to airports. North Star assessed a combined 60 million air-rail passenger journeys, which occurred during 2018, from a sample of air-rail operators in Australia, Malaysia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Austria. Whilst acknowledging the vast worldwide patronage that continues to use air-rail connections, North Star’s Managing Director Richard Brown recognised the ongoing headwinds facing the industry. Mr Brown reported that North Star’s analysed Market Share index increased in 2018 for the first time in three years.

“The industry continues to experience increased competition from ride share and car-hailing competitors”, reported Mr Brown. “Like many established industries, Air-Rail has been confronted with disruption”. Reflecting on North Star’s seventh report, Mr Brown observed the findings on marketing and fare promotions. “The long-term data indicates the persuasive evidence that investment in marketing supports Market Share growth”, he said. “And interestingly, a number of our operators have once again been successful in moving the Market Share dial via fare discounts and promotions. We are seeing a range of exciting approaches to marketing and fare pricing from many of our sample operators”.

Sydney Airport Link’s Chief Executive Tim Anderson, who oversees more than 9 million annual air-rail passenger journeys to Australia’s gateway airport commended North Star’s Report. “It’s very interesting to read North Star’s study and consider what is occurring around the globe”, he said. “Geographically we are very diverse, but there are many similar challenges and opportunities. This report gives us a common bond and creates conversations between us which help improve our operations.”

Vivian Chan of the Commercial and Marketing Division of Hong Kong’s Airport Express added, “The report is indeed a very interesting read which allows us to understand more about the strategies and tactics of the air-rail operators around the globe. It gives us new insights on how to improve our business and to provide better transport experience to the passengers.”

“The Market Intelligence Report has been become a reliable annual source of information and inspiration! As we continue to face stiff challenges from competitors and the marketplace, we are privileged to have access to a worldwide network of air-rail operators who willingly share their solutions to similar problems. We can adopt or adapt some of these unique approaches for our market, and hopefully, our strategies may also be of use to other operators.” Wei-Wen YEOW, Senior Vice President, Marketing Management, KLIA Ekspres, Malaysia.

“The Northstar Global Market Intelligence Report is a valid instrument for us to get overall knowledge about the international market and to further plan and adjust our own marketing and sales strategies. The results are vital in understanding how the market is driven. This year’s results are especially interesting as they show that marketing investment and the state of competitive modes are the biggest influencers in the industry.” Belina Neumann, Managing Director City Airport Train Vienna

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union station west map

CANADA: The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) announced its intention to partner with Metrolinx to advance the technical work necessary to extend the Eglinton Crosstown West from Renforth to the airport. This $40 million commitment represents another tangible step forward to bring important transit connections to Canada’s mega hub airport and build a regional transit network, anchored by a new regional transit centre (RTC) at Pearson – dubbed Union Station West. 

The GTAA will pursue these additional works for the Renforth – Pearson portion of the line in partnership with Metrolinx, which will build on the GTAA-Metrolinx joint work program announced in April 2018. The GTAA is already investing $38 million in work currently underway, and this additional announcement will bring the total investment to a potential $78 million. The current GTAA-Metrolinx joint program continues work to improve rapid transit access to Pearson Airport. This includes exploring potential ground connections to the future Union Station West and surrounding Airport Employment Zone, a potential Kitchener GO rail corridor connection, and improved LRT and bus connections.

GTAA also released a whitepaper, which documents the value that the future Union Station West could bring to multiple communities across the region. The full report is available at torontopearson.com/transit. 

“Significant improvements to our regional transit system are required for our region to be able to compete globally, and that is why we are making this financial investment to advance this work,” said Howard Eng, President and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority.  “We will continue to push for improved transit that connects to Toronto Pearson and the Airport Employment Zone as well as the creation of Union Station West.”

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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.

ERL Speakers Cards

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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.”

Heathrow Speakers Cards

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adult airport arrival 1008155 web

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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Swiss

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.

Speakers Cards Lufthansa Group

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GXRS

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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27 ZHA Beijing Daxing Int Airport HuftonCrow

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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