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PHILIPPINES: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved financing of up to $2.75 billion for the construction of 53.1km of a passenger railway connecting Malolos, a suburb north of Manila, to Clark economic zone and Clark International Airport in Central Luzon.

The Malolos–Clark railway is part of the Philippine government’s North–South Commuter Railway (NSCR) project, a 163-km suburban railway network stretching from New Clark City in Tarlac province in the north to Calamba in Laguna province in the south of Manila. The NSCR project is expected to be completed by 2025.

342,000 passengers expected to travel daily along the Manila–Clark corridor and up to 696,000 passengers per day to Calamba by 2025. It is estimated to cut the travel time from Metro Manila to Clark International Airport to less than one hour by rail, compared with 2 to 3 hours by car or bus today. The project is expected to be partially operational from 2022.

“It will be ADB’s single largest infrastructure project financing ever, and from a development perspective, we are pleased this investment is taking place in ADB’s host country. The project, combined with other investments in light rail transit, metro rail transit, and subway systems, will bring back the culture of rail transport in Metro Manila,” said ADB President Mr. Takehiko Nakao.

ADB will be financing civil works of the Malolos–Clark Railway Project, including the stations, bridges, and viaducts for the elevated railway alignment, and a tunnel leading to the underground station at Clark International Airport. It will also assist the government in using global standards for procurement and environmental and resettlement safeguards.

The project is co-financed with up to $2 billion by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which will finance the rolling stock and the railway systems.

“Our co-financing partnership with JICA allows both our institutions to combine our expertise and knowledge in building a world-class railway in the Philippines,” said ADB Principal Transport Specialist for Southeast Asia Mr. Markus Roesner.

The project includes the construction of two rail segments—a 51.2-km section connecting Malolos City in Bulacan province to the thriving Clark regional growth center and a 1.9-km extension connecting the NSCR to the Blumentritt Station in Manila, where an elevated interchange station for Light Rail Transit Line 1 will be built.

The rail stations will include multimodal facilities, allowing commuters to easily transfer from public buses and jeepneys to the trains. The underground station at the Clark International Airport will provide a short connection to upcoming and future airport terminals.

The project will be built on an elevated alignment, helping reduce the impact on communities, avoid disruption of activities, and mitigate flood risks along the route. It will use innovative construction methods such as pre-fabricated viaduct segments, which limits the need for land acquisition and accelerates construction. High-quality construction methods will be used to achieve the maximum rail speed of up to 160 km per hour.

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Gatwick Express Birthday

UK: The Gatwick Express has celebrated its 35 year of operations anniversary on 14 May 2019. Gatwick Express came into full service on 14 May 1984, transporting passengers from London Victoria to Gatwick Airport. The service was initially formed of Class 73 trains with specially modified coaches to carry passenger luggage.

Since the launch, Gatwick Express has evolved; in 2007 the service was extended to and from Brighton, became part of the UK’s biggest rail franchise, Govia Thameslink Railway, in 2015, and saw a £145m fleet renewal programme in 2016.

On its birthday, Gatwick Express team were surprising passengers passing through London Victoria station with limited edition organic tote bags and a string quartet serenading arrivals. A magician was also be on board a number of Gatwick Express services throughout the day, entertaining passengers with some close-up magic.

“The 35-year anniversary of operations is such an exciting occasion to be part of. It makes it even more special to be celebrating this event with the team," said Stephen MacCallaugh, Head of Gatwick Express.

 

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ALGERIA: National railway SNTF has officially started the operations of the commercial train service from Agha to Algiers Houari Boumediene Airport on 29 April 2019.

The trains will run every hour between 05:00 to 21:00. The single fare is 80DA (0.6 EUR).

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KLIA Ekspres Songket web

MALAYSIA: Travellers who are planning for their next adventure are now able to purchase KLIA Ekspres tickets on Tripcarte.Asia, a homegrown online travel platform that allows travellers to book tours, travel activities such as boat riding and cruise, theme park and attraction tickets and watersport activities across Malaysia and Singapore.

Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd’s (ERL) Chief Executive Officer, Noormah Mohd Noor said, “We are delighted to partner with Tripcarte.Asia to bring the very best of Malaysia to travellers from abroad. With Tripcarte.Asia, travellers abroad can now plan their holiday and book their travel arrangements, including KLIA Ekspres tickets, on a single platform.”

A Malaysia based online activity platform, Tripcarte.Asia was founded and launched in 2015. With more than 300+ holiday activities, travellers are able to book attraction tickets online, allowing them to skip the queue and access their favourite attractions on the go. As a homegrown brand, Tripcarte.Asia continuously looks for partners to reach a common goal of turning Malaysia into a more popular holiday destination. Tripcarte.Asia currently offers attractions and tours in Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Melaka, Penang, Johor, Perak, Pahang, Port Dickson, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.

Tripcarte's Chief Executive Officer, Parthiven Shan said, "We believe with this partnership, leisure and business travellers travelling to Malaysia will find it extremely convenient to plan and make their bookings prior to their trip. KLIA Ekspres will be an ideal way to showcase the excellent connectivity Malaysia has to offer to travellers."

Customers planning their next adventure will be able to purchase KLIA Ekspres tickets on Tripcarte.Asia starting 23rd April 2019. For more details, visit www.tripcarte.asia.

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USA: The Regional Transportation District (RTD) and commuter rail concessionaire Denver Transit Partners (DTP) marked a milestone the first week of May, with ridership reaching 20 million passengers on the University of Colorado A Line. RTD’s first commuter rail line has covered more than 8 million miles between downtown Denver and Denver International Airport since it began carrying the public in April 2016.

The celebration comes on the same day as RTD, Uber and Masabi launch Uber Transit ticketing, enabling Denver riders to be the first in the world to seamlessly buy tickets and ride transit – all from the Uber app. Following a staggered rollout over the next few weeks, all Uber riders in the Denver metro region will be able to buy RTD tickets through the Uber app and then use their phone to ride rail and bus services.

Purchasing transit tickets via Uber will cost the same as through existing options. Transit ticketing has been enabled using Masabi’s Justride SDK, a mobile ticketing software development kit (SDK) for public transportation, creating a seamless passenger experience combining transit and new mobility.

“This exciting next phase of RTD’s collaboration with Uber is yet another way our transit agency is leading the dialogue about mobility strategy, not just for the Denver metro region but for cities across the globe,” said RTD CEO and General Manager Dave Genova. “This project broadens our reach and stays at pace with the public’s needs, allowing people to plan and pay for trips from start to finish.”

“For the first time ever, taking an Uber trip can mean taking public transit,” said David Reich, Uber’s Head of Transit. “We are excited to expand our collaboration with RTD and Masabi to make Denver the first city in the world where riders can purchase transit tickets and ride public transit seamlessly through the Uber app. With this step, we are moving closer to making Uber's platform a one-stop shop for transportation access, from shared rides to buses and bikes.”

“We know convenience is the number one reason people choose a transit option, and we truly believe that a multimodal public and shared private approach will be a key part of encouraging more people to take fewer private car journeys, reducing congestion for all,” said Brian Zanghi, Chief Executive Officer at Masabi. “By making public transit tickets available through Masabi’s Justride SDK in the Uber app, we are making this a reality for the first time, helping more people seamlessly and conveniently discover and access public transit services. The future of mobility in our cities relies on innovative agencies like RTD taking the right approach and ensuring that public transit is at the core of the emerging mobility ecosystem, and we’re confident more cities will follow their lead.”

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USA: Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline, announced the closing of $1.75 billion in private activity bonds (PAB) to help fund the company's expansion to Orlando. Morgan Stanley was the underwriter for the transaction that was purchased by 67 different investors.

With the closing of the sale, Virgin Trains USA has the necessary funds to begin construction for service to Orlando, including 170 miles of new track to a state-of-the-art intermodal facility located in the new South Terminal at the Orlando International Airport. Construction will begin imminently and is expected to be complete in 2022.

The rail construction between West Palm Beach and Orlando is expected to have a significant economic impact in the State of Florida, including the creation of more than 10,000 jobs and is anticipated to generate more than $650 million in federal, state and local tax revenue. The project is 100 percent privately financed and represents a total investment of $4 billion.

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AUSTRIA: Due to renewal work on the runway at Salzburg Airport from 24 April until the end of May 2019, all flight service to and from the airport will be suspended during this period. For this reason, Austrian Airlines is offering expanded travel options by train between Salzburg’s Central Station and Vienna Airport. The existing AIRail offering in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) will be increased tenfold from three to up to 30 daily train connections until one week after the shutdown of the runway. Accordingly, a Railjet with an Austrian Airlines flight number linking Salzburg and Vienna will be available to passengers every hour between 5 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. 

Austrian Airlines customers receive various advantages, for example a guaranteed connection, regardless of whether their journey continues by plane or train. This means that in the case of an unexpected delay of the train or flight, passengers will be automatically booked on an alternative connecting service if they do not reach their train or flight on time. Business Class passengers travel in first class on the train and are also given free access to the ÖBB lounge before departure. Moreover, passengers can collect miles on AIRail route within the context of the Miles & More program. Finally, there is also a catering voucher, which can be used in the ÖBB dining car. Travel time between Salzburg Central Station and Vienna Airport amounts to 2 hours 49 minutes. 

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cottonbeltmap2018

USA: Jacobs has been selected as the principal design consultant for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Cotton Belt Regional Rail Corridor Project. The 26-mile project extends between Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport and Shiloh Road Station in Plano and will connect to three existing DART light rail lines.

As the principal design consultant to the Archer Western Construction, LLC and Herzog Contracting Corporation joint venture for the project, Jacobs will provide design and oversite services for track alignments, drainage, bridges, retaining walls, stations and signalling for the design-build project, which is anticipated for completion, with revenue service, by 2022. DART estimates the contract value at $1.1 billion.

The Cotton Belt Project will provide passenger rail connections and service to improve mobility, accessibility and system linkages to major employment, population and activity centers, as well as support sustainable growth and local and regional land-use visions.

In addition to the existing Orange, Green and Red DART lines, the Cotton Belt project will also connect to the Trinity Metro TEXRail, a 27-mile regional commuter line between DFW Airport and downtown Fort Worth, for which Jacobs previously served as program manager.

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USA: TriMet, a public agency that operates mass transit in Portland, has announced plans to extend the MAX Red Line to Hillsboro, and add a second track to sections of the Red Line near Portland International Airport and Gateway Transit Center.

TriMet Board of Directors voted to adopt two resolutions on April 24 allowing for the project to move forward. One of the resolutions approved the Locally Preferred Alternative, and the second resolution authorizes TriMet to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Port of Portland. The agreement commits TriMet to continue funding further design of the project, and to work with the FTA on the total cost estimates and benefits of the project. This is the next step towards securing funding from the FTA that could pay for half of the $200 million project, with TriMet paying the other half.

TriMet’s MAX Red Line runs between Beaverton Transit Center and Portland International Airport. The plan is to extend the line ten stations to the west, to run between the Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport Station and Portland’s airport. The MAX Blue Line currently is the only light rail service west of Beaverton Transit Center and trains are often crowded during peak travel times. With continuing growth in both housing and jobs in Washington County, the request for more MAX service along the corridor between Hillsboro and Beaverton Transit Center is increasing and the extension would double service in that area most hours of the day.

The expanded service requires improving track and switches, upgrading the signal system and building an operator break facility at the Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport Station. The agency also plans to add up to eight new light rail vehicles to accommodate the extended service.

Construction is expected to begin in 2021-2022 with opening about two years later.

Red line airport platform 624x415

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UK: Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, has won five major contracts to support Heathrow Airport’s sustainable expansion programme. The contracts will see Atkins – which is part of Heathrow Airport’s Integrated Design Team – provide design and advisory services as Heathrow prepares for further public consultation in June, followed by submission of a Development Consent Order application in 2020.
 
The scope of work includes: airport connectivity, ensuring people and goods can move to, from and around the airport seamlessly; energy and utilities; water, including drainage and flood prevention; land use and development zones; and construction delivery support, which will see Atkins advise on Design for Manufacture and Assembly, modern methods of construction, and the design of temporary infrastructure.
 
Atkins is the lead consultant for all five contracts and will be supported by its integrated design partners (Arup, Grimshaw, Mott MacDonald, Jacobs, Quod and Woods Group), plus WSP and Buro Happold.
 
Atkins will draw on local expertise and its regional hubs to deliver the work, with a focus on providing career and development opportunities for graduates and apprentices.

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MALAYSIA: KLIA Ekspres tickets are now available globally through Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL)’s partnership with GlobalTix, a Singapore based e-ticketing and Business-to-Business (B2B) marketing platform.

Chief Executive Officer of ERL, Noormah Mohd Noor said, “This is our second partnership with a B2B company in just three months. It is significant for us as KLIA Ekspres tickets are now made available through GlobalTix’s network of over 4,000 partners, travel agents and distributors. This, in turn, will provide more purchase options for travellers planning their Malaysian adventure. We are definitely excited to welcome more travellers onboard the KLIA Ekspres, the fastest train in Southeast Asia.”

Launched in 2013, GlobalTix is a Singapore-based company that is run by passionate team members who believe that travelling should be as easy as possible. It is a B2B platform with a specific focus on digitalising tickets for tourist attractions.

Speaking on behalf of GlobalTix, Vice President of Global Commercial, Chanel Leong said “We are delighted to be working with KLIA Ekspres, one of the most prominent companies in Malaysia, allowing us to touch base with a company that knows and provides the best for its audience. We are excited to see where this venture will go to and we are confident this will allow both our companies to grow even further.”

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Dooh STEX web

UK: A digital Out of Home ads at London Stansted Airport are enabling commuters to make quick-fire judgements on the quickest route into Central London.

Digital Out of Home production agency DOOH.com in partnership with LIDA, who are part of the M&C Saatchi Group, have designed the logic behind the system, ensuring travellers are provided with live travel comparison information demonstrating the speed and efficiency of the Stansted Express rail service versus alternative routes in and out of London.

Neil McKenney, Managing Partner, DOOH.com on the campaign, “Applying live data is a fantastic way of turning an otherwise general advert into a functional utility that saves passengers time and effort during what is often a stressful part of their journey. Using our platform, it becomes easy to infuse digital OOH ads with the ability to function in the same way as a web-page. ”

The digital screens are positioned at the baggage reclaim area of Stansted Airport, providing passengers with live journey time comparisons between car, coach and the Stansted Express train service to London Liverpool Street station; all powered by real-time data via multiple API’s.

Stansted Express delivers an average journey time to Liverpool Street of 47 minutes with departures every 15 minutes during the day, and 30 minutes in the early morning and late evening.

Chris Ford, Marketing & Digital Manager at Stansted Express, commented, “We appreciate this part of the journey is a fine balance of excitement and frustration for passengers, particularly as navigating transfer options can be tricky.

“By harnessing different sources of real-time data into one we can provide reliable and digestible information to help customers make informed decisions on how to get to and from central London.”

Victoria Nikishina, client services director at Primesight celebrated the campaign saying “It’s fantastic to see Stansted Express use the full dynamic capabilities of digital out-of-home to enhance their already established long-term holding at London Stansted, reaching 27 million passengers a year.

“Stansted Express’ use of real time traffic data across our digital arrivals gallery and D6 networks enhances the consumer journey and helps the arriving audience make informed choices on the best, most available mode of onward travel.

“This is a best-in-class example of how digital OOH is being used in a data-rich airport environment in real time, to enhance Stansted Express’ significant long-term branding.”

The project was jointly devised and created by Stansted Express, creative agency LIDA and digital production agency DOOH.com, with ads appearing on media owner Primesight’s Digital Arrivals Network and Digital 6-sheets.

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MALAYSIA: Malindo Air guests are now able to buy KLIA Ekspres tickets together with their flight tickets on Malindo Air’s website. This e-ticketing facility further strengthens the partnership between Malindo Air and Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL) following the launch of the airline’s check-in service at KL Sentral in December 2016.

Noormah Mohd Noor, Chief Executive Officer of ERL said, “We are excited about this latest collaboration with Malindo Air. It is in line with our digital partnership drive with partners who share a common goal in providing convenient and seamless service to our mutual customers. For passengers who fly with Malindo Air, they can rest assured that their luggage will arrive safely at their final destination as each piece of luggage is barcoded and tracked.”

Malindo Air commenced operations in March 2013 and has a network of flights throughout Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, China, Singapore, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Australia, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Taiwan, Pakistan and Hong Kong. With an extensive network of 55 routes in the region, Malindo Air has over 800 flights travelling weekly.

Chandran Rama Muthy, Chief Executive Officer of Malindo Air said. "We are pleased to bring our collaboration with ERL to another level with this initiative. Moreover, our passengers get to enjoy exclusive fares and seamless connection to and from KLIA, which we believe will enhance their travel experience by flying with Malindo Air.”

To purchase KLIA Ekspres tickets, simply log on to www.malindoair.com. Once your Malindo Air flight tickets are confirmed, click on the KLIA Ekspres banner in the Booking Confirmation page to purchase KLIA Ekspres tickets at exclusive fares.

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AUSTRALIA: Victorian and Commonwealth Governments have formally signed off on the Melbourne Airport Rail Link (MARL) project.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the signing of the Heads of Agreement on 13 March 2019, which sets out the strategic objectives, governance arrangements and information sharing processes for the $10 billion joint commitment.

Mr Morrison said the people of Melbourne and Victoria had been waiting far too long for the rail link to become a reality.

“For decades Victorians have talked about a train line to the airport. We are delivering it. In last year’s Budget we made a $5 billion investment in the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, it was the biggest infrastructure commitment in the Budget.

“Melbourne is truly a global city that deserves world class infrastructure. The Rail Link is part of our plan to bust congestion across the city and get people home faster and safer.

“I’d like to thank the Premier and Minister Tudge who have worked constructively with me to land this agreement and bring the project closer to fruition.”

A project team will be established to drive the development of a full Business Case for the project, which will not only connect Melbourne Airport to the rail network for the first time – but also integrate it with the Metro Tunnel and the future Suburban Rail Loop, and pave the way for fast-rail to the regions.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the Victorian Government is not wasting a minute leading the planning work for an Airport Rail Link that delivers for all Victorians.

“The Melbourne Airport Rail Link has been talked about for far too long – we’re doing the detailed planning and development work to make it a reality,” Mr Andrews said.

“By choosing the Sunshine route, we are ensuring all Victorians can benefit from the rail link, including people living in Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. As we complete the business case, we’re also doing the work needed to deliver fast rail to the regions.”

Melbourne Airport is a key part of Victoria and Australia’s economic growth. In 2016-17, it handled more than 35 million passenger movements and by 2038, it is expected to almost double to more than 67 million, as Victoria’s population continues to grow and demand increases.

Melbourne Airport Rail Link will alleviate congestion on the main road connection to the airport, the Tullamarine Freeway, and unlock capacity for the growing population in Melbourne’s north-west.

Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said following the successful widening of the Tullamarine Freeway, the airport link would bust congestion for generations to come.

“This is a critical project for Melbourne. It will make it easier for residents and make our city more attractive to visitors,” Mr Tudge said.

“When complete, someone in Pakenham, Frankston or Ringwood will be able to get onto the train, and be at the airport in the time it would have taken to drive, but without having to worry about parking.”

Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said this is part of the Victorian Government’s unprecedented pipeline of major transport projects.

“We’re building the Metro Tunnel, removing dangerous level crossings and getting on with the Melbourne Airport Rail Link.”
“This is not just about getting from the airport to the city – it’s about better connecting our suburbs and regions, so people have better services wherever they live.”

Planning and development of the MARL Business Case is already well underway. Rail Projects Victoria has engaged expert technical and commercial advisers for the project, and ecological, traffic and geotechnical investigations have begun.

Early market engagement on the MARL attracted submissions from more than 100 local and global organisations. Further market sounding will be undertaken to assess equity partners, private sector involvement, financing arrangements and other matters.

A reference group including community, industry and local government representatives will be established to provide guidance and feedback to the project team as the Business Case is developed.

The State and Federal Governments have committed up to $5 billion each to deliver MARL. The total cost of the project is estimated to be in the range of $8-13 billion, with construction to take up to nine years and due to commence in 2022.

The Business Case will be delivered by 2020 and will assess station and procurement options, value capture and creation opportunities, and economic analysis of the recommended solution.

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NORWAY: Flytoget is set to increase its capacity by 50% and this week the company has showed off its brand-new trains for the very first time. Wider seats, less noise and larger windows will ensure that passengers have an even more comfortable and efficient journey.

In 2015 Flytoget contracted Spanish train producer CAF to deliver eight new trains. The new units will be adding to Flytoget’s existing fleet of sixteen trains – and will therefore be increasing the company’s capacity by 50%. This will enable them to carry even more passengers to and from Oslo Airport.

"Last year Flytoget carried a record number of passengers, close to seven million, so it is essential for us to be bringing in these new units this year. The new trains have been built to the same exacting standards as our existing fleet, but have been fitted with features that we know our passengers have been wanting for a long time; less noise, wider seats, power sockets, USB access and cup holders at every seat, as well as more space for luggage. The trains will also be the first in Norway to display carriage loadings to passengers, so that they can see where there are free seats before boarding," says Philipp Engedal, Flytoget’s CEO.

Flytoget new train web

The new airport express trains have undergone comprehensive testing before arriving in Norway and have spent time in Spain, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic on the way, to allow for cold chamber tests and other trials. The new trains will be approved for a maximum speed of 245 km/h, but in order to achieve this approval they will be tested at speeds as high as 270 km/h.

"For the time being, we can only run at 210 km/h to and from Oslo Airport, but of course we think it’s cool that the new trains have the capacity to run at such high speeds. Flytoget’s airport express is the fastest train in Norway, and this gives exciting opportunities for the future," says Engedal.

Spanish CAF will also be delivering new trams to Oslo. Félix Fernández, the Project Director, is very happy with the company’s collaboration with Norwegian Flytoget – and not least the outcome of their joint efforts :

"I can honestly say that this is one of the most amazing trains we have ever built. Flytoget’s project team is a group of perfectionists who never rest until the minutest detail is in place. The result is a fantastic train, and I am positive that customers will love it." 

The new train has generally been designed to enable further development of the qualities that are important to Flytoget. Working with in-house staff and prominent designers the manufacturers have produced a train that reflects a modern Norwegian building style and Flytoget’s values. Another important aim has been to ensure that the new trains are as energy efficient as possible, and to incorporate good universal design solutions throughout.

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RUSSIA: Aeroexpress has summarised the results of train services on-time performance on all Aeroexpress routes in 2018 and reported 99.8% schedule compliance.

The total of 72,243 train services was provided by the company last year, and 72,079 of them fully complied with the timetable. Some minor delays occurred due to reasons beyond the company’s control.

“Predictable travel times, along with ensured safety and comfort, are some of the main advantages of travelling by Aeroexpress,” said Alina Bisembaeva, CEO of Aeroexpress. “To achieve high accuracy for train services, our company has been continuously implementing a series of technical and organizational measures, including training our staff, maintaining equipment, updating technical regulations, etc.”

Aeroexpress trains run 200 times a day, transporting passengers between airports of the Moscow Air Cluster and Central Moscow. Travel time for a full run amounts to 35 minutes on Vnukovo and Sheremetyevo routes and 45 minutes on Domodedovo route. The journey time remained the same, even after the interim stops at Okruzhnaya and Verhniye Kotly were introduced along Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo routes in 2018.

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greater anglia new electric train 3

UK: The first of ten new Stansted Express trains has arrived to Norwich from Switzerland on Thursday 28 February, where it will undergo a series of safety and performance tests before it is passed as fit to go into passenger service.

The new Stansted Express electric trains will be longer, with more seats, plug and USB sockets, as well as air conditioning. They will have fast free wifi and improved passenger information screens.

Ian McConnell, Greater Anglia Franchising and Programmes Director, said: “It was an incredible sight to see this long modern-looking train travelling along our line. It’s a glimpse of the near future, when they will be carrying more passengers in comfort and style between Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and London.”

Testing is due to start on the new Stansted Express train later in March.

Martino Celeghini, Stadler technical project manager, said: “This order was a highly significant one for us, and we are delighted that within three years of contract-signing, trains were arriving on British soil.

“Following the start of testing on the bi-modes at the end of last year, we are pleased to begin working on testing and commissioning these electric trains with our UK partners.”

Greater Anglia is replacing every single existing train with brand new trains, including 58 made by Stadler and 111 made by Bombardier in Derby.

New trains will start to come into service from the middle of this year as part of a two-year roll out.

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Stansted CEO

UK: The Chief Executive Officer of London Stansted, Ken O’Toole, has called on local businesses, community leaders and regional organisations to make their voices heard and press Government for upgrades to the rail links to the airport.

Addressing over 150 delegates at the annual Stansted Area Transport Forum, O’Toole said better connectivity in and out of the airport will further boost the local economy, make new journeys viable for local residents, ease access for the 12,000 on-site workforce and help attract a greater number of airlines and new destinations.

O’Toole asked attendees to use the on-going Aviation Strategy consultation process as an opportunity to communicate direct to Government the need for better rail connections into Stansted.

"How easy it is for people to access Stansted, be they passengers, our workforce or business partners, will be one of the primary drivers behind our future growth – growth that will in turn ensure that the UK, and particularly the East of England, remains connected to international economies and all the opportunities they have to offer.

Airport development and surface access into airports should not be considered independently from each other; they should be considered together as part of an integrated transport strategy. Where surface access to airports is suitably well developed, economic activity that would otherwise not occur is generated; through tourism, international trade, productivity improvements and attracting of foreign investment," O'Toole said.

The Airport Operators Association estimates that a 5% improvement in average journey times to and from UK airports could deliver a 2.7% increase in passenger numbers, generating an additional £1.9 billion for the UK economy and supporting an additional 32,000 jobs.

"Our view that journey times need to come down has been endorsed by both the Airports Commission and West Anglia Task Force but unfortunately these requests have fallen on deaf ears within central Government and Network Rail, despite the number of passengers and commuters using the Stansted Express growing by 143% since 2013.

Of course, journey time improvements require infrastructure investment. Whilst we are prepared to proportionately contribute to the costs involved in seeing journey times lowered, any significant improvement will require considerable investment.

Therefore, my ask to everyone here today is clear. Please take it upon yourselves to communicate directly to government, through its current Aviation Strategy consultation process, about the need for better rail connections into Stansted Airport and how these will benefit you, your family, your business or organisation and the wider region. Hopefully, together we can collectively deliver the transport improvements that this region, and the country, deserves," Ken O’ Toole concluded.

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The Ministry of Transport and the infrastructure manager CDG Express ("GI CDG Express"), equally owned by Groupe ADP, SNCF Réseau and Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, has signed the concession contract for works relating to the CDG Express link project on 11 February 2019.

Under this contract, GI CDG Express is responsible for financing, designing, building and maintaining the CDG Express link for 50 years. It will connect the Gare de l'Est (Paris-East station) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport in 20 minutes. Groupe ADP will be committed to finance the project through equity contribution of €134 million and a non-renewable repayable advance of up to €150 million.

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Manila Rail

PHILIPPINES: Philippines’ Department of Transport has launched invitation for bids for three civil works packages on Malolos-Clark railway project, linking Metro Manila and Clark International Airport.

The 53km line will have 7 elevated stations and the total value of the project is USD 3.2 billion.

The bid submission deadline is 10 May 2019.

The first package includes a 17-km railway viaduct and two stations, the second one - a viaduct with a length of 16 km, including one station, and the third one, includes a 12-km railway viaduct and two stations.

The bidding documents have been prepared separately for each package and shall be bid as separate contracts.

The project is estimated to be completed at the end of 2023.

The bid documents can be accessed here >>>

The Department for Transport has also broke ground of the Phase 1 of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Project on 15 February 2019.

NR Clark Phase 1, a 37.6-kilometer mass railway transportation project ,will have a total of ten stations, namely, Tutuban, Solis, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Meycauayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto, and Malolos station; and will house a depot at a 14-hectare lot in Valenzuela City.

Once completed, this project will reduce travel time between Manila and Bulacan from 1hr45min to just 35 minutes, serving approximately over 300,000 passengers daily.

The 147-kilometer NSCR Project estimated to cost around PHP777.55 billion will have 36 stations from Clark International Airport to Calamba, Laguna.

The railway project will connect PNR Clark Phase 1 (Tutuban-Malolos) PNR Clark Phase 2 (Malolos-Clark) and the PNR Calamba Project which will run from Manila to Calamba.

The NSCR System will also link with existing railway lines LRT-1, LRT-2, MRT-3 and the Metro Manila Subway.

After signing the contract with Sumitomo Mitsui Construction on 23 January 2019, advance works already began to make way for full construction.