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Route Development - Articles and news items

FirstGroup reveal plans for a new London-Edinburgh rail service

Rail industry news / 12 June 2015 /

Transport operator FrstGroup has unveiled plans for a new rail service between London, North East England and Edinburgh reducing the current average fare by half.

£100m investment signals new start for Nottingham

Issue 6 2012 / 29 November 2012 /

It is not often in the life of a Route Managing Director that you get to install a whole new track layout through a major station, but between September 2012 and December 2013, Nottingham’s railway station will be rebuilt complete with a new £100 million track layout and resignalling scheme.

Another scheme, which will finish later, will see the city’s tram network extended and a station built over the top – the first major work to be completed on the station since it was built in 1903.

Nottingham, like so many other places across Europe, has seen its railway infrastructure shrink over the last half century. It once hosted two central main line stations (Victoria and Midland), plus two others run by the Great Northern. They all closed – with Victoria the last to go in 1967.

For many years, the five platforms of the former Midland station were able to cope with traffic, but now with steady growth in rail traffic we have a new challenge.

Gotthard railway systems now being installed and the Ceneri is on course

Issue 4 2012 / 1 August 2012 /

Since the second final breakthrough on 23 March 2011, fitting-out of the Gotthard Base Tunnel has made rapid progress, and since September 2011, installation of the railway systems has been taking place from the north. Elsewhere in the Ceneri Base Tunnel, work has begun on the main drives from the intermediate heading at Sigirino. The inward drives from both portals have already been completed.

Status of work on the Gotthard Base Tunnel: Installation of the railway infrastructure systems from the north is progressing rapidly and the ballastless track is currently being laid from Erstfeld.

Altdorf/Rynächt–Uri: Along the overground approach line to the Gotthard Base Tunnel, various constructions such as underpasses, bridges, passages and retaining walls are being built. This work is already at an advanced stage.

In the autumn of 2010, work began on the northern railway installations site at Erstfeld. The site occupies approximately 65,000m2 and large halls, workshops and offices have been erected as the logistical base for installation.

ÖBB’s approach to sustainable maintenance of infrastructure

Issue 4 2012 / 1 August 2012 /

Increasing route utilisation, higher transport tonnages, shorter train intervals and greater speeds are, from the customers’ viewpoint, the most important characteristics of Austria’s railway network, which highlights the need for further maintenance of the lines. Since 2008, ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG has placed particular emphasis on the sustainable maintenance of its infrastructure and has implemented an entire package of focused measures.

The past: A specific characteristic of railway infrastructure and of the permanent way is the need for the construction elements to achieve the maximum possible service life, particularly due to the high investment levels involved. However, this service life can only be reached by an appropriately designed system backed up by a high level of maintenance. Depending on the traffic volume and the curve radius, the targeted service life of existing track systems is between 35 and 40 years. Unfortunately, in recent years, main tracks have had to be prematurely renewed. Decisions made in the past, which were not in favour of sustainability but were motivated largely by economic considerations, have had a disadvantageous effect.

Building on success: the liberalised and competitive Italian railway market

Issue 4 2012 / 1 August 2012 /

The European railway industry has radically changed over recent years following the introduction of high speed networks which have revolutionised society. Italy was the first country in Europe to launch the railway market liberalisation process by opening up to competitors. In just a few years, the economy of the sector was transformed, offering new economic and competitive opportunities to key operators. More recently, Italy opened up high-speed services to private competitors, despite the current economic crisis.

This was a historical change, one which Trenitalia prepared for with great care, working hard to address the situation and to offer its customers the best solutions.

The Freccia system (Frecciarossa, Frecciargento and Frecciabianco): The current competitive situation presents a strong challenge for improvement. Competition for Trenitalia is a positive factor for both customers and the market in general. In the high-speed sector, for example, the Frecciarossa fleet has recently been renewed with the introduction of four new service levels (L4) which have completely revolutionised the traditional two-class system. Comfort and customised services are now part of the winning formula. Travel safety, frequency and an articulated range of constant flexible and affordable prices must certainly not be underestimated.

Italo – now a reality

Issue 4 2012 / 1 August 2012 /

On 28 April 2012, the first passenger-filled Italo train left Naples station heading to Rome, Florence, Bologna and Milan. It was a highly emotional moment for everybody at NTV: the personnel, the partners and, of course, for me. After approximately four years of startup plans, the project finally became a reality.

It was also a historical moment for the Italian railway sector. For the first time, thanks to NTV, passengers now have the option to choose between operators. When a monopoly comes to an end – no matter in which field – it’s always a revolution for the market and an advantage for the public.

Tests and simulations are over, and now we face the market as any private company must do. A group of Italian entrepreneurs has invested €1 billion in this project – a huge amount of capital that has never been seen before in Europe by the private railway sector. Further – more, the current situation in Italy will provide a crucial reference point for liberalisa tion and competition across the Continent. If we prove successful, newcomers in other countries may try to take the same path. So it comes with no surprise that we are being observed with great attention by many large railway operators.

Norwegian railways enter a year of intensive planning

Issue 3 2012 / 8 June 2012 /

Since the beginning of 2012, three important reports on Norwegian railways have been issued in quick succession. First was the major high-speed study, followed by Jernbaneverket’s concept study for expansion of the InterCity network in eastern Norway. Subsequently, the central government agencies for sea, air, road and rail transport tabled their proposals for a new National Transport Plan (NTP) covering the period 2014-23.

The high-speed study examines options for the future of the rail network and recommends long-term strategies for developing longdistance passenger rail services on the main routes in the southern part of Norway: Oslo-Trondheim, Oslo-Bergen, Oslo-Stavanger and Bergen-Haugesund-Stavanger, plus the Oslo-Gothenburg and Oslo-Stockholm cross-border routes. The InterCity study is intended to establish a timeline and a cost estimate for comprehensive expansion of the InterCity network. The report proposes construction of double-track lines for speeds of up to 250km/h on the Oslo-Halden, Oslo-Larvik and Oslo-Lillehammer routes. In this way, the InterCity routes will be upgraded for future high-speed trains.

Opening up construction of Denmark’s first high-speed railway to competition

Issue 3 2012 / 8 June 2012 /

The new Copenhagen-Ringsted railway is the largest civil engineering project in Denmark for well over 100 years. Not since the Vestvolden fortifications around Copenhagen were built between 1882 and 1892 as part of the city’s defences has Denmark been the setting for such an extensive building project: a new 60km double-track high-speed railway will be built close to the motorway from Copenhagen via Køge to Ringsted.

Banedanmark, the national rail network operator, is in full swing with this unique construction project, which is also a worthy symbol of the significant investment in the railway that the Danish state will make over the coming decade. Among other things, several existing sections of line will be upgraded to double track, a fast connection will be established for rail traffic between Sweden and central Europe by means of the future Femern tunnel between Denmark and Germany, and Denmark will be the first country in the world to have a new, single signalling system covering the entire public rail network. #

These projects will be realised on an ongoing basis over the next 10 years and, in combination, will enable the Danish rail system to provide the framework for the government’s target of doubling all public passenger transport by 2030 – an ambitious goal given that there are already 170 million journeys made by train each year in Denmark.

Keen to develop services to drive growth

Issue 3 2012 / 8 June 2012 /

Arriva was the first, and remains, the only private rail company operating in the Polish market. Supported by over 150 employees, the company delivers 2.5 million train kilometres annually, serving over 100 stations and handling over two million passengers in the Kujawsko-Pomorskie and Pomorskie voivodeships. Arriva RP is committed to providing a safe, secure and high-quality service to all of its passengers.

Arriva entered the Polish rail market in 2007 via a joint venture with PCC Rail, a company that held a passenger license and had vast knowledge of the Polish rail freight market. Arriva brought a wealth of experience in the public transport and rail passenger operations arena to the joint venture. The Consortium began operations in December 2007 after securing a three-year tender in the Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodeship.

From the beginning, Arriva encountered several difficulties associated with the short time for mobilisation (contract was signed in August, while operations were due to start in December of same year) and delays in the polonisation of rolling stock.

2014 Winter Olympics construction projects of Russian Railways

Issue 3 2012 / 8 June 2012 /

In February 2010, Russian Railways and the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee signed a partnership agreement, which gave Russian Railways official status as the general partner of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Organising such a major event necessitates a high level of arrangements, and transport accessibility plays one of the key roles.

Within the framework of preparations for the XXII Olympic Winter Games and the XI Winter Paralympics 2014, Russian Railways is playing a key role in creating a new modern transport infrastructure. The company prides itself on developing and carrying out projects that are unique, not only for Russia, but with regard to the world practice too.

In total, Russian Railways is constructing 157km of routes in the area of the Olympics. Regardless of the fact that most construction sites lie in the mountains with challenging engineering-geological profiles, Russian Railways is building 12 mountain tunnels, with a total length of 30km. The company is also building six infrastructure facilities, two of which are already completed.