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 4rail.net - Timeline & News  

  
 Latest in Railroad News 
Our aim is to provide you with real news on railroads and their development with time. This means we hardly report on incidents like derailments unless they might be important in relation to the other subjects.
   
 Other interesting pages in this category  
  High Speed News - On separate page because there is so much
      happening all the time!  Most of the time, updated weekly.   
  Timeline Railroad History - Railroad history is also so interesting it
     deserves its own page!   

   
  Timeline 1691 - 1899  
 The Timeline will bring you over 300 years of railroad history. Updated regularly!

   1884: Canadian Pacific rail line over Kicking Horse Pass opens,
  1823: Robert Stephensons 
Forth Street Works,  
  1691: Louis XIV entertains his guests with Roulette! 
  End of 18th century - the dawn of railway age! 
NEW!   

 Timeline News 2009 
  BNSF to receive a hydrogen fueled locomotive  
(17.7.2009)  
One of the largerst railways in the world the U.S. BNSF Railway has received its first hydrogen fueled locomotive for testing fro Vehicle Projects Inc. The hydrogen is fed to the fuel cells to provide electricity for the traction motors. Platform for the experiment is one of the recent Genset/Green Goat looking locomotives. The hydrogen locomotive has a distictive wide radiator looking section on top of the whole long nose making it easy to spot. (This is a bit like another veranda locomotive after the experimental Union Pacific turbine decades ago, only smaller). The vehicle is currently on the way to California. One thing people commonly ask is what kind of sound the locomotive makes while the prime mover is missing: the sound is similar to electric locomotives, you can hear blowers, smaller engines, sounds from the momevement, no engine sound always associated with railroading in the U.S.!     
   
The search for alternative fuel sources has recently been quite active as it's widely acknowledged that the sea level might rise even 1,5 meters till the end of the century. This rising is the effect of the greenhouse effect, caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere.
     
The BNSF Railway has always been active on researching alternative fuel sources. As the diesel fuel accounts for 25% of the total operating costs of a typical railway, any savings on this has a signifant economical impact. Currently BNSF is using its newest locomotives to pinch the fuel bill as low as possible. BNSF also operates a few locomotives fueled by natural gas in Los Angeles U.S.A. Recent studies have been made on electrifying the main lines, common in other parts of the world except the North America, but decisions remain to be made as the capital costs are prohibitive for Americans. One benefit of the electric locomotives is that they can feed the extra energy during the dynamixc braking back to the electric networks. Plus of course you can make electricity any way you wish.       
 
   

 Timeline News 2007 - 2008


  Bombardier is testing new concept super high speed train for Nordic countries  
NEWS
(17.8.2008)  
The Banverket, the Swedish Railway Administration and Bombardier Transportation, together with other partners presented the results of their Gröna Tĺget (“Green Train”) project at a test ride between Västerĺs and Stockholm in August.

The Green Train research, development and demonstration project started in 2005 and is scheduled to run until 2010/2011. Using a Bombardier buit Regina train, the rail vehicle research program is aimed at developing a new generation of high speed trains that meet the special technical and traffic requirements in the Nordic Countries. The Green Train is also unique in that it is equipped with components of the new Bombardier ECO4 technologies that maximise total train performance and energy efficient operation.

Per Kyhle, Senior Technical Strategist Banverket, commented: “The main aims of the project are to achieve 20 to 30 per cent less energy consumption, reduce travel times and achieve fewer operational costs. We also want to operate as fast and efficiently as possible using the present infrastructure, which often means sharing single tracks with cargo and regional trains. The tests have proven that these aims are realistic. We have made significant progress in enhancing the competitiveness of rail compared to other modes of transportation.”

One aspect of enhanced competitiveness is shorter travel times: The high speed concept of Green Train will cut the travel time between Stockholm and Gothenburg by 15 minutes. The REGINA test train set a new Swedish high speed record of 295 km/h on July 23, 2008.

Test ride with the REGINA train also debuted Bombardier’s ECO4 technologies, a portfolio of innovative products and technologies designed to offer operators high environmental and cost-efficient performance.

The two ECO4 products operating on the “Green Train” are:

  • The BOMBARDIER MITRAC Permanent Magnet Motor, a modern engine technology enabling an increase of propulsion chain efficiency resulting in lower operating costs and reduced environmental impact;
  • and the BOMBARDIER EBI Drive 50 Driver assistance system, that can save up to 15 per cent of traction energy by assisting the driver with information on speed and traction force.

“This project has demonstrated why we, at Bombardier Transportation, believe that the climate is indeed right for trains. This joint effort has shown that our ’Green Train’ is not only the right train for operation in the Nordic region, but that it also presents a new generation of energy-efficient, sustainable high speed trains. Our ECO4 technologies can be customized to enhance the performance of any fleet, as we have shown today,” said Klas Wahlberg, Chief Country Representative of Bombardier Transportation Sweden.

The Green Train has been constructed to operate in, the often, harsh climatic conditions in the Nordic Countries. It has been remodelled, achieving improved performance in terms of running at higher speeds with heightened safety and low track deterioration.

Special attention was given to the bogies, which are “track-friendly” (unique passive self-steering). The benefits of the track-friendly bogies are increased running stability, lower track forces and less wheel-rail wear on curved tracks. The train is equipped with active lateral suspension for improved passenger comfort and wider carbodies to enable more passenger seating if required.

In addition, the train is geared for higher speeds with traction motors on six axles of which two are of Permanent Magnet motor type (the new type of electric motor used on AGV as well), and a pantograph for higher speeds on existing catenaries.

Partners of the ”Green Train” project also include: The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) of Sweden, the Chalmers University of Technology, Konstfack (University College of Arts, Crafts and Design), the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (Vinnova), the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), AB Transitio, Branschföreningen Tĺgoperatörerna, SJ AB, Svenska Tĺgkompaniet AB, Interfleet Technology AB as well as Transrail Sweden AB.
       
(Sources: Bombardier Transportation, the Web, other sources) 
  The Super High Speed Trains Main page...   
  Swedish Main Page...   


  Pendolinos for St Petersburg - Petrozavodsk Line in Russia  
NEWS
(15.8.2008)  
According to our sources the Russian Railways RZD is planning to use tilting Pendolinos from St Petersburg all the way to Petrozavodsk (61°47′N 34°20′E) some 500 km northeast. The move can be seen as the next logical step in Russias efforts to modernisize the country. Petrozavodsk is said to be very busy railroad town so there will probably be some lucrative business available there for the RZD. It remains to be seen whether the the Pendolinos will be able to run near or above the normal 200 km/h speeds on the way. Russia has many projects to improve the infrastructure, so it is probable one of these might be north east of St Petersburg.

There are several (7?) "baby" Velaro trains of 250 km/h top speed on the way to connect St Petersburg and Moscow as well as 4 Karelia trains Alstom Pendolino units for traffic between St Petersburg and Helsinki, Finland. The Pendolinos will have a maximum speed of mere 220 km/h. Little compared with similar Pendolinos for the Cisalpino, due to delivery 2007-2008. The Swiss-Italina Pendolinos can run 250 km/h. Anyway, Russia is seriously modernizing it's wast  country starting with the densely populated west.   

Pendolinos are Italian originating tilting train units, which pioneered the high speed invasion on the relatively normal rail lines. Once the trains coaches tilt, this gives the passengers better comfort on the normal rail lines that conventional nontilting trains could offer. The Pendolinos typically can run up to 60 km/h faster on the normal line. The company is currently part of the French giant Alstom.       

(Sources: Alstom, the Web, other sources) 
  The Super High Speed Trains Main page...   
  Pendolino Theme Page...   


  AGV's prototype readied for use in Italy  
NEWS
(13.8.2008)  
The first production prototype of the AGV (Automotrice a Grande Vitesse) by Alstom of France was unveiled for the public early spring of 2008. Since then it has been tested intensely at Velim in Czech Republic for finishing and durability tests. The comfort of the passengers is one of the key issues.

After  the test were finished the AGV was taken back to Rochelle in France (confusingly there is another Rochelle which is as well a train manufacturing place in the U.S. ;)  ). Rochelle will give finishing touch to the unit. After that the prototype AGV will be transferred for real life approval in Italy.
(Sources: Alstom, the Web,  TR Europe, La vie du Rail Magazine, other sources) 
  TheTGV/AGV Main of the 4rail.net...   
  The Super High Speed Trains Main page...   


  Swiss-Italian Cisalpino 2's (Pendolino's) readied for use  
NEWS
(15.7.2008)  
First seven of the new generation Pendolino ETR610's are readied to be operated between Switzerland and Italy. The next seven of these 250 kph active tilting trains will be delivered in 2009. The trains will have to endure the demanding conditions of winter snow and ice, that stress the bogies and their tilting system. Similar trains will be delivered starting late 2009 to Karelia trains (Finnish VR Yhtyma and Russian RZD company), to similar conditions, but curiously the maximum speed of these will be just traditional 220 kph.    
(Sources: Alstom, La vie du Rail Magazine, VR Yhtyma, other sources)

  The Switzerland Main Page on 4rail.net...   
  The Cisalpino 1 Theme Page...   
  

 
 Bombardier and Transmashholding from Russia agree on joint venture  
NEWS
(11.7.2008)  
According to the companies Bombardier and Transmashholding the parties have agreed on creating a joint venture to create a new generation of asynchronous locomotives to be used in Russia. The asyncronous technique has been used in the west for decades and provides superior performance and  requires less maintenance than traditional DC technology.

The 50%/50% company will be located in Russia. The Russian market for the locomotives is the 4th largest in the world after Europe, China and North America. According to Bombardier in 2007 73% of the electric and 84 of the diesel locomotives exceeded their designed operating life. The Russian demand for the locomotives is estimated to be 1700 locomotives per year for the next 15 years for RZD (the Russian Railways) alone. This estimate can be seen slightly conservative, since the demand should include the locomotives needed to exploit new resources in Siberia and transportation of those south to China, as well as U.S.A. and Europe and rising India.     
(Sources: Bombardier, Transmashholding, other sources)  


 
 Laos to get it's first railway  
NEWS
(1.5.2008)  
Laos was officially connected to Thailand on the 3,5 kilometers (2,5 miles) of track earlier this year. Linking the town of Tha Na Laeng on the Laotian side of the river by bridge to Thailand took 18 months. The connection for it's poor neighbor was financed by Thailand, itself fast developing but still relatively poor nation. Two passenger trains from Bangkok daily will use the now opened connection.

Another phase to the project is under way as well. The extension of 30 kilometers (20 miles) is to be financed by the French Development Agency. This will take the railroad from Tha Na Laeng all the way to center of Vientiane, the capital of Laos.  The estimated costs are 13 million US dollars.

According to the CIA world fact book the Laos income per capita is a mere 1900$, but has been growing steadily about 6-7 ever since the communist governement relaxed it's rules agains the private enterprise in 1980's.   

There is also a decision on linking Vietnam and Laos by Railway. This railconnection will be funded by the communist Vietnam.    

During the French colonial period there was a 600 mm gauge railway stretching 7 kilometers to pass the rapids on the river Mekong
in Siphadone Laos. The remains of this railway can still be found today.   
(Sources: China View, Voice of America, The Nation, CIA world fact book, International steam, other sources)  


 
 Alstom of France and Transmashholding from Russia agree on joint ventures  
NEWS
(30.4.2008)  
According to the companies Alstom and Transmashholding have agreed on forming joint ventures for manufacturing railway components and rolling stock. 

This can be seen as an important move for modernizing the Russian railway equipment production and models.  With Alstoms experience on numerous strong areas like TGV/AGV and Russia's vast markets Transmashholding can be seen stronger than ever in it's dominant position as a major suppiler to the RZD, the Russian railways. Eventually we might see the TGV/AGV models on Russian Railways as well.  According to Alstom it is the largest manufacturer of the railway equipment in the world.

We will follow later the developments of the joint ventures on yet to be specified areas of expertice.  
(Sources: Alstom, Transmashholding, other sources)  


 
 Interesting discussion on the users of the new Lahti track in Finland  
NEWS
(19.3.2008)  
The city of Lahti is located about 100 kilometers from center of Helsinki, the capital Finland. Being close by numerous people pendel between the cities daily. The track to Lahti was finished just 2 years ago and a motorway next to it 10 years ago. Earlier track connections were detoured thorugh Riihimaki on the crowded main track adding both time and further congestion. Currently regional trains have hourly connection from Lahti to Helsinki and back. In addition to this there are numerous Intercity, Pendolino, etc. trains between the cities. The regional trains are literally packed with people during the rush hours and VR-yhtyma as an operator has added more of it's Sm4 type units to accommodate all the passengers.

Interesting against this backgroud is the motor way lobbyists suggestion that the new track has not been able to attract travellers away from the motorway and the rail traffic should not be subsidized. The lobbyists count only 100 passengers (2 wau trip) commuting on trains that earlier used the motorway. So, if we know there are thousands of passengers already 2 years after the opening and the trains are crowded, what is the point? The point is to get subsidized rubber wheel traffic between the cities since the rail traffic is slightly subsidized. Like with all newer rail connections, the rubber wheel and airliner traffic have been the losers in the competition against the trains. It remains to be seen, if the cars will be subsidized against the railroad traffic. This would show poor judgement with the current global energy and green house situation.      
(Sources: Helsingin Sanomat, several other sources)  
  Finland operators main page...  
  Finland operator VR-yhtyma page...  


 
 Madrid-Barcelona high speed raillink opened  NEWS (12.3.2008)  
The rail link for super high speed AVE trains finally opened between Madrid and Barcelona. This link will dramatically reduce travel time by almost 50% from over 4 hours to around 2 hours 20 minutes with the normal 300 kph (186 mph) speed limit. The line will according to plans have a 350 kph (219 mph) speed limit in the near future if all goes well pushing the time savings even further. 

According to Renfe, the Spanish National railways, there are 15 trains in traffic between the two cities. The price is 180 euros for a return trip. No estimates of the traffic volume estimates have so far been released.  
(Sources: Renfe, BBC News, Trainorders.com, other sources)  
  Super Fast Trains main page...   
  

 
 Russia to build another transsiberian railway link  NEWS (11.3.2008)  
The Russian Railways RZD have announced they will be building another Transsiberian connection. According to the RZD CEO Mr Vladamir Yakunin the planning of "SevSib" will start in 2008 and the construction in 2010 lasting an undisclosed period. The SevSib will  start at Nizhnevartovsk  and finally link to BAM (Baikal-Amur Main) in Iskutsk. RZD has only rough estimates on the price varying from about 7 to 15 billion euros (10-20b$).   (Sources: trainorders.com,  IRJ, other sources)  

 
 China to launch a 5 star luxus train  NEWS (10.3.2008)  
China Qinghai-Tibet Railway Corporation is to take into use "a rolling five star hotel" between it's capital Peking and the Tibetian capital Lhasa. This luxurious train will be equipped with 10 sq meter cabins with double bed, living room and a bathroom. The whole train will only accommodate 96 passengers for the 1142 kilometer route over the mountains. The service will start from the first of September and departures will be available every 8 days, with three train units available. The cost for the traveller? 20 times the price of a normal ticket on a normal train.  (Sources: Vasabladet, Olof Holmborg, other sources)    

 
 BHP Iron Ore to receive 10 BNSF EMD SD70ACe's  NEWS (9.3.2008)  
According to John Benson at trainorders.com the BNSF Railway (of U.S.A) is going to divert 10 SD70ACe's from it's current order of 46 locomotives to BHP Iron Ore in Australia. BHP has a shortage of locomotives, so these 10 units will provide an additional 44'000 Hp of AC power for them.   

Careful observed will notice that the US economy might be heading towards a recession, so no new power will be needed for the class 1's for a time being. BNSF will avoid the investment of 10 locomotives (that might not be used) this way. BNSF is also a long term partner of the EMD competitor General Electric, which is preparing it's line of hybrid ES44-locomotives. These might be available for BNSF use beginning from the year 2010. Compared with the EMD ACE's the GE ES44Hybrids are estimated to provide an additional 15% decrease in fuel consumption. The fuel prices will not get lower, so hybrids are one of the next logical steps.
    

 
All 19 SNCF TGV Réseau Duplex sets delivered for use  NEWS (8.3.2008)  
The opening of the high speed rail link east of Paris caused SNCF (The French National railways) an unpredicted surge in demand. The demand was already high due to the excellent economical times throughout Europe, and when the new link needed more unit to get the traffic flowing, so what do you do: 

All new high speed rail links start with relatively little volumes of passengers, so SNCF chose to be innovative. They ordered 19 new pairs of new asynchronous (more powerful than usual) TGV locomotives and coupled 19 single story Réseau sets of coaches to those for use on LGV Est 320 km/h territory. All of these units would appear to be in use now. The remaining 19 pairs of locomotives (8800kW) were coupled with new double decked (35% more passenger capacity) TGV Duplex coaches. All of these units are now in use. The Réseau-Duplex sets will be used anywhere on the normal (just!) 300 km/h high speed raillinks. The new Réseau- Duplexes are numbered as units 601 to 619, an are easily distinguishable out of the horde of the TGV's. If you have a chance, please take a picture of these units and send it to us. Only every 25th TGV unit is Réseau-Duplex, so it might take a while before one of our dozen or so photographers catches the train before camera... 
 (Sources: numerous, unit numbers from TR Europe issue 147)  
  More information on our TGV / AGV page...   
  Super Fast Trains main page...   

  Eurostar transports over 8 million passengers in 2007...  NEWS (2.3.2008)  
The Eurostar, a company arranging mainly international traffic between the United Kingdom and continental Erope, reported a record year for 2007. All figures pointed upwards, the income rose 15,5% to 599Ł million. A new record of 8,26 million travellers were carried in 2007. This happened during the year when many of the Eurostar units were on lease to SNCF due to the shortage of TGV units (where passenger demand was also high). During the year of 2007 Eurostar infrastructure was developed by opening of the new high speed track between the existing line in England and London. Renewed St Pancras station was also opened for traffic at the end of the year. The increase in train travels will benefit to greener earth, as trains use dramatically less energy compared with the competitor airliners. (Sources: Eurostar Group Ltd)  
  More information on our Eurostar page...   
  Super Fast Trains main page...    

  AGV ready for prototype tests...  NEWS (1.3.2008)  
According to Alstom, the manufacturer of the highly successful TGV family of super high speed trains, the next generation of super high speed train, the AGV (Automotrice a Grande Vitesse, High Speed EMU) is finished for an extensive testing. Alstom also told that they had closed first firm orders for the type with NTV of Italy. The first trains will start their traffic probably in 2010-11. (Sources: Alstom, other sources)
  More information on our TGV / AGV page...   
  Super Fast Trains main page...   
   
 
  Crotram's tram on test drives in Helsinki Finland...  NEWS (6.1.2008)  
  Canadian National to acquire Elgin Joliet & Eastern Railroad...  business, consolidation (15.12.2007)
 
 
The border between Korea's opened for rail traffic... 
infrastructure, networks (14.12.2007)
 
 London-Paris in 2:15, London-Brussels 1:51 starting 14.11 on Eurostar  infrastructure (14.11.2007)  
 
  CPR to acquire Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern and Iowa, Chicago &Eastern in the next consolidation act of the Railway business  business, consolidation  (10.11.2007)
  Worlds first Hybrid train in France...WRONG!  technology (16.10.2007)  
  BNSF Logistics named to top 10 logistics providers, again...  business, processes (12.10.2007)  
  Stora Enso to acquire a fleet of vagons to carry wood in Finland   business, infrastructure  (29.9.2007)  
  Transrapid Maglev chosen for Munich Germany!   technology, infrastructure  (26.9.2007)  
 
  September 2007, Georgia: Finland: VR Yhtyma to take into use more business coaches  

Finland National Railways VR-Yhtyma Oy is to take into use 20 more double decked business class coaches. The coaches upper floor is equipped state of art with leather seats, electrical outlets for laptops, enhanced mobile networks, coach service points, etc. The maximum speed for the new coaches is to be 200 km/h. More on the subjects shortly...
 
  September 2007, Georgia: Georgia hands over Railway Management to Parkfield  

Management rights of the Georgian Railway company will be handed over to the British investment fund Parkfield for 89 years, according to theGeorgian ministry of economy...
 
 
 September 2007, EU: Karelia trains to acquire 4 Pendolinos from Alstom  

A major step forward in traffic between Finland and it's neighbor Russia was the order of 4 7 car Pendolinos and the option of 2 more trains...
 
 
 August 2007, EU: The Transport Committee wishes to broaden the open access rules  

According to the European Parlament News the Transportation Committee wishes to see nonstop freight trains run from Lisbon to Liverpool and Antwerp to Athens...
 
 
 July 2007, Finland: TR Group, the first private rail operator formed  

The first competitor to 100% government owned VR Yhtymä (Finnish State Railways) was announced...


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Created for 4rail.net by John McKey. Pictures by Ilkka Siissalo, Sanna Siissalo and John McKey.






Brand new TGV-POS's pose in Paris Gare du Nord for the camera. Almost brand new...the locomotives are new, while the coaches are from the TGV-Reséau sets. Single story trains of 320 km/h serve well the limited numbers of passengers between France and Germany. Once the volumes pick up, it's guaranteed that the double decked coaches will be swapped to these units. Picture by Sanna Siissalo 2008.  
  4rail.net TGV / AGV page...   
  Super Fast Trains main page...
 



An Eurostar Capital number 3207 unboarding in Paris-GNO. Although Britain is part of the European Union as well, curiously the Eurostars are located behind the gates. While pass control rules are relaxed due to the Schengen agreement between most European countries, Britain makes an exception to the rule. Picture by Sanna Siissalo 2008. 
  4rail.net Eurostar page...   
  Super Fast Trains main page...   



A Thalys PBKA number 4243 boarding in Paris-GNO. As 40% more passengers are expected to travel the Thalyses within next 3 years, seventh daily return trip between Paris and Amsterdam will be added beginning March 2008. Picture by Sanna Siissalo 2008. 
  4rail.net TGV / AGV page...   
  Super Fast Trains main page...   



  See Re460 family page...   
Norwegian Railways NSB Class EL18 number 2252 stopping in Oslo mid 2007. 

  


 Timeline 2007  


January 5th, 2008: Helsinki, Finland  The Croatian Tram Builder Crotram to bring a tram for test drives in Helsinki




Helsinki the capital of Finland has recently recieved a Crotram tram for test drives on the real networks. The tram painted in light blue can be occasionally seen among other trams on route. The trams extremely low allowance between the floor and the ground seems to be of a concern, as  in Finland there may easily be tens of centimeters of snow some mornings and 10 centimeters thick of ice around the rails. Plus the city of Helsinki is hilly, so extra power plus slipping control to compensate that are needed. 

We will cover the subject more detailed here later. There will also be pictures of the tram coming in the near future.   

HKL of the city of Helsinki is preparing to launch tenders for over 30 narrow gauge (1 meter) trams.


Main source: 
Metro, etc. (JMcK 5.1.2008)    

     
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December 14, 2007: South Korea, North Korea   The rail connection between the Korea's reopened




After several decades of no railway connections between the two Korea's there has finally been a step forward and the rail line connecting South Korea at Paju and North Korea was officially opened on the 11th of December 2007. The first train that rolled across was powered by a Korail owned EMD GT26CW (an export model of the US SD40-2) and transported construction equipment. The industrial area on the North Korean side could provide hard currency for the totalitarian government on the northern side and could pave way to modernizing little by little the backward economy.

In addition to the fresh start for the two Koreas now opened line could be finally accessed/extended throught the whole North Korea to provide access for the Korean products for Asian and Europe by rail. There have been discussion on the container trains between Europe and South Korea for years, but so far the North Korea has been unable to provide the necessary rail connection. The newly started cooperation between the two Koreas could open the Northern managements eyes to see that quicker access to the Asian and European markets could provide some income for the poor North as well.

Main source: www.yahoo.com, www.trainorders.com
, Helsingin Sanomat paper, Metro, etc. (JMcK 14.12.2007)    

     
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November 14, 2007: France, Great Britain, Belgium    London St Pancras reopened to Eurostar traffic to Paris and Brussels via High Speed 1 line 

Eurostar set
Eurostar set in UK

On november 14th the Eurostar service from London to Paris will be transferred from London Waterloo station to the renewed St Pancras International station.  St Pancras International has now 6 455 meter platforms for Eurostar trains, plus services like shops, boutiques, cafes, restaurants, daily farmers market and the longest champagne bar in Europe! The second phase of the British High Speed 1 Line will cut the journey times from London to Paris to 2h15min, to Brussels 1:51 and to Lille just 1:20! The great European population centers have never been closer together. Travelling from city center to city center makes a daily trip between any of the destinations accessible, easy and comfortable. 

St Pancras has 6 underground lines connecting the travellers with London and 7 rail companies connect the nearby stations with the rest of the UK.

The original St Pancras was named after the 14 year old orphan who was killed in Rome the year 303 and became a
Christian martyr. The original station was built at the height of the first railway boom of the late 1800's. The building with it's gothic facade was first opened to service in 1868.

For more information see Eurostar St Pancras at:
http://www.eurostar.com/UK/uk/leisure/about_eurostar/on_the_move.jsp  
http://stpancras.eurostar.com/en-gb/story-so-far  
http://www.eurostar.com/UK/uk/leisure/about_eurostar/on_the_move/top_ten_facts.jsp    


Main source: www.euroastar.com, others: Metro, 100-paper, John Mckey (JMcK 14.11.2007)    
  High speed section of the site: Eurostar, TGV/AGV, ICE3, Pendolino, Shinkansen, Maglev...         
  To the top of the page  


November 10, 2007:
USA, Canada  
 CPR to acquire Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern and Iowa, Chicago & Eastern in the next consolidation move of the Railway business 


 

DM&E and C&EI may be riding to the sunset as independent railway companies but being bought by the Canadian Pacific Railway creates them a new sunrise as a part of a major system shipping grain and in the not so distant future coal as well. The Canadian Pacific Railway Limited announced on October 4th, that it has completed the transaction to acquire Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad Corporation and its subsidiaries.  

DM&E President and CEO Kevin V. Schieffer commented the sale "...we chose CP in large part because of its demonstrated knowledge and shared vision in our PRB project, and commitment to employee, customer and community issues. This is a good deal for all involved."  

The background of the merger is an agressive expansion of the both Canadian originating railroad companies Canadian National and now in response to the challenge Canadian Pacific Railway as well. The move will make CPR possibility to reach the lucrative powder river coal resources and give access to both South Dakota and Iowa grain growing areas.        


Main source: Dakota Minnesota and Eastern railroad Corporation, Trains Magazine, www.cpr.ca  (JMcK 13.11.2007)    
         
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October 2007: France   "World's first Hybrid train in France"...not quite 


4rail.net has been following the development of the hybrid power on trains since it was founded. So it's quite surprising to find an article on one of the major railroading magazine Trains stating that the worlds first hybrid train was taken into use in France. Although this incorrect news has been publicized widely in the world one would think, that at least the magazine that writes in almost every number about the development of the hybrids, would know better...oops, mistakes happen.

Lets put the facts right: 
1) The train Bombardier has delivered to SNCF/regions is a bimodal electric/diesel-electric, with electric pickup for dual voltages for 1500 and 25000 Volts, like is normal in France. Bimodal might be novelty in France. There are 144 similar trains in order to French regions. The maximum speed of the train is modest 160 km/h (100mph).     

2) SNCF and Bombardier talk about Bimodal Bielectric "Bibi" (which sounds a bit funny in French).  
The first known bimodal to 4rail.net so far were the 60 units to New Haven FL9's built in 1956-1960! So nothing new here either...

3) The word hybrid is normally associated with batteries onboard. The U.S. seems to be swarming with hybrid locomotives, especially in the states of California and Texas. 

4) If you insist that there is a difference between a hybrid locomotive and hybrid train (ignoring the fact that locomotive is just a modular part of a train), the Japanese managed to be first in building a passenger unit train the "Kiha E200"
, that is truly hybrid (not just bimodal). In July 2007 East Japan Railway Co (JR East) put a hybrid train into service. The train uses two 95kW electric motors, a 330kW diesel engine coupled to 180kW generator and a 10kWh lithium ion battery pack. The batteries can be charged both by the generator and regenerative braking (the electric motors used as generators).           

So this is truly a small train.  Should anyone have a picture of a train, please send it to 4rail.net!


Sources: www.ecogeek.org, www.sncf.fr, www.wikipedia.org, www.trainorders.com, www.railpower.com, www.jreast.co.jp. (JMcK 16.10.2007)    
  New technology, modular design and hybrids theme section...         
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October 2007: USA West   BNSF Logistics, part of the BNSF Railway, named again to the top 10 logistic providers

ES44DC 7530


According to BNSF Railway the BNSF Logistics has been named one of the top 10 logistics providers 4th year in a row. The survey of Inbound Logistics’ annual “Top 10 3PL Excellence Award” provided the very positive result. Survey got ower 4000 votes to rate the 400 logistics companies.  

According to Stratton at Inbound Logistics, who provided the survey, “Customers are looking for an innovative and flexible service provider that is willing to adapt, change and anticipate current and future needs, so it isn’t any surprise that these same readers nominated BNSF Logistics, again, for the fourth consecutive year.”

“As we grow and develop BNSF Logistics, we continue to listen to our customers and focus on our employees. This award continues to affirm our progress, and we thank our customers and I thank our employees,” stated Eric Wolfe, vice president and general manager of BNSF Logistics. “We will continue to evolve our service portfolio to reflect our most current and future customer needs.”

BNSF Logistics is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (NYSE: BNI) and provides customers with a comprehensive set of supply chain solutions ranging from management and execution of single shipment transactions to daily management of complex distribution and sourcing networks.

Inbound Logistics
magazine, the annual survey provider, started in 1981 with the educational mission of helping leading US companies better manage corporate resources by speeding and reducing inventory and supporting infrastructure, and better matching demand signals to supply lines.

(JMcK 12.10.2007) Sources: BNSF Railway.    
     
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September 29th 2007: Finland   Stora Enso is to acquire a fleet of 300 wagons of it's own to meet the wood transportation needs 


According to Helsingin Sanomat The multinational paper manufacturer Stora Enso is to acquire 300 cars to transport raw wood to it's plants within Finland.  The article quotes, that the National Railways VR-Yhtyma has been unable to meet the demand  of Stora Enso. As this discussion has been going on for years, the order was avaited.

The order marks also the start of competition inside Finnish railnetworks, as no other operator has earlier invested in rolling stock to be used nation wide. Stora Enso has yet to decide whether to use the motive power of VR-Yhtyma or some other operator, when the new cars arrive.  

We will cover later more details on the subject.

(JMcK 29.9.2007) Sources: Helsingin Sanomat paper.    
     
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September, 2007:
USA, Canada  
 CN to Acquire EJ&E  


 

Further consolidating the railroad business in the U.S. Elgin Joliet & Eastern Railroad is to be bought by Canadian National from Transtar (U.S. Steel subsiudiary) for 300 million $. EJ&E will enable CN to bypass trackage rights-routes and provide CN better access to the heart of the U.S. CN is said to spend further 100 million to improve EJ&E lines and connect them to the CN network.

EJ&E, a Class II railroad, operates over 198 main line miles of track encircling the City of Chicago from Waukegan, Ill., on the north, to Joliet, Ill., on the west, to Gary, Ind., on the southeast, and then to South Chicago.lgin Joliet

More on the subject:
http://www.cn.ca/about/media/news_releases/2007/3rd_quarter/en_News20070926.shtml
http://www.tstarinc.com/eje/
http://www.ejearchive.com/


Main source:
Elgin Joliet & Eastern Railroad, Canadian National Railway Company , Trains Magazine, www.cpr.ca  (JMcK 14.12.2007)    

         
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September 26th 2007: Munich Germany   Transrapid Maglev chosen for the Munich Main to Airport transportation    


Munich Germany is to take a major step forward with the decision to build an infrastructure between the Airport (Frans Josef Strauss) and the main station in the heart of the city. This stretch is going to be operated by German built Maglev trains and operated by Deutsche Bahn. The consortium to implement the project consists of the state of Bavaria, Deutsche Bahn, and the CEO's of the industrial companies involved. 

The decision can be seen as a matter of national pride, as Germany has been developing Maglev since 1960's. Also Germanys attractiveness as a business location and securing the future of the maglev technology were mentioned. This is only the second commercial Maglev project in the world the city of Shanghai in China being the first to have taken the technology into use. The Changhai Maglev links the airport to the center of the city as well. The heavy investment costs involved in magnetical levitation has slowed the implementation of the otherwise mature technology.    

The Munich Maglev replaces a traditional slow raillink with 40 minutes travel time for 37 kilometers distance. The Maglev will take only 10 minutes to run this distance with a top speed of 350 km/h.    

(JMcK 26.9.2007) Sources: Transrapid press release, BBC News, other sources.    
A Transrapid Maglev Demo at Munich Hauptbahnhof     
  Super Fast trains theme page      
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September 2007: Finland - Russia   Karelia trains to acquire 4 Pendolinos from Alstom    


A major step forward forward in traffics development between Finland and it's neighbor Russia was the order of 4 units of 7 car Pendolinos and the option of 2 more such trains. The order was made for the Karelia trains, which is a joint operation between the RZD (Russian State Railways) and the Finnish national operator VR Yhtyma. According to VR Yhtyma news release all trains will enter the service in 2010. The sum of the deal is said to be around 120 million €. The maximum speed of the new units is a modest 220 km/h, suitable for the cold climate and trains tilting construction. VR Yhtyma currently has a small number of Pendolinos for Finlands internal traffic.  

Currently several traditional passenger trains traffic between the Finnish capital Helsinki and Russian cities of St Petersburg and Moscow. As the traffic has respectable growth figures, the target is to replace the trains to St Petersburg dropping travel times from the current 5,5 hours to 3 hours. The change would include the border inspections abord the trains.

The Russians have informed they will be rebuilding their part of the track network by 2008 and the Finnish rebuilding of the track currently under way is to be Finished by year 2011. The Finnish network includes the existing high speed raillink between Lahti and Kerava, which was opened in 200x.

(JMcK 13.9.2007) Sources: European Parlament Committee on Transport and Tourism 10.9.2007, other sources   
   
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September 2007: Georgia   Georgia hands over railway management to Parkfield    


Management rights of the Georgian Railway company will be handed over to the British investment fund Parkfield for 89 years, according to the Georgian ministry of economy. This procedure was chosen as an alternative to the outright sale of the Georgian national railway. Parkfield is said to have pledged to invest USD 1 billion in the rehabilitation of railway infrastructure over the next ten years. This is Parkfield's first investment in the railway business. The company intends to delegate management responsibilities to a separate entity - a leading international company with experience in railway management,according to the Georgian government. 

(IS 18.9.2007) Sources: www.railway.ge, other sources   
   
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August 2007: European Union   European Parlament Transport Committee wishes to broaden the open access rules    

According to the European Parlament News the Transportation Committee wishes to see nonstop freight trains run from Lisbon to Liverpool and Antwerp to Athens. The target is to revitalize the railways by removing artificial obstacles to the free circulation of trains throughout the European networks. 

Currently the interoperatibility of European railways is lacking. National approval of the locomotives are seen by the Transportation Committee as a barrier to creating an EU wide railway system. So the target is to find a mutual  acceptance of specifications for both existing and new rolling stock.  
 
In addition to the Commission proposals, the Committee adopted a range of technical compromise amendments that restructure a proposed procedure for authorising the placing in service of railway vehicles that comply with Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs) based on European standards and national rules. (Further details on this issue later)   
 
The committee adopted a compromise text, which makes it clear that there needs to be someone responsible for checking that each vehicle is properly maintained. But the report also says that responsibility for operating safety must in any event rest with the railway operator. This compromise takes account of the existing interoperability provisions of the EU Regulation on the European Railway Agency and the Railway Safety Directive (RSD).
 
The major profile uppgrade was that MEPs also favored granting more powers to the European Railway Agency, and said that from 2015, this agency, instead of it's national counterparts, should grant authorisations for railway vehicles to operate Community-wide.

The above mentioned means further open the access modifications of railway networks to the direction European Union has aimed at it's target of free movement of people and goods between the member countries.

(JMcK 13.9.2007) Sources: European Parlament Committee on Transport and Tourism 10.9.2007, other sources   
In the picture above the double Re460's of Swiss operator SBB/CFF race down the mountain slope. The Switzerland, although not part of the European Union, has opened much of it's railnetwork to competition in return for access to European railway networks.   
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July 2007: Finland   Teollisuuden Raideliikenne Oy TR Group formed  
 



 
The first competitor to 100% government owned VR Yhtymä (Finnish State Railways) was announced. According to the press releases Teollisuuden Raideliikenne Oy TR Group will concentrate on serving the bigger industries. The target is carefully chosen with moderately steady and high volumes of bulk products like lumber, paper, minerals, etc. The starting time occurs at a great time when the European economy is booming.   

At the time of the press release in July 2007 nothing could be found on this company on the company registers authority at YTJ. However, after a few weeks wait more facts were found on the net:  

TR Group will start it's operation in 2008, if it can acquire the necessary safety certificate in time. According to some sources the president of Railroad Administration (Rautatievirasto) considers the timetable tight, but the goals possible to achieve.  If there was another "open access" operator in Finland, their safety certificate and rolling stock of the operator could be used. Bringing rolling stock from other European Union countries or Ruissia would seem possible too, but those would currently have to be inpected and certified for use and have a Finnish train control systems installed (in some parts of the country the general European system is already in use). European Union is said to have been preparing to issue a directive, that will allow the use of rolling stock that has been licenced to operate in one country to operate in any other country (given same condition) as well.  More on this issue later.

TR Group is said to start operation in the whole network, but probably starting from Eastern Finalnd, where most of
the lucrative bulk transports exist. According to sources the president of the TR Group Markku Soininen estimates that the volumes transported will be considerable. The first customers should be in forestry and mining industries.

Teollisuuden Raideliikenne Oy TR Group (formed Mach 2007) can be found at Kiuruvesi in the middle of Finland.  


Finland is a major paper producer of the world with numerous forestry companies like M Real, UPM, ..., so there should be plenty of markets for several players. It will be interesting to see, if the new company will lease some of the units used on the former East European network, or whether they will acquire new units, or maybe lease some units from VR Yhtyma or Russian companies. The former East European network has the same track width as Finland. Eesti Raudtee probably has some American originating surplus locomotyives of type C30-7i's/
C30-7i's, which could easily be adapted to Finnish network (According to EU's coming directive, if the locomotive is approved somewhere it might be used in other parts of the union as well. This new rule would fix the costly and time consuming approval process some member countries have issued to fight the liberalization on their rail networks). Although slightly heavy (10% over the limits), these six axle freight locomotives might otherwise be easily adapted to most rail routes. Their axle weight is 27,1 to xx metric tons. 2Te116's and Tem2's and Tem3's could be used easily well. At the current time 4rail.net has no news on the actual plans of the Teollisuuden Raideliikenne. In Europe, however, very few open access operators have been able to challenge the existing Railroad organizations in a short run.   

(JMcK 3.9.2007) Sources: Todays Railways Magazine, YTJ, www.uranus.fi, sources in Estonia, other sources   
The picture above of both Eesti Raudtee C36-7i and following C30-7i is taken from northern Estonia.  
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 Timeline 1900 - 2006  
April 2007:   123

123   
April 2007:   123
123   
123
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 Timeline 1700 - 1899  
The early history part of the Timeline has moved to it's own page due to the ever increasing number of articles on it.

 
Early history of the railways

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