1.Crossrail Royal Oak to Bond Street July 6, 2016

Crossrail Ltd. have released new images of their fit-out activities taking place in the tunnels linking Crossrail Royal Oak to Bond Street.

nullAs part of the permanent track installation in the west, concrete is transported on a concrete shuttle from the temporary rail-head at Westbourne Park. The pre-mixed reinforced concrete is delivered into the tunnels and pumped into place. The machinery used in the fit-out process is all customized for Crossrail to meet the high specifications for the tunnels, stations, shafts and portals.

About Crossrail
The Crossrail construction is the largest infrastructure project in Europe. The project will connect Shenfield in Essex with Reading in Berkshire. Construction began in 2008, and is scheduled to be fully operational in 2019. Crossrail will increase the city’s rail transport capacity by up to 10% and bring an additional 1.5 million people within commuting distance to Central London. This will allow up to 30,000 new jobs in the capital within a decade of opening, sustaining the growth of the UK economy.
The service will operate 24 trains per hour at peak times in each direction from Paddington to Whitechapel, taking twenty minutes off the travel time from Heathrow to Central London. It is estimated by Crossrail that approximately 200 million passengers will use the service annually.
The 40 stations that Crossrail will call at each require 250m platforms to accommodate the long trains. In order to ensure the final dimensions of the stations, a perfect mockup of the platform was constructed from foam and plywood, experimenting with various materials and finishes for both an aesthetic and practical effect. Some of the stations will be as deep as 40m below the surface, with many of the mainline, London Underground and DLR stations enjoying a face-lift as part of the works.
Reference: Railway News – Railway suppliers and products

2.Rail Depots Maintenance Facilities Conference 2016 July 7, 2016

The Rail Depots & Maintenance Facilities Conference 2016 will take place in Washington DC on 27–28 July. Speakers include representatives of Transit Authorities from Maryland, Massachusetts Bay, Atlanta, Chicago, Sacramento, Pennsylvania, Southern California and New York city, and corporations including Railshine and Amtrak.

nullKeynote speeches will be given on subjects including optimized depot layout and the improved use of existing facilities by way of design and management to enhance productivity and cost-effectiveness. There will also be keynote speeches on overhauling facilities and re configuring maintenance equipment over replacing with new equipment.
Case studies on facility upgrades for light rail, including points of access and the challenges presented by maintenance on low floor versus high floor vehicles. Railshine will share their experiences in infrastructure works, including the impact electrification has on rail maintenance depots and how both electric and diesel train-sets can be accommodated in the same depot.
Scott McAleese from Chicago Transit Authority will speak on the cost-benefit case of cranes and hoists, how best they can be utilized and how to minimize disruption when upgrading and overhauling cranes and hoists within depots. Depot layout including the pros and cons of centralized and decentralized facilities, upgrading facilities without disrupting maintenance operations, and how projects can be managed on time and within budget. Staff competency and training will also be presented.
Other areas including supply chains for spare parts and equipment, capital funding options, the cost-effectiveness of new facility builds and rehabilitation of existing facilities. Predictive maintenance technologies will also be discussed alongside progressive overhaul methods in order to improve train availability, as well as condition based maintenance over scheduled maintenance and the various issues relating to this.
There will also be plenty of opportunity to network and meet with existing contacts at refreshments, lunches and a networking drinks in the exhibition showcase area.
Reference: Railway News – Railway suppliers and products

3.Germany increases regional rail funding

nullGERMANY’s federal council laid the legislative foundations to strengthen urban and regional rail services at its sitting on July 8. This follows the approval of a legislative package by the Bundestag on July 7.

This means that €8.2bn will now be made available each year to spend on urban and regional passenger rail to improve both infrastructure and rolling stock.

The federal states have been lobbying for a reduction in the rate at which track access charges are being increased. Access charges have risen sharply in the past and swallowed a large chunk of the available funding. The federal government says it has listened to these concerns and in future track access charges will only increase by 1.8% a year, which the German Railway Industry Association (VDB) regards as big victory.
“The political agreement can finally provide the German railway industry with the necessary clarity and planning security as a provider of regional and local trains and infrastructure equipment,” says the VDB’s CEO Mr Ben Möbius. “The financial basis has now been secured for regional passenger rail transport in Germany for the next few years. With 2.5 billion passengers a year, regional rail is the backbone of mobility in Germany.”
However, Möbius does not want to see long-distance passenger services being forced to pick up the bill to pay for the new regional rail track access agreement. “You cannot solve one problem by creating a new one,” Möbius points out.
The new legislation should also pave the way for increased competition on and deregulation of the German rail network, for example by improving access for operators to train maintenance facilities.