20 rail projects to watch in 2020
Oscar Sinclair, 21/01/20

IRJ Market Analyst, Oscar Sinclair, profiles the 20 rail projects to watch in the next 12 months.

Lagos - Ibadan Railway

  • Country: Nigeria
  • Type: Main Line
  • Construction Start: 2017
  • Completion: 2020
  • Length: 156km
  • Cost: $US 1.53bn

China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) was awarded a $US 1.53bn contract to construct the line in 2012. The project was originally scheduled to be completed at the end of 2018 but has faced numerous delays. Heavy rain in the spring of 2018, which forced CCECC to evacuate its employees as a precaution, and the 2019 general election has pushed the commissioning date back to May 2020.

Western and Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridors

  • Country: India
  • Type: Heavy Haul
  • Construction Start: 2012
  • Completion: 2021
  • Length: 3360km (total)
  • Cost: $US 11.74bn

Construction of the first two Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC), the 1856km Eastern DFC and the 1504km Western DFC, will be nearing completion this year. It is hoped that 990km of track will become operational in the first half of 2020, with full commissioning scheduled in 2021. The two DFC projects were approved by the government in 2006 and have seen slow progress with many deadlines missed. The maximum speed on the lines will be 100km/h, a large increase from the average of 30km/h on India’s rail freight network.

Shanghe - Hangzhou Expressway

  • Country: China
  • Type: High-speed
  • Construction Start: 2015
  • Completion: 2020
  • Length: 794km
  • Cost: $US 13.6bn

The new line will connect the cities of Shangqiu, Hefei and Hangzhou, which are located in three separate provinces. The project includes the construction of the 3.6km Taihu Mountain Tunnel. The 400km Shangqiu to Hefei section of the line was commissioned in early December 2019, with the remaining section slated for completion in the first half of 2020.

Yinxi High-Speed Railway

  • Country: China
  • Type: High-speed
  • Construction Start: 2015
  • Completion: 2020
  • Length: 618km
  • Cost: $US 11.6bn

The new line will connect the two cities of Yinchuan and Xi’an and will serve a total of 20 stations. Trains will travel at 250km/h and the line will have the capacity for up to 30 million annual passengers. Commissioning is expected to take place at the end of the year.

Ankara - Sivas HSL

  • Country: Turkey
  • Type: High-speed
  • Construction Start: 2008
  • Completion: 2020
  • Length: 253km
  • Cost: $US 1.56bn

The Ankara - Sivas high-speed line is set to open in May and was 95% complete as of October 2019. The project includes 49 tunnels totalling 66km in length, with the longest over 5km long, and over 600 bridges and 217 over and underpasses. The line will provide a much shorter link between Ankara and Sivas and will eventually be extended further east.

Bayan Lepas LRT

  • Country: Malaysia
  • Type: Light Rail
  • Construction Start: 2020
  • Completion: 2026
  • Length: 29.5km
  • Cost: $US 2bn

The Bayan Lepas LRT will be the first light rail transit system in the Malaysian state of Penang. The planned route will connect George Town city centre with the industrial town of Bayan Lepas in the south of the island. Construction of the line was approved in April 2019 and work is expected to begin in mid-2020.

Bangkok Red Line

  • Country: Thailand
  • Type: Metro
  • Construction Start: 2013
  • Completion: 2020
  • Length: 26.3km
  • Cost: $US 3.1bn

Commissioning of the first section of Bangkok’s elevated Red Line is expected to begin this year. Hitachi is due to complete delivery of 25 new trains for the line in June 2020 and testing on the line will begin in January next year.

Ho Chi Minh Line 1

  • Country: Vietnam
  • Type: Metro
  • Construction Start: 2012
  • Completion: 2021
  • Length: 19.7km
  • Cost: $US 2.5bn

A feasibility study for the project was conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) in 2006. However, progress has been slow. Costs for the line have ballooned from an initial estimate of $US 1.4bn to $US 2.5bn. Work was due to be completed in 2018 but has been pushed back to the end of 2020 with the opening expected in early 2021.

Baghdad Metro

  • Country: Iraq
  • Type: Metro
  • Construction Start: 2020
  • Completion: 2025
  • Length: 22km
  • Cost: $US 2.5bn

Construction of the much-delayed Baghdad metro could start early this year with Iraq’s government intending to include the project in its 2020 budget. In 2018, a consortium of Alstom and Hyundai submitted a bid for the project backed by a soft loan from a consortium of five foreign banks. The project is projected to take five years to complete.

Sydney Metro West

  • Country: Australia
  • Type: Metro
  • Construction Start: 2020
  • Completion: 2030
  • Length: 25km
  • Cost: $US 13.5bn

The new 24km underground Sydney Metro West project will reduce the travel time between Parramatta and the Sydney CBD to 20 minutes. More than 50km of tunnel will need to be constructed for the line, the longest in Australian history. Construction is scheduled to begin this year, generating 10,000 direct jobs.

North Bothnia Line

  • Country: Sweden
  • Type: Main Line
  • Construction Start: 2018
  • Completion: 2020
  • Length: 270km
  • Cost: $US 3bn

A continuation of the existing Botniabanan, the 270km Norrbotniabanan will create a direct coastal rail link between Umeå and Luleå in northern Sweden. The new line will reduce journey times between towns in northern Sweden, serving up to 1.6 million passengers per year, and permit an increase in the maximum weight of freight trains from 1100 to 1600 tonnes.

Rail Baltica

  • Country: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
  • Type: High-speed
  • Construction Start: 2019
  • Completion: 2026
  • Length: 870km
  • Cost: $US 5.8bn

One of the priority projects of the European Union (EU) Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T), Rail Baltica is a joint venture for the construction of an 870km 240km/h mixed-traffic standard-gauge railway from the Estonian capital Tallinn, via Riga and Riga Airport in Latvia, and Panevezys and Kaunas in Lithuania, to the Polish border, with a branch from Kaunas to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. The project is expected to bring a multitude of socio-economic benefits to the region and be the catalyst for building a new economic corridor. Construction is already underway on the Estonian and Lithuanian sections, with the Latvian section expected to begin this year.

Texas Central Railway

  • Country: United States
  • Type: High-speed
  • Construction Start: 2020
  • Completion: 2026
  • Length: 390km
  • Cost: $US 20bn

The Texas Central Railway project has made significant strides in the past year and construction is expected to begin in 2020. Texas Central, the Dallas-based company developing the project, awarded a $US 14bn construction contract to Italy’s Salini Impregilo in September. Once complete, the new line will link Dallas and Houston in under 90 minutes, with trains departing every 30 minutes during peak hours. The line will be entirely privately financed, making it the first private high-speed line in the world.

Calgary Green Line LRT

  • Country: Canada
  • Type: Light Rail
  • Construction Start: 2020
  • Completion: 2026
  • Length: 46km
  • Cost: $US 3.7bn

The Green Line will serve 28 stations and add 46km to Calgary’s 59km light rail network. Construction on phase 1 comprising the central section through downtown and including the Centre City Tunnel is expected to start this year. Described by the city council as “the top infrastructure priority for Calgary,” the Green Line is forecast to carry around 41 million passengers a year and will be the first light rail line in the city to use low-floor vehicles.

Las Vegas - Victorville HSL

  • Country: United States
  • Type: High-speed
  • Construction Start: 2020
  • Completion: 2023
  • Length: 270km
  • Cost: $US 8bn

The plan to build a high-speed line between Victor Valley and Las Vegas secured state approval in October and will receive $US 3.25bn in bonds from the California Infrastructure and Economic Bank. The funding is a big step forward for the project and construction is now expected to begin this year. Virgin Trains USA is leading the project and there are plans for a future extension to Los Angeles.

Bogota Metro Line 1

  • Country: Colombia
  • Type: Metro
  • Construction Start: 2020
  • Completion: 2024
  • Length: 23.9km
  • Cost: $US 5.1bn

The Bogotá Metro has been a topic of debate since the 1950s when the collapse of Bogotá Tramways left a void in the capital’s mass transit system. In October, a consortium of China Harbor Engineering Company and Xi’an Metro Company won a $US 5.16bn contract to design, build, operate and maintain Line 1. Work on the elevated line is expected to begin in April, with construction taking four years to complete.

Murcia - Almeria HSL

  • Country: Spain
  • Type: High-speed
  • Construction Start: 2020
  • Completion: 2022
  • Length: 184km
  • Cost: $US 2.8bn

The new line will link the cities of Murcia and Almeria in southeastern Spain and will bridge a gap in the Mediterranean Corridor. The line will include two standard-gauge high-speed tracks for passenger trains with a maximum design speed of 300km/h and an 1668mm-gauge track for freight. The project is being constructed in sections, with some progressing faster than others. Political disagreements have also held up work.

Grand Paris Express - Line 18

  • Country: France
  • Type: Metro
  • Construction Start: 2020
  • Completion: 2027
  • Length: 35km
  • Cost: $US 3bn

Line 18 will connect Orly airport to Versailles by 2030, serving the Saclay Plateau’s Innovation and Research clusters as well as large residential areas. The line will consist of a 14km underground and 21km elevated section and is part of the Grand Paris Express project to develop four automated lines spanning 200km.

Cairo Monorail

  • Country: Egypt
  • Type: Monorail
  • Construction Start: 2020
  • Completion: 2024
  • Length: 52km
  • Cost: $US 4.5bn

The Cairo Monorail network will comprise a 52km line from New Administrative City to East Cairo and a 42km line connecting 6th of October City with Giza. Egypt’s Ministry of Transport announced it had selected a consortium of Bombardier and Egyptian companies Orascom Construction and Arab Contractors as preferred bidder for the two projects in May 2019.

Chennai Metro Phase 2

  • Country: India
  • Type: Metro
  • Construction Start: 2020
  • Completion: 2025
  • Length: 118.9km (total)
  • Cost: $US 6.3bn

Phase 2 comprises three separate lines spanning 118.9km and serving 128 stations. Construction is expected to begin in the first half of the year and take four to five years to complete. At present, soil tests and detailed design work is underway. To avoid delays by contractors, Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) plans to carry out station, viaduct and tunnelling work independently.

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China ramps up metro and high-speed construction
Oscar Sinclair, 15/01/20

China will continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in 2020 with new waves of metro expansion and high-speed rail development. Oscar Sinclair examines what lies ahead.

CHINA’s vision of an integrated and sustainable transport system is centred on a network of urban lines and high-speed rail interconnectivity between all major cities. The country has been investing heavily in high-speed and metro projects over the past decade to make this come to fruition with further notable progress expected in the next 12 months.

At the 2019 Yangtze River Delta Rail Transit Integration Development Summit Forum in November 2019, it was announced that China’s rail network will reach 150,000km in 2020.

The current network includes over 30,000km of high-speed line and serves 75% of cities with a population of 500,000 or more. China plans to further extend the network to 200,000km over the coming decade, of which over 45,000km will be high-speed lines.


Since the release of ‘Opinions on Further Strengthening the Management of Urban Rail Transit Planning and Construction’ by China’s General Office of State Council in July 2018, the conditions required to develop metro projects have been tightened.

Various socioeconomic factors such as population density and regional GDP need to be assessed before committing to projects. The promulgation of Opinions was enforced to avoid excessive debt and financial risks.

Many cities’ applications for metro construction have since been pushed back. However, China’ seven megacities - defined as those with a population of over 10 million people in the centre - have not been affected much by the change with smaller regional cities taking the brunt of the squeeze.

According to the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan, by 2020 China will increase its urban rail network by 3000km and will have 13 cities with over 200km of operational track. A further six cities will have over 400km of operational lines.

Nanjing, Shenzhen and Chengdu are expected to join Beijing and Shanghai with 500km of operational metro in 2020, with Chongqing and Wuhan not far behind. The recent approval of additional phases has ushered in a new wave in metro construction.

In Nanjing a total of 157.2km of track is expected to be added by the end of 2020, bringing the system’s total length to 540km. The new decade will also see the city enter its final phase of construction, which is expected to be completed by 2030, taking the total length to 617km across 17 lines.

Shenzhen currently has 292km of operational line and is planning to reach over 300km by the end of 2019. With 14 metro projects under construction, the highest in the country and the highest number in China’s history of constructing metro projects, the network will expand drastically to more than 500km this year. Shenzhen’s long-term plan is to have a 720km network spread across 20 lines.

Chengdu currently has over 350km of new line under construction and the system is expected to reach 508km by the end of 2020, with nine projects expected to be commissioned. The city’s operational mileage is currently 226km, ranking it eighth in the country. In 2020, it is expected that it will jump to fourth in the table.

Chengdu is planning to open phase 1 of Tianfu International Airport this year which will have the capacity to handle 90 million annual passengers. The airport will have metro and high- speed line connections.

Wuhan’s Urban Rail Transit Phase 4 construction plan (2019-2024) was officially approved in January 2019. A total of four metro projects, totalling 81.7km, will be constructed as part of phase 4. The plan also includes four urban express lines with a total length of 116.7km.

Wuhan currently has a larger network than Shenzhen at 339km but this will grow to 400km in 2020, and to 606km across 14 lines by 2024.

Chongqing’s distinctive system that passes through buildings and mountains is expected to reach 450km in 2020. Line 9 will open to traffic in 2020, which will add 40.5km to the network.

Guangzhou approved the construction of 10 new metro lines under phase 3 of the city’s Urban Rail Transit Construction Plan (2017-2023). The new phase will add 258.1km to the network and is estimated to cost Yuan 219.6bn ($US 31.28bn). The plan also integrates the inter-city rail network with the rest of the Pearl River Delta region. By 2023, it is estimated Guangzhou’s network will extend to 800km with 18 lines.

Xi’an’s Urban Rail Transit Phase 3 construction plan (2019-2024) was also approved in July 2019. Phase 3 includes an extension of Metro Line 1, which will connect to the city of Xianyang, and the construction of five new lines and two extensions, with a total length of 150km. The projects are estimated to cost Yuan 96.9bn.

Hangzhou is also anticipating rapid development in anticipation of the 2022 Asian Games. The city plans to develop 10 metro lines and four inter-city lines. Once complete in 2022 the city will have more than quadrupled its current active network to 516km.

Yinchuan, Taiyuan, Haikou, Xining, Hohhot and Lhasa are among the provincial capitals yet to develop metro systems. However, new networks are under construction in Hohhot and Taiyuan with these scheduled to open at the end of 2019 and in 2020 respectively.


China’s high-speed network is not only the world’s largest and fastest, it remains the most ambitious with more lines and connections consistently added and the testing of new ever faster train prototypes underway.

The country continues its bold expansion plans with over 11,000km of lines currently under construction according to IRJ Project Monitor and a further 15 projects expected to be commissioned by the end of 2020. The results have come at a high cost, with China investing an average of $US 100bn per year in high-speed rail.

According to the International Union of Railways (UIC), China had a 31,043km high-speed network as of October 2019. UIC predicts that by 2030-2035 China’s high-speed lines could exceed 80,000km, which will pose a big challenge for operators, industry and authorities.

High-speed rail is becoming a favoured mode of transport for the Chinese due to its affordability, comfort and speed. A total of 3.13 billion passenger trips were made on high-speed lines between the start of 2019 and October, a year-on-year increase of 8.9% according to the Ministry of Transport. The ministry has predicted that 3.6 billion trips will have been made by the end of 2019, a staggering increase of 92% since 2012.

China is not only focusing on the expansion of new lines but also on automation. Operation on the 190km automated Beijing - Zhangjiakou high-speed line was expected to commence before the end of 2019. The line, which has 10 stations, is being built in preparation for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and will offer 350km/h operation, reducing the travel time between the cities from three hours to just 50 minutes. The Yuan 53.5bn project was designed and constructed by China Railway Engineering Consulting Group.

China is also intensifying research on maglev technology. China built the world’s first commercial maglev system - the 30km stretch between Shanghai city centre and Pudong Airport - in 2002. The line was developed using German technology and with the support of a German consortium and is still the world’s fastest commercial train system, operating at up to 431km/h.

China is now working to develop even faster maglev technology. In May 2019, CRRC unveiled a prototype maglev train that engineers claim could travel commercially at up to 600km/h. A working prototype is expected to be completed this year ahead of the start of tests in 2021.

China is also planning a ‘super high-speed railway’ that will support trains at 800km/h, rivalling passenger aviation. The proposed 308km line will link Chengdu with Chongqing and would reduce the travel time between the two cities to less than half an hour, supporting China’s plans to form a ‘super city’.

Research is also underway into ‘super maglev’ technology which could operate at 1000km/h or more. Researchers in China are looking at creating what has been dubbed as a ‘flying train’ that will run on maglev technology and travel through a vacuum tube at supersonic speeds of 4000km/h, around three times faster than hyperloop. State-owned contractors Casic currently hold over 200 patents for the project.

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Fleet order value passes $US 30bn in 2019
Oscar Sinclair, 07/01/20

​IRJ Pro market analyst Oscar Sinclair takes a look at the trends and orders which shaped the rolling stock market in 2019.

The global rolling stock market witnessed a 4.9% overall increase in the number of vehicles ordered last year, according to IRJ Pro Fleet Monitor. The number of individual orders recorded in the database also remains relatively static, at 192 compared with190 in 2018.

Although vehicle order quantity has remained flat, the total value of contracts awarded during the year has seen a substantial increase of 25%. Contracts worth more than $US 30bn were awarded across the year, an increase of $US 6.2bn from 2018 and the largest on record, according to IRJ Fleet Monitor.

Five contracts awarded in 2019 were valued at over $US 1bn and represent a combined value of 10.39bn. This compares with four contracts valued over a billion the year before with a total value of $US 7.5bn.

The largest order in 2019 was from Federal Passenger Company (FPK), a subsidiary of Russian Railways (RZD), with Transmashholding subsidiary Tver Carriage Works (TVZ) for the supply of up to 3730 passenger coaches. The contract is worth $US 3.7bn and comprises an initial order of 2644 coaches for delivery between 2019 and 2025. The contract includes an option for an additional 1086 vehicles.

Škoda Transportation also awarded a $US 2bn contract to supply up to 45 six-car metro trains to Warsaw in October. A consortium of CAF, Pacific Partnership and DIF Infrastructure V won a $US1.9bn contract at the start of the year to supply a fleet of 117 diesel-electric trains for Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) in Australia.

In January Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) signed a $US 1.6bn contract with Hitachi Rail for the supply of 50 12-car inter-city EMUs. RZD ordered 13 high-speed Velaro Rus trains from Siemens and Ural Locomotives in June, an order valued at $US 1.2bn.

High-speed rail orders fell sharply last year, with vehicle quantity dropping from 1632 to just 158 in 2019. The drop-off was due to a spike in orders in 2018 from China, with seven orders comprising more than 1500 vehicles placed during the year. Three of the four high-speed train orders in 2019 were placed in Europe by Trenitalia, French National Railways (SNCF) and RZD.

EMU orders remained flat in 2019 but make up just under a quarter of all vehicles ordered. The overwhelming majority of contracts -40 out of 48- were awarded in Europe. Highlights include CAF winning a €700m contract in September from SNCF to supply 28 200km/h long and medium-distance trains.

Metro train orders increased by 11.7%, despite a lack of orders from North and South America. Highlights include Seoul Metro awarding Woojin Industrial Systems (WJIS) a contract worth $US 314.7m to supply 336 metro cars, and Transport for London (TfL) awarding CAF a contract to design, manufacture and supply a fleet of 43 five-car driverless metro trains for the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).

Bi-modes saw an uptick in orders last year with six contracts awarded, including large orders in France and Britain. First Trenitalia awarded Hitachi Rail a contract to supply 13 five-car bi-mode diesel and electric trains in December, which will be built at Hitachi’s County Durham factory.

Environmentally-friendly vehicles were increasingly in-vogue in 2019, reflecting the industry’s desire to move away from diesel. This corresponds to a fall in DMU orders from 410 to 172 in 2019.

Large contracts were signed in both battery and hydrogen-powered multiple units. In October Schleswig-Holstein transport authority NAH.SH signed a $US 665m contract with Stadler to supply 55 Flirt Akku battery electric multiple units. The new trains will be introduced on routes served by DMUs and will be introduced in 2022.

Rhine-Main Transport Authority (RMV) subsidiary Fahma also signed a $US 554m contract with Alstom and Infraserv Höchst contract to supply 27 hydrogen fuel cell Coradia iLint multiple units in May. The new trains will replace diesel trains on four regional lines in the Taunus region north of Frankfurt-am-Main from 2022.

Stadler was awarded 31 contracts throughout the year, higher than any other supplier, for a total of 1474 vehicles. Stadler achieved strong month-on-month order flow, with new contracts signed each month from January through to the end of November across Europe, Asia and North America.

Most notably, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (Marta) placed a record-breaking order in March, for 127 two-car metro trains with options for up to 50 additional trains. The order is worth over $US 600m and is the largest in Stadler’s history in terms of vehicle quantity.

Seven of the top 10 suppliers exceeded results seen in 2018 when looking at vehicle quantity ordered. Alstom saw the highest volume of vehicle orders during 2019, when looking at all contracts including joint ventures.

One of the most significant orders came from Paris Transport Authority (RATP) and Ille de France Mobility. A consortium of Alstom and Bombardier were awarded the €530m contract in November to supply 44 trains for use on the Paris metro network, which includes options for up to 410 trains.

Hitachi was awarded five large EMU and bi-mode contracts last year, which considerably increased vehicle orders from 2018. Siemens also performed well, seeing 26 contracts during the year, 10 more than in 2018. Eight of the top 10 orders awarded to Siemens were signed in Germany.

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Over 9000km of high-speed line is planned or under construction in 2019
Oscar Sinclair, 29/10/19

Using data from IRJ Pro, market analyst Oscar Sinclair examines the state-of-play for high-speed line construction around the world.

JUST over half of the total high-speed track planned or under construction in 2019 is in China. At the start of the year China State Railway Group’s annual plan envisaged a 45% increase in new projects, which included an added 3200km of high-speed lines. 2019 has been China State Railway Group’s biggest year on record for investment at $US 125bn.

The increase in infrastructure spending has coincided with the slowing of the Chinese economy. The investment is part of a stimulus package, which also consists of tax cuts, boosting the money supply and tweaking banking regulations in an attempt to invigorate the economy.

One of this year’s key projects is the Yukun High-Speed ​​Railway, a 698km line between Chongqing and Kunming, construction on which began in September. The project is estimated to cost Yuan 141bn ($US 19.7bn) and will have a target speed of 350km/h, serving 18 stations.

The line is expected to solve the lack of fast passenger transport links in the southwestern region of the country. After completion, the line will form part of a network along the Yangtze River Economic Belt, connecting a series of large and medium-sized cities.

The Hubei High-Speed Railway is another key project, linking Xi’an and Shiyan. It passed its preliminary design and feasibility studies in May. Construction of the 253km line is expected to begin later this year and will take 4.5 years to complete. The project is estimated to cost around Yuan 58bn and serve seven stations.

In India, the 508km Mumbai - Ahmedabad high-speed line that will be built at the cost of $US 15bn, is under construction after officially launching in September 2017. Trains on the route will be able to run at up to 320km/h and travel the distance between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in just over 2 hours, covering a route serving 12 stations.

The project is led by Japanese company JR East and is not expected to become operational before 2023 due to land acquisition issues. New high-speed projects in India will use Japanese ‘Shinkansen’ technology in the hope of transforming India’s economy as it did for Japan, connecting cities critical for growth.

In addition to the Mumbai - Ahmedabad high-speed line, five other lines covering the Diamond Quadrilateral are being explored, which will connect the four megacities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai and will cover over 10,000km.

The first phase of an 873km line between China and Thailand is expected to begin operation in 2023. The Baht 180bn ($US 5.9bn) first phase will connect Bangkok with the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima. The project is part of China’s planned network across Southeast Asia and will eventually connect Kunming with Singapore. Construction contracts will be finalised at the end of 2019.

The 350km Kuala Lumpur - Singapore high-speed project is expected to complete its review of proposed changes at the end of 2019, after MyHSR appointed consultants to carry out the evaluation. MyHSR selected Minconsult, Malaysia, as Technical Advisory Consultant (TAC), while Ernst & Young (EY) will act as Commercial Advisory Consultant (CAC)
for the $US 11bn project.

In November 2018, Vietnamese state-owned consultancy companies TEDI, Tedis and Tricc suggested the construction of a 1545km high-speed line running through 20 cities and provinces. The $US 56bn project is expected to reduce the travel time from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh from 30 hours down to just 5h 30min. Most of the track will run on viaducts (60%), with around 10% underground. The line will run on double standard-gauge track and will serve 24 stations.

The project will consist of three separate sections of investment and construction. Hanoi - Vinh (282.65km) and from Nha Trang city to Ho Chi Minh City (362.15km) are planned for construction in the first phase, which is due to be finished by 2030.

Hyundai Rotem has recently shown interest in the project, offering technology transfers and training services for local partners. The Ministry of Planning and Investment said in July that it would be $US 32bn cheaper to have a line that would run at speeds of 200km/h, after receiving analysis from experts in Germany and the Netherlands.

Turkey is planning to invest $US 45bn into 10,000km of high-speed rail and 4000km of main line by 2023. The ambitious plans will extend the existing high-speed network to Istanbul, Bursa, İzmir and Antalya, and from Ankara east to Sivas and Erzurum, connecting 15 major cities.

The 405km Ankara - Sivas high-speed line is set to open in May 2020, and was 95% complete as IRJ went to press. The project includes 49 tunnels totalling 66km in length, with the longest at over 5km. The project also includes over 600 bridges and 217 over and underpasses. The line will serve one of the country’s most important routes, connecting with Asian countries on the Silk Road. Tests on the line are expected to start towards the end of this year.

The Lira 4.9bn ($US 1.3bn) high-speed project connecting Ankara and İzmir will drastically cut the current travel time of 14 hours by road to just 3h 30min. The new route will reduce the distance by rail between Izmir and the capital from 824km to 624km. The first section between Usak, Afyon and Polatli is expected to carry its first passengers by the end of 2019, with the Usak - Izmir section planned to open at the end of 2020.

Texas Central Railway took another step forward in September, announcing a design and build contractor for the 386km line. Texas Central, the Dallas-based company developing the project, awarded the $US 14bn construction contract to Italy’s Salini Impregilo.

Once complete the new line is expected to link Dallas and Houston in under 90 minutes, with trains departing every 30 minutes during peak hours.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) granted Texas Central’s petition to have a custom set of rules created for the railway, to ensure safety and govern system and operations in September. Construction of the line is expected to begin next year. The line will be entirely privately financed, making it the first private high-speed line in the world.

California High-speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) released a request for qualification (RFQ) in July for a $US 1.6bn design-build-maintain contract for the 191km Merced - Bakersfield Central Valley section of the state’s high-speed rail project.

The 320km/h line was originally due to connect San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego. Plans were recently scaled back by the governor of California, Mr Gavin Newsom due to the high costs involved.

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More than 10,000 rail vehicles already ordered in 2019
Oscar Sinclair, 04/09/19

Total passenger rail vehicles ordered in 2019 passed the 10,000 mark in August, which is a 17.5% increase over the same period in 2018.

A total of 13 contracts were awarded in February 2019, accounting for 3913 vehicles, or 37% of the total ordered so far this year and an 77% increase from February 2018.

The bulk of this figure is an order from Federal Passenger Company (FPK), a subsidiary of Russian Railways (RZD), with Transmashholding subsidiary Tver Carriage Works (TVZ) for the supply of up to 3730 passenger coaches. The contract is worth $US 3.5bn and comprises an initial order of 2644 coaches for delivery between 2019 and 2025. The contract includes an option for an additional 1086 units.

Another large order in February was the €550m contract awarded to Talgo by German Rail (DB) to supply up to 100 long-distance trains. The initial order for 23 sets comprises 23 locomotives and 230 coaches. BEML, an Indian state-owned manufacturer, also won a $US 437m contract to supply 378 metro cars made up of 63 six-car sets for Mumbai Metro lines 2A, 2B and 7. The driverless trains are scheduled for delivery between 2020 and 2022.

June was another strong month for orders with 25 contracts awarded. Highlights include Seoul Metro awarding Woojin Industrial Systems (WJIS) a contract worth $US 314.7m to supply 336 metro car’s, Transport for London (TfL) awarding CAF a contract to design, manufacture and supply a fleet of 43 five-car driverless metro trains for the Docklands Light Railway (DLR); and RZD ordering 13 high-speed Velaro Rus trains from Siemens and Ural Locomotives. This order is estimated to be worth around €1.1bn. The new 10-car trains will operate on the line between Moscow and St Petersburg.

July was also notable with order volume increasing by 43% year-on-year. A total of 17 contracts were awarded during the month, 13 of which were placed in Europe. Significant orders include Hitachi Rail winning a £400m contract from Abellio to supply a fleet of 33 five-car bi-mode inter-city trains. The Philippines Department of Transportation (DOTr) also awarded a $US 230m contract to a joint venture of Sumitomo Corporation and Japan Transport Engineering Company (J-Trec) for a fleet of 13 eight-car EMUs for the Manila North-South Commuter Railway.

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Strong first half for Stadler as 2019 orders hit 750 vehicles
Oscar Sinclair, 17/06/19

A total of 750 vehicles have been ordered from Stadler in the first half of 2019, according to data from IRJ Pro Fleet Monitor. Stadler has achieved strong month-on-month deal flow in the first half of the year, signing 12 contracts across Europe and a further three contracts awarded in North America.

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (Marta) placed a record-breaking order in March, a contract to supply 127 two-car metro trains with options for up to 50 additional trains. The order is worth over $US 600m and is the largest in company’s history in terms of vehicle quantity.

Another large contract was awarded in June by DB Regio for the development and construction of 18 sets of double-deck Kiss EMUs worth $US 282m. The trains will comprise four-car double-deck units, and each train will be able to transport up to 880 passengers, 405 of which will be seated. The new vehicles are expected to enter service in December 2022.

Finland’s VR Group finalised a contract with Stadler in April for the supply of 60 new diesel locomotives to be used primarily on freight operations. The single-cab locomotives will weigh 88 tonnes, measure 18m-long and have an overall output of 1.9MW. Delivery will start in 2022 and is due to be completed by 2025. The contract is valued at $US 248m and includes an option for 100 additional units and an option for maintenance by Stadler.

Stadler Rail Valencia won a framework contract to supply up to 80 low-floor LRVs to Milan Transport (ATM). The initial order of the six-year contract is for 30 units that will run on 1445mm-gauge track electrified at 600V dc.

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European rolling stock purchases 23% privately-funded, study finds
David Burroughs, 22/05/19

A STUDY by Roland Berger commissioned by the Rail Working Group has found 23% of rolling stock purchases in Europe in 2015-2017 were financed with private funding, up from 20% in 2013-2015 and 13% in 2011-2013.

The study, which analysed 590 rolling stock projects in 23 countries, found 42% of all projects were backed by private financing, either fully or partially in joint ventures, while direct or indirect public financing made up the remainder.

While private funding accounted for a proportion of all rolling stock categories in Western Europe, the study found all urban system fleets in Eastern Europe were publicly funded.

The study found private funding is considered important with regard to volume for the purchase of coaches and freight wagons (54%), locomotives (46%) and high-speed and very-high-speed trains (40%) across Europe. Private financing is comparatively important in Slovakia, where it accounts for 62% of purchases, Britain (58%) and the Czech Republic (43%).

The study also found that market segments with a high degree of liberalisation usually tend to have a higher private financing proportion, while more regulated market segments usually tend to exhibit lower shares of private financing, with the exception of high-speed.

With further liberalisation and more attractive conditions for leasing/debt expected in the coming years, Roland Berger says it expects further growth of private financing with the sector becoming an increasingly important source of finance for rolling stock orders.

The share of rolling stock privately financed was also expected to increase further following the adoption of the Luxembourg Rail Protocol, a new global treaty to create a new system for the recognition, prioritisation and enforcement of creditor and lessor rights, which will be registered in an international registry based in Luxembourg.

While not yet in force, the protocol has been ratified by Luxembourg, Sweden, Gabon and the European Union, while France, Germany, Italy, Mozambique, Switzerland and Britain have also signed the protocol and are working towards its adoption.

“Unlike the aviation industry, the vast majority of rolling stock procurement in Europe is either funded or underwritten by governments; this is unnecessary and places a huge burden on government finances,” says Rail Working Group chairman, Mr Howard Rosen.

“Currently there is limited legal protection for private creditors, especially when rolling stock crosses a border. The introduction of open access for operators across Europe, and the dramatic increase of rail traffic between Europe and Asia, makes this a critical issue.”

EMU and LRV contracts dominate Q1 2019 fleet activity
Oscar Sinclair, 07/05/19

Five light rail vehicle tenders were launched in Europe during the first quarter of this year, which account for a total of 190 vehicles. The EMU segment has also seen high levels of activity in the first quarter with four major tenders floated in March and April.

Tianjin Metro issued two tenders for new trains to increase fleet capacity for two projects, Line 4 South extension and Line 10 phase 1. The tender for Line 4 calls for 19 six-car trains, formed of four powered vehicles and two trailer cars. The tender for the 21km Line 10, calls for 22 six-car trains. Both lines are expected to open in 2021. The deadline for submitting bids for the two tenders is early May.

Renfe’s board of directors approved the purchase of 211 large-capacity EMUs with an option for 120 additional trains in March 2019, in a contract that is expected to be worth $US 2.5bn. The new trains will aim to alleviate the congestion of Cercanías most critical points. The new trains will be required to seat at least 900 passengers, a 20% increase compared with the existing fleet. The order will comprise 176 100m-long trains and 35 200m-long sets.

In January 2019 three manufacturers submitted bids to supply 70 10-car EMUs for the Buenos Aires suburban network. The contract is estimated to be valued at $US 800m. Alstom, Transmashholding, and Argentinian manufacturer Vermerkiper Engineering were all confirmed as bidders in December 2018. The contract requires 20% of the resources to be locally sourced, with delivery slated for quarter four 2021.

Danish State Railways (DSB) launched a tender for between 90 and 150 trains following an agreement reached between the country’s major parties in February 2018. The order will replace DSB’s ageing DMU fleet with 25kV ac 50Hz EMUs. The order includes the maintenance contract and is expected to be valued up to DKr 22bn ($US 3.3bn). It was announced in October 2018 that four manufacturers had prequalified to supply a minimum of 100 trains. Alstom, Bombardier, Siemens and Stadler are currently negotiating an initial offer, and final offers are expected to be submitted at the start of 2020. The contract will be awarded by mid-2020 with the first trains expected to enter service in 2024.

Duisburg Transport Company (DVG) is looking to acquire 18 new LRVs to replace its oldest vehicles. The order is subject to special requirements as the new vehicles must be capable for running on both the DVG and the Rhienbahn network. The contract is expected to be worth up to €61m ($US 68.5m) with delivery expected by 2025. The contract is expected to be awarded in the first quarter of 2020.

In April Metro de Porto received three bids for a contract to supply 18 light rail vehicles for its network from CRRC, Siemens and Skoda Transportation. The tender was launched in December 2018 and has an estimated value of EUR 56.1m, which includes five years maintenance. Deliveries are expected to take place between 2021 and 2023.

Krakow launched a tender for up to 60 light rail vehicles in April 2019, each vehicle will accommodate up to 220 passengers and have six doors. The deadline for submissions will be in June 2019 and the delivery of the first 10 vehicles is expected by the end of 2021.

Fifteen projects are slated for completion across Africa in 2019
Oscar Sinclair, 03/04/19

According to IRJ Pro Project Monitor, 39 projects are due to be completed across Africa in the next four years. Most activity is in the main line and light rail segments with 14 and 13 projects respectively and a total of nine metro/monorail projects are due for completion. Over a third of the total projects are due to be completed in 2019.

Five light rail projects are due to be completed in 2019, accounting for a third of projects on the African continent for the year. These include the 14.2km Mostaganem LRT Phase 1 in Algeria. The project was originally slated for completion in 2017 with the construction contract being signed in 2013. Spanish group Corsan-Isolux was responsible for the implementation of the $US 222m contract. However, the Algiers metro company (EMA) terminated the contract in October 2018 under Algeria’s public procurement law and supplanted Corsan-Isolux. Completion of the line is now expected in autumn this year, with Alstom supplying rolling stock.

Three of the seven main line projects scheduled for completion in 2019 are in Algeria and a further two are in Nigeria. One of the more notable main line projects is the new Lagos - Ibadan railway which will span 156km and cost $US 1.6bn to develop. Mr Fidet Okheria, managing director of Nigeria Railway Corporation, says that it is expected to be commissioned in May.

Three metro projects are expected to be completed in 2019. One of the most notable is Cairo’s Metro Line 3 Phase 4A which will run between Haroun and El Nozha. The project includes the construction of 5.15km of new line and five underground stations. Once open, Phase 4A is expected to boost the line’s ridership to around 750,000 passengers per day. A consortium of Colas Rail, Orascom, and Arabco are responsible for infrastructure and Alstom is providing power supply, electromechanical equipment and ventilation systems for the project. Cairo’s metro Line 3 Phase 3 a 17.7km line from Haroun - Cairo International Airport is also expected to be completed in 2019.

The Awash - Weldiya standard gauge railway, a northward extension of Ethiopia’s new standard-gauge network, is also due for completion in 2019. The aim of the project is to connect northern Ethiopia with the Addis Ababa - Djibouti railway, connecting with the Port of Djibouti. The total project is estimated to cost around $US 1.7bn. The first phase of Dakar’s Regional Express Train (TER), a core component of Senegal’s emerging policy framework, is expected to be commissioned in mid-2019, and completed in 2020. The 57km standard-gauge main line will have 14 stations and run from Dakar city centre to Blaise Diagne International Airport. Alstom is supplying a fleet of 15 Coradia electro-diesel multiple units for the new line and SNCF-Keolis and RATP Dev will operate and maintain the line under a five-year contract.

Casablanca tram Line T3 is due to be completed by 2021 and will be 14km from Salmia to Casa-Port. The line will serve 20 stations and will include five interchanges with other LRT and BRT lines. Mauritius Light Rapid Transit (MLRT) is also expected to be completed in 2021 after beginning construction in March 2017. The 26km line will connect the island’s capital Port Louis with the town of Curepipe, serving 19 stations. Larsen & Toubro (L&T), India, was awarded a $US 600m design-and-build contract for the project in July 2017.

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A Strong start to the year for fleet orders
Oscar Sinclair, 20/02/19

​2019 is off to a strong start for rolling stock orders, according to data from IRJ Pro Fleet Monitor. Over $US 10bn has been spent on fleet orders so far this year with 4538 vehicles ordered. This year’s largest order was placed by Russian Railways (RZD) with Transmashholding for the supply of up to 3730 passenger coaches. The contract is worth $US 3.5bn excluding VAT, with an initial order of 2644 coaches and an option for an additional 1086 coaches. Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) also signed a large contract in early January with Hitachi for the supply of 50 12-car inter-city EMUs, a contract worth $US 1.6bn.

19 Projects to watch in 2019
Oscar Sinclair, 31/01/19

IRJ Pro market analyst Oscar Sinclair picks out the projects set to make the headlines in the year ahead.

High Speed 2 Phase 1 (London - Birmingham/Lichfield)

  • Country: Britain
  • Type: High-speed
  • Construction Start: 2019
  • Completion: 2026
  • Length: 193km
  • Cost: $US 27.5bn

This is the first phase of a 338km Y-shaped high-speed network that will link London with central and northern England. The line will serve new stations at Birmingham Interchange and Curzon Street with a link to the west coast main line near Lichfield. The line will begin at London Euston, which will undergo major reconstruction as part of the project, and run in bored tunnels beneath London’s western suburbs. It is expected to cut the journey time between London and Birmingham from 1h 22min to 49 minutes. Services will be operated by a fleet of 60 high-speed trains. The contract to supply and maintain the fleet, which is worth an estimated £2.75bn, is due to be awarded by the end of the year.

Moscow - Kazan High-Speed Line

  • Country: Russia
  • Type: High-speed
  • Construction Start: 2019
  • Completion: 2024
  • Length: 762km
  • Cost: $US 21.4bn

The trillion Roubles line will be the first segment of an ambitious transnational high-speed railway set to connect Moscow with Beijing. The construction agreement covering the first section was announced in October. The agreement calls for construction to begin on the 301km alignment between Zheleznodorozhni, a suburb of Moscow, and Gorokhovets. The line is being developed under a public-private partnership involving Russian Railways (RZD) with Chinese backers.

Riga - Polish Border (Rail Baltica Project)

  • Country: Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia
  • Type: High-speed
  • Construction Start: 2019
  • Completion: 2030
  • Length: 870km
  • Cost: $US 5.65bn

A European Union and Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) priority project, Rail Baltica will connect the Baltic States with the European standard-gauge network for the first time. The EU will fund 85% of the project, which is forecast to bring significant socio-economic benefits to the region, estimated by Ernst & Young to be valued at €16.22bn.

Ostlänken Phase 1 (Järna - Linköping)

  • Country: Sweden
  • Type: High-speed
  • Construction Start: 2019
  • Completion: 2033
  • Length: 150km
  • Cost: $US 6bn

The initial phase of a Y-shaped network that will link Stockholm with Jönköping, Gothenburg, and Malmö. The line is expected to have an operation speed of 320km/h, reducing the 1h 40min Stockholm -Linköping journey time to under one hour. A total of 27 tunnels will be built for the project, totalling 20km, along with 200 bridges.

Brisbane Cross River Rail

  • Country: Australia
  • Type: Commuter Rail
  • Construction Start: 2019
  • Completion: 2024
  • Length: 10.2km
  • Cost: $US 3.9bn

The project will unlock a bottleneck at the core of the city’s transport network, providing a frequent service and improved integration with other transport systems. The line will run from Dutton Park to the east of Bowen Hills and involves a 5.9km tunnel under the Brisbane River and city centre, together with the construction of five new stations.

Geku Railway (Korla - Golmud)

  • Country: China
  • Type: Main line
  • Construction Start: 2014
  • Completion: 2019
  • Length: 1214km
  • Cost: $US 5.4bn

This huge project will connect Golmud in Qinghai province with Korla in Xinjiang an autonomous region linking the Qinghai - Tibet railway with the Southern Xinjiang railway. Works began in 2014 and are expected to conclude in the next 12 months. The project includes the construction of a 24.6km-long bridge over Taitema Lake to avoid harming the fragile ecology and the 13.1km Altyn-Tagh tunnel. The travel time between the two cities will be reduced from 26 to 12 hours.

Quito Line 1

  • Country: Ecuador
  • Type: Metro
  • Construction Start: 2013
  • Completion: 2019
  • Length: 22.5km
  • Cost: $US 2bn

Billed as one of the most important infrastructure projects in Ecuador’s history, Quito Line 1 will be the country’s first metro. The 22.5km line will serve 15 stations with a forecast ridership of around 378,000 passengers per day. The project is expected to create 5000 direct jobs, according to the World Bank. Line 1 is due to open in July, and three more lines are proposed.

Riyadh Metro

  • Country: Saudi Arabia
  • Type: Metro
  • Construction Start: 2014
  • Completion: 2021
  • Length: 176km-total
  • Cost: $US 22.5bn

The Saudi capital’s metro system will consist of six fully automated lines totalling 176km and serving 85 stations. The system has been built in anticipation of Riyadh’s population growth, which expected to pass 8 million in the next 10 years, and will become the foundation of the city’s transport system while integrating with an 85km BRT network. The first sections are due to open this year and the network will be fully operational by 2021.

Texas Central Railway (Dallas/Fort Worth - Houston)

  • Type: High-speed
  • Country: United States
  • Construction Start: 2019
  • Completion: 2024
  • Length: 385km
  • Cost: $US 15-18bn

The project that will offer an alternative way for Texans to travel between their two largest cities could enter construction this year. The line was first announced in 2012 and trains will travel at speeds of up to 330km/h. Hopes of starting construction in 2016 were pushed back for numerous reasons. However, the project has been gathering momentum through 2018, and in September a $US 300m loan was secured from two Japanese entities. Texas Central officials have said that 2019 is the target date for the start of construction. The project is expected to benefit 50,000 passengers and provide 10,000 direct jobs for each year under construction.

Bangkok - Padang Besar

  • Type: High-speed
  • Country: Thailand
  • Construction Start: 2019
  • Completion: 2029
  • Length: 983km
  • Cost: $US 9.9bn

The high-speed line will connect Bangkok and Padang Besar at the Malay border. State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and the Ministry of Transport (MoT) of Malaysia are jointly undertaking the construction of the line. Trains will operate at up to 250km/h on the 982km. However, the project is still in its early stages of development and is expected to be completed by 2029. Thailand plans to build up to 2506km of high-speed railways between the capital and the northern and southern regions by 2036. The plan is set to cost over Baht 1.5 trillion ($US 47bn).

Dongguan Line 3 Phase 1

  • Type: Metro
  • Country: China
  • Construction Start: 2019
  • Completion: 2024
  • Length: 66.2km
  • Cost: $US 4.3bn

The 66.2 line will improve transport links between the east and west of Dongguan. The line includes a 12km underground section and will serve 25 stations, four of which will be interchanges. The project will be developed in two phases, with the first 52.1km section running from Dongguan East station to Changan New District South station with 19 stations. Both stages are due for completion by 2024.

Delhi Metro Phase 4

  • Type: Metro
  • Country: India
  • Construction Start: 2019
  • Completion: 2024
  • Length: 110.8km-total
  • Cost: $US 8.3bn

The fourth stage of the capital’s metro network has been approved and is set to increase the existing 317km network by a further 110km, adding six new lines. The new phase is expected to add 1.5 million daily passengers to the system’s ridership and connect the capital with outlying regions, including Meerut. Construction was expected to begin in 2017 but due to delayed approvals from Delhi’s government was pushed back and is now anticipated to start this year.

Mengxi - Huazhong (Coal Railway)

  • Type: Heavy Haul
  • Country: China
  • Construction Start: 2013
  • Completion: 2019
  • Length: 1817km
  • Cost: $US 27bn

The world’s longest coal line will connect the ‘golden triangle’ region with central China, offering a transport capacity of more than 200 million tonnes per year. The line passes through seven provinces from inner Mongolia to Jiangxi province, almost spanning the entire length of the country. The project’s longest tunnel is 22.8km and located in the province of Henan.

Macau-Taipa Light Metro Phase 1

  • Type: Metro
  • Country: Macau
  • Construction Start: 2012
  • Completion: 2019
  • Length: 9.3km
  • Cost: $US 17.7bn

Macau’s fully-automated light metro will run on rubber tyres and has been under construction since 2012. Once completed it will serve Taipa, Macao Peninsula and Cotai. The opening date is still unclear although it is likely to be commissioned in 2019. The long-term plan is to have a total of five lines, and phase 2 is currently under consideration.

Hong Kong Shatin Central Link

  • Type: Metro
  • Country: China
  • Construction Start: 2012
  • Completion: 2019
  • Length: 17km
  • Cost: $US 12.4bn

The Shatin to Central link is an expansion of Hong Kong’s MTR metro network. The city’s costliest project has been plagued with scandals and deception and is likely to be delayed over safety concerns. Three non-compliance reports were issued to the contractor Leighton Contractors
(Asia) in August and police have been called to investigate the huge
discrepancies and conflicting reports on the work at Hung Hom station. The project was initially scheduled to open in mid-2019 but is “very likely” to be further delayed according to the secretary for transport and housing, Mr Frank Chan.

Ankara - Sivas HSL

  • Type: High-speed
  • Country: Turkey
  • Construction Start: 2008
  • Completion: 2019
  • Length: 406km
  • Cost: $US 5.4bn

The project is set to be commissioned by the end of the year, with most civil works on the line already completed. The 406km line encompasses many bridges and viaducts and a total of 50km of tunnels and trains will travel at speeds up to 300km/h. The new alignment will reduce the distance between the two cities from 603km to 405km and the journey time from 12 hours to 2 hours.

Alexandria - Aswan HSL

  • Type: High-speed
  • Country: Egypt
  • Construction Start: 2019
  • Completion: 2024
  • Length: 900km
  • Cost: $US 10bn

Construction of the Alexandria - Aswan HSL is due to begin next year. The 900km line will follow the Nile and connect Alexandria, Cairo and Aswan. Phase 1 will run from Alexandria to Cairo and is estimated to cost €2.4bn including rolling stock.

Copenhagen - Køge - Ringsted

  • Type: High-speed
  • Country: Denmark
  • Construction Start: 2014
  • Completion: 2019
  • Length: 60km
  • Cost: $US 1.78bn

Denmark’s first high-speed line is set to open in May. Up to 24 trains per hour will operate on the double-track line at speeds of up to 250km/h. The line will relieve congestion and the bottleneck between the Copenhagen and Ringsted. The decision to construct the line began the forming of the ‘one-hour target,’ four journeys between Denmark’s largest cities down to one hour.

Jakarta Metro

  • Type: Metro
  • Country: Indonesia
  • Construction Start: 2013
  • Completion: 2019
  • Length: 15.7km
  • Cost: $US 1.5bn

Indonesia’s first mass rapid transit (MRT) rail system is on track to open in March, with Indonesian and Japanese contractors on the verge of completion. It has taken five years to construct and caused chaos with the city’s already heavy traffic. The line will provide 170,000 passengers with the opportunity to avoid the capital’s giant traffic jams. Jakarta plans to expand its MRT network to eventually cover 108km by 2030.

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143 projects are estimated to enter construction in 2019
Oscar Sinclair, 24/01/19

The number of rail projects around the world in 2018 that entered construction increased 33% year-on-year, according to data from IRJ Pro. The expansion was primarily due to growth in European markets and stable growth in Asia. In 2019 there are a total of 143 projects estimated to enter construction, which is a 32% decrease from last year. The contraction is principally attributed to a sharp reduction in the number of projects in Asia, primarily China, where the figure has more than halved. European and North American markets, however, remain relatively stable. When looking at the dynamics of sectors in 2018, metro and light rail systems saw the most development, increasing 18% and 37% respectively. Most sectors are forecast to experience declines year-on-year in 2019, with high-speed projects set for a marginal increase.

A Big Year Ahead for Light Rail in North America
Oscar Sinclair, 08/01/19

The North American renaissance in light rail took full effect in the late 1970s led by Edmonton in 1978 and Calgary and San Diego three years later. Over 40 years on, light rail remains the most appealing mode of new public transportation for many North American cities.

Billions of dollars of local, state and federal funding has been spent, and development continues today with 129 miles of lines under construction in cities across North America representing an investment of more than $28 billion. A further 126.5 route-miles is anticipated to enter construction over the next year at a cost of over $15 billion, according to data from IRJ Pro.

Growth has partly been driven by a nostalgic desire to revive the streetcar of the 1950s, a relatively affordable way to bring rail transit to many cities. Light rail can be seen to fill the niche between buses and subway systems which are highly expensive and complex to implement. Light rail has received significant federal funding and has successfully driven investment in transit-oriented development in many cities.

Many projects in Canada have struggled to attract federal funding, meaning cities have been forced to recover a much higher share of their capital costs through revenue. The capital-intensive nature of light rail in Canada may go some way in explaining why there are only three systems currently in operation, while in the US there are currently 51 operational light rail systems as of November 2018, with a much broader spectrum of systems across mid to large-sized cities.

The North American light rail market can be seen to be expanding, as displayed in Figure 1. While other markets such as Europe and Asia have seen a contraction in the number of projects planned in 2019, the number of projects in North America has more than doubled.

The past year has seen the completion of four projects in the US. Charlotte Lynx Blue Line’s Northeast Corridor opened in March last year, a 9.3-mile 11-station extension which cost $1.16 billion to implement, it is expected to double the systems ridership. In May 2018 the East Contra Costa BART Extension Project (eBART), a 10-mile line between Pittsburg and Antioch was commissioned.

El Paso’s 27-stop 5-mile heritage streetcar line, serving the city center, entered service in March. Services on the line are operated by a fleet of six vintage PCC trams, which were fully restored for the project. Milwaukee Streetcar, also known as ‘The Hop,’ opened to passengers in November.

Currently, 18 projects are under construction across the US and Canada. Toronto’s $C 5.3 billion Eglinton Crosstown LRT is one of the most prominent projects, the 11.8-mile line will run along Eglinton Avenue, and have a 6.2-mile underground section, serving 25 stations. Toronto and Hamilton transport authority Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario have signed a $C 9.1 billion 30-year alternative financing and procurement (AFP) contract with Crosslinx Transit Solutions a consortium of ACS Dragados, AECON, EllisDon and SNC-Lavalin to finance, build, and maintain the line. Financing for the project is being provided by National Bank Financial and Scotia Capital as underwriters together with Alberta Treasury Branches.

Seattle’s Eastlink LRT is another substantial project due for completion within the next four years. The 14.5-mile, 10 station line will branch off the existing north to south line. The $US 3.68bn project has been granted a $1.3 billion loan from the Department of Transportation. Once completed in 2023 the line is forecast to carry up to 50,000 passengers per day.

Washington DC’s Silver Line Stage 2 is due for completion in 2020. The 11.4-mile six-station extension is due to cost $2.7 billion. The 16-mile Washington DC Maryland Purple line is expected to be operational by 2022 serving 21 stations. Meridiam is a 70% equity partner in the project, CAF will be supplying rolling stock.

2019 looks to be a big year for light rail construction in the US and Canada with projects scheduled to begin works across 9 cities (Figure 2). The $C 3bn second phase of Ottawa’s LRT project will add a total of 22.4-miles of new lines and 22 stations to the capital’s urban rail network by 2023. Stage 2 includes an 8-mile western extension of the Confederation Line adding 10 new stations, while also extending eastward 6.2 miles, which will add a further four stations to the network.

The third project included in Ottawa LRT stage 2 is a 5-mile southern extension of the diesel-operated Trillium Line, which includes a 2-mile branch to Macdonald-Cartier International Airport. The extension will include a total of seven new stations, as well as 3500 park-and-ride facilities. The government of Ontario has devoted $C 1 billion towards the second stage, which will more than double the length of stage 1 the 7.8-mile east-west Confederation Line.

Stage 1 of the Ottawa LRT was due to open in Q4 2018, but due to a six-month contract extension has been pushed back to mid-2019. The extension was due to the construction consortium Rideau Transit Group (of ACS Infrastructure, SNC-Lavalin and EllisDon) missing two deadlines for the handover of the line. Numerous issues emerged after a private investigation, including a bare Rideau Station and trains with missing components. Stage 1 will serve 13 stations and involves the excavation of a 1.6-mile tunnel, which will run underneath Queen Street in the downtown area. Construction began in 2013 and is expected to cost $C 2.1 billion. Alstom was awarded a $1.5 billion contract to supply 34 Citidis Spirit LRVs for the line in early 2015.

Seattle’s 8.5-mile Lynwood Link extension is expected to enter construction this year. The project is intended to alleviate congestion in some of the most heavily-used highway corridors in Washington state. The line will serve four stations and provide 2650 parking spaces. The
project is estimated to cost $2.9 billion, including rolling stock. The project secured local funding through the voter-approved Sound Transit 2 plan, and the Federal Transit Administration is expected to contribute $1.2 billion in funding through its New Start program.

The line is forecast to carry up to 74,000 passengers per day by 2035 and offer a 28-minute ride from Lynnwood to Downtown Seattle. Sound Transit is relying on a $ 1.2 billion Federal Transit Administration grant and a $650 million low-interest federal loan. The line is scheduled to open in 2024.

In Ontario, Hamilton’s Line B is expected to enter construction this year. The 8.7-mile line will serve 17 stations, including interchanges with the city’s bus network. Stations have been designed to accommodate two car trains as ridership grows. The project will be completed by 2024.

Los Angeles’ Crenshaw/LAX Line is nearing completion and due for commissioning later this year. The 8.5-mile line from LAX to Crenshaw will serve the districts of Leimert, Hyde Park and Inglewood. The eight-station line was granted FTA approval in early 2012 and construction began on the $1.7 billion project in 2014. The line has come under scrutiny for not directly serving LAX, with the two closest stations around 2 miles from the airport.

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) last year began the construction of a 2.2-mile people mover to link the airport with the light rail line and will be completed by 2023.

Stage 1 of the LRT network in Waterloo, Ontario is expected to open in the spring, the 11.8-mile will run from Conestoga Mall to Fairview Park Mall. The line will have 16 stations, with park-and-ride facilities at two of them. The first stage also includes a 10.6-mile BRT system, which will later be replaced by an LRT system. Denver is to complete its south eastern extension this year, the project will extend line E and F 2.3-miles, the project is estimated to cost $233 million.

The $1 trillion federal infrastructure bill hyped on the Trump campaign trail two years ago appears to have faded into the background. The FTA has been sitting on $1.4 billion in funds which has been assigned for new projects and the agency has been reluctant to distribute funding, with only a fraction being allocated for transit projects in 2018. Although in November the FTA announced it has allocated $281 million in Capital Investment Grants to five projects in Arizona, California, Minnesota, and Texas.

At present six light rail projects are awaiting the grants promised in the federal appropriations bill signed in March 2018. Among them is Seattle’s Lynnwood Extension, which had to be scaled back due to rising construction costs last year.

The FTA may be entering legally shady territory if the funds are not distributed by the end of the fiscal year. Under congressional mandate, 85% of the transit capital transit grant budget ($2.25 billion) must be allocated by the end of 2019. The remaining funds ($350 million) will go back to the treasury if unspent after four years.

If the transit grants are uncommitted by the end of 2019, it is possible that local transit agencies could sue, or even go as far as filing a lawsuit under the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act. The slowdown in FTA spending can be seen to exhibit the Trump administration’s enmity towards left-leaning urban centres and mass transit.

All the data used in this article is available on the IRJ Pro data platform. To gain access to comprehensive data for over 2200 global projects and over 1400 fleet orders, visit www.IRJpro.com

A big year ahead for Turkey
Oscar Sinclair, 13/12/18

Fourteen projects are scheduled for completion in Turkey during 2019, with the majority of projects in high-speed rail and the expansion of Istanbul’s metro network.

Political and social unrest in Turkey in recent years has affected the business sector, delaying investment and slowing the country’s economic growth. Despite its issues, Turkey has become urbanised, opened to international trade and finance, and synchronised with many of the European Union’s laws and regulations, including railway sector reform. Turkey is planning to invest $US 46.3bn on its rail network over the next five years.

Fourteen projects are due to be completed in 2019, according to IRJ Project Monitor. One of the largest projects is the Ankara - Sivas high-speed line which is scheduled to be open at the end of 2019, eleven years after beginning construction. The 300km/h line will span 406km and includes 50km of tunnels and is expected to cost $US 5.5bn.

Istanbul Metro currently has 64 stations under construction and is planning to expand its network with seven line extensions by the end of next year. By 2023 Istanbul aims to open three new metro lines as well as completing a further six extensions. The city is aiming to grow its rail network to 1023km by 2029.

High-speed rail construction is set for a marginal increase next year
Oscar Sinclair, 26/11/18

Global high-speed rail construction has remained relatively flat since 2015. However, IRJ Pro Project Monitor data indicates the number of projects will pick up in 2018/19, despite declines in Asia.

One of the projects anticipated for next year is the XpressWest high-speed line between Las Vegas and Victorville. The line will be 305km long and is expected to be completed by 2022. Construction is also expected to start next year on Texas Central Railway, which will run from Dallas to Houston. The line will span 385km and is expected to cost $US 15-18bn. In Egypt the Alexandria - Aswan HSL is due to begin construction next year, the 900km line will follow the Nile river connecting Alexandria, Cairo and Aswan. Phase 1 will run from Alexandria to Cairo and is estimated to cost €2.4bn including rolling stock. In Europe, three projects are scheduled in the Scandinavia and two more projects are expected to begin construction in Spain.

The number of projects across the MENA region is down marginally in 2018
Oscar Sinclair, 15/11/18

The number of projects that have entered construction can be seen to be marginally lower in 2018 than in 2017 across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Growth in the region remains strong however with more projects entering construction in 2018 than in 2016.

Growth in 2017 was primarily driven by the expansion of Istanbul’s metro system. The network saw five new lines totalling 110km of track enter construction in 2017, all of which are due to be completed by the year 2021.

Europe holds 57% of global light rail projects in 2018
Oscar Sinclair, 06/11/18

The number of light rail projects under construction is up 27% year on year in 2018 with Europe holding the vast majority of projects, according to IRJ Pro Project Monitor.

Light rail has seen substantial growth in Europe over the past three years, with a further 23 projects due to begin construction in 2019. Growth in other regions has remained relatively flat with no regions exceeding more than 10 projects annually.

France and Germany account for a large portion of projects in Europe over the past three years (Figure 2). Growth in France has mainly come through the expansion of the Paris network which currently has 74.2km of new lines and extensions under construction.

However, construction looks set to begin picking up in North America in 2019. A total of 16 projects in the region are scheduled for construction. Ottawa has four LRT projects planned, which includes three extensions and one new line totalling 39km. Seattle has two new extensions planned totalling 26km, and Phoenix also has two new extensions planned with a combined total of 25.6km.

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Fleet orders up 43% quarter-on-quarter in Q3
Oscar Sinclair, 01/11/18

Total vehicle quantity has increased from 1585 in Q2 to 2267 in Q3 an increase of 43%, according to IRJ Pro Fleet Monitor. The bulk of orders in Q3 came from Electric-multiple-units (EMU) and metro car orders.

The bulk of EMU orders came from East Japan Railway (JR East), which placed an order for 745 vehicles with its J-TREC subsidiary for Tokyo suburban services. The order comprises of 51 11-car and 46 four-car sets and the trains are expected to enter service in 2020. Go-Ahead Transport Germany (GTA) also placed an order with Stadler Rail for 22 four-car Flirt EMU’s adding to orders in September.

Metro orders grew in July and August with the most noticeable order coming in July from Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA). Which awarded Bombardier Transportation with a $US 607m contract to supply 396 Movia cars.

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Policy changes threaten to stall Indian metro expansion
Oscar Sinclair, 24/10/18

Metro rail construction is picking up in Indian cities as their populations grow to massive sizes. Oscar Sinclair looks at the investment landscape with the use of data from IRJ Pro.

WITH India’s population passing 1.35 billion earlier this year, the country is on track to become the home of 1.44 billion people by 2024 and surpass China as the most populous nation on the planet.

India’s population growth rate is twice that of China (1.2%) and the population is forecast to continue growing until 2062.

This growing population is lending itself to another key demographic trend: urbanisation. An estimated 33.6% of India’s current population, or 450 million people, are living in urban areas, and this is expected to nearly double to 866 million by 2050.

As city numbers swell, India’s urban infrastructure is under significant pressure and vast investment is required to deliver the changes needed to keep people moving.

While China and other countries have forged ahead with metro development in their major cities, India has lagged behind. Early investment was inconsistent with the first system opening in Kolkata following 12 years of construction in 1984 and the second in Delhi not launching until 2002.

However, since then there has been strong growth in the planning and construction of new lines with eight new systems opening in the last five years.

Number of projects by construction date

Figure 1 displays the rapid growth in the planning and construction of metro projects over the past eight years, growth has increased exponentially since 2014.

As of September, India has 507km of operational metro lines serving 381 stations across 10 cities. According to IRJ Pro more than 500km of new lines are currently under construction, with India’s network set to double over the coming years. Older metro lines in India use broad gauge, such as in Delhi and Kolkata. However, newer projects are built to standard gauge.

At 296km, the Delhi metro network dwarfs’ other systems in India and accounts for more than half the total metro trackage in the country. It has a daily ridership of 2.2 million and operates profitably without government subsidies. The system is currently the ninth biggest network in the world, ahead of the Madrid metro at 288km. Delhi has a further has 84km of lines under construction with an additional 111km planned. When completed, this will make the network the third-largest in the world at 491km.

The latest member of India’s metro club is Hyderabad, which opened its first line in November 2017. The city currently has 46.6km of lines operational and a further 193km planned or under construction.

Figure 2 displays all current operational metro systems and networks forecast to open within the next two years. A further four systems are expected to open in the next two years.

Delhi’s metro has been a huge success, and metro projects have been placed high on the Indian government’s development agenda. Metros are not only seen as a core solution to urban mobility demands but also as a means of transforming cities in accordance with the vision of prime minister Mr Narendra Modi. The government has allocated $US 2.21bn for metro projects in its 2018-19 budget.

India’s 2006 National Transport Policy first proposed that every city with a population of more than 2 million would have a metro system. In August 2014, the government announced financial assistance would be provided for metro projects in cities with more than 1 million residents. In May 2015, the Urban Developments Ministry’s proposal to build metro’s in 50 cities was approved by the government. In August 2017, the cabinet approved a new Metro Rail Policy with the aim of stimulating metro expansion across India. The new policy can be broken down into nine components:

Private sector investment: The new policy has opened new opportunities for private investment, with public-private partnerships (PPP) becoming mandatory for central government assistance for new projects.

Private sector investment and other innovative forms of financing are now required for new metro systems to meet the capital-intensive demands of construction. Private sector participation through the provision of the metro system and other unbundled components are now a vital requirement for projects seeking to gain financial assistance from the central government. New projects will also be part of the “Make in India programme,” which will contribute to the development of India’s industry and provide leverage for private sector involvement.

Financial viability: to maximise financial viability, states must clearly set out planned measures to generate non-fare revenues through commercial property development around stations and on other commercial land around metros. Projects will only be approved if they have a Financial Internal Rate of Return (Firr) of 14%, which is 6% higher than the 8% required by the previous metro policy. This puts the new policy in line with global practices improving the social, economic and environmental gains of projects.

State participation: states will adopt value capture financing tools to assemble the resources to finance metro projects. States are required to raise low-cost debt capital through the issuance of metro project corporate bonds.

Contract model: the new policy promotes private sector participation in the operation and maintenance (O&M) of metro systems in the following ways:

· Cost plus fee contract: a private operator is paid a monthly or annual payment for the O&M of a system. This can have a fixed or variable component depending on the quality of the service provided.

· Gross Cost Contract: the private operator is paid in a fixed sum for the duration of the contract.

· Net Cost Contract: the operator gathers all revenue generated for the service provided. The owner is compensated if the revenue generated is below the O&M cost.

Alternative methods analysis: it is mandatory to perform an alternate analysis before committing to a project, to evaluate the potential for other modes of mass transport such as light rail and bus rapid transport (BRT). This ensures demand, capacity, cost efficiency and implementation factors are all optimised.

Last mile connectivity: the new policy ensures that there is a catchment area within a 5km radius of new metro stations. This reflects the fact that there is currently a lack or complete absence of last mile connectivity in the majority of Indian cities. States are now required to provide last mile connectivity through feeder services such as, non-motorised transport infrastructure like footpaths and cycle lanes, as well as para-transport facilities.

Transport authority: It is now mandatory to set up an Urban Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) to prepare a comprehensive city mobility plan to optimise multimodal integration and utilisation of capacities.

Third-party assessment: the new policy demands a thorough assessment of new metro proposals, with the use of third-party agencies.

Transit Oriented Development (TOD): This will be used to promote compact and dense urban development along metro corridors. TOD advocates efficient land usage in urban areas and reduces travel distances.

The New Policies PPP model aims to lessen the burden on central government funding for metro projects. However, this is not the first time PPP models have been tried in India. The model was first attempted on the Delhi metro airport line but proved unsuccessful, after Reliance Infrastructure abandoned the effort due to the huge losses incurred. Both Mumbai Metro Line 1 and Hyderabad metro have used the PPP model with the use of Viability Gap Funding (VGF) from the Indian government.

There are issues associated with PPP in metro projects in India such as commercial viability and procurement of land. Metro projects are also highly capital-intensive and private players look for returns of around 12-15%, yet metro projects typically yield under 3%. India’s ‘metro man’ Mr. E Sreedharan, the former head of DMRC, and now advisor to projects in many cities, is a critic of the policy. “It will never work.” he says. “Nobody will come forward for the construction of metro rail as it has never been a profitable investment.” Metro projects are long-haul investments and can take a long time to break-even.

Revenue collection is typically unpredictable for public transport projects and this has already been a challenge in India. The Delhi airport line financing model failed because of unstable revenues. With a financial rate of return below the market rate for private funds, public support is required to make the investment more attractive.

The acquisition of property for metro projects is controlled by state governments. Private acquisition can be difficult with lengthy procedures, while also accounting for social considerations. It took Reliance Infrastructure nearly seven years to complete Mumbai Metro Line 1, a relatively simple elevated line, principally due to a delay in the receipt of unencumbered land from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).

This highlights another obstacle for PPP projects in India: political and bureaucratic constraints. Fragmented decision making due to the multitude of public agencies involved in the process, emphasis of administrative procedures and lengthy tendering processes can often be a barrier to private investment.

It was announced in October this year that construction on the country’s first metro project to be developed under the new PPP model#Pune Line 3#would commence in 2019. The contract was won by a consortium of Tata Realty & Infrastructure and Siemens Project Ventures with completion scheduled for 2022. The 23.3km line is elevated and will serve 23 stations.

While the merits of the new policy have been questioned, it can be seen as a step forward in finding the correct balance for metro developments in Indian cities. One of the main benefits is the establishment of a Unified Metropolitan Authority (UMA). There has been a strong need for a UMA as previously metro system’s operated under their own separate organisation. Prior to the new policy, there has been little integration between departments, leading to a lack of collaboration. Overall city mobility will now be considered in the planning of new projects. The new policy proposes that every city should have a UMA for the development of integrated transport.

Improved last mile connectivity will benefit metro systems. Previously metro projects were primarily concerned with transporting passengers from platform-to-platform and without concern for the catchment area around stations. However, for around 5% of the overall project cost, it is possible to implement high-quality feeder services which in turn will increase the overall profitability of the project.

Alternative analysis methods are also likely to bring benefits to a city’s transport infrastructure. Typically, in India technical studies have been conducted after the transport solution has been decided in order to validate the choice. Metro systems in Jaipur, Chennai and Kochi see low ridership levels at 2000 people per kilometre. This is one-third of the ridership level seen on iBus (BRT) services in Indore which has roughly 6000 passengers per kilometre and operates at about one 10th of the cost of a metro system. This highlights the need for alternative analysis when selecting transport systems.

As India’s urban population grows at a fast pace, metros will be a fundamental component of transport infrastructure. Metros offer benefits from enhanced mobility to low carbon footprints, which cannot be purely measured through the yardstick of return on investment.

However, metros must not be seen as the only solution to India’s growth pains. Although symbolic of development, metros need to integrate with the broader transport infrastructure. And despite its issues, the new policy is a step in the right direction for India’s growing urban population. IRJ

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