As the TRAN Committee (the European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism) had decided to closely follow the consultation process in view of the forthcoming revision of the TEN-T guidelines, it decided to invite the responsible Director, Jean-Eric Paquet from DG MOVE of the European Commission, for a debriefing on the state of play in the consultation process and the outcome of the expert group on financing TEN-T projects. This took place at the TRAN-meeting on 27-28 September.
Jean-Eric Paquet presented the results of the final report of this expert group, which elaborated 40 recommendations based on future financing needs. It proposes different options regarding how to:
improve project definition and project preparation,
improve efficiency in the implementation process,
better exploit user-fee collection schemes and earmarking,
have a more consistent EU Funding Framework,
better target the Public-Private Partnership market, and
use EU bonds or project bonds.
Members of TRAN debated these findings in the context of the upcoming revision of the TEN-T programme and the next financial perspective. Most speakers agreed that, in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy and in particular its ''resource efficient Europe'' flagship initiative, the Commission should regard infrastructure investments, in particular transport infrastructure, as a political priority to exit the crisis and ensure growth for Europe. This priority should be reflected in the post-2014 Multi-annual Financial Framework. Furthermore, different Members felt that there was a need to improve coordination of the existing funding and financing options and to concentrate on those projects with a clear EU Added Value.
At the meeting of TRAN the European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism on 27-28 September, Matthias Ruete, Director General of DG MOVE, presented the Commission’s proposed recasting of the first railway package. He began with a summary of the situation in the rail sector since 2000, recalling the trends in terms of rail freight’s market share, which had stabilised in the last decade. He also presented the market share of non-incumbent operators in different Member States, which varied greatly.
Matthias Ruete argued that the first railway package had not been sufficiently implemented. This was underlined by a recent Parliamentary resolution of and had led to 13 Member States being taken to the Court of Justice in July 2010 (the situation in 9 further countries is still being analysed by the Commission).
The recast is meant to simplify and clarify current texts by merging three Directives into one. It also seeks to address three main difficulties which have come to light since its adoption:
· Problems with market access: according to Matthias Ruete, firms still find it difficult accessing rail markets. This concerns both new operators and incumbent operators seeking to enter into foreign markets. A lack of access to rail services such a s freight terminals, discriminatory behaviour and a lack of transparency hinder the opening of national markets. The recast includes measures intended to address these problems.
· Regulatory bodies’ lack of power: many national regulatory bodies suffer from limited investigative powers, are understaffed and lack independence from the national administration and/or the incumbent operator.
· Difficulties with the financial architecture: Member States’ charging systems diverge greatly. The Commission proposes several changes concerning the internalisation of noise costs, the linking of funding and performance, the information and data to be provided by Member States and financial support for implementing the ERTMS system.
Matthias Ruete concluded by mentioning issues with the Commission preferred not to deal with at this stage:
· The opening of domestic markets: the Commission wants to go further on this issue in the near future, but first aims to conclude some necessary studies with a view to a legislative initiative in 2012.
· The independence of infrastructure managers: the Commission prefers to wait for the results of the infringement procedure and to avoid a legislative battle on this issue.
· The powers of the European Rail Agency (ERA): a separate proposal will come, possibly in 2011.
A significant number of intervening Members underlined that this new proposal was essential. Several Members emphasised the need to control the implementation of the Directives, especially the interoperability aspects, as these often represent an excuse for national rail operators not to open their network. The ERA should have a bigger role to play here and see its powers increased.
The lack of financing represents another major issue for Members as it blocks any real implementation of the provisions: further efforts should be made at European and national levels. According to several Members, the diverging interpretations of certain provisions of the text, for example complete unbundling between infrastructure managers and railway undertakings, should be addressed. Some Members want to go further than the Commission's proposal, for example in terms of unbundling or the European coordination of regulatory control, while others criticised the potential cost and bureaucratic burden that will be created by the recast.
"In the first eight months of 2010, the total volume of large-tonnage containers on the Trans-Siberian Railway increased by 23%, of which international freight grew 45%", Russian Railways - RZD President Vladimir Yakunin said in his speech at a plenary session of the Coordinating Council on Transsiberian Transportation (CCTT) in Bratislava (Slovakia). He said the resurgence in freight volumes this year is a source of optimism.
"Despite tougher competition from sea and road transport, Russian and foreign companies are working successfully despite the economic crisis to maintain and even expand freight volumes, and are achieving positive results with their new projects", Vladimir Yakunin said.
The Russian Railways president singled out the work of the CCTT with European and Asian companies to attract transit freight to the Trans-Siberian. In particular, an agreement was reached on stepping up the work of the Trans-Siberian Intermodal Operators Association of Japan (TSIOAJ), the Korea International Freight Forwarders Association (KIFFA), and the European Transsiberian Operators’ Association (GETO) to attract additional freight flows to the Trans-Siberian Railway from Japan and South Korea to Europe, and vice versa.
A regular container train service has now been launched on the China — Europe — China route, in order attract additional container freight. TransContainer is involved in this project as an operator, providing container transport services on the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian rail networks.
The Trans-Eurasia Logistics Company (a joint venture between Deutsche Bahn Mobility, Polzug and Kombiferker) is continuing its work to organize container freight services on international routes.
Since June 2010, the joint venture has been working, with the support of TransContainer and DB Intermodal, to provide regular container freight services between Duisburg (Germany) and Moscow. To date, 16 container trains have used this route.
Among this year’s new projects, the company president highlighted TransContanier’s container freight services to transport car parts for Fiat from Italy to Russia under a new logistical scheme: from Fiat’s warehouses in Villanova d'Asti and Mozzagrogna via the Dobra terminal to the Tikhonovo station on the Kuybyshevsky railway, for the Sollers-Yelabuga car assembly plant. Previously, from 2007, these parts had been shipped to the Novorossiysk port, and then via rail to Yelabuga. The new scheme shortens the delivery time to nine days.
Tormod Gjermundsen, Vice President, NSB Passenger Division and head of Technical Division of Norwegian State Railways (NSB), and Peter Spuhler, owner and CEO of Stadler Rail Group, have presented the first intercity FLIRT train at the InnoTrans trade fair in Berlin today. NSB have ordered 50 of these FLIRTs, which will partly replace the existing vehicles. This represents the largest fleet renewal in the history of NSB. For Stadler it is the first intercity train able to reach a top speed of 200 km/h. In just 24 months since the contract was signed, Stadler has designed and built the new vehicle.
Two years ago NSB awarded Stadler the contract to build 50 five-part FLIRT trains as well as the option for a further 100 trains. Of these, 24 trains are the intercity version, fitted with high-quality interiors and intended for use on mainline services in eastern Norway. A further 26 vehicles will be put into service in the Oslo regional commuter railway system.
Tom Ingulstad, Senior Vice President and head of NSB Passenger Division says: “We are proud to announce that the first train is now rolled out from the factory. Thousands of hours of detailed design and production have resulted in a train which we are confident will serve our customers. Cooperation with Stadler has been excellent. Their design focus on safety, customer comfort and reliability was very valuable.”
The NSB FLIRT represents yet another milestone for Stadler in Scandinavia following the contract for 32 FLIRTs for the commuter railway system in Helsinki and 17 trams for the city of Bergen. In addition to the special intercity design, the 50 NSB FLIRT vehicles stand out thanks to their advanced ability to fulfil the requirements of severe winters: the vehicle is built to withstand temperatures of up to —40 degrees Celsius. The concept is based on the FLIRT for the Helsinki commuter railway system, which has now been in successful operation for two years, and the experience has been positive. Peter Spuhler is very pleased with the results: “We are very proud that we have been able to fulfil the high demands of the engineering specifications for vehicles with the FLIRT concept, and have managed to design and build this new vehicle in just 24 months.”
“We are confident the train will be able to handle the Norwegian winter well because of the way the train has been built, utilising Stadler’s experience from services now running in both Switzerland and Finland. We look forward to continued good cooperation with Stadler until the trains are ready to be put into operation in Norway, and beyond” said Tormod Gjermundsen, Vice President, NSB Passenger Division and head of Technical Division.
The vehicles ordered by NSB are fundamentally based on the FLIRT that has already been sold by Stadler 618 times. In some areas, the modular construction of the FLIRT has been further developed and adapted to the needs of NSB. The five-part NSB multiple-unit trains have three drive units instead of two, as would be normal for the four-part FLIRTs. The Norwegian gauge, broader in comparison to continental Europe, makes a carriage width of 3,200 millimetres possible, allowing for a comfortable 3 + 2 seating arrangement.
NSB has emphasized universal access in the basic design so that the train will be available to every customer irrespective of handicap. Among other features, large parts of the train have low floors, making it easier for all passengers when entering or leaving the train. Spacious toilet facilities and clear signposting conform to these same criteria. NSB has set strict environmental requirements for the new trains. These requirements cover both production, operation and subsequent recycling of material when the trains leave service. NSB sets specific requirements for energy efficiency in operation in order to reduce power consumption. NSB has also conducted a life cycle analysis (LCA), mapping the train's environmental impact from production to disposal.
On 21 September at the international InnoTrans 2010 exhibition in Berlin, Russian Railways - RZD, Siemens AG, and Siemens Russia signed a contract for the supply of 16 electric trains for suburban passenger transport, with the start of localized production in Russia.
The contract was signed by RZD President Vladimir Yakunin, Siemens Mobility CEO Hans-Jorg Grundmann, and Siemens Russia President Dietrich Möller. The contract follows pre-existing agreements between the companies. Under the contract, 16 electric trains will be supplied.
Their production will be partially localized in Russia (at least 20%). The new rolling stock will be used for suburban services in central and southern Russia. In December 2009, Russian Railways ordered 54 suburban trains from Siemens AG. A contract was later signed for 38 Desiro-class trains, which will be produced at the Siemens plant in Krefeld ( Germany).
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development - EBRD is supporting further modernisation of rail operations in Serbia with a EUR 100 million sovereign guaranteed loan to the Serbian state-owned railway company Zeleznice Srbije to finance the upgrade of Corridor X rail and the purchase of locomotives. Corridor X is the primary transport route in Serbia, running on a north-south axis and connecting major and secondary urban centres by road and rail, including the three largest cities — Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis.
The EBRD loan will be used to renew over 111 km of track on Corridor X, to purchase track maintenance machinery and to acquire 15 new electric locomotives, which will replace outdated cars for freight services. The investment will assist Zeleznice Srbije in raising the quality and efficiency of passenger and freight services on rail Corridor X, reducing maintenance costs and improving energy efficiency.
The project, supported by €650,000 in technical assistance grants from the Central European Initiative, German government and the Bank’s Shareholder Special Fund, will also support Zeleznice Srbije in its restructuring process, implementation of this project and the development of various energy efficiency initiatives.
“This project is a continuation of the EBRD’s support to the modernisation of Serbian Railways, and we are delighted to sign this new financing on Serbia’s National Rail Day. The funds will support much needed upgrades to the rail infrastructure, helping to raise the standards of transport services in Serbia”, said Thomas Maier, EBRD Managing Director for Infrastructure.
“This is a very important day for Serbian Railways and we are pleased that we can mark it with the signing of this financing agreement with the EBRD, which will allow this railway company to effectively compete, through the provision of efficient transport services, throughout the region”, added the General Manager of Zeleznice Srbije, Milovan Markovic.
This is the EBRD’s fourth financing extended to Zeleznice Srbije. In total, including the latest loan, the Bank provided over EUR 300 million for the modernisation of Serbian railways.
Since the beginning of its operations in Serbia, the EBRD has committed over EUR 2.2 billion in various sectors of the Serbian economy, mobilising additional investment in excess of EUR 2.7 billion.
On 21 September at the international InnoTrans 2010 exhibition in Berlin, Russian Railways - RZD, Transmashholding, and the French company Alstom Transport signed a memorandum of understanding on developing an AC freight locomotive with a 2ES5 asynchronous traction motor.
The document was signed by RZD President Vladimir Yakunin, Transmashholding President Andrey Bokarev, and Alstom Transport President Philippe Mellier. In line with the document, the locomotives will be completed in Russia, at the Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Plant.
Key components of the locomotive, including traction equipment, will be localized at Russian companies. A prototype of the locomotive is scheduled to be ready in April 2011. The signing of a supply contract is scheduled for autumn 2011. The new long-distance new-generation AC freight locomotive will allow Russian Railways to raise the efficiency of its traction rolling stock.
Beginning 4 October 2010, TFG Transfracht will increase the frequency of trains on the Munich, Nuremberg, Ulm and Kornwestheim connections, each by one more train rotation on the AlbatrosExpress.
Due to this increase TFG can now offer 13 departures a week from the German seaports to the Munich Riem terminal. The frequency in Nuremberg will increase to twelve departures a week. The terminals Ulm and Kornwestheim will have seven and six rotation departures respectively.
Director of the Regional area South, Ingrid Rossmeier, comments: “The increase in frequency for our regional terminals in the south is another measure towards satisfying the needs of our customers”.
With the increased capacities TFG pursues the aim of enhancing customer service as well as expanding traffic opportunities. Due to the expansion in capacity and services by weekly more than 400 TEU, more than 300 truck transports can be transferred from road to rail each week.
On September 21st at the InnoTrans 2010 international exhibition of transport technology in Berlin a joint declaration of cooperation was signed between Russian Railways — RZD President Vladimir Yakunin and French Railway — SNCF President Guillaume Pepy. Due to the growing interest in establishing direct rail services between Russian and French cities, the French National Railway Corporation (SNCF) declared its willingness to support a Russian Railwaysproject to develop the direct Moscow — Paris service, and to improve service quality and passenger comfort.
In the declaration, Russian Railways, acting with the support of SNCF, announced the opening of a new Moscow — Nice passenger train service, with added-comfort carriages meeting all modern environmental standards. To improve the accessibility of rail transport, simplify the ticket sales system, and improve the passenger service quality, the parties agreed to introduce modern train ticket sales methods. This technology will unite the electronic ticket booking systems of Europe and countries of the CIS. On freight services, the parties also announced their readiness to cooperate in developing goods transport and terminals as part of the Europe — Asia transport corridor, and their intention of improving standards, to attract larger freight volumes.
The declaration also noted the parties’ readiness to attract investment and carry out joint programmes, through the creation of joint ventures or the signing of commercial deals aimed at implementing specific bilateral projects in rail transport. The French and Russian national rail companies also declared their willingness to attract political organizations and representatives of business circles of both countries to work on these projects.
Almost 94% of service on Britain’s railway during September ran on time, with Chiltern Railways being the most punctual. The figures were released today in Network Rail's regular monthly report on train performance. During the period from 22 August to 18 September, 93.5% of services arrived on time. This compares to 93.6% in same period last year.
Robin Gisby, director of operations and customer services, said: "September has been a good month for delivering a high-quality, punctual service to the millions of passengers and freight users who rely on train services every day."
In all, 13 of the 19 operators saw their performance improve compared to the same period last year, with Virgin Trains seeing the biggest improvement (up to 91.3% from 89.0% last year). The rest saw marginal movements in performance with no operator seeing significant movement (more than three percentage points).
Robin Gisby concluded: "Performance for services using the East Coast main line is presently running below the very high standards we set ourselves. Working closely with the train operator, joint action plans are in place, and we expect performance to improve over the coming months."
East Coast services suffered delays caused mainly by factors outside its control. A significant cable theft at Newark on 10 September brought the East Coast Main Line to a halt for many hours and a couple of overhead line problems on 31 August, south of Peterborough, involving First Capital Connect services also had a major impact.
Arrived on time - the measure of train punctuality also known as PPM (public performance measure) means trains arriving at their destinations within five minutes for commuter services and within 10 minutes for long distance services. This measure of punctuality is commonly used throughout Europe.
National train punctuality is measured for all trains across the whole network, including cancelled services and delays caused by external factors (such as vandalism, extreme weather, suicides etc). Punctuality did not start to be recorded in this vigorous and thorough way until 1997. Before then Railtrack, and BR before it, did not measure all services and also excluded external factors and other items from their numbers.
At the latest Western Seaports Conference in Rotterdam, DB Schenker Rail launched a project for the establishment of a European production and transport control system. This means that production management, transport monitoring and related customer information, which is currently handled by the individual national companies, will in future be coordinated on an international scale and one-stop. Speaking at the conference, which attracts high-ranking representatives of the maritime transport industry every year, Karsten Sachsenröder, Member of the DB Schenker Rail Management Board for Sales, explained: "This paves the way for harmonized Europe-wide support of rail-bound logistics for our customers".
The objective of the conference delegates is to revitalize combined transport to and from the Dutch and Belgian seaports in a concerted effort by diverse actors, such as shipowners, forwarders, port authorities, intermodal operators and maritime shippers, with the aim of improving seaport hinter¬land transport. This will involve, for example, consultation between the players regarding planned quantities to enable more effective response to fluctuating transport volumes or even imminent capacity bottlenecks.
The Rotterdam Port Authority expects to see a sharp increase in total throughput over the next few decades. "Good hinterland connections are vital if we are to cope with this growth efficiently, quickly and ecologically," comments Hans Smits, Chief Executive of the authority. "Accordingly, we need to have effective and competitive rail freight transportation, especially in view of our modal shift ambitions."
Finally, the conference delegates agreed on a joint "Rail Agenda for Growth", which envisages that the members will continue to meet all year round in additional working groups on the subjects of "Modal Shift Ambitions towards rail in the West Ports" and "Green Logistics". They also agreed to present the progress that has been made at the next Western Seaports Conference in 2011.
Alstom Transport is the first train manufacturer in The Netherlands that is certified to Level 3 of the infrastructure manager ProRail CO2 performance ladder. ProRail is one of the main principals for the Dutch rail transport business. The company manages the Dutch railroad network and encourages the parties with which it cooperates to take energy saving measures through the CO2 performance ladder.
This ladder has five steps. The higher the level a company reaches, the more benefit it will receive for contracts. For a company that is certified at level 1 the benefit is 1%. Level 3 is 4% and even 10% at level 5.
Last July and August, Lloyds, as independent conformity assessment body, audited the collected and issued data, resulting in a certificate Level 3 attributed to Alstom Transport in the Netherlands. The audit checklist contained: insight in internal processes concerning the companies’ carbon footprint, the targeted ambition for CO2 emission reduction, transparency in the way the company communicates internally and externally and participation with other companies to set up C02 reduction programmes. The audit focused for example on activities such as the use of public transport for business travel, commuter travel, waste disposal, paper used, electricity used at client sites, business car travel.
"Rail transport has the advantage to be the most environmental friendly means of transportation, especially due to the fact that it easily uses electricity. Receiving certification for going beyond rolling-stock activities attests to our global efforts in sustainability”, declared Philippe Mellier, President of Alstom Transport.
Alstom strives to reduce its environmental impact across the globe. The company aims to reduce the amount of natural resources used across the full range of operations, particularly CO2 emissions. Alstom targets a 20% reduction in energy intensity and greenhouse gas emissions, the decrease in water consumption by 12% from 2008/09 levels and the recycling of 80% of waste by 2015.
Alstom commits to providing market leading power and transport products, systems and services to communities across the globe in a responsible and sustainable way. With a collaborative spirit, passion for excellence and innovative approach Alstom offers solutions which help overcome some of the world’s greatest challenges. In the process of limiting the impact activities have on the environment, promoting sustainable development for all stakeholders and partners or improving the lives of those who come into direct contact with Alstom, the company takes its corporate and social responsibilities very seriously. People, sustainability and the environment are at the heart of Alstom’s decisions.
On 28 September the British infrastructure manager Network Rail announced the appointmentof David Higgins as chief executive of the company. David Higgins succeeds Iain Coucher, who is stepping down at the end of October. David Higgins, who is currently chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), will take up his new position on 1 February 2011. He is currently a non-executive director of Network Rail, a role he will continue until he starts as chief executive.
Before joining the ODA, he was the chief executive of Lend Lease, an international property and construction company from 1995 to 2002 before joining English Partnerships as chief executive (2003-05).
Network Rail’s chairman, Rick Haythornthwaite, said: "We recruited David to the board earlier this year because of his track record in leading large organisations, delivering demanding projects and managing a complex range of commercial interests and wider stakeholder sensitivities. With Iain Coucher deciding it is the right time to leave Network Rail, David emerged as the outstanding candidate to lead Network Rail into a challenging new era following an extensive search process.
"There are significant challenges and opportunities ahead for both Network Rail and the industry such as the comprehensive spending review, the McNulty value for money review and the planning of HS2. Public, passengers, politicians and the industry are demanding a better, safer railway delivered at a lower cost where success will depend on pervasive collaboration. David is well-placed to lead both Network Rail and the industry forward to meet these challenges."
Commenting on his appointment, David Higgins said: "It has been a privilege to lead the ODA over the last five years and I am leaving with the Olympic Park on time, within budget and with the finish line in sight.
"Looking forward, Network Rail is one of the most important companies in the UK - an efficient railway underpins a modern economy — and therefore a challenge I could not turn down. Network Rail and the rail industry have transformed the train service in Britain in the last eight years - trains run on time and the railway is safer than ever. My priority is to bring Network Rail and the industry closer so that together we can continue to improve service, efficiency and safety and add much needed capacity to a railway network that is nearly full."
In the interim period prior to David Higgins start date and following the departure of Iain Coucher, Peter Henderson will take on the role of acting chief executive. Peter Henderson is currently Director, Asset Management.
· 11th-13th of October in Baku (AZ): International Regional Rail Business Forum "1520 Strategic Partnership: the Caucasus Region". The forthcoming 1520 Strategic Partnership forum is devoted to the development of the Caucasus region’s transport infrastructure. The Caucasus, Trans-Caucasus and Central Asia are vital areas where global land and sea routes intersect. The situation in the region reflects the overall condition of the Eurasian transport space as a whole. The Caspian nations have huge potential, and the time has come for this potential to be realised, which will be key to successful economic development. Further information is available through the following link.
· 20-21 October in Amsterdam (NL): The second The Future of High-Speed Rail organized by Marketforce and the ASI. Speakers include: Carlos Fernandes, Chief Executive Officer, RAVE; Pierre Cunéo, Director for Rail Strategy and Regulatory Affairs, SNCF; Zoltan Kazatsay, Deputy Director General, Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, European Commission; Alison Munro,Chief Executive, High Speed Two; Giuseppe Sciarrone, Managing Director, NTV; Beatrice Paques, Chief Commercial Officer, Thalys International; Juan Matías Archilla Pintidura, Director of International Projects, RENFE; Jan Raczynski, Director of High Speed Lines Office, PKP Polish Railway Lines; Tewfik Bedreddine, Head of Distribution, Eurostar; Ron Heeren, Head of Sales, NS Hispeed; Christer Löfving, Strategist, Trafikverket; Trevor Garrod, Chairman, European Passengers’ Federation. The conference provides excellent networking opportunities and a unique forum for industry leaders to discuss the following crucial issues: What impact will the third railway package have on the high-speed rail market?; Developing and managing successful public-private partnerships in rail; How will the liberalised market for international rail passenger services work in practice?; New high-speed lines - how are these projects progressing?; Improving distribution models and assessing the scope for interline ticketing; Increasing rail’s modal share through attractive high-speed rail propositions. For further information, please have a look at the conference website through this link.
· 8-10 November in Madrid (ES): High Speed Rail World Europe 2010, organised by Terrapinn Media. 2010 is quickly becoming the year of high speed rail. With over 20 countries across nearly all continents exploring how high speed rail will be introduced in their countries, the industry is at a precipice of huge growth. High Speed Rail World 2010 is an ideal opportunity to meet the companies and government officials developing these projects and learn from those already running high speed lines. When asked what the biggest challenge facing the high speed industry was, 100% survey respondents listed funding and financing as one of their top three challenges. High speed Rail World’s funding and financing sessions look to the different solutions available in our current financial climate. Hear from Trenitalia and NTV on how liberalised competition is affecting them and how they intend to compete. Learn how partnerships can increase the revenues and capacity, helping the business to thrive under competition. Learn to market high speed rail differently to effectively capture more modal share. Hear about new cutting edge distribution strategies to help high speed compete with the low cost airline industry. High Speed Rail World 2010 is the only high speed congress focussing on the revenue side of the business. For more information, please find the Conference website through this link .
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