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Taipei’s Ankeng LRT to start trial service

Taipei’s Ankeng LRT to start trial service

A month-long preview service for Taipei’s Ankeng Light Rail Transit (Taiwan) is to begin on 10 February, following certification of the 7.6km (4.7-mile) system by Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications on 2 February. The new line runs from Shuangcheng south to Shisizhang, providing end-to-end journey times of 21 minutes and 15-minute headways (7.5 minutes Ankeng – Shisizhang). The route features 4.3km (2.7 miles) of elevated alignment and 400m in subway; five of the nine stops are also elevated. Designated line K, Ankeng LRT provides interchange with the Yellow (Circular) line of the Tapiei Metro at Shisizhang. Proposals for a rapid transit connection to Ankeng in the southern part of greater New Taipei were made during the construction of the MRT metro in the early 1990s. Discounted on economic grounds at the time, studies were revived in 1999 to reduce travel times between Ankeng in the south and other areas of New Taipei by 15-20 minutes. Work on the TWD21.8bn (EUR693.6m) scheme began in April 2016; the new line is to be operated by the New Taipei Metro Corporation, as is the 7.3km (4.5-mile) Danhai LRT, which opened in stages from 2018. A fleet of 15 five-section double-ended LRVs have been delivered by the Taiwan Rolling Stock Company, a China Steel subsidiary that has also supplied the Danhai LRT project. The first was delivered to the depot at Ankeng on 30 September 2021. When full revenue service begins, journeys under 5km (three miles) will cost TWD20 (EUR0.60), rising to TWD25 (EUR0.78) for longer trips. This fare structure is similar to the Danhai LRT system in New Taipei’s Tamsui District....
Rome plans EUR458m tram fleet renewal

Rome plans EUR458m tram fleet renewal

Rome is progressing plans to purchase up to 121 new trams under a six-year framework expected to ultimately be worth EUR458m. Tender documents for modern 100% low-floor vehicles to replace the Italian capital’s 70-plus-year-old Stanga-built trams and expand the fleet were published at the end of January. The specification calls for 30-35m trams, with a capacity for at least 190 passengers, and onboard energy storage for the majority of the fleet to allow for ‘off-wire’ operation. The initial contract is worth a reported EUR154.5m and would see 40 trams delivered to operator ATAC, the first within 22 months and thereafter at a rate of two per month. This contract would include provision for a five-year vehicle warranty and related spares and maintenance. A second batch of 66 trams is valued at EUR251m, while a third tranche would see 15 trams delivered to a value of EUR52.5m. Commissioning of the first new vehicle is expected to take six months, with three months for the second and a month per tram for the rest of the base order. Extra credit will be given during the evaluation of bids for manufacturers who can improve upon these schedules. The deadline for bids is 30 May, The fleet renewal follows agreement by the city in November 2022, described by Councillor for Mobility Eugenio Patanè as an “historic turning point”, adding that “we are buying trams for Rome for the next 30 years” and emphasising the aim that the first trams could be service in time for the Roman Catholic Jubilee celebrations in 2025. New vehicles are needed not only for replacement of the classic...
EUR49 monthly ticket on sale from 3 April

EUR49 monthly ticket on sale from 3 April

Germany’s EUR49 monthly ‘Deutschlandticket’ is to go on sale from 3 April, following agreement between Olaf Scholz’s Federal Government and state authorities. Valid from 1 May, the Deutschlandticket is the successor to last year’s 9-Euro promotion which initially wasn’t believed to continue into 2023. It  covers all standard-class public transport journeys up to the level of regional trains and is expected to be offered in digital format and smartphone app only, although discussions are ongoing regarding the temporary allocation of paper versions.Unlike the 2022 offer, however, the new nationwide ticket will only be available via monthly subscription. The Deutschlandticket is to be funded by the Federal Government with EUR1.5bn/year to 2025, with states matching this with their own EUR1.5bn in financing. An agreement has also been reached to share any costs exceeding the already-committed EUR3bn. The initiative is still waiting final approval from the German parliament and the Bundesrat, Germany’s upper house, and the European Commission, which is looking at the promotion under its state aid rules. Further details remained to be confirmed in early February – such as whether employers would be able to be able to purchase multiple tickets and offer workers a ‘Jobticket’ version at a cheaper...
Jokeri Light Rail testing expanded to Espoo

Jokeri Light Rail testing expanded to Espoo

Trials of Finland’s Jokeri Light Rail (JLR) line have been expanded, following initial tests in November/December. Covering the section from Pitäjänmäki in Helsinki to Alberganesplanadi in Leppävaara, the latest test runs began on 1 February and are designed to validate the performance of traffic light priority and operation at all times of day, including in low-light conditions. The programme is to be extended in March from Alberganesplanadi to the eventual terminus in Keilaniemi in the south-west and expanded to include running at commercial service speeds. Planning for the light rail line began in 2012, with work on the EUR455.5m project (EUR386 for main infrastructure and an additional EUR69.5m for the depot at Roihupelto, next to the existing metro facility) starting in June 2019 under an alliance model. EUR84m of the finance has been provided by the Finnish Government, with the cities of Helsinki and Espoo sharing the balance in a 65%/35% split. Running from Keilaniemi in Espoo westward to Itäkeskus in Helsinki, the 25km (16-mile) JLR will replace current express bus line 550 and connect Espoo’s technology campuses in Keilaniemi, Otaniemi and Leppävaaraas well as Aalto University. Bus line 550 carried 40 000 passengers/day in 2019 and continues to operate while the JLR is under construction as it is on a separate alignment. It is estimated that around 91 000 passengers/day will use the new light rail line by 2030. Škoda has supplied 29 five-section ForCity Smart Artic X54 trams under a EUR95.2m contract with Helsinki operator HKL. The first arrived in April 2021. Originally planned to open in the summer of 2024, it is now hoped that passenger service...
California grants USD2.5bn to rail and transit projects

California grants USD2.5bn to rail and transit projects

Rail and transit projects in California (US) are to share USD2.5bn in grants from the latest round of the California State Transportation Agency’s 2023 Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP), announced on 31 January. Created in 2014 to provide grants from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, TIRCP has provided over USD9bn to more than 100 schemes which further the state’s objectives of expanding public transport service, improving safety and integrating California’s various rail systems. Nearly half the grants in value terms went to projects in the Bay Area, including: USD375m to the Santa Clara Transportation Authority to help extend BART rapid transit service by 10km (six miles) from Berryessa through downtown San Jose and on to Santa Clara. This funding is in addition to a previous USD750m already committed. A further USD250m to BART to improve headways through the Transbay Tube as part of its USD2.7bn Transbay Corridor Core Capacity project which includes 306 new railcars, a new storage yard, conversion to a new CBTC system and traction power upgrades. USD367m to Caltrain to complete the ongoing electrification of the San Francisco – San Jose corridor. USD34m to Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit towards the 4.8km (three-mile) extension of the commuter rail service from Larkspur to Windsor. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will receive: USD600m towards the 10.8km (6.7-mile) initial segment of the East San Fernando Valley LRTprojectfrom Van Nuys to Pacoima, scheduled for completion by 2030. 4m (on top of a previous USD95m) for the Inglewood Transit Connectorto allow completion of the 2.6km (1.6-mile) automatic guideway link in readiness for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics....
Luton DART people-mover trials start

Luton DART people-mover trials start

Passenger trials have begun on the 2.1km (1.3-mile) people-mover serving Luton Airport (UK). The automated rail system uses two four-car Doppelmayr Cable Liner shuttles to offer a shuttle service to Luton Airport Parkway station on the Midland Mainline in four minutes. Afull opening of the system,known as Luton DART (Direct Air-Rail Transit), is expected atEaster– the weekend of 9 April. Onward connections to London St Pancras station can be achieved from the airport in around 30 minutes. Doppelmayr is responsible for operations and maintenance of the line for an initial period of five years. Planning permission for the project was received in July 2017, withsystem design undertaken by Arup. Construction began in April 2018, with major works contracted to a joint-venture of VolkerFitzpatrick and Kier. With an opening planned for early 2021, DART was originally estimated to cost GBP225m (EUR250m). The final cost of the project, funded by London Luton Airport owner Luton Rising (a not-for-profit company owned by London Borough Council), is still ‘subject to ongoing discussions’ but is likely to exceed GBP290m(EUR323.5m). King Charles III rode the line in early December 2022 in a visit to the...