Monthly Archives: April 2013

Deutsche Bahn’s Veolia acquisition on track

The ongoing talks between Deutsche Bahn and Veolia Transdev Central Europe regional transport services appears close to conclusion according to media sources.

The Federal Republic of Germany, is the majority shareholder of the German transport giant.

An official announcement is being prepared and will be published as soon as the deal is finalised.

Veolia Transdev Central Europe operates regional bus transport in six Central Eastern European countries, including Croatia, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic.

DB Arriva, Deutsche Bahn’s subsidiary responsible for regional transport outside of Germany, operates bus and rail transport in 12 European countries. These include the Central Eastern European markets in Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

The acquisition will be subject to approval by Deutsche Bahn’s  supervisory board and the relevant merger control authorities.

High Speed Rail set for Saudi Arabia

haramain 1

Work continues on Saudi Arabia’s Haramain High Speed Rail Network, which will ease congestion and travel difficulties for visitors during the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Construction on the large-scale project, which will span 450 kilometres, began in March 2009. Travellers will be transported from Mecca to the second holy city of Islam, Medina – a journey through Jeddah, King Abdullah Economic City, King Abdulaziz International Airport and Rabigh.

The network’s electrified double-track line will carry trains at speeds of up to 360km/h, with the 410km journey from Jeddah to Medina set to take around two hours, and the 78km journey from Jeddah to Mecca set to take less than half an hour. The civil works of Phase 1 Package 1 have been contracted to the Al Rajhi Alliance for 6.8b Riyal ($1.8b). The Alliance comprises of the Al Arrab Contracting Company Ltd, Al Suwailem Company, the China Railway Construction Corporation and French rolling stock and power firm Alstom Transport.

Phase 1 Package 2 will deal with station construction in Jeddah, King Abdullah Economic City, and King Abdulaziz International Airport; $38m of design contracts have been awarded to the joint venture of Buro Happold and Foster & Partners. Construction contracts for Jeddah and the Economic City stations have been awarded to Saudi Oger, whereas Mecca and Medina stations will be dealt with by Saudi Bin Laden Group.

Canadian firm Bombardier transportation has signed a €281m contract to supply traction and control packages and power car bogies for the project, and Spanish passenger train manufacturer Talgo will supply 350 trains. Spanish engineering firm OHL will build the base superstructure of the track, which will have to endure extreme temperature fluctuations and the interference of sand. The network is set to open in late 2014 or early 2015.

Richard Greenan

Danube bridge completes

danube bridge

Spanish firm FCC Construcción and Fernández Casado engineers complete 1,791 m Danube Bridge between Bulgaria and Romania

The Vidin-Calafat bridge, which connects Bulgarian city of Vidin and the Romanian city of Calafat across the river Danube, will reportedly open in mid-May. The two sides of the bridge were officially joined on 10 October 2012, and the final railway sleepers were installed on 10 April 2013. It is the second bridge to cross the Danube between the two countries, and its opening will represent a great development of the Pan-European Transport Corridor IV, which runs from Dresden to Istanbul.

The Spanish engineering firm FCC Construcción was selected by the Bulgarian Ministry of Transport in 2006 to construct the bridge, along with access facilities including two railway stations. The designs were drawn up jointly by FCC’s in-house engineers and by the Fernández Casado engineering firm. The contract for construction was signed in March 2007, and work proper began on the bridge in November 2008. The project cost, which in 2000 was forecast to be €99m, eventually reached €226m – a budget jointly financed by European funds and the state of Bulgaria. Its recent completion, which was initially scheduled for 2010, has also been significantly delayed.

The Vidin-Calafat bridge is 1,791m long and 31m wide. It comprises of a four-lane motorway, central railway tracks, a bike lane and footpath. The bridge is built to cope with maximum car speeds of 100km/h, and maximum train speeds of 160km/h. The structure is divided into three distinct sections: the 772m railway access bridge; the 646m non-navigable stretch, supported by eight concrete piers; and the 745m navigable channel section of the bridge, supported by four concrete piers and spread over three central spans of 180m, and two lateral spans of 124m and 115m.

The final structural work on the bridge, the installation of 60-ton impact protection units around each of the four piers in the navigable channel section, was completed on 15 March. Finishing touches being put to the bridge include the installation of handrails, lighting, motorway crash barriers, layers of waterproofing and the bridge superstructure’s bituminous layer.

Richard Greenan




Written By infra2013 
April 15, 2013 11:45 am
Posted In Bridges

Proposed Manhattan storm barrier would feature natural elements


East river

Restored natural features that complement man-made structures figure prominently in a proposed public park that would function as a storm barrier for Manhattan. The East River Blueway would create four miles of wetlands, parks, bicycle and pedestrian pathways and bridges, and the redevelopment of an unused beach under the Brooklyn Bridge.

Wetlands would extend into the river, replacing a line of bulkheads that over the years have increased river flow rates and cut off waterfront access. Beneath the FDR highway, a man-made system of freshwater marshes would filter runoff from the road. The project is designed to reduce flooding from storms such as Hurricane Sandy, which inundated lower Manhattan last October.

Tidal pools would provide wildlife habitat along with educational and recreational opportunities. City dwellers would be able to wade and cool off in these shallow bodies of water, and landings or docks would provide access for kayakers. Elevated platforms for walking and biking over the river would be constructed. A proposed bowtie-shaped pedestrian and bicycle bridge at 14th Street would form a security and flood barrier for an electrical substation while connecting people to the riverfront.

New York-based WXY Architecture + Urban Design developed the plan. eDesign Dynamics Environmental, based in New York, is the engineering and resource planning consultant, and Philip Habib and Associates, also New York-based, is the transportation and engineering consultant.

Talking about the advantages of wetlands and the need for a storm barrier, Claire Weisz, WXY’s founding principal, said: “The wetlands provide a natural buffer against storm-related surges that can cause major urban flooding. We’ve been working with people in the affected neighbourhoods and a local ecology centre, and we realise how much flood protection and waterfront access would improve their lives.”

Expected to cost in the tens of millions of dollars, the project would take many years to be completed—a schedule has not been released. Manhattan borough President Scott Stringer has already allocated $3.5 million for the construction of wetlands. The Blueway would connect to the north with the East River Greenway, a project to create a green, publicly accessible waterfront from 38th to 60th Streets.


Peter Fabris

Written By infra2013 
April 12, 2013 10:06 am

72 new stations for Paris

Grand Paris Express map

Click to enlarge


Construction on the Grand Paris Express programme will begin by 2015, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has announced. The ambitious engineering project will vastly improve transport connections between central Paris and the city’s poorer suburbs, which lie outside the Boulevard Périphérique. This ring road has come to represent a physical and sociological barrier for those in the banlieues, leading to feelings of unrest and marginalisation exemplified by the 2005 riots.

The plan centres around a 200km system of driverless metro lines. 72 new stations will form an orbital network around the peripheries of Paris, connecting previously isolated and deprived areas with business districts and airports. Upon completion, it is claimed that 90% of Parisians will live within 2km of a station. Congestion in the city-centre will be greatly eased, and commutes from low-income communities – which can currently take longer than those from provincial cities benefiting from high speed rail services – will be dramatically reduced.

The first route of the “super metro”, Line 15, should be in service by 2020. Noisy-Champs and Pont-de-Sèvres will be connected as a result. Work will then proceed to extend the existing Paris Metro network in order to meet new orbital routes connecting Noisy with Le Bourget, and Massy-Palaiseau with Saclay. Line 14 of the Metro will extend southwards to Orly and to Saint-Denis-Pleyel north of the capital.

The programme, which will be carried out by the Société du Grand Paris, has a budget of €26b – significantly lower than original investment proposal of €38b. €7b has been set aside to modernise and extend existing metro lines and construct light rail routes, developments that will generate some 57,000 jobs. Ayrault also announced that the programme will create 15,000 indirect jobs each year until its scheduled completion in 2030.

Richard Greenan

Written By infra2013 
April 12, 2013 09:27 am

Alastair Lansley CBE joins jury panel

We are delighted to announce the addition of Alastair Lansley to our transport jury panel. Alastair is a self confessed dyed-in-the-wool railway man and we welcome his input on this panel.

Alastair Lansley CBE was Chief Architect for the CTRL project and is a designer with considerable experience in the multi-disciplinary design of transport interchanges. Working with Nick Derbyshire, he was the project architect for the award-winning redevelopment of London’s Liverpool Street Station and for Ashford International Station in Kent, the gateway to Britain for Eurostar services from Europe.

In 1996, he joined Arup as an Associate Director where he worked for Rail Link Engineering (RLE), the Channel Tunnel Rail Link design and construction management consortium. He led the RLE architectural design team for the reconstruction of St Pancras Station in London as well as for the International Stations at Ebbsfleet and Stratford.

In 2005, he was seconded into Union Railways North as the client’s architect with responsibility for ensuring that all 3 stations were satisfactorily delivered to the client’s requirements.

Written By infra2013 
April 10, 2013 11:18 am
Posted In Jury Updates