Category Archives: Metro

Consultation begins on new £1.3tn infrastructure proposal for London

A new report from the Greater London Authority (GLA) has revealed the capital’s strategic infrastructure investment requirements to 2050. Consultancy, Arup has been working closely with the GLA to draw up the £1.3 trillion plan, entitled “London Infrastructure Plan 2050 – A Consultation”.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has just launched the report – representing the start of consultation – in Barking, East London, declaring that its contents were “a real wake-up call to the stark needs that face London over the next half a century”.

With London’s population growing by 2,000 people every eight days, Johnson is concerned that massive investment in infrastructure is needed in order for London to keep its place among the elite of world cities.

The report examines seven sectors from transport, waste and energy to open spaces and broadband, and spells out the infrastructure needs of London over the next thirty-five years to cope with a growing population.

Housing and transport combined represent nearly 80 per cent of the investment needed to 2050. Between them they are estimated to have a funding gap of close to £135 billion.

New rail infrastructure comprises a major element of the plans. Featuring in the proposals are blueprints for a new orbital metro-style railway around London, which according the UK’s Guardian newspaper has been dubbed the “R25” in City Hall.


A series of new river crossings in addition to those already currently planned is also proposed, along with further Crossrail lines.

Alexander Jan, project director at Arup, commented, “Investment activity will be needed on an industrial scale not seen since Victorian times. But it is not all about tunnels, railways and power transmission.

“Cleaner air, natural flood protection and places for Londoners to walk and cycle are central to the city’s quality of life and urban sustainability. And a major increase in housing provision would address one of the most pressing needs of Londoners.”

A consultation on the London Infrastructure Plan 2050 will now run for three months and the Mayor is expected to publish a final report in early 2015.

By Gail Taylor

Written By admin 
August 01, 2014 13:09 pm
Posted In Metro, TRANSPORT

First South Island Line (East) Train Arrives in Hong Kong


The South Island Line (East) (SIL(E)) is one step closer to opening with the arrival of its first 3-car train on 19 February 2014 at MTR Siu Ho Wan Depot.

“We’re very excited to start taking delivery of the train fleet for the South Island Line (East). It not only signifies another important milestone for the railway project but also means we are closer to extending fast, convenient, world-class railway service to people living and working
in Southern District, not to mention the millions who visit the many tourist attractions on the South side of Hong Kong Island each year,” said Mr Jay Walder, Chief Executive Officer of MTR Corporation.

The train that arrived today is part of a fleet of 10 3-car trains being manufactured for SIL(E) by Changchun Railway Vehicles Co. They will gradually be delivered over the next few months.

“A series of rigorous static and dynamic tests and a 5,000-kilometre test run have been conducted at the manufacturer’s factory. The delivered trains will go through repeated critical tests and integrated tests in Hong Kong in the coming months to make sure that the new train fleet is ready to serve on the South Island Line (East) with high performance in safety and operation,” said Mr T C Chew, Projects Director of MTR Corporation.

The train sets will undergo a series of initial tests at Siu Ho Wan Depot in the coming months and will then be transported to the Wong Chuk Hang Depot from late this year for final testing and commissioning before they start to serve passengers in 2015.

To achieve a higher level of reliability and flexibility in train operations, the SIL(E) trains are designed with a Fully Automatic Operation system, a proven technology widely adopted in metro systems around the world.

The South Island Line (East) is a 7-kilometre railway running from Admiralty to South Horizons with three intermediate stations at Ocean Park, Wong Chuk Hang and Lei Tung. The medium capacity railway will operate trains at a frequency of approximately 3 minutes during peak
travel periods. To date, around 60% of the works have been completed.

Written By admin 
March 03, 2014 15:57 pm
Posted In Metro, TRANSPORT

Light at the end of the tunnel for station design


This spectacular new metro station in Leipzig, Germany, comprises a 141-metre long and 20-metre wide concourse walled by illuminated blocks of glass. The station was designed by Swiss architect Max Dudler, after his practice was awarded the contract in a competition. Structural engineering was handled by PICHLER Ingenieure GmbH, with MEP and safety consultants including Planungsgemeinschaft Winter-Graner and Brandschutz Consult Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH Leipzig. Arge BOL/BÜ oversaw construction supervision.

Plangruppe 100-gleichges

Forming one of the four stops on the 5.3 mile Leipzig City Tunnel railway line, the Wilhelm-Leuschner-Platz S-Bahn station will open for public use in December. The station, a joint development between the Free State of Saxony and Deutsche Bahn AG, took ten years to construct, and will form a link to Leipzig Markt station – the world’s largest station by floor area – to Leipzig city centre.

The entire surface of the walls and ceiling forms a concrete grid housing the backlit blocks of glass. A statement from Max Dudler’s studio reads: “The seemingly endless repetition of the same element in the course of the slightly curved, light-filled hall increases the sensation of the dimensions of this already large structure.”


Written By admin 
December 03, 2013 16:20 pm
Posted In Metro, TRANSPORT

London Underground to heat hundreds of homes

london underground heating

The Mayor of London announced an innovative new scheme on Friday that will see waste heat captured from the capital’s underground train tunnels and used to warm hundreds of homes in the city. The first of its kind in Europe, the scheme is hoped to cut fuel bills as well as lowering pollution. According to Islington Council, it is estimated that “carbon emissions will fall by more than 500 tons annually” as a result.

The project – a partnership between London’s Mayor Boris Johnson, Islington Council, UK Power Networks and Transport for London – comes as part of the Mayor’s sustainability drive in the capital. The system will make use of Islington Council’s pioneering Bunhill Heat and Power network, which currently supplies over 700 homes in the borough with greener heating and is forecast to reduce heating costs for locals.

An expansion of this network will ensure the utilisation of two major sources of wasted heat: from a London Underground ventilation shaft, and from a UK Power Networks sub-station. A further 500 homes will be connected to Islington’s heat network as a result.

The Mayor of London’s Senior Advisor on Environment and Energy, Matthew Pencharz, said: “We need to do everything possible to create a more secure, cost-effective and sustainable heat and power supply for London. By supporting locally sourced energy and heat networks which can reduce bills and lower carbon emissions, we can not only save money but also drive innovation, jobs and growth in this burgeoning sector.”

Leader of the Council, Cllr Richard Watts, stated: “The expanded Bunhill Heat Network will cut energy bills for hundreds more local people. With energy prices going up and up, it’s vital we do what we can to cut bills. It’s all part of the Council’s work to help people manage the rising cost of living. Last winter was one of the coldest for decades and record energy prices meant many families on fixed incomes spent it in misery, unsure whether to heat or eat.”

Islington Council’s executive member for sustainability, Cllr Rakhia Ismail, said: “Recycling heat from London Underground and the electrical network are exciting new ideas and a boost to our work to tackle fuel poverty and make Islington a fairer place. This cheaper energy scheme is greener too – local communities will see CO2 emissions drop by around over 500 tonnes each year.”

JGM to bring SkyTran to Tel Aviv in 2014


The world’s first SkyTran network, in the Israeli financial centre of Tel Aviv, is scheduled for completion in mid-2014. International project management firm Jenkins Gales & Martinez (JGM) will provide planning, civil engineering, and construction management for the groundbreaking city transport scheme.

SkyTran, first proposed in 1990 by the inventor Douglas Malewicki, is a metropolitan rapid transport system consisting of lightweight two-passenger vehicles suspended from elevated tracks. Making use of electric motors and passive magnetic levitation technology, the vehicles will be capable of reaching speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour while maintaining an impressive fuel economy equating to over 200 miles per US gallon.

In doing away with wheels, SkyTran’s passive maglev minimises maintenance and improves efficiency. The cars are to be driven by a linear motor in the vehicle or track, with no external power required to levitate the vehicles; rather, the vehicle’s movement over shorted wire coils in the track produces the magnetic repulsion. With very few moving parts – the car’s parking wheels, door, fans and air-con units – the system can be referred to as “solid state”.

how skytran works

A full scale model of the proposed SkyTran maglev system, “Indutrack”, has been constructed and tested by US nuclear physics and defence contractor General Atomics. UniModal Inc. and NASA are also collaborating on the development of SkyTran.

Speaking of JGM’s appointment to deliver the Tel Aviv project, Jerry Sanders, SkyTran Inc. Chairman and CEO said: “JGM’s reputation for delivering complex transportation projects on time and on budget makes them an ideal partner for deploying SkyTran in Israel.”

It is hoped the system will alleviate street-level traffic congestion which hampers Tel Aviv’s infrastructure. The first 10km SkyTran line would connect Tel Aviv University station with the high-tech Atidim Park, before continuing West towards the city’s Old Port: a hub of restaurants, shopping and night life. At a reported construction cost of under $7m per kilometre of track, SkyTran is cheaper than other city transport systems.

“We look forward to bringing SkyTran’s innovative capabilities to Israel,” stated Earl Gales, Jr., Chairman and CEO of JGM. “This is the beginning of a new era in automated transportation and we’re proud to play a role.”

Richard Greenan

Written By admin 
November 20, 2013 11:57 am
Posted In Metro, TRANSPORT

Latest pictures of FCC’s new Panama Metro

Panama Metro Test Run with President Martinelli

The first subway in Central America, the $1.8bn Panama Metro engineered by global infrastructure group FCC, is now 94% complete. Yesterday Panama President Ricardo Martinelli travelled the full 13.7km length of the Metro Line 1 during a trial run. Once completed the full journey is expected to take less than 25 minutes.

The President’s journey took him between Albrook and Los Andes stations on board the Metro Unit 006. Ricardo Martinelli, the President of the Republic, was accompanied by the Minister for Canal Affairs and the Executive Secretary of the Metro, Roberto Roy, as well as other Cabinet members and the Executives of the Consortium formed by FCC and Odebrecht.

The Panama Metro Line 1 project has been under construction for 33 months, with the first stage scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2014. Since the beginning of construction, the project has expanded to include a further 2.2 kilometres and two new stations – meaning the total will be 15.9 kilometres, covered in just 22 minutes.

Panama Metro 2

Yesterday’s tour was part of the dynamic tests which have been underway since the end of August in the Yards and Workshop zone, as well as at underground and elevated sections. Tests are currently being carried out on all installed equipment and systems such as the catenary, rails and rail components. Work has also begun on the restitution of flagstones in underground stations, which will begin with landscaping in the entrance area – pavement placing on sidewalks, painting and signage.

Currently , 15 of the 19 trains which will form the fleet of Metro are being kept in the Yards and Workshops zones, over the next two months the last four will be shipped to Panama. Vehicle movement trials and the testing of static functionality protocols are underway, as well as dynamic tests that verify maximum speed, acceleration capacity, and the braking ability of trains.

Panama Metro 3

The system’s “Metropolis” trains, manufactured in Santa Perpetua, Spain, each comprise of three cars with a maximum capacity of 200 passengers per car. Each car has a length of 52 meters with a height of 3.85 meters. For the convenience of passengers, each car is equipped with wide doors, level floors, corridors between carriages, information screens and natural lighting to enhance the safety of passengers. Trains have a locomotive at each end – with the cars in the centre – enabling travel in either direction.

FCC are also building a new access channel from the Pacific to the Panama Canal in a contract worth $271m.

Written By admin 
November 15, 2013 16:57 pm
Posted In Metro, TRANSPORT

Smarter Mobility: an evening of debate hosted by Intelligence Squared

Smarter Mobility_Web Res-191

This debate, held at The Royal Institute of Great Britain and supported by Shell, aimed address the question of delivering smarter mobility options in ever-increasingly congested megacities, such as Los Angeles and Sao Paulo. Leading the line were five of the field’s most innovative thinkers, brought together in an effort to sketch out the future of smart mobility, and was chaired by Matthew Taylor, the Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).


Professor Paul Newman
A Professor of Engineering and leader of the Mobile Robotics Group at the University of Oxford, Professor Newman is an expert in driverless vehicle technology. He argued that, while the growth of driverless technology was inevitable, it will not occur overnight. Rather, the proliferation of autonomous vehicles will be a gradual progression. Key to this, Professor Newman stated, was the ability of vehicles to interpret their surroundings and learn without the help of external inputs such as GPS.

Robin Chase
Founder and CEO of Buzzcar, as well as co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar, Robin is a pioneer in the car-sharing marketplace. Focusing on the potential benefits of a city fully embracing car-sharing schemes, Robin observed that the development of car-sharing schemes would reduce the number of vehicles on the road, highlighting the vast majority of time personally owned cars spend parked and unused. This development also spells the proposition of the most functional, appropriate vehicles being made available to users at opportune times.

Jerry Saunders
Jerry is the CEO of Skytran, a company developing a rapid transit system that utilises maglev technology. Skytran, a NASA Space Act Company, has initially been developing this system for Tel Aviv. Skytran’s transportation pods run along tracks fitted above street level, and can travel at speeds of 100-200 kmph. Skytran will be capable of taking up to 11,500 passengers per hour on each guideline, with each pod using only one third of the energy of a hybrid car. When questioned on the greatest challenge facing this ambitious project, Jerry responded that it was not technological or developmental, but rather obstacles created by governments unable to fully understand and categorise this transportation alternative.

Ben Hamilton-Baillie
Ben is an urban designer and one of the leading proponents of the idea of ‘shared space’, a proposed solution to city congestion that involves the removal of street furniture and traffic controls. This low-tech and cheap congestion solution will increase road safety and vehicle flow by increasing user awareness of fellow users sharing the space around them, Ben argued.

David Rowan
The final speaker, David Rowan, editor of the UK edition of WIRED, attempted to tie together the various solutions proposed today. Key to David’s final messsage was the requirement of societies to reduce their fixation on personal ownership and embrace the idea of collective information, resources and ownership in the pursuit of smarter mobility.


The event concluded with a Q&A during which concerns raised by the audience focused on issues such as the transportation of goods, and what driverless cars and car-sharing schemes meant for those holding a passion for vehicles themselves. The first concern was met with a general consensus that there remains a considerable way to go in the development of goods transportation systems, especially within cities themselves. The second issue was handled by Professor Newman, who, reiterating an earlier point, argued that technology exists to provide its users with choices, and that an individual wishing to continue driving their own car will be free to do so.

Alexander Malden

First Crossrail Tunnelling Machine Completes Journey

85432_Crossrail tunnels between Royal Oak and Farringdon

The first Crossrail train tunnel has been completed, as the tunnelling machine Phyllis finished the Royal Oak to Farringdon tunnel in London. The tunnel construction marks the half-way mark in Crossrail’s 26 mile excavation marathon.

It has been 17 months since Phyllis commenced her 4.2 mile journey from Royal Oak in west London. In what Crossrail hails as “the most significant addition to London’s transport in a generation”, Phyllis and six other machines have collectively passed the 13 mile mark in their mission to build major new underground train tunnels in the UK capital.

97109_Image of final rings being installed on TBM Phyllis tunnel drive_ October 2013

Currently in the Holborn area, Phyllis’ sister machine, Ada, is due to complete tunnelling during the winter. Six other machines will finish their routes in 2014. Phyllis will be dismantled over the coming weeks, and her 130 metre long trailer system removed from the tunnel via the recently completed Fisher Street shaft.

104666_Image of final rings being installed on TBM Phyllis tunnel drive_ October 2013

Crossrail Programme Director Andy Mitchell said: “Crossrail’s construction continues to move ahead at a significant pace. Crossrail has not only completed the first Crossrail tunnel under London but has reached the half-way point for our tunnelling machines with a phenomenal 13 miles of train tunnels constructed to-date. A further six tunnelling machines are currently hard at work constructing over 100 metres of new tunnel each day with major tunnelling due to complete next year.”

The final concrete rings for the western tunnels at Old Oak Common will be cast at Crossrail’s temporary concrete segment factory this week. The rings are erected by the tunnelling machines as they excavate the earth and advance forwards.

104609_Tunnel gang celebrate completion of TBM Phyllis_ tunnel drive_ 8 October 2013

More than 1,000 people are working on Crossrail’s western tunnel section, building new train tunnels between Royal Oak at Farringdon, and new passenger, platform and service tunnels for Crossrail stations at Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon. A further 9,000 people are working across the project.

Following its opening in 2018, it is estimated that upwards of 200 million passengers will travel on Crossrail each year. The system promises to transform train travel across London and the south east, boosting London’s rail capacity by 10%, delivering faster journey times and bringing an additional 1.5 million people closer to the capital’s business centres.

Richard Greenan

Written By admin 
October 09, 2013 13:29 pm
Posted In Metro, TRANSPORT

WS Atkins Wins £75m Saudi Metro Contract

atkins saudi metro

In a project tipped as the world’s largest public transport scheme, WS Atkins has secured the contract to construct part of Saudi Arabia’s £14b Riyadh Metro. As part of a joint venture with Spanish consultancy Typsa, and for the FAST consortium, UK firm Atkins will lead designs for three of the 111-mile network’s planned six lines.

Leaders of the consortium, Spanish firm FCC will be in charge of lines four, five and six. The entire network will encompass 85 stations, and is expected to utterly transform the Saudi capital’s congested transport system. Samsung, train construction firm Alstom, civil engineers Freyssinet and infrastructure group Strukton make up the remainder of the consortium.

Construction on the scheme, which is forecast to generate some 15,000 jobs, is due to begin in the first quarter of 2014, with a completion date set for 2018. FAST’s component of the project will include 25 stations, seven park-and-ride stations and two depots, totalling £5b of capital cost. Atkins, who saw shares rise 4p to £11.14 following the news, plan on sourcing around 200 staff from offices in the UK, Hong Kong, Bangalore, the UAE and Riyadh to tackle the project.

Key factors in the appointment were Atkins’ involvement with other metro projects in the region, including Doha and Dubai, together with work on Jedda’s King Abdulaziz International Airport and the London 2012 Olympics. Atkins chief executive Uwe Kruger has described the development as a “landmark project, which will raise standards of living and support long-term sustainable development throughout the city”.

Written By admin 
October 09, 2013 08:52 am
Posted In Metro, TRANSPORT

Infrastructure could be in the front line – report warns

Once again, warnings of attacks on infrastructure have been published, highlighting the vulnerability of vital services in transport and power.

According to Bild, the German mass circulation daily, Al-Qaeda is plotting attacks on Europe’s high-speed rail network. The publication reports that the information came from the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US.

The paper reported that, earlier this month, the NSA listened in on a conference call between Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and more than 20 of his operatives in which attacks on Europe’s rail network was a “central topic”.

Bild said that the extremist group could “plant explosives on trains and tunnels or sabotage tracks and electrical cabling”.  Authorities in Germany have responded by deploying plain clothes police officers at key stations and on main routes.

Since intercepting the conversation, the Americans and several of its allies have shut embassies across the Muslim world, fearful of a major attack.

The Local, a publication reporting “Germany’s news in English”, says it contacted Deutsche Bahn but “a spokeswoman declined to comment beyond stating that they work closely with the security services”. Meanwhile, Germany’s interior ministry said that the security situation regarding terrorist threats had “not changed”.