The strike by NMBS engineers in the Belgian region of Wallonia is over since August 12th. The drivers are apparently happy with the management's "clarifications" of a new wage system. Also, 200 new drivers will be hired. (August 21st, 1998)

Road haulage is often more environmentally friendly than rail transport, Dutch truckers say. At least for short-distance services inside tiny Holland. (August 21st, 1998)

The devaluation of the Russian rouble makes it easier for the cash-strapped Russian government to pay its workers, among them the unhappy, unpaid miners blocking railways. This is because it earns dollars for exports like oil; these dollars will buy more devalued roubles to pay workers with. On the other hand, the next few months will show whether the rouble will stabilize at its new exchange rate, or sink and become worthless. (August 18th, 1998)

Mud slides have blocked the Brenner pass in Austria and two rail lines in China. (August 18th, 1998)

Strikes in Belgium disturbed rail services over the weekend. Unions have not approved the strikes. (August 12th, 1998)

Waalhavengroep wants to set up a rail terminal in Rotterdam, the world's biggest port, to compete with the established terminal there. The Waalhavengroep already operates a terminal near the Dutch-German border. (August 12th, 1998)

Austrian railway points maker VAE was taken over by an Austrian and a German steel maker in July. The takeover followed a bidding war, which French company De Dietrich & Cie lost. (August 12th, 1998)

The Russian government is unsympathetic to demands from Russian miners, who are blocking the Trans-Siberian railway. It says the miners will be punished if they continue to engage in unlawful activity. The miners are unhappy with wage arrears, but the government wants to look tough and effective in the eyes of western financers like the IMF. (August 12th, 1998)

Polish farmers blocked rail traffic between their own country and Slovakia in the beginning of August, as part of a protest against foreign farm products being imported into Poland. (August 12th, 1998)

DBAG has bought CSX's share in the German-Dutch-American intermodal company NDX. CSX was unhappy with how NDX was doing, and now that DBAG has taken over NS Cargo, which was the third owner of NDX. All of NDX is now indirectly controlled by the German government. (July 26th, 1998)

SNCF has ordered 120 locomotives for international freight from GEC Alsthom for 1.8 billion FF. (July 23rd, 1998)

Portuguese railway workers staged their fourth one-day strike this year on Monday the 13th, severely disrupting train services. Union official Jose Manuel Oliveira told reporters that the strike paralysed at least 90 percent of railway services across the country. (July 15th, 1998)

United Airlines and SNCF are offering train travel from Lyon to Paris and a plain ride from Paris to the USA on one ticket. SNCF signed a similar agreement last June with British Airways in an effort to woo London-bound air travellers into France via the Channel Tunnel rail link. The Lyon to Paris train is one of the world's fastest, averaging 250 km/h. (July 8th, 1998)

SNCFR, the Romanian railways, are to be split into a parent company and separate providers of passenger transport, freight transport, rolling stock management, and a management arm which will attend to financing. Seven per cent of staff is expected to be let go. (July 7th, 1998)

Russian coalminers who have blocked freight trains on the vital Trans-Siberian railway for five days agreed on Tuesday to start talks with a government commission. The miners are trying to get a huge backlog of unpaid wages cleared. Businesses support the miners' demands, but want the blockade to end. (July 7th, 1998)

Rail Cargo Europe, the merged company formed by DBAG Cargo and NS Cargo, is the latest in a wave of consolidations. Also, DBAG Netz has reformed its access price scheme to make it easier for newcomers to get on the network. Here's a good RCE-article from usenet. (June 29th, 1998)

DBAG and SBB are testing German locos across the Lötschberg-Simplon Alpine line to see if they are strong enough. If they are, a change of locos at the border may be dropped. (June 29th, 1998)

Strikes in France have not spread to rail services, except some regional services. (June 12th, 1998)

A new Russian rail blockade has been threatened by miners. According to union leader Sergei Nikitinskii, the miners gave the government until Monday to help settle their wage arrears but have received back wages only for November and December 1997. (June 16th, 1998)

A strike at Polish State Railways (PKP) was extended a for a second day while their union and the authorities acted tough amid nationwide transport chaos on Thursday. (June 18th, 1998)

A qaurter of the European freight rail market should be run by private operators in ten years' time, European Union transport ministers have agreed. The Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands wanted to go faster, but France and Belgium urged caution. (June 21st, 1998)

Russia will cut railway tariffs on transporting oil, iron ore and coal by 25 percent from June 15, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov said on Monday. RZD's pricing has been moving into line with what customers can afford to actually pay, after the collapse of the Soviet system's more or less arbitrary prices. More background on Russia here. (June 8th, 1998)

A 36-hour strike will start on June 4th in France, unions have announced. (June 2nd, 1998)

Portuguese railway workers staged a 24-hour strike on Friday to press for more pay and improved career structures, causing traffic chaos and disrupting goods deliveries. (June 2nd, 1998)

Russian miners lifted their 10-day blockade of the Trans-Siberian railway on Sunday, easing a crisis which had threatened the country's fragile economy. (May 25th, 1998)

The Warsaw metro has ordered 108 metro cars from GEC Alsthom for £68m. Each six-car trains will be capable of carrying 1470 passengers. (May 12th, 1998)

FT.comThe Dutch timetabling department of the railway was sold to EDS in 1995. Since then, a new main control centre has been built in Amsterdam and personell can now see the entire network on their computers, not just their station. EDS, once a part of General Motors, uses decade-old computers from Digital Equipment. They are moving to Windows NT, the body-building cousin of Windows 95, but say that NT isn't quite stable enough for their purposes. (May 12th, 1998)

A Thalys TGV crashed into a heavy lorry in the Netherlands on Saturday the 9th. The truck-driver was killed, three passengers of the train wounded. The train derailed and blocked the track for 24 hours. See also here. Source: misc.transport.rail.europe (May 11th, 1998)

The strike in France was carried through on Wednesday as planned, but some workers in the south east were still striking later on Thursday. SNCF said it would be able to provide only about a third of normal service on both high-speed TGV and regular lines during the strike, with the exception of Eurostars. Drivers want more pay and more drivers to be hired. Previously, a four-day strike was carried out beginning April 24th. (May 12th/14th, 1998)

The Brussels airport station was re-opened on May 1st. (May 5th, 1998)

International Wagon Services, a rail freight car company headquartered in Bromley, England, will be sold to GE Capital Railcar Services. IWS owns Tiphook, a company which owns and operates over 2100 rail freight cars throughout Europe. GE Capital Railcar Services has previously acquired Cargowaggon. (May 5th, 1998)

FT.comA quarter of the EU rail freight market should be available to operators other than the state railways within 10 years, the European Commission says. The liberalisation would be achieved in stages, starting with 5 per cent immediately. The Commission says it has recieved stronger than expected support for the suggestion from European transport ministers; however, southern countries think the pace is too fast, and northern ones think it is too slow. Dutch shippers' organization Evo wants the entire industry privatized in five years. (April 28th / May 4th, 1998)

German ports subsidize their rail connections, Container Train Nederland in Rotterdam says. CTN wants the unfair competition stopped. (May 4th, 1998)

Cargolux wants to replace feeder traffic from trucking to air and rail in order to avoid gridlock. Cargolux is an intercontinental air operator and is owned by Swissair and has revenues of 470 million. (May 4th, 1998)

Dutch Lovers Rail will start service Amsterdam - Haarlem on May 24th, in competition with state-owned NS. (May 4th, 1998)

Financing TGV Est has been put in the hands of an engineer who will consult with elected officials in the region to find see if a solution can be found to financing the extension of the high-speed newtwork to Strassbourg. (May 4th, 1998)

A 350 km/h EMU is being developed by Adtranz and Talgo. Talgo is doing the carriages and Adtranz the power unit; the train will be rolled out in February 2000. It will have passive tilt, and radially-steered independent wheels. (May 4th, 1998)

Bombardier will supply eight trams to the Wiener Lokalbahnen for service from the Staatsoper to Baden. (May 4th, 1998)

Adtranz has sold 23 Incentro trams to Nantes, France, for 'under 50m ecus'. It is the first order for Adtranz' new modular line of vehicles, presented in March. (May 4th, 1998)

Russian freight train speeds will be increased to 160 km/h, the First Deputy Rail Minister Ivan Besedin has anounced. Speeds will be raised on the lines Kiev - Moscow - St Petersburg - Helsinki and Moscow - Belarus - Warsaw - Berlin. Also in Russia, Nikolai Aksenenko remains the head of the Railroad Ministry in the new Kiriyenko government, a post to which he was appointed last April. (April 30th, 1998)

Taurus, 4 kbThe Taurus is Austrian ÖBB's name for its new engine. It will reach a maximum of 230 km/h and it can haul trains of 1600 tonnes. Twenty-seven engines are on order from Siemens, for 2,7 billion Austrian Schillings ($214m). Protypes will start testing next summer. ÖBB also has an option to buy 325 more engines for 12 billion Asch. (April 30th, 1998)

GEC Alsthom is supplying 43 "Citadis" trams for the French city Lyons. Lyons is the fourth city after Montpellier, Orleans and Dublin, Ireland, to have chosen to equip its tram system with CITADIS trams. (April 20th, 1998)

P&O Ferrymasters will start a freight train service between the UK and the Czech capital Prague. The train will be operated in co-operation with Intercontainer, Container Train Nederland and Kombiverkehr. (April 20th, 1998)

The Betuwe railway will be asphalted temporarily during construction. The freight railway, which will connect Rotterdam with the German Ruhr region, is being built so close to the adjacent motorway that ramps have to rebuilt, necessitating detours. (April 20th, 1998)

The rail terminal in Rotterdam will be expanded with four new 700 metre tracks, among other enhancements. (April 20th, 1998)

More co-operation between Swiss SBB and Italian FS is the recipe for improving cross-border freight services, the companies believe. The joint venture Cargo Schweiz Italien GmbH will supervise quality control at the border. This is the first step to a complete integration of the two companies' freight services, SBB says. (April 7th, 1998)

St Petersburg - Moscow high speed service is inching closer to reality with the call for tenders for building 150 twelve-car trains for 250 km/h. The train's styling and design is in the hands of the Rubin design office, and the results should be visible later this year. (April 7th, 1998)

Belgian SNCB has won a commercial contract for use of its fibre-optic communications network. "We can commercialise two-thirds of our telecommuncations network," says Paul De Smet, SNCB Telecom director. (March 29th, 1998)

Seat reservation via internet will be possible for French trains by this summer. SNCF is definitely not first with this service, but the number of available trains should be giant compared to other railways' internet reservation services. This is because SNCF runs a huge network. (March 29th, 1998)

Rumor has it that German DBAG and American CSX are battling for controll of Dutch NS Cargo. Apparently, a share of NS Cargo is to be sold. But NS Cargo's general manager Ed Smulders says only a minority stake will be sold. (March 14th, 1998, more here)

Louis Gallois will be president of French SNCF for another 5 years, the Conseil d’administration has decided. (March 9th, 1998, more here)

The IMF wants Russia to privatize its railways and has threatened to withdraw loans if Russia doesn't comply. But both the International Monetary Fund and the Kremlin agree on the need to break up the railways and introduce competition. (March 2nd, 1998, more here)

Dutch regulator Railned is too slow for market conditions, private train operator ShortLines BV says. ShortLines wants to use foreign, UIC-approved locos in Holland. But but by the time Railned has approved them, market opportunities will have come and gone, the company complains. (March 2nd, 1998, more here)

Italian FS has a new chairman, Claudio Dematte. He said the railway would be restructured in accordance with a plan devised last year by managing director Giancarlo Cimoli. The plan foresees some 70 trillion lire ($38.9 billion) in investment over the next 10 years to go towards modernising the existing network and creating a high-speed rail system. (February 20th, 1998, more here)

Rail service in Bosnia is set to be restored following an agreement between Serbs, Croats, and Muslims. The agreement has yet to be implemented. Tha parties also agreed to reopen negotiations concerning restructuring Bosnia's railways. (February 13th, 1998, more here)

ICE service to Austria will, starting May 24th, replace the EuroCity train Prinz Eugen which runs Hamburg - Nürnberg - Passau - Vienna. The trip will take ten hours and the cheapest return ticket will be 324 DM. Prinz Eugen has been running using the latest German InterCity equipment. (February 13th, 1998, more here)

A new container- and lorry train will run Duisburg (Germany) - Poland three times per week. The train will be run in by Intercontainer-Interfrigo, Kombiverkehr, Polkombi and Transfracht International, but the alliance is only for operations; companies will do their marketing separately. The trains will leave at 8 pm and arrive two days afterward at 7 am. (February 7th, 1998, more here)

The tramway in Katowice, Poland, will be renovated by GEC Alsthom for US$ 53.4 million. Seventeen low-floor trams are included in the contract. GEC Alsthom says that travel times will be halved. The company has also sold 25 driverless subway cars to Singapore. (February 7th, 1998, more here)

Another strike in France impeded train traffic but spared the international Thalys and Eurostar services, and also to and from the new Paris 80,000-seat World Cup stadium for the big match on Wednesday. (January 28th, 1998, more here)

Freight Freeways are starting in Europe this month and next. They will speed up cross-border rail shipments. Find out about charges for access and who sells access right here. (January 26th, 1998)

French SNCF increased revenue from long distance passenger rail services (Grandes Lignes and trains express régionaux) by almost 6% in 1997; passenger volume increased by just as much. (January 26th, 1998, more here)

Strikes in Greece are expected to hamper train traffic in Greece this week. The strikes are due to new legislation which curtails employees' rights to bargain about wages and regulations. The government has introduced the legislation to facilitate "restructuring" of bloated state enterprises, Reuters writes. (January 26th, 1998, more here)

GEC Alsthom is going to buy the signalling division of Sasib, which employs 1400 people. The move gives GEC Alsthom's transport division a total revenue of 3 billion ecus, according to the paper edition of the Financial Times. (January 16th, 1998)

An electrical fire in Paris on December 27th disturbed train operation for several days. Cables in Gare du Nord caught fire and services were not back to normal until the 30th. And on the 29th, yet more demonstrations on railway tracks by unemployed people delayed TGVs by several hours. (January 3rd, 1998, more here)

GEC Alsthom has over the holidays announced three new orders for their vehicles: 10 dieselelectric engines for Sri Lanka, 100 dieselelectric engines for passenger and freight services in Iran, and 12 double-deck four-car electric trains for commuter service around Lisbon. (January 3rd, 1998)

European Rail Shuttle, ERS, is a joint venture between Nedlloyd Lines, P&O Containers, Sea-Land, and Dutch train operator NS Cargo. ERS under 1997 transported 40% more freight (130 000 teu) than in 96. They run 42 shuttles per week from Italy and Germany to Benelux and plan further expansion. (January 3rd, 1998, more here)

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