Rail roundup

Paris is getting ready to build a new underground railway. Société du Grand Paris is preparing to publish a preliminary information notice about the first eight civils contracts the railway. The notice in the Official Journal of the European Union covers the first civil engineering works contracts for Line 15 South of the Grand Paris Express. Work covers 33km of underground lines, 16 stations between Pont-de-Sèvres and Noisy-Champs, and 38 related engineering structures. Eight main works contracts are planned, with bidding phases spread over the second quarter of 2015 up to the second quarter of 2016. The contracts will include station construction, bored tunnels, specific structures and additional works including ventilation systems.

Tanzania is planning develop its rail network spending  $14.2bn over the next five years on the central corridor line and others.  The Central Corridor line will be a 2,561km link between the port of Dar es Salaam to Rwanda and Burundi at a cost of $7.6bn. Two additional lines, to cost a total of $6.6bn, will connect Dar es Salaam to the coal, iron ore and soda ash mining areas in the south and northern parts of the country.

Remains of a long-lost South London railway station – closed 100 years ago - have been uncovered by engineers constructing the Bermondsey Dive Under, as part of the Thameslink Programme. Southwark Park station, perched on a viaduct above Rotherhithe New Road, only served passengers from 1902 to 1915 before it closed for good. Now engineers working on a massive project to rebuild the railway in Bermondsey have rediscovered the former ticket hall and platforms. 

Sweett Group has been appointed by Network Rail to provide support to existing estimating services on the Western & Wales region for renewals and enhancements projects over the next 12 months. 

Heathrow Express (HEx) is the first rail company in the UK to install platform gap-fillers at its stations to reduce the risk of passenger accidents. The bespoke gap-fillers sit along the edge of station platforms reducing the size of the gap between the train and platform edge. On the railways Stepboard accidents are responsible for 48% of the overall fatality risk to passengers, and cause knock-on delays to train services while the passenger’s welfare is being looked after.  A year-long trial at HEx’s Heathrow Terminal 5 station found there were no stepboard incidents wherever gap-fillers were in use. The devices are now set to be installed at all Heathrow Express train stations by the end of May.

The timber and ETFE canopied tropical roof gardens and a leisure complex designed by Foster + Partners that sist above the new Crossrail station at Canary Wharf in London opens to the public at the weekend.The seven-storey structure is the first new building for Crossrail – London's new east-west rail link – to open, although trains will not run from the station for at least three years.

Turner & Townsend has been appointed to support the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail project by providing a capital and operational cost model for the project.

Working as a sub-consultant to KPMG, Turner & Townsend developed a cost model for the economic assessment being undertaken by the global professional services firm.

Network Rail workers have voted in favour of a UK-wide strike in a row over pay. Having rejected pay offers from Network Rail, 80% of RMT members voted to strike, on a turnout of 60%. Union bosses turned down the offer of a one-off £500 payment to staff and three years of rises in line with inflation. Mark Carne, Network Rail chief executive, said: "Our employees have received pay rises eight times higher than other public sector workers over the last four years and have now been offered a deal for the next four years that is unmatched elsewhere. Despite the very clear need to modernise our railways, we have offered a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies for the next two years.  The unions have also rejected a number of proposals that would boost productivity, removing our ability to offer them more.”