Rail roundup

Office of Rail Regulation reports that total government funding for the rail network was £4bn in 2012-13, representing 30.9% of the industry’s total income. This is a fall of 4.2% compared to 2011-12 and by 9.1% in 2010-11. Passengers covered an increasing portion of the income, up to 59.2% from 57.4% in 2011-12 and 55.6% in 2010-11.

The Rail Freight Group has welcomed a proposal from Eurotunnel to significantly reduce the level of access charges for rail freight services using the Channel Tunnel. The changes, which take effect from June, will see tolls for the ‘off peak’ period, when most traffic operates, reduce by 25% compared to 2013 levels, with no further increase until at least 2018.  Eurotunnel’s ‘ETICA’ incentive scheme is also to be enhanced and extended such that new rail services will see an average overall discount of around 35-40%. The commitment by Eurotunnel comes as a response to the legal investigation opened by the European Commission against France and the UK for their failure to implement European rules on access to infrastructure in the Channel Tunnel.

Costain’s Alan Kay has started his new role as chief executive of ABC Electrification, a business jointly owned by Alstom, Babcock and Costain which recently won two frameworks as part of Network Rail’s £2bn electrification programme over the next seven years.

A high speed rail network from Melbourne to Brisbane in Australia could be completed by 2025 and at AUD30bn (£16.78bn) less than previous estimates, a new study has found. The anaylsis by climate change think tank Beyond Zero Emissions says that the 1800km route taking in Canberra and Sydney could be completed in 11 years at a cost of Aus$84bn (£47bn).

Network Rail this week starts spending the £38.5bn at its disposal in control period 5. Works will include electrifying more than 1,300km of railway and transforming hundreds of stations including London Bridge, Birmingham New Street and Manchester Victoria. More than 7,000km of track will be renewed, and 300,000 sq m of station platform replaced. The company is facing a £70M plus fine from the rail regulator for too many late running trains. Meanwhile DfT and Tfl have announced that Crossrail is to be extended to Reading and Twyford.

NI Water has gone out to tender with a six year construction and civil engineering contract worth up to £200M for four delivery partners. The work will include the construction and renovation of water mains of various diameters and ancillary works across Northern Ireland.