Morocco-AfDB Sign $112.30 Million Loan on Railway Infrastructure

09/04/2016 (Morocco Worldnews - Morocco): Rabat – Morocco and the African Development Bank (AfDB) signed, on Friday in Rabat, loan and guarantee agreements totaling 112.30 million dollars related to the project of reinforcing the railway infrastructure of the National Railways Office (ONCF). The guarantee agreement related to the said project was inked by Economy Minister Mohamed Boussaid and Yacine Fal, AfDB resident representative in Morocco, said the Economy Ministry in a statement. This agreement is aimed at contributing to increase the railway transportation offer between Casablanca and Marrakech, and improve the capacity and service quality in stations between Tangier and Casablanca to meet the needs of goods and travelers traffic by the year 2020, it added. Concerning the loan agreement related to this project, it was signed by Yacine Fal and ONCF director general Mohamed Rabie Khlie. Speaking at the signing ceremony, attended by Equipment and Transport Minister Aziz Rabbah, Boussaid commended the cooperation ties between Morocco and AfDB, underlining the diversity of AfDB-funded reform programs and investment projects since the beginning of cooperation between the two parties in 1970.

Siemens modernises railway network signalling in Egypt

04/04/2016 (Daily News - Egypt): Siemens has been awarded a contract by the Egyptian National Railways (ENR) to upgrade 260km of railway networks in Egypt with advanced technology for signalling, level-crossings, and communications. In a press statement on Monday, Siemens said the modernisation process is part of a national plan to upgrade Egypt’s rail system, which aims to increase safety levels; raise the railway’s maximum speed to 160km/h stead of 140km/h; and boost the throughput of train and freight services. According to the contract, the routes between Benha and Port Said to the northeast and Zagazig and Abu Kebir in northern Cairo will have their mechanical interlocking systems replaced with modern ones from Siemens. The new system can be controlled electronically from a central point.

Bridge to Saudi Arabia promises to place Egypt at epicentre of a trading hub

16/04/2016 (The National - UAE): A quick glance at the map tells you the importance for the economies of the region of the proposed bridge between Saudi Arabia and Egypt. A connection of the African and Eurasian continents, in conjunction with the current rapid development of the Suez Canal zone, could posi­tion Egypt as one of the main crossroads of the world for both cargo and passengers. Once upon a time, one could hop aboard a train in downtown Cairo and within hours be in Jaffa, Beirut or even Damascus. Journeys by car or lorry were similarly commonplace. Unfortunately, normal land travel between the African and Asian land masses was all but put to a halt by the creation in 1948 of Israel, which stretches from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. This blocked Egyptian industry off from cheap cargo routes to crucial regional markets, including those of the wealthy Arabian Gulf. Egyptian products from then on had to be expensively unloaded from cars and lorries at port and placed on ships.

Railway to link all six Gulf countries to create 80,000 jobs

26/04/2016 (Al Arabiya - UAE): The GCC Railway, which link the six member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council by 2018, is expected to create more than 80,000 direct and indirect jobs, said Abdurrahim Naqi, secretary-general of GCC Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “This is a strategic and vital project for the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council,” he said. Speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette, Naqi said the project would boost the GCC economies and create more job opportunities for Gulf citizens in various sectors. Beginning from Kuwait City and ending in Muscat, the total cost of the 2,117-km railway is estimated at $15.4 billion, including the cost of two new causeways. Passenger trains will operate at a speed of 220 km per hour while goods trains will run at 80-120 km per hour. Naqi did not rule out the possibility of linking the GCC railway with King Salman Causeway that would connect Saudi Arabia with Egypt. “Officials working on the causeway are studying possibility of this linkage,” he said, adding that both projects would accelerate business activities in the region. In a recent statement, the Saudi Railway Organization said the GCC governments have given top importance to the railway project.

Fifth Haramain train arrives in Jeddah

24/04/2016 (Saudi Gazette - KSA): JEDDAH — The fifth Haramain train arrived in Jeddah on Thursday. All the customs clearance procedures for the train were completed and it was sent to the workshops in Rabigh. An official in the Haramain Train Project said coordination is on with the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) to set up six electricity plants for the train on the sides of the train route. Meanwhile, the contractor of the second stage will extend cables on pillars starting from King Abdulaziz International Airport intersection up to Usfan and beyond. In a related development, one of the companies has completed construction of the biggest bridge for the train route in Makkah. It has seven tracks and is 2,500 meters long and 70 meters wide.

Israel Railways considers underground Tel Aviv tracks

13/04/2016 (Globes - Israel): LBG Consulting Group, a UK firm hired to advise the Ministries of Finance and Transport and Israel Railways, has recommended that Israel Railways build two underground railway tracks in Tel Aviv. LBG wrote in its recommendations that the tracks were needed to meet the demand for railway rides, which is projected to hit 300 million a year by 2040 (the current annual number of rides is 53 million). The tracks in question will stretch from Shefayim to Ben Gurion Airport. Another track will be laid above ground. The cost of all the tracks is estimated at NIS 10 billion. Following the recommendation, Israel Railways is looking into the matter.

Jordan’s Hejaz Railway depicts an Ottoman legacy

19/04/2016 (Sabah - Turkey): The Jordanian Hejaz Railway, which connects Damascus and Amman to Medina in Saudi Arabia, is a historic example of Ottoman creativity that has made the spiritual journey easier for Muslim pilgrims. The Hejaz railway line is one of the oldest in the region and the world. It was built in 1902 during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II and has allowed pilgrims to drastically cut down their travel time. Before the railway project became operational, the trip used to take three months, but it now takes only 54 hours. Salah al-Lozi, director of the Jordanian Hejaz Line Foundation, told Anadolu Agency that the "railway line is the legitimate and heir son of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic."

Turkey to sell rail to Iran in exchange for oil

27/04/2016 (Sabah - Turkey): Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Binali Yıldırım announced that Turkey recently signed a deal with Iran to purchase oil worth 80 million euros in exchange for selling rail to Iran. During an opening ceremony involving the Karabük-Zonguldak section of the Irmak-Karabük-Zonguldak Railway project, Yıldırım said Turkey's dependency on foreign resources for the construction of railways has already ended. He added that parallel to this, Iran purchases rail to support its domestic infrastructure projects through a barter trade system with Turkey. In exchange, the Turkish Petroleum Refineries Company will receive the oil.

Siemens wants in on Russian high-speed railway project

27/04/2016 (RT - Russia): "We may consider a trilateral partnership. We have a joint venture with the Russian Sinara group and excellent relations with China in the area of train production. We have also provided both countries with our Velaro technology,” Siemens Russia and CIS chief Dietrich Meller told Russian business daily Vedomosti. According to Meller, the three sides are discussing cooperation though no concrete talks have been held on contract with Siemens. The German company is ready to offer an enhanced version of its high-speed Sapsan trains.“The second generation Sapsan train is an absolutely new model of 2016,” Meller said, giving as an example the difference between mobile phones of 2000 and the latest smartphones. Siemens’ Sapsan trains currently operate on the Moscow to St. Petersburg line

Russia and Iran on track for railway co-operation

12/04/2016 (Global Trede Review): The Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance (Exiar) and the Railways of Islamic Republic of Iran (Rai) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to reinforce co-operation and support for trade between Russia and Iran. Exiar and Rai have agreed to establish a comprehensive framework for further enhancement of co-operation between Russian companies and Iranian companies working on Iranian fleet development. The MoU represents a first step in facilitating the trade flow in the railway industry between Russia and Iran. “We focus on Iran as a long-term partner and a market with high potentials. We are adamant in our approach that the conditions we provide should yield benefits for both sides and foster stronger trade relations between Russian and Iranian companies,” says Exiar’s managing director of international business development, Hanieh Ferdowsi.