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Senator Schatz Announces $236 Million for Honolulu Rail Project

September 23, 2013 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Light Rail

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Image courtesy of City and County of Honolulu

Image courtesy of City and County of Honolulu

Today, Senator Schatz announced the release of $236,277,358 in federal funds for the Honolulu Rail Transit project. This U.S. Department of Transportation funding will be used to continue building Hawai‘i’s first light rail system.

“Federal funding for the rail project continues to flow and we continue to receive assurance from the DOT and the FTA that it is full speed ahead,” said Senator Brian Schatz. “After 40 years in the making, the rail project is now quickly progressing, and I will continue to work towards making a rail system in Hawai‘i a reality.”

Senator Schatz serves on the Surface Transportation Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Earlier this year, Senator Schatz met with Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Federal Transit Administrator Pete Rogoff to receive their commitment to defend Honolulu rail transit’s funding.

This article is a repost, credit: Senator Schatz, State of Hawaii. Video courtesy of City and County of Honolulu

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Alstom delivers first Regiolis train to Lorraine Region

September 23, 2013 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Trains

Regiolis train, Lorraine Photo courtesy of Alstom

Regiolis train, Lorraine
Photo courtesy of Alstom

Alstom delivered on Saturday 21 September at the Metz train station, the first Regiolis train to Lorraine Region (north-east of France). Attending the event were Jean-Pierre Masseret, Lorraine Regional Council Chairman, Alain Autruffe, SNCF Lorraine Director, Claude Solar, SNCF Regions and Intercités Director and Jérôme Wallut, Alstom Transport France Managing Director. Lorraine is France’s second region (after Aquitaine in July 2013) to receive its next-generation regional train.

The arrival of Regiolis trains in Lorraine has closely followed the inauguration of Alstom’s Regiolis After-Sales Service premises on September 5th 2013 at the SNCF Technicentre in Metz. Alstom teams are on hand to take part in the training of drivers and maintenance teams.

To date, 182 Regiolis trains have been ordered for 12 of France’s regions, as part of the contract signed by Alstom and SNCF in 2009. The Lorraine Region ordered 10 Regiolis bimodal trains (diesel or electric (dual voltage 25 kV / 1,500 V)), 72 metres in length and with capacity for up to 219 seated passengers. On top of the standard layout, Regiolis trains in the Lorraine Region will feature extra equipment like a passenger-counting system, a space for bike storage and door-recognition assistance.

Regiolis trains have travelled around 250,000 km and are due to complete the certification phase in October 2013. They will be put into service upon receiving their AMECs (Commercial Operation Permits), issued by the EPSF (French Railway Safety Board). Thanks to the hard work performed by SNCF and all the players in France’s rail business channel, about 100 Regiolis trains will have been delivered by late 2014. Besides the Lorraine Region, trains for Alsace, Aquitaine, Lower Normandy and Picardie will be available as of 2013. Initial commercial service will begin in 2014.

Regiolis trains are from the Alstom’s Coradia range. They are modular and can be adapted to the needs of every region: they come in three lengths (56, 72 or 110 metres), with a choice of four comfort levels to suit the travel distance (suburban, regional or intercity), and features a bimodal (diesel/electric) or electric drive. Regiolis trains are ecological and economical on account of their low energy use and reduced maintenance costs. Lastly, they are accessible to everyone thanks to their integral, platform-height low floor.

Manufacturing Regiolis trains generates over 4,000 jobs in France at Alstom’s and its suppliers. Six out of the ten Alstom facilities in France are taking part in the project: Reichshoffen (design and assembly), Ornans (engines), Le Creusot (bogies), Tarbes (drive chains), Villeurbanne (on-board computers) and Saint-Ouen (design).

This article is a repost, credit: Alstom.

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Allegro high-speed train has got its millionth passenger

September 18, 2013 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Trains

Allegro High-Speed Train Photo courtesy of Alstom

Allegro High-Speed Train
Photo courtesy of Alstom

RZD press office announced that they had sold a millionth ticket for Allegro, a high-speed train by Alstom running between St. Petersburg and Helsinki. The ride is planned for the 20th September, 2013.

Allegro did its first ride from Helsinki to St. Petersburg on the 12 December 2010. With a commercial speed of 220 km per hour, the trains link Helsinki to St Petersburg in three and a half hours compared to five and a half hours previously. As Allegro made the two cities with deep historical, business and cultural ties become really closer, it was a big success straight away.

Allegro sets a new level of passenger comfort. It has 342 seats and is suited for disabled people. The 1st and 2nd class cars are equipped with adjustable arm-chairs, folding tables, pockets for newspapers and magazines, foot rests and electric sockets for computers and mobile phones.

Allegro’s tilting technologies allow it to significantly increase the speed at the curves, preserving the safety and comfort at the same time.

Depending on the intended commercial speed, Allegro could be offered for the Russian high-speed line project.

This article is a repost, credit: Alstom.

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August 15, 2013 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Trains

Sets all-time record for most passengers in one month

New Electric Locomotive for Northeast Corridor Photo courtesy of US DOT

Electric Locomotive for Northeast Corridor
Photo courtesy of US DOT

WASHINGTON – Record numbers of passengers continue to choose Amtrak for their travel needs making July the best single ridership month ever in its history. “Amtrak is delivering record ridership across the country and serving as an economic engine to help local communities grow and prosper,” said President and CEO Joe Boardman. Year-over-year ridership in July grew 4.8 percent to more than 2.9 million passengers, an all-time record for most passengers in one month.

Northeast Corridor services, state-supported and other short-distance routes, and long-distance trains all showed gains for July. State-supported routes continue to lead the way in ridership growth. Under federal law, beginning October 1, 2013, 19 states will take greater control of routes less than 750 miles, but first must reach new operating and capital cost-sharing agreements with Amtrak to ensure the corridor services continue to operate beyond the deadline. Currently, Amtrak has agreements with three states.

Thus far in FY 2013 (October – July), ridership is up 1.1 percent versus the prior year, with strong ticket sales forecasted for the final two months of the fiscal year. In addition, Amtrak set individual monthly records in October, December, January, March, May, June and July. Amtrak is on pace to meet or exceed last year’s annual ridership record of 31.2 million passengers.

Boardman explained Amtrak is a vital part of the national transportation network and provides mobility, connectivity, economic development and jobs. Since 2010, for every dollar of federal investment, America’s Railroad® has returned nearly $3 back into the economy, he said.

About Amtrak®

Amtrak is America’s Railroad®, the nation’s intercity passenger rail service and its high-speed rail operator. A record 31.2 million passengers traveled on Amtrak in FY 2012 on more than 300 daily trains – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Amtrak operates intercity trains in partnership with 15 states and contracts with 13 commuter rail agencies to provide a variety of services. Enjoy the journey® at or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information. Join us on and follow us at

This article is a repost, credit: Amtrak,

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Bombardier Transportation Wins UK Rolling Stock Contract

August 15, 2013 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Trains

•UK train operator Southern Railway orders 116 cars with an option for a further 140

ELECTROSTAR electric multiple unit (EMU), South Africa  Image courtesy of Bombardier

ELECTROSTAR electric multiple unit (EMU), South Africa
Image courtesy of Bombardier

Rail technology leader Bombardier Transportation has won a contract for new rolling stock from Southern Railway, which provides services in London and the south east of England. A Spares Supply Agreement has also been signed which will allow Bombardier to support the new trains when they enter service. The contracts have a total value of approximately £180 million GBP (206 million euro, $274 million US).

The new cars will be designed and manufactured at Bombardier’s Derby facility. The vehicles will initially be used on the Thames link route and in the longer term will be cascaded onto other routes. The rolling stock contract includes an option for 140 additional vehicles which, if exercised, would bring the total number of vehicles ordered to 256 and the total value of the order to approximately £385 million GBP (441 million euro, $585 million US).

Bombardier will supply Southern with the latest version of the BOMBARDIER ELECTROSTAR family of electrical multiple units, capable of 110 mph operation. The ELECTROSTAR has a well proven track record for reliability and environmental performance and is in daily passenger service with other UK train operators, including c2c, Southeastern, London Overground, and Stansted Express. The Gautrain railway in Johannesburg, South Africa, also operates ELECTROSTAR trains.

Over 800 Bombardier trains serve London every day, supported by 700 employees on12 sites. This is the latest in a series of contract wins and successful projects for the company in London. On the Underground, Bombardier delivered the Victoria Line upgrade project on time and under budget, and is in the process of delivering upgraded trains for the sub-surface lines.  Bombardier has also delivered all the new rolling stock for the London Overground service, and provides a maintenance service for those trains at Transport for London’s New Cross Gate depot. During the London 2012 Olympics, Bombardier maintenance teams and support functions worked around the clock to deliver increased reliability and ensure that Bombardier trains on nine key routes serving London were able to meet the unprecedented demand from the record number of passengers travelling on the network.

About Bombardier Transportation

Bombardier Transportation, a global leader in rail technology, offers the broadest portfolio in the rail industry and delivers innovative products and services that set new standards in sustainable mobility. BOMBARDIER ECO4 technologies – built on the four cornerstones of energy, efficiency, economy and ecology – conserve energy, protect the environment and help to improve total train performance for operators and passengers. With over 3,200 people employed at eight Bombardier sites and 31 customer locations across the UK, Bombardier has delivered, or has on order, more than 60 per cent of the UK’s existing fleet and currently maintains around 40 per cent of the UK’s rolling stock. Bombardier has over 50 years’ experience in providing the latest signalling technology to the UK rail network.

Bombardier Transportation is headquartered in Berlin, Germany, and has a very diverse customer base with products or services in more than 60 countries. It has an installed base of over 100,000 vehicles worldwide.

About Bombardier

Bombardier is the world’s only manufacturer of both planes and trains. Looking far ahead while delivering today, Bombardier is evolving mobility worldwide by answering the call for more efficient, sustainable and enjoyable transportation everywhere. Our vehicles, services and, most of all, our employees are what make us a global leader in transportation.

Bombardier is headquartered in Montréal, Canada. Our shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD) and we are listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America Indexes. In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012, we posted revenues of $16.8 billion. News and information are available at or follow us on Twitter @Bombardier.

This article is a repost, credit: Bombardier,

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FRA Issues RFP for American-made Locomotives, Source: DOT

August 13, 2013 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Trains

Image courtesy of US DOT

Image courtesy of US DOT

By Joe Szabo

In May, Nippon Sharyo expanded its railcar assembly plant in Rochelle, Illinois by 330,000 square-feet creating 80 new jobs in the process, on top of the 250 created when the plant opened less than a year earlier.  These jobs were added to help meet a contract to build 130 new rail cars for California and the Midwest.  And the order was the result of a groundbreaking multi-state effort – with funding through our High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail program – to jointly purchase standardized rail equipment to be used on state corridors.  Good news for workers in Illinois, and the people who will eventually ride in those cars.

The better news? We’re only getting started.

Last week we once again invited U.S. manufacturers to submit bids to produce next-generation rail equipment – this time for 35 high-performance, diesel-electric locomotives.  With Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) leading the procurement, these engines will run on state corridors in the Midwest (Michigan, Missouri, and Iowa) and on the West Coast (Washington, California, and Oregon), supporting speeds up to 125 MPH.  The locomotives will be lighter, accelerate more quickly, feature improved crashworthiness and other safety features, and will be the cleanest of any diesel-electric locomotives ever produced.

Two key factors are driving the success of federally-funded multi-state equipment procurements.

The Next Generation Corridor Equipment Pool Committee – including representatives from the Federal Railroad Administration, the states, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Amtrak and passenger railroads, rail equipment manufacturers and suppliers – has worked hard to standardize the technical specifications for next-generation equipment.

Standardized procurements – as we’ve already seen – save money for taxpayers.  The procurement for the 130 rail cars, for example, resulted in a 36 percent cost savings from the original funding amount.  But the benefits don’t end there.  Standardization will drive down the cost of maintenance and allow more domestic companies to compete for contracts, fostering the healthy domestic competition we need to re-establish the U.S. domestic supply chain for passenger rail equipment.

Then there’s our Buy American program, which ensures the major components of these locomotives are assembled with American hands and with American-produced steel, iron, and manufactured goods.  This is great news for nation’s network of railroad suppliers, located in 49 out of 50 states.  While we grow our economy, we’re also preparing for the huge uptick in demand for passenger rail services nationwide.  Amtrak’s ridership is up more than 40 percent over the past decade, with revenue and on-time performance also at all-time highs.

In Illinois, ridership along state-supported routes is booming.  From Chicago to St. Louis – where we’ve invested in 110 MPH service – ridership is up 225 percent over the last seven years.  Ridership also is up 154 percent from Chicago to Carbondale, 95 percent from Chicago to Quincy, and 42 percent from Chicago to Milwaukee.  In California, intercity ridership growth in recent years has brought total ridership on its state-supported routes up to roughly 5.5 million.  And in the Pacific Northwest, Amtrak’s Cascades service has come to gradually dominate the air-rail market between Seattle and Portland, with ridership increasing 30 percent over the past decade.

A manufacturer for the 35 locomotives will be selected in early 2014, and delivery is planned for 2016.  Here’s a copy of the RFP.

This is all more evidence that investing in American rail is an investment in American jobs and American workers.

This article is a repost, credit: Joe Szabo, Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration,

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SNCF exercising entire option involving 40 Alstom Euroduplex very high speed train sets

August 11, 2013 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Trains

Photo courtesy of Alstom

Photo courtesy of Alstom

SNCF has confirmed it was exercising the entire option for 40 Euroduplex trains, Alstom’s double-decker very high-speed train, called for in a contract signed by both companies in 2007. The contract involved a firm batch of 55 trains and an option on another 40, now fully confirmed1. Delivery of the 40 trains is expected to be spread over the period from 2015 to 2019.

Extending train capacity is the most appropriate response both in economic and operational terms for handling increases in passenger traffic and saturated corridors on the high-speed network. The latest Euroduplex trains will hold up to 560 seats in total. They are fully compliant with European interoperability technical standards (TSI2, ERTMS3). The trains also feature drive equipment suitable for the various power voltages in use in Europe; this allows them to travel across the continent’s entire network.

To date, there are 21 Euroduplex trains travelling on France’s high-speed lines (Paris to the East, Paris to the South-East, Rhine to Rhône) as well as Germany’s (Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart). In the near future, the trains will also travel in Spain (between Paris and Barcelona) and Switzerland (between Paris and Zurich). Since December 2011, they have already travelled over 6 million kilometres.

Every day, there are 1,000 people working on high speed sector within nine Alstom facilities located in France, generating 4,000 jobs throughout the country.

The La Rochelle facility – which manages the whole project – performs the studies, the assembling and the fitting of the passenger cars. The other sites involved are Belfort for the locomotives, Reichshoffen for the end car bodyworks, Ornans for the traction motors, Le Creusot for the bogies, Petit-Quevilly for the power transformers, Tarbes for the power converters, Villeurbanne for the on-board computer systems and passenger information, and Saint-Ouen for the overall design.

  1. Of those 40 options, 30 had already been duly ordered from Alstom in March 2012. This newly exercised option provides a firm order for 10 additional trains for an amount of about €300m.
  2. Technical Specifications for Interoperability
  3. European Rail Traffic Management System

This article is a repost (press release 7-29-13), credit: Alstom,