Future Rail: Issue 53

In this issue: Problems with the New York subway, Chinese manufacturing, Europe’s night services, third-generation trains, the barriers against start-ups, level crossings dangers, and more


Riders of the world’s largest and busiest subway network have had to cope with increasingly frequent breakdowns and unreliable service as they pack on to crowded trains. To tackle these problems, the MTA has launched a comprehensive plan to rapidly modernise the subway system, as well as a competition to develop innovations that can improve capacity and reliability. We look at the problems with NYC’s subway system, and ask what could be done to tackle them.

We look at the fate of Europe’s night trains to find if they’ve finally reached the end of the line, hear from ALLRAIL about the difficulties start-ups face when entering the European rail market, talk third-generation rolling stock and find out if European manufacturers can hold their position in the face of fierce competition from Chinese manufacturers.

Finally, we ask why people are still running the risk at level crossings and what can be done.

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In this issue

Off the rails in Europe
As the new German start-up Locomore declares insolvency, the Alliance of Rail New Entrants (ALLRAIL), highlights the crippling barriers for entering the European rail market. We speak to ALLRAIL about the implications limiting the growth of eco-friendly rail transport.
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Are Europe’s night trains being put to bed?
The European Parliament's Committee on Transport & Tourism has published a report on the future of night train services, which have been cut back significantly in recent years. We assess the current state of night-time rail services in Europe, and ask if there is a case for subsidy.
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Fast-Track fix for the New York subway
New York’s commuters have had to endure frequent breakdowns, unreliable service and, more recently, a dangerous derailment which highlighted the urgent need for upgrades. In response, the MTA has launched a plan to rapidly modernise the system and is holding a competition to identify innovations that can improve capacity and reliability. We look at the problems, plans and prospects for NYC’s subway system.
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China: hot on the heels of European rail
According to a study of railway infrastructure suppliers, Chinese manufacturers are catching up with their European counterparts. Siemens and Voestalpine remain the market leaders, but can they maintain such a position in the face of fierce competition?
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Trains of the third generation
Senior executives at Siemens have argued that the rail industry is now rolling out advanced second-generation rolling stock, and the time has come to focus on pushing the envelope further with pioneering third-generation designs. We ask Siemens what defines the third generation.
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Crossing out danger
Level crossings still represent one of the rail sector’s biggest safety concerns. Why, despite the numerous warnings and, tragically, deaths, are people still running the risk? We investigate what’s being done to raise awareness of the dangers.
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Monitoring UK infrastructure
As UK networks prepare for new rail projects and expansions, attention is shifting to the infrastructure necessary to deliver these visions. Construction technology provider Mabey discusses how monitoring tools can ensure environmental compliance.
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Next issue

Thailand’s Government recently approved a $5.2bn high-speed rail link to China, after a series of delays. The link will be part of China’s huge regional infrastructure plan to connect its mainland to Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. We assess what’s in store for this ambitious project.

We also talk to American engineer Max Schlienger about his concept to create a high-speed rail system propelled by air pressure, assess the air quality of the London Underground as it prepares for a review, and hear from Plowman Craven about its drone-based surveying system for rail infrastructure.

And we take a tour of Stockholm’s new ‘landscape’ wildlife bridge, and ride the UK Post Office’s underground Rail Mail museum to find out about the history of this unique line.

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