INTERNATIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO BLN 1286 12 AUGUST 2017
BRANCH LINE NEWS
This newsletter covers the World outside the British Isles from information
supplied by members.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or of the Society.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS TEAM:-
International Editor (to whom all email and postal contributions should be sent):
Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ
Email: [email protected]
Deputy International Editor: Derek Woodward, 68 Church Street, Matlock, DERBY, DE4 3BY
The scale of the engineering works on the east side of Halle station are clearly apparent from temporary platform 13a.
This platform is sited on the goods lines east of the station and is reached by a good five minute walk through the main
entrance, across the car park and under a bridge. Initially only S-Bahn services from Halle to Halle Nietleben used the
platform, travelling by line 6350 which crosses the Merseburg line to rejoin the normal route - a very significant piece
of track. Recently some trains for the Merseburg line have started using the platform doing yet another unusual
Well done the member who spotted that the item on the Jordan railtour in BLN 1283.1332- first
paragraph states "....the unusual 1,050mm (5' 3⅓") gauge...". Of course 1,050 mm is in fact 3' 3⅓").
And with apologies to the photographer, the frontispiece of BLNI 1284 with pictures DOES show three
0.0 km posts. The third 0.0 km post is in the picture in front of the blue jacketed man mid right.
 Austria – Notes from a railtour around Wien
The ‘Fahrt rund um Wien’ railtour ran on 10 June and was organised by Karl Zellhofer. The last pick-up
was Wien Nussdorf and the train proceeded onto the Donauuferbahn towards Handelskai before
almost immediately diverging towards Wien Nordwestbahnhof. This was the Wien terminus of the
Österreichischen Nordwestbahn and had the second biggest station building in Wien, but it was
seriously damaged by Soviet artillery at the end of WW2 and subsequently demolished. Trains arrived
at Nordwestbahnhof by the Nordwestbahnbrücke over the Donau, but this was converted to a road
bridge after closure to passenger traffic on 31 May 1959 when Wien Praterstern station opened a
short distance away. Freight continued however using two curves joining the Donauuferbahn which
runs along the west bank of the Donau, and in the 1970s a major building project saw a new freight
terminal constructed. On the map below 5 is the Nordwestbahnhof and the new curve towards
Blumenthal is not shown.
From abzw. Wien Brigittenau Nord single track line 149 curves north to west and soon runs parallel
with line 148, which curves in from abzw. Brigittenau Süd. Shortly after this point the former line from
Wien Jedlersdorf over the Nordwestbahnbrücke once trailed in, but all evidence of this line has been
swept away by construction of a Viennese sphagetti junction. Proceeding past extensive sidings it is
3.24km to the buffer stops. The entire Nordwestbahnhof railway area is to be built over as a new city
district housing 15,000 people between 2020 and 2025. The word on the train was that freight
operations would end in December 2017, so this was obviously one of the last passenger trains that
would visit the site.
The train now took line 148 onto the Donauuferbahn which runs along the west bank of the Donau
and served the docks. Beyond Handelskai it is freight only and passes under the line from Wien Hbf to
Wien Stadlau to enter Wien Freudenau Hafen. A second tour highlight was the traversal of the
connection, reinstated in 2008, over the Winterhafenbrücke. The bridge over the Donaukanal was
destroyed in WW2, but was rebuilt to increase capacity for freight traffic from the docks, a need made
more urgent by the opening of the Freudenau container terminal. More freight track was travelled on
the far side of the bridge through Wien Albern Hafen to Klein Schwechat (the station is now renamed
Kaiserebersdorf and is in a different location), where the train passed through the goods yard before
continuing on the Donauländebahn which runs all the way to Wien Penzing. After a brief stop at the
disused station of Oberlaa the train took the new east to south curve onto the Pottendorfer bahn
which goes to Wampersdorf and Wiener Neustadt. It has proved surprisingly difficult to learn anything
about this curve, but it was almost certainly built to provide easy access to the Güterzentrum Wien
Süd. This is a multifunctional goods centre opened in December 2016 and built over the former
Inzersdorf Frechtenbahnhof. The €246m facility was built by ÖBB Infrastruktur on behalf of the
transport ministry and covers 55ha near the industrial zone of Inzersdorf. It is planned to become a
major hub for intermodal traffic heading to and from southern and eastern Europe and is south of
Wien Blumental station, where the tour reversed, so tour participants failed to view it. Wien
Blumenthal has been rebuilt as a new station and reopened 1 August 2011. It is very modern and
 France/Germany - Travelling on the Strasbourg to Kehl international tram service
The SNCF Society (now renamed the French Railways Society) promised a report on travelling from
Strasbourg to Kehl, Germany on board an Alstom Citadis tram.
We travelled on tram route D from Strasbourg-Ville SNCF station to Kehl, across the Rhine. Trams A
and D pass through a deep tunnel under the station. We descend three escalators to reach the simple,
low level platform. A brisk struggle with an automat finally produces a 24 hour pass for 4.20 euros,
which we hurry to validate in the adjacent "composteur". Trams pass every 3-4 minutes. Line D has a
frequency of 7 minutes this Friday morning. One tram D in two will cross the Rhine to the German
commune of Kehl (since 29 April 2017). We are ready to test the ride.
The tram operator provides a wealth of details on its web site so we know that the ride to Kehl should
take 23 minutes with 10 stops. The trams rumbling through the tram station are all full, most
passengers are standing. We will see during our visit that the Strasbourg tramway is busy, busy busy all
day. Any incident speedily saturates the system.
We choose a tram for Kehl and hop on board. A quick and steep climb out of the tunnel is followed by
a sharp curve across a canal and then a ride through the city centre. We stand all the way and the first
surprise is that the tram does not empty as the end of the line approaches. In fact, when we arrive at
Kehl our tram is still 70% full. The last stop before the new extension is "Aristide Briand". Then we pass
along a new twin arch bridge over part of the river port, an area planned for redevelopment. There are
two new tram stops which are not used since construction of the future buildings has not begun yet.
The last stop in France is at Port du Rhin, a tree lined street where one tram D in two terminates and
shuttles into a siding from where it will later return to the city centre.
We climb a steep gradient onto the Rhine bridge constructed for the tram with a pedestrian/cycle
track next to the tracks. This is the third bridge over the river, inserted between the road bridge up
stream and the railway bridge (also recent) downstream. The current terminus of the French tram is
at Kehl Bahnhof, a couple of low platforms inserted in the centre of a noisy dual carriageway. It is only
about 300 metres from the Rhine bridge. Passengers from Strasbourg wander away apparently for
shopping and cheap cigarettes. In a year or so the tramway will be extended to a permanent terminus
at Kehl town hall (Rathaus). Dozens of passengers are waiting to board the return service to
Strasbourg. Initially, a tram arrived every 15 minutes, but then there was a gap of 30 minutes. The
environment is modern but hardly appealing. It is a place of transit. And this is the Schengen area, so
no passport control, no customs officials visible, no police officers either during our visit this Friday
morning. Courtesy of The French Railways Society - Formerly the SNCF Society
 France - Beauvais - Abancourt - Le Tréport has funding approved for track renewal
The Regions Hauts-de France and Normandie have agreed to jointly finance urgently required repairs
to the (mostly) single track line from Beauvais to Le Tréport. The line is 103 km long. 46 km are
situated in Normandie from Aumale to Le Tréport. There are currently speed restrictions at 60 kph
between Beauvais and Grandvillers (33 km). The track will be replaced, level crossings will be
modernised. The line from Beauvais to Abancourt will be closed from May 2018 and from Abancourt
to Le Tréport in September 2018. A re-opening is expected in 2019. At present, there are 3 trains a day
each way between Abancourt and Le Tréport and 4 or 5 trains, daily, each way between Abancourt
and Beauvais. Traffic is reported to be 600 passengers a day, mostly school children. The line is
operated by TER Hauts-de-France. During July/August, the Sunday mornings arrival at Le Tréport
(11:09) originates from Paris-Nord. On Sunday evenings, there are two departures from Le Touquet to
Paris-Nord via Beauvais. Courtesy of The French Railways Society - Formerly the SNCF Society
 France – La Mure tourist train to resume in 2020?
The General Council of Isère has announced that major works will begin this year to allow the tourist
train of La Mure to resume service. The works will cost €26M and require 3 years of work on the 30km
line which has three large bridges, six viaducts, 18 tunnels and serves the stations of La Mure, La
Motte d'Aveillans and Saint- Georges de-Commiers. On return to service in 2020 nine round trips per
day will be operated per day between La Mure and Le Grand Balcon in the spring and autumn. There
will be a stop at the Mine Image, an underground museum dedicated to the history of the area. A new
station will be built at La Mure including a museum of the history of the line.
In the nineteenth century, the railway to La Mure, then a mine railway, was the first high tension DC
line in the world. Previous electrified lines were either low-voltage DC (Less than 800V) or AC. As soon
as the mining ceased, it was converted into a tourist train. In October 2010, following a massive
rockslide on the line at La Clapisse, the operation of the railway line had to be suspended.
 Germany – Neustrelitz to Mirow branch safe?
Line 6942 runs from Neustrelitz to Mirow. Known as the "Kleinseenbahn", it is operated by
Hanseatische Eisenbahn GmbH. Continued operation had been in doubt as the contract only ran until
December 2017, but there is good news as the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern will apparently
support the district Mecklenburgische Seenplatte financially for the next ten years.
 Germany - Line 1424 reinstated
This is the line from abzw Utbremen to Bremen Rbf which allowed freight from the Hamburg direction
to enter or bypass the freight yards at Bremen. It was closed a few years ago, but its absence caused
too much congestion through the yard and it has now been reinstated.
 Germany - Another cycle path on an old railway
Line 2710 ran the short distance from Wuppertal-Wichlinghausen to Wuppertal-Langerfeld and
included a 290 metre tunnel. It is to be converted into a cycle path.
 Germany - Reopened docks line to get traffic
East of Minden station, between where the Nienberg and Hannover lines diverge, a line runs to the
port of Bückeburg-Berenbusch on the Mittellandkanal. Refettled a few years ago, the line has
attracted no traffic, but this is about to change. . The "Mindener Tageblatt" on 23 May reported that
from July/August 2017 it is intended to transfer bulk goods from the canal to rail. Currently some
sleeper replacement work is being undertaken.
 Hungary – Railways by Royal Command
In the 1800s Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the capital was Bratislava. An
absolute monarch can do whatever they want, so if they want a more convenient railway journey they
simply tell the railway to do what’s necessary. Emperor Franz Joseph II ordered a curve built to allow
him to travel from what is now Budapest Nyugati to his residence in Gödöllő, on the line from
Budapest to Hatvan. This was referred to as the ‘King’s Curve’ by railwaymen. So that the King would
suffer no discomfort (or contact with more plebian travellers) luxurious waiting rooms were provided
at Nyugati station and at Gödöllő. The former is sometimes used for VIPs or Orient Express passengers,
while the latter is preserved as a historic monument.
 Hungary – The Zalaegerszeg area
The day after the PTG tour of Hungary ended an interesting diversion started in the far west of
Hungary. Engineering work between Veszprem and Ajka meant the eastbound Citadella (08:30
Budapest Deli – Ljubljana) was replaced by a bus between these points, and the resulting late running
was compensated for by missing the call and reversal at Zalaegerszeg. That meant using the
Zalaegerszeg avoiding line, which is normally freight only, with a substitute call at the little station of
Zalaegerszeg Ola. Four gricers were present on the train – two of unknown origin – the other two
being the editors of the IBSE Telegramm and BLN International! As the junction at Zalaegerszeg Ola is
after the station (each platform being served by a single line) it was necessary to carry on to the next
stop at Zalalövő. In fact, for both editors it was necessary anyway.
On 25 June 2009, a 4.8 km deviation opened between Zalaegerszeg Ola and Andráshida, with the new
line taking a more northerly route requiring the stations at both ends to be rebuilt in a new location.
With both editors having travelled the route prior to that date, this represented new track for both.
The western end of the old route has been electrified and retained as a short branch serving an
industrial area. Just before Zalalövő the former 23km through route from Körmend to Zalalövő which
closed in late 2009 was observed to be completely out of use, with thick rust on the rails and
 Hungary/Slovakia - New service on Table 132 from December 2017
A service is to be reinstated between Hegyeshalom (Hungary) and Bratislava Petržalka (Slovakia). The
line lost its passenger service in the autumn of 2009. There will be five train pairs.
 Italy – Old coastal railway from Andora lifted
After the commissioning of the new Italian riviera line (mainly in tunnel) between Andora and Bivio
San Lorenzo, work quickly started to lift the tracks of the old line along the coast and this has been
reported as completed by mid-March 2017. The next phase between Finale Ligure and Andora has no
approvals or finance, so is probably the best part of a decade away.
 Italy - Ferrovie del Sud Est survival in doubt
Buried in a long article by Lorenzo Pallotta in TR on endangered loco classes in Italy is a very gloomy
forecast: "FSE.... has become part of Trenitalia after going bankrupt. Despite this, the company's
economic situation is dreadful and it is not clear if FSE can continue operation". Perhaps partly
because of this numerous FSE services are replaced by buses for the summer. It seems unlikely the
Government will allow the entire system to close, but some pruning of unprofitable lines should be
 Norway – Flåm line has more than great scenery
The Flåm Line is a 20.2-kilometre railway line between Myrdal and Flåm and is a branch of the Bergen
Line. It runs through the valley of Flåmsdalen and connects the mainline with Flåm on Sognefjord. On a
cruise visit to Flåm on 11 July, a rather clever illusion was noticed. A short way out from the station a
road comes alongside on the right, with a few modern industrial units. One of them has what looks like
a train bursting from a tunnel at right angles to the railway. It is in fact an imitation portal fixed to one
of the buildings, with a very short piece of track, lots of ballast built up, and a cab from loco 17 2231.
This was a regular performer on the trains here until the class was withdrawn in 2014 and replaced by
the newer class El 18. Meanwhile, intact sister 17 2230 stands at the end of a siding in the station yard,
next to a road into the centre, presumably as a means of attracting attention to the railway.
 Poland – Rejowiec avoiding line reopening soon
The reinstatement of the Rejowiec avoiding line is already underway and could be opening for goods
traffic (as limited to 60 km/h) very shortly. Passenger services may not use it for a while as a new
Rejowiec station in the triangle is still only at the planning phase.
 Poland/Ukraine - Line 133 reopening special runs
The Sanok (Poland) to Starzhava (Ukraine) – [Khyriv] railway line closed to passenger traffic in 2010. It
was often referred to as the ‘smugglers train’ and part of the reason for closure was damage to the
coaches from smugglers attempting to conceal cigarettes and other smuggled items. Now it seems an
attempt is being made to reopen the line by campaigners in Poland supported by local authorities in
Poland and Ukraine. On 25 June the first train for 7 years ran from Zagórz to Khyriv, where the
standard gauge (SG) ends and there are Russian gauge trains to Sambor. The SG used to run as far as
Nizhnakovichi, but this was converted to Russian gauge in 1994. The local dignitary special used an ex
CD class 810 railcar owned by Polish company SKPL which specialises in this type of traffic.
 Sweden – Services start through Citybanan tunnels
Revenue services began operating through the new Stockholm Citybanan tunnels at 05:00 on 10 July,
following formal inauguration the previous day. Built by Trafikverket, the 6 km cross-city link had been
under construction since January 2009. It has opened six months earlier than originally scheduled. The
new line runs from Stockholms Södra in the south to Tomteboda north of the city, with a mix of bored
rock tunnels and an immersed tube under the Riddarfjärden between Riddarholmen and Söder
Mälarstrand. It has been built to relieve the two-track ‘Wasp’s Waist’ on the southern approach to
Stockholm Central station, which was the busiest section of railway in the country. The new line carries
Pendeltåg suburban services, which are now operated by MTR under contract to SL. Two low-level
stations provide interchange with the metro network. Stockholm City lies beneath T-Centralen metro
station, closer to the city centre than the suburban platforms at Stockholm Central which it replaces.
The deep-level station at Odenplan replaces the facilities at Karlsberg on the surface route.
South of the city, a 1.4 km-long viaduct has been built between Älvsjö and the Årsta bridges to help
segregate the suburban services from long-distance passenger and freight trains on the approach to
Stockholms Södra. Following the opening of the Citybanan, the infrastructure manager plans to
refurbish the existing tracks through the Wasp’s Waist. It will then be able to use the capacity released
by Citybanan to increase the number of paths for other regional and long-distance trains, particularly
regional services on the routes to the north and south of Lake Mälaren.
 Switzerland - Laupen to Flamatt branch
This 6.84 km line near Bern will close "for several months" from the December 2018 timetable change
for complete track and overhead renewal. The last 250 metres of the line will permanently close as
Laupen will get a new (relocated) station. The line was once a through route from Flamatt to
Gümmenen but the section beyond Laupen was closed to passengers and de-electrified on 22 May
1993 and closed completely on 16 June 2003.
 Switzerland/France - Swiss signalling commissioned on French metre-gauge line
A project to install automatic signalling on the French section of the metre-gauge line linking St Gervais
and Vallorcine in France with Martigny in Switzerland has been completed, with a full passenger
service restarting on 24 June. The 37 km between St Gervais and Vallorcine has been equipped with
the MZ system used on various lines in Switzerland, including on the Martigny – Le Châtelard section
of the cross-border line. This will enable service frequencies to be increased during the summer and in
the peak winter sports period. As well as supporting the standard service of around one train per hour
in each direction, the new signalling has also enabled the provision of a train between Vallorcine and
Les Bossons every 30 minutes from mid-morning to late afternoon. Passengers staying in local hotels
and self-catering chalets are entitled to a pass offering free travel on the route between Servoz and
Vallorcine, under a scheme sponsored by the Chamonix commune which aims to reduce car traffic and
 Switzerland - Zurich Tram changes
On 10 December 2017 line 8 will be extended from Hardplatz over new track to Escher Wyss Platz and
from there over line 17 to Hardturm. The day before line 15 will close between Stadelhofen and
Klusplatz, and Its route will be taken over by the number 8 trams. That means that the curve at
Kunsthaus where 8 joins 3 will close to passengers.
 Switzerland - Ferrovia Monte Generoso (FGM) visit
The Ferrovia Monte Generoso is located to the south of Lugano in Canton Ticino in Switzerland - the
Italian speaking part. It has a gauge of 800mm, which seems to be the “standard” for Swiss mountain
rack lines, and runs from Capolago at the bottom, up to Generoso Vetta, next to the mountain peak. At
Capolago, its station, sheds and workshops are immediately next to the SBB main line between Lugano
and Chiasso; it is on the shore of Lac Lugano and the line extended beyond the workshops along a
quay where ships can dock, and passengers transfer to trains. This is known as Capolago Lago. The
timetable 18 March to 5 November shows only one working from Capolago Lago which is the 11:20 to
Generoso Vetta. This conveniently connects with the morning boat from Lugano.
There is no platform at Capolago Lago which is sandwiched between lake and main line
The line has a steam engine which is brought out about once a month on Summer Sundays. Until
sometime in May this year the line had been closed to the public for 2 years because it was needed to
transport materials and equipment for the construction of a hotel/café/visitor centre on the top. To
someone more enamoured of the glories of Victorian railway architecture, it is a bit of a monstrosity,
but the café is well stocked and efficient and there is a large viewing terrace adjacent to it, which is a
definite plus! The mountain is liberally criss-crossed with numerous hiking trails, and is a serious centre
Our member has some “history” with the Ferrovia Monte Generoso. He first did it in 2002, during the
halcyon days of 2.45CF to the £(!), on a one-night stop in Lugano to do the line to Chiasso before
heading north over the Gotthard to Luzern. He was on the first morning trip, which was, of course very
crowded, and accordingly inimical to photography. However, he was, perhaps not surprisingly, the
only passenger on the first return down and gleefully accepted the driver’s offer to sit next to him,
from where he readily made up for the lack of photos on the ascent! His next visit was in the still
halcyon days of 2005, when his wife insisted that they began their Swiss peregrination in Lugano
before heading to Luzern, Zürich and St. Gallen for his regular track “gricing”. On this occasion he
turned up in time for the pier train, and was furious to discover that, unknown to him, the steam loco
had gone up that morning, and there was no reason he couldn’t have caught it, had he but known!
Upon checking the website early in the year, our member learnt of the likely May re-opening, and e-
mailed to ask about steam runs. A splendidly cordial exchange followed, informing him that the first
run was planned for 18 June. This was ideal, as it fitted in with their annual “Great Escape” – our
member and wife live close to Ascot Racecourse and try to be as far as possible from it during the
Royal Week! He reserved a seat, naturally, and will not bore with all the details of changed plans due
to a major Medical Conference (Lugano), a cabin crew strike (BA) later called off and the breakdown of
the bagdrop computer (Heathrow Terminal 5), save to say their eventual flight to Zurich was the fourth
onto which they were checked! However, the finally found their way to their favourite Lugano hotel on
the 17th, via the Gotthard Base of course, and on the way back from the new line to Stabio, he
stopped off at Capolago and picked up the cherished ticket.
On the great day itself he was there in time, before boarding, for photos of the loco and coach, and
was fortunate to be in his favourite position – in a corner at the rear of the open, windowless, waist
high doored coach right next to the funnel, to savour the noise, and to be able to take pictures of the
line and the scenery with the loco in the corner of each photo. The loco bearing no 2, is a 0-4-2, Type
H2/3 and works no. 604, built in 1890 by (perhaps naturally) SLM Fabrik of Winterthur. It was of that
design where the cylinders lie alongside the middle of the boiler, with forward-facing piston rods
which drive the connecting rods by a rocking arm pivoted in front of the boiler about where the
cylinders would be on a normally laid-out loco.
He had wondered if he might meet on the run, other(s) from the UK, or Swiss based members of SRS,
so was not surprised to see no-one else from the UK, but astonished that he appeared to be
apparently the only serious “eisenbahnfreunde” (railway enthusiast)! All the other passengers
appeared to be local “ordinary” tourists including a party of about a dozen (how does one say it -
”generously proportioned”) ladies who would have looked most out of place on such a trip in the UK.
Possibly they were a church group because at intervals they burst into song, although whether sacred
or secular songs, he did not have the Italian to tell! Fortunately, they were not loud enough to drown
out the “music” of the loco’s beat, and furthermore, the part of the coach which he had chosen to be
was the least crowded section. They were followed up the line by a rack-fitted diesel propelling a truck
with a large water tank on it, presumably to deal with any lineside fires as well, perhaps, as to top up
the loco if one of the supplies failed. He was sure the run was the first by No.2, because at both water
stops on the ascent, the driver marked with green spray paint on a stone, the best place to stop to
accommodate the hoses. The first stop was at a station named as S Nicholao on the Schweers & Wall
atlas, but with no name shown on the rather rundown station building. At the second place, named
“Bellavista”, they ran past, stopped, and then dropped back to the supply point – not sure why,
although they might have run onto a loop or siding, and he recalls crossing one of the normal electric
units. As they approached the top, they stopped again, but this time so that the fireman could
scramble up a rather step bank to extinguish a small grass fire with a broom, until the “water-train”
arrived. Once at the top he adjourned to the café, where he was delighted to find draught “Eichhof”,
as well as splendid wursts! He was able to position himself for the descent by the same door as on the
ascent for yet more photos. The descent did not, of course, require water stops and they made good
time down. At the bottom, he made sure to go round all the crew, shaking their hands and thanking
them in English, German, French and what little Italian he possessed.
All in all, a wonderful day and one he will not easily forget, especially as he thinks he can claim to be
the first from the UK to “do” the steam run after the line’s re-opening!!
 Ukraine – Russian language free zone
BLNI has not sent anyone to check – but in theory at least, from December 2016 no information in
Russian has been on display at a Ukrainian railway station because the Ukrainian Infrastructure
Minister has declared rail transport in Ukraine to be a Russian language free zone. He also announced
that work on the so-called decommunisation of railway station names is under way, slowly removing a
legacy of Soviet names.
REST OF THE WORLD
 Canada - Outaouais steam train will not run again
In a dramatic vote held on 5 June in Chelsea, Quebec the municipality's mayor had to cast the deciding
vote on whether to tear up the old steam train tracks that have lain unused for the past six years.
Facing a three-three tie, Mayor Caryl Green cast a fourth yes vote, paving the way for roughly 20
kilometres of tracks to be converted into a multi-purpose community trail.
The historic steam train went out of business in 2011 after heavy rains washed out a stretch of track
just outside Hull in Gatineau, Quebec. In its prime the train carried thousands of passengers from Hull
to Wakefield, Quebec, along the Gatineau River valley.
 India - Mumbai steps up removal of British names from railway stations
Diwakar Raote, transport minister for the Maharashtra state government has announced that “we are
working to rename railway stations as per locally known names instead of older names”. Raote is a
member of Shiv Sena, a local Hindu nationalist party which pushed through the renaming of India’s
financial capital from the British name Bombay to the local Marathi name Mumbai in 1995. It is
currently the junior partner in a coalition with the India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party in Maharashtra,
of which Mumbai is the capital, and has long campaigned for colonial monikers to be scrapped. In 1996
it was instrumental in changing the name of Mumbai’s main railway station, built in the 1880s, from
Victoria Terminus to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus after a 17th-century Hindu warrior king. John
Elphinstone, the 13th Lord Elphinstone, was the governor of the Bombay presidency from 1853 to
1860. After the station named for him was changed recently (it became Prabhadevi, after a local Hindu
deity, a Shiv Sena MP said he had other stations in his sights demanding that Currey Road station be
named Lalbaugh, Sandhurst Road station as Dongri, Reay Road as Ghodapdeo, Cotton Green as
Kalachowki, Mumbai Central as Nana Chowk, Grant Road as Gaondevi. Critics say the name changes
are a cynical ploy to appeal to the local Maratha community, which makes up the bulk of Shiv Sena’s
support base, while historians lament any attempt to eradicate the city’s history.
 Mozambique - Nacala Corridor project completed
There were celebrations at the deepwater port of Nacala-a-Velha on 12 May to mark the formal
completion of the project, started in 2012, to develop a 912 km ‘integrated logistics corridor’ serving
northern Mozambique, southern Malawi and the Moatize coalfield. This encompassed the
rehabilitation of existing lines and the construction of a new heavy haul railway across the southern
part of Malawi. As well as the railway improvements, the project included the development of a coal
export terminal at Nacala-a-Velha with a storage yard able to accommodate around 1 million tonnes of
coal; it is expected to load about 150 ships a year. A fleet of 85 GE Dash 9-BBW locomotives and 1 962
wagons has been procured to carry the export coal traffic which is expected to triple in the coming
 USA - Metro train travels on Honolulu’s elevated rail network for the first time
Engineers in Hawaii have towed a metro train on Honolulu’s elevated metro system for the first time.
The first metro train was towed – because the electrical grid that will power the trains has not yet
been electrified – between Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s (HART) rail operations centre
and the future home of the West Loch station for clearance testing. HART said that the operation went
well and was completed in just over an hour. Further testing is expected later this summer. The
Honolulu rail system will connect Kapolei to Ala Moana Centre via Waipahu and Pearl City with
stations at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, Chinatown, downtown Honolulu and Kakaako.
Construction of the project began in 2012 and the first completed 10 mile route is expected to open in
 USA - Royal Palm Railway tourist trains to begin rolling in late summer
The Orlando & Northwestern Railway (O&NW) later this summer will begin running tourist trains along
Florida Central Railroad tracks, marketed under the "Royal Palm Railway Experience" brand. Initial
offerings will include daytime entertainment between Tavares and Mt. Dora, Florida. The news follows
the completion of negotiations for a track-use agreement with Florida Central, as well as a lease of the
Tavares Station. In January, evening dinner trains and morning brunch trains are expected to
commence, with seasonal special events and other offerings to be announced.