INTERNATIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO BLN 1330 15 JUNE 2019
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 station of Envermeu is on the former line 356 which ran [Dieppe] – Rouxmesnil – Eu – [Le Treport] and was closed
to passenger traffic 1938 and gradually to goods, (Rouxmesnil to Envermeu being the last section) from 1972. The
construction of the Penly nuclear power station saw Rouxmesnil – Envermeu – St. Quentin Bailly-en-Riviere reopened
and a 7.8km branch constructed north to the power station, opening in June 1981. Today the line is believed to see
little if any use. There may be occasional nuclear flasks. Envermeu was also the terminus of the metre gauge railway
from Aumale and Amiens which opened in 1906, closing to passenger services in 1940, and to all traffic in 1947.
The station building dates from the opening of the line in 1885. Envermeu’s status as a junction station meant it was
the most important station between Rouxmesnil and Eu. Today it is a privately owned residence. For those members
needing sustenance the Restaurant de la Gare opposite is now only open for Saturday dinner, Sunday lunch and also
on Bank Holidays!!
 Belgium – More on the Kusttram
Further to BLNI 1328.168, the new alignment at Nieuwpoort was noted as connected at the north-east
end, with a single line connection left to the old alignment accessed by shoe-fly crossovers.
The shiny copper wires, on the new alignment, were noted as in place but only as far as being tied in a
single bundle along the centre of the alignment at support arm level.
At the southern [inland] end; the new diversion had the poles in place but about 500
yards from both tracks was missing from the new formation, with no sign of any tie-in to the existing
line either, plus the new copper contact etc. wires were again tied back to the centre of the poles at
support arm level. Plastic vinyls, applied to the inside widows of some of the cars, indicated that this
section would be bus substituted from 17 May until early July. Also of note was that the available
Kusttram pocket (shoulder summer peak) timetable only ran until about mid-May 2019.
No doubt the shorter/straighter (and hence no doubt faster) diversion, running along the newer coast
highway, will eliminate at least two of the stops in Lombardsidje and possibly change timings too.
However, whether this six week closure period will be enough to complete the connection at the south
end and all the wiring is anyone's guess.
On the subject of the diversion routes to allow lock gate/bridge opening for dock access; the inland
diversion bridge at Ostend (just east of the main, now combined stations) had the diversion swing bridge
in the open (swung) position. Track work (road dug up with tram line renewal) was noted on this longer
diversion section on the Knokke side (farthest from Ostend).
 Croatia – New line planned to Rijeka
Croatian rail infrastructure manager HŽ Infrastruktura plans to construct a new, shorter railway from
Karlovac to the country’s largest port of Rijeka. The new line will be built with the help of the China Road
and Bridge Corporation (CRBC). The project consists of two parts – modernisation of the existing section
between Zagreb and Karlovac as well as the construction of a new line between Karlovac and Rijeka, the
so-called Lowland Railway. The 170-km line between Karlovac and Rijeka will improve and speed up
train traffic to the port of Rijeka. It will run from Karlovac to Rijeka via Drežnica and Ledenice, south of
the existing line that passes through Moravice and Delnice. The new railway allows for shortening the
travel time between Zagreb and Rijeka from 3.5 to 1.5 hours. Currently, Croatian ports have insufficient
rail connections with the hinterland. The harbours are linked by single-track and twisty lines constructed
in mountainous areas. Only the port of Rijeka has an electrified rail connection, the railways to the other
three ports are non-electrified.
 Czech Republic - Engineering work
Work on rebuilding the corridor through Praha Vršovice is gathering pace. The third island at Vršovice
has been demolished and many tracks removed. They should start building the first of the new islands
soon on the far side, The rebuilt station will have an extra island platform so maybe more long distance
trains from the North and East will terminate here after calling at Praha hlavni? The Vršovice to Malešice
(mostly freight) route has been rerouted in part, so in effect, slightly new track if you do the overnight
trains (EN444/445) that run this way. This is the first part of the new alignment avoiding Strašnice station
to come into use. The present line though Strašnice will close when the new line is complete. The new
stations at Eden and Zahradni mesto are taking shape.
Further south the result of recent line closures between Olbramovice and Chotoviny can be seen with
major new alignments being built on the new section between Votice and Sudoměřice.
 Czech Republic – Changes to services between Zaječí and Hodonín withdrawn
The reductions to the service between Zaječí and Hodonín mentioned in BLNI 1329.196 have been
withdrawn following protests.
 France - Visit to Chemin de fer de la Baie de Somme – May 2019
On a recent visit to France your reporter and his wife paid a visit to this well-known narrow gauge line
on the coast near Abbeville. It is run as two separate services, a diesel operated service between St
Valery Ville and Cayeux sur Mer Brighton Plage and a steam operated service between St Valery Port
and Le Crotoy via Noyelles sur Mer where there is a main line SNCF connection. The journey commenced
at Cayeux where, to our surprise, the expected DMU did not turn up but a short diesel hauled train did,
but the loco was numberless!
Numberless locomotive. Can any member identify it?
Cayeux station hasn’t really changed at all since your reporter made his first visit there on a railtour from
London on 15 May 1966! It has to be said the CFBS fare structure is somewhat strange! Basically there
is only one adult return fare – 14.50 euros – and that is valid from one station to the next or the whole
line from Cayeux to Le Crotoy. But beware; make sure you advise the booking clerk where you want to
go as this is printed on the back of your ticket! The train left on time at 13:55, but with a 25 km/h speed
limit took its time and arrived at St Valery Ville at 14:30. Here a change of train is necessary and with the
station being after the physical junction it’s a walk through the station building onto the other platform.
Yes I can hear the cries of anguish from the microgricers about overlap but more of that later!
Cayeux sur Mer station – but it is nowhere near the Beach!
A 5 minute connection was made at St Valery Ville and then they were off to Le Crotoy by steam. The
trains on this section pass at Noyelles sur Mer. For the microgricers it is necessary to do a return journey
from St Valery to Le Crotoy to do all 4 lines through the scissors crossover at Noyelles. At Noyelles the
two trains wait for each other and if everything goes to plan you end up with both leaving at the same
time, as they are scheduled to do, in a departure with memories of St John’s in the Isle of Man when the
Peel and Ramsey trains left. It takes 55 minutes from St Valery to Le Crotoy and after a 30 minute break
they were back on the 16:00 to St Valery. On their previous visit they kept the same loco both ways but
on this occasion motive power was exchanged at Noyelles with the train going to Le Crotoy.
Train approaching St Valery Ville from St Valery Port on the mixed gauge section
Loco running round at Le Crotoy
Le Crotoy train leaving Noyelles, pictured from the St Valery service
Trains from Noyelles to St Valery do not stop at St Valery Ville and run through to St Valery Port which
is 200 metres away. Time is allowed in the schedule, on this service 45 minutes but the previous
connection is only 15 minutes, for passengers to walk back for the Cayeux train. As there are no through
trains to Cayeux it does mean that those with a certain liking for these things are left with a few metres
of needed track at St Valery Ville!
This line is well worth a visit and another BLS member tells me that he did manage it on a day trip from
London via the Channel Tunnel. Unlike a lot of continental heritage lines it now has a daily service
throughout the summer but again beware as the Cayeux trains only run at weekends and French bank
The overlap dilemma at St Valery Ville! Taken from the service to St Valery Port, the Cayeux train leaves from the
platform on the left.
The loco runs round via the electrically operated turntable at St Valery Port. A new form of traction for Mr Adlam?
 France - Paris to Troyes electrification phase 1 – Gretz to Nogent-sur-Seine
In April 2019, work started on Phase 1 to electrify the double track line from Gretz-Armainvilliers to
Nogent-sur-Seine (72 km) and the single track branch from Longueville to Provins (7 km). (From Paris-
Est to Gretz the line is already electrified). Completion is planned for June 2021. Phase 2 will then start
from Nogent to Troyes.
Phase 1 comprises the rebuilding of 20 overbridges, the demolition of a short tunnel (105m) and
replacement by a cutting, the installation of 3,000 catenary poles and 230 km of overhead wire for the
25 KV power supply. 4 overbridges between Nogent and Troyes will be included in Phase 1.
Work will take place principally overnight, but certain week ends traffic will be suspended. Regarding
the "tunnel des Bouchots" PK 86 at Saint-Loup-de-Naud, the demolition is scheduled during a period of
6 weeks from 12 July to 24 August. During this period, the Transilien LIne P trains will terminate at Nangis
and bus services will be provided between Nangis and Provins. The arrangements for the TER trains have
not been announced yet. Courtesy of the French Railways Society
 Germany – The Hamburg U-bahn
Hamburg closed its tram system in 1978, so nowadays it is either U-bahn or S-bahn for rail related
journeys off the main lines. The U-bahn system, known as the Hochbahn, is not particularly extensive,
and can easily be polished off in a short day. Public transport in the Hamburg area is operated by HVV,
and a HVV day ticket for zones A+B (which covers all the U-bahn lines) costs €7.60. Our member started
off from Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, which has two U-bahn stations – Nord and Sud – linked by a tunnel
walkway. U1 goes northeast to Volksdorf, where it divides, the longer branch going to Grosshansdorf,
largely on single track with loops at stations, while the second, shorter branch goes to Ohlstedt. Both
pass through leafy suburbs. Trains were very quiet on an Easter Friday morning. Returning through
Volksdorf the return service calls at Wansbek Gartenstadt, where there is interchange with U3 services.
Once Barmbek is reached, U3 describes a huge loop around the city. Despite Metros being considered
‘underground railways’ a large proportion of the U3 loop is actually above ground and offers fine views
of the harbour after emerging from the tunnels at Hauptbahnhof. Many guide books recommend a
journey on U3, but frankly it is only the harbour section which is particularly scenic.
Trains are indicated for Schlump, but in practice carry on to Barmbek, competing the loop. Our member
continued on another train to Berliner Tor where he joined U2 and did the branch to Niendorf Nord,
returning as far as Jungfernstieg, a major interchange and utterly characterless station. U4 is the shortest
U-bahn line, and at its western end runs to Elbbrücken, almost entirely underground. Despite this it is
The first station is Überseequartier which translates as "Overseas Quarter" and, being close to the
harbour, has a strong maritime theme. The walls are clad in blue ceramic-coated glass tiles that get
darker the further down they go, recalling the undersea world. Silver-coloured plates on the ceiling give
the impression of a water surface. The underwater theme is heightened by a sound installation where
speakers broadcast underwater sounds such as waves and other marine noises. And in a glass case on
the platform, on permanent loan from the Hamburg International Maritime Museum, is a 1:100-scale
model of the Queen Elizabeth 2.
Next is HafenCity Universität. Until 10 August 2013 the station was open only on weekends and public
holidays, but now it is served by all services. About 20 glowing plastic cubes are lined up over the
platform and slowly change colour. The polished large-sized tiles covering the walls reflect the colourful
light, surrounding passengers with an impressive light show.
On weekends and holidays on the hour between 11:00 and 18:00, a special 10 minute show is staged.
The lights inside the cubes “dance” to the sound of classical music, changing colours quicker and
individually. HafenCity Universität was the terminus of U4 until December 2018, when the line was
extended 1.3km to Elbbrücken. The line rises to the surface immediately before the impressive new
station. There is an extensive view over the Elbe from the end of the platform, and many passengers
availed themselves of the opportunity to take in the view and take photographs. The station name
comes from its proximity to the railway bridge a short distance away. Passengers hurrying from
Hamburg-Harburg to Hamburg Hbf on the main line see the Elbbrücken U-bahn station on the left hand
side very clearly. A ‘Skywalk’ gives access to Elbbrücken S-bahn station, served by S3 and S31 services.
This left our member needing to travel to the end of eastern end of U4, Billstedt, continuing on U2 to
end of the line at Mümmelmannsberg, and the northern end of U1 at Norderstedt Mitte. The U-bahn
line from Ochsenzoll to Norderstedt Mitte used to be a heavy rail line, the Alsternordbahn, which
opened on 17 May 1953. Traces of old formation and sidings have survived the double tracking of the
1990s. Today the U-bahn lines end at buffer stops in the station, but between them is a bay platform
facing north from which local DMUs operated by AKN run north to Ulzburg.
The journey back to Hamburg Hauptbahnhof was speeded up by transferring at Ohlsdorf to a more direct
The platforms at Elbbrücken project out towards the Elbe and offer expansive views of the river. On the right can be
seen the Skywalk connecting the U-bahn station with the S-Bahn station of the same name.
Nordernstedt Mitte is partly underground and partly open. U-Bahn platforms are left and far right, both dead ends,
while the AKN DMU to Ulzburg Süd is seen in the north facing bay. There is no interconnection possible between U-
Bahn and heavy rail.
 Germany – Diversion around Wanne-Eickel until November
Due to construction of a new railway overpass, until 17 November 2019 RB43 services (Dortmund
Dorsten) do not call at Wanne-Eickel, but are diverted Herne – Herne-Rottbruch Hgn – Crange – Wanne
Unser Fritz, the section from Herne-Rottbruch Hgn to Wanne Unser Fritz being freight only
 Germany - Lines up for closure get summer service
Tourist Info Plau am See GmbH are running summer Saturday trains over two sections of line that are
threatened with complete closure by the operator. These are Meyenburg – Güstrow (2 train pairs) and
Parchim – Malchow (4 train pairs) plus a Thursday service from Parchim to Mayenburg.
This is the timetable link given, but it may be necessary to cut and paste it into google whereupon the
link can be seen and works. http://suedbahnsaisonverkehr.de/fahrplaene/
 Germany – Curve closed at Essen
The non-electrified curve connecting Essen-Steele Ost with the Essen-Steel to Wuppertal line was
decommissioned on 18 October 2018. It had been without traffic for some years and was no longer
 Germany – Kamenz to Senftenberg gets summer Saturday trains
Kamenz is the end of passenger services from Dresden, but freight line continues through the closed
stations of Bernsdorf and Wiednitz to Hosena (on the Leipzig to Görlitz line) to Senftenberg.
Two train pairs will run on 7 Saturdays (signal boxes closed on Sundays) between Kamenz to Senftenberg
during the Sachsen summer vacation period – whenever that is, but presumably most of july and August.
Transport authority VVO tickets are valid.
 Germany – Reopening of part of Bentheimer Eisenbahn on schedule
The Bentheimer Eisenbahn AG will commence passenger trains on the 28 km long line from Bad
Bentheim to Neuenhaus on 7 July 2019. This is the southern and middle section of the Bad Bentheim to
Coevorden (Netherlands) railway. The rest of the line remains freight only.
 Hungary/Slovakia - Observations from the PTG ‘Really Hungary’ tour
As always with these lengthy railtours new information comes to light which is worthy of reporting. It
helps if the tour is being led by the Today’s Railways Europe Hungary correspondent! One tidbit he
mentioned was that a new connection is to be constructed between Érd alsó and Érd as part of the
remodelling project in this area. South of Érd a new 12.2km-long alignment was observed to be under
construction between Százhalombatta and Pusztaszabolcs. This is part of a major upgrade of the route
to allow 160km/hr running. More details at: http://iho.hu/hir/a-szazhalombatta-pusztaszabolcs-
It seems that the existing line, which is busy with industry, is to be retained.
The tour was unable to visit the Székesfehérvár to Lovasberény branch as it has been closed by a
mudslide for several months. The Hajmáskér to Papkeszi branch was substituted. This is part of line 27,
which ran from Veszprém (on the Székesfehérvár-Szombathely line) to Lepsény. The passenger service
ended on 4 March 2007 but freight continued on the Hajmáskér to Papkeszi section which became a
branch as Papkeszi to Csajág and Lepsény was taken out of use and is no longer maintained. Traffic
comes from two sources. From Papkeszi a branch goes to the Peremarton industrial estate and from
Vilonya-Királyszentistván another branch of similar length goes to the Balatonfűzfő industrial plant,
which includes the company Viztech, who make chemicals for use in water treatment, some of which
apparently goes by rail. The PTG tour visited both branches, reaching the road before the gate at
Peremarton (1.7km) and sidings at Balatonfűzfő (2km).
East of Hajmáskér on the Székesfehérvár-Szombathely line is Várpalota from where a 3 km branch runs
to the Inota power plant (now closed with rail connection derelict) and continues to the Magyar
North of Tapolca is the station of Uzsa from where a branch runs to Uzsabánya Mine. The PTG Tour got
to the sidings after 2.65km. The mine produces basalt for ballast and was obviously very busy.
South of Budapest on the line to Kelebia (table 150) is the station of Délegyháza from where a 5km
branch heads south-east to a sand and gravel loading point. The area has long been used for gravel
extraction and there are a series of large lakes left from former workings. It must have been very busy
in the past as the branch was electrified, but today only the masts remain although large piles of coarse
sand at the sidings attest to continued usage.
The former branch from Kunszentmiklós-Tass to Dunapataj closed to passenger services on 4 March
2007 and is now only open halfway as far as Solt. Freights are very infrequent – only a few each year –
and the line is considered a prime candidate for closure.
South of Istvántelek the Szob to Budapest Nyugati line is crossed by a short connection between the
Esztergom and Rákos lines. This has recently been electrified.
The PTG Tour also visited Slovakia and the Slovnaft oil refinery in the south of Bratislava. This covers a
2km x 3km site and receives crude oil from Russia by pipeline, refining it to produce diesel, petrol and
aviation fuel. This leaves by train, barge, pipeline and road tanker, mainly to Poland, the Czech Republic
and Hungary. Only a third goes to Slovakia. There is liquefied gas loaded on site, fertiliser production,
waste sulphur removal and production of various plastic precursors such as polypropylene. There are
96km of railway tracks, with half the points controlled from a central power box, the rest manually.
Access to the site is from the freight station and sidings at Ústredná nákladná stanica (abbreviated to
ÚNS) which is where the PTG tour attached a Slovnaft class 744 diesel to make a complete 12km circuit
of the outer ring. The connecting line which runs east to the Bratislava – Komárno line is not used.
Of particular interest to UK enthusiasts is the Hunslet built shunter dating from 1969, nowadays confined
to light duties on the site.
The Slovnaft Hunslet
 Italy – Pinerolo to Torre Pellice may reopen
The 16.5 km Pinerolo to Torre Pellice line in Piedmont, which closed at short notice in 2012, may reopen
at the request of the Piedmont region. The line has been disused since then and amongst many works
needed to make it operational again are restoration of the rails at Bricherasio station, replacement of
level crossing barriers and the restoration of the 3000V electrical system. The announcement foresaw
reopening “from six months to two years, but a lot will depend on the "political" will.” Congestion at
some level crossings is a concern. The service would be run as a mixture of trains and buses. Despite
effectively being an extension of the Torino to Pinerolo branch, the service to Torre Pellice has always
operated as a separate service, probably because the line diverges just before Pinerolo station. Pinerolo
platform 5 is sited just after the beginning of the line a short walk from the main station.
Courtesy of europeanrailwayatlas.com
 Spain – AVE line to Granada opening
24 June is the date given for the start of the new AVE high speed services in and out of Granada. There
will be three a day to Madrid, and one to Barcelona. The future of the Madrid to Granada Talgo service
via Linares-Baeza will doubtless soon be made clear.
 Switzerland – Capolago Lago to Generoso Vetta
This 800mm gauge rack railway runs from Capolago, on Lake Lugano, to the summit of Monte Generoso,
close to the Italian border. What sets this apart from other Swiss mountain railways is that it includes a
section of unusual track, in that most services arrive and depart from Capolago-Riva San Vitale, alongside
the SBB station, but twice a day the service runs a further 300 metres to Capolago Lago in order to
connect with the boat service from and to Lugano. Not being sure about the ticketing arrangements,
your member arrived with plenty of time to spare, so first walked down the line to the lake, where there
are no facilities at all, the track just ends. Also, and somewhat concerning, there was a Iorry and a couple
of vans blocking the track, apparently in connection with work on the main line. He then walked back
up to Riva San Vitale, where the booking office is situated, and was able to confirm that the Lago service
would be operating. An unexpected bonus was that there was a special fare for those aged 60+ travelling
Mondays to Fridays until 31 May, the return fare being CHF29 instead of the usual CHF48.
What is effectively an empty stock movement down to the lake is shown in the timetable (unlike the
service back from Lago in the afternoon) so the driver was agreeable, if slightly bemused, when your
member asked to join this service. The vans and lorry had been moved, but it was still a tight squeeze
past piles of equipment. Six people joined from the boat and the train left as soon as they had boarded,
which was at 11:15, rather than the booked time of 11:20.
The line was closed to passengers between 2014 and 2016 while a new building (no longer a hotel) was
erected at the summit, although during that time it was used for transporting workers and construction
materials. It’s certainly a distinctive structure and has a decent cafe, which was somewhere to pass the
30 minutes until the next train down, as it was pretty chilly outside and partly covered with cloud. It is
right on the edge of the mountains so the views must be stunning on a clear day.
Train at Capolago Lago. The landing stage can be seen in the background on the left.
Train on arrival at the summit. Would be a good view of the Lombardy Plain if the weather were better!
Trains crossing at the main intermediate station of Bellavista, used mainly by walkers. The units date from 1982 when the line was
 Switzerland – Summer diversion in Zürich
There are no SZU trains Zürich HB to Selnau from 13 July 2019 to 01 September 2019 due to track
replacement. Monday to Friday will see some peak hour trains diverted to Zürich Wiedikon, using the
Giesshübel to Wiedikon line normally only used in passenger service by Zürcher Museums Bahn steam
specials a few times per year: Times as follows:
06:00 Langnau-Gattikon to Wiedikon 06:18 repeats every 20min until 08:20/08:38
16:00 Langnau-Gattikon to Wiedikon 16:18 repeats every 20min until 19:00/19:18
06:09 Wiedikon to Langnau-Gattikon 06:30 repeats every 20min until 08:29/08:50
16:09 Wiedikon to Langnau-Gattikon 16:30 repeats every 20 min until 19:09/19:30
 Ukraine/Hungary – New standard gauge international service to run into Mukachevo station
Following on from the introduction of MAV standard gauge services from Hungary to Mukachevo
(Ukraine), ZSSK launched a new Košice to Mukachevo standard gauge service on 9 June. There are two
return journeys per day with compulsory reservation. At present, MAV standard gauge trains to
Mukachevo terminate 500 metres southwest of the main CIS gauge station. UZ now want to extend the
standard gauge into the main platforms to offer better connections. A Ukrainian website is claiming that
Regiojet want to run trains across the border too.
REST OF THE WORLD
 Ghana – Good times for the railways
‘The railways are coming in a big way into Ghana, and we shall open up our country for the development
that we all desire’, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said in his recent state of the nation
address. He was ‘glad to be able to report’ that services from the capital Accra east to nearby Tema had
restarted following rehabilitation of the 1067 mm gauge line, although reopening of the line north from
Accra to Nsawam had been delayed because sand extraction had undermined the track near Pokuase.
Rehabilitation of the next stage from Nsawam to Koforidua is underway.
In January the CEO of the Ghana Railway Development Authority announced that six companies from
the USA, France, Germany, China and Ghana had been shortlisted out of the 45 which had expressed
interest in project to rebuild the 330 km Eastern line connecting Accra and Kumasi from 1067 mm to
1435 mm gauge, including the 24 km Achimota - Tema branch. The primary aim is to support the
exploitation of bauxite deposits near Kyebi. In the west, work is underway to rehabilitate the Kojokrom
to Tarkwa line, and construction of a 1435 mm gauge line from Kojokrom to Manso is ongoing. The
government has committed US$500m for the Western line, and a similar sum for the first phase of the
595 km Kumasi – Paga central spine route. Plans for a line from Tema to Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso
were ‘progressing steadily’, the President said, with 12 shortlisted companies invited to proceed to the
next stage of the procurement process. Land acquisition is to commence, and a strategic investor is to
 Peru – Passenger traffic resumes from Cusco San Pedro
Inca Rail has resumed running to Machu Picchu from Cusco's original downtown San Pedro station,
whilst PeruRail still leaves from Poroy, an inconvenient 8 mile bus or taxi ride outside Cusco. The train
takes an hour for this section, bus or taxi 20 minutes, but after allowing for a robust margin between
taxi and train at Poroy, there's hardly any real time lost taking the train all the way. Plus it's an
interesting ride, with the train climbing a mountainside on switchbacks.
 Qatar - Doha Metro Red Line South opens
On 8 May 2019, RKH Qitarat, opened the first section of the Doha metro to the public. It is Qatar’s first
urban rail transport network for a period of 20 years. The network will comprise three automated metro
lines in Doha, the Qatari capital, and four tram lines located in the city of Lusail.
The driving force for the project was the Football World Cup to be held in 2022. Initial operation includes
13 out of 18 stations of the line, which will connect the Al-Wakrah and Lusail stadiums and operation
will be from Sunday to Thursday, 08:00 to 23:00 at this time. The 40-km long line will also connect Lusail
to the international airport. In total there will be three lines (Red, Green and Gold), 75km of track and
37 stations. The network is expected to be completed by 2020, and carry 650,000 passengers per day.
 Sri Lanka – Southern Railway extends
The 26.8 km Matara – Beliatta first phase of the Southern Railway project was officially opened by the
Minister of Transport & Civil Aviation on 8 April 2019. Phase 1 was financed through a 20-year loan
agreed by Export-Import Bank of China and the ministry in 2012. A groundbreaking ceremony was held
in 2013. The 1676 mm gauge single-track alignment is designed for diesel trains operating at speeds up
to 120 km/h. There are seven passenger trains each way per day, serving major stations at Kekanadura,
Bambarakanda, Wawurukannala and halts at Piladuwa and Weherahena. Almost 10% of the line is
elevated on 12 viaducts, with the route including the two longest railway bridges in Sri Lanka at 1.5 km
and 1.04 km, as well as a 615 m tunnel at Kekanadura which is also the longest in the country. There are
18 level crossings.
 Thailand/Cambodia – Cross border line restored after 45 years
The prime minister of Cambodia and his Thai counterpart marked the official reconnection of the two
countries’ rail networks on 22 April 2019 after a 45-year break. The two men travelled over the newly-
completed 1.3km section between Ban Khlong Luek in Thailand and Poipet in Cambodia before
witnessing the signing of a bilateral agreement on cross-border rail transport. To mark the occasion,
Thailand donated a metre-gauge DMU to Cambodia.
Reconstruction of the final section of the 386km Phnom Penh – Poipet line was completed in July 2018
and reported in BLNI 1309.299. On the Thai side of the frontier, State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has
renovated the 6km line between Aranyaprathet station and the border at Ban Khlong Luek.