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Published by membersonly, 2018-04-10 06:03:34


7th October 2017




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 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


Arendal is the end of a branch off the Stavanger to Oslo line which today ends at the station several hundred metres
from the seafront and town centre. The line used to continue past the station and split into two short branches to
the docks. Today the disused stub of the branch ends at a new roundabout beyond which the former sidings have
been obliterated by new buildings and development. However, two sets of rails still remain in the middle of the
roundabout and are presumably meant as a feature to reflect the railway history of the area.


[387] France – Limoux to Quillan uncertainties
BLNI 1285.274 reported a gloomy prognosis for reopening of the Limoux to Quillan section of the
branch from Carcassonne to Quillan based on information received from train crew. It now seems this

may be premature as L'Echo du Rail (Sep 2017) reports that the lady présidente of Occitania has said
that this section will be modernised (presumably as a prelude to reopening) as soon as finance has
been agreed.

[388] France – Felletin more accessible
From 2 July, the former single round trip (with crew lodging overnight at Felletin) has been replaced by
two round trips during the middle of the day - but running only Mondays to Fridays - see fiche horaire
The branch has long been seen as a candidate for closure, but whether or not this change makes the
branch more "secure" is a moot point.

[389] Germany - Dresdner Bahn main line tracks to be rebuilt
According to the Berliner Zeitung, construction is soon to start on reinstating the main-line tracks
parallel to the S-Bahn on the Dresdner Bahn from Berlin Südkreuz to Blankenfelde, which were closed
in 1952. The works are due to take 8 years with services commencing in December 2025. Noise
barriers, of up to 5 metres in height are to be erected. This will help to reduce journey times from
Berlin to Dresden to 80 minutes and make a fast train from Berlin Hbf to Berlin-Brandenburg Airport
via Südkreuz possible, via a new north-to-east curve at Glasower Damm. Presumably they expect the
airport to be open by then... It seems likely that the connections at Genshagener Heide which
currently carry services to and from Dresden, Elsterwerda and Wünsdorf-Waldstadt will lose their
regular passenger services.

[390] Germany/Austria - Some notes on kilometre distances
The official distance point for through stations in Europe has traditionally been the centre of the
station building and this is still used, but there are a few problem stations for working out distance
travelled such as Zürich Wiedikon where the station building is an overhead structure, no part of which
is above the platform. Here however the line is liberally supplied with 3 decimal place posts. Problems
can arise with newer stations in tunnels where the official distance point tends to be somewhat
random resulting in shorter trains passing it completely or not reaching it depending on stopping
Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof buffers have been moved 134 metres from their original position (GPS
measurement 16.07.2015). All buffers at Frankfurt Hbf have also been altered, probably in 2010 as
they all have 2010 construction dates. No platform can now be regarded as zero. Platforms 1 to 4 are
10 metres less, 5 to 15 are 15 metres less, 16 to 22 are 20 metres less and 23 is now 25 metres less
(buffers did not line up with the other platforms in any case). There are also two platforms outside the
main part of the station. 1a buffers currently 0.174 (174 metres) and 24 buffers currently 0.106 (106
metres). Drivers generally stopped 5 to 10 metres from the current buffers while our member was
there. (Figures based on observations by our member including GPS in the case of 1a). Frankfurt Hbf
low level post change km 0 to km 50.000. Eastbound single S-Bahn sets stop about 16 metres short of
50.000 which is near the east end of the platforms. Westbound single sets stop with part of the train
beside this post. München Hbf low level km 0 in both directions, this post is near the west end of the
platforms meaning only a three unit train will be stopped next to it. Eastbound the front of a (67
metres) single unit train is about 75 metres past km 0 and a double unit train (134 metres) 160 metres.

Westbound the front of a single unit train is 40 metres before km 0 and a double unit 20 metres before
km 0. (München based on observations including checking of stop points 13.07.2015). Intermediate
stations in these S-Bahn tunnels generally use the centre of the platform for distance point.
Wien Airport station (in tunnel) has been rebuilt several times in the last 15 years. It has always
officially been km 19.300 which is now about the middle of the much extended platforms but shorter
trains will miss this altogether, ICE units stop with the rear of the train at about 19.300. Stopping point
of S-Bahn units seemed to vary but can be judged by the clearly visible wall mounted km 19.500 at the
eastern end of the station.
CAT (City Airport train) workings, which are loco and three coaches use the far end of platform 3 and
stop adjacent to 19.500. The official distance for Wien Floridsdorf station is 4.760 but this does not
correspond with the middle of the station building. Post 4.8 is off the northern end of the platforms,
the middle of which our informant makes as being 4.702 with the aid of google measuring.
Wolfsthal station in Austria (end of the line through Wien airport) is officially 56.182 but the middle of
the station building is actually 56.229 (GPS 09.07.2015). Wien Franz Josef Bahnhof has had the buffers
moved back, date unknown, by 20 metres. Wien Westbahnhof has not had the actual buffers moved
but some years ago, probably after an ICE hit the buffers in April 2009, a yellow pole was erected in
the centre of each track six metres from the buffers to act as a stopping point. Most trains stop 5 to 10
metres before this but a couple of trains were noted with the front right up to it.
Salzburg is another station with unhelpful distances. Officially the line from Germany ends at 88.551
which is what the ÖBB sectional appendix gives as the station. The middle of the building is however
88.370. (A prewar listing for the line at gives the station as 88.370 and
observation suggests this is right). There is further potential confusion here as 88.551 changes to 0
(Zero on the line towards Zell am See) but the line east towards Linz etc. changes again at 0,777 =
312.470. Between Salzburg and Wien there are numerous deviations with plus or minus in the
distances. There is a diveunder route from Salzburg platforms 1 and 2 to access the line towards Zell
am See without conflicting with other traffic. It adds 48 metres to the distance running from 0.410 to
1.127 = 1.079. There are no actual crossovers or junction at 0.777 = 312,470. Perhaps they were
moved at some point in the past. Google measuring puts the junction at 0.391 or 0.410 if via the
diveunder route.

[391] Greece – Peloponnese woes and main line dates
Photographs by a Greek enthusiast show that the Peloponnese Railway is becoming overgrown by
vegetation and that there are new washouts (one on the edge of a long steep bank) and minor
landslides which have not been repaired or cleared. Projected re-openings of parts of the system,
announced in a blaze of publicity, have so far failed to materialise and the southward extension of the
Patras suburban railway has been deferred.
Information from a well placed source is that the two massive deviations on the Athenai – Thessaloniki
main line will open fairly soon. November 2017 is the date for Tithorea to Lianokladi by the Kallidromo
tunnel, and Spring 2018 for Lianokladi to Domokos. Deadlines in Greece are flexible, but anyone
needing the present routes should consider going soon, as they will close once the deviations are
open. The plan is to keep them maintained as diversionary or emergency routes, and there are
rumours of possible tourist trains.

[392] Italy – New deviation opens
A 4km deviation opened on the Rome to Ancona line on 9 July 2017 between Castelplanio and
Montecarrotto. It is the more southerly line on the map (e-BLNI only © OpenStreetMap contributors). The
distance is reduced by 116 metres and km 252.541 = 252.657 as a result.

[393] Norway/Sweden – Deviations and new construction
The Rørosbanen is a 383km-long loop off the Oslo – Trondheim main line between Hamar and Støren.
A new looking tunnel was observed between Alen and Haltdalen, with the old alignment trailing in
from the right when heading north. No details of this could be found on-line.
For those that went to Bodo or Storlien from Trondheim some time ago, north of Trondheim the 4.4-
kilometre-long Gevingåsen Tunnel opened on 15 August 2011, the northern half of the old coastal
route is retained for freight, but the southern part is lifted.
The Trondheim – Hell – Storlien line crosses the Swedish border a few kilometres west of Storlien and
immediately the border is crossed the railway runs on a shelf partway down a high bank. This area,
while pleasant in summer, was very hard for the labourers who built the line in 1877 and they
nicknamed it Stora helvetet which translates as Great Hell. The bank is unstable and had only two
years life left, so the decision was taken to build a bridge to replace the existing line. Construction
started in 2016 and should be complete in winter 2018/19. When passed in Autumn 2017 the 5 piers
(the highest 20m. tall) were complete. The new bridge will be at least 500 metres long, and the
northern end might even be in Norway – though as no map has been found it is difficult to be sure.

The new bridge is seen in an advanced state of construction from a passing train

Midway between Sundsvall and Gävle is Söderhamn and it was noted that the earthworks were under
construction for a new north to west curve to connect to the Söderhamn – Kilafors line and create a
triangle. East of Gävle the new 5km double track deviation between Skutskär and Furuvik was
inaugurated on 15 June 2016. The first sod was cut in 2013 and construction of the line, which has ten
bridges, took two and a half years. The old station was on the southern section of the old single track
line, which has been retained for freight from the docks, so a new station has been built south of the
deviation in an area called "Turkiet" (Swedish for Turkey). The northern section of the old line has
already been lifted. See diagram below, © OpenStreetMap contributors

The new deviation of the Ostkustbanan between Furuvik and Skutskär. Note the connection from new line to old line
at Skutskär, presumably to avoid the need for reversals on the main line for traffic to the docks.

Just north of Uppsala station a new 4 km double track deviation
(including a 610km long tunnel under Gamla Uppsala (Uppsala old
town)) saw the first train on 8 May 2017. Only one track was planned to
be open until 17 September, after which the old line (with its three
level crossings) will presumably be lifted. There is now double track all
the way from Stockholm to Gävle, part of efforts to increase the
capacity of the entire East Coast Line. See map to left © OpenStreetMap


Our member travelled south from Stockholm and observed that the
lengthy new flyover from Älvsjö running directly over Årstaberg station
appeared rusty and not presently in use. Pointwork allows access in
both directions but usage is much easier if travelling towards
Stockholm. The old approach line to Stockholm Central on the west side
of the T-Bahnen pair of lines is severed north of Årstaberg, so the two
bridges to Stockholm södra are now dedicated - one for T-Bahnen and
one for main line services.

[394] Norway – Oslo tram changes
A member visited the Oslo tram system in early September and noted major changes taking place.
Reference to the system map from 14 August at
linjekart-14082017-inntil-videre.pdf and a schematic tram map at: will help understand the following comments:
A large section of the system is closed from 14 August until 2020 between Jerbanetorget (Sentral
Station) and Holbergs plass. The 11 and the 17 are split as a consequence but run on both sides with
the same route numbers. At the western end our member guessed correctly that a short new curve
had been built at Holbergs plass to allow trams to turn back. In the picture below (e-BLNI only) the rear
tram is on the curve.

As before trams use this street loop via Frydenlund anti-clockwise. This will only be in use for 6-8
months until the alternative temporary route opens. The reason for the closure is a refurbishment and
although the old route is now de-wired, apparently the 450 metres of new double tracks currently
being built along Kristian IV’s Gate and around a square at the rear of the Historical Museum to rejoin
the previous route before Holbergs plass are again only temporary until the original route reopens in
2020. This construction along Kristian IV’s Gate has cut the street turning loop at Tinghuset.
The part of Route 11 on the east side from Kjelsås terminates at Jerbanetorget. To reverse direction it
uses a section of track not on our members map after dropping all passengers at Jerbanetorget,
continuing out of service onto a short section at the south end of Fred Olsens Gate with no regular

passenger service but with curves heading east or west from its far end. Empty trams do an anti-
clockwise circuit here and it is best to attempt this when the service runs every 15 minutes as if less
frequent the trams layover on Fred Olsens Gate for at least 5 minutes. Our member managed to travel
the loop the first time he asked a driver on Sunday afternoon. Routes 12, 13 and 19 use a new double
track line along Prinsens Gate.
This means the previous eastbound only running via Tollbugata closed on 26 February 2017 and it has
already been partly lifted. There is a new one stop extension from Jerbanetorget east to Bjøvika on
routes 17 & 18 to new offices. It will be extended again to link in with routes 18, 19 to Ljabru over a
new bridge already under construction beyond the current turnback crossover. See picture below (e-
BLNI only) looking beyond Bjøvika towards the new bridge in the distance.

Linked in with this there are plans to close the existing route from Jerbanetorget along
Schweigaardsgate via Bussterminalen Grønland from January 2018, so I assume this is the target date
for the new line beyond Bjøvika to open.
Another link appears to be saying that
the extension beyond Bjøvika will be in tunnel between Konows gate and Ekebergparken and join the
line towards Ljabru there. No scheduled use of the turning loop at Disen can be found in the on-line
PDF’s. EGTRE Tram Services over Unusual Lines has been updated. Tram_services_over_obscure_routes#Oslo:_Oslo_Sporvognsdrift_AS
[395] Spain - FGV Benidorm to Dénia update
This un-electrified section of the Alacant to Dénia metre gauge railway is currently closed east of Calpe
until November. The doubling and electrification of the line from Benidorm to Altea is still in abeyance,

although the trackbed has been widened and concrete mast bases are in place. An hourly service using
two 2-car class 2500 DMUs was operating in early September, the units crossing at Altea. The rail
replacement coaches run from outside Calpe station, but the stop at Dénia is located where the line
crosses the road after emerging from the station area. Most locations served by the trains are served
by the coaches, but not particularly close to their stations as is the case at Benissa where the station is
two kilometres away from the town centre stop. At Teulada the track had been lifted from the
underbridge to the west of the station through the station area. The only other area of work observed
from the coach was at Dénia where the last kilometre or so had been completely lifted and was being
reinstated. The line is in the centre of a dual carriageway at this point and the excavations have
revealed two sub-surface walls which are possibly being left in place pending an archaeological survey.
Dénia's new platforms' edgings are in place, largely infilled and awaiting surfacing. The station building
is open complete with operational ticket office/machine and cafe. Unfortunately there is an ongoing
dispute between the "machinists" union and the management with strikes at random hours on
random days and expected to continue until November at least, as detailed on the FGV website. On a
brighter note Stadler have just been awarded a 43.3m Euros contract to supply six low floor bi-mode
trains as part of a wider modernisation of the line. These will, of course, enable through Alacant to
Dénia services and are expected to come into passenger service from 2019.
[396] Spain - New Barcelona Airport rail link tunnel commenced
Initial work on the new airport rail link started in 2015, and 25% of the project has been completed so
far. Now tunnelling has started on part of a 4.5km rail link which will serve both terminals at Barcelona
Airport and replace the existing single-track branch line which only serves Terminal 2. The project
involves construction of a double-track line of which 3.4km and both stations will be in tunnel.

Barcelona airport area. New line to the north, ending T1, existing line to T2 only to the south of this but
curving north to T2 terminating very close to new line. Red line is metro.

[397] Switzerland – A four day visit after track, trams and funiculars
A member completed a four day track grice in early September, concentrating his efforts around the
Basel, Bern, Olten and Aarau areas. In Basel he attempted to do tram route 10 from Dornach Barnhof
back to Basel SBB, only to find that due to engineering works the trams were not running and there
was a replacement bus service. Passengers were taken to Hofmatt where there was a tram waiting to
get back into the city. If that not been late (after 8pm), and our member being hungry, he would have
continued. As it was he discovered later that the trams were turning around at Munchenstein Dorf. He
also attempted to traverse tram route 6 to Riehen Grenze only to find another bus replacement. Trams
were all turning around at Riehen Dorf. Between Bettingertrass and Niederholtzboden there is single
track working with two sets of points installed to achieve this operation. There is a big hole in the side
of the road and the works will not be finished until December. There is a temporary platform at
Burgstrasse. Tram 2 is running from the SBB station as usual towards Bankverein. Due to the road
being up it can not do the journey the other way and is being diverted via Aeschenplatz. A contact at
the Swiss Travel Centre in London had told him that nothing does the Olten diveunder, so it was a
surprise to him when the 08:31 Basel to Bern duly did it and came up on what might have been
platform 17 a new thin concrete structure.
He travelled to Biel to do both funicular's, which was well worth the effort finding them, then spent
some time looking at old Biel and even with a bendy bus ride missed the 14:46 Biel to Aarau, so he
took the 14:53 that was going to Solothurn as he thought he might get better connections there. At
Lengnau the passengers were all asked to leave the train as there was a bus replacement waiting. A
post train went through as they were boarding the bus, which took them to Selzach were there was an
onward train waiting. This went wrong line to Solothurn before crossing over again. It would appear
that only through trains and freights were using the one line available.
When he arrived at Zürich Airport on the Monday he had a long wait for a train to Zürich Altstetten but
it was worth it as it duly did the flyover that crosses all the lines to enable it to be on the right side for
the Basel direction. As he was not 100% certain if he had done route S19, and our correspondent in
BLS news was getting excited about it, he caught it back to Zürich Oerlikon to make sure! From here he
was on the S7 back to Zürich HB, so he thinks he must have done all permutations by now. All trams in
Zürich seemed to be running as scheduled, but his flight back to Luton on the Saturday was over an
hour late!


[398] India – Ground breaking for bullet train
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe broke ground on
India's first bullet train project in western Gujarat state, as the country seeks faster travel for millions.
Modi has pledged to invest billions of dollars to modernise India's creaking railway system, with the
bullet train one of his key election promises ahead of his landslide victory in 2014. The leaders laid the
foundation stone of the high-speed rail network between Ahmedabad -- the capital city of Modi's
home state -- and India's financial hub of Mumbai on 14 September. Japan will provide 85 percent of
the total project cost of $19 billion in soft loans. The train will reduce the travel time between the two

cities from eight to three-3.5 hours, and is expected to complete by December 2023. It will have a
capacity of 750 passengers.
[399] Turkey (European and Asiatic) - The history and present situation of the Marmaray line

Istanbul has (had) two termini on opposite sides of the Bosphorus. The line from Bulgaria ended at
Sirkeci and that from Asiatic Turkey at Haydarpasa. Any through passengers had to make their way
from one terminus to the other although freight was carried on a rather basic train ferry, with one
terminal located on a very short branch off the line into Sirkeci and the other right next to Haydarpasa.

Construction of the Bosphorus crossing (the Marmaray project), connecting the European and Asian
rail networks, started in 2004, with an initial target opening date of April 2009. However, there were
multiple delays, caused in part by the discovery of major 8,000-year-old and also Byzantine-era
archaeological finds. This work and also construction of the Istanbul – Ankara high speed line caused
major disruption to the TCDD system in the area. The main line from Haydarpaşa closed completely on
1 February 2012 between Gebze (in the İstanbul suburbs) and İzmit, 93 km east of Haydarpaşa. All
long-distance services were either cancelled or curtailed, with no road replacement services being
offered. Suburban services continued between Haydarpaşa and Gebze, a line now isolated from the
rest of the system. Sirkeci closed completely on 19 March 2013 and Haydarpasa on 20 June. The first
phase of the Marmaray project, 13.6 km between Ayrılık Çeşmesi on the Asian side and Kazlıçeşme on
the European side, opened on 29 October 2013.
The much delayed 511 km high speed line on the Asiatic side between (Ankara -) Eskişehir and Pendik
(25 km east of Haydarpaşa) opened to public traffic on 26 July 2014. Pendik thus functioned as the
station for Istanbul. On 20 October 2015 the main line west of Istanbul was reopened to passengers
between Çerkezköy (130 km west of Sirkeci) and Kapikule (the Bulgarian border), and between
Pehlivanköy and Uzunköprü (the Greek border). The line between Çerkezköy and Kazlıçeşme (terminus
of the Marmaray line) remained without a passenger service. However, these services were suspended
only 4 months later on 15 February 2016. They were reinstated between Halkali and Kapikule (but not
to Uzunköprü) on 25 July 2016, thus reopening Çerkezköy to Halkali.
Surface works on the Asian and European sides of the Marmaray line reportedly resumed at the end of
January following an agreement between lead contractor OHL and the government. The Transport
Minister has announced that the second phase will be completed in 2018. In view of the delays which
have already plagued this project, it is probably wise to treat the announced date with caution. The
work involves rebuilding 63 km of route which has not been used for several years: Kazlıçeşme - Halkalı
on the European side and Ayrılık Çeşmesi - Pendik - Gebze on the Asian side. A third track will be added
to the existing double-track line between Ayrılık Çeşmesi and Gebze to accommodate high-speed
trains, although they will have to use the normal tracks on the 13.6 km central section through the
tunnel if they run through to Halkali.
Following the closure of Sirkeci and Haydarpasa, the train ferry between these locations was of course
withdrawn, cutting through rail communication between Europe and Asia via Turkey. TCDD opened a
new branch from Muratli (180 km west of Istanbul) on 1 September 2010 to serve a new port at
Tekirdağ. This was to be linked by train ferry with the existing port of Derince, 85 km east of Istanbul.
However, the ferries proved incapable of managing an open sea voyage. This suggests that the Sirkeci
– Haydarpasa ferries, which navigated only the relatively calm waters of the Bosphous, may have been
used. The Derince service started at the end of 2013 when a more suitable ship, which used to run
between Eregli and Zonguldak on the Black Sea, was obtained. A service to Bandirma (for Izmir) is also
planned. Up to now there has been silence on how, or even if, freight trains will pass through the
Istanbul area but the minister said the third track would be used by freight trains at night, providing a
rail connection for freight across the Bosphorous for the first time. There have been suggestions that
freight would use a totally new line crossing the Bosphorus. The combined road/rail Yavuz Sultan Selim
Bridge, at the eastern end of the Bosphorus between Garipçe on the European side and Poyrazköy on
the Asian side, was opened to road traffic on 26 August 2016. This provides a bypass round Istanbul for
through traffic. However, although a double track railway line is provided, there is no railway on either
side! No tender has even been invited yet for the Gebze Halkalı Hızlı Tren Hattı Güzergahı line between

Halkalı on the European side and Gebze on the Asian side, so the target commissioning date of 2018 is
completely unrealistic.
Regarding future passenger services, the minister said that the Ankara - Istanbul journey time by high-
speed train will be reduced from a current fastest time of 4h 3min between Ankara and Pendik to just
3 hours to Hydarpasa and 3h 30min to Halkali. Project planning for a new high-speed line from Halkali
west to Edirne and Kapikule has been completed and tender documents prepared with a view to
awarding a contract later this year; there is an ambition to complete the Halkali - Kapikule line by
2022-23. Apparently TCDD plans to run all trains to Europe from Sirkeci after the Marmaray project is
completed. This would be good news for many travellers. It is not yet known if domestic trains to
Cerkezkoy and-Kapikule will use Sirkeci, and Adapazari trains Haydarpasa, but this is expected to
happen. These trains were previously well used but now have few passengers owing to their
terminating many km from the city centre.

[400] USA – Construction of Medina line starts
The Southwest Gulf Railroad Co has commenced construction of the Medina line to serve Vulcan
Materials Co’s limestone quarry not far from San Antonio, Texas. The 15 km common carrier railway
will run north from a junction with a line used by Union Pacific and BNSF at Dunlay, and opening is
planned for 2019.

Book review
RADAN VARELLA: Suomen rautatieliikennepaikat by Jussi Iltanen
Karttakeskus, 432 pages Hardback portrait 324mm x 240mm, 1.7 kilos. ISBN 978-951-593-214-3
€54.90 in 2010.
This 'doorstop' covering the 1524mm gauge Finnish railway system is probably the most
comprehensive railway infrastructure book that this reviewer has ever seen. Although Finland was a
grand duchy of Russia and gained formal independence in 1919, apart from the gauge it has always
been separate from the Russian system and wasn't connected to it till 1912. It has a length of about
5,850 kms, of which over half is electrified at 25 kV a.c. Regrettably local train service outside the
Helsinki area has died in recent years.
While the text of the book is entirely in Finnish, a language which is outside the scope of this reviewer
and nearly all western Europeans, presentation of much of the information is easy to follow with
station distances and dates in tables and 2 double page maps which give page references to each
station. Most of the information in the book is divided into 34 chapters, each covering a logical section
of the system. Typical is chapter 6 (Hangon Rata) which covers Hyvinkää – Karjaa to the port of Hanko,
about 140 kms. This contains a historic timetable, 4 distance tables including freight minor freight
branches, 12 historic maps of various periods and 40 photos. Place names in some of the historic maps
are in Swedish (which is a second official language in Finland) and in Russian.
Appendices list line opening dates in date order, electrification dates in date order (the first wasn't till
1969) and transliteration of relevant Russian place names. The book also has a historic section on the
history of those lines Finland lost to Russia in 1944, confirmed by Treaty in 1947.

Click to View FlipBook Version