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Published by membersonly, 2018-07-31 13:42:59

1309i

1309i

INTERNATIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO BLN 1309 4 AUGUST 2018

BRANCH LINE NEWS

INTERNATIONAL

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

________________________________________________________

Stockholm Central station is the largest and busiest station in Sweden with over 200,000 visitors daily, enough that
the heat generated by the thousands of visitors helps heat a nearby office building. Until 1925 the tracks led in to
the station hall, but during a renovation from 1925-1927 the tracks were moved to the west and the former track
hall was converted into the ticket and waiting hall seen above. The grand entrance is outside on the left and platform
10 is accessed to the right, by the departure screens. During the renovation the station was extended to the south
through the construction of the southern pavilion which today houses a conference facility. Next to the conference
facility is the Royal waiting hall where the Royal Family waits when travelling by train. In front of the Central station
stands a statue of Nils Ericson, the father of Swedish Railways.

EUROPE

[280] Belgium/France - New Cross Border Services
In December 2018 NMBS/SNCB starts again with international passenger trains between Belgium and
France. Namur, Charleroi and Mons will be connected with Paris. For the first months passengers need
to change trains in Maubeuge (for Namur and Charleroi) and Aulnoye (for Mons). On a still unknown
date there will be a direct train between these three Belgian cities and Paris.
The proposed timetable can be downloaded here:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1e2GkfEWqFFnIpQyF7RMPz5laYkS_mM98/view
What is happening here is that connecting trains are being run from Mons and Namur to connect into
the Maubeuge - Paris Nord TGV service.

[281] France – Foligny avoiding line in use
A member just back from France found that the new timetables for the Caen-Rennes/Granville
services had not arrived, according to staff at Coutances. However, HAFAS shows 2 trains a day over
the Foligny avoiding line on Saturdays and Sundays only 21 July - 26 August plus 15 August, direct from
Granville to Coutances, running onto Caen. He suggests anyone wanting the curve does some research
before travelling!

[282] France – Montmélian avoiding line in use
This curve (le raccordement de Montmélian) allows trains to travel directly from Grenoble to Modane
without reversal at Montmélian. It is used by TGV 9247 which departs Paris Gare de Lyon at 09:41,
Grenoble at 12:46 and goes to Milano Porta Garibaldi. The diversion is from 15 July to 9 September.

[283] France - Paris Trams update
The Paris tramway T3b is being extended 4km from Porte de la Chapelle to Porte d'Asnières. The
extension is due to be opened on 24 November 2018 although in June, track laying along the final few
hundred mètres had not yet been completed.
Tram-train T4 between Bondy and Aulnay will be closed for two months from 6 July in order to test the
fleet of 15 new Alstom bi-voltage Dualis IDF trams which will replace the Siemens Avanto units which
are to be refurbished and modified. A new branch of 6 km under construction from Gargan to
Montfermeil will be opened in June 2019. For technical reasons the junction at Gargan must be
electrified at 750v DC though the Bondy - Aulnay line is electrified at 25kv AC. The Avanto units must
be prepared for this voltage switch on a short stretch. The new branch from Gargan will be electrified
at 750v DC. Courtesy of the French Railways Society

[284] Germany - Branch loses traffic in Berlin, but heritage railway interested
Berlin Lichterfelde West is on the S-Bahn line between Potsdamer Platz and Berlin Wannsee. A freight
line runs alongside the S-Bahn between Berlin Wannsee and Lichterfelde West, where a reversal is
needed to access the branch to Goerzallee. The last train to Goerzallee ran in mid May 2018 and rail
freight officially ended in July 2018 with plastic parts manufacturer APCB moving to road transport.
The Märkische Kleinbahn want to acquire the line and run museum trains on the branch with diesel
locomotives. At the end of the line the former locomotive shed would become a small museum. It will
be expensive and if they fail to raise the money then DB AG intend to sell the line on the open market.

[285] Germany - Deviation to be built on Cottbus to Gorlitz line
There are huge lignite deposits in the area near Weißwasser and periodically mining moves to new
areas. The planning for such a move started in September 2017 and will require the relocation of part
of the railway between Weißwasser and Rietschen. The planning area covers about 10 kilometres and
Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG (LEAG) has commissioned Deutsche Bahn to plan the new section of the
line. Relocation of the signalling station Weißkeißel and the loading facilities of the Bundeswehr (on a
short branch) will also be needed. The project is currently in preliminary planning with the aim of
finding the preferred option. The construction work is expected to begin in 2025 and finish by the end
of 2026.

[286] Germany – Travelling with Flixtrain
On the day before the two-day IBSE tour in Germany in mid-April, two BLS members independently
booked to travel on the Flixtrain (formerly Locomore) service which runs between Berlin and Stuttgart,
in order to do the nominally non-passenger route between Lehrte (east of Hannover on the line
towards Berlin) and Hannover Messe / Laatzen. There are also some ICEs booked this way, a Fridays-
only Stuttgart-Stralsund working and a Mondays to Fridays Frankfurt-Berlin, but they call much less
frequently so require a longer journey (see EGTRE entry DE18/160).
Locomore GmbH & Co. KG was a low-cost open-access operator, and started its daily Berlin-Stuttgart
service on 14 December 2016. The following May the company filed for insolvency and trains stopped
running, but Czech open-access operator LEO Express acquired many of its assets (including staff) and
relaunched the operation in August via a new German subsidiary, LEO Express GmbH, albeit still using
the Locomore brand. Long-distance international coach operator Flixbus was employed to carry out
marketing, ticket distribution and customer services, and it established a Flixtrain GmbH subsidiary for
this purpose. However, at the time of the writer’s trip, almost eight months later, the rolling stock had
lost the Locomore orange colours in favour of Flixbus / Flixtrain lime green (with a bit of orange), and
the only reference to Locomore seemed to be the “LOC” prefixes to the train numbers – but by July
2018 the DB journey planner was showing them as “FLX”.
In April 2018 the trains were running only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, the train
setting off from Stuttgart early in the morning, reaching Berlin early in the afternoon, and then
returning to Stuttgart almost straight away. In order to avoid reversing at Hannover Hbf, the trains had
originally been routed via non-passenger line 1750, around the south and west side of Hannover, but
that was later changed to avoid Hannover Hbf completely and use the eastern end of line 1750, to the
west of Lehrte. The trains’ Hannover calls are now at Hannover Messe / Laatzen instead of Hbf. At the
time of writing (early July 2018) there appear to be two trains on some days: the morning train from
Stuttgart (depart 06.21) runs every day except Sunday, with the afternoon train from Berlin
(Lichtenberg depart 14.28) every day except Saturday; meanwhile, there is also an early morning train
from Berlin (Lichtenberg depart 06.29) and an afternoon train from Stuttgart (depart 14.12) on many
other days during the summer – but you do really need to check the exact dates!
Booking on-line (www.flixtrain.com – the English language version of the website) your correspondent
discovered that, while the trains picked up and set down at both Lehrte and Hannover Messe / Laatze,
it wasn’t possible to book a journey between the two! It was therefore necessary to start at Wolfsburg,
the call before Lehrte. Of course, being an open-access operation, the only tickets valid were believed
to be those specifically for the service. Prices change according to demand, and the writer was charged

£11.90 (£10 plus VAT at 19%) when he booked just three or four days before the trip – slightly more
than his travelling companion, who had booked a couple of weeks early. The print-at-home ticket was
branded “Flixbus” (with small print for FlixMobility GmbH), had a Google map to show the location of
Wolfsburg Hbf (presumably tickets for coach journeys show where the bus stops are), and was entirely
in English, including the price being in Sterling!
Train LOC1819 was booked to depart from Wolfsburg Hbf at 16.11 – but the ticket said to “be at the
stop 15 minutes prior to departure.” The ticket also advised that it was only valid between the
locations indicated, and “boarding later or exiting earlier is not permitted due to legal requirements.”
Swedish company Hector Rail (which now owns GBRf) has been contracted since day one to provide
locos for the operation, and the usual loco, 242.517 (182 517-3 in DB speak) Fitzgerald was in charge.
The train was formed of five coaches, mostly of the ex-DB “Inter-Regio” type (the ones with
compartments of five seats rather than six and some open areas), and it was very full, with some
people sitting on the floor in the open areas – so the two BLS members decided to stand in one of the
vestibules, which meant they could see out more easily! Tickets were checked not long after setting
off. One advantage of travelling from Wolfsburg rather than Lehrte was realised on the approach to
Lehrte. After going under the single line used by most trains from Braunschweig and Hildesheim, the
train diverged right to go under one of the lines coming down from that bridge and run along the north
side of the formation and through the S-bahn side of Lehrte station. After calling at Lehrte, it then
crossed to the northern side of the operational part of Lehrte West Yard – there were heavily
overgrown partly-lifted tracks to the north, and operational tracks to the south with the running lines
south of them (including the westbound freight line, on which was seen the Fridays-only Stuttgart-
Stralsund ICE); having passed the yard, somewhere around Ahlten S-bahn station the passenger lines
curve gently away to the south, and a few miles further on curve back to go under line 1750 on which
train LOC1819 was travelling. Now back in a built-up area and not far from the centre of Hannover,
there was a left turn at Hannover-Waldheim onto single-track line 1754, which dropped down to meet
the main line from Hannover Hbf to Göttingen. After a signal stop due to early running, the train
arrived at Hannover Messe / Laatzen’s platform 16 a minute or so ahead of schedule.

[287] Germany - Railways and the Kiel (Nord-Ostsee) Canal
The Nord-Ostsee-Kanal (known internationally as the Kiel Canal) is the busiest artificial waterway in
the world, used by around 30,000 large vessels per year. It is 98.6km long and links the North Sea (Elbe
estuary) at Brunsbüttel to the Baltic at Kiel. It can accommodate ships with a height above the
waterline up to 40m; all the bridges are built to a height of at least 42m. Cruise ships use the canal
quite regularly but if you just want to travel the canal section the company Adler-Schiffe operates
excursions several times a month in the summer, using the 110-year-old paddle steamer “Freya”. The
departure point in Brunsbüttel is above the canal’s entrance locks (four lock chambers side-by-side,
two larger and two smaller, with a fifth being built), but before arrival in the centre of Kiel, a short
distance from the Hauptbahnhof, the trips pass though the similar set of locks at Kiel-Holtenau. Adler-
Schiffe offer the option of a bus transfer back to the starting point.
There is no passenger rail service to Brunsbüttel; the most convenient approach is a bus from near the
railway station at Itzehoe (regular services from Hamburg). However, there are freight tracks to both
sides of the canal. These are the remnants of what used to be a through route, crossing the canal via a
swingbridge just north of Brunsbüttel. This disappeared in 1920 when the canal was widened and was
replaced by the Hochdonn fixed bridge on the line towards Westerland.

Tracks that used to reach the quayside on the east side of the canal just above the Brunsbüttel locks
are now disused.

Tracks by the east bank canal in Brunsbuettel

Rails in Brunsbuettel port area (east bank)

Hochdonn bridge

The next railway bridge across the canal is the Hochbrücke Grünental which carries the minor line
between Heide and Neumünster as well as a parallel road. This bridge was built in the 1980s to replace
an earlier combined road/rail bridge where the road had to be closed to allow trains to pass.

Hochbrücke Gruenental bridge

Then follows the most famous of the four railway bridges, the Rendsburger Hochbrücke which carries
the main line between Hamburg, Flensburg and Denmark. Here there is a spiral north of the canal to
gain the height needed for the crossing.

Rendsburger Hochbrücke

Sadly the transporter bridge that used to dangle from the railway bridge has been out of service for
nearly three years after a cargo ship collision. The transporter bridge has been dismantled and can be
seen in a nearby shipyard.

Rendsburg transporter bridge

The final railway bridge (the Levensauer Hochbrücke) is an elegant arched structure; it carries the
minor line between Kiel and Flensburg and a parallel road, although most of the road traffic has been
diverted to a new concrete bridge built in 1984.

Levensauer bridge

The gates for the larger canal locks (a single gate at each end of the chamber) move on rails placed at
right angles to the canal.
[288] Germany – Bavarian branches currently failing to meet future criteria for staying open
The present contract provides for operation for three more years, then branches need to have 1000
passengers per day to stay open (which is a lot more than many branch lines have in Germany, or
elsewhere for that matter). According to Bahn Report magazine, the following Bavarian branches/
parts of branches didn't meet the test in 2016 (although it does stress that the figures may have
changed since then).
Murnau to Oberammergau, Fischhausen- Neuhaus to Bayrischzell, Garching to Traunstein, Traunstein
to Waging, Hörpolding to Traunreut, Garching to Freilassing, Ebersberg to Wasserburg, Prien to
Aschau, Waldkraiburg to Wasserburg, Pfarrkirchen to Passau, Zwiesel to Grafenau, Zwiesel to
Bodenmais, Zwiesel to Bayerisch Eisenstein, Cham to Waldmünchen, Cham to Bad Kötzing and Lam,
Kirchenlaibach to Weiden, Marktredwitz to Cheb, Oberkotzau to Selb Stadt, Hof to Bad Steben,
Altenstadt (Waldnaab) to Neustadt (Waldnaab), Bayreuth to Weidenberg, Münchberg to Helmbrechts,
Coburg to Bad Rodach, Breitengüßbach to Ebern, Forchheim to Ebermannstadt, Langenzenn to Markt
Erlbach, Neustadt(Aisch) to Bad Windsheim and Steinach, Gemünden to Bad Kissingen, Gemünden to
Jossa, Wicklesgreuth to Windsbach, Roth to Hilpoltstein, Gunzenhausen to Pleinfeld, Günzburg to
Mindelheim, Miltenberg to Wertheim, Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Ehrwald, Straubing to Bogen and
Kempten to Pfronten - Steinach.

[289] Norway - New deviation opening in September
31 kms of the existing line from Larvik to Porsgrunn will close on 7 August, the 22 km new line (from 2
km south of Larvik) opening on 24 September. Track lifting will start on 20 August. Buses will replace
trains between Sandefjord and Skien from 7 - 16 August and then Drammen - Skien until 24
September.

[290] Poland - Szczecinek to Runowo Pomorskie to speed up
As part of the modernisation work in progress since October 2017, the second track, which has been
closed for a long time, is being rebuilt in the Szczecinek – Łubowo section. The track works should be
completed by the end of 2018, followed by work on the platforms and technical facilities. Once
completed the maximum speed will increase from about 80 to 120 km/h.

[291] Poland – Tuchola to Koronowo reopening for freight
PKP has begun to restore the last closed section of this line between Pruszcz Bagienica and Koronowo.
This will allow freight traffic to restart, though currently there are no requests for it. Freight last ran at
the end of February 2011 after which tourist trains operated until 2015. Starting in 2016, the
Stowarzyszenie Rehabilitacji i Turystyki Naszlaku (http://srt-naszlaku.org.pl/) in agreement with PKP
PLK operated draisine rides between Tuchola and Motyl. From 1969-1991 there was a narrow gauge
line between Tuchola and Bydgoszcz, and the town council in Tuchola would like the two cities
connected again, though their proposal is to build a new railway to join the existing line at
Maksymilianowo north of Bydgoszcz.

[292] Poland - Człuchów to Przechlewo branch sees special train
On 16 June 2018, for the first time in four years, a train ran to Przechlewo despite the line being
formally closed. The special train was organised by SMK Chojnice and consisted of a SU42 diesel with
double decker coaches. The last freight trains on this route were in 2014 and served the gas filling
plant in Sąpolno. Despite the long time the track has been out of service its condition is relatively
good, so PKP PLK was ready to accept a special train here. Before the crossing a technical review of the
route was carried out, but no repairs were required. Regular passenger service along the entire route
was discontinued in 1991.

[293] Poland - Broad gauge tracks to be renovated in Podlaskie
On 14 June 2018 PKP signed a contract for the co-financing of rehabilitation projects on line 57
(Kuźnica Białostocka - Geniusze (SZ)) and line 923 (Buchwałowo Wschód - Buchwałowo (SZ)). The
projects will be carried out jointly and financed under the Regional Operational Program of the
Podlaskie Voivodeship 2014-2020. On line 57 Sokółka to Geniusze has not been in operation since
1992. At Geniusze station, the construction of an additional track and a transshipment terminal is
planned. Route 923 serves the ORLEN tank farm and in the future, heavier and longer trains will be
able to use the line. The work is expected to be completed by the end of 2020 and the tender is
currently underway to carry out the work.

[294] Romania – Bridge collapse closes branch
On the afternoon of 30 June 2018 floods destroyed the railway bridge over the River Târlung west of
Budila, closing the branch between Hărman - Întorsura Buzăului, northeast of Brașov. Amazingly the
collapse was captured on video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4PKWyM0THs

[295] Romania - Pajura-Depoul Buc Triaj to Mogoşoaia reopens
Bucuresti Nord to Urziceni trains have returned to the original direct route between Pajura-Depoul Buc
Triaj and Mogoşoaia. Presumably the route via Chitila and R. Mac.R1 Buciumeni has reverted to freight
line between R. Mac.R1 Buciumeni and Mogoşoaia.

[296] Serbia/Kosovo - Two members report: Part 1
Having previously made several trips to Serbia and to Kosovo our members had a good idea of what
sort of challenges to expect there during their latest venture. Apart from the fairly sparse services they
could expect late running and short notice cancellations as well as a severe lack of passenger
information. In recent years ZS have acquired some Stadler FLIRT EMUs and some Russian built DMUs
which they are managing to keep in good condition and free of graffiti but the rest of their passenger
stock is generally quite shabby.
Thursday 21 June, Sofia to Niš
After an uneventful couple of days in Bulgaria, first flying to Burgas, then travelling to Sofia via
the Tulovo and Karlovo route, they next made their way to Niš using the "Balkan" Sofia to Beograd
service. This is the only service via the Dimitrovgrad cross-border route and runs during the
summer only, between 15 June and 17 September. Departing from Sofia at 09:40, the train was
formed of just two coaches, a SV (Serbian) first-open which was in typically poor condition, plus a BDZ
(Bulgarian) second-open which was a little better. SV, should you be wondering, is Srbija Voz, the
passenger company part of ŽS. The windows were much cleaner in the BDZ coach so they made
themselves comfortable there. Departure was on-time, with loco 44105 in charge. At Dimitrovgrad the
BDZ electric was replaced by one of SV's former Presidential GM diesel locos 666-003, which are
regular performers on this line.

Niš station with the 09:40 Sofia to Beograd service shortly after arrival.
The leading coach belongs to SV and the graffiti is clearly visible.

Stadler FLIRT EMU at Niš station. SV have 21 of these units and it seems that they are
being kept in good condition

Russian built DMU at Niš station. SV have 39 of these units and again they are managing
to keep them clear of graffiti

The Serbian customs and immigration checks were carried out here and our members carefully
checked that they had received Serbian entry stamps in their passports since they knew this would be
important later in the week when travelling to/from Kosovo. Arrival at Niš was just a minute late at
13:38, but the sparseness of services on secondary lines in the country meant that they couldn't
really take advantage of the rest of the day and so they just planned for a leisurely afternoon in what is
the third largest city in the country and one of the oldest in the Balkans. They stayed at the station for
a while, taking photos and hoping to see the return Beograd to Sofia service due to arrive at 13:37.
However there is of course no train departure information system of any kind here so it was not
possible to see how late it might be. After the best part of an hour with no show they decided to get a
taxi to their hotel. After checking in they went for a walk around the central area of the city, starting
off by crossing the river to the 18th century Fortress and then walking through the centre with an eye
on places to eat later on. From their brief tour they found the city to be quite lively and prosperous.
Friday 22 June, Merdare, and near disaster.
The line from Niš through Kuršumlija to Merdare (table 85) is what remains of a through line to
Priština. After closing as a through route, the section beyond Kuršumlija has at various times been
closed or truncated at Kosanička Raca, however trains were currently advertised as running through to
Merdare, the last station before the Kosovo border, so they wanted to make the most of this. An early
start was therefore made with a taxi from the hotel to the station at 07:00 to join the 07:35 service,
formed of one of the new Russian built DMUs 711012/11. The service was moderately well used as far
as the reversal at Kuršumlija, from where just five passengers remained in addition to themselves. By
the time they left Kosanička Raca they were the only passengers left on the train. Some light rain
started to fall which caused some wheel spin as the train struggled to climb up the valley but the
station at Merdare was finally reached just over half an hour late at 12:01.

Merdare station with the unit that has arrived on the 07:35 from Niš. Note the extent of vegetation.
There is actually a loop line to the left of the running track.

The station at Merdare is high on the hillside above the road and the old building here appeared to
have been partly taken over as a private dwelling. There appeared to be no platform and they alighted
on to the track. The word 'appeared' is used since the entire area was thoroughly overgrown and it
was not possible to see anything very much at ground level. The only walking route to/from the
station appeared to be by walking several hundred metres further up the track to where a dirt road
crosses and they started to work their way along this route. The timetable showed the train as waiting
here until 14:25 but our members became very concerned when they looked back and saw the empty
train starting to move off back the way it had come. Was this just so the crew could take a break at a
station with some nearby facilities, more importantly would it return to pick them up?

Merdare hamlet as seen from the station. The road below is the nearest one to the station and is about 1km away
on foot.

They made their way through the wet grass and down the track to the road below, a distance of
around 1km. Google maps showed some form of restaurant down there but this was in fact a myth,
and they subsequently found that it is actually on the Kosovo side of the border which was only a
couple of km away. As for Merdare, it consists of just a handful of dwellings, which surely could not by
themselves justify retention of a passenger service. Where the dirt track from the station meets the
main road there was a bus-stop sign, plus a small kiosk selling beers and some ice creams which
provided them with some much needed refreshment. In fear of the train not returning they
immediately started looking for a timetable (thanks heavens for smartphones!) and to their immense
relief found that there was indeed a bus from Merdare back to Kuršumlija at 15:50 with onward

connections for Nis, so thankfully they would not be stranded. The girl running the kiosk confirmed
that this was the correct place for the bus, so they resolved to hike back to the station to see if the
train did reappear for the advertised 14:25 departure, but then go back for the bus as a last resort.
Whilst at Merdare they could hear rumbles of thunder to the west, but as the time for them to go back
up the hill approached the heavens opened and the storm came right over them with the most
torrential of downpours and with one lightning strike exploding just a few hundred metres behind
them. The travelling Gods were definitely against our members! The storm did pass over in time for
them to get back to the station but this was a very soggy walk through the wet grass.

Merdare station as seen from the road.

On the way they passed two locals who were obviously curious about their presence, so they asked
about a train (Vos in Serbian) to Niš, however both firmly said no and pointed back in the direction of
the bus stop. Since they had the time they continued up to the station anyway and waited, and waited,
but by 15:00 there was still no sign of the train and finally they gave up and hiked back to the bus
stop. By the time they got there the bus had already arrived since this was the terminus of its route.
The destination board at the front showed that it should run all the way through to Nis so this was a
welcome break in their favour. The driver was taking some refreshment at the kiosk and reappeared at
15:45, confirming that it would go to Niš but that they would have to buy separate tickets to
Kuršumlija and from there to Niš since it was scheduled as two separate services. Merdare was finally
left at 15:50, some 85 minutes after the advertised departure time for the train, but arrival back in the
centre of Niš was at 18:10, around 20 minutes ahead of the train.

So, 2hr 20min on the bus compared to 4hr 5 min on the train. Who on earth would chose to use the
train (other than a gricer of course!)? After first going back to the hotel they then went out to a
restaurant where they could reflect on the events of the day. There is nothing at Merdare to justify
running a train, so they concluded that the train crew probably thought they were planning to walk
across the border into Kosovo since this was so close. They doubt that they normally see any custom
between Kosanička Raca and Merdare and they probably have a local 'arrangement' whereby they
simply run the train up there only if required, despite what the timetable says. The fact that the two
locals they met were quite clear that there wasn't a train service seems to support this
conjecture. They were very lucky to escape relatively easily, thanks to the bus and smartphones. The
lesson was clear – they should have checked with the on-board train crew that they were intending to
wait for the booked departure time.

[297] Turkey (European) – Istanbul Sirkeci station to reopen
Tenders for the refurbishment of the railway between Istanbul Sirkeci and Kazlıçeşme were submitted
in June with the works to start as soon as possible. There will be a short single track section serving as
connection to the Marmaray system at Kazlıçeşme with a third platform to be constructed south of the
existing Marmaray platform. The Marmaray line dives into the tunnel, but the line to Sirkeci stays at
ground level, flies over the Marmaray tunnel and double then runs on the old Baghdad railway
alignment all the way to Sirkeci. The five intermediate stops will be refurbished as well with three of
them also being relocated by a few hundred metres. All track and catenary is be renewed and the line
speed will be 100kph. All this package, the specified headway of 5 minutes and complete bidirectional
capability of the signalling system is obviously with a view to a future passenger service.
In Sirkeci, the locomotive depot remains in place and will be upgraded. The port connection will be
rebuilt and integrated into the signalling system, whilst maintaining the same track layout. Very
interesting indeed. However, all but two stabling tracks between the Kennedy Boulevard (Bosphorus)
and the original platforms will be removed. A correspondent sampled the line on a road rail truck
some months ago, and found it to be in a really sorry condition. At present, the only use is for moving
banliö EMUs from time to time to slow down the rate at which they are rusting away.

REST OF THE WORLD

[298] Brazil – Ferrogrão project to go to tender in 2018
Brazil’s federal government plans to start the tender process for the 1142km Ferrogrão rail project in
the first quarter of 2018, leading to an auction for a 65 year concession in the second quarter.
Ferrogrão is one the federal government’s Investment Partnership Programme (PPI) projects. The line
will run from Sinop in Mato Grosso state and Itaituba in Pará state to the port of Miritituba on the
right bank of the Tapajós river. The railway will create a new export corridor linking the Midwest grain-
producing region with the port, and two of the main cargoes will be soya and corn.

[299] Cambodia/Thailand - Cambodia restores rail link to Thailand after 45 years
A 48-kilometre portion of the railway near the border town of Poipet was destroyed by war in 1973
but on 4 July 2018 Cambodian Railways reopened the final stretch of the railway running from the
capital Phnom Penh to the border with neighbouring Thailand, the first time the line has been
operational in 45 years. An agreement for trains to cross the border has yet to be made.


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