IN an effort to address conflicting proposals put forward by coal mining companies for new railways to serve the coalfields of the Galilee and Bowen Basins, the state government of Queensland has announced its preferred options for two new lines in the region.
A proposed east-west corridor would extend the QR National (QRN) narrow-gauge network from Moranbah to the central Galilee Basin, providing links to the ports of Abbot Point, Dalrymple Bay and Dudgeon Point.
The government also says it will allocate a corridor for a line that will serve several large mines proposed in the southern Galilee area. This will straddle the alignment being proposed by GVK-Hancock Coal for a new 500km standard-gauge line north to Abbot Point. These are the only two corridors where the government is likely to use its powers to compulsorily acquire land for new rail projects.
The state government says that there will be the option for other mining proponents to co-locate their own lines within the north-south corridor should they consider that to be more commercially viable. BHP Billiton has already indicated a preference for its own infrastructure.
BULGARIA's Privatisation and Post-Privatisation Control Agency launched a tender today for the privatisation of Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) railfreight unit BDZ Tovarni Prevozi. Strategic and financial investors must submit binding bids 135 days after the tender is published in the State Gazette.
GERMAN Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel, Russian Railways (RZD) president Mr Vladimir Yakunin and German Rail CEO Dr Rüdiger Grube officially launched a new regular train ferry service between the German Baltic port of Sassnitz and Ust Luga, Russia, on June 8.
The 1222km voyage takes around 38 hours. The vessel used for the service, the Petersburg, is owned by Black Sea Ferries & Investments, in which RZD has 51% stake. At 190m in length and 28m-wide, the Petersburg is said to be the largest double-deck train ferry in the world.
In addition to the 49 wagons on the first trip, the Petersburg carried a Lastochka emu for RZD, 38 which are being built at Siemens' Krefeld plant in northwest Germany. At 3.5m wide the vehicles are too large to be moved on the German railway network, so they are being shipped along the Rhine by barge to Amsterdam, where they are transhipped to a coast vessel for the journey to Sassnitz. The trains are being commissioned at Metallostroy depot in St Petersburg, 110km from Ust Luga.
Sassnitz is the only port in Germany capable of handling 1520mm-gauge wagons, and has a 30km broad-gauge network.
LATIN American Logistics (ALL) officially opened its new 120km line from Alto Araguaia to Itiquira, in Brazil's Mato Grosso state on June 2. The railway will carry large volumes of grain, and agribusiness Seara inaugurated its new grain terminal at Itiquira on the same day.