BRITAIN's transport secretary Mr Patrick McLoughlin has laid down the first tentative steps to restart the letting of passenger franchises following the publication of Richard Brown's recommendations to improve the process.
MEXICAN transport minister Mr Geraldo Ruiz signed a cooperation agreement on January 28 with the governor of the state of Querétaro, Mr Jose Calzada, to advance plans for a new passenger railway between Mexico City and Querétaro.
LATVIAN Railways (LDZ) has selected a consortium of Bombardier and Belam Riga to deliver Bombardier's Interflo 200 mainline signalling system on a section of the Bolderaja - Zasulauks line which connects the capital Riga with the Bolderaja and Riga harbour area. The contract is worth Lats 9.5m ($US 17.9m), including a Lats 3.7m share for Bombardier.
TURKMENISTAN's president Mr Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov signed a number of documents on January 17 that will enable its domestic railway to complete construction of a new north-south railway from Gyzlgaya to Bereket and Ertek following the failure by Iranian contractor Pars Energy to complete work on the Bereket - Etrek section on time.
A tripartite memorandum of understanding was signed in Yerevan on January 24 concerning the construction of the Southern Armenia Railway, which will form part of a new north-south corridor linking the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf.
GERMANY's first open-access long-distance operator Hamburg-Köln-Express (HKX) is celebrating its first six months of operation with a week of discounted tickets and the "fastest music festival in Germany", with musicians travelling on the train and performing 120-second sets during stops at stations.
RUSSIA's Gorkovskay Railway announced on January 11 that it will invest an additional Roubles 1.4bn ($US 46.1m) in 2013 to complete improvements to railway infrastructure in the Russian Republic of Tatarstan ahead of the World Student Games that is being held in the region in July.