Brazil: Freight operator VLI has reported net revenue of Reais 7.65bn ($US 1.55bn) for 2022, the highest revenue in the company’s history and up by 18% on 2021. Recurring Ebitda was up 13.4% at Reais 3.36bn in 2022, the first time that VLI had recorded more than Reais 3bn in 12 consecutive months. In 2022 VLI carried 60 million tonnes of freight and invested Reais 1.9bn in projects that included increasing capacity, extending the useful life of operating assets and improving their efficiency.

Norway: Nordic Infrastructure Group and Lerøy Vedlikehold have established Railproduction Bane, specialising in the construction and maintenance of railway and light rail infrastructure, including minor civil engineering, track work and track safety. Nordic subsidiary Rail Production owns 70% of the new company and Lerøy Vedlikehold the remaining 30%. Lerøy Vedlikehold will transfer 10 employees to Railproduction Bane, as well as relevant contracts including that with Infranord where Lerøy Vedlikehold will lease the necessary machines and equipment to the new company until this autumn.

Germany: Public transport authorities ZVML of Central Saxony and ZVNL of Leipzig have awarded Transdev Regio Ost a contract to operate regional services on route RE 6 from Chemnitz to Leipzig. Operations will start in June 2024 under the contract running until December 2031, which has a two-year extension option. Services will be operated with a fleet of 15 Alstom Coradia Continental battery EMUs, which will be ordered by regional special purpose company ZVNL Schienenfahrzeuge and leased in turn to Transdev, operating under the Mitteldeutsche Regiobahn brand.

Serbia: The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a second grant agreement to provide €174.6m for the upgrade of the Paraćin - Trupale - Međurovo subsection of the 230km Belgrade - Niš line, where the maximum speed is to be increased to 200km/h. The first grant agreement to provide €82.8m was signed in February. The total funding package of €2.2bn to upgrade the Belgrade - Niš section of TEN-T Corridor X includes a loan of €1.1bn from the EIB, €600m in European Union (EU) grant funding and a €550m loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Europe: RB Rail has announced that five bidders have applied to participate in the first stage of the tendering process for the Rail Baltica Control-Command and Signalling (CCS) subsystem design and build contract. They are: GTS Deutschland; Hitachi Rail; Indra Sistemas and AŽD Praha: the SKGN Baltics joint venture of Siemens Mobility, GRK Suomi, NRC Group Finland and Kontron Transportation; and a joint venture of Alstom, Cobra and KZA Krakow. Under a two-stage procurement process, the CCS contract is expected to be signed in mid-2024.

Germany: Frequentis of Austria has acquired Frafos, a provider of IT security solutions and software for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communications including products approved for use in mission-critical installations in the public sector. “With Frafos we have found an expert in VoIP firewalls to support us in our solutions for safety-critical domains, allowing advanced prevention of denial-of-service attacks and fraud attempts on the border of communication networks,” says Frequentis CEO, Mr Norbert Haslacher.

Poland: CPK has acquired a 38% controlling stake in Torpol, a multi-disciplinary construction contractor whose rail sector experience includes building Łódź Fabryczna station. The transaction is expected to facilitate the construction of the high-speed lines forming part of the CPK project to build a new airport outside Warsaw, but CPK stresses that Torpol will bid for construction contracts under the same terms and conditions as other companies and in accordance with public procurement law. According to CPK CEO, Mr Mikołaj Wild, the major benefit of the transaction “is the reduction in contractor shortage risk during the implementation of the ambitious CPK railway investment programme.”

Britain: Network Rail has awarded the Power Conversion division of GE Vernova a contract to upgrade the thyristor phase balancer control and cooling plant system for 25kV ac electrification at the Rail Innovation and Development Centre (RIDC) at Melton Mowbray. GE will be responsible for designing, manufacturing, delivering, installing and commissioning the control and cooling system, as well as installing GE Visor remote diagnostics.