Málaga: March 27 saw the opening of a 1.7km extension of the Málaga Metro light rail network, running in tunnel from El Perchel to a new terminus at Atarazanas closer to the historic city centre. There is one intermediate station at Guadalmedina. Line 1 now runs from Andalucía Tech along the single-track extension to Atarazanas, and Line 2 from Palacio de los Deportes to Guadalmedina. Lines 1 and 2 were previously operated as a single continuous route, with LRVs reversing from one line to the other at El Perchel, the interchange with Renfe suburban, mainline and high-speed services departing from the adjacent Málaga María Zambrano station. Ridership on the line has increased from 28,000 passengers a day to 41,000 following the opening.

Fukuoka: On March 27 a 1.6km extension of the Fukuoka City Subway Line 3, also known as Nanakuma Line, was opened from Tenjin-minami via Canal City to Hakata, with an intermediate station at Kushida Shrine. Construction of the extension was originally scheduled to be completed by 2020 but delays caused by a sinkhole opening up in front of JR Hakata station, and exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, pushed the schedule back by three years. Unlike the Fukuoka City Subway’s other two lines, Line 1 (Kuko) and Line 2 (Hakozaki), Line 3 is built to 1435mm rather than 1067mm-gauge and is entirely underground.

A Namma Metro Purple Line train at a Bangalore station. Photo credit: Sam2905/Wikipedia Commons

Bangalore: On March 26 the Namma Metro Purple Line was extended by 12.9km from Krishnarajapura to Whitefield, otherwise called Kadugodi. This brings the new total length of the mostly elevated Purple Line to 39.4km with 35 stations, with 29 of them elevated, five of them underground and one at grade. There is an interchange between the Purple and Green lines at Majestic Station.

Dhaka: Two more stations have been opened on Dhaka Metro’s MRT Line 6, marking completion of the second phase of the Bangladesh capital’s first metro line. Phase 1 of the entirely elevated line was inaugurated by prime minister, Ms Sheikh Hasina, on December 28, 2022, and the opening of Phase 2’s Shewrapara and Uttara South stations brings the total number of stations to nine. A third phase of the project, due for completion in 2025, will see Line 6 extended by an additional 1.16km to Kamalapur railway station, bringing its total length to 21km and providing interchange with mainline railway services and the future MRT lines 1, 2 and 4. Construction of Line 1 began in February and is due for completion in 2026, while completion of lines 2 and 4 is expected in 2030.

Madurai: On March 26 Aarvee Associates was declared the lowest bidder in the tendering process for preparation of a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the Madurai Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) in Tamil Nadu. The state government approved the creation of a DPR in January of this year after a Detailed Feasibility Report (DFT) had been prepared by Balaji Railroad Systems (Barsyl) and submitted to Chennai Metro Rail (CMRL) in November 2022. The report recommended the construction of a 31km light rail line between Thirumangalam and Othakadai with 20 stations and a train maintenance depot on an 18.2ha site at Thirumangalam. In February CMRL invited bids for the DPR contract with a Rs 30m ($US 366,165) estimate and 75-day completion deadline. There were four bidders and Aarvee Associates was the lowest at $US 165,937.

Portland: The city’s two light rail networks, the 11.2km Portland Streetcar serving the city centre with low-floor LRVs, and the five-line, 96.1km Portland Metropolitan Area Express (Max) network serving the suburbs, have both taken delivery of new LRVs. Portland Streetcar is receiving three Brookville Liberty NXT LRVs to boost its fleet of 17 Skoda/Inekon/United Streetcar Trio 10T 20.1m-long, 70% low-floor vehicles. The first of the new vehicles was delivered on March 29. Patronage of the Portland Streetcar system is expected to reach 20,000 passengers a day by 2025. Meanwhile Max is replacing its original 1983 Bombardier high-floor LRVs with 30 Siemens S700 29m-long high-floor LRVs, with a contract option for up to 56 more. The first of the new vehicles was delivered in December 2022 and all should be in service by the end of 2024. 

Melbourne: Test trains will soon be running in Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel after the completion of tracklaying in March, the culmination of nine months of work along the twin 9km tunnels. Tracklaying started in mid-2022 and preparations are now underway to run the first test trains through the tunnel with the first passenger trains expected to operate in 2025 – a year ahead of schedule. Once complete, the metro tunnel project will create capacity for more than half a million extra passengers each week during peak times.

A New York City Subway train. Photo credit: MTA

New York: With a $US 54.8bn capital works programme, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is embarking on a State of Good Repair Initiative involving investment in New York’s metro lines, railways, bridges and tunnels over a five-year period. MTA has awarded a VHB-Arcadis joint venture (JV) a multi-million-dollar Programme Management and Design (PM&D) Services contract to support this infrastructure work. The PM&D contract comprises 51 projects in four programmed disciplines to be completed within a 16-month schedule. The VHB-Arcadis JV will undertake overall programme management, preliminary design services for design-build procurement, and final design services for design-bid-build tendering for MTA Construction and Development’s Infrastructure Business Unit for its structures, rail facilities and lineside power installations.

The first Alstom's Metropolis train for Barcelona City Transport (TMB) on its first day in service. Photo credit: Alstom

Barcelona: The first of 50 five-car Alstom Metropolis trains for metro operator Barcelona City Transport (TMB) have entered service on Line 3. Following commissioning of the first train, the new fleet will gradually begin replacing older trains on lines 1 and 3 over the coming months. The new trains are being manufactured at Alstom’s plant at Santa Perpètua de Mogoda, Barcelona, following the award of a €320m contract in October 2019.

Paris: RATP has signed a contract with Flowbird for the supply of ticket vending machines (TVMs) that will be introduced in the run-up to the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which are expected to attract millions of extra visitors to the French capital. RATP will deploy 100 new TVMs incorporating LED colour touch screens and faster processing systems at metro stations and light rail stops. The TVMs will accept payments using coins, banknotes and credit and debit cards using both PIN and contactless methods to carry out transactions. They will also issue and recharge Navigo contactless smartcards and issue magnetic stripe tickets, and feature enhanced audio systems to improve accessibility. Flowbird also has a contract to maintain the TVM hardware and software.

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