Railway News – Late April 2022

Research and innovation in digitalisation in the railway equipment supply, product and services sector is on the rise.  The most recent figures show that the number of digitalisation related patent applications in the industry stood at 35 in the three months ending February – up from 32 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to digitalisation followed a different pattern to filings – shrinking from 22 in the three months ending February 2021 to 16 in the same period in 2022.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.



Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has appointed construction firm VolkerFitzpatrick to build three railway stations on the Camp Hill line in south Birmingham.

It is part of the £61 million scheme to reintroduce passenger train services to Moseley, Kings Heath and Hazelwell for the first time in 80 years.

Design work is due to start later this Spring on the project which will offer the residents of south Birmingham an environmentally friendly alternative to using the car and experiencing traffic jams on the Alcester Road during their city centre commute.



Alstom has signed a framework contract with Department of Transport Victoria, Australia, for the provision of 100 Flexity low-floor Next Generation Trams (NGTs) for the largest urban tram network in the world.


Valued at approximately €700 million, the contract includes supply of rolling stock and 15-year maintenance making this the biggest tram contract in Australia and in the Southern hemisphere.


Delivery of the Flexity 2 light rail vehicles is scheduled to begin in 2025. Introduction of the low-floor NGT fleet will enable gradual retirement of further high-floor trams from the Melbourne network, ensuring compliance with disability standards for accessible transport (DSAPT) requirements and provide a modern, inclusive, safe and reliable transport network for all passengers. The new fleet will further support the increase in network capacity requirements to meet the projected population growth.




Brittany Ferries has given the go-ahead to a new rail-freight link between Cherbourg and Bayonne.

The ferry company first announced the rail project back in February 2020, shortly before the COVID-19 health crisis hit and forced a reduction in ferry services for nearly two years.  But while the project—which Brittany Ferries deems strategic—was delayed, Brittany Ferries says it was never cancelled.

During the pause, Brittany Ferries worked with French rail network operator SNCF Réseau and the Ministry for Ecological Transition to determine the routing for the new service, which will provide daily return journeys between Cherbourg and Mouguerre. Following a study into the modification of four railway tunnels on the Atlantic corridor route to allow the lowest available wagons to pass through, a framework agreement was signed, allowing the project to enter its concrete development phase.

With support from the State, Europe, and the regions of Normandie and Nouvelle Aquitaine, Brittany Ferries will open the ‘rail motorway’ linking the port of Cherbourg to the European Freight Centre at Mouguerre, near Bayonne, thereby connecting Spain to the UK and Ireland via the French railway network.  The launch of the new service, initially planned for 2022, is now expected by mid-2024.



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