The tarnished legacy of 2012

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Property’s fortunes foretold: 2011 predictions

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Hammerson reveals Croydon redevelopment plans

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FSA warns more pain to come

first_imgIn its annual Financial Risk Outlook, the Financial Services Authority listed a range of hazards thrown up by the credit crunch, including the strain on banks’ business models and the risk that a ‘significant minority’ of consumers would face problems as a result of their over-indebtedness.It also said there was a danger that consumers could lose faith in the financial system and its regulators as a result of the market turmoil and its effects.Although the regulator emphasised that its report was not a prediction, only an attempt to raise awareness of the biggest problems, it made for gloomy reading.Thomas Huertas, director of banking supervision at the FSA, echoed its conclusions in a speech to a separate banking conference. ‘As bad as things are, they could get worse,’ he warned.Although the interbank rate – the rate at which banks lend to each other – had fallen significantly from its peaks, implying improving sentiment, Huertas said it was too early to be confident.last_img read more

California revises high speed plans again

first_imgUSA: The California High Speed Rail Authority released a third substantially-revised business plan on April 2, covering construction of an initial 480 route-km of dedicated high speed tracks between Merced and the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles.CHSRA’s original vision of a 1 100 km network running from Sacramento in the north of the state to Anaheim in the south has now been scaled back to save $30bn from the previous projected capital cost of $98·5bn. Much of this saving comes from a decision to shelve plans to build dedicated tracks for high speed services to reach central Los Angeles and San Francisco. Instead, the existing Metrolink and Amtrak corridor between the San Fernando Valley and Anaheim and the Caltrain route from San Jose to San Francisco will be electrified and substantially upgraded at a cost of $2bn to allow shared running between high speed and commuter rail trains. Last month a memorandum of understanding for electrification and the installation of PTC on the Caltrain route was agreed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, five Bay Area transport agencies, two municipalities and CHSRA. The business plan calls for Caltrain electrification to be completed by 2020.Within a budget of $68·4bn, CAHSRA hopes to start construction on an ‘initial operating segment’ in the Central Valley by early next year with a view to launching commercial services by 2023. Through services giving a ‘one seat ride’ over the 832 km from Anaheim via Los Angeles to San Francisco would start in 2029. CAHSRA confirmed that $6bn in funding is already in place to start construction, whilst ‘cap and trade funds’ would be used to eliminate the need for state or federal support to complete the initial section of route.last_img read more

World rail freight news round-up

first_imgEuropean Gateway Services and TX Logistik are to increase Rotterdam-Bayern Express services from five to six departures per week in both directions from February 7. Cargo which has arrived at Rotterdam on a deep sea vessel is available in München the day after the train departs, and can be with customers anywhere in southern Germany and northwest Austria on the third day. The operators say this saves two days compared to import routes via northern German ports, and means German exports can be dispatched to a port closer to the sailing time of the ship.The British Army and its transport contractor Leidos sent a tank through the Channel Tunnel for the first time on the night of January 17-18, as part of an exercise to test the use of rail for the rapid deployment of equipment which is awkward to transport. The Challenger 2 tank, two Warrior combat vehicles, a Scimitar reconnaissance vehicle, a CRARRV armoured repair & recovery vehicle and two 20 ft containers arrived at Cheriton by road and were loaded onto flat wagons for the trip through the tunnel, returning to the UK 4 h later.OmniTRAX’s Decatur Central Railroad has begun operation, on what was formerly the northern portion of the Decatur Junction Railway Co. Its 25 km route runs southwest from Cisco to Decatur, Illinois, where it interchanges with Canadian National.Technische Universität Darmstadt, the Port of Rotterdam and Contargo are undertaking the HiRo project to assess the decision-making processes used by freight forwarders looking to send intermodal traffic between southwest Germany and ports between Hamburg and Le Havre.On January 25 RZD International and RZD Logistics announced the signing of a memorandum for co-operation in foreign rail markets. They plan to establish a joint venture in Greece, as a basis for entering the freight market there and in neighbouring countries. RZD Logistics is also planning to offer container logistic services between Greek ports and EU countries in co-operation with shipping lines.On January 18 Ukrainian Railways called tenders for 3 000 open wagons, with the estimated 3bn hryvna cost to be covered by a government credit. In an effort to increase competition, procurement has been split into four lots of 250 wagons each and four lots of 500 wagons. An EBRD loan has been secured for the purchase of a further 2 890 wagons, and UZ plans to produce 3 000 open wagons at three of its own plants.KTZ Express has sent a pilot batch of Kazakh grain to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam via the Chinese Port of Lianyungang. The grain was sent in containers to simplify handling at the break-of-gauge at Dostyk station and in the ports.RM Rail has delivered 350 Type 15-1288-02 ammonia tank wagons to Russian chemical company KuibyshevAzot. The use of high-strength steel has made it possible to reduce the thickness of the tank walls, contributing to a 17% increase in capacity to 87 m3 compared to older designs. ‘The increased volume and a number of structural improvements significantly increase operational efficiency’, said RM Rail Marketing Director Alexander Kulikov.On January 25 Pakistan State Oil signed an agreement for Pakistan Railways to transport fuel to the Jamshoro power plant, and to receive demurrage payments for wagons which are being used to store oil. Around 38% of PSO’s oil traffic is now handled by PR, up from 4% in three years.last_img read more

Almaty – Toshkent wide-bodied Talgo service launched

first_imgASIA: The national railways of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have launched a passenger service between Almaty and Toshkent using wide-bodied coaches developed by Talgo. The first train arrived in the Uzbek capital on March 22.Regular services will initially run twice per week in each direction, departing from Almaty on Saturdays and Mondays and from Toshkent on Sundays and Tuesdays, with a journey time of 16 h for the 964 km route calling at Otar, Shu, Taraz, Shymkent and Saryagash. There will be ‘simplified’ border controls, which KTZ said ‘in general takes about 1½ h’.The trains have a capacity of more than 400 passengers. Grand class cars have suites for two people with a toilet and shower. Business class cars have two-bed compartments with washbasins, and Tourist class compartments have four berths.The first coaches built to the wide body design began entering service with Kazakhstan’s KTZ in December. They have been certified for operation at speeds up to 200 km/h and temperatures between -50ºC and 45ºC in the Eurasian Economic Union member states of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. The 3 200 mm wide vehicles are an evolution of the 2 950 mm wide design which the Astana-based Tulpar-Talgo joint venture has been manufacturing for a number of years. The latest generation is designed to offer more interior space by making more effective use of the large loading gauge available in the 1 520 mm gauge region. The Talgo cars also offer better accessibility than traditional coach designs, with the floor being level with the platform so that there are no steps up into the train.last_img read more

Search for abducted Ethiopian children still underway

first_imgThe search for dozens of Ethiopian children kidnapped near the country’s border with South Sudan is still on.South Sudanese gunmen seized more than 100 children in mid-April, during a deadly raid. 56 of them have been rescued so far.The children were last located in Boma, a town in Jonglei state in the country’s east.The government says its army is negotiating with the kidnappers, and has offered amnesty if they free the remaining children.South Sudan’s Deputy Minister of defence is leading negotiations. David Yau Yau comes from the area where the children are being held. He is also a former commander of forces based in that region.The government says, it’s hopeful all the children will be rescued and handed over to Ethiopian authorities.last_img read more

Libya renews anti-migration deal with Italy

first_imgLibya’s Foreign Minister hails peace deal FILE PHOTO: Migrants are rescued in the Mediterranean as they attempted to make the precarious sea crossing to Europe in August 2019./ Getty ImagesA deal to stop the arrival of migrants into Italy from Libya was automatically renewed on Saturday, as the European nation continues with its efforts to tackle the illegal migration menace.The MoU between the two countries was signed in 2017, setting out a framework for the two countries to work together in “development cooperation, countering illegal migration, human trafficking and smuggling and reinforcing security at the Libya-Italy border”.Under the deal, Italy provides training and resources to Libyan coastguard, and also finances migrant centres.Migrants who are intercepted while trying to make the journeys to Europe are held in detention centres in the North African country.Libya is the preferred departure point for migrants seeking to reach Europe illegally, though the numbers have dropped significantly since the 2017 deal.The illegal migration has been fueled by human trafficking cells which have taken advantage of the political situation in the North African country.Libya descended into chaos in 2011 after the ouster and killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in an operation backed by NATO.Related Italy accepts 147 migrants from Libyacenter_img Italy defence minister blames France for Libya conflictlast_img read more

Emergency Services Launch Appeal To The Public To Help Prevent Grass Fires

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInScottish Fire And Rescue and Police Scotland are appealing to the public to take extra care during this period of hot weather to avoid any accidental grass fires.During hot and dry weather the risk of grass fires increases, but by being alert to the risk you can help prevent accidental fires.A Fire at Kelloholm this weekend was thought to have been started by discarded cigarette.When in the countryside• Making sure any barbecue or disposable barbecue is only used in a suitable location and is extinguished properly after use• Extinguishing cigarettes completely and not throwing cigarette ends on the ground• Not leaving bottles or glass in woodland – sunlight shining through glass can start firesLSO Middlemiss said: “As the warm and dry weather continues, so too does the risk of wildfire.“We have seen in the last week just how challenging these fires can become – many rural and remote communities are hugely impacted by these incidents, which can cause significant environmental and economic damage.“Livestock, farmland, wildlife, protected woodland and sites of special scientific interest can all be devastated by these fires – as can the lives of people living and working in rural communities.“We are appealing to people to take great care – it is crucial that people act safely and responsibly in rural environments and follow the countryside code.“Just one heat source like a campfire ember can cause it to ignite and if the wind changes direction even the smallest fire can spread uncontrollably and devastate entire hillsides.”SFRS Area Manager Bruce Farquharson is the chair of the Scottish Wildfire Forum.He said: “At the start of spring there is often a lot of dead vegetation leftover from last year – this fuel can dry out quickly with higher temperatures and lower humidity levels.“A great many people will be enjoying the outdoors in the good weather this weekend, we urge everyone to make sure that they don’t increase the chance of wildfire – be aware of the risks and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.“Wildfires are a major threat to our wildlife and wild places. We encourage people visiting the outdoors to be extra careful, and check the advice in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code before starting a fire.“The public can help prevent wildfires by making sure they dispose of litter and smoking materials carefully while in rural areas.”AM Farquharson added: “Human behaviour can significantly lower the chance of a wildfire starting so it is crucial that people act safely and responsibly in rural environments and follow the countryside code.”The SFRS works closely with land managers, communities and other safety partners to prevent these incidents occurring.For further advice and information about wildfires and how to prevent them visit: /your-safety/wildfires.aspx or read more