2006 in rail transport

2006 in rail transport


January events

* flagicon|India January 5 - Railway workers across India begin voting on whether or not to hold a strike against Indian Railways in February. The union's demands center around pay scales, pensions, and private investment into the railway. A Northern Railway Mazdoor Union spokesperson stated that the decision to hold the strike vote was made at the recent All India Railwaymen’s Union convention in Mumbai; Western Railway Mazdoor Sangh union members protested at the convention by burning an effigy of Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram. Voting is scheduled to conclude on January 8, and the vote count, which is expected to begin on January 9, will be monitored by external observers. [Hindustan Times (January 5 2006), " [http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/5922_1590988,0015002500030002.htm Railway employees vote on proposed strike issue] ". Retrieved January 6 2006.] [Chennai Online (January 5 2006), " [http://www.chennaionline.com/colnews/newsitem.asp?NEWSID=%7B6B774BF7-0FD0-437E-9E4E-4B87FDC3B9A4%7D&CATEGORYNAME=National Railway staff to go on strike in Feb] ". Retrieved January 6 2006.]
* January 6 - China's Minister of Railways Liu Zhijun announces details of a 160 billion yuan ($20 billion) plan for railway construction there in the coming year. The ministry expects to begin construction on as many as 87 new railway projects in 2006, including thirteen new express passenger train routes and opening new electrified lines. The plan also includes the acceleration of eleven express passenger route projects already under construction. [Xinhua (January 6 2006), [http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-01/06/content_4018095.htm Govt to invest more on railway construction] . Retrieved January 6 2006.]

February events

* February 7 - Workers in Turkmenistan begin the final phase of construction on the Trans Karakum railway that will connect Ashgabat to Dashoguz, crossing the Karakum Desert. The new railway connection is expected to cut travel times between the two cities in half, bypassing the current circuitous route from Ashgabat through Mary and Lebap provinces and along the border with Uzbekistan. Once construction is completed, the official opening ceremony is expected to be held at the new Ichoguz station on the border between Ahal and Dashhowuz provinces. [Turkmenistan.ru (February 7 2006), " [http://turkmenistan.ru/index.php?page_id=3&lang_id=en&elem_id=7712&type=event&sort=date_desc Construction of Trans-Karakum railway nears completion in Turkmenistan] ". Retrieved February 8 2006.]
* flagicon|Australia February 13 - Genesee and Wyoming (G&W) announces that it has sold its 50% share in operations (the other 50% was owned by Wesfarmers) of the Australian Rairoad Group (ARG) in western Australia to Queensland Rail (QR) and Babcock & Brown Ltd. (B&B). The deal, valued at $974 million (A$1.55 billion), splits the holdings between operations and infrastructure elements with QR purchasing the above-rail operations and B&B purchasing the below-rail infrastructure. In a concurrent deal, G&W is purchasing Westfarmer's share of ARG in South Australia for $15 million (A$22 million), which will be renamed Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltd and operated as a subsidiary company of G&W. [Genesee & Wyoming, Inc. (February 13 2006), " [http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=64426&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=816539&highlight= Genesee & Wyoming Agrees to Sell Western Australia Operations and Certain Other Assets of the Australian Railroad Group for A$1.3 Billion (US$956 million)] ". Retrieved February 14 2006.]
* February 20 - Officials in Thailand affirm that they will consider World Heritage Railway status for the Thailand-Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway. Thousands of British, Dutch and Australian nationals perished in the railway's prisoner of war construction camps during World War II, and the railway's construction served as the inspiration for the 1957 film "The Bridge on the River Kwai". The campaign to gain heritage status is being led by Takashi Nagase, an English language teacher in Japan, who had served as an interpreter for the Japanese military during the war. [TMC.net (February 20 2006), " [http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2006/02/20/1388241.htm Thailand considers World Heritage status for 'Death Railway'] ". Retrieved February 20 2006.]

March events

* March - Guilford Rail System changes its name to Pan Am Railways.

* March 1 - Members of the Korea Railway Workers' Union begin a strike action against Korean National Railroad (Korail). Systemwide passenger service is reduced by 60% and freight service is also drastically reduced during the strike. Union members called the strike to protest Korail's practice of replacing regular long-term positions with short-term contract positions. "See also: South Korean railroad strike of 2006."

* March 9 - Groundbreaking ceremonies are held in Dublin, Ireland, on Spencer Station, the first new train station to be built in the city in more than 100 years. The first shovelfuls of dirt were turned by Minister for Transport Martin Cullen. The new station, which is valued at 30 million, will serve the Maynooth and Navan lines and is planned as part of an extension of the city's Luas light rail system to the north docks area. The new station, part of the Transport 21 plan announced in 2005, is expected to open in mid-2007. [IOL (March 9 2006), " [http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/story.asp?j=175402876&p=y754x358z Cullen turns sod on new Dublin city railway station] ". Retrieved March 9 2006.]

* March 24 - Officials with the Portuguese firm Mota-Engil announce that the company will begin building a trans-Andean railway line in April 2006 that will connect Argentina and Chile. Construction of the new Transandino del Sur railway will begin near the Argentine city of Zapala and will run from there for the 50 km (31 miles) to the Chilean border; Mota-Engil expects to complete this section by 2008. From the border, the contract to build the segment to the Chilean city of Lonquimay, 170 km (106 mi) further, will be up for international bidding. [cite web| title=Portugal’s Mota-Engil to build railroad between Argentina and Chile| url=http://www.macauhub.com.mo/en/news.php?ID=1044| date=March 27 2006| accessmonthday=29 March | accessyear=2006| author=MacauHub ]

April events

* April 1 - The London passenger rail services of Great Northern and Thameslink are merged under First Capital Connect in a new franchise that will continue for six years. The new franchisee plans to overhaul the trains with new liveries and on-board services as well as an £8 million program of upgrades for several major stations. [cite web| url=http://railwaypeople.com/rail-news-articles/first-capital-connect-links-london-1027.html| author=RailStaff| date=April 6 2006| title=First Capital Connect links London| accessmonthday=10 April | accessyear=2006 ]
* flagicon|China April 7 - Officials with BNSF Railway announce that the railway will become the first United States railroad to open an office in China when its office in Shanghai opens later in April. Both Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway, which both maintain track and operate in the US, already maintain offices in China, but this will be the first office for a US-headquartered railway. The office is hoped to help BNSF with logistics planning for containerized shipments between the US and Asia. [cite web| url=http://www.ble.org/pr/news/headline.asp?id=15907| title=BNSF setting up office in China| author=Yung, Katherine; Dallas Morning News (reprinted by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen)| date=April 7 2006| accessmonthday=10 April | accessyear=2006 ]
* flagicon|Hong Kong April 11 - Hong Kong's Executive Council formally approves the merger of Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) and Mass Transit Railway (MTR). Officials close to the negotiations estimate a passenger fare reduction for as many as 2.8 million riders on the first day that the merger is effective. The proposal includes a formula for future fare adjustments. The resulting company will use the MTR name and identity; it will be responsible for the daily operation of both KCR and MTR systems. Although up to 700 layoffs are predicted due to job duplication, officials estimate that the combined company could be looking to hire 1,300 more employees within a few years. [cite web| url=http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-04/11/content_4412550.htm| title=HK railway merger proposal gets green light| author=Dan, Liu, editor; Xinhua| date=April 11 2006| accessmonthday=11 April | accessyear=2006 ]
* | accessdate=2006-04-27 ]
* [http://www.africa-union.org/root/au/Conferences/Past/2006/April/SA/Apr10/Documents/AU-EXP-RT-3_I_-Rail%20Development.pdf Conference of African Railway Ministers 10-14 April 2006 discusses integration, gauge standardisation]

May events

* May 9 - The last train from Beijing south railway station departed at 23:09, and the station then stops services for preparing the rebuild. The new Beijing south will be the starting station of high-speed trains include Beijing-Tianjin high-speed rail and Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway. The rebuild work is scheduled to be completed in 2008.
* May 11 - Transport and Communications Minister of Greece, Mihalis Liapis, announces a 2 billion pledge by the government to rehabilitate the country's rail network. One of the projects included in the pledge is an expansion of passenger rail service between Athens and Thessaloniki. OSE, the national railway of Greece, is expected to submit orders for new equipment valued at over €750 million in the following week. [cite web| url=http://www.ana.gr/anaweb/user/showplain?maindoc=4222037&maindoc
| title=Gov't eyes 2.0 bln euros for railway upgrades| author=Athens News Agency| accessdate=2006-05-15| year=2006-05-15
* May 16 - In ceremonies held in Washington, D.C., the 2005 E. H. Harriman Awards for employee safety on American railroads are presented. Recipients in class A (line-haul railroad companies with more than 15 million employee hours per year) are: Gold - Norfolk Southern Railroad (for the 17th consecutive year); Silver - BNSF Railway; and Bronze - CSX Transportation. In class B (between 4 and 15 million employee hours per year), the recipients are: Gold - Canadian Pacific's U.S. subsidiary (formerly Soo Line Railroad); Silver - Kansas City Southern Railway; and Bronze - Metra. In class C (less than 4 million employee hours per year), the recipients are: Gold - Florida East Coast Railway; Silver - Pan Am Railways; Bronze - Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railroad. The final group, switching and terminal railroads, recipients are: Gold - Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis; Silver - Conrail; Bronze - Belt Railway of Chicago. [cite web| url=http://www.nscorp.com/nscorp/application;JSESSIONID_nscorp=E0D2wDZLZ8t844Gn6WZDlSVqmCEM2UEJtEicpNZ1tBcpy4wFlISk!-1862265230?origin=content.jsp&event=bea.portal.framework.internal.refresh&pageid=NS+News&contentId=english/nscorp/news/whats_new/whats_new/news051606.html| title= Railroads Set Another Employee Safety Record in 2005| author=Association of American Railroads (reprinted by Norfolk Southern Railroad)| year=2006-05-16| accessdate=2006-05-24|]
* May 26 - Berlin Hauptbahnhof is ceremonially opened by Chancellor Angela Merkel, who arrived together with transport minister Wolfgang Tiefensee in a specially chartered InterCityExpress from Leipzig. A "Symphony of Light" was performed immediately following the dedication. Reamonn and BAP performed at Hauptbahnhof, and there were also events at the other new stations: Gesundbrunnen, Potsdamer Platz and Südkreuz.

June events

* - Fastline Freight begins revenue operation.
* June 5 - Indian Railways begins construction on a new rail bridge that will become the highest railroad bridge in the world. The bridge, crossing the Chenab River at 359 metres (1,178 ft) above the river and connecting Katra and Laol in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, will also include the world's largest supporting arch. The arch will span 1,315 m (4,314 ft). Construction is expected to be completed by 2009. [cite web| url=http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=22312&n_tit=World's+Highest+Railway+Bridge+to+Come+in+Jammu+and+Kashmir| title=World's Highest Railway Bridge to Come in Jammu and Kashmir| year=2006-06-05| accessdate=2006-06-06| author=UNI (reprinted by DaijiWorld)|]
* June 6 - In a precedent-setting case brought by European Green Party legislator Alain Lipietz and his sister, SNCF, the national railway of France, is ordered to pay almost $80,000 in reparations for transporting members of their family to the Drancy deportation camp during World War II. SNCF argued at trial that they were at the time under orders of the German military; the railroad further argued that the German military threatened to shoot any railroad official who disobeyed their orders. The court disagreed with SNCF concluding that there was no way that SNCF could have avoided knowledge of the prisoners' likely deportation to concentration camps and that SNCF made no effort to either protest the transportation or to transport them in a humane manner. [cite web| url=http://www.cbc.ca/story/world/national/2006/06/07/france-pay.html| title=French railway must pay for transporting family to Nazis| author=CBC News| year=2006-06-07| accessdate=2006-06-09 ]
* June 20 - Hankyu Railway announces that it has completed its stock purchase for control of Hanshin Electric Railway in a transaction totalling about $2.2 billion. Hankyu now owns a 63.7% interest in Hanshin, which is planned to be operated as a subsidiary company beginning later in 2006. The purchase makes the combined company the third largest railway in Japan by revenue, and the second largest in the Kansai region. [cite web| url=http://today.reuters.com/investing/FinanceArticle.aspx?type=mergersNews&storyID=2006-06-20T045411Z_01_T334035_RTRIDST_0_TRANSPORT-JAPAN-HANKYU-UPDATE-2.XML| title=UPDATE 2-Hankyu takes over fellow railway operator Hanshin| publisher=Reuters| year=2006-06-20| accessdate=2006-06-20 ]
* June 26 - Shanghai south railway station opens for limited service; the first regular train out of the station is train N521 bound for Hangzhou. The station features the world's largest circular transparent roof and can accommodate up to 16,000 passengers at once. Formal opening ceremonies are currently scheduled for July 1. [cite web| url=http://english.people.com.cn/200606/26/eng20060626_277464.html| title=The railway station with world's largest transparent roof| year=2006-06-26| accessmonthday=27 June | accessyear=2006| publisher=People's Daily Online ]

July events

* July 1 - China's President Hu Jintao presides over a ribbon cutting ceremony in Golmud to officially open the Qingzang railway for service. The first train over the newly constructed line carried about 900 passengers to Lhasa. With the highest point on the new line at 5,072 m (16,640 ft) above sea level, the Qingzang railway is now the highest operating railway in the world. [cite web| url=http://www.forbes.com/home/feeds/afx/2006/07/02/afx2854412.html| title=China opens railway to Tibet, the world's highest| author=AFX News Limited (reprinted by Forbes)| year=2006-07-02| accessdate=2006-07-02 ] [cite web| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/5133220.stm?ls| title=Hu opens world's highest railway| author=BBC News| year=2006-07-01| accessdate=2006-07-02 ]
* July 2 - SNCF's president Louis Gallois leaves the French railway company for EADS. He's been replaced by Anne-Marie Idrac, former president of the RATP. Louis Gallois had been SNCF's president for 10 years, and SNCF's employees applauded him as he was leaving.
* July 3 - An accident on Valencia Metro kills at least 41 and injures 40. The driver seems to have driven too fast, causing the breaking of a wheel and the derailment of the train. This accident occurred in the very center of Valencia, Spain, as the city was ready for pope Benedict XVI's arrival July 8.
* July 11 - A series of bombs explode aboard commuter trains on the Mumbai Suburban Railway in India. An additional bomb was also found, but defused, at the Borivali station. The blasts claimed at least 200 lives, and caused hundreds of injuries. The bombs were exploded during the evening rush hour on trains plying on the western line of the suburban train network, which form the backbone of Mumbai's transportation network.

August events

* August 3 - The power car of the first RUS 250/330 high speed trainset built by Siemens AG is delivered in a ceremony at Saint Petersburg, Russia. A total of six 10-car trains are being built by Siemens for use between Saint Petersburg and Moscow; in service, the trains are expected to reach speeds up to 250 km/h (155 mph) and are designed for speeds as fast as 300 km/h (186 mph). Although current trackage between the two cities could not currently support such speeds, a Russian Siemens official stated that construction is underway to upgrade existing track and build new track. [cite news| url=http://www.railway-market.pl/?p=wiecej&id=148| title=Railway in Russia: High-Speed Russian Train from Siemens| date=2006-08-03| accessdate=2006-08-04| publisher=Railway Market ]
* August 10 - Officials in China announce plans to extend the Qingzang railway beyond Lhasa to Tibet's second-largest city, Xigaze, which would add another convert|170|mi of track to the already controversial line. Chinese officials anticipate the extension to be completed in 2009. [cite news| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4778521.stm| title=China to extend Tibetan rail link| work=BBC News| date=2006-08-10| accessdate=2006-08-21 ]
* August 21 - A passenger train from Mansoura runs past a signal and crashes into a stopped passenger train in Qalyoub, Egypt, killing 57 and injuring 128 more. Four passenger cars derailed in the accident which closed the line in the country's Nile Delta region. The train was estimated as travelling at more than convert|50|mph|abbr=on at the time of the collision. [cite news| url=http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/08/21/egypt.traincrash/index.html| title=Egyptian train crash kills 57| work=CNN| date=2006-08-21| accessdate=2006-08-21 ] In the wake of the accident, Egyptian Railways director Hanafi Abdel Qawi is dismissed. [cite news| work=BBC News| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5273894.stm| title=Egypt rail boss fired after crash| date=2006-08-22| accessdate=2006-08-22 ]
* August 29 - Amtrak announces the selection of Alexander Kummant to become president and CEO of the company effective September 12 to succeed David L. Gunn. David Hughes, who had stepped in as interim president, will step down from that position but will remain with the company. Before Amtrak, Kummant had served as a vice president for Komatsu America Corporation and as a Regional Vice President for Union Pacific Railroad. [cite news| url=http://today.reuters.com/news/articleinvesting.aspx?type=governmentFilingsNews&storyID=2006-08-29T180332Z_01_N29252127_RTRIDST_0_TRANSPORT-AMTRAK.XML| title=Amtrak hires former rail exec as new president, CEO| date=2006-08-29| accessdate=2006-08-30| publisher=Reuters ] [cite press release| url=http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/am2Copy/News_Release_Page&c=am2Copy&cid=1093554063081&ssid=180| publisher=Amtrak| date=2006-08-29| accessdate=2006-08-30| title=Veteran Rail and Industrial Executive Alexander Kummant Appointed Amtrak President and CEO ]

September events

* September - The new federal railway agency of Finland will begin work.NewsRoom Finland (October 7 2005), " [http://newsroom.finland.fi/stt/showarticle.asp?intNWSAID=10300&group=Politics Finnish government picks Helsinki to house railway agency] ". Retrieved October 7 2005.]

October events

November events

December events

* December 7 - The newly constructed Taiwan High Speed Rail line between Taipei City and Kaohsiung City is scheduled to open for service.

By season

Spring events

* Spring - The first test runs are scheduled to take place on a one-mile segment of the new light rail transit system in Phoenix, Arizona.Associated Press (February 16 2005), " [http://www.ble.org/pr/news/headline.asp?id=12827 Phoenix begins work on light rail] ". Retrieved February 16 2005.]

Unknown date events

* - The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Greenbush Line, an expansion of the commuter rail system to serve Boston's South Shore, is expected to begin revenue service.
* - The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority expects to switch from tokens to a farecard system that will be called "The Charlie Card" in honor of the unfortunate hero of "Charley on the MTA" ("a.k.a." "M.T.A.").
* - GO Transit in Toronto, Ontario, plans to begin construction to add a third track on the Lakeshore West and Lakeshore East lines and a second track on the Georgetown line.
* - Union Pacific Railroad and CSX Transportation will launch new produce unit trains between Washington and New York states.Union Pacific Railroad (August 2 2005), " [http://www.uprr.com/newsinfo/railroad/2005/0802_express.shtml Union Pacific and CSX to Introduce a New Produce Service in 2006] ". Retrieved August 4 2005.]
* - Vietnam expects to begin construction to upgrade the Hanoi-Lao Cai railway line.Xinhua (September 25 2005), " [http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-09/25/content_3542906.htm France to fund Vietnam in upgrading busiest railway route] ". Retrieved September 27 2005.]
* - The Deadwood, Black Hills and Western Railroad expects to begin passenger train service between Rapid City, Piedmont, Sturgis, Whitewood and Deadwood, South Dakota.Black Hills Today (October 5 2005), " [http://blackhillsportal.com/npps/story.cfm?id=1150 Deadwood Rapid City Passenger Railroad Plans Progress with Appointment of Senior Management] ". Retrieved October 6 2005.]
* - Feasibility tests of airport-style security systems will be performed at London's Paddington station as random passengers are asked to pass through detectors and have their bags X-ray scanned. The test period is expected to last about six months.BBC News (November 2 2005), " [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4400940.stm Railway passengers to be scanned] ". Retrieved November 3 2005.]
* - Royal Hudson steam locomotive 2860 is expected to return to excursion service after its overhaul.Trains News Wire (November 14 2005), " [http://www.trains.com/Content/Dynamic/Articles/000/000/006/301zmiut.asp B.C. government stokes Royal Hudson restoration funding] ". Retrieved December 2 2005.]
*flagicon|United States - The Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to break ground on the IRT Flushing Line extension, the first significant subway construction in New York City since the mid-20th Century.


February deaths

* February 5 - W. Thomas Rice, president of Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad 1955-1957, Atlantic Coast Line Railroad 1957-1967, Seaboard Coast Line Railroad, cofounder of CSX Transportation, dies (b. 1913). [Railway Age (February 7 2006), " [http://www.railwayage.com/breaking_news.shtml CSX co-founder Tom Rice dies at 93] ". Retrieved February 8 2006.]
* February 24 - Emery Gulash, prolific and widely published photographer of mid-20th century Midwestern United States railroading, dies (b. 1918). [(March 7 2006), " [http://www.trainboard.com/ultimatebb.php/ubb/get_topic/f/56/t/001219.html#000000 Emery Gulash passes away] ". Retrieved March 8 2006.] [Trains NewsWire (February 27 2006), " [http://www.trains.com/content/dynamic/articles/000/000/006/508qzhkk.asp? Prolific rail photographer Emery Gulash dies] ". Retrieved March 8 2006.]

April deaths

* April 7 - Ian David Sinclair, president of Canadian Pacific Railway 1969-1981, dies (b. 1913). [cite journal| journal=Trains| title=Obituaries| pages=p 17| month=August| year=2006| id=ISSN 0041-0934| volume=66| issue=8 ]

September deaths

* September 12 - Chris Moyes, Chief Executive Officer for Go-Ahead Group 2005-2006 (b. 1949). [cite web| url=http://www.railwaypeople.com/rail-news-articles/chris-moyes-rip-1153.html| title=Chris Moyes RIP| date=2006-09-18| accessdate=2006-09-20| publisher=RailwayPeople.com ] [cite web| url=http://www.go-ahead.com/Main.php?sFileName=NewsRelease.php&iNewsId=212&sYear=2006| title=Announcement regarding Chris Moyes| author=Go-Ahead Group| date=2006-09-13| accessdate=2006-09-20 ]

October deaths

* October 8 - Vasilie V. Magdei, Chairman of Ulaanbaatar Railway 2004-2006. [cite news| url=http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/main/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=134&Itemid=36| publisher=UB Post| title=Railway chief, deputy, die of gas poisoning| date=2006-10-16| accessdate=2006-10-16 ]

Industry awards

North America

;2006 E. H. Harriman Awards:

;Awards presented by Railway Age magazine:
* 2006 Railroader of the Year: Richard F. Timmons (American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association)
* 2006 Regional Railroad of the Year: Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad [cite web| url=http://www.georgiarailroad.org/news_railwayage.html| author=Railway Age| title=Railway Age Announces Short Line and Regional Railroads of the Year| year=2006| accessdate=2006-08-14| ]
* 2006 Short Line Railroad of the Year: Georgia Midland Railroad [cite web| url=http://www.georgiarailroad.org/news_railwayage.html| author=Railway Age| title=Railway Age Announces Short Line and Regional Railroads of the Year| year=2006| accessdate=2006-08-14| ]

United Kingdom

;Train Operator of the Year:
* 2006: Midland Mainline [cite web| url=http://www.midlandmainline.com/mainpage.aspx?id=229| title=Company Information| author=Midland Mainline| accessdate=2006-11-06| ]


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