BERLIN, 22 March 2013: German rail operator Deutsche Bahn said Thursday that profits rose sharply last year as passenger numbers hit record levels in face of soaring petrol prices.
“Higher sales, higher profits, higher investments and above all a new record in traffic on our trains,” boasted chief executive Ruediger Grube in a statement.
Deutsche Bahn’s net profit rose by 10.9% to 1.48 billion euros (US$1.9 billion), underlying or operating profit jumped by 17.3% to 2.7 billion euros on a 3.7% increase in revenues to 39.3 billion euros.
KATHMANDU, 11 March 2013: China’s ambassador to Kathmandu was recently pictured in a traditional Nepali cap and silk scarf, digging with a spade to symbolise the laying of the foundations of a new dry port near the Tibet border.
The photo opportunity marked the latest in a series of major projects that underscore China’s growing economic influence in Nepal, where it is building roads and investing billions of dollars in hydropower and telecommunications.
Other Chinese projects in its impoverished, electricity-starved Himalayan neighbour include a US$1.6 billion hydropower plant which is expected finally to end power outages which extend to 14 hours a day in winter.
KUNMING, 27 February 2013: The first part of a railway that will eventually link southwest China’s Yunnan province with Singapore and Malaysia was opened 23 February.
It took seven years to build the 141 km line, between Yuxi and Mengzi that goes through 35 tunnels and crosses 61 bridges. Trains can travel at speeds of up to 120 km/h.
It is part of the Pan-Asia railway network that will eventually connect China to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries via Vietnam.
NEW DELHI, 27 February 2013: India on Tuesday pledged better catering, comfort and cleanliness as part a US$11.7-billion budget for Asia’s oldest rail network along with steps to help stop trains mowing down people and elephants.
Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal hiked freight rates by 5% in his budget for the sprawling state-run network, India’s main form of long-distance transport despite competition from airlines and roads.
For the first time, the cost of shipping goods will be linked to fuel prices, Bansal added, in a move highlighting the Congress-led government’s resolve to rein-in deficit-ballooning subsidies for publicly owned companies.
BEIJING, 28 January 2013: The world’s largest annual migration began Saturday in China with tens of thousands in the capital boarding trains to journey home for next month’s Lunar New Year celebrations.
Passengers will log 220 million train rides during the 40-day travel season, the Ministry of Railways estimates, as they criss-cross the country to celebrate with their families 10 February.
Many spend weeks at home for the most important holiday of the Chinese calendar, with the travel period spanning about two weeks before and after the Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival.
CHIANG MAI, 14 January 2013: Thailand’s Chiang Mai, the main gateway to the country’s northern destinations, will be the first city to gain a high speed train service from Bangkok.
Chiang Mai governor, Thanin Supasaen, said: “The project is expected to be completed in three years.”
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has already approved the high speed railway project called northern land port, which was officially presented to her by the Chiang Mai governor.
NEW DELHI, 10 January 2013: India announced its first across-the-board rise in rail fares for a decade on Wednesday to fund improvements in safety on the overburdened network.
The proposed increase across various tiers of the national rail system come 10 months after an earlier plan to raise fares had to be scrapped following fierce opposition from a then partner in the Congress-led coalition government.
Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said he expected annual losses in 2012 to 2013 to climb to 250 billion rupees (US$4.5 billion), adding: “This in fact points to the imperative of… a reasonable fare hike immediately.”
BANGKOK, 14 December 2012: Despite a readiness roll out of the station, the official launch of the OTOP-themed tourist trains, is still waiting for the PM to say when she can officiate at the ceremony.
The tourist train project is a joint venture between the Tourism Authority of Thailand, State Railway of Thailand and the Community Development Department.
Though scheduled trips have not started; domestic tour operators have crafted pilot tour programmes that are supposed to run in December and January. They are just waiting for the signal to go green on a train project that has already cost the TAT Bt10 million.
BANGKOK, 19 November 2012: Construction of a US$7 billion train link between Laos and China will go ahead next year after a Chinese bank threw a financial lifeline to the stalled project, state media reported Friday.
The two countries had initially agreed to jointly fund the line, which will run from the Chinese border to Vientiane, but Beijing pulled out over reported concerns about profitability.
Chinese state-run EXIM bank has now stepped in with a loan offer for Laos, an official from the public works and transport ministry told the Vientiane Times, adding the pair were “now ironing out the details” of the loan.
WUHAN, PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA, 25 October 2012: Ministers from 10 nations spanning the Caucasus, Central, East, and South Asia will gather here, 29-31 October, to discuss how to boost connectivity and cooperation in their region through to 2020.
Discussions will focus on development of road, railways and cross border connections to ease trade and transport through the region. In directly it will ultimately make the region more accessible for tourism expansion.
The meeting marks the 11th gathering of the ministers of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Programme.