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Japan to offer bullet train with footbath

Japan's super-speedy bullet train is to offer passengers a chance to soothe their tired feet as they zip through the countryside, in a carriage equipped with footbaths. JR East will launch the service in July, with one carriage on the "shinkansen" bullet train having two 2.4-metre-long (8-foot) tubs facing windows. Bathing is a ritualised and highly-prized activity in Japan and the footbaths are intended as places for passengers to relax rather than to clean their feet.

New U.S. rail rules will not revamp old oil tank fleet

By Edward McAllister and Nia Williams NEW YORK/CALGARY (Reuters) - New U.S. rules to toughen classification standards for oil-train shipments will affect less than 3 percent of the tank cars now hauling crude across the country, leaving older, flawed models on the tracks, officials and industry sources say.

Rail cars used to ship oil 'unacceptable public risk,' replacement cars may not be sufficient

WASHINGTON - Rail tank cars being used to ship crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken region are an "unacceptable public risk," and even cars voluntarily upgraded by the industry may not be sufficient, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday. The cars, known as DOT-111s, were involved in derailments of oil trains in Casselton, N.D., and Lac-Megantic, Quebec, just across the U.S. border, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said at a House Transportation subcommittee hearing.

Older rail tank cars in crosshairs, but questions over cost to upgrade

CALGARY - The model of railcar involved in last summer's disaster in Lac Megantic, Que., that claimed 47 lives was in the crosshairs of some big Canadian industry players this week. Among them, a prominent railway CEO urged their immediate removal from North American tracks in an impassioned speech to a Calgary business audience while a New Brunswick oil refiner vowed to stop using the railcars. But questions remain over how far improvements on the ubiquitous DOT-111 tank cars ought to go and how much it will cost to make those changes.

Brazil launches criminal proceedings in Alstom bribery case

Federal authorities have launched criminal proceedings against 11 people accused of participating in an alleged bribery scheme by French company Alstom during bidding for Sao Paulo's metro rail systems. In a statement sent to AFP, Judge Marcelo Costenaro Cavali said he had decided to prosecute the individuals -- current and former public and Alstom officials, as well as some consultants -- for corruption and money laundering.

Bombardier signs US$2.1 billion contract with Transport of London

LONDON - Bombardier Transportation confirmed today that it has won a contract with Transport for London worth about US$2.1 billion. The British government said earlier this month that it intended to award the contract to Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B), after a 10-day waiting period. Under the deal, Bombardier's rail division will supply 65 trains and a maintenance depot for Crossrail that is set to open in 2018.

Federal officials say spruce budworm program to move forward quickly

FREDERICTON - Federal officials travelled to Fredericton today to discuss the spruce budworm initiative included in last week's federal budget. Ottawa is setting aside 18 million dollars to develop and implement the early intervention program over the next four years. Rob Moore, regional minister for New Brunswick, says the initiative will be led by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency in Atlantic Canada and by the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec in Quebec.

Irving Oil to convert railcar fleet, remove older cars from service

SAINT JOHN, N.B. - Irving Oil said Monday it will remove from its fleet the same type of railcar involved in the deadly train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Que., last summer. The company said it will convert its fleet of crude oil railcars to comply with U.S. standards for DOT-111 tank cars built after Oct. 1, 2011, and remove the older cars from service.

Railway involved in Lac-Megantic disaster to get new name after sale: report

MONTREAL - The company at the centre of the train derailment that killed 47 people and destroyed part of Lac-Megantic, Que., last July, is reportedly getting a new name. The Bangor Daily News said Friday the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway will become known as the Central Maine and Quebec Railway when its sale is finalized. It is being sold to Railroad Acquisition Holdings, an affiliate of New York-based Fortress Investment Group. A consultant working with Fortress on the railway purchase confirmed the new name to the newspaper in an email.

China plans to build world's longest underwater tunnel

China plans to build the world's longest underwater tunnel, an expert involved in the project told AFP Friday, a $36 billion shortcut between two northern port cities in an earthquake-prone region. The scheme will see cars loaded onto railway carriages before travelling at 220 kilometres per hour (136 miles per hour) along the 123-kilometre tunnel connecting Dalian in Liaoning province and Yantai in Shandong province.
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