A CONSORTIUM of Alstom and Singapore Technologies Electronics has been awarded the turnkey contract for supply of electrical and mechanical equipment on the initial section of Singapore’s Marina metro line. The Land Transport Authority hopes to expand the 5·2 km route into a 36 km E-shaped network over nine years, creating the world’s largest automatic metro at a cost of S$1·6bn.The S$285m Marina line contract includes the construction of the track and six stations, to open in 2005-06. The line will use Alstom’s Axonis package of Metropolis rolling stock and Urbalis control equipment, similar to that on the North East line (RG 12.00 p802) now under construction.Seven 750V three-car EMUs are to be built, each with a capacity of 670 passengers, and the line will be designed for a minimum headway of 90sec.
China: Work began on August 26 to add a fourth track on the 147 km line between Guangzhou and Shenzhen at a cost of 4·74bn yuan. This will allow services to be increased from 100 to 137 per day, and it is expected that traffic will rise from 27million to 38·5 million passengers/year by 2015.Czech Republic: On September 5 infrastructure manager SZDC formally launched a KC53bn project to modernise Corridor 4 from Praha to Ceské Budejovice and the Austrian border at Horní Dvoriste by 2016. An initial 18·2 km between Praha-Hostivar and Strancice will be upgraded for 140 km/h operation by July 2007.France: With effect from September 5, Novatrans replaced CNC as operator of the intermodal terminal at Sète owned by RFF. A €4·57m investment programme has been undertaken with financial support from the EU, the government and local authorities.Germany: On September 3 DB began a €7·4m project funded by the Land of Brandenburg to electrify the Angermünde to Schwedt branch. Electric services will begin with the December 11 timetable change.India: On September 19 South Eastern Railway launched broad-gauge passenger services on a 41 km line between Bankura and Sonamukhi, built at a cost of Rs950m.Railway Board Chairman J P Batra has announced a project to plant a further 6 million Jatropha curcas to produce oil for blending with diesel fuel. Northern Railway locos are currently using biodiesel, and it is to be supplied to further zones following an agreement for Indian Oil Corp to grow the plants on railway land, which could supply at least half the railways’ needs.Iran: Modernisation of 30 GE diesel locos has been completed at Karaj, with electromechanical controls replaced by microprocessors, D-77 traction motors replaced by D-78 motors, and cab air-conditioning installed. A further 25 will be refurbished by a private contractor during 2006.Spain: On September 4 Renfe introduced two new high speed shuttle passenger services in each direction between Córdoba and Sevilla, increasing the total number of daily return services to eight. Four new services running on Fridays and Sundays were introduced to the Madrid – Huesca route, operated by Talgo S102 trainsets.Switzerland: BLS and Regionalverkehr Mittelland have restarted talks regarding a merger, which is now expected to be approved at the end of June 2006.Uganda: A USh4bn rail connection has been built to the Biadco oil refinery in Jinja. The link to URC will cut the transit time from Mombasa from 10 days to three. USA: On September 9 RailAmerica announced the $77·5m acquisition from Alcoa of the 21 km Point Comfort & Northern Railway, the 10 km Rockdale, Sandow & Southern Railroad and the 5 km Massena Terminal and Bauxite & Northern railways. The shortline operator also announced a 25-year lease of CSX’s 77 km Fremont – West Olive line in Michigan. Zambia: RSZ has begun the second phase of a national track rehabilitation programme, covering 450 km between Mazabuka and Livingstone. CAPTION: ProRail has been undertaking train detection tests on its Utrecht – Arnhem main line using one of the Bombardier A32 LRVs from the Alphen – Gouda tram-train project. The aim is to assess whether track circuits will be adequate to permit the extension of Rijngouwelijn services to Leiden or whether axle-counters will have to be installedPhoto:Hans ScherpenhuizenCAPTION: On August 28 King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden formally inaugurated the second Årsta bridge in Stockholm, which will open with the December timetable change, completing the quadrupling of the southern approach to the capital as far as Sodra station Photo: Banverket
UK: The Points Converter launched by Zonegreen enables hand-operated turnouts to be converted to powered and remote control, helping to streamline the operation of depots, reducing the need for stop-start operations and also reducing the risk of staff accidents.‘The system is made up of two parts’, explains Technical Director Christian Fletcher. ‘A points converter device and an intuitive handset that allows the operator to remotely control the points system. The device attaches to an existing manually-operated switch without compromising the integrity of the existing mechanism and, crucially, it requires no civil works or changes in the operating procedures for its installation.’ Remote control is from hand-held or in-cab devices, or alternatively a PC-based centralised system is available.
CANADA: Caterpillar subsidiary Progress Rail announced on February 3 that it was closing the Electro-Motive Diesel locomotive assembly plant at London, Ontario, with immediate effect. Approximately 450 employees represented by the Canadian Auto Workers union will be affected, along with non-union management grades.Staff at Electro-Motive Canada had been locked out since January 1 in an increasingly bitter dispute over pay and conditions. According to the company, ‘all facilities within EMC, EMD and Progress Rail Services must achieve competitive costs, quality and operating flexibility to compete and win in the global marketplace.’The collective agreement and cost structure of the London operation did not position EMC to be flexible and cost-competitive in the global marketplace, placing the plant at a competitive disadvantage. While the company’s final offer addressed those competitive disadvantages, the gulf between the company and the union was too wide to resolve and as such, market conditions dictate that the company take this step.’Assembly of locomotives will be shifted from the London facility to the company’s other assembly plants in North and South America, ‘which will ensure that delivery schedules are not impacted by the closing of the London facility’. Much of the work is expected to transfer to Progress Rail’s recently opened US assembly plant at Muncie, Indiana. Some work is likely to move to Sahagún in Mexico, where Bombardier has been assembling locomotives under contract to EMD for several years.
ARGENTINA: The Sarmiento commuter route in Buenos Aires was due to return to full state control on October 24, transferring to federal railway operating company SOFSE and infrastructure company ADIF SE. Since the government revoked the concession held by Trenes de Buenos Aires in 2012, the Sarmiento network had been operated by UGOMS, formed by fellow suburban concessionaires Metrovías and Ferrovías.Minister of the Interior & Transport Florencio Randazzo had announced that the route would return to state control after an accident which took place on October 19 at the Sarmiento route’s Once terminus, injuring 80 people but none seriously, according to the government. In similar circumstances to the more serious accident at Once on February 22 2012 in which 52 people were killed, the train had struck the bufferstops after approaching the terminus too fast.Randazzo also announced new safety procedures, including a requirement for the guard to travel in the cab with the driver from the penultimate station to the terminus. Train speed would be reduced to 5 km/h upon entering the terminus and the train stopped ‘20 m before arriving at the platform’. Drivers are to undergo the same medical checks as commercial pilots, administered by national aviation medicine agency INMAE.While stating that other commuter routes would not return to direct state control at the present time, Randazzo said the government would not hesitate to revoke concessions should the private operators fail to meet their obligations. He recognised that passengers still did not have the service they deserved, but stressed that the government was undertaking the necessary investment, including a new train protection system for the Sarmiento route.
EUROPE: Cross-Channel high speed train operator Eurostar International carried more than 10 million passengers during 2013, setting a new ridership record. The annual total was slightly up on the 9·9 million handled in the previous year.Announcing the milestone on December 30, Eurostar reported that it had now carried more than 140 million passengers since the start of services between London, Paris and Brussels in November 1994. At that time Eurostar was a joint venture between the three national railways of Britain, France and Belgium, and was predicting that ridership would reach 10 million passengers/year by 1998. In the event, traffic growth was slowed by competition from low-cost airlines and later by the economic downturn. Eurostar was subsequently restructured as a stand-alone company although still owned by three state-owned bodies. Eurostar attributed the increased ridership in 2013 to ‘recent signs of a recovery in the UK economy, along with a busy summer for leisure travel’. The year also saw the operation of additional services, including the trial Route du Soleil direct service between London and Aix-en-Provence in the south of France which ran on selected summer weekends. The trial is to be repeated this year, and Eurostar says the route will be introduced ‘on a permanent basis from 2015’. Commercial Director Nick Mercer said ‘2013 has been a record-breaking year for Eurostar. With a leap in passenger numbers as well as the introduction of new routes and new destinations, we are seeing growing demand from customers across Europe and indeed around the world. As we enter our 20th year of operation, we have a year of activity planned on the run up to our 20th birthday in November.’
EntertainmentNewsRegional Bounty gives back to Victoria Jubilee Hospital by: – May 24, 2018 (Jamaica Observer) Bounty Killer returned to his place of birth, Victoria Jubliee Hospital in downtown Kingston, yesterday to give back to the 131-year-old maternal institution.In a short ceremony, the entertainer, through his Bounty Killer Foundation, handed over a refrigerator, air conditioning unit, and a 100 tins of oil paint which will be shared with the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH).“Back inna di days, my mother was a poor woman, so this is where she come and she laid and had me, and I have no qualms with it,” Killer told the Jamaica Observer.“We a ghetto people so this is my hospital, and then I got shot at the age of 16 and KPH is where they bought me and they did a fine job; I never had one complication after my surgery. So, as a poor hospital like this that get less support, and they did a fine job on me and mek I become a superstar, I have to send back some of my continuous contributions,” he continued.Bounty Killer, along with members of his team, also helped in painting outside the Victoria Jubliee Hospital as part of their Labour Day project.The dancehall deejay also highlighted the positive work other entertainers were playing in nation-building. He singled out Bugle, Iba Mahr, Marion Hall and Konshens, and encouraged more people to get involved.Bounty Killer shared future plans of the foundation.“This is one of the few projects that we starting off the foundation with. So we started from hospital, then I think I want to go to sports or education — those are my entities that I looking into,” he said. “I’m done in entertainment already. I’m helping artistes constantly. Entertainment, sports, education and health — those are the sectors the Bounty foundation targeting.”Colleen Wright, acting CEO of Victoria Jubliee and Kingston Public hospitals, shared how the donations will be useful.“It will help us to improve the service that we offer to our clients because the paint will improve the aesthetic of the building and indeed of the surroundings. The refrigerator will improve the working conditions of staff on the labour ward, and they also got an AC from him too that will enhance the working conditions of the staff and the service that we offer to the clients as they will be in a more salubrious condition. Those resources that we would have used to procure those items, we can use them in other ways to improve the service that we are offering,” she said.This is not Bounty Killer’s first donation to the West Kingston-based facility. In February he donated 63 beds and mattresses to KPH.Bounty Killer (given name Rodney Pryce) is known for his hard hitting songs, including Fed Up and Look. Sharing is caring! Share 51 Views no discussions Share Share Tweet
Editor’s note: USDA announced the sign-up period for the 2018 Margin Protection Program for Dairy will be open from April 9 to June 1.On the back of falling milk prices and increasing feed costs, February 2018’s Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) national average margin fell to the lowest level since June 2016, at $6.88 per hundredweight (cwt).advertisementadvertisement MPP-Dairy margin payment kicks inThe higher feed costs and the lower milk price reduced margins substantially.The February U.S. average margin over feed costs slipped to $6.88 per cwt. Under the older MPP-Dairy calculations, that would result in a January-February combined average of $7.50 per cwt (Table 2).However, in changes made earlier this year in a federal budget bill, 2018 margins are now calculated monthly, instead of the two-month average, so any producer enrolled at $7, $7.50 or $8 per cwt levels should see an indemnity payment for February.National average prices for all feeds included in the MPP-Dairy ration were higher in February. Soybean meal took the biggest jump, to $362.85 per ton, up more than $40 per ton from January and the highest since July 2016. Corn, at $3.38 per bushel, was up 9 cents from January and the highest since July 2017. Alfalfa hay was up $3 from January, to $155 per ton, and the highest since May 2017. Together, total February feed costs of $8.42 per cwt of milk sold were up 44 cents from January and the highest since July 2016.Based on milk and feed futures prices as of March 27, the Program on Dairy Markets and Policy projects monthly MPP-Dairy margins will hover around $7 per cwt through June.‘Protecting Your Profits’ callZepp reviewed MPP-Dairy, the Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy (LGM-Dairy) program and puts and options on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) futures market during his monthly “Protecting Your Profits” conference call on March 28.Looking at market fundamentals, U.S. cow numbers have plateaued, but milk production per cow continues to grow. Cow slaughter is up slightly compared to a year ago, but there’s no rush to the slaughterhouse. U.S. dairy product inventories continue to grow.There are positive signs for both domestic and export demand. U.S. consumer confidence remains high, and unemployment is the lowest level since the 1990s. The U.S. Dollar index is the lowest since 2014, although still at the high end of 2004-14 period. The U.S. is exporting more volumes of dairy products, but with lower product prices, total export values are stable.U.S. dairy product prices are very competitive on the world market. The current CME cash cheddar price of $1.55 per pound was less than the latest Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction price of $1.64 per pound and the European Union (EU) price of $1.82 per pound. CME butter was trading about $2.19 per pound, below the GDT average of $2.83 per pound, and the price in Germany of $2.72 per pound. Finally, the CME nonfat dry milk powder was trading at about 69 cents per pound, compared to the GDT average of 86 cents per pound and 74 cents per pound in Germany.EU milk powder inventories are dropping slightly, but still very large. Questions remain over whether the aging inventories will go toward food consumption or animal feed.Looking at world milk production, EU milk production has been declining recently, and New Zealand production has also been running lower than a year ago.Margin protection optionsZepp summarized various risk management options:• At the time of the call, CME Class III futures contracts for the remainder of 2018 averaged just over $15.24 per cwt, well below the five-year average. The Class IV futures projected average was $14.15 per cwt. A September 2018 Class III futures contract was trading at $15.93 per cwt. A $16 per cwt at-the-money put cost 70 cents per cwt; a $15 put option, similar to a $1 deductible LGM-Dairy policy, cost 28 cents per cwt.• As of late March, the LGM-Dairy insurable margin for the 10-month period (June 2018 through March 2019) averaged $6.53 per cwt. Cost for coverage for the entire period was estimated at 55 cents per cwt for a $0 deductible policy; 15 cents for a $1 deductible policy.• The current estimated MPP-Dairy margin for the remainder of 2018 is about $7.73 per cwt. Based on milk and feed futures prices as of March 27, the Program on Dairy Markets and Policy projects monthly MPP-Dairy margins will hover around $7 per cwt through June.Zepp’s next Protecting Your Profits call will be April 25, preceding the April LGM-Dairy sales period. All calls are recorded and archived.Organic dairy challenges aboundLike their conventional dairy counterparts, organic dairy producers are facing lower pay prices and loss of marketing contracts, according to Ed Maltby, executive director of the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA).Lower base prices and little power in negotiating contracts are resulting from poor supply management, increases in sales of nonbovine juices (marketed as milks), shortages of available processing facilities and the increase in large-scale dairies supplying private-label buyers with large milk volumes at low prices.There is some good news: Researchers found cows fed a “100 percent organic grass and legume-based diet” produce milk with elevated levels of omega-3 and conjugated linoleic acid.February dairy cow slaughter highest in six yearsThe number of U.S. dairy cows culled during February was the highest for the month dating back to 2012 (a leap year), according to USDA records.For February 2018, federally inspected milk cow slaughter was estimated at 260,700 head, 7,500 more than February 2017. Through the first two months of 2018, the culling total is 550,500 head, about 28,300 head more than the same period a year ago.The USDA’s latest milk production report indicated there were 9.41 million cows in U.S. dairy herd in February 2018. Based on the slaughter estimates, about 2.8 percent of the herd was culled in February 2018, compared to 3.1 percent in January 2018.February cull cow prices riseDespite the high culling rate, U.S. average cull cow prices rose in February. Cull cow prices (beef and dairy combined) averaged $65.60 per cwt, up $2.30 from January, and 70 cents more than February 2017. Dave NatzkeEditorProgressive DairymanEmail Dave Natzkedave@progressivepublish.com The February 2018 margin is down 15 percent from January and down 35 percent from February 2017, according to John Newton, director of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Market Intelligence.The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed into law in February, made several changes to MPP-Dairy, but those provisions – and the ability for farmers to sign up for the program – have not yet been announced by the USDA.The changes include calculating margins monthly, increasing the catastrophic coverage level to $5 per cwt for some farmers and significantly reducing the buy-up premium rates. Dairy producers are expected to be given an opportunity to re-enroll in MPP-Dairy retroactively for the 2018 coverage year following these congressional modifications.Once the 2018 MPP-Dairy enrollment period is reopened, Tier I farms (covering production of 5 million pounds of milk or less per year) purchasing MPP-Dairy margin coverage at $7, $7.50 and $8 per cwt coverage options will be eligible for indemnity payments of 12 cents, 62 cents and $1.12 per cwt, respectively. For a farm covering 5 million pounds of milk, the MPP payments represents $500 for $7 per coverage to nearly $4,700 for $8 per cwt coverage.As of April 2, the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) was still finalizing details before reopening the 2018 enrollment period for MPP-Dairy. The sign-up period will be for 90 days, but exact dates have not yet been announced.advertisementWith lower MPP-Dairy premiums, “the realities are, when the program comes out, farms with a base of 5 million pounds [of milk] or less are going to want to sign up for $8 [per cwt] coverage,” said Alan Zepp, risk management program manager at Pennsylvania’s Center for Dairy Excellence (CDE). “I think that will be a no-brainer.”At 14.2 cents per cwt, the annual premium would be about $1,420 per 1 million pounds of milk. Based on Zepp’s calculations on current price conditions, MPP-Dairy indemnity payments would return $3,500-$4,000 per million pounds.“Projected MPP-Dairy margins are under $8 through July,” Zepp said. “Although futures markets indicate margins will recover after that, but if they don’t, the payments could be even higher.”February milk prices fallFebruary milk prices weakened, although it will likely be the low point of the year. On March 28, the USDA National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) released its monthly Ag Prices report, showing the February 2018 U.S. average milk price was $15.30 per cwt, down 40 cents from January 2018, $2.80 less than February 2017 and the lowest since June 2016.Among the 23 major dairy states (Table 1), February prices compared to a month earlier were down $1 or more in 13 states, led by a $1.80 decline in Virginia and drops of $1.50-$1.60 per cwt in Kansas, New Mexico and Texas. The average price dipped below $15 per cwt in seven states, with Michigan again coming at the bottom, with an average of $13.80 per cwt. Florida’s average of $19.20 per cwt remained the nation’s high.Compared to a year earlier, February 2018 milk prices were down $3 or more in 17 states.advertisement
Saturday’s penultimate Farmington Farmers & Artisans Market pays tribute to the scores of growers, producers, and artisans who have been part of the market’s 2019 season.Vendor Appreciation Day will include music with Mike Freeman and activities for children at the Little Sprouts tent. To view a list of the produce expected at this week’s market, visit farmingtonfarmersmarket.com/Welcome/What-s-coming-to-market.aspxNext Saturday brings the final market of the season, with a celebration of all things Halloween. You’ll find out more market information on Facebook. Reported by Farmington Voice Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)
–Ads– The setting of Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya (HDPJ) has truly benefitted Harley owners. As part of a service to owners, HDPJ played host to Kingz Motorcycle Group (MG) as a stop on their wide-ranging ride over the Malaysia Day weekend, from 14th to 16th September 2018.The ride is part of a larger event called Eat, Travel, Ride International 2.0. The program is sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia, among others. The ride covers Kuala Lumpur, Pahang and Terengganu.Kingz MG’s riders began the ride at the KL Tower and proceeded to Muzium Negara (National Museum) for a photoshoot and rode to HDPJ afterwards for another round of photoshoot.HDPJ supported the ride by providing a support truck and technical personnel in addition to Lucky Draw vouchers for the ride’s annual dinner when the group reaches Kuala Terengganu. HDPJ Assistant Director, Chris Ruxton presented the group a plaque as a sign of support for the brotherhood.It was a straight shot to Cherating for lunch before hooking up with Iron Head MG in Kemaman, Terengganu. The group stopped for the night at Marang.Other activities planned for the ride were stops and photoshoots at unique attractions in the East Coast such as the Masjid Kristal (Crystal Mosque), Pantai Penarik, lunch at KT Durian Burung, an orphanage, Pantai Monica, all in Terengganu.The total ride distance is 460 km, return. There were more than one hundred participants, not counting those from Iron Head MG.PICTURE GALLERY As part of their recognition of Harley-Davidson owners and groups, Harley-Davidson of Petaling Jaya plays host to their rides and activities. The latest group to congregate at HDPJ was Kingz MG on their ride to the East Coast. HDPJ supported the ride by providing technical support and Lucky Draw vouchers.