The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - March 13

A consortium led by Italy's Ansaldo Signal won a 99-million-dollar contract to improve signalling on accident-plagued Indian Railways. Ansaldo Signal said it would design, make and install an advanced train control signalling system on Indian Railways, one of the world's largest networks. "It's the biggest signalling and telecommunications contract Indian Railways has ever awarded," said S. Lahiri, head of Ansaldo's Indian operations.

The new system "will dramatically improve the safety, capacity and reliability" of the busiest section of the rail line in India, the Italian firm said in a statement. The contract involves work on the network's most important freight and passenger artery -- the line between Ghaziabad and Kanpur in northern India -- which stretches more than 400 kilometers (250 miles) and includes 49 stations.

Railway experts have often blamed signalling problems for accidents on the railway, the world's second largest, covering 62,000 kilometers of track. The over 150-year-old railway built by India's former British rulers transports around 16 million people daily and is notorious for its antiquated equipment.