The New South Wales Rail, Tram & Bus Industry Union has said it will not oppose the privatisation of FreightCorp as long as it is sold with National Rail Corp. Secretary Nick Lewocki said the union is not pro-privatisation, but has to be pragmatic. It hopes to persuade the Commonwealth to allow FreightCorp to bid for NRC.The government of Kazakhstan has completed plans for a 300 km rail link between Qostenay and Aqtobe, to carry traffic between the north and northwest of the country which must currently be routed via Russia. The project is costed at US$140m.Freight Australia and a consortium involving Great Northern Rail have expressed interest in reopening the broad gauge Wolseley – Mt Gambier – Millicent line for freight. The South Australia government took control of the route after Australia Southern failed to restore trains within a two-year period (p367). The government of Ethiopia has invited expressions of interest for the provision of services relating to the preparation, administration and monitoring of the concessioning of the 781 km Addis Abeba – Djibouti railway.SNCF President Louis Gallois was due on May 17 to present the SNCF board with a revised budget for 2001, expected to show a loss of around Fr1bn following two weeks of industrial action in late March and early April (RG 5.01 p279). Gallois said on May 13 that he expected the company to move into profit in 2002.On April 23 the Chief Director of Ghana’s Ministry of Transport & Communications Ben Eghan announced plans to rehabilitate the Accra – Tema line, starting in 2002.The private Grand Central Railway consortium has announced plans to introduce an open access trans-Pennine rail service from Salford to York and Newcastle upon Tyne from September 2002, using refurbished High Speed Train sets.Wellington City Council’s Transport & Infrastructure Committee has backed proposals for the government to buy back the city’s commuter rail network from Tranz Rail. The decision was made on the chairman’s casting vote.Pakistan Railway is proposing to run container trains twice a week between a planned private sector container terminal at Lahore and Karachi Port; it envisages using 300 flatbed wagons to handle the traffic.Romanian freight company CFR Marfa is planning to buy 52 new locomotives and overhaul 92 existing ones by 2010, at a cost of US$500m. It is also planning to purchase 2500 wagons and modernise 16000 more.In April the Prime Minister of Tajikistan Oqil Oqilov discussed the funding of a planned Kofarnihon – Yavan line with officials from Chori Corp of Japan.Islamic Iranian Republic Railways’ Director in Mashhad, Ali Hojjati-Nejad, confirmed on May 12 that RAI had agreed terms with Turkmenistan Railway for the introduction of a through Almaty – Tehran passenger service via Sarakhs (RG 1.00 p 7).
talkSPORT’s Ian Cruise explains why Manchester United’s super Swede is proving his worth, and proving his doubters completely wrong.Diego Costa is the Premier League’s top scorer and Alexis Sanchez continues to prove why Arsenal simply have to break the bank to keep him. (Or why Arsenal have to convince Arsene Wenger he has to break the bank to keep him. Anyway, you know what I mean…).Elsewhere, Sadio Mane’s sparkling form at Liverpool marks him out as one of last summer’s best bits of transfer business, while the remarkable statistic that surfaced last week showing N’Golo Kante has amassed more points since his arrival in England, with Leicester and Chelsea, than any other TEAM bears out both his contribution and importance.But still, for me, the player of the first half of the Premier League season is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. And, again for me, that has come as a surprise.I can’t have been the only one (although maybe I was?) who thought that, at the age of 35, after three years as the self-proclaimed ‘King of Paris’ bossing the less than competitive French Ligue Un, he would find the English top-flight a much tougher nut to crack and quite possibly a bridge too far.How wrong I was.Not only has he scored 13 Premier League goals so far, his all-round contribution to Manchester United has been little short of sensational.His work-rate is second to none, and the example he sets his younger team-mates surely can’t help but rub off on them. Already, despite his pre-eminence during his breakthrough season last year, you can see an improvement in Marcus Rashford, albeit in a predominantly cameo role, while Anthony Martial also seems to be rediscovering his mojo. I don’t think that’s a happy accident.Jose Mourinho clearly knew what he was getting when he signed the veteran Swede – the pair worked together at Inter Milan, of course – and his judgement in bringing him into the hurly-burly world of English football has been proven overwhelmingly correct. I don’t think any individual has been more influential on his side.His impact has been likened to that of Eric Cantona, and there’s no doubt he’s well on the way to achieving similar cult status as that attained by the mercurial but volatile Frenchman. (And if he can continue in that vein and usurp that frankly dreadful ’12 Days of Cantona’ festive terrace anthem, he will be doing us all a favour!)It’s not going to be enough for him to continue his remarkable record of winning the League title in his first season with every club he has played for, but it might just be enough to earn United a Champions League spot next season, a feat that looked highly unlikely not that many weeks ago.Mourinho has already stated publicly he intends to take up the option of keeping Ibrahimovic at Old Trafford for another year, and there’s every chance a genuine title tilt will follow next term.I certainly won’t be making the same mistake of writing him – or them – off. 1 Zlatan Ibrahimovic