January 5 – Railway workers across India begin voting on whether or not to hold a strike against Indian Railways in February. The union's demands center around pay scales, pensions, and private investment into the railway. A Northern Railway Mazdoor Union spokesperson stated that the decision to hold the strike vote was made at the recent All India Railwaymen’s Union convention in Mumbai; Western Railway Mazdoor Sangh union members protested at the convention by burning an effigy of Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram. Voting is scheduled to conclude on January 8, and the vote count, which is expected to begin on January 9, will be monitored by external observers.
January 6 – China's Minister of Railways Liu Zhijun announces details of a 160 billion yuan ($20 billion) plan for railway construction there in the coming year. The ministry expects to begin construction on as many as 87 new railway projects in 2006, including thirteen new express passenger train routes and opening new electrified lines. The plan also includes the acceleration of eleven express passenger route projects already under construction.
February 13 – Genesee and Wyoming (G&W) announces that it has sold its 50% share in operations (the other 50% was owned by Wesfarmers) of the Australian Railroad Group (ARG) in western Australia to Queensland Rail (QR) and Babcock & Brown Ltd. (B&B). The deal, valued at $974 million (A$1.55 billion), splits the holdings between operations and infrastructure elements with QR purchasing the above-rail operations and B&B purchasing the below-rail infrastructure. In a concurrent deal, G&W is purchasing Westfarmer's share of ARG in South Australia for $15 million (A$22 million), which will be renamed Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltd and operated as a subsidiary company of G&W.
March 9 – Groundbreaking ceremonies are held in Dublin, Ireland, on Spencer Station, the first new railway station to be built in the city in more than 100 years. The first shovelfuls of dirt were turned by Minister for Transport Martin Cullen. The new station, which is valued at €30 million, will serve the Maynooth and Navan lines and is planned as part of an extension of the city's Luaslight rail system to the north docks area. The new station, part of the Transport 21 plan announced in 2005, is expected to open in mid-2007.
March 24 – Officials with the Portuguese firm Mota-Engil announce that the company will begin building a trans-Andean railway line in April 2006 that will connect Argentina and Chile. Construction of the new Transandino del Sur railway will begin near the Argentine city of Zapala and will run from there for the 50 km (31 mi) to the Chilean border; Mota-Engil expects to complete this section by 2008. From the border, the contract to build the segment to the Chilean city of Lonquimay, 170 km (110 mi) further, will be up for international bidding.
April 1 – The London passenger rail services of Great Northern and Thameslink are merged under First Capital Connect in a new franchise that will continue for six years. The new franchisee plans to overhaul the trains with new liveries and on-board services as well as an £8 million program of upgrades for several major stations.
April 7 – Officials with BNSF Railway announce that the railway will become the first United States railroad to open an office in China when its office in Shanghai opens later in April. Both Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway, which both maintain track and operate in the US, already maintain offices in China, but this will be the first office for a US-headquartered railway. The office is hoped to help BNSF with logistics planning for containerized shipments between the US and Asia.
April 11 – Hong Kong's Executive Council formally approves the merger of Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) and Mass Transit Railway (MTR). Officials close to the negotiations estimate a passenger fare reduction for as many as 2.8 million riders on the first day that the merger is effective. The proposal includes a formula for future fare adjustments. The resulting company will use the MTR name and identity; it will be responsible for the daily operation of both KCR and MTR systems. Although up to 700 layoffs are predicted due to job duplication, officials estimate that the combined company could be looking to hire 1,300 more employees within a few years.
April 25 – Officials with the governments of Spain and the Basque autonomous region sign an agreement outlining the proposed Basque Y railway service. The service would provide passenger and freight rail transport between the three Basque provincial capitals of Vitoria, Bilbao and Donostia and connections to the high-speedMadrid-Vitoria-Paris rail corridor. The agreement puts the section between Vitoria and Bilbao under Spanish control, and the section in Gipuzkoa province under Basque control.
May 11 – Transport and Communications Minister of Greece, Mihalis Liapis, announces a €2 billion pledge by the government to rehabilitate the country's rail network. One of the projects included in the pledge is an expansion of passenger rail service between Athens and Thessaloniki. OSE, the national railway of Greece, is expected to submit orders for new equipment valued at over €750 million in the following week.
June 5 – Indian Railways begins construction on a new rail bridge that will become the highest railroad bridge in the world. The bridge, crossing the Chenab River at 359 metres (1,178 ft) above the river and connecting Katra and Laol in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, will also include the world's largest supporting arch. The arch will span 1,315 m (4,314 ft). Construction is expected to be completed by 2009.
June 6 – In a precedent-setting case brought by European Green Party legislator Alain Lipietz and his sister, SNCF, the national railway of France, is ordered to pay almost $80,000 in reparations for transporting members of their family to the Drancy deportation camp during World War II. SNCF argued at trial that they were at the time under orders of the German military; the railroad further argued that the German military threatened to shoot any railroad official who disobeyed their orders. The court disagreed with SNCF concluding that there was no way that SNCF could have avoided knowledge of the prisoners' likely deportation to concentration camps and that SNCF made no effort to either protest the transportation or to transport them in a humane manner.
June 20 – Hankyu Railway announces that it has completed its stock purchase for control of Hanshin Electric Railway in a transaction totalling about $2.2 billion. Hankyu now owns a 63.7% interest in Hanshin, which is planned to be operated as a subsidiary company beginning later in 2006. The purchase makes the combined company the third largest railway in Japan by revenue, and the second largest in the Kansai region.
June 26 – Shanghai south railway station opens for limited service; the first regular train out of the station is train N521 bound for Hangzhou. The station features the world's largest circular transparent roof and can accommodate up to 16,000 passengers at once. Formal opening ceremonies are currently scheduled for July 1.
July 1 – China's President Hu Jintao presides over a ribbon cutting ceremony in Golmud to officially open the Qingzang railway for service. The first train over the newly constructed line carried about 900 passengers to Lhasa. With the highest point on the new line at 5,072 m (16,640 ft) above sea level, the Qingzang railway is now the highest operating railway in the world.
July 2 – SNCF's president Louis Gallois leaves the French railway company for EADS. He's been replaced by Anne-Marie Idrac, former president of the RATP. Louis Gallois had been SNCF's president for 10 years, and SNCF's employees applauded him as he was leaving.
August 3 – The power car of the first RUS 250/330high speed trainset built by Siemens AG is delivered in a ceremony at Saint Petersburg, Russia. A total of six 10-car trains are being built by Siemens for use between Saint Petersburg and Moscow; in service, the trains are expected to reach speeds up to 250 km/h (155 mph) and are designed for speeds as fast as 300 km/h (186 mph). Although current trackage between the two cities could not currently support such speeds, a Russian Siemens official stated that construction is underway to upgrade existing track and build new track.
August 10 – Officials in China announce plans to extend the Qingzang railway beyond Lhasa to Tibet's second-largest city, Xigaze, which would add another 170 miles (270 km) of track to the already controversial line. Chinese officials anticipate the extension to be completed in 2009.
– Feasibility tests of airport-style security systems will be performed at London Paddington station as random passengers are asked to pass through detectors and have their bags X-ray scanned. The test period is expected to last about six months.
July 3 – An accident on Valencia Metro kills at least 41 and injures 40. The driver seems to have driven too fast, causing the breaking of a wheel and the derailment of the train. This accident occurred in the very center of Valencia, Spain, as the city was ready for popeBenedict XVI's arrival July 8.
July 11 – A series of bombs explode aboard commuter trains on the Mumbai Suburban Railway in India. An additional bomb was also found, but defused, at the Borivali station. The blasts claimed at least 200 lives, and caused hundreds of injuries. The bombs were exploded during the evening rush hour on trains plying on the western line of the suburban train network, which form the backbone of Mumbai's transportation network.