Following talks in Frankfurt, German Railway Chairman Heinz Dürr and Italian State Railways Managing Director Giancarlo Cimoli have announced plans to upgrade services between the two countries. Improved overnight trains could be joined by Frankfurt – Milano and München – Roma high-speed services before 2000. ScotRail has installed a touch-screen Traveller’s Information Point (Trip) at Glasgow Central, able to print out selected journey details. Users can choose displays in English, French, German or Italian.SNCF’sTGV Duplex double-deck trainsets are to be fitted with a semi-enclosed ’Point Accueil’ where passengers can find the head conductor should they require assistance. The prototype is located on the upper deck of the car next to the bar/buffet vehicle.German Railway has signed an agreement with banking group Reisebank AG for the installation of automated cash machines on four Intercity trainsets, working the Kiel – Hamburg – Stuttgart – Basel corridor. The machines will accept any Eurocheque-approved servicecard, and a range of international credit cards.Portuguese Railways has cut 60min off the timings of the Irún – Lisboa/Porto Sud Express and domestic trains following electrification of the Pampilhosa – Villar Formoso route as far as Guarda. Italian State Railways is to run Treno di Sole holiday charter trains from Torino, Milano, Verona, Bologna, Firenze and Roma to resorts in Calabria every Saturday from May 17 to October 11, except in August. The Palinuro Express (PP 11.96 p6) will leave Milano, Piacenza, Bologna and Firenze for Campania every Friday from May 30 to September 20. Iarnród éireann and Northern Ireland Railways will put their new push-pull inter-city trainsets into revenue service with the timetable change on June 1. Manufactured by De Dietrich (RG 6.96 p321), the four seven-car trains are part of an EU-funded upgrading of the Dublin – Belfast main line.
QPR defender Tal Ben Haim has joined Major League Soccer franchise Toronto FC on a short-term loan deal. Nelsen has already returned once to Rangers since his move to the MLS club, signing winger Hogan Ephraim on a loan deal. The experience Ben Haim will take to the MLS, after spells with the likes of Bolton, Chelsea and Manchester City, will provide invaluable, according to Toronto FC president Kevin Payne. “Tal Ben Haim has been one of the top defenders in the Premier League for nearly a decade,” he told the club’s official website. “He captains his national team and Ryan thinks the world of him. He’s exactly the sort of veteran defender we need.” Press Association Ben Haim, 31, was signed by Rangers boss Harry Redknapp in the January transfer window but has made just seven appearances since as the R’s slipped out of the Barclays Premier League. Toronto are managed by former Loftus Road favourite Ryan Nelsen and Israel international Ben Haim will remain on loan at the club until the end of June.
By Marcelo TeixeiraSAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton says he is not expecting his sixth Formula One world championship to be recognised with a knighthood at the end of the year.The Mercedes driver’s supporters are pushing for him to join other British sporting sirs like Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, runner Mo Farah, tennis player Andy Murray and cricketer Alastair Cook.Hamilton, by far his country’s most successful racing driver with twice as many titles as the knighted great Jackie Stewart, doubted that would happen.“I don’t really like to think too much about it,” he told reporters at the Brazilian Grand Prix. “Just the fact that people have mentioned it, it’s already an honour; but it’s not been something that I’ve been chasing in my life. “If, at any point, that was to happen, I don’t particularly know how I would handle it.“I have stood in front of Her Majesty The Queen before and it was pretty incredible and I think she’s just awesome. Again, I don’t think it’s going to happen, and again, it doesn’t bother me if it doesn’t.“It doesn’t mean I’m not British. It doesn’t mean I’m not continuing to try and raise the flag as well as I can,” he added. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has said frequently that he feels Hamilton’s achievements are not recognised enough in his home country and may not be appreciated fully until he has left the stage.When Hamilton won his fifth title last year he was runner-up in the BBC’s Sports Personality-of-the-Year to Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas.Britain, which has produced more champions than any nation in Formula One history, has certainly never known anyone like him and only German great Michael Schumacher, with seven, has won more championships. Hamilton has won 10 races a year on average for the last six seasons, a success rate that would leave him on course to overhaul Schumacher’s record of 91 victories some time next year.Even if he played it down, the prospect of his getting a knighthood tickled the fancy of Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.“Do you get a sword? That would be cool if you get to keep the sword,” said Vettel, a four-time world champion.Informed that he would have to call Hamilton ‘Sir Lewis’ if the Briton were to be knighted, 22-year-old Verstappen sounded doubtful. “You don’t have to, do you?” asked the Dutchman, who starts today’s penultimate race of the season on pole position.
JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoEight years later, the University of Wisconsin-Madison men’s basketball head coach Bo Ryan feels as though he never really left UW-Platteville.“The nice part is that (in) the 15 years there and then the years since, I’ve stayed in touch with all those people (at Platteville),” Ryan said at his press conference Monday. “It’s as if you’re still around; it’s as if you’re still down there in the community.“Platteville has never really left in my mind.”Usually one to chat about his hometown of Philadelphia, Ryan is now talking about Platteville because UWP will honor him Saturday by naming the court of Williams Fieldhouse “Bo Ryan Court.”Ryan’s head coaching career started at UW-Platteville, and he made the most of his first opportunity. With the Division III Pioneers, Ryan established himself as one of the top coaches in the country. Behind a stifling defense that set the all-time single-season Division III opponent’s scoring margin in 1996-97 (47.5 points per game), Ryan compiled 353 total wins and four national championships (1991, 1995, 1998 and 1999).And even now that Ryan has moved on to bigger and better things at UW-Madison, he remains concerned about UW-Platteville and the improvements he can make happen there.“The nicest part about the whole thing Saturday is going to be that there is going to be a lot of improvements at UW-Platteville as a result of all the fundraising efforts that they made around this court naming,” Ryan said. “It will be emotional, but what’s really neat is that something’s going to happen as a result in the future.”Despite being gone from the program for eight years, Ryan still can’t help but reminisce about the successes he had at UW-Platteville.After all, it was there that Ryan made coaching connections that are still intact today. UW assistant coach Greg Gard is a UWP alumnus and has been at Ryan’s side since 1993. Also, current UW-Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter played for Ryan at Platteville and later joined him on the sidelines as an assistant coach.And it was Jeter, the captain of UW-Platteville’s 1991 national championship team, who Ryan credits for helping him jump-start his successful career as a Pioneer. However, Ryan believes the best part about that team was simply the group of guys he was able to bring together.“Led by Robbie Jeter and his brother, Carlton … that group that won in ’91, that was senior dominated — guys who had come through a lot, guys who got to Platteville in a lot of different ways,” Ryan said. “I mean, you name it, we had a guy from about every walk of life at Platteville that you could have on that team.”There will be a reception before the ceremony that Ryan’s wife, Kelly, will speak at. Ryan himself doesn’t anticipate making a speech, although he did have a certain request.“The only people I ever spoke to during the games were the officials,” Ryan joked. “And I asked if I could have a conference with them, but that got nixed.”While Ryan will be honored by UW-Platteville Saturday, another personal honor for him will be that his current team will be making a pit stop to join him on the way to Iowa.“I was just talking to Tucker one day about what was going on, and Alando said that he’d like to be there,” Ryan said. “I was just going to go down separately, but we got practice at Iowa City so we have to get ready for a game on Sunday.“That’s a pretty good stopping-off place on the way to Iowa City.”Men’s hoops news and notesWith last weekend’s win at Illinois, Ryan has now led the Badgers to victories in every Big Ten arena. The only other current Big Ten head coach to achieve this is Michigan State’s Tom Izzo … Kammron Taylor became the 31st player in UW history to reach 1,000 points Saturday with 20 points against the Illini … Wisconsin has won 15 consecutive games — the longest active streak in the nation.
Chelsea’s John Mikel Obi says he is desperate to qualify for the Champions League this season because he struggles to get motivated for the Europa League.The Blues have reached the last eight of the Europa League after exiting the Champions League earlier this season.“What do they say [about the Europa League]? Thursday nights, Channel 5?” said 25-year-old Mikel.“Hopefully, next season we are not going to be in it and we are going to be prime time.”Chelsea are currently third in the Premier League as they bid to secure a top four spot and Champions League qualification for next season.But manager Rafael Benitez’s side can also win two trophies this term – they are leading Russian side Rubin Kazan 3-1 after the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final, and they will face Manchester City in the semi-final of the FA Cup at Wembley on Sunday.“Champions League football is what this club has always been involved in and that is what we as players want to achieve,” said Mikel.“We want to be in the top four, top three, whatever. We want to be in the Champions League next season. “No disrespect to the Europa League … but when you get that buzz, and you hear the Champions League song, it’s different.“And we have been used to it, to those nights, those special nights, and we want to get them back, we want to be involved again in the Champions League next season.“I don’t even know the Europa League song. I have been here seven years and I have never played football on Thursday nights.”The Nigerian international added: “It has been kind of frustrating to watch [Champions League matches] – and we have to then play on Thursday night.”