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U.S. design, technology utilized by Russian freight car builder

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief


starfiregon.jpgstarfiresolidgon.jpgRussia’s ICT Group, an industrial financing and development firm consisting of more than 20 companies in various Russian industries including railways, is principal developer of Tikhvin Railway Car Building Plant (TVSZ), a new, $800 million facility located on a former Transmash site in Tikhvin, 125 miles east of St. Petersburg.

The plant will manufacture fourtypes of new-design freight cars—solid-bottom gondolas, hopper cars for mineral fertilizers, flat cars for high-capacity containers, and universal drop-bottom gondolas—designed jointly by Starfire Engineering & Technologies, Lawrence, Kan., and Russia’s Engineering Center of Railcar Builders, St. Petersburg.These cars will employ Barber S-2-R 18-9855 trucks developed by Wabtec’s Standard Car Truck division.

Designed for 25-metric-ton axle loads (27.6 U.S. tons), these trucks are based on existing 23.5-metric-ton (25.9 U.S. tons) 18-9810 units, and will be produced at TVSZ. Life-cycle costs are projected to decrease by 50%, while empty-car speeds should increase by 25 mph.

TVSZ, which ICT Group is developing to introduce international starfiregon2.jpgtechnologies to the Russian freight car market, is also looking to extend regular maintenance intervals for Russian freight cars to 100,000 kilometers (62,000 miles). The new facility, which employs 3,500 people, has an annual production capacity of 13,000 railcars, 65,000 wheelsets, and 80,000 tons of steel railway castings.

TVSZ’s solid-bottom gondola has received certification from the Technical Policy Department and Technical Audit Center of Russian Railways, as well as from the Engineering Center of Railcar Builders testing and engineering departments.

Compared to existing equipment, this car decreases empty weight by 1.2 metric tons while increasing capacity by 4 cubic meters through use of smooth plates for carbody sheets.

TVSZ has just signed 30 contracts worth $300 million for the foundry and railcar production sections of the plant. Process, engineering, and measurement equipment vendors include Siemens VAI (Germany), melting shop; Danobat (Spain), automatic wheelset manufacturing and castings machining; Eisenmann (Germany), railcar, wheelset, and castings paint lines; ALTA  (Czech Republic), gondola and hopper car center sill welding line; Heinrich Wagner Sinto (Germany), castings molding line; Laempe (Germany), core production; CAN-ENG (Canada), heat-treatment furnaces; KUKA (Germany), robotized welding equipment and press brakes; Bradbury (U.S.), rolling mill; Whitney (U.S.), plasma cutting; LVD (Belgium), press brakes and guillotine shears; and Vollert (Germany), transfer tables.


TVSZ expects to commission the new plant by year-end 2010, with production under way by early 2011.



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