Railvolution magazine

Tikhvinsky vagonostroitelny zavod, TVSZ (Tikhvin Freight Car Building Plant) of Tikhvin, about 200 km east of St. Petersburg, is a relative newcomer on the Russian freight wagon market. The factory was built between 2008 and 2012, on a site formerly occupied by Transmash, the producer of Kirovets tractors. The TVSZ complex covers an area of about 50 hectares and has a designed annual output capacity of 13,000 wagons and 65,000 wheelsets, this requiring about 5,000 employees. By October 2013 the factory employed 3,000 people.

In March 2011 the first pilot batch of wagons rolled off the Tikhvin production line. These were hopper wagons for PGK (Pervaya gruzovaya kompaniya, Freight One, which then belonged to RZD, see R 1/13, p. 18). Then in May 2011 a new wagon lessor, RAIL1520, was founded. On 31 May 2012 the ICT Group, one of Russia’s leading investment companies, and its shareholders, founded Obedinyonnaya vagonnaya kompaniya, OVK (United Wagon Company, UWC). This is a dedicated management company, which has taken over the management of both RAIL1520 and TVSZ.

At the end of 2012 TVSZ delivered RAIL1520’s 1,000th wagon. In February 2013 OVK put into service the first mass-produced wagons mounted on Barber bogies and in this way managed to penetrate the CIS and Baltic states markets. Progress has been rapid - over 3,000 wagons built by TVSZ are currently in service on the 1,520 mm gauge network.

At EXPO 1520 OVK exhibited three wagons, together with examples of Model 18-9855 and Model 18-9836 bogies (described on the adjacent page). One of the wagons was the Model 12-9869 „poluvagon“ (left-hand photo). The graffiti used on the sides of the wagon depicts how the steel panels of the gondola are assembled using automated welding processes, undertaken by industrial robots. The idea was to use the vivid colours and dynamic images to emphasise the benefits and quality of rolling stock built by TVSZ.

This is a solid bottom multi-use gondola wagon, production of which started in May 2013. It is designed for freight consignments which require no protection from the elements, and compared with earlier open box wagons has somewhat greater dimensions and enhanced economic performance. It is 13,920 mm long over couplings, 2,986 mm wide and 2,425 mm high above rail top. The whole body is made of steel. Tare weight is 23 t, the loading volume is 92 m3 and payloads of up to 77 t can be carried - 5.5 t more than in earlier TVSZ gondola wagon types. The resulting maximum axle-load is thus 25 t. The wagon is mounted on Model 18-9855 Barber bogies and is designed for a top service speed of 120 km/h when loaded or empty. The distance between bogie pivots is 8,650 mm.

As an example of the operating costs of the Model 12-9869 wagons, TVSZ cited the instance of moving a load of coal from the mining village of Erunakovo in Kemerovskaya oblast (in the Kuzbass district, near Novosibirsk) to the port of Nakhodka, in Primorsky kray, around 100 km from Vladivostok. This is a run of around 6,000 km. Using a Model 12-9869 wagon the cost works out at 281 RUB (around 6.5 EUR) per tonne, or 20 % less compared with a standard gondola used in Russia and the CIS. Supposing a train of 100 of these wagons is used, the total savings of this train are at 2.16 million RUB (around 50,300 EUR) compared with a train of standard gondolas with a 69 t payload and mounted on older Model 18-100 bogies with a 23.5 t axle load.

The right-hand photo shows a new Model 12-9937 multi-purpose, drop-bottom gondola. This has a loading volume of 92 m3 and a payload of 75 t, and is mounted on Barber bogies. Maxi-mum axle-load is 25 t. The wagon is designed for a top service speed of 120 km/h. Let us again take the example of the Erunakovo to Nakhodka coal run, where using this particular wagon type the cost is reduced to 255 RUB (6 EUR, a saving of 18 %) per tonne. Using a rake of 100 of these wagons this means a total saving of 1.92 million RUB (around 44,650 EUR) compared with a train of standard multi-purpose gondolas with discharge hoppers, mounted on older Model 18-100 bogies with a 23.5 t axle-load and a 69 t payload. The exhibit was built in August 2013 and carries the number 820000.

Behind the gondola can be seen a new Model 19-9870 hopper wagon. This is designed for the transport of mineral fertilisers, including the chemically aggressive kind, which need protection from the elements. It is 14,720 mm long over couplings, 3,187 mm wide and 4,764 mm high above rail top. The distance between bogie pivots is 10,500 mm. There are four loading hatches on top and six hoppers underneath for discharging. Compared with existing standard covered hopper wagons, the Model 19-9870 has a loading volume of 101 m3 (7 m3 more) and a tare weight of 23.5 t. A payload of up to 76.5 t (an increase of 5.5 t compared with existing models of standard wagons) can be carried, resulting in a maximum axle-weight of 25 t. The wagon is mounted on Model 18-9855 Barber bogies and is designed for a top service speed of 120 km/h. It is calculated that one Model 19-9870 can generate savings of around 200,000 RUB per annum.

These three exhibits are among the vehicle types listed by the Russian Federal Tariff Agency (FST, Federalnaya sluzhba po tarifam) as „innovative“ according to the methodology worked out by VNIIZhT. According to the tariff No. 61-T/1 issued by FST on 9 April 2013 for „innovative“ wagons, discounts are applicable for the movement of these vehicles in trains formed of empty stock, the scale depending on the distance covered. The TVSZ new gondolas attract discounts of between 10 and 30 %, while for the hopper the discounts range between 6 and 7 %.

On 12 September 2013 Sibirskaya ugolnaya energeticheskaya kompaniya (SUEK, Siberian Coal and Power Company) awarded TVSZ a contract for 6,000 gondola wagons mounted on Barber bogies. The contract runs for five years, with SUEK able to receive the wagons only during a three-year period. The wagons, which will be equipped with discharge hoppers, are specified as Model 12-9853, with a 25-t axle-load and a payload capacity of 75 t. The vehicles are listed as „innovative“, the Barber bogies contributing to this description, ensuring greater operational safety and also helping reduce life cycle costs compared with other models. SUEK expects to increase the capacity at loading points and in ports where the coal is exported by 8 % and to reduce transport costs since these wagons will attract a special reduced tariff and have a greater load capacity.

According to the FST’s 61-t/1 tariff directive, owners of „innovative“ gondolas produced by TVSZ may be entitled to a reduction of 26.5 % on tariffs charged for empty stock workings. TVSZ started batch production of Model 12-9853 gondolas fitted with Barber bogies with an increased axle-load of 25 t in June 2013. By the end of 2013 TVSZ is planning to produce around 1,000 of these wagons.

SUEK currently has a fleet of around 20,000 wagons, but its total demand for wagons is around 48,000 vehicles. In 2012 SUEK was one of the first wagon owners in Russia which tested TVSZ-built Model 12-9853 gondola wagons in commercial operation. They have now covered over 130,000 km in supervised cooperation, confirming that the savings calculated for their design have been borne out in practice.

The design of the two bogie types shown here is based on that of types used in the USA, and these two models have already established themselves in the Russian market. The bogie on the left is Amsted Rail’s 18-9836 Motion Control model, this being in fact a 25 t axle-load version of the Motion Control bogie, developed by Amsted Rail (represented in Russia via its Transolutions SNG subsidiary) for Russian and CIS use. The bogie, based on the Type M976 developed in 2003 for railways in the USA, has a 1,850 mm wheelbase and a maximum weight of 5 t. It is designed for a top service speed of 120 km/h when wagon is both loaded and running empty. By late September 2013 144 Motion Control bogies for 72 gondola wagons had been sold.

At EXPO 1520 Amsted Rail and OVK signed an agreement under which OVK is to receive full intellectual property rights to this bogie type, and will also have authorisation to issue new licences to produce Motion Control bogies for other Russian and CIS manufacturers of railway rolling stock. Amsted Rail and OVK also agreed to establish a joint venture for designing and manufacturing new wagon components.

The other bogie shown was the Model 18-9855, also referred to as the Barber S-2-R. It has essentially similar design characteristics to the Model 18-9836, being built for a 25 t axle-load, weighing around 5 t and designed for a top service speed of 120 km/h. The Barber model is regarded by TVSZ as the main feature of its wagons. By late September 2013, since the official start of production in January 2012, the Tikhvin works had produced over 2,500 Barber S-2-R bogies for both 23.5 t and 25 t axle-loads.

OVK’s Tikhvin works recently signed a licence agreement with Tatravagónka for the production of Barber bogies and side frame and bolsters in the recently built Tatravagónka foundry in Slovakia.

In August 2013 TVSZ signed a long term co-operation agreement with Transvagonmash (TVM). The latter was founded in September 2007 and now has five wagon repair works, some of these bought from RZD. The agreement provides for the establishment of three joint service centres for the maintenance and repair of TVSZ-built wagons mounted on Barber bogies. These wagons can now be overhauled at 16 service centres across the whole 1,520 mm gauge network, including most of the CIS countries and Baltic states. This is because in early 2013 TVSZ signed a long term cooperation agreement with VRK-2 (Vagonnaya remontnaya kompaniya-2, ie. Wagon Repair Company 2, which is an RZD subsidiary active since 1 July 2011), Sibirskaya vagonoremontnaya kom-paniya (Siberian Wagon Repair Works) of Novokuznetsk and the various railway administrations of the CIS countries.

Forming part of the TVSZ stand was that of the Nanotechnology Centre of Composites (Nanotechnologichesky tsentr kompozitov, NTsK) of Moskva, founded in January 2012. This company presented its prototype loading hatch covers made using polymer composites. These covers are designed specifically for hopper wagons built by TVSZ. The result is a reduction of wagon tare weight.

The composite hatch weighs up to two times lighter than a conventional hatch cover, made of steel, weighing around 82 kg. Moreover, the new hatch covers have a lifespan of 30 years, compared with between five and ten years for steel ones, depending on the amount of wear and tear caused by freight aggressiveness. Another advantage is the life cycle cost, since polymer composite loading hatch covers only need inspection, if required, every four years, and this can be coupled with a general overhaul of the wagon. NTsK plans to start b atch production of these covers in late 2014.

TVSZ manufactures four types of wagon, whose design is based on those developed by Starfire Engineering & Technologies of Lawrence, Canada. OVK has also established a long-term working relationship with Timken of Ohio, which is a major manufacturer of cassette axle-box bearings. Under this agreement, wagons produced by TVSZ and fitted with Barber S-2-R 25 t axle-load bogies will also be equipped with Timken cassette bearings. This agreement also includes some collaborative work between Timken and OVK targeted at optimising the performance of modern Russian freight wagons.

On 28 October 2013 leasing company RAIL1520 and rail operator Akron-Trans of St. Petersburg signed a contract for 400 new hopper wagons for mineral fertilisers These are to be built at TVSZ and equipped with Barber bogies with a 23.5 t axle-load. They are to be delivered by January 2014, under a three-year operating lease. Viktor Ivanov, Akron-Trans CEO, stated: „The Russian mineral fertiliser market is a prospective developing business. In 2013, the market situation is slightly worse than in 2012. However, the total mineral fertiliser output remains the same. We provide these wagons to reduce life-cycle costs, to increase wagon payloads and to cut transport costs, thanks to a discount of up to 7 %, approved by the Russian Federal Tariff Agency (FST), for empty stock workings.“

At EXPO 1520, OVK and Wabtec Corporation (USA) signed a joint venture agreement to introduce the latest technology for heavyweight freight vehicles and their components into the Russian and CIS railfreight market. The immediate focus is on the Russian network, where the weight and length of freight trains is on the increase, as is the size and capacity of wagons. Both partners plan to start production in Tikhvin in 2014. The main consumers of the products will include TVSZ together with other wagon and repair works. Initially, components are to be supplied to the Russian market from USA, with an increasing amount of production being centred in Russia over the coming years. The joint venture is to hold certain intellectual property rights to the designers of these components, which will be of an innovative nature.

15 October 2013 OVK announced that it had joined the Association of American Railroads (AAR). OVK has thus become the first Russian member of AAR, and sees as its main objective the exchange of experience and involvement in ARR’s research and operational programmes for the introduction of state of the art rail technology on the 1,520 mm gauge network, including technologies designed for heavy freights.