UWC railcars twice less expensive to maintain than standard cars

Dmitry Losev, Deputy CEO for Technological Development at United Wagon Company (UWC), gave a presentation at the 16th International Conference Transportation Market: Interaction and Partnership. The presentation’s theme was the cost of maintaining freight railcars in good working order.

The UWC senior manager compared total running costs per one million km for a new generation car on 25 tf bogies made at UWC’s Tikhvin Freight Car Building Plant with running costs for a car on 18-100 bogies and similar. Experience shows that it costs two times less to maintain a UWC gondola car in good working order than to maintain a standard gondola.

The calculation takes account of all repairs and scheduled maintenance costs associated with the car and its components, and is based on the estimated life-cycle cost of the car and the economic effect from all its operations during the considered period.

A Tikhvin car will need to undergo only one scheduled maintenance per one million km, while a standard car will require maintenance work on six occasions (including one major overhaul). Also factual operating data for the given run time show that UWC gondolas are uncoupled for current maintenance no more than five times per one million km, while standard cars require uncoupling for maintenance up to 12 times (the statistics from RZD show that the average run of a standard gondola car between current uncoupling repairs stood at no more than 50,000 km in 2017, which entails two uncouplings on average between scheduled maintenance carried out every 160,000 km).

Mr. Losev pointed out that wheelsets are the most expensive to repair at present, as those are difficult to obtain. Wheels on standard 18-100 bogies and analogs operate for a maximum of 500,000 km before they need an overhaul, compared with one million km for wheels on a bogie with an 25 tf axle load. So, wheels on standard bogies will require two major overhauls when those on 25 tf bogies will require only one.

Overall, adding together the number of required repairs and their cost for new- and old-generation cars per one million km of operation, servicing of a UWC gondola costs less than one million roubles, while the cost for a standard gondola is almost twice that amount (up to two million roubles).

Mr. Losev, Deputy CEO for Technological Development at United Wagon Company, said:

“When choosing between rolling stock, operators need to take all factors into account, and not only the purchase price of the railcar. Technical and commercial characteristics of the railcar fleet are important, because they ultimately determine how much it will cost to maintain the fleet in working order throughout its lifecycle. Purchase of railcars is a good investment, but the choice of rolling stock must be carefully considered. New generation cars help operators to work efficiently, and to allocate investments in a rational way.”

Total operating costs of railcars per 1 million km:




Scheduled maintenance costs, thousand roubles



Number of times scheduled maintenance is required



Spending on scheduled maintenance, thousand roubles



Current uncoupling repairs costs, thousand roubles



Number of times current uncoupling repairs are required



Spending on current uncoupling repairs, thousand roubles



Wheelset overhauls costs, thousand roubles



Number of wheelset overhauls required



Spending on wheelset overhauls, thousand roubles

1 000


TOTAL SPENDING, thousand roubles

1 780