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Rail transport should fit into the urban infrastructure

Will rail transport become the most popular transport in Russia? What difference will the development of the city trams, commuter trains and the metro make to the passenger in the near future? How should the rolling stock be renewed most effectively to ensure the cost of the new wagons is recouped? These were the questions discussed at the special session on the Advantages of Rail Transport: Comfort, Speed, Ecology held as part of the the Transport of Russia IV International Forum.

To take advantage of the features of rail transport – environmental friendliness, price and speed – old-generation wagons must be replaced, says Sergei Kaletin, Deputy General Director for Technical Development and Chief Engineer of the First Freight Company.  The first thing to do is to introduce a subsidy scheme for disposal of discarded rail rolling stock.

Sergei Kaletin cited some figures: of the 1,150,000 wagons running in Russia today, 950,000 will reach the end of their service life in 2013. A disposal programme will help rolling stock owners to acquire modern rolling stock instead of extending the service life of the old wagons. A disposal programme would also help preserve the Russian rolling stock production capacity.

Roman Savushkin, General Director of the Unified Rolling Stock Company also spoke in support of introducing new rolling stock. He said the new heavy wagons were 40-50 times more efficient than the standard ones. He is sure that domestic producers could develop a programme for building heavy wagons within two or three years.

Russian Deputy Transport Minister Alexei Tsydenov revealed that one of the measures to stimulate rolling stock operators to buy new wagons would be introduction of special tariffs for them, which the Transport Ministry is currently developing jointly with the Federal Tariff Service.

Oleg Sienko, General Director of Uralvagonzavod, spoke of the latest ideas in the field of rail transport being introduced by his corporation in order to compete in the rapidly developing rolling stock building industry.

The participants also discussed the significance of rail transport for urban agglomerations. Alexei Tsydenov, summing up the discussion, stressed that development of rail transport was the key factor for resolving the transport problems in megalopolises and for environmental protection and greater road safety. To create demand for rail transport in the cities, it should be neatly fitted into the city infrastructure, which must provide convenient stops, direct access to kindergartens, polyclinics and retail centres. 

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