RUSSIA: Private sector freight forwarder Transgarant has signed the first major agreement to purchase wagons from Tikhvin Railway Car Building Plant, a state-of-the-art factory being developed by ICT Group on a site 200 km east of St Petersburg in Leningrad oblast.

Transgarant has agreed to order 15 000 wagons from TVSZ in 2011-14, taking delivery of 2 000 in 2011, 3 000 the following year and 5 000 in each of the next two years. They will be a mix of open, flat and hopper vehicles, with the prices fixed as firm orders are placed.

The US$1bn TVSZ plant will produce hopper, open and container wagons to designs by Starfire Engineering & Technologies of the USA and Russia's Engineering Centre of Railcar Builders. They will bring North American technologies to the Russian market, and annual production capacity is expected to reach 13 000 wagons, 65 000 wheelsets and 80 000 tonnes of castings.

On August 26 TVSZ announced that it had obtained federal certification for its 19-9835 fertilizer wagon, and an initial batch was to be tested by Freight One. TVSZ said the capacity of 101 m3 is 7 m3 more than existing designs, and the 23·5 tonne axleload wagon offers larger loading hatches and a lower centre of gravity.