VISITING Spain last month with President Vladimir Putin, Russian Minister of Railways Nikolai Aksyonenko travelled to the Las Matas premises of Patentes Talgo to sign an agreement for a joint Spanish-Russian company. Destined to build gauge-convertible rolling stock for services between Russia and countries west of Belarus, the company will be formally established in Moscow on June 29.

Talgo Rus will work with Ganz of Hungary as a subcontractor to build gauge convertible rolling stock and components such as bogies. Talgo developed a gauge changing freight bogie in 1995 (RG 1.96 p42), and Russian Railways will be keen to exploit this to handle export and transit freight to and from western Europe. There are suggestions that Talgo Rus could build 250 freight wagons and 500 passenger coaches a year. An initial order may be for eight Talgo 200 trains reported to be worth Pts15bn. These are likely to be destined for Moscow - Berlin services, but they may also be used on Russian domestic routes such as Moscow - St Petersburg.

Talgo America Inc announced on June 6 that it had set up a joint company with Livingstone Rebuild Center. Last year LRC had a turnover of US$20m, with much of its revenue coming from the 60 locos it has available for lease. Talgo LRC will offer a complete locomotive maintenance and logistics service.