RUSSIAN Railways is implementing a sweeping reorganisation programme that sees the number of regional managements cut from 19 to six. Foreshadowed last May at a special railway congress held in Moscow (RG 7.96 p403), the restructuring has now been approved by both parliament and government. Each of the new regions has been structured to serve a major economic or geographical area.

On December 1 the Baikal - Amur region was abolished and its routes placed under the jurisdiction of the Far East region. RZD routes on Sakhalin are being transferred to the local government and the Trans-Baikal, Kemerovo and Krasnoyarsk regions are due to disappear by the end of 1998.

RZD is pursuing a three-tier organisational structure, with the six regions reporting to the Ministry of Railways and directing field operations. Considerable progress has been made in abolishing RZD’s 104 divisions, and all are expected to vanish by 2000. Studies produced by the Russian Railway Research Institute point to the operating efficiencies to be gained from eliminating most regional and all divisional boundaries; the restructuring should also open the way for RZD to reduce its establishment in line with traffic, which has declined by 50% since 1991. At the end of 1996 RZD had 1639200 employees, down 2·9% on 1995.

Last year RZD carried 1 424 billion passengers, down 22% on 1995. Freight fared better, down only 11% at 907·6 million tonnes. Nonetheless, RZD made a profit of R1800bn on income totalling R81000bn.

Intermodal to arrest decline

The Ministry of Railways has adopted an intermodal development plan which hopes to attract foreign capital to modernise existing container services and introduce piggyback over the next five to six years. Dedicated services are to be introduced linking Moscow with Brest on the Belarus-Polish border, Helsinki, Vladivostok, Chop on Ukraine’s border with Slovakia and Hungary, Riga, and Berlin via Warszawa. Two intermodal terminals are to be built in Moscow, along with similar facilities in St Petersburg, Novorossiysk on the Black Sea, Nizhni Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Rostov-na-Donu.

During 1997, RZD plans to launch a Moscow - Helsinki service with 100 new piggyback wagons; a similar operation is planned for the Moscow - Berlin route, and services to the Baltic ports will follow.

Rolling stock venture

RZD’s constituent regions hold 50% of the shares in a joint venture established to provide modern passenger locomotives and rolling stock. Three banks own 19·8%; the Novocherkassk, Kolomna, Tver and Demikhovo rolling stock factories 12·2%; the Ministry of Railways’ wagon and carriage repair works 11·3%; and the Railway Research Institute 1·7%.

While RZD’s long-distance passenger traffic is still falling sharply - last year only 137 million were carried compared with 150 million in 1995 - commuter traffic is growing. This is reflected in deliveries that manufacturers in the new venture expect to make in the next few years. Demikhovo expects to produce 4100 EMU cars for commuter services by 2000 and Tver 950 sleeping cars. The Ludinovo factory is to produce 212 DMU cars over this period.

Future long-distance rolling stock requirements will be met in part with refurbished vehicles. RZD’s October region has established a joint venture with Spanish manufacturers (RG 2.96 p6) to rebuild coaches after 25 years of service. Up to 200 coaches a year will pass through the Tosno and Tikhvin plants, with Russian-built components eventually replacing Spanish imports, except for vacuum toilets and air-conditioning systems. o