RUSSIA: Petersburg Tram Mechanical Factory is to supply 45 trams to St Petersburg Tramways under a contract won following a competitive tender.

The contract, which was expected to be formally signed during May, is worth 645m roubles, under which PTMZ would supply the operator with a further 29 model 71-134 cars, in addition to the 30 of that design already operating in the city. The remaining 16 trams would be of a new design, classified 71-152 and branded 'Pioneer'.

Based on a prototype car delivered in 2006 and deployed successfully on several routes, these partially low-floor cars allow better access for disabled passengers and those with heavy luggage. The cars are more energy efficient and make greater use of electronic control systems.

The more spacious interior and modern exterior is intended to replicate the standards set by cars supplied elsewhere in Europe. More than 60% of each vehicle is low floor, the first Russian design to achieve this benchmark, according to the manufacturer.

H PTMZ has shipped the last two of 10 LM-99 AVMN cars to Khabarovsk (RG 4.08 p210). The cars were ordered following successful trials of a prototype, and all the vehicles were expected to enter service ahead of the city's 150th anniversary celebrations on May 31.