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Russian Railways invests RUB 36 bn in train safety

October 24, 2012, 21:49 UTC+3
One of the most serious problems remains the poor quality of bogie castings for freight wagons
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MOSCOW, October 24 (Itar-Tass) —— Since its foundation Russian Railways has spent 36 billion roubles on Train Safety Improvement Programme

Ensuring a safe transport process had been and remained one of the Company’s most important tasks during all the stages of railway reform in Russia, Vadim Morozov, First Vice-President of Russian Railways, said at a recent scientific and practical conference on train safety at the Moscow State University of Railway Engineering (MIIT).

The conference was attended by government representatives, managers and experts from Russia’s railways, design and industrial research institutes and academics and lecturers at transport institutes from Russia, the CIS and other countries, as well as by staff from companies working on the development of technical tools and technologies for rail transport.

The company spent more than 3.3 billion roubles on implementing the Train Safety Improvement Programme in 2011 and more than 36 billion roubles since in foundation on October 1, 2003.

In 2012 alone, the company paid more than 117,000 employees in senior management positions and professions responsible for traffic safety and security more than 2.8 billion roubles in salaries and awarded 114 workers working directly on facilitating the transportation process the medal “For Traffic Safety”.

According to Morozov, one of the most serious problems remains the poor quality of bogie castings for freight wagons. This year, there have been 19 cases of fractured bogies which led to derailments, three of which were classified as a crash.

Research and studies by expert organisations revealed the main causes of these fractures on the lateral bogie frames and the appearance of fatigue cracks to be violations on the part of manufacturers when casting steel and conducting heat treatment and the low effectiveness of non-destructive and self-monitoring production control.

In this regard, with the support of Russia’s Federal Transport Supervisory Service (Rostransnadzor), work is constantly being carried out to prevent the use on the Russian Railways’ infrastructure of cast components on bogies which do not meet the requirements governing rail transport safety as laid down by Russian legislation. In particular, the most dangerous freight wagons are being decommissioned and additional inspections of side frames conducted using defectoscopes, Russian Railways said.

According to instructions from the Federal Transport Supervisory Service, in 2011 more than 400 defective side frames were withdrawn from service. Using defectoscopes during technical servicing on trains has led to wagon inspectors finding 8,791 defective side frames so far this year, which is 2.2 times more than the figure of 3,911 units discovered in the previous year.

Russian Railways has stepped up its work with factory inspectors to control the components it accepts. In 2011, the Company’s acceptance control inspectors rejected 8 percent of the casted components for bogies presented to the quality control department, which is two times more than in 2010.

However, these circumstances are unacceptable to Russian Railways, which has repeatedly informed domestic and foreign wagon construction plants about the low quality of the wagons they produce in order to prevent the release of low-quality products.

In addition, the company has made proposals to tighten the responsibility for complying with process technology, modernise foundry and casting operations, implement a warranty system, ensure the timely withdrawal of defective components and products from service and monitor all these areas, as well as to take out risk insurance to cover losses from traffic safety violations. However, manufacturers and owners of the rolling stock had not undertaken serious efforts to rectify the situation.

On October 17, 2012, the Rail Transport Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States adopted a Unified Joint Action Plan for the Quality Control of Technical Products used in the Broad Gauge 1,520 mm Space.

Russian Railways has submitted a proposal to develop and approve this document to the heads of all railway administrations which belong to the Council.

The plan calls for an improvement of the main safety standards and the principle of guaranteed liability on the part of infrastructure owners, manufacturers, product suppliers and rolling stock owners. The document should serve as a guide for the development of relevant laws and regulations at both national and international level, Russian Railways said.

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