The latest in Russian gauge rail technology went on show as Expo 1520 opened on September 11.
More than 325 companies from 29 countries are taking part in this year’s exhibition and conference in the Russian capital.
At a glitzy opening ceremony Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin acknowledged the contribution of Western partnerships to the development of Russia’s rail industry.
The French and German Ambassadors also spoke at the ceremony to emphasise this point. This was mirrored by contributions from SNCF’s president, Guillaume Pepy, and representatives from Alstom and Siemens at the conference sessions.
However, such technology transfer is not all a one way street. Speaking to Global Rail News, Russian Railways chief engineer, Valentin Gapanovich, suggested that Russia led the world in the development of gas turbines locomotives. He advised that lessons from a prototype, introduced six years ago were used to develop a production version, of which 40 are to be built.
The event, which is held at Moscow’s Shcherbinka rail research centre, features a six kilometre-long circular test track.
One of the highlights of Expo 1520 is the “dynamic exposition” – a parade of numerous historic and modern locomotives on the test track. Leading the parade was an 0-4-0 Ov steam locomotive built in 1903.
Although the last locomotive in the parade did not look much different from other modern two-unit locos, from its characteristic turbine whistle it was clear that this was the GT1, the 300 tonne 8,300 kW two-unit prototype gas turbine locomotive.
At last year’s Expo 1520 it set a world record hauling a 16,000 tonne train of 170 wagons showing that Gaponovich is right to consider GT1 to be a world leader.
Report by David Shirres