Russia plans reserve fleet of railway wagons for ‘state tasks’

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Russia plans to establish a reserve fleet of railway wagons for “state tasks”, according to a letter seen by Reuters, as state needs expand because of its military operation in Ukraine.

Valentina Matviyenko, chair of the upper house of parliament and a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, said this week that, as Russia now had a “mo-bilisation economy”, private rail firms should support state interests and allow Russian Railways to use their wagons.

The letter, dated March 22, says the reserve rail-cars would enable “transportation of socially sig-nificant cargoes” and asks Russian Railways, the federal anti-monopoly service, the ministry of trans-port and the main industry association to respond by April 10. None of these responded to a Reuters re-quest for comment.

State monopoly Russian Railways controls tracks and infrastructure, but the more than 1.1 million rail wagons in Russia are majority-owned by private firms including Freight One, Globaltrans, Transcontainer and the Russian Railways subsidiary, Federal Freight.

Matviyenko said she planned to ask the Security Council – which is chaired by Putin and advises him on policy including the use of Russian military forces abroad – to look into private rail operators.

The head of Russian Railways, Oleg Belozerov, told Security Council members on Tuesday that the state operator should be given about 10% of the existing fleet to use.

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it called a special opera-tion to degrade its southern neighbour’s military capabilities and root out people it called dangerous nationalists.—Reuters

 

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