The mayor of Nizhny Novgorod, Yuri Shalabayev, announced in March that the city will buy 11 retro trams. In early April, the Department of Economic Development of the Administration of Nizhny Novgorod posted on the electronic platform an application for leasing 11 tram cars for 945.9 million rubles. They should be retro-designed, but have a modern feel, including free Wi-Fi. The arrival of the cars was expected this summer, exactly in time for the 800th anniversary of the city.
In principle, the message is clear and historically supported. It is known that the first electric tramway on the territory of modern Russia appeared precisely in Nizhny Novgorod in May 1896, on the eve of the opening of the All-Russian art, trade and industrial exhibition. A 4.3-kilometer single-track line led from the main entrance of the exhibition past the railway station, through the fair to the pontoon bridge over the Oka. True, by that time electric trams were already running in the Russian Empire: in Kiev, but now it is a different state.
It seemed to many that it was not very prudent to buy 11 semi-antique cars and spend almost a billion rubles on it for their short-term use in a limited period of time. To which the administration replied that the cars will be operated after the anniversary. In this case, it is not clear why overpay for retro appearance. The same money can buy 17 modern ones. And “retro” is very conditional – a remake, an imitation.
– The meaning of the purchase is not clear to me. There is no infrastructure for them in Nizhny Novgorod, and there is practically no tourist flow on the existing routes. That is, they will be used mainly by the townspeople. But retro cars are not adapted to modern needs and conditions of transportation. In particular, they have wooden benches for passengers. That is, the purchase does not solve either the problem of creating an attractive opportunity for tourists, or saturating the city network with modern trams, ”says Sergey Izmailov, general director of Forward and head of strategic development at Factory of Composites, perplexed.
Sergei knows what he is talking about, since one of the companies he runs is engaged, in particular, in the production of tram bodies from composite materials. According to him, the technology allows you to get any look: even super modern, even retro. And most importantly – for less money.
Speaking of money. One carriage will cost Nizhny Novgorod 85.9 million rubles. Comparison of tram purchases in 2020-2021 made in other Russian cities is by no means in our favor.
Nizhny Tagil purchased three modern low-floor trams at 37.3 million rubles apiece. The capital bought ninety cars – 51.44 million rubles each. For Izhevsk and Perm, single-section low-floor cars cost 47 million. Novokuznetsk purchased two-section low-floor trams at 67.4 million rubles per carriage.
True, St. Petersburg bought trams more expensive than Nizhny Novgorod plans to do – 92 million rubles each. But with a 7% difference in price, the capacity is 1.5-2 times higher. Even if not talking about comfort.
Ulyanovsk bought tram cars on lease at a price close to the Nizhny Novgorod bid – 89.65 million rubles, but the purchase was made under the Safe and High-Quality Roads program, and the municipal budget paid only 40 percent of the cost.
At the end of last week, the administration of Nizhny Novgorod withdrew the tram application from the public procurement portal. But literally a few hours later, an explanation appeared: “the purchase was canceled in order to clarify the documentation. The edits are of a technical nature. The amount of equipment purchased and the funds allocated will remain unchanged. In the near future, the updated document will be posted on the public procurement website.”
In a word, the story is far from complete.