First stage of Ekaterinburg’s new low floor tram wraps up

FIFA’s requirements for transportation of World Cup guests include low floor transport, accessible to physically-challenged passengers
Share 14 August 2015
Donat Sorokin/TASS
Low floor three-section streetcar 71-931, unveiled at the INNOPROM 2015 international expo

The first stage of tests of the low floor streetcar, to be launched in time for World Cup 2018. The 71-409 tram model was developed at the Uralmash factory, part of the Uralvagonzavod corporation. During the tests the vehicle traversed 100 kilometres, said Denis Medvedev, director of Ekaterinburg’s West Tram Depo, emphasizing: “The tests were a success.”

The new tram has a key feature – it’s low floors. Alexander Khomyakov, leading engineer of testing adjustment, noted: “All digital equipment is controlled through the on-board computer, located in the driver’s cabin. We’re also using an effective anti-skidding and anti-slipping system.”

FIFA’s transportation requirements include using low floor vehicles, which are wheelchair-accessible. Evgeny Kuyveshev, Sverdlovsk region governor, previously said: “Ekaterinburg administration was tasked with drawing up specifications for city routes, and Uralmash was designated responsible for bringing to life the three-section low floor tram construction project.”

Apart from low floors, the new streetcar is capable of riding on tracks of various width, which allows its use in Crimean cities, which have narrow tracks. The new tram was also designed with high-speed lines in mind: thus it’s capable of driving with the speed of 75 kilometres per hour.

The next testing stage will carry nominal weights: passengers will be replaced with sandbags. The loaded tram will have to traverse 900 kilometres in the depot and city routes.

Low floor buses

58 newly-build low floor buses, to be deployed ahead of World Cup 2018, with the total cost of 704 million rubles will be shipped to Ekaterinburg by the end the summer. Chairman of the Government of the Sverdlovsk Denis Pasler said: “We’ve purchased the first batch of the MAZ-203L65 buses. The first 25 vehicles have arrived to Ural, the rest will come by the end of August. This is only the beginning. In September we will announce a tender for 47 more buses. Within one year we will replace 30% of buses in our city.”

The MAZ-203L65 model has a low floor and they’re also equipped with lowering ramps, special areas for wheelchair users. Moreover, these are green vehicles as they use clean burning gas for fuel. Driver Evgeniy Melnikov noted: “The buses were driven to Ekaterinburg from Belarus. We’ve officially accepted the shipment as the vehicles were of top quality. One gas tank is enough to last for 600 kilometers – three to four workdays. In September we plan on taking them to the streets.”

Alexey Pryadein, head of the economic department of the city administration, noted that the buses were purchased 40% under market price. He added: “The sources provided financing. 174 million rubles came from the World Cup 2018 federal preparation program, the rest was split 50/50 betweenthe Sverdlovsk regional and Ekaterinburg municipal budgets.”