History of the plant

«…What a pleasure to climb up the ancient rampart where our city met the Tatar bloodthirsty invasion more than once. Here meadows, Borki village, two towers near the river Oka, the sleeper impregnation plant above the quiet swell of turbid water pleased our eyes…».

The second part of the XIX century was a period of great railway construction in Russia. Since 1851 NIKOLAEVSKAYA, NIZHEGORODSKAYA, RYAZANSKAYA, YAROSLAVSKAYA railways started their operation one by one.

At the beginning of the XX century Russia was the second country in the world having the longest railway net after the USA.

From the moment of railway appearance some arrangements were made to prevent and slow down the decay of sleepers. Under the construction of the Nikolaevskaya railway, preservative impregnation of wood under pressure was firstly used in Russia for production of industrial goods. In 1848-1849 impregnated sleepers were laid on railway tracks of many kilometers. Russian railways usually had wood sleepers not only because wood is a more cost effective and available material but also because of other advantages allowed easily performing the assembly procedure of sleepers -  sleeper grid and repair work.

At that moment sleeper impregnation plants were founded. One of them was in Volkhv and three others were near construction of the Nikolaevskaya railway. In 1877 the plant on Moskovsko-Nizhegorodskaya railway was built.

On March 5, 1865 after construction of the bridge across the river Oka, trains started regularly running on the way from Moscow to Ryazan. K.O.von Meck, a merchant, economist and engineer, built this way.

Within the first year of its operation this railroad earned net profit and the building costs were moderate. It was a good proof of its profitability for foreign and domestic entrepreneurs. Before following construction of the railroad to Sasovo, in 1880 von Meck built a saw mill and a treatment plant on the Oka river bank in 5 km from the station “Ryazan”. Later they were combined into one sleeper impregnation plant. The saw mill was well equipped. There were German power-saw benches and a power station with a steam drive. The plant produced not only sleepers but also other wood building parts for construction of stations, foreman houses and service rooms. There were German and Danish technologies for impregnation at the sleeper impregnation plant. Raw materials were obtained from domestic and neighboring regions – Tula, Kaluga, Tambov along the river Oka and its feeders. Outputs were delivered to areas of the construction also by river.

Besides the main activity at the Ryazan sleeper impregnation plant, there was a research of wood preservation, testing of different preservatives and development of their new applications. Some scientists, railroaders contributed to sleeper impregnation sphere, visited the plant. B.N.Vedenisov was one of them. The railway college in Ryazan was named in his honor.

In 1918 the plant was nationalized and passed into the state ownership. The civil war and havoc also affected on its operation. It was becoming less and less powerful. There were no reconstructions and new technologies. Working conditions took a turn for the worse. But it lasted up to the national meeting of railroaders in 1935.

After this meeting the plant reconstruction started. Then the plant obtained a narrow-gauge steam locomotive. But the Great Patriotic War stopped the reconstruction. At the end of 1941 the plant was evacuated to Omsk where it was combined with a domestic sleeper impregnation plant at the station “Kulunda”. Only in 1944 the plant was mounted at the previous location. The production was started up with great difficulty.  Specialists of the plant had to adapt captured equipment and develop unconventional one. There were no accommodations. Some barracks were used as hostel.

In 1950 the plant obtained a part of special sleeper impregnation equipment and two steam cranes PK-6 for loading of impregnated sleepers. Two gantry electric cranes with the load capacity 7.5 tons were mounted for unloading of raw materials. New narrow-gauge steam locomotives and a rolling stock appeared. Social sphere also was renewed together with resumption of production. Some barracks having one and two-room apartments without facilities were built. Accommodation issue started to be solved.

The Ministry of Railways established learning courses for masters of impregnation, crane operators, operators of impregnation and other specialists at Ryazan sleeper impregnation plant. Within 35 years more than 1000 people graduated from these courses to work on this plant.

Up to 1960 the Ryazan sleeper impregnation plant as other plants was a part of the wood conservation trust system. This system provided the plant with new equipment, replacement parts, pipes, isolation valves. The trust system prepared the plan of reconstruction of this plant and other war-affected plants. The wood impregnation schedule regularly increased and in 1960 it was equal to 145 000 m3 per year. In this year the trust system was abolished and the Moscow railway started to control the plant.

The aim was an increase of production volume of impregnated sleepers under minimal costs of production. That was why the provision of materials and replacement parts became worse. Staff was reduced, wage rates were decreased and wage fund was cut down. The construction schedule was not fulfilled. There was no fire protection at the plant and the fire line was not purchased besides volume of raw materials inventory annually increased.

Numerous commissions paid attention to the above-mentioned facts, noted disadvantages in acts and stated time limits of their elimination…But superior authorities did not take proper measures because of lack of funds as they said but the impregnation schedule constantly rose. There was a trouble situation when the schedule fulfillment did not correspond to equipment production, preventive fire-fighting regulations and labor safety. As a result, staff conflicting views arose. Masters and qualified employees started to leave the plant. From 1960 to 1970 there were five directors at the plant but they all could not improve the operation. But some of them were experienced and smart engineers. The crisis came in May, 1970.

The plant just recovered after the greatest in that century spring flood. White and impregnated sleepers were mixed. Their stock exceeded the storage standard in 2-3 times. Fire happened in May 28 at 11 o’clock 50 minutes in the middle of the wood storage warehouse. A fire-engine could not approach to fire because of bulk of sleepers. There were no other means of firefighting. The fire became great to the moment of a city fire-engine arrival… A former wood warehouse became awful after this fire: rail tracks were rolled up into an arc, a gantry crane was deformed and brought down, equipment was damaged, and sleepers were burnt.

The moral of employees was depressed. The position of the plant director was unoccupied for a long period of time – no one wanted to work with the site of fire. Only in July a new director came – Victor Nikolaevich MOSOLOV, an engineer, 34 years old. Rebirth of the Ryazan sleeper impregnation plant was connected with his name.

Becoming a director of the plant V.N.Mosolov mobilized the staff to overcome consequences of the disaster. The promising plan of technical and social development of the enterprise was prepared under his leadership. This plan started to work from first days and after 2 weeks the plant made outputs.

After L.M.Shklyarenko became a head of the track maintenance service and I.L.Paristyi became a head of the Moscow railway, attention to the plant position from the management significantly improved.

Works for recovery of the plant started from the territory cleaning. Peopled worked tirelessly. Concrete outer perimeter fence was constructed. Access control was implemented at the plant. After recovery of spur railway and crane tracks damaged by fire, a unique stationary fire suppression system was installed at the wood warehouse with carriages on towers. Now in the case of fire not less than 2 powerful water jets can be given at each point of the warehouse within 30 seconds. The fire department was built and twenty-four hour service of fire engine was implemented.

Social and welfare issues were also solved. A dwelling house was quickly repaired.  Thanks to persistence of the director, the plant agreed and started to design accommodations with all facilities and communication nets in village Borki where the plant is located. All self-contained communication bindings were executed. From 1973 to 1975 sewerage networks, water-supply lines and access asphalt roads were built. The first apartment house was tenanted. Other 2 apartment houses were built from 1975 to 1980. The funds for expansion of a kindergarten were also found. At this time supplying of the village with gas started. It took several stages. Firstly the gas-distribution station with enough power allowed connecting natural gas to some micro-districts of Borki village. Reconstruction of the main production started with change of steam pressure into air pressure (more progressive and ecologically safe) in impregnating autoclaves. In 1973 building up of the wall was fulfilled. And in the period of standing idle because of spring flood, ceilings of the main production buildings were replaced within 40 days.

Within decades the plant had to stand idle in spring because the railway spur track was flooded. This problem was solved by a new heightened spur track to the plant. It allowed receiving vans with raw materials the whole year and dispatching outputs. Detrimental downtimes were eliminated. In 1974 low-power large-tonnage gantry cranes for unloading of vans with raw materials were replaced into 10 tons cranes. And later in 1978 6 tons cranes for loading of outputs were replaced into 16 tons diesel electrical cranes.

In 1977 a new steam boiler room with two-drum vertical water-tube boilers was opened. Internal and external heating systems were mounted by own. Maintenance buildings and accommodation houses in the village were connected to central heating.

The impregnation plant realized the project related to expansion of wood warehouse area in the year of its 100 anniversary. The site having 8 ha area with spur broad-gauge, narrow-gauge and crane tracks was constructed by hydra forming in the flood-free field. Powerful cranes appeared and communications were installed at the site. Putting into operation of a broad-gauge diesel locomotive on spur tracks allowed saving demurrage of cars for freight operations and using crane teams more effectively for loading works. Another new object at the plant was a workshop for strengthening of sleepers by screws in order to extend their life time.

At the end of 80s a diesel-generator station was put into operation for stand-alone energy supply in the case if a town power supply network was cut off. In 1991 an automation system for technological process management was introduced.

In 2003 the Ryazan sleeper impregnation plant split from JSC “Russian railways” and became an independent enterprise. Appearance and promotion at the competitive market was difficult but the plant coped with this task and could use all possibilities for qualitative development using innovative types of production and new markets.

In 2005 the plant was formed into a joint-stock company and in 2007 it was privatized. Appearance of an owner interested in effective work of the plant led to active development and modernization of the enterprise. The plant purchased 2 new gantry cranes, a new broad-gauge diesel locomotive and 2 narrow-gauge diesel locomotives. Within 2 years all impregnation equipment (compressors, vacuum machines, boiler room etc.) was upgraded.

In 2006 the plant developed a new product – wooden impregnated poles for power transmission and electrical communication lines. A barker 2ОК-63 was purchased for this purpose and equipment was mounted for impregnation of poles by water-borne wood preservatives.

A special machine for production of wooden poles Morbark С40 made in USA was introduced in order to increase quality of wooden poles and improve production in 2011.

Despite the great volume of concrete product usage, demand for wooden sleepers and poles is always high because impregnation of wood by preservatives is a method leaving no alternatives to fight with fungus and living organism damaging wood. Usage of wooden impregnated sleepers and poles for power transmission and electrical communication lines by customers is the most effective method because of a range of indicators.

Besides the demand for poles for power transmission and electrical communication lines is increasing because of low cost and longer time life in comparison to concrete poles. And installation and repair of wooden sleepers is easier than concrete ones.

Today the Ryazan sleeper impregnation plant is a faster growing enterprise aimed at production of qualitative products and actively works with buyers. The products of the Ryazan sleeper impregnation plant are for exacting and pretentious buyers interested in effective and long exploitation of their railway lines and power transmission and electrical communication lines.

More than 130 years we have produced real sleepers on the basis of the best traditions of the sleeper production and continually developed within more than five generations.

We are proud of this fact because rich heritage is a potential for success and effective solutions of urgent issues and complicated tasks together with our partners in any even in the difficult economic conditions.