Russia's futuristic train prototype is so futuristic that nobody past or present wants to buy it
Promoters called it an “iPhone on wheels,” but the R1 — a train prototype designed by the Russian state corporation Rostec — won’t be coming to a railway station near you. According to Vasily Brovko, the company’s special projects director, the R1 will never be mass-produced, despite its futuristic appeal.
“The R1 is certainly very beautiful. I’m very interested in industrial design, and I’m working to develop it in Russia, but we have a serious gap between our designers and manufacturers. That's what happened with this project. Everybody liked the R1, and it generated what it's fashionable to say was ‘hype,’ but it never went to market and it’s never going to market. First, there’s no undercarriage, and second a designer train turned out to be poorly suited to repairs. If someone had broken something on one of these trains, it was completely unclear how you were supposed to order a replacement part and how long you’d have to wait,” Brovko told the news agency TASS.
The train prototype was first unveiled in 2014 at the international industrial exhibition “Innoprom,” where it generated considerable buzz, without ever leading to anyone ready to pay for the real thing. At the exhibition, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev personally inspected the R1 prototype.
Rostec says it still hopes to use many of the design concepts developed in the creation of the R1 in future projects by Uralvagonzavod, one of Rostec’s machine building subsidiaries.
Photo on front page: OJSC «Research and production corporation «UralVagonZavod»