Modern Russian-Baltic Railroad Car Factory is a progeny of the former ‘Russo-Balt’ factory.
Our company was established in 1869 as a branch of a German-Netherland’s company ‘Herren Van der Zypen und Charlier’ which had a railroad car factory in Koln. They founded this branch to cut costs as they got an order for 500 railroad cars from Russian Riga-Dibunar Railroad.
Five years later this factory was noticed by Mikhail Shidlovsky, a Russian enterpreneur. On 29 August 1874 the factory was transformed to ‘Joint Stock Company of Russian-Baltic Railroad Car Factory’ (RBVZ or Russo-Balt are used for short in Russian). The co-owners were Ivan Kulikov (merchant), Anton Matveev (titular councillor) and Oskar Freiwirkt (merchant). Freiwirkt became the first CEO of a new company.
At the same time factory started the production of boxcars and by 1875 they started making coaches. But the demand for those products was not that big in Russian Empire. This changed dramatically when the Trans-Siberian road construction started. ‘Year 1893 was the start of a new era for the factory’ as the newspapers of that time stated. More Russian entenpreneurs joined the company and it became totally independent from it’s foreign founders. The peak of railcar production was in 1900, we produced 5513 boxcars and 219 coaches. We became one of the biggest machinery factories in the Russian Empire. The success continued throught the Russian-Japanese war wich required a lot of railroad cars, but after the war was over the production volume dropped.