Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Alstom unveils the first KZ8A freight locomotive

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Alstom Transport President Henri Poupart-Lafarge on Tuesday unveiled the KZ8A, its first electric freight locomotive for the Kazakh Railways, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ), at Alstom's plant in Belfort, France. On Wednesday, Alstom followed on Wednesday by announcing a maintenance contract with a KTZ subsidiary.

Alstom says the KZ8A is the first of 295 locomotives (200 freight and 95 passenger) ordered by KTZ in 2010 being fulfilled by Alstom and its Russian partner, TMH (Transmashholding). The KZ8A locomotive is now under Russian certification and will enter into dynamic tests in Kazakhstan this January.

The company says the five-foot-gauge KZ8A is among the most powerful freight locomotives in the world, able to haul up to 9,000 tons and run at 120 kph (75 mph). It is touted as being able to operate in extreme weather conditions with temperatures ranging from -50 degrees to 50 degrees Celsius (-58 degrees to 122 degrees Fahrenheit).

"Alstom is pleased to participate in ambitious Kazakhstan railways projects by supplying a next-generation locomotive," said Poupart-Lafarge.

While the first 10 pre-series KZ8A locomotives are being manufactured at Alstom's Belfort facility, the remaining will be built in a new Alstom plant in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Astana plant will be able to start production with a capacity of up to 80 locomotives per year.

Alstom on Wednesday followed up its first announcement by noting it and AO Locomotive, a subsidiary of KTZ, have signed a contract for the full maintenance, major overhaul and modernization of 27 MZ44AC passenger locomotives for a period of 25 years. The contract is valued at roughly $100 million, and is effective immediately.

This is the first maintenance contract for Alstom in Kazakhstan. The KZ4ACs passenger electric locomotives run mainly between Astana and Almaty and have been in operation for three years. Alstom will provide maintenance in a depot in Astana, with a satellite depot to be set up later on in the south of Kazakhstan.

"Kazakhstan is a strategic market for Alstom, thanks to its geographic position, its fast economic growth, and its commitment to modernization. This order proves KTZ recognition of Alstom's technology and trust in Alstom's expertise as a leading global railway manufacturer," Poupart-Lafarge said. 

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