RUSSIA: A memorandum of understanding agreeing to 'explore the possibility of forming a strategic relationship' to modernise diesel-electric locomotives was announced by GE Transportation, Locorail and Yakutia Railways on February 1.

GE Transportation's Erie and Grove City plants in the USA would supply a minimum of 20 FDL engine kits a year for five years, and the company would provide staff training and support for the upgrading of Yakutia Railways' Aldan workshops where locomotives would be modernised under licence.

According to GE, there are around 600 locomotives in the CIS region built or modernised with GE technology.

Last year Yakutia Railways signed a co-operation agreement with Kazakh national railway KTZ setting out plans to acquire TE33A Evolution locomotives which would be built in Astana.