CZECH Railways has ordered a batch of 20 three-voltage Bo-Bo electric locos from Skoda, designed to haul freight and passenger services at up to 230 km/h. Selected in preference to a Taurus derivative from Siemens, they are the first Skoda locos ordered by CD for 15 years.

Rated at 6000 kW, the Class 380 is designated Type 109E by Skoda. They are designed to operate on 3 kV DC, 15 kV 162/3Hz and 25 kV 50Hz, allowing CD to operate open-access services into Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, and Poland. Under the KC2·5bn contract signed on April 9, a prototype loco is to be completed in 2006, with the remainder to be delivered between 2008 and the end of 2009.

CD originally called tenders for the locos in December 2002, but the process was halted in March 2003 (RG 5.03 p255). Following the award of a €15m loan from Eurofima, a second tender was issued in December 2003. Skoda plans to co-ordinate the design and manufacture with Bombardier. Electrical components will come from MEZ Postrelmov, wheelsets from Bonatrans, brakes from Dako-CZ and suspensions from Perovna Prostejov.