GENERAL ELECTRIC announced on May 16 that is to build a plant in Kazakhstan with the capacity to assemble up to 150 Evolution Series locomotives a year for countries in the former Soviet Union. The following day the Kazakh Prime Minister and the US ambassador laid a ceremonial first brick at the factory site near Astana.

The plant is being developed in conjunction with national rail operator KTZ, which purchased more than 250 locomotive modernisation kits from GE under orders signed in 2003-04. Production of twin-cab locos with AC traction motors will begin in 2008, using 12-cylinder GEVO engines manufactured in Pennsylvania.