KAZAKHSTAN: Contracts for the supply of 300 shunting locomotives and the provision of 18 years of support for 175 TEP33A passenger locomotives were signed by national railway KTZ and GE Transportation during Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s visit to the USA on January 17. The two contracts are worth more than US$900m in total.

Final assembly of the shunting locomotives is to be carried out at the LKZ factory in Astana. The first two are expected to be delivered in 2019, and the remainder over the next 10 years.

The two agreements are aimed at further modernising KTZ’s fleet and would 'expand the range of locomotives made in Kazakhstan to better meet the needs of the domestic market, as well as countries in the broader CIS and Baltic region’, said KTZ Chairman Kanat Alpysbayev. ‘In addition, we are currently working on a number of projects under our digital railway programme, including deploying GE's Trip Optimizer to improve the efficiency of freight transportation.’

Alpysbayev said KTZ had a ‘long history of successful, effective co-operation with GE Transportation’ since selecting the company to be ‘the primary driver for developing Kazakhstan's rail industry’. He now sees ‘great potential to further develop our strategic partnership’.

GE Transportation delivered more than 400 modernisation kits from 1995 for a 20-year life-extension of KTZ’s legacy 2TE10 locomotive fleet. The locomotive factory which President Nazarbayev officially opened in Astana in 2009 has now assembled more than 300 Evolution Series TE33A diesel freight locomotives and eight TEP33A passenger locomotives. The manufacturing contracts are supported by long-term servicing deals covering the modernised and Evolution fleets which were signed in 2009 and 2011.

‘Our new agreements with KTZ reflect our ongoing commitment to partner with Kazakhstan to build a world class rail industry that serves the region and beyond’, said GE Transportation CEO Rafael Santana when the latest contracts were signed.