AZERBAIJAN: The first of 40 Prima T8 AZ8A electric freight locomotives ordered by national railway ADY was unveiled at the EKZ factory at Astana in Kazakhstan on June 27.

The EKZ joint venture of Alstom (75%) and Transmashholding (25%) is supplying 40 freight locomotives and 10 Prima M4 AZ4A passenger locomotives under a contract awarded in May 2014. The first of the passenger locos was unveiled at Alstom’s Belfort plant in France in October 2017.

The eight-axle twin-section 1 520 mm gauge AZ8A freight locomotive is based on the KZ8A design ordered by Kazakhstan’s national operator KTZ. There are some modifications to meet ADY’s specific technical requirements, and the design is compliant with GOST standards.

Alstom said the AZ8A was one of the most powerful electric locomotives in the world, with a continuous rating of 8·8 MW and the ability to haul up to 9 000 tonnes. It has a maximum speed of 120 km/h and is designed to operate in temperatures from -25°C to 50°C. The modular design is intended to require ‘minimum’ maintenance, with high reliability and low life-cycle costs.

‘We are very proud to present the result of strong collaboration between Alstom and ADY; the very first freight locomotive produced for Azerbaijan at our plant in Kazakhstan’, said Bernard Peille, Alstom Managing Director for the Western & Central Asia Cluster, when the first loco AZ8A was unveiled. ‘We are pleased that this locomotive will be part of the development of the transit link between the Caspian and Black Seas, Russia and Iran, an intersection where Azerbaijan, with its 3 000 km of line, plays a key role.’

The EKZ joint venture has 420 staff supplying and maintaining the 200 Prima electric locomotives ordered by KTZ. So far 48 KZ8A freight and 20 KZ4AT passenger locomotives have entered service with KTZ, with deliveries scheduled to run to 2020.