BAKU: The first electric freight locomotive built by French Alstom for Azerbaijan Railways Company (ARW) will contribute to the development of transport communication between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
Managing Director of the Western and Central Asia Cluster in Alstom Bernard Pell made the remarks during the presentation of the locomotive on June 27.
Alstom presented its first electric freight locomotive Prima T8 AZ8A for the ARW Company. The presentation of the locomotive was held at the Electric Locomotives Assemblage Factory (EKZ), located on the territory of the “Astana” special economic zone.
“We are proud of the close cooperation between Alstom and Azerbaijan Railways, which resulted in the production of the very first freight locomotive at the Kazakhstan Alstom plant for Azerbaijan. With a road length of about 3,000 km, Azerbaijan’s railway system is an important link and will play a key role in the region’s transport cooperation,” Pell said.
The first AZ8A locomotive became a part of the contract signed by EKZ with Azerbaijan Railways in 2014 for the supply of 50 locomotives, including 10 passenger locomotives Prima M4 AZ4A. AZ8A is a heavy-duty freight locomotive from the Prima T8 series, which is based on the KZ8A locomotive, currently operated in Kazakhstan.
The locomotive is designed according to the specific technical requirements provided by the ARW Company, and also meets the GOST and TU standards. Prima T8 is one of the most powerful electric locomotives in the world.
Alstom and Azerbaijan Railways CJSC have been cooperating since 2014, signing a contract for the delivery of 50 electric locomotives. In October 2017, the first AZ4A locomotive in Belfort, France was presented to Azerbaijan Railways CJSC.
Today, Azerbaijan participates in such large-scale railway projects as the International North-South Transportation Corridor and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK).
The transport corridor “North-South” is designed to connect Northern Europe with South-East Asia, including the unification of the railways of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia. At the first stage, along the corridor, it is planned to transport five million tons of cargo per year, increasing later to more than 10 million tons of cargo.
The BTK railway is constructed on the basis of the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey intergovernmental agreement. The main purpose of the project is to improve economic relations between the three countries and gain foreign direct investment by connecting Europe and Asia.
The line is intended to transport one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of freight at the first stage. This capacity will then reach 3 million passengers and 17 million tons of cargo.
On October 30, a solemn ceremony on the occasion of the opening of the BTK railway was held at the Baku International Sea Trade Port. Two trains from Kazakhstan to Turkish Mersin have already been sent via this route. The first train, consisting of 30 containers, on November 4, delivered 600 tons of wheat to the Turkish city of Mersin.