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National railway UZ is negotiating with manufacturers for the purchase of main line electric locomotives to replace its ageing Soviet-era fleet, including VL8 locomotives first produced in 1955.
On October 17 Chairman Yevgen Kravtsov met a French delegation led by Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari to discuss fleet modernisation. According to local media, Alstom plans to offer its Prima T8 freight loco design, with a maximum speed of 120 km/h and the ability to haul up to 9 000 tonnes. It is also proposing its M4 passenger design.
The following day Kravtsov and Minister of Infrastructure Vladislav Krikli met representatives of CRRC. The Chinese company has proposed a single-section Co-Co design, rather than a more expensive Bo-Bo+Bo-Bo twin unit design which it has offered elsewhere in the 1 520 mm gauge region.
UZ estimates that it needs to purchase at least 200 electric locomotives over the next seven years and up to 500 by 2029. ‘We are in very serious need of upgrading the fleet, and Chinese partners are offering modern locomotives that can significantly improve the situation’, said Kravtsov. He said price, maintainability and the possibility of local production would be key factors in any contract.
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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