French rolling stock manufacturer Alstom has started the production of passenger electric locomotives Prima M4 KZ4AT at its Kazakhstan facility in Nur-Sultan (Astana).

The Kazakh facility is owned by EKZ, a joint venture between Alstom (75%) and Transmashholding (25%).

Once completed, the locomotives will be delivered to Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ) as part of a previously signed contract.

The scope of the contract includes the supply and subsequent maintenance of 302 Prima T8 KZ8A and 119 Prima M4 KZ4AT electric locomotives.

To support production, Alstom plans to hire an additional 35 people.

It is also expanding production lines at the site to accommodate the construction of these locomotives along with building AZ8A locomotives for Azerbaijan and on-board transformers.

The company is also carrying out the assembly of Prima M4 passenger locomotives at the Kazakh facility.

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Alstom Kazakhstan managing director Guillaume Tritter said: “The first passenger locomotive should be ready by the end of 2019 and then certified as new and premiere product ‘Made in Kazakhstan’, and we have a strong will to become an export platform in Central Asia.

“The same 20 Prima M4 passenger locomotives are already in commercial operation on Kazakh railways and have ran more than 15 million kilometres, which demonstrates their outstanding rail system availability and reliability.”

Based on the Alstom Prima modular platform, the KZ4AT locomotive is a multi-purpose electric vehicle designed to provide passenger services.

The locomotives can run at 200km/h in passenger services and operate under extreme weather conditions.

They will adhere to KTZ’s technical requirements and comply with GOST standards and specifications.