Alstom has commenced the validation test campaign in Azerbaijan for the Prima T8 AZ8A freight locomotives on the main freight transit line.

The transit line was recently converted to 25kV AC from 3kV DC.

Alstom Western and Central Asia MD Guillaume Tritter said: “This is an important milestone in the project that we are developing together with Azerbaijan Railways (ADY).

“We are enthusiastic about the launch of the validation, which will ultimately allow our locomotives to enter commercial service in the country.

“Alstom is very proud of its strategic partnership with ADY, aiming to contribute to the development of railway infrastructure and increase of freight transportation capacity in Azerbaijan.”

In 2014, ADY selected Alstom JV, EKZ to deliver 50 electric locomotives in a €300m deal. The order includes 40 Prima T8 AZ8A heavy freight locomotives and ten Prima M4 AZ4A passenger locomotives.

EKZ is a joint venture of Alstom, Kazakhstan Railways and Transmashholding, Russia.

The Prima T8 AZ8A is based on the KZ8A locomotives currently in operation in Kazakhstan and specific technical requirements of ADY. It also complies with GOST standards and specifications.

The Prima T8 is a 25t per axle two-section freight locomotive, which is said to be one of the world’s most powerful electric locomotives. The model can tow up to 9,000t and operate at 120km/h with installed continuous power of 8.8MW.

It can also operate in temperatures ranges of -25°C to 50°C.

Alstom has added that the train needs minimum maintenance and offers high-reliability levels and low lifecycle costs.

In a separate development, Bombardier Transportation has received a €319m ($378m) contract from an undisclosed European customer for the supply of rolling stock.