Bolivian rail operator FCA has signed a contract with rolling stock manufacturer Stadler Rail for the first three South American Light Loco (SALi) locomotives, which have been specifically designed to operate in the Latin American market.

The new locomotives will be manufactured at Stadler’s facility in Valencia, Spain.

“This contract represents the crowning moment for many years of intense work carried out in the Latin American continent, which we believe has a great rail-oriented future.”

The SALi locomotives feature an ultra-lightweight design and can operate on the meter-gauge track in high-altitude conditions of more than 5,000m above sea-level.

Furthermore, the vehicles are noted to offer an optimal balance between traction, power and speed, as well as comply with all the relevant safety and visibility requirements.

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The locomotives are especially designed for freight service and are capable of operating at a maximum speed of 100km/h.

All the contracted units will be supplied with two acoustic and heat insulated driver cabs in order to offer improved comfort during extreme temperature conditions.

Stadler Spain executive vice-president Iñigo Parra said: “This contract represents the crowning moment for many years of intense work carried out in the Latin American continent, which we believe has a great rail-oriented future.

“The progress of the rail freight, the connection by rail of the Pacific and Atlantic seaboards and the solving of the mobility challenges posed by the big cities will provide multiple opportunities in the railway sector, for which Stadler has efficient solutions.”

FCA provides integral freight and passenger transportation services across a 2,276km-long rail network.

In addition to its operations in Bolivia, the company also provides international links with Chile (Arica and Antofagasta), Argentina (La Quiaca) and Peru (Puno).