By Narmina Mammadova
France’s Alstom continues to develop its business relations with Azerbaijan.
The company delivered the first of the 40 contracted Prima T8 AZ8A freight locomotives that will run on Baku-Tbilisi-Kars regional railway link to the Azerbaijan Railways, the press-service of the company reports on December 19.
The locomotive arrived in Bilajary (Azerbaijan), after being shipped from Astana, Kazakhstan, on December 7. Alstom will now conduct validation tests on the Azerbaijani railways infrastructure during the next few months.
“We are delighted to continue being a strategic partner of Azerbaijan Railways and to deliver the first freight locomotive to Azerbaijan that will help satisfy the increasing need for freight transportation in the country,” Alstom Managing Director for Western and Central Asia Bernard Peille said.
French company Alstom earlier presented its first electric freight locomotive Prima T8 AZ8A for Azerbaijan Railways. The presentation of the locomotive was held at the Electric Locomotives Assemblage Factory (EKZ), located on the territory of the Astana special economic zone.
The company operates in about 100 countries and has been operating actively in the Azerbaijani market for over 20 years.
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. AZ8A is designed for operation at temperatures from -25 to 50 degrees Celsius.
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. The model consists of two sections, is able to pull a train weighing up to 9,000 tons and reach a speed of 120 km/h.
Founded in 1928, Alstom develops and markets systems, equipment and services for the transport sector. The company offers a complete range of solutions (from high-speed trains to metros, tramways and e-buses), passenger solutions, customized services (maintenance, modernization), infrastructure, signaling and digital mobility solutions.
The solemn ceremony was held to mark the opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway on October 30, 2017 at the Baku International Sea Trade Port, designed to connect not only the three countries, but also entire continents.
The total length of the BTK railway is 846 km, with 504 km running through the territory of Azerbaijan, 263 km - Georgia and 79 km - Turkey.
Azerbaijan Railways Closed Joint Stock Company earlier told Trend that the organization of passenger transportation on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars route is planned for the third quarter of 2019.
Providing the shortest rail link between Europe and Asia, BTK plays an important role in the implementation of China's "One Belt, One Road" strategy and International North-South Transport Corridor.
In fact, the BTK railway route is the shortest way to deliver cargo from the Russian regions located in the Volga, Ural and Siberian Federal Districts to the Mediterranean ports of Turkey, and further to the countries of Africa and the Middle East.
At present, the BTK provides transportation from Kazakhstan to Mersin port. Some cargoes are delivered from Russia to Turkey and Europe.
The BTK railway has been constructed on the basis a Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement. The project implementation began in 2007 and construction began in 2008. 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.
The main purpose of the project was to improve economic relations between the three countries and attract foreign direct investment by connecting Europe and Asia.
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz