On Dec. 7, GE Transportation announced that the first Evolution® Series locomotive had been assembled in a new locomotive plant in Astana, Kazakhstan. On July 3, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of the Republic of Kazakhstan officially opened the plant, which assembles locomotives to serve railroad customers in that nation and the surrounding region. The completion of the first locomotive was celebrated during an official ceremony at the Astana plant in the presence of Kazakh Prime Minister Karim K. Massimov and GE Transportation President and CEO Lorenzo Simonelli.
The announcement is the latest in a series between GE Transportation and Kazakhstan. Since 2005, GE Transportation has helped upgrade the TE10 locomotives using a modernization package that includes a new microprocessor, electronic fuel injection engine and cooling system. In May 2009, GE Transportation announced a 15-year, $500 million service contract to further improve the performance of the fleet of TE10 locomotives operated by JSC National Company -- Kazakstan Temir Zholy ("KTZ").
"With this milestone, we have moved beyond helping to improve Kazakhstan's rail infrastructure; we are helping diversify Kazakhstan's economy and manufacturing industry with the creation of this locomotive assembly plant that produces the Evolution Series locomotives for the Republic of Kazakhstan and the surrounding region," said Lorenzo Simonelli, President and CEO of GE Transportation.
At full capacity, the 43,000-square-meter plant could produce approximately 100 locomotives per year. In 2006, KTZ ordered 310 GE Evolution Series locomotives. The first ten units are already in operation in Kazakhstan and have demonstrated a replacement ratio of one Evolution Series for two TE10s. The other locomotives will be assembled in the Astana plant from components and kits manufactured in Erie and Grove City, Pennsylvania.