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How Kazakh Evolutions Evolve (2)

posted on 26th Mar 2020 23:33

On 17 January 2018, during the then Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev’s visit to the USA, KTZ and GE Transportation signed a contract for 300 diesel shunters. Final assembly was announced to take place at the LKZ works. The first two were expected to be delivered in 2019, and the remainder over the next ten years. They were envisaged to be Bo’Bo’ single-cab locomotives, with a maximum service speed of 100 km/h and a power rating of around 1,100 kW. These shunters would be a new model for GE.

A second contract with GE was also signed on 17 January 2018, this covering 18 years of maintenance of the passenger Class TEP33A Evolutions. This to be realised in collaboration with the Kazakh company Kamkor (since LKZ is purely a factory, and is not engaged in maintenance activities). This is a similar arrangement to the maintenance contract signed earlier covering the Class TE33A freight locomotives. The diesel shunter construction and TEP33A maintenance contracts are worth, together, over 900 million USD.

On 17 January 2018 said Rafael Santana, CEO of GE Transportation: „Our mission is to build economies through innovation and modernization. Since its independence in the early 1990s, Kazakhstan has demonstrated great economic progress, and GE Transportation is proud to have been a part of the country’s transformation journey from the start. Our new agreements with KTZ reflect our ongoing commitment to partnering with Kazakhstan to build a world class rail industry that serves the region and beyond.“ However, as stated above, construction of both Evolution classes for KTZ is not advancing at LKZ as envisaged initially, and deliveries of the new shunters did not start at all.

We therefore asked GE/Wabtec:
1) What your company will do with the situation that KTZ does not take more locomotives of both classes? So far only 300 Class TE33A and 17 (of 175!) Class TEP33A diesel locomotives were built. Initially it was agreed that in the period up to 2026 137 more TE33As will be built, making a grand total of 425. The number of Class TEP33A locomotives was anticipated to increase from 110 (ordered in June 2012) to 175, resulting in KTZ having a fleet of exactly 600 Evolutions.

Answer: As of end of 2019, LKZ had delivered a total number of 313 freight TE33A locos and 20 passenger TEP33A locomotives to KTZ. The numbers up front in the article are not accurate. Wabtec did deliver locomotives to KTZ in 2019 and these units are now in operation. 

Editorial note: Even the numbers of 313 Class TE33A and 20 Class TEP33A locomotives are far from the initial targets. Our request to provide photos of some of these newest locomotives remained unanswered.

2) When do you expect the completion of deliveries of all 600 Evolution locomotives for KTZ?

Answer to questions 1 and 2: KTZ, Wabtec and LKZ are fully committed to execute the mutually signed/validated/approved legal contract and finish all locomotive deliveries by the end of 2026. In 2020, KTZ already has started payments for taking the next set of locomotives to be delivered in 2020. KTZ and Wabtec teams are working on a mutually agreed amendment to the contract to make adjustments to the total quantities of passenger and freight locomotives due to operational needs of KTZ but this amendment will not change the total quantity. We do take pride on being long-term partner with KTZ and do make adjustments to meet our customer’s changing operational needs. Once this amendment goes through the approval processes of both companies and executed, we can provide with exact details.

3) How do you progress with a construction of a batch of 300 KTZ new shunters? The first two were expected to be delivered in 2019. When do you expect delivery of the first locomotive?

Answer: Per contract we were scheduled to build the first two prototype units at the end of 2019, the building of the units did start in the second half of 2019. The two prototype units are being completed in the facility this quarter and after that we will start the validation/testing/certification process together with KTZ and LKZ next quarter.

Editorial note: Our request to provide photos of some of these newest locomotives remained unanswered.

GE also added the following comment regarding certification: „Originally, we did start taking the locomotive through the Russian certification process (RS FZhT). Keeping in mind when we signed the contract in 2006 and designed/delivered the first locomotives (in 2007/08) operation in Kazakhstan did not require Russian certification. Once the common customs union was formed among Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, the railways and national certification agencies decided to go to one common certification process which is TR TS 001/2011. That would allow the locomotives to operate in all three countries. Hence we shifted the certification to obtain TR TS 001/2011 and both classes (freight TE33A and passenger TEP33A) are fully certified and can be operated anywhere in the Customs union - even across border."

The article will continue.

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