The fleet of 41 three-section 70% low-floor vehicles will have a maximum speed of 70km/h. The first vehicles are scheduled for delivery at the end of this year, with the final units due to arrive in Ethiopia in January.

Addis Ababa is 2400m above sea level and the vehicles are therefore equipped for operation in high levels of ultraviolet light, with cabling, window films and rubber window surrounds designed to isolate 90% of UV rays.

CNR says it will start training drivers and maintenance staff on the vehicles next month.

China is financing 60% of the $US 400m light rail project, with the remainder coming from the Ethiopian government. The network will have three lines: Defence Forces Hospital - Ayat Village (17.3km), Meskel Square - Kality (16.2km) and Lideta - Menilik Square (3.9km).