Azerbaijan Railways (ADY) placed a €288m order with Alstom in May 2014 for 50 type KZ8A 8.8MW electric locomotives. This was subsequently amended in 2015 to comprise 10 AZ4A 3kV dc/25kV ac passenger locomotives and 40 AZ8A 25kV ac freight locomotives. Delivery of the first unit is scheduled to begin by the end of 2017.

Turkey’s transport minister Mr Ahmet Arslan said in December that work on the 826km corridor would finish in “mid-2017” at which point the railway will be available for the start of commercial services.

The much-delayed project was agreed by Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey as long ago as 2007 and was expected to open to cross-border traffic in 2010. However, problems with construction have resulted in numerous delays.

The project has involved constructing a new 98km line from Kars to Akhalkalki, 68km of which runs through Turkey and 30km through Georgia. A 183km section of the existing Akhalkalki - Tbilisi corridor has also been reconstructed as part of the project.

The line is expected to carry five million tonnes of freight per year initially as well as 1 million passengers.