The Polish railfreight operator signed a Zlotys 315m ($US 81m) contract with Siemens in September for 15 Vectrons to support the expansion of its international operations.

Twelve of the ETCS-equipped locomotives will be authorised for operation in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, while the remaining three will be certified for use in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovakia.

The contract includes spare parts as well as an option for five additional units and Siemens will maintain the fleet for eight years.

Static and dynamic testing of the first three units took place at Allach between December 15 and 17 and was witnessed by acceptance engineers from PKP Cargo. The company says all tests were successful and the inspection concluded with the signing of factory acceptance certificates for the three locomotives, which will be delivered to Poland next month for final acceptance testing. A further three units will be delivered in February and the final locomotives will arrive in Poland in the first half of 2017, with authorisation to operate in seven European countries.

The Vectrons are the first locomotives in the PKP Cargo fleet to carry the operator's new red and grey corporate livery.

PKP Cargo currently owns just one multi-system electric locomotive, but says it has a consistent requirement for such traction, making the purchase of new locomotives the best option for the business.