The initial contract is for 110 locomotives for KTZ which will start to be delivered in the first half of 2014, but the160km/h locomotives will be designed for operation throughout the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

"This is an important day for Kazakhstan and GE because it demonstrates that strategic partnerships can promote long-term economic growth," said Mr Lorenzo Simonelli, president and CEO of GE Transportation.

LKZ has already assembled 150 GE Evolution freight locomotives. "The total market for freight locomotives in the CIS is about 10,000 units," said Mr Yerik Sutanov, vice-president of KTZ. "In the first half of 2013 we expect to receive a certificate of compliance for the Evolution locomotive in Russia."