ELL confirmed a framework locomotive order with Siemens, which comprises a mixture of AC and multi-system units, on March 31. ELL says the AC locomotives are intended for cross-border traffic in Austria, Germany and Hungary, while the multi-system units will be suitable for operation in these countries as well as Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. The 6.4MW locomotives, which will have a maximum operating speed of 160km/h, will be equipped with ETCS as well as national train control systems.

The "first locomotives" from the contract will be delivered immediately, while delivery of the remaining units will take place up to 2016. ELL refused to disclose how many locomotives will make up the first phase of the order and how many would be AC and multi-system units. According to the Financial Times, 60-70% of the order will be financed through debt financing while KKR's $US 1bn infrastructure fund will meet the remainder in the form of equity.

ELL is KKR's 11th investment from the infrastructure fund, which was raised in 2012, and the group says it was encouraged to enter locomotive leasing due to its "highly attractive market dynamics."

"We view the full-service locomotive leasing market as attractive to a new entrant with the right long-term capital structure, management team, and fleet of high-performance and environmentally-friendly locomotives," says Mr Johannes Huth, head of KKR Europe. "We look forward to partnering with the ELL management team to support the development of an infrastructure area that is critical for the growth of the central European economy."