The contract was signed on September 12 in the presence of Hungarian state secretary for transport policy, Mr László Mosóczi, and Chinese ambassador to Hungary, Mr Duan Jielong.

CRRC ZELC will develop the electro-hybrid shunters and freight locomotives, which will be equipped with last mile battery packs, and will bear all development costs. It will then produce two of each locomotive, which must receive international certification, within 36 months of contract signing.

RCH will then lease the vehicles for four years, with the contract including maintenance.

If the locomotives perform as expected, RCH has the option to further lease or purchase the locomotives, along with an option to purchase an additional 20 of each type.

“We will be the first company in the sector utilising these clean and economically-operated locomotives,” says RCH chairman, Dr Imre Kovács. “Compared with the current modern solutions, the new locomotives from CRRC ZELC can be used more effectively and flexibly. Their advantages are visible in single wagon transport, as they provide cheap and clean solutions on non-electrified connecting railways.”

The shunting locomotives will be used in Hungary, while the main line locomotive will be used in Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Macedonia, Greece and Bulgaria.