The multi-system 1520mm-gauge locomotive, named Prince Vladimir, is based on Bombardier's Traxx platform and has a top speed of 120km/h. It is suitable for operation with 25kV ac 50Hz and 3kV dc traction and has a diesel engine for last mile operations. The unit is designed for operations in temperatures ranging from -55°C to 45°C and can haul 7000-9000-tonne trains.

Testing of the locomotive is set to proceed for the next 11-12 months with up to 125 tests expected to take place, including possibly at sites in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, before the locomotive receives certification for operation.

The locomotive unveiling marked the official opening of the Engels plant with Mr Valery Radaev, governor of Saratov as well as local and national politicians in attendance. The joint venture has invested Roubles 6bn ($US 90m) in the plant, and is targeting orders in the CIS which has an estimated demand of up to 500 new locomotives per year.

"The decision to finance this project was made at a time when the markets were feeling some pressure," says Mr Vladimir Dmitriev, head of Bombardier Transportation's Eastern Europe division. "After the launch of a modern means of production, we hope that Engels' locomotive products find their niche within the market."

The unit will be on display at the Expo 1520 exhibition set to be held in Shcherbinka, Moscow, from September 2-5.