RZD says the 2ES5, named Scythian, will play a key part in its efforts to boost freight traffic on the Trans Siberian and Baikal Amur Mainline railways, with the first two units delivered to the East Siberian Railway's Vikhorevka depot.

With an output of 8.4MW, the locomotives are the first mainline freight locomotives in Russia to use asynchronous traction motors. Transmashholding says that compared with existing locomotives, the 2ES5 is designed to increase the time between repairs, cutting maintenance and repair costs. The units also incorporate a control system showing detailed diagnostics of onboard systems and equipment and an automatic driving system, and are fitted with satellite navigation systems Glonass and GPS.

The locomotive is the second project from the Transmashholding-Alstom company, TRTrans, following development of the EP20 dual-voltage passenger locomotive Olympus, 44 of which are now in service in Russia.