The Swiss rail freight operator's new locomotives, which will be known in future as the Re 475, will undergo extensive testing before entering service in July. Three more units will be delivered by the end of the year, followed by another five in 2017 and the remaining five in 2018.

The fleet will be certified for operation in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and it is expected that licensing for Italy and the Netherlands will follow in mid-2017.

The new units, manufactured at the Siemens plant in Allach, Munich, will gradually replace BLS Cargo's older Re 425 units and will initially be used for traffic from Basle and on the Lötschberg axis. Once authorisation for operation in Italy and the Netherlands is obtained, BLS Cargo will be able to make full use of the Re 475s on the Rotterdam-Genoa corridor.

"We are happy that we have been able to acquire the new locomotives in such a short time," said BLS Cargo CEO Mr Dirk Stahl. "They are the ideal addition to our fleet and will bring us even closer to our clients along the Rotterdam-Genoa corridor."

The Re 475s will be the first Vectron locomotives to be equipped for use in all five countries along the north-south axis.