Voith says work was due to begin on the project at the end of March and is due to conclude by late-2014. The company will train 15 Xiangtan staff at its facility in Chemnitz, Germany, and will also be responsible for all manufacturing planning for the vehicles at the Chinese plant.

"The plan is to generate a complete line of vehicles from the low-floor tram now being developed that will meet various customer requirements in different Chinese regions," says manager for development and technology Dr Frank Salzwedel.

Voith Engineering Services has already developed a low-floor LRV concept for CNR.