RAIL company DRS has unveiled the latest addition to its growing fleet.

The Carlisle-based firm rail freight specialist received the first of 10 Class 88 locomotives, which can be powered by a diesel engine or 25kv overhead electric lines.

This is the first time the company has had a locomotive capable of operating in both ways.

The Class 88s are set to be deployed on freight and passenger services and have been ordered from the Swiss manufacturer Stadler Rail and built at its factory at Valencia in Spain.

A spokesman for Stadler said that initial testing of the locomotive in the Czech Republic had gone well and been completed ahead of schedule.

"As our first dual locomotive, new functionalities of control software have been validated as dynamic mode changing between electrical operation to diesel operation (and vice versa) and fine tuning of automatic speed control.

"Finally, the Velim test site [in the Czech Republic] has been used as first scenario to show to DRS the behavior of the locomotive and let our customer feedback to us with the first impressions about the UK dual locomotive."

This locomotive is an update of the firm's Class 68, based on a European prototype adapted to DRS’ specification, which is extremely powerful, capable of hauling 2,500 tonnes, is highly fuel efficient and meets the latest EU standards on emissions.

The first Class 88 will be shown off at Innotrans, a leading transport fair, which takes place in Berlin from September 20-23.

DRS – short for Direct Rail Services – began as an offshoot of BNFL at Sellafield in 1995, tasked initially with moving nuclear cargoes.

Now based at Kingmoor, Carlisle, it operates more than 100 locomotives, employs 440 staff and is responsible for taking 26m truck miles off UK roads every year.