At the end of the 1980s, 40 locomotives were initially ordered for the car shuttles in the Eurotunnel, one of which was to be used at each end of the train. They were developed by the Euroshuttle Locomotive Consortium, which was made up of ABB and Brush Traction. The requirements included ensuring that the large differences in temperature and humidity inside and outside the tunnel did not cause problems.
Three two-axle bogies, each with its own power converter, ensure that two-thirds of the power is still available if one power converter fails. The output was initially 5,600 kW, but was increased to 7,000 kW for the third batch of locomotives. In addition, the unneeded auxiliary driver's cab at the rear end was omitted. These locomotives were intended for truck shuttles, but later a large part of the first batches was also rebuilt to the same power.