The BB 9003 and 9004 locomotives were built by the MTE group (Matériel de Traction Électrique) in 1952. Their innovative aesthetics emphasised their body with their aerodynamic shaped ends which was desirable for high speed running. In spite of their maximum speed limited of 140 km/h (90 mile/h) when hauling passenger and freight trains on the Paris-Lyon route, one of the two locomotives was destined to propel SNCF to the forefront of the international railway scene. In 1955, the day after CC 7107 attained the rail world speed record BB 9004 took its turn on March 29, on the famous Landes line and reached the same speed as Alsthom’s CC7100 i.e. 331 km/h.