Initially the locomotive would be referred to as BB473000, but as it was ordered with a less powerful engine it was reclassified in the 6xxxx series used by low-power diesel locomotives..
An initial plan saw 69 medium-power locomotives (together with the SBB) and 55 high-power locomotives ordered. This plan was intensily modified, and eventually 160 low-power shunting locomotives (BB460000) and 400 medium-power locomotives (BB475000) were ordered.
For the low-power shunting locomotives there were 3 biddings: Vossloh with its G1000BB, Firema with its D146 locomotive and Alstom with an enhanced version of the SBB Am841 locomotives. The Vossloh bid was deemed too expensive and also Firema couldn't convince FRET, so Alstom won the bid. At first the locomotives would be powered with an MTU engine, as those engines are used in BB69400 and BB75000 locomotives and had an high performance, but because financial reasons the MTU engine was replaced with one from Caterpillar.
The locomotive has nearly all of its technology derived of the SBB Am841, except for the cabine, engine and electric equipments. It has 2 hoods: the longer one houses the Caterpillar CAT3508B engine and the alternator, while the shorter one houses the electrical and brake equipment. The cabine is rounder than its derivative, access to the cab is possible by frontal doors. The cab has 2 full control desks and is equipped with air-conditioning. Bogies are the same as from its derivative and have primary (coil springs with Silentbloc, plus vertical shock absorbers) and secondary ("Sandwich" blocs) suspension, and house two traction motors per bogie with IGBT powerpacks. Brake equipment only consists of older wheel brakes, although equipped with plastic brake pads.
Although it was enhanced with new technology, this locomotive is criticised for being an "1990s" locomotive, as most of its design was conceived in the early-1990s. Other locomotives from Vossloh like the G1000BB series are considered more modern in design and more suited to today's operating conditions.
The first locomotives are allocated to the depot of Sotteville, nowadays known as the EIMM Normandie. They will be working services in the Normandy area such as Le Havre and Mantes. From late-2007 onwards these locomotives will also work services to the greater Paris area, and from early-2008 the rest will work services in the south-east. Other depots might get these locomotives allocated as well, but owing to their high axle load they can not operate on some bad-conditioned local and industrial lines.