LAST MONTH the first four of seven EMD low-emission Class 66 locomotives ordered by Freightliner PL was delivered to Rotterdam, where they are being modified by NedTrain before entering service on open-access coal services in Poland in the second quarter of this year.

UK operator Freightliner is investing £30m establishing Freightliner PL to compete in one of Europe's largest freight markets. The Polish operation will use exclusively new stock, with 432 coal hopper wagons on order from Greenbrier Europe. Track access agreements for the coal trains were signed last year, and Freightliner PL is now looking at bidding for aggregates traffic and other business in the Gdansk - Warszawa corridor and southern Poland.

Spokesman Tom Flack said the company is also in the process of 'concluding an agreement with a partner in Germany' to operate cross-border traffic.

En route to the Netherlands, the ship carrying the locomotives for Poland delivered the first two of a further 16 locos for Freightliner's Heavy Haul and Intermodal businesses, bringing the company's British Class 66 fleet to 120 locos.

Flack said the Polish and UK businesses will operate as separate entities, and there are 'no immediate plans to integrate their businesses on a port-to-port logistics scenario'.

  • Last month PCC Rail bought a 45% stake in Drobnica-Port Szczecin, which handles container and other traffic at the port close the German-Polish border. In December the rail freight operator signed an agreement with Arriva to form a joint venture to operate passenger services in Poland. n