A THREE-WAY partnership offering a range of operations and logistics services across Europe was launched in Berlin on October 10. The occasion was the signing of a Letter of Intent between Swiss loco leasing firm RentATraction Vertriebs AG, Ludwigshafen-based MEV Eisenbahn Verkehrsgesellschaft GmbH and logistics research group TransCare GmbH of Wiesbaden. The three partners hope that the venture, to be known as ATracs, will help switch freight from road to rail.

ATracs will offer a pick-and-mix selection of 21 ’added value services’ in four categories: Locomotives, Staff, Logistics, and Routes. This will enable manufacturers, shippers - or even other rail operators - to buy-in whatever facilities and expertise are needed. Elements include long and short term loco leasing, maintenance, crews and staff training, logistics management, and timetabling and operations including negotiation of paths.

Locos being offered by RentATraction include dual-system Siemens Taurus Class 1116s and Adtranz Class 145 freight locos, General Motors JT42CWR diesel-electrics and Class 203 diesel-hydraulics from SFZ of Stendal. The partners envisage that the standard-gauge leasing market in Europe (excluding Britain) could reach 1000 units, with a capital value of 2·5bn euros.