HECTOR Rail began operating through freight trains between Sweden and Germany via the Øresund bridge and Denmark on January 4.

The Swedish-based open access operator is running five trains a week between Norrköping and Herne in the Ruhr area under a contract signed with Dutch logistics firm Van Dieren Maritime in January 2007. An additional agreement announced last year will see the launch of a further service from Västerås in September 2008.

'We are now established in the corridor and are working on further strengthening our position in this market', said Hector Rail Managing Director Mats Nyblom.

The Scandinavia to Germany trains are hauled by 10 specially ordered Bombardier F140AC Traxx multi-system electric locos which are equipped to run on the 15 kV AC networks in Sweden and Germany and on 25 kV when passing through Denmark. Designated Class 241, the locos do not need to be changed at the borders, and according to Hector Rail the average speed of the trains is around 70 km/h.

Hector Rail currently has a fleet of 20 locomotives with a further nine to be delivered during 2008, and operates about 10 000 train-km a day (RG 10.07 p628).