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Contact Us! - Reference - European Operators            
Created for by John McKey. Pictures by Hannu Luukannel, Hannu Peltola, Ilkka Siissalo, Sanna Siissalo, Stanislav Voronin and John McKey.

 See also these pages! 
Bombardier X52a test train number 9062
Swedish Railroads Main Page, a great place to start browsing the Swedish section. Dozens of operators, almost hundred different rolling stock types, lots of MOV equipment, hundreds of pictures, ...   

Finnish Railroads Main Page, a great place to start browsing the Finnish section. Over a dozen pages and hundreds of pictures...

 Operators, Owners and Organizations of Europe  
Europe has a huge number of operators and other railroading organizations. This page will soon have information of over 100 European organizations, now the number is 86. You can find more on many of the country pages linked on the left. While we make our best effort on acquiring information from several sources, some of the info might be incomplete or incorrect, if you find something to correct, please send a message.   
 Operator & organization list:
A * B * C * D * E * F * G * H * I * J * K * L * M * N * O * P * Q * R * S * T * U * V * W * X * Y * Z * Å * Ä * Ö 

Abellio is a subsidiary of Netherlands Railways. Abellio has operations in UK (Merceyrail and Northern Rail, these are 50%/50% joint ventures of Serco and Abellio), Germany and Czech Republic. Abellio name originates from the Netherlands Railways acquisition of the passenger operator Abellio GmbH back in 2008.

 Air France - Veolia        

A to be newcomer to the Europes international travel. The joint venture was planning to run super high speed train in the lucrative Paris - London route as well as several other smaller routes. It was later announced that Veolia will join forces with Trenitalia instead of Air France to start competition in France and international connections from France. 
 Alpha Trains         
A rolling stock leasing company formerly known as Angel Trains. Owns for example a relatively large number of Traxx1 and Traxx2 locomotives.
Holland class186 Traxx locomotive number 225 under Shiphol in the Netherlands

 Angel Trains         
See Alpha Trains above. Angel Trains was long the most active train leasing company of Europe.

 Arlanda Express         
Swedish operator for the Stockholm Airport and Stockholm center connection. 
Arlanda Express X3 in Solna, Stockholm, Sweden
Arriva was until 2010 one of the largest private operators in Europe. It was acquired by the German giant and it's competitor Deutsche Bahn. Arriva also is a part owner of a number of other operators.
Arriva Gtw2/8 multiple unit stopping at Groningen Holland   
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A Norwegian state owned operator, that operates for example Stockholm and Göteborg (Gothenburg) terminals in Sweden.
The Biela Russian / Belarus state railways. This operator has ordered a batch of 10 Stadler Flirt trains for service around Minsk from December 2010. These are similar to the Finnish version in the picture below. 


A joint venture between Hamburg local trains operator HHA and Babcock & Brown. BeNEX has impressive plans for future expansion on passenger rail business. Owns 50% of the Cantus local train operator.

BLS (Berner Alpenbahn Gesellschaft Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon) is the second largest Swiss operator, and has been highly successfull attracting clients in the German speaking countries of open access. BLS has grown itself a powerful freight division and has numerous local and regional operations in Switzerland and Germany. Below an intermodal train crossing the Swiss German border on the Rhein am Weil. Oh yes, In Europe it might not be just the trailers or containers transported, often the whole truck is on train, including the driver!
More on the Swiss section BLS Page...

Picture: A BLS intermodal cargo crossing the border from Switzerland to Germany hauled by a Swiss 485 classified Traxx-locomotive. Notice that the European style intermodal transports often the truck as whole, since the consists are often formed of fereight carrying truck and often only a portion of the route is done by train. The first car behind the locomotive is for transporting the truck drivers in the relative comfort environment. Picture by Ilkka Siissalo at Weil am Rhein.    
A joint venture of the DB Regio (part of Deutsche Bahn) and "Swedish Railways" SJ to operate regional passenger traffic in the Swedens north until 2016. The company will be using Alstom Swedish class X62 Coradia rolling stock.
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A German regional traffic operator. Owned by Benex AG (50%) and Hessische Landesbahn GmbH (50%).
Ex. Veolia Cargo SNCF acquired parts (2009) use new name Captrain in Germany, Italy and the Benelux, where the other existing operations are also run under this name.   
Rail freight operator for mainly Norwegian market, but the company also has operations in Sweden. Owned by Green Cargo (part of Swedish State Railways) and NSB (Norwegian State Railways).
Class 66 in Norway

 CD - Czech Railways      
Czech Railways is the national operator of the Czech Republic.     
 CD Cargo         
Started in 2007 CD Cargo is the largest freight operator in Czech Republic with its 900 locomotives.        

Cisalpino was the high speed coop organization between the SBB of Switzerland and Trenitalia from Italy. Reportedly because of the  negliance going on for years on the maintenance by
ia the availability of the Cisalpino Pendolino units was for years just a fraction of what it should had been and the SBB was finally forced to amke its decisions to split from the nonworking cooperation. This was done only after much of the passenger traffic volume was lost due to the lack of properly operating trains (causing severe delays in timetables). The SBB  and the Trenitalia are at this point going independently their own ways, however it is likely that the SBB would be interested in finding another partner like SNCF, NTV or ÖBBs Railjet to keep the traffic density between the countries high enough in the open access situation. 
Cisalpino ETR470 Pendolino number 6 in Lugano  
 Colas Rail          
Colas Rail is part of the Colas Group, a huge road construction company. It is starting its rail operations in 2010 in United Kingdom and the SNCF has bought a minority stake of its share, thus helping it grow its operations in the freight business faster. 
A Swiss international freight operator.  In addition to Switzerland operations areas are Italy, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. However, the focus is on transalpine routes. 
 Czech Railways         

Czech Railways CD is the national operator for the Czech Republic in the Central Europe. 

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 DB Schenker        

DB Schenker is a common brand name for freight operator organization of Deutsche Bahn in most European countries. In addition to rail freight, the local companies operate a formidable trucking business.      
 Deutsche Bahn       
Deutsche Bahn is the largest operator and rolling stock owner in Europe (excluding the Russian RzD). With an annual turnover of 15 billion euros it operates both rail and truck traffic in all of the European countries. Most notable of its subsidiaries are the DB Schenker (an ex. Schenker Stinnes logistics plus several other companies) and the Euro Cargo Rail (ECR) with its operations in France, Spain and UK.
A German ICE2 train of Deutche Bahn making a stop somewhere in Germany     

Danish State railways is the main operator in Denmark.
DSB ICE-TD number 03 in Copenhagen, Denmark
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Edelraudtee is the other Estonian railinfrastructure owner and mainly passenger operator. Exclusively operating the old partly modernized Soviet DR1s, the Edelraudtee has managed to maintain much of the passenger traffic south and southeast of Tallinn which is located on the northern coastline of Estonia. As with Eesti Raudtee, future might bring some relief from a burden of maintaining the infrastructure. 

 Eesti Polevkivi   
Eesti Polevkivi operates a small section of railroad in the Estonias northern coast burning rock area. Vital to the national economy this sand like rock is burned on power mills producing much of the national electricity. Eesti Polevkivi has several switchers of type Tem2 to feed its power mills with the rock from the open mines. 

 Eesti Raudtee   

Eesti Raudtee, the Estonian Railways, is the largest infrastructure and mostly freight rolling stock owner and a freight operator. Eesti Raudtee has a network of some 800 kilometers of track, singela nd double, some electified to Russian style 300V overhead lines. The history of Eesti Raudtee is colorful, starting with the regained independence of Estonia, leading to sale to Ed Burkharts empire (you all remember the Wisconsin Central?) and finally in 2007 leading to Estonia state buying the railroad company back. Almost needless to say, the current arrangement is not in accordance to European Union directives.  More on Eesti Raudtee and railroading in Estonia...


Elektriraudtee (Electric Railway) of Estonia operates a small number of Soviet legacy modernized ER2 units in the northern coastline near Tallinn. Many units currently have the wireless network for passengers, although the interior otherwise is very aschetic. The unit in picture also has airconditioning unit at the roof. For the future, the operator has ordered 18 new Stadler Flirt EMUs from 2012 bringing Estonia to the level of Western Europe in the train travels comfort. Especially since the Estonian Russian originating loading gauge allows the width of 3,5 meters for the trains!

 Euro Cargo Rail (ECR) 
Euro Cargo Rail (often known simply as ECR) is one of the largest subsidiaries of the Deutsche Bahn. ECR operates a large fleet of class 66 and class 67 locomotives mainly in France and UK. ECR has also ordered initially 45 Traxx electric locomotives for its very long freight routes. Noticeable is that there is also another DB subsidiary, DB Schenker, operating in these countries as well. For their operations you might see German originating DB and Railion branded locomotives and freight cars in France. 
 Europorte 2 
Europorte 2 is a division of Eurotunnel for freight operations using the Channel tunnel and adding to its traffic volumes.      

Eurostar is a train owner and operator between London in UK and several destinations in the Continental Europe. The company operates two dozen double length TGV-like trains called Eurostars. More on the company and train types on the Eurostar Page... 

Eurotunnel is best known as the operator for the English Channel tunnel. While the beginnings for operations were extremely difficult, the company now has evolved quickly towards profitability and expanding its business to train operations. The recent acquisition of Veolia Cargos French division is part of this plan. Other operations include Europorte 2 for freight operations around the Tunnel.  

Please see Trenitalia. 
Fyra is the high speed brand for the Benelux operators NS and SNCB. There will shortly be a theme page of Fyra on our high speed section.
Holland FYRA service old coaching under Shiphol 

 Go Rail  
Part of the Estonian Go Group, which has several transport related businesses. The railway group operates the to be lucrative Tallinn - St Petersburg - Moscow high quality night train. The train uses an RZD Tep70 locomotives to span the distances without electricity. Earlier the company operated under name EVR Express, and also had a connection with St Petersburg. We see this connection logical to reopen after the Visa difficulties with two countries are solved.

 Horizon Paper   
Horizon Tselluloosi ja Paberi operates a feeder line to its formidable paper plant in Kehra Estonia. There are two TGM23b's (below) and one TGM3 in roster, although the rail traonsport is giving way to road transports. More and more wood is transported locally due to the heavy punishing customs on the export wood from Russia. Like in Finalnd, there is quite enough wood in Estonia to replace the Russian wood, but for the railroads this means less work in the short run.  


An open access operator for Germany and Poland. ITL is owned by SNCF, The French State Railways. 

 Karelian Trains Ltd Oy 
Karelian Trains is a joint venture of the Finnish VR-Yhtyma and the mighty RzD of Russia. The company is registered in Finland and will initially operate 4 units of current VR-Yhtyma type Pendolinos between the city of Helsinki in Finland and St Petersburg in Russia. The operations will start in 2010 under Allegro brand. More on the Finnish Rolling Stock Classes Page...  


Lietuvos Gelezilenkiai, the Lithuanian national operator. 
 Lokomotion AG    
German open access operator that is commonly owned by the following companies: Brenner Schienentransport AG, Kombiverkehr GmbH, Rail Traction Company and Railion Deutschland AG (last is part of deutsche Bahn). Most of Lokomotion motive power is easily recognized by it's "zebra" stripes.

 Länderbahn AG    
German passenger operator owned by Arriva and Alex. Operations are is in Bavaria Germany and Czech Republic. 

MAV is the Hungarian Railways currently being restructured to meet the modern demand for efficiency.

Metronom Eisenbahngesellschaft GmbH was started in 2002 to take care of the local and regional traffic. Although the company says it is not owned by the state of Germany, it actually is: Detusche Bahn owns Arriva, which in turn owns most of the OHE, the mother company of the Metronom! 
Metronom cab car at Hamburg Altona station, Germany
Nedrail, owned by the Netherlands Railways, was renamed Abellio in the end of 2009. See Abellio above. 
An open access freight operator in Italy. Nord Cargo is owned by DB Schenker and employs several hundred people.   
Netherland State Railways. Operates a great number of interesting looking rolling stock for various operations.
NL Koploper number 4082 in old paint and configuration at Groningen Holland 
Norwegian State Railways. Also owns part of the operator CargoNet.
NSB BM73 at Trollhättan Sweden


Osthannovershe Eisenbahnen AG is a owned mainly by Arriva-Bahnstein AG (87,5%) and 12,5 by public organizations. OHE operates rail freight, bus traffic and local and regional rail traffic through it's subsidiary Metronom.

A joint venture of Arriva and Benex. Operations area cover much of the Germany.

A swiss steel works operator in Emmenbrücke.
 Peterson Rail

A Norwegian rail freight operator with international traffic experience. Serves mainly wood processing industries. 
 PKP Cargo

Polish freight operator. Has also a license to Czech railroad network.
 Pääkaupunkiseudun Junakalusto Oy

This is the first national network organization to own rolling stock in Finland besides the traditional operator VR-Yhtyma. The company is to own 32 Flirt EMUs for the traffic in Helsinki Metropolitan area. Junakalusto is owned by the YTV, Helsinki Metropolitan area council, responsible for organizing the public traffic outside city of Helsinki. Currently there are 2 Flirt trains and these will start operations with the VR-Yhtyma personnel in late 2009. More on the Junakalusto Rolling Stock Page...  

Railjet is the high speed intercity passenger division of the ÖBB (Austrian State Railways). While the ÖBB does not have such money as the big players like SNCF of France or Deutsche bahn (to buy super high speed EMUs), the company is innovative. The top speed of 230 km/h (143 mph) can be achieved with a specially designed 'traditional' train, with one or more Siemens built powerful Taurus locomotives and several streamlined coaches with driving trailer(s). There are almost 80 railjets, and for the moment routes are expanding to many of the neighboring countries for Austria.    

 RCA - Rail Cargo Austria   
Austrian Railways subsidiary for freight operations "east of" Austria. Owns 30% of Express Rail in Slovakia.   

The Spanish Railways Renfe is responsible for most of the passenger and freight traffic on the Spanish railnetworks. Spain has two common gauges: the 1668 mm and normal gauge 1435. While the traditional 1668 mm gauge still survives most of the new lines are built to normal gauge, including an impressive super high speed network interconnecting to the French and Portugese networks. Renfe also has variable gauge high speed trains in use.
 RhB - Rhätische Bahn   
A legendary Swiss narrow gauge operator in Western Switzerland. Rhätische Bahn is also one of the few railroad operations on the Unesco World Heritage list. 
  More on Rhätische Bahn...  


The RzD of Russia is by far the largest operator and owner of railroad infrastructure in Europe. It has personnel of 1.3 million! The company operates almost 100'000 kilometers of track and the demand of new locomotives alone is over 1000 yearly! While we see RZD as a backward company in many respects, the modernization of the company and its rolling stock is on the way. Interesting happenings include Capsan Velaro style super high speed trains, connection of Moscow and Berlin overnight (currently in pretest phase) and the Karelian Trains joint venture using Pendolinos. More on the Russian Railways Page and the Russian Rolling Stock Page... 
 S-Bahn Berlin
The operator for the local network of the Berlin area in Germany.     

The SBB/CFF is the Traditional state owned operator and owner in Switzerland. Although Switzerland is not part of the European Union (despite the fact that it's surrounded by EU) the country has accepted most of the operating models of the Union and SBB/CFF is operating outside Switzerland as well. The company was very strong competitor in Germany in the first phase of the opening competition. More on the SBB/CFF Page...
 Sillamäe Sadam
The small Sillamäe city harbor operator. The company seeems to have a couple of Tem2 and earlier had a 2Te166 monster as well.

The Swedens west coast train operator. 
 SL - Stockholms Lokaltrafik
"The Stockholm Local traffic", largest regional and local traffic operator and rolling stock owner in Stockhol area in Sweden.
SJ X60 in Solna, Stockholm, Sweden 
 SLB - Salzburger Lokalbahn   

The local passenger traffic operator north of Salzburg on the Austrias German border.
The Belgian National Railways.


The French National Railways SNCF is a huge French owner and full spectre operator within France and its neighboring countries. While Fret SNCF (the freight division) has been fighting a loosing battle on its home ground the passenger division is doing much better: the SNCF TGV has become an icon of successfull super high speed operations, in France and other European countries.
The Schweizerische Südostbahn, a Swiss passenger rail operator. 
Sydostbahn Flirt train at Wädenswil
 SJ, Statens Järnvägar

The Swedish National state owned operator SJ has been very reluctant to give away its national passenger monopoly. However, to supplement the services of the SJ, there are numerous local operators around larger economical areas. On the freight side the Green Cargo, SJ's freight division, is meanwhile competing with numerous open access European operators. Well, you must have heard of Rc locomotives (AEM7 for Amtrak in U.S.). That once was a prestige project of the Swedish industry for the then mighty SJ.

It might also seem strange for you that a railroad company should paint its locomotives black and coaches and EMUs dull gray. Well, take a look below! More on the Swedish Main Page...

Spacecom is a Russian private operator (yes they DO exist). The company mainly hauls oil unit trains from the Russian oil fields to harbors. Here a monster 2Te116 is seen visiting Estonia. 

Slovenian Railways.

Thalys International is a joint venture of the SNCF (62%), SNCB (28%) and the German Deutsche Bahn (10%). The company provides commercial passenger services mainly between Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne. Thalys operates 26 TGV type PBKA and PBA trainsets known for their dark red livery.
  More on Thalys International...  
A Romanian open access operator with both fraight and passenger traffic.  


A train leasing company, owns for example Alstom X62 EMUs.

Transoil operates unit oil trains from Russia to Estonian ports like Muuga. For frequent Transoil trains the norm is to have a Russian monster double diesel 2Te116 on the point. 

Italian National Railways operating mostly in Italy. Trenitalia is a mjor operator with all kinds of activity, including the ETR500 super high speed trains. Some international routes are opened in 2010 bringing the operator into this arena for real for the first time.
Trenitalia Minuetto ME in Padova, Italy

 TX Logistik   
A Swedish RR freight operator.  
Netherlands open access operator.  
a Swedish operator.      
TKAB, a Swedish operator.      
 Veolia Cargo    
Veolia Cargo operated for the first few years of open access (since 2007) freight in several European countries. In the fall of  2009 Veolia Cargo was sold, its operations in Germany (inclding the ex. Rail4chem), Holland and Italy to SNCF (French National Railways) and operations in France to Europorte 2 (Channel tunnel operators freight division). At the time of sales the company earned around 200 million ? / year.
Veolia Cargo of Eurotunnel serves freight from U.K. to France and to Germany in 2010.  
A Frankfort Germany based regional operator. Owners are DSB (Danish state railways) and the Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt with 50% share each.

a Swedish passenger operator.  
Västtrafik X50
 Virgin Trains 

Virgin Trains is a Franchisee operating much of the long distance passenger traffic in southern side of the United Kingdom. While as successfull as the other Virgin comapnies, Virgin Trains is currently adding more length to its tilting Pendolino high speed trains and adding more train units. After the program is finished this fleet will very be very close to Chines "standard" numebr of 60 units missing this magic number by just 4 units.


VR-Yhtyma is sometimes referred as the Finnish State Railways. Although Finland is part of the European Union, VR-Yhtyma has a 100% market share in both passenger and freight operations of the country.

While the market share suspiciously high, this can be seen also as being a result of efficient and high quality services. Due to the conflict between the state of Finland and the previous management of the company VR-Yhtyma will be losing money for several years, leaving room for incoming competing operators. More on the Finnish section pages...

Austiran open access passenger operator, which will go into competition with the state owned ÖBB.
 ZS Cargo    
Slovakian rail freight operator.    
 ÖBB, Austrian Railways  

Austrian state owned railways is a medium sized national operator with a dynamic and innovative subsidiary Railjet. Railjet is building an international network to the neighboring countries of Austria with its Taurus pulled high speed trainsets.  

Many more  operators to follow later!

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© Railroad Reference 2004 - 2010  -  Created 16.5.2009 John McKey, Updated 29.5.2010 John McKey