ÖBB’s Rail Cargo Group (RCG) has acquired rail freight operator Captrain Netherlands from SNCF as it continues its international expansion in Europe. 

While RCG already operates services to and from Netherlands, the acquisition will allow the company to strengthen its presence in the Benelux region, which also encompasses Belgium and Luxembourg, by operating with its own equipment. 

RCG CEO Clemens Först said: “The Benelux countries are an important market for us. With the expansion of our own traction network we will also be able to handle our TransFER connections end-to-end as own traction in the future.” 

With the acquisition, ÖBB will take on Captrain Netherlands’ seven locomotives which are used entirely for shunting and last mile services. 

The Austrian company said it would use the new resources to continue its three TransFER services between Austria and the Netherlands, connecting Linz to Rotterdam via Duisburg, Wolfurt to Rotterdam, and Linz to Antwerp. 

ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä said: “The expansion of the ÖBB Rail Cargo Group continues. After establishing subsidiaries in China and Serbia, the RCG is now expanding its international network within the Netherlands. 

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“I am delighted to welcome the new colleagues to the ÖBB team. Together we will connect the European economic centres with the ports of Europe and thus with the whole world.”

Alongside the Netherlands and Austria, RCG has operations in 12 European countries including Germany, Croatia, Italy, and Poland.

The acquisition comes despite a report published earlier this year by ProRail, the country’s rail infrastructure maintenance company, that found rail freight traffic in the Netherlands had dropped 10% in 2023.