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Celebrating 50 years of Freightliner

On November 12, Freightliner, the U.K.’s largest rail maritime intermodal operator, celebrates 50 years since the running of its first train which ran from London to Glasgow. Customers, industry representatives and colleagues will mark the anniversary with an event at the National Rail Museum in York, where the Secretary of State for Transport, Rt. Hon. Patrick McLoughlin MP, will deliver a key note speech.

Since its creation in 1965 as the container arm of British Rail, the nationalized rail operator responsible for most passenger and freight railway services in Great Britain, Freightliner has gone from strength to strength.

In 1996, after three decades as part of both British Rail and the National Freight Corporation, Freightliner was sold through a management buyout (with the backing of 3i and Electra). This move was part of the wider privatisation of the U.K. rail infrastructure and operations.

Since privatisation, Freightliner has seen strong growth and has diversified beyond deep-sea intermodal traffic with the creation of several subsidiaries, including Freightliner Heavy Haul, Logico, Freightliner Maintenance, Freightliner Poland and Freightliner Australia. The Group also completed the acquisition of ERS Railways in the Netherlands and, most recently, expanded into the Middle East in the form of a U.K. consortium.

Earlier this year, Freightliner was acquired by Genesee & Wyoming, a U.S.-based owner of short line and regional freight railroads serving more than 2,000 customers over 15,000 miles of track in five countries.

Jack Hellmann, President and Chief Executive Officer of Genesee & Wyoming, said:  “Freightliner is an excellent strategic fit for G&W, adding a world-class intermodal and heavy haul franchise as the foundation of G&W’s U.K./Europe business and unlocking more opportunities in Australia.” “Working with Freightliner’s talented management team, who have a long track record of success in building Freightliner over the past two decades, we expect to grow the business even more and also unlock a range of investment opportunities worldwide.”

Freightliner Chief Executive Russell Mears said:  ‘’ Our 50 year anniversary is a significant achievement.  Freightliner is a respected, premium rail brand and our staff, some of whom have been with the company for over 40 years, are proud to be part of a successful organisation with such a rich history.’’