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mit beschränkter Haftung (mbH.)
Industry Rail freight
Fate Underperforming, absorbed
Successor Captrain deutschland
Founded 2000
Founder BASF AG, Hoyer Group (de), VTG AG (de), Bertschi AG
Defunct 2010
Headquarters Essen, Germany
Area served
Europe : Germany, Switzerland, Benelux, Poland
Key people
Sven Flore (COO)
Thomas Kratzer (managing director)
Mark Bertram (managing director)
Number of employees
~180 (2008)[1]
Subsidiaries rail4chem Benelux B.V.
rail4chem transalpin AG
fer Polska S.A.
Website www.rail4chem.com
Goods wagon from Rail4Chem in Utrecht Centraal railway station, May 2006

RAIL4CHEM was a German rail freight transport company, and the parent company of a number of European subsidiary rail freight transport companies including rail4chem Benelux B.V. (Rotterdam), the rail4chem transalpin AG (Basel) and Fer Polska S.A. (Warsaw).

The business was acquired by Veolia Cargo in 2008, which was acquired by SNCF in 2009. In 2010 the company was grouped under SNCF's new freight train brand Captrain, and absorbed into the Captrain Deutschland subdivision, and became a provider to the division of long distance freight trains.


In 2000 the railway company RAIL4CHEM was founded as a joint venture between three German companies: BASF AG (Ludwigshafen), Hoyer Group (de) and VTG AG (de) (both located in Hamburg) and one Swiss firm Bertschi AG; headquartered in Dürrenäsch.[2] Hoyer merged its rail freight subsidiary (Hoyer Railserv, formed 2000 from RSE Cargo.[note 1]) into the company in 2002.[6]

Initially the company was set up as a rail freight service for chemical companies, the organisation serves both national and international freight movements within Europe.

Amongst the first workings were the movement of chemicals from the works at BASF Ludwigshafen to Aachen to be moved further by the Belgian state railway SNCB / NMBS.

Later the company took on non-chemical industry freight work.[citation needed]

In 2004 the company gained a safety certificate to operate in the Netherlands,[7] and in Switzerland.[8] In 2005 the founder companies increased the capital of the company by €4 million to €5 million to enable the purchase of multi-system electric locomotives.[9] Safety certificate for operations in Belgium was acquired (by the subsidiary Rail4chem Benelux BV) in January 2006,[10] and for operations in France in February 2006,[11]

On 20 February 2008 it was announced that the business was to be sold to the French company Veolia Cargo for an undisclosed sum.[12][13] Veolia Cargo was acquired by SNCF (and Eurotunnel),[14] with Rail4chem becoming part of SNCF; it was reorganised into the Captrain railfreight operation division of SNCF.[15] The business underperformed during the difficult market conditions following the late-2000s financial crisis and was absorbed into the Captrain deutschland division in 2010.[16]

RAIL4CHEM was a founder member of the European Bulls Rail Freight Alliance, a European consortium of European rail freight operating companies.[17]


In late 2004, RAIL4CHEM established a new subsidiary company: Rail4Chem Benelux NV, after the acquiring and taking over the activities of Dutch private rail carrier ShortLines BV (nl).[note 2][19]

Rail4Chem Benelux's main business was the transportation of containers from the Port of Rotterdam to Germany but also operated international tank trains to DSM in Geleen as well as intermodal trains via Amsterdam and cereal trains via Europoort.[20]


RAIL4CHEM was certified to operate in Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and France.[21]

The trains known as 'mobile pipelines' are operated between the BASF operations in Antwerp and Ludwigshafen.

Up till the opening of the Betuweroute only diesel locomotives were used in the Netherlands.

Rolling stock[edit]

In 2005 the electric locomotive fleet of RAIL4CHEM consisted of 14 locomotives of TRAXX type, and predecessors; the Adtranz built DBAG Class 145 (for work in Germany), and the Bombardier Transportation built DBAG Class 185 (for work in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.).[22] Other locomotives such as the Siemens EuroSprinter ES 64 U2 have been used based on requirements, as well as older locomotives have also been used in Switzerland.[citation needed]

For non electrified lines in Germany, Netherlands and Belgium, locomotives of the diesel types EMD JT42CWR (Class 66),[22] as well as Vossloh locomotives, primarily Vossloh G 2000 BB and MaK G 1206 types were used.[22][23]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Veolia Cargo purchased Rail4chem", rinsider.club-feroviar.ro, Railway Insider : Club Feroviar, 7 March 2008 
  2. ^ "European Bulls Railfreight Alliance : RAIL4CHEM", european-bulls.com 
  3. ^ Christoph Dörrenbächer (2003), "Corporate Reorganisation at Hoyer in 1990s, p.73", Corporate reorganisation in the European transport and logistic sector in the 1990s, LIT Verlag Münster, ISBN 3-8258-6774-9 
  4. ^ Helena Kyster-Hansen, "David against Goliath?", www.x-rail.org, X-Rail 
  5. ^ "Hoyer Railserv startet neue Container-Ganzzug -Verbindung", mylogistics.net (in German), Bremische Hafenvertretung e.V., 10 October 2001 
  6. ^ "rail4chem grows", railwaygazette.com, Railway Gazette International, 1 September 2002 
  7. ^ "Rail4Chem, the German private railfreight operator, has been granted a safety certificate which gives it unrestricted access throughout the national rail network", goliath.ecnext.com, International Railway Journal, 1 April 2004 
  8. ^ "Rail4chem set to cross the Alps", x-rail.net, 18 April 2004 
  9. ^ "Rail4chem in the money", worldcargonews.com, April 2005 
  10. ^ "Annual Report 2006", ecms.infrabel.be, Infrabel, pp. 8, 17, 64 
  11. ^ "Rail4chem now also operating in France", infrasite.net, 13 February 2006 
  12. ^ Veolia on track to take over Rail4chem vinamaso.net
  13. ^ Veolia to acquire Rail4Chem transportweekly.com
  14. ^ "Veolia Cargo sale finalised". Railway Gazette. 2009-12-01. 
  15. ^ "Captrain brand to consolidate international freight operations", railwaygazette.com, Railway Gazette International, 12 February 2010 
  16. ^ "Rail4chem withdrawn from the market", worldcargonews.com, World Cargo News, May 2010 
  17. ^ "Alliance founded by European rail freight carriers", european-bulls.com, 13 January 2005 
  18. ^ Sources:
  19. ^ a b Sources:
  20. ^ rail4chem Benelux B.V railfaneurope.net
  21. ^ Permits rail4chem.com Archived 7 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ a b c "RAIL4CHEM: Locomotives", rail4chem.com, Rail4Chem, archived from the original on 14 March 2005 
  23. ^ "Suche "rail4chem"", loks-aus-kiel.de (in German) 


  1. ^ Hoyer Railserv GmbH. was a rail freight subsidiary of Hoyer; formed in October 2000 by the acquisition (95%) and renaming of RSE Cargo GmbH. by Hoyer - Hoyer entered the rail freight market to obtain a more economical transportation cost than that offered by Deutsche Bahn. Hoyer Railserv primarily operated tank trains.[3] Its initial freight flows were for transportation of chemicals between Hamburg, Dormagen, and Brunsbüttel.[4] It later (2001) operated container trains between Bremerhaven and the chemical complex at Schkopau.[5]
  2. ^ ShortLines was the first private rail operator in the Netherlands, established in 1998. Liquidated in 2004 after acquisition by Rail4chem. [18][19]

External links[edit]