Back in 2019, Slovak state-owned rail freight company, ZSSK Cargo, leased ten Siemens Vectron locomotives from S-Rail Lease. Following many competitors in surrounding countries, the plan was not to lag behind the current trends – and to step into international markets.
But the reality has proven to be more difficult than that. The unfavorable market conditions for the carrier has enforced several strategy changes to utilize the 10-year lease to its maximum.
But let’s start with an introduction of the owner: S-Rail lease is not a ROSCO. It belongs to the Austrian banking house Erste Group, offering locomotives leasing as a part of corporate financing, similar to UniCredit Leasing active in the CZ/SK market and leasing, for example, the PKP Cargo International Vectrons.
The hired ZSSK Vectrons are designated 383 201-210 and have an A17 package installed – meaning they can access DE-AT-PL-CZ-SK-HU-RO-SI-HR. Apart from Slovenia, these Vectrons have been spotted in each of the package-allowing countries. The very last of them were delivered at the end of March 2019. Now, one year after, we have a look at their “modus operandi”:
At the very beginning, locomotives 201-203 have replaced the undelivered locomotives 108-110 for ZSSK, which also hired ten Vectrons from S-Rail Lease. ZSSK used them on the most frequent line crossing all the country and connecting the two biggest cities – Bratislava and Kosice. They have even received red ZSSK corporate livery, and only at the end of 2019, corporate livery stickers of ZSSK Cargo were applied once entering the freight service.
The original plan: Steel