185-CL 001-003 were the first three electrics to be delivered to a leasing company. Porterbrook from the UK acquired the machines, to be operated by Connex, back in 2001. Since then, all three machines are used for freight services only, by various Connex subsidiaries, like the Teutoburger Wald Eisenbahn AG and Regiobahn Bitterfeld Berlin GmbH.
In 2004, leasing company CBRail took over all non-UK activities of Porterbrook. Connex changed its name into Veolia in 2006, finally also resulting in a new livery for the 185-CL 001-003. The blue and yellow was replaced by red and light grey, combined with different promotional vinyls. 185-CL 001 and 002 are promoting the steel made by Vallourec & Mannesmann, an important customer of Veolia, locomotive 003 tries to recruit new personnel for its employer since 2008.