Veolia Cargo, rail freight operator and part of the Veolia Transportation group, was the only open-access rail operator in Europe that purchased first generation Prima electrics. To be sure of a fast and smooth homologation process in France and Germany, Veolia demanded machines that were 100% identical to the BB 37000 series of Fret-SNCF, the freight operator of French national railways, that already had its approval.
As the activities of Veolia were booming, the initial Prima order of three was extended three times, growing up to 31 new units. However, the contract of extension three and four was renegotiated before delivery. CBRail decided to finance 16 units. Veolia hired six of them, the rest was available to other customers of CBRail. In August 2009, Veolia had 15 E 37500s to its disposition.
The end of Veolia Cargo
In 2010 everything changed. Veolia decided to sell all its rail freight activities to strenghten its financial position; the economical crisis of 2008 was there. All French activities were sold to Eurotunnel, the international divisions were acquired by Fret-SNCF. It started a complicated process during which the new owners had to integrate all Veolia divisions into their own corporate structure.
As a result, the fleet of 15 E 37500s was torn apart. Units 501-505 and 509 were sold to Europorte, subsidiary of Eurotunnel. The other nine locomotives ended up by VC Holding, part of SNCF Geodis.
Nevertheless, the Veolia E 37500 story was over.