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DB 189: 189 090-099 sold to MRCE Dispolok  
an ex-Railion 189, not hard to recognize..

Banks, governmental bodies and other financial companies have always been involved in financing rolling stock, often requiring a considerable investment for an operator. But since the late 90s there is a new phenomenon in the railway market; leasing companies that explicitly profile themselves as top providers of rolling stock for railway operation. Like for airplanes, see-ships, automobiles, one can now lease or hire a locomotive for a certain period of time. In Europe, Angel Trains Europe (ATE), Mitsui Rail Capital Europe (MRCE), CBRail and Allco are examples of companies investing large sums of money into the rail way market, slowly replacing the good old state operators as leading customers for the industry.

The DB decided to close a deal with MRCE back in 2006. The leasing company would buy 10 of their 189 series locomotives, designated 189 090-099, to be leased back to the DB again; a construction called sale-lease-back. The DB earns some money; Mitsui invests in relatively new locomotives, ready for service. All machines got a little shield in every cabin, saying that they were now official property of MRCE. In May 2007, 189 095 was even painted all black, the corporate colour of MRCE.

But then the story took a strange turn. In the summer of 2007 MRCE made clear that they now had other plans with the batch of then, involving true international services, serving other customers of the leasing company. From 07.2007 to 01.2008, the contracts with the DB for all 10 machines were ended; their logos removed so they could be rented out to other operators.

In July 2007, 189 090 and 095 were the first ones returned by the DB. They were sent to Berlin for a true metamorphose at the paint shops of Dangelmayer. After that, they were transported to Siemens in Munchen for retrofitting additional train detection equipment, upgrade their software and to mount two extra pantographs.

In January 2008, 189 090 was the very first to leave Munchen, all black and shiny, with new MRCE-Dispolok logos, the MRCE subsidiary that manages all locomotives for customers in the South and Central Europe. 189 092-095 got the same treatment in the months that followed. The machines got new service numbers, but it took quite some time to find a satisfying solution. The problem was that MRCE-Dispolok already operated a considerable fleet of ES64F4 locomotives (the former Siemens Dispolok machines) including machines numberes as ES64F4 090-099. MRCE-Dispolok planned on renumbering the former DB machines as ES64F4 series, but simply taking over the DB numbers was therefore not possible. Only the repainted 189 094 carried service number ES64F4 094 for a short while. Also former Dispolok machine ES64F4 094 was already repainted in black at that time, so for a short time two identical machines were running around. Luckely, 189 093-05 are now on hire to Veolia Cargo, which changed their appearance again, now carrying red and grey vinyls. At this moment, the five former DB-locomotives that are repainted in MRCE-Dispolok colors, only carry designation 'ES64F4' up front. You can only identify them now by there RFI service number, E189 090/092-095.

And 189 091/096-099? Curiously, after being returned by DB Schenker, they were transported to Siemens test center in Wegberg-Wildenrath and retrofitted with all equipment needed for running in Holland. They got a white nose, but kept their red DB livery. Per April 2008 these machines are being used for long-haul services from Germany to Holland and vice versa by...... DB Schenker!