150 years

of private-sector wagon leasing

Drawing on its wealth of expertise of more than 70 years, VTG AG – Europe’s biggest private-sector wagon leasing company – unquestionably shoulders huge responsibility in driving the continent’s rail system toward harmonization that is rooted in efficiency, innovation and sustainability. Furthermore, Europe’s most venerable wagon leasing company, VTG Austria Gesellschaft mbH (formerly OEVA), has been part of our portfolio for many years.

More than ever before, rail logistics stands out today as an industry with a future. Rail logistics can be instrumental in making freight transport more efficient, “more digital” and more climate-friendly. The new transportation paradigm – and hence Europe’s climate change mitigation targets – can only be realized with the aid of companies like ourselves.

A tradition of success –
Join us on a journey through time!

The idea that new technology could make anything possible was a common theme of the 19th century. While steam ships multiplied cargo and passenger transport between continents, railways opened up the interior of these continents. Moving raw materials such as ore, coal and building materials on an unprecedented scale thus became a real possibility. The resultant ever-growing flow of goods changed how people see themselves and perceive the world around them – and has been doing so ever since.

  • 1769 The Scottish inventor James Watt improved a well-known principle for generating energy from steam considerably and applied for his patent.
  • 1804 The British inventor and engineer Richard Trevithick puts the first steam locomotive into operation - but still on wheels without flanges.
  • 1825 The first railway line in the world under the supervision of engineer George Stephenson between the English cities of Stockton and Darlington opens.

Re:think Rail – Re:think Future 2022

Moving forward together in Vienna

2022 marks the 150th anniversary of private-sector wagon leasing in Europe – a remarkable success story that began with the founding of wagon leasing company EEL AG (the forerunner of OEVA) in Vienna on February 24, 1872 and is now being continued by VTG AG, a true global player with deep roots in the German city of Hamburg.

We didn’t just use the anniversary celebrations in Vienna in May 2022 to honor our tradition of success. At the ceremony in the Vienna City Hall under the joint patronage of the Mayor and Governor of Vienna, Dr. Michael Ludwig, and the First Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Dr. Peter Tschentscher, the European dimension of rail freight transport and its importance for a successful new transportation paradigm were underlined. Among the speakers was Dr. Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Budget and Administration, who described every investment in rail as an investment in the future.

Dr. Heiko Fischer, UIP President and former VTG CEO, and Sven Wellbrock, COO Europe & CSO, as well as Hannes Kotratschek, Managing Director VTG Rail Europe GmbH, made the perspective of the industry clear: Over the past 150 years, private-sector wagon leasing has played a significant role in the integration of the European economic area and has made a difference in the process by being a reliable partner of business and politics with investments and innovations in the further development of the rail system.


Above all, we consider ourselves as changemakers and want to make a bold and fresh start according to our slogan Re:think Rail – Re:think Future, charting a course to the future in concert with all stakeholders. There is so much at stake for all of us, and the time to act is now!

Get more

Magazine: Generation Rail. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.

Drawing on the accumulated expertise of past generations of rail, we want today’s Generation Rail’ in partnership with policymakers, industry and society to help make the future livable for the generations to come.

Read Generation Rail as e-magazine or pdf-magazine.

Sustainable connectivity on the rails

Trade and the personal encounters to which it leads are a powerful driver of international understanding. Just how closely trade flows have caused Europe to become interlocked is demonstrated by the rail freight corridors that criss-cross the continent.

VTG AG and its predecessors have always lived out the European idea. From the very outset, OEVA has consistently invested in Europe. In the 1920s, it was largely thanks to German subsidiary EVA that the group evolved into the continent’s largest wagon leasing enterprise.
Back then, the fledgling VTG – already the German market leader – acquired interests in Paris, London, Belgium and Switzerland. And like its predecessors in the 1920s, VTG rose to prominence as European leader in the market for private-sector wagon hire. Today, VTG’s operations span the globe – and are backed by compelling arguments: In the battle to curb anthropogenic climate change, more rail freight traffic is imperative!

A tradition of success –
Join us on a journey through time!