Re: Leased locomotives

Andrew Moglestue

Here is a VERY old question. On one of my first trips to Switzerland in 1994 when the 460's were first introduced, I got a chance to sit in the cab of one. On the door behind the driver there was a small plaque that stated
the locomotive was leased to the SBB by a company in Delaware, USA. Are these locomotives still under lease or were that bought out by the SBB after the lease period ended?
They were always fully owened by SBB.
What you are referring to is a lease and lease back arrangement.
Under these arrangements, banks in Delaware would seek out plant in Europe that they could lease and that they would then lease back to the owners. The transaction was entirely on paper and had no operative implications
The arrangement may sound totally pointless, but it exploited some tax loophope in US law that permitted these banks to save heaps of money in taxes, and some of the money saved would be shared with the plant owner. SBB thus presumable leased them back for less than they leased them out for.
With tax loopholes having since beeen closed, most of these arrangements have been terminated.

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