The deal, which includes commitments to firm future orders for locomotives, is worth around $US 450m.

Headquartered in London with offices in Boston and Rotterdam, Beacon's assets include 77 locomotives, 632 freight wagons, and 20 multiple units. The company also has 15 class 68 diesel locomotives and 10 class 88 electro-diesels on order from Vossloh for British open-access operator Direct Rail Services, which will increase its locomotive portfolio to 102 units by 2016.

Other Beacon customers include Freightliner and GB Railfreight in Britain, France's VFLI, Swiss railfreight operator Crossrail, and CargoNet in Norway.

Beacon Rail was established in 2008 and expanded significantly when it acquired the European assets of HSBC Rail (UK) the following year. The company was acquired through Pamplona's Private Equity Fund III.

Pamplona says Beacon's current CEO Mr Ted Gaffney will continue to lead the company with the support of the existing management team.