Beacon Rail was established in 2008 and expanded significantly when it acquired the European assets of HSBC Rail (UK) the following year. In 2014 BTMU Capital Corporation, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, agreed to sell the company to Pamplona's Private Equity Fund III in a transaction worth around $US 450m.

At the end of 2015, Beacon’s portfolio included 190 locomotives, 944 freight wagons, and 20 passenger trains. The company generated revenues of £34.3m in 2015.

Beacon customers include Direct Rail Services, Freightliner and GB Railfreight in Britain, France's VFLI, Swiss rail freight operator Crossrail, and CargoNet in Norway.

The company has also financed the acquisition of CAF Mk 5 locomotive-hauled coaches for British passenger operators Caledonian Sleeper and TransPennine Express.