The ER 20 from Siemens rates as a real general-purpose locomotive. It was built in 1998, when Siemens won the call for bids from the ÖBB for the purchase of new diesel road engines. The ER 20 has a superstructure design of integral construction with a body as a self-supporting welded lightweight steel construction, which incorporates the body frame, the side truss design consisting of metal shapes, and the sloping roof I beams. The body frame is sheathed with sheet metal walls and ventilation grills, the roof covers are removable, and the two prefab cabs made of steel with their thrust cross members are seated on the ends of the frame. The drive system consists of a fast running 16-cylinder / four-stroke diesel motor from MTU with a flange-mounted three-phase synchronous generator, which works on the four three-phase asynchronous motors mounted in the trucks. These are connected to the wheelsets by a semi-sprung pinion hollow shaft drive with a multi-plate clutch. The electrical output transmission by means of the SIBAS 32 control technology allows optimal control. Its design makes the ER 20 usable for heavy freight trains as well as for fast transfer runs up to 140 km/h / 88 mph. In operation, it is extremely economical and low in noise and exhaust.
The first ER 20 units were delivered to the ÖBB in 2002. As little as a year later, Siemens used the first units in its newly established locomotive pool (today MRCE). The roster for this pool increased in two series to the ER 20 001-010 and ER 20 011-015. These ER 20 locomotives were all equipped with different train control systems for freight and passenger service so that they could run in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. At the end of 2006, Siemens sold its lease locomotive subsidiary to Mitsui Rail Capital Europe (MRCE), which then also took over the 15 Euro Runner units. Several units were given the new MRCE paint scheme in succession with a basic black paint job, combined with a large white band and small red bands on the ends. Subsequently, several units were sold by MRCE to interested operators, but most of the fleet was taken over finally in 2015 by the leasing company Beacon Rail.