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'Budget' rail company takes on Deutsche Bahn

The Local · 2 Mar 2012, 12:11

Published: 02 Mar 2012 12:11 GMT+01:00

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The company, MSM, will be offering customers tickets from just over €19 – an initiative CEO Nike Maedge likened to that of “a budget airline with a variable pricing system.”

The cheapest ticket Deutsche Bahn offers for a one-way journey is €29.

Currently, Deutsche Bahn enjoys a monopoly, providing Germany’s only high-speed intercity trains – the ICE and the IC. This earns the company around €3.8 billion each year, according to reports from the German Financial Times (DFT) on Thursday.

If MSM’s plan is successful, it will be Deutsche Bahn’s only direct competition – a role other companies have tried, but failed, to fill.

Deutsche Bahn runs around 40 trains a day between Cologne and Berlin via Hamburg, while MSM announced that customers would be offered just two connections daily, as the company only has four engines and 30 carriages.

They hope the trains will carry travellers between Cologne and Hamburg in less than five hours. Deutsche Bahn’s quickest trains manage the journey in around four.

People wishing to travel on one of MSM’s trains will not have to worry about having to stand in the aisle for several hours, as reservations will be mandatory.

“Otherwise we might scare customers off,” said Maedge to the DFT.

Story continues below…

Other companies have tried to crack Deutsche Bahns's stranglehold of the German railways. Would-be competitors have included French company Veolia, which briefly offered trains between the eastern cities of Leipzig and Rostock before pulling them off the rails.

MSM, however, has some limited experience operating trains in Germany, as it is one of the few companies to have successfully run trains alongside Deutsche Bahn. For the last five years it has provided transport for people travelling from the Ruhr Valley to Austrian ski resorts.

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:07 March 2, 2012 by Karl_Berlin
I used to use DB quite a lot about 7-10 years ago. Used to actually love travelling with them. Now they are just so prohibitively expensive that I go out of my way to find other companies (such as interconnex - http://www.interconnex.com/ which offers amazing prices in more comfortable trains) to use instead.

I hope this company works out as DB has been acting quite arrogantly in its pricing.
15:47 March 3, 2012 by derExDeutsche
if the Bahn network was run by Capitalist, would Frankfurt 21 still be an issue?
20:58 March 3, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
RyanRail on the way. Would shake up the rail industry for sure. These German Oligopolies need more competition and more rigid enforcement of EU competitivenes laws.
14:52 March 5, 2012 by LecteurX
@ derExDeutsche - well, if you're trying to refer to this train station project on which opponents becamse quite vocal, then you'll find it is called Stuttgart 21 as in Stuttgart, that city in Baden Württemberg.

But I guess for people like you, stating the facts is merely optional, as long as you can give "the Left" a good beating - on any topic really, no matter how unrelated it is to your right wing ramblings.
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