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Budget trains steam into Bahn monopoly

The Local · 23 Jul 2012, 15:50

Published: 23 Jul 2012 15:50 GMT+02:00

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“I expect that we will be working in profit in the coming year already,” said Henry Posner, head of the American investment firm Railroad Development Corporation, which has funded the Hamburg-Cologne Express (HKX).

The service set off from Hamburg at 6:35 on Monday morning, and arrived at 11:03am in Cologne – six minutes behind schedule.

The wagons were Rheingold models which date back to the 1970s, but fully cleaned for the start of their second maiden journey.

They were pretty much full on the return journey to Hamburg on this the first day of the new cut-price service.

Manager Eva Kreienkamp did not mention the problems with Deutsche Bahn over making the rails available which had delayed the service by two years. “The DB Network is currently cooperating very well,” she said.

The new service costs €20 from Cologne to Hamburg, €40 for the same trip in the other direction – as long as tickets are booked online - but €60 for either stretch when bought from the conductor on the train.

Deutsche Bahn’s regular price is €83 for the trip with its Intercity service, and €92 with the Intercity Express, although these prices are halved if the traveller has a Bahncard 50.

Story continues below…

The Hamburg-Cologne connection will not be the last challenge to Deutsche Bahn's monopoly - there are plans for another company to take it on along the Berlin-Cologne route by the end of this year.

DAPD/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:05 July 23, 2012 by DoubleDTown
this doesn't look for DB, or for German rail travelers who want to go somewhere beside the competition zone. Not to say DB ought to be allowed to charge EUR 83 per trip, while simltaneously putting a EUR 100.000.000,00 leaky roof on the Dresden Hbf, but how is DB expected to keep maintaining a giant network that mostly provides a sound alternative to automobiles if it faces competition among its most lucrative routes?
19:16 July 23, 2012 by Englishted
Be very careful this is the first step to privatisation ,some may think thats a good idea but look at the mess the railways are in the U.K. following the demise of British Railways and it does not work out cheaper but is often more dangerous as profit before people comes into play.
10:58 July 24, 2012 by amaticc
Public transport is way to expensive in Germany. It is cheaper to go by car for one person than full price DB ticket. And after that somebody says Germany goes green.
06:45 July 27, 2012 by wood artist
Open competition is always a mixed bag. While "good prices" might prevail on these premium routes, there are valid reasons why DB charges more. In short, the system won't work if the good routes are all taken by the private options, leaving DB to serve the routes that can never pay for themselves. It's sort of like the post...where the price of a stamp can never cover the true costs of delivery in the rural areas. The mix...rural and urban...are required, and it's clearly cheaper to deliver bunches to big office buildings than it is to take one letter 4 km out into the countryside.

In most countries the laws mandate universal service, simply because without that, the "little places" won't get any service, or prices would be so high as to be unworkable. Like everything else, this not as simply as it might appear.

16:01 July 27, 2012 by Voice
Sounds wonderful doesn't it? Tickets at less than half the price of DB. In the long run, not so wonderful.

This is because it will take some trade away from DB thus potentially causing either a deterioration in services because of less funding available or an increase in DB fares to compensate. DB is not there to make a profit. It is there primarily to offer a public service. On the whole it does it very well and to a very high standard. So how can it "compete" when it isn't even functioning as a major profit centre? If it were to compete in the "real" world it would have to make a good many changes.

These changes would mean fewer personnel, less money spent on research and development (probably even selling off that and every other arm of DB), cuts in wages, bargain basement deals on rolling stock acquisitions, a severe reduction in comfort, more crowding, and so on. In other words, exactly what Britain has saddled itself with.

And of-course my comment about bargain basement carriages has already been proven by the newcomers themselves who're pressing 1970's rolling stock into service!

Please Germany, don't go any further down this road. You will regret it. And once you've lost that jewel you will never get it back.
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