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Berlin train startup's challenge to Deutsche Bahn hits brakes after 5 months

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Berlin train startup's challenge to Deutsche Bahn hits brakes after 5 months
A Locomore train in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.
13:48 CEST+02:00
Berlin rail startup Locomore has been placed into administration just months after it launched a challenge to state-owned monolith Deutsche Bahn, which dominates long-distance train travel in Germany.

The Berlin-Charlottenburg court on Friday confirmed the firm had triggered the proceedings the day before.

"We will know in the course of the day what happens with the operation" of the train linking the capital with Stuttgart in southwest Germany, Locomore financial director Katrin Seiler told AFP.

A service had been set to depart Berlin in the early afternoon Friday, but the company was still in talks with the court-appointed administrator over whether it could leave.

Launched in mid-December with modernized 1970s carriages and lower prices than Deutsche Bahn, Locomore offered one return trip per day between Berlin and Stuttgart, and had plans to expand to other lines.

The firm pointed to successful crowdfunding drives as evidence of demand for an alternative to the state-owned service.

But low bookings and maintenance problems meant it had to cut service to four days a week.

By early April, the firm said it had transported some 70,000 passengers and was already planning higher capacity and more frequent services for the future. 

Deutsche Bahn still operates 99 percent of long-distance services in Germany, despite the sector being liberalised in 1994.

Competition in regional markets is more intense, with the state-owned firm's share falling to 72 percent against numerous local alternatives according to specialist consultancy BSL.

READ ALSO: Meet the Berlin startup taking on Deutsche Bahn

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