Travel: Flixtrain to restart service in Germany and add new routes

Travel: Flixtrain to restart service in Germany and add new routes
A Flixtrain in Aachen in July 2020. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marius Becker
As parts of Germany reopen for travel throughout the month of May, Germany’s Flixtrain is also getting back on track with new routes, or restarting services put on hold amid the pandemic.

Flixtrain has not operated in Germany since the start of November, when the Bundesrepublik first introduced a lockdown.

It is now relaunching and widening its service ahead of the summer months, and in hopes of offering travellers another option to the federally-owned Deutsche Bahn. 

“We want to build a Germany-wide alternative offer. All metropolitan areas are now connected,” said André Schwämmlein, CEO of parent company Flixmobility.

READ ALSO: When will tourism in Germany open up again?

The company’s Hamburg-Cologne and Berlin-Cologne routes are slated to restart operations on Thursday May 20th – just ahead of national public holiday Whit Monday (Pfingsten) on May 24th – with a service up to eight times a day. 

In June, its Berlin-Stuttgart connection will relaunch. Furthermore, connections to and from Munich will also be featured in the train schedule for the first time. 

From June 17th, a night connection between the Bavarian capital, Berlin, Hamburg will be on offer, although no sleeping or couchette cars are planned. 

A daytime connection between Munich and Frankfurt via Augsburg and Aschaffenburg will start one day later.

Flixtrain’s service announcement comes as more states reopen their for travellers. Bavaria will be reopening hotels and tourist infrastructure on May 21st in regions with low coronavirus numbers.

Other states, such as Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein, have also opened for tourism with restrictions.

Originally, operations with the train service were not scheduled to resume until June 24th, but were brought forward amid an improving travel outlook in Germany, said the company. 

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Building an alternative offer

Flixtrain is the rail brand of Flixmobility, which is best known for its long-distance bus brand Flixbus. 

Compared with Deutsche Bahn, however, its offering is still small: With nine token bright green trains, the private company competes against more than 300 high-speed (ICE) trains.

Since winter, ICE trains have been running every half hour, on average, during the day between Berlin and Hamburg – a goal Schwämmlein says Flixtrain is trying to achieve. 

READ ALSO: Trains to travel between major German cities every half hour

But it is not only in Germany that Flixtrain wants to expand its offering: a few days ago, the company announced that it would also be launching in Sweden in the future.

Around three years after launching its long-distance trains in Germany, the company is tackling its first foreign market, with the Stockholm-Gothenburg route slated to be its first outside of the Bundesrepublik.

READ ALSO: Flixbus to take on Deutsche Bahn with low-cost trains from Berlin, Hamburg


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