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More competition for german rail in long-distance traffic

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At 6.35 o'clock the HKX starts in hamburg-altona. Back from koln at 12.01 o'clock. Additional trains run from thursday to sunday.

The train runs via essen, gelsenkirchen and munster, but does not stop in bremen. In germany, the railroad does have competitors in local transport in many regions. Competition on a long-distance route has so far only existed on the leipzig-rostock route.

The HKX operators advertise with "travel times as fast as the IC" and favorable prices. The tickets are sold over the internet. For starters, a one-way ticket, including reservations, costs between 20 and 60 euros for the entire trip. Whether it's 20 euros, 50 euros or 60 euros depends on which day you book. If you only travel part of the route, you can get on for as little as 5 cents per kilometer, according to advertising. Later, according to the company, there will be a dynamic pricing system.

Transport scientist daniel krimphoff of the university of munster considers the colon-hamburg line to be very suitable for an attack on the federally owned deutsche bahn. "It is a route with an extremely high capacity utilization."Moreover, it is not a high-speed line. Such was a K.O.-criterion, because the operation of ICE trains was not affordable for newcomers.

The target group will probably initially be students, weekly commuters and families, krimphoff expects. Business travelers needed trains with fixed hourly intervals.

HKX is backed by the U.S. Company railroad development corporation, the berlin company locomore rail and the canadian investor michael schabas. Deutsche bahn reacted calmly to its rival at the start of the project. A spokeswoman in berlin said that the company was prepared for competition to be "the norm". "In regional traffic, we have had this for over 15 years, and there is already competition in long-distance traffic as well. It's good when our customers can also compare on long-distance services."DB is keeping a close eye on competition, but is convinced of the quality of its services.

HKX operators still have to improvise with their wagons in the first few weeks. A modernized train is not yet ready for service in time, so the express is rolling on the retro wave for the time being: first-class intercity cars from the 1970s are being used for the start of the service.

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