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Train service expanded: FlixTrain adds route between Berlin and Cologne

Train service expanded : FlixTrain adds route between Berlin and Cologne

Deutsche Bahn is still a monopolist when it comes to long-distance transportation, and competitors have never survived for long. Now FlixTrain is expanding its offers, even beyond Germany.

The fledgling long-distance train service FlixTrain has put its third route into operation in Germany and is preparing to move into other countries.

FlixTrain, a small-scale competitor of Deutsche Bahn (German Rail), travelled from Berlin to Cologne on Thursday. On the way, the train made stops in Wolfsburg, Hanover, Essen, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Dortmund and Bielefeld. "This is the establishment of the first private long-distance train network in the Federal Republic of Germany," the company announced. A second train is to to be added to the route beginning June 6.

In Germany, FlixTrain is the only competitor of Deutsche Bahn when it comes to long-distance routes. Two routes have been in regular operation for over a year: Berlin-Stuttgart and Cologne-Hamburg. There is also a night train running from Hamburg to Lörrach.

The company announced that additional railcars would increase capacity by 30 percent on the line from Berlin to Stuttgart. Starting in July, an additional train will run between Cologne and Hamburg. It means that seven green long-distance trains will then be running in Germany.

By way of comparison, Deutsche Bahn operated 274 ICE trains at the end of 2018. 148 million long-distance passengers travelled with the state-owned company, compared to 750,000 passengers at Flixbus in the first year of regular operation. In the meantime, the company has counted a total of one million passengers, as announced on Thursday.

Following its launch in Germany, train operator Flixtrain is targeting its first foreign market. "We have applied for train routes in Sweden," said a spokesman. There, too, the company is counting on linking its train services with its existing Flixbus network. The long-distance buses have been running there for four years.

Flixtrain has been on the lookout for opportunities to expand its business next year for quite some time already. However, further plans for Germany are not known. Initially the plans will be for Sweden. However, a spokesman did not want to give any details about the routes that Flixtrain is targeting in Scandinavia.

(Orig. text: dpa; Translation: ck)