Germany launches world’s first crowdfunded train

With a little crowdfunding and a single 1970s train, Locomore is challenging Germany’s state rail operator.

The interiors of the Locomore train. © Ubanverleih at Wikipedia Commons

On December 14th, the German start-up  Locomore saw its first train service run from Stuttgart to Berlin via Frankfurt, after crowdfunding raised more than €600,000 in one year.

The company hopes to win over Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s state rail operator, customers with budget ticket prices and lure environmentally-conscious travellers from more polluting forms of transport.

“We are offering a new service to compete with the car, the plane, the long-distance bus as well as Deutsche Bahn,” Locomore founder and director Derek Ladewig told AFP.

The renovated orange-and-brown 1970s train features the Locomore brand along with the words ‘fair, ecological, cheap’ on the side of it. That motto stems from the train’s green electricity power source and cheaper ticket pricing. Locomore pricing for the long-distance trip starts at €22 compared to €115 on Deutsche Bahn and shorter trips start at €7 and are also based on how far in advance tickets are booked and how in-demand that trip is. Kids under 14 ride free when accompanied by an adult.

Also setting apart Locomore’s service is the organic food, fair-trade coffee and ability to book a seat next to people with like-minded interests for business networking or playing board games. WiFi is available and there are a variety of seating classes – basic, quiet, themed and business with compartments and open seating areas.

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