World’s First Crowdfunded Train Now Running
Just over a year ago we ran a feature about a start-up company, Locomore, who wanted to get a crowdfunded train up and running between Berlin and Stuttgart (via Hanover and Frankfurt), Germany, once a day in each direction. We interviewed the founder of Locomore, Derek Ladeweg, to find out more.
Well, the crowdfunding concept worked, with around 1300 people donating, and in December 2016 Locomore started operating with refurbished DB InterCity carriages. Anyone buying a ticket on the day (for the entire route) will pay €65, whereas passengers who book in advance can travel for as little as €22. Berlin-Hanover ticket prices start at just €10! Generally speaking Locomore wants to offer tickets for roughly half as much as they would cost on DB services. An added benefit is that all tickets already containing a seat booking.
In the first four weeks of operation, the service has already been used by 25,000 passengers, with some trains receiving demand that exceeds capacity.
Being a new service, there are bound to be some teething problems, so until the beginning of April Locomore will reduce their services to five days a week, allowing two days for intensive maintenance to get the quality up to the desired levels. Some of the issues have included the wagons being in the incorrect order, problems with the on-board wifi and issues with online bookings.
In April Locomore will add a further four carriages to its present seven, to ensure a big enough reserve to run a reliable daily service.
Environmentally Friendly Transport
Last week we reported that all electrified passenger trains in the Netherlands had started running on wind energy. The Locomore service also runs 100% on green energy, supplied by Naturstrom. Increasing its green credentials, all the food served on board is organic.
The concept here is simple: passengers are obviously willing to trade in a little bit of time and comfort to save money, hence the rise in long-distance coach travel. This train service takes a little longer than that operated by DB, and because of the older carriages it’s a little noisier too, but the pricing is very attractive and there are many added benefits to travelling by train.
Locomore founder Derek Ladeweg says, “As the world’s first crowdfunded train company, we embody the wish of many to bring greater variety on to the rails in order to develop long-distance rail travel further and make it more customer-focused“.