GERMANY: Open access inter-city operator FlixMobility has opened ticket bookings for its third daytime FlixTrain route, with daily services between Berlin and Köln expected to begin on May 23. Single fares are available from €9·99.
Journey times of between 5 h and 6 h will be around 3 h quicker than the existing Flixbus coach service and are expected to be competitive with DB. According to FlixMobility CEO André Schwämmlein, ‘the lack of a central bus station in Köln is one of the reasons why we are now more likely to rely on the train’.
Departing from Berlin Südkreuz at 08.11, Berlin Hbf at 08.20 and Spandau at 08.32, the train will call at Wolfsburg, Hannover, Bielefeld, Dortmund, Essen, Duisburg and Düsseldorf, arriving in Köln Hbf at 13.57. The return working departs from Köln at 16.01, reaching Spandau at 21.26, Berlin Hbf at 21.45 and Südkreuz at 21.53.
FlixMobility hopes to launch a second daily service on the route from early June. This would leave Köln at 06.45 to arrive in the capital around noon. The return service departing from Südkreuz at 16.11 would omit the Hannover, Essen and Duisburg calls, reaching Köln at 21.46.
The Berlin – Köln route overlaps with FlixTrain’s existing Berlin – Frankfurt – Stüttgart and Hamburg – Köln services.
Last year, FlixMobility began marketing the seasonal Hamburg – Hannover – Freiburg – Lörrach car-carrying overnight sleeper service. This is operated by Bahn Touristic Express, which runs the Hamburg – Köln services under the FlixTrain brand.