‘Impeding new blood can only lead to sector failure’ – ALLRAIL calls for change to help new rail services

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Credit: Locomore.
Credit: Locomore.

Locomore’s recent insolvency is a reminder of the difficulties facing new train operating companies.

That is the message from ALLRAIL, an association which represents non-incumbent freight operators and open access passenger operators.

Locomore was a crowdfunded German TOC that began operating in 2016 as a low-cost alternative to DB.

It aimed to attract new passengers to rail by offering competitive ticket prices and running trains entirely on sustainably sourced green electricity but was forced to file for insolvency in May, 2017, because the venture was not cost-effective.

ALLRAIL said that Locomore is the fourth TOC start-up to fail in entering the long-distance German passenger market in recent years thanks to “crippling” cost challenges.

In particular it pointed to the fact DB did not sell Locomore tickets as a “major contributory” factor to its collapse and called for open sale and distribution arrangements of all rail tickets.

In a statement released to the media, a spokesman for ALLRAIL said: “A sector which impedes the influx of new blood, and the innovation and drive that brings, can only lead to stagnation and failure.

“Indeed while the other more polluting modes of transport have made significant market gains in recent years, most notably road and aviation, rail’s market share in the EU has either remained flat or even in some cases declined.”

In addition it said that a European level strategy needs to be introduced to improve the climate for new entrants.

ALLRAIL campaigns for a single European railway market and currently represents seven European members: ERFA, Leo Express, MTR Nordic, NTV, Regiojet, Trainline and Westbahn.

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