The new service, which takes three days in each direction, links the Ruhr region and northern Germany with the growing economy in southeastern Europe and cuts the turnaround time for freight wagons by two thirds, improving wagon availability for customers.

DB Cargo says the Romanian shuttle provides a fast link with a wide geographical reach and is open to all types of freight. The single wagonload train is formed in Schwandorf in eastern Bavaria before crossing Austria and Hungary on its way to the freight station in Craiova, around 200km west of Bucharest.

There is currently one train per week on the southbound leg which departs on Saturday, arrives on Monday and starts the return journey on Tuesday.

“The high level of market acceptance and positive growth in volumes mean that we are planning additional departures,” says DB Cargo’s Ms Helena Petkau, single wagon offer management.

DB Cargo and its subsidiaries DB Cargo Hungary and DB Cargo Romania will supply the locomotives for the service, acting as a single service provider.

The main freight type is currently steel, with southbound trains frequently transporting coiled steel, and northbound services transporting semi-finished steel products.