Locomore refers to the project, which was launched in November, as "crowd ticketing" - each backer of the crowdfunding campaign is effectively be purchasing a ticket which can be used flexibly without restriction when the service is launched. A price of €7 has been set for short-distance trips with a €13 medium-distance fare and €22 for Berlin - Stuttgart journeys with a minimum purchase of two tickets.

"The broad support of people over the last three months has been great," says Locomore managing director Mr Derek Ladewig. "It shows that our ideas are right: rail travel that is fair, effective, and ecologically-sound."

The funds raised from the crowdfunding campaign will be used to cover start-up costs. Locomore anticipates it will need €100,000 to lease or acquire and refurbish eight coaches; €170,000 for start-up personnel and material costs; and €30,000 for operational preparation including recruitment and training of on-board personnel as well as operational testing. The remaining funds will be needed for IT systems, public relations, marketing, community management, and social media.

Locomore plans to launch a daily Stuttgart Main Station - Berlin Lichtenberg service on September 4, with intermediate stops including Vaihingen, Heidelberg, Frankfurt Main Station, Kassel Wilhelmshohe, Hannover, Wolfsburg, and Berlin Main Station and a journey time of 6h 47min.

The trains will be formed of modernised inter-city compartment coaches with free passenger Wi-Fi and power sockets.

The crowdfunding campaign will continue to run until 23.59 CET on January 28 and Locomore says any funding it gains in the final hours will help to strengthen the project. For more details, visit Locomore's Startnext page.

Locomore map