Since it launched its Cologne – Münster – Essen – Hamburg services on July 23 last year, HKX has carried nearly 150,000 passengers on almost 700 services, which have covered more than 300,000km with punctuality of 80-90%. HKX says the majority of its passengers travel long distances, with around 90% starting or ending their journey at Hamburg Main Station.

"We have a particularly high percentage of people between the ages of 18 and 29, who are increasingly doing without their own car and demonstrating a different, more selective mobility behaviour, which means they are very open to using the train service," says HKX CEO Mrs Eva Kreienkamp. "We're very happy about that, and also about the approximately 50% of women on board, showing us that we have been able to expand the market for train travel."

HKX is planning to expand capacity over the next few months with longer trains, and from December the service will be stepped up to three return trains every day of the week.

The company is a joint venture between Railroad Development Corporation (RDC), United States, Locomore Rail, Germany, and investor Mr Michael Schabas.