“The approximately two-month break during the poor-traffic period in October and November will be used to adapt HKX even better to customer requirements and to develop an attractive offer for train travel between Hamburg and Cologne for the new 2018 timetable,” HKX says. Passengers who had booked tickets for travel in October and November will receive refunds.

This is latest attempt by HKX to reduce costs and improve financial performance, but HKX has yet to make any significant profit.

In February 2015, HKX agreed an innovative deal to share ticket revenue with its main competitor, German Rail (DB). The deal, long sought by HKX, was abandoned in August 2016 as it was found to be operationally difficult by HKX, especially at peak times.

In December 2015, through services to Frankfurt am Main were launched but later scaled back as the paths allocated to HKX were not competitive with other trains on the route and passenger loadings were poor.

In 2016-17, HKX reduced its Hamburg - Cologne service to only operate mainly at busy weekend periods.

HKX started operation in 2012 and currently uses a variety of former reconditioned DB coaches with locomotives provided by BahnTouristikExpress (BTE) in which RDC has been a 50% shareholder since May. BTE is a charter train operator which took over the operation earlier this year of the Hamburg - Lörrach (near Basle) car-carrying overnight train service, which DB withdrew in 2016.