Germany has reduced VAT on journeys of up to 50km to 7%, but the standard rate of 19% is still applied to long-distance fares.

“Our customers would benefit significantly from lower VAT - be it in the form of new attractive offers or reduced ticket prices,” says DB CEO Dr Richard Lutz. “A combination of both is of course conceivable. In any case, we would certainly pass this advantage on to our passengers. In addition, such a decision would create additional scope for further investment in our train fleet.”

DB estimates that reduced VAT on long-distance train tickets would bring “at least five million” additional passengers onto the railway, with many transferring from more carbon-intensive modes.

DB is aiming to double long-distance ridership to 260 million under its Strong Rail strategy, which was unveiled in June.