Since 1994, train operating companies other than the incumbent DB are allowed to run passenger trains on the federal rail network in Germany. The open regional traffic market is mainly regulated with competitive tendering and long distance trains can be run within the framework of an open access to the infrastructure. Germany is the only country in Europe where open access regulated traffic occurred except Great Britain. However, the competitors are very involved in the regional traffic and very few in the long distance traffic. The topic of this paper is to evaluation the situation of the German long distance market and set some explanations why the opening of this submarket doesn’t really occur. The long distance operation is actually very dependant on the regional traffic, as three of the four current TOCs demonstrate. Their business model remembers the low costs airlines, but with specific constraints to the railway industry especially the part of the infrastructure in the operating costs. The high level of operational integration between both traffic shows that open access competition in railways largely depends on the market properties of the subsidized tendered traffic.
Keywords: competition; rail passenger transport; Germany; open access; InterConnex