This is the Hamburg-Köln-Express or HKX for short, a new non-DB train that first ran on the 23rd of July this year. As the name suggests, it travels between Cologne and Hamburg every day, for five cents per Kilometer, which comes down to 20€ per trip. If you book a return ticket, you get 10% off that, so it's 36€ for an 800 kilometer round trip. Quite cheap! The trains are operated by Veolia, with HKX providing the rest of the staff.
As you can see, the rolling stock is also quite interesting, with this train consisting of married-pair carriages that belong to the Nord-Ostsee-Bahn. Since those are usually found near the coast, it's quite an interesting sight in my part of the country. The name married-pair stems from the fact that two cars are permanently coupled, with the technical features dictating a minium train lenght of four cars. The locomotive is of course the well known Taurus, with the ones used by HKX having been leased from MRCE Dispolok. There is another train consisting of four refurbished 1960s Rheingold cars, sandwiched between two Tauri! Talk about overpowered trains...
This then is HKX 1802, heading from Hamburg to Cologne, less than ten minutes from its final destination. Photo taken today in Langenfeld.
My thoughts: Apart from offering a properly cheap way of getting to Hamburg for people like me who don't own a BahnCard, this train also provides a speck of colour in the red-white world of DB trains. Especially now, with the 103s out of commission and 110s getting rare, trains like these are what keep me from giving up on railfanning.