Locomore was founded by Derek Ladewig in 2007 with the aim of getting an alternative to the Deutsche Bahn on track. Locomore was thus significantly involved in the initiation of the Hamburg-Köln-Express (HKX). Derek Ladewig and several of his colleagues left however HKX prior to the start of operation due to insurmountable differences regarding the strategic direction with the American majority investor RDC in the area of HKX product development. Their enthusiasm for long-distance trains remained nevertheless untainted, and thus they keep on working to put a convincing alternative to the Deutsche Bahn on tracks.
In 2015, Locomore concluded a 5-year-framework agreement with DB Netz AG. Via a crowdfunding campaign supported by more than 1000 crowdfunders, the starting capital was gathered to launch the first Locomore train between Berlin, Hannover, Frankfurt and Stuttgart. Operations started 2016, December 14th. The trains were operated by Hector Rail and the coaches were rent from SRI Rail Invest GmbH who furnished them according to Locomore design. Although passenger numbers and return per passenger were increasing it turned out, that capital backing was not high enough to reach break even in time. After talks with its investors, Locomore GmbH & Co. KG had to file a petition for the institution of insolvency proceedings on May 11th, 2017. Operations were shut down on May 12th, 2017.
Founders of Locomore draw more detailed balance here (still in works). The old Locomorewebsite from May 12th, 2017 can be visited in the archive.
Together with the liquidator, the founding and directing team, Nicolas Dietrich, Katrin Seiler and Derek Ladewig, was looking intensely for new investors who would be willing to rehabilite and proceed operations and company. Longer discussions with initially twelve parties led to the following result beginning of August 2017: The Czech long-distance train operator Leo Express will continue Locomore traffic. The newly found LEO Express GmbH did not take over the insolvent Locomore GmbH & Co. KG but bought the assets of Locomore and concluded new contracts to reestablish operations with relevant partners. Also with most staff members new working contracts have been concluded.
LEO Express did not buy the brand and trademark – former Locomore founders bought it via Waggonpool. Waggonpool is also operating this website.
On August 24th, 2017, operations were launched again, still branded as Locomore, according to a license agreement between LEO Express GmbH and Waggonpool. Tickets are now sold by LEO‘s partner FlixBus.
The Locomore founders still aim at further developing the brand Locomore and also to allow its use for business models suitable to former Locomore ideas.
In this moment, the Locomore website and social media profiles are used by Waggonpool in cooperation with LEO Express and FlixBus to inform passengers on the Locomore traffic between Stuttgart and Berlin.
Derek Ladewig, born in 1971, was founder, shareholder and until August 1st, 2017, managing director of Locomore GmbH & Co. KG. As a public administration and management specialist, Derek has dedicated his career to the field of transportation with special emphasis on train transportation. His career includes work in public transportation, as adviser on train transportation to the German Bundestag and initiator of the Hamburg-Köln-Express (HKX). He is the driving force behind Locomore. It is his core belief that long distance travel on tracks can only gain new passengers sustainably if travellers have a real choice between offers of different railway companies.
Today, he supports Leo Express GmbH as Deputy General Manager to successfully relaunch Locomore operations and further business development, especially of Locomore traffics.
Katrin Seiler, was, until August 1st, 2017, managing director of Locomore and responsible for human resources, in charge of the finances, and Locomore's on-board service. She studied Social Sciences. Previously, Katrin worked as research assistant in the Bundestag and transportation consultant for Hamburg-Köln-Express (HKX) as well as Locomore. It is Katrin's utmost concern to work for a railway company that recognizes the demand of taking travelers' special needs seriously.
Today, Katrin is Senior Manager for finances and human resources at LEO Express GmbH.
Nicolas Dietrich, born in 1981, was, until August 1st, 2017, shareholder and mangaing director, responsible for IT and distribution at Locomore. Nicolas is now Senior Manager at LEO Express GmbH in the IT section.
Johanna Jäger, was also shareholder of Locomore GmbH & Co. KG. She supported the business set-up process and later the passenger rights‘ section and passenger support. As political scientist, she worked for non-profit organisations in the environmental and humanitarian sector before joining the team. She now is involved in adult education with a focus on ecology, including the subject of mobility.