Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s state-backed railway, said on Thursday the company’s first-half loss narrowed as cutting costs made up for a drop in passenger numbers. Operating loss after interest fell to €143 million ($157 million) from €235 million a year ago. After bungling the implementation of a new, highly criticized pricing structure, passenger traffic fell by 1.2 percent. But Deutsche Bahn sales still managed to almost double in the first six months of the year after the company purchased Stinnes AG, a cargo firm. Bahn Chief Executive Hartmut Mehdorn has said the railway hopes to returng to profitability in 2004.