Deutsche Bahn AG (abbreviated as DB, DB AG or DBAG) is a German railway company. Headquartered in Berlin, it is a private joint-stock company (AG), with the Federal Republic of Germany being its single shareholder. Deutsche Bahn describes itself as the second-largest transport company in the world, after the German postal and logistics company Deutsche Post / DHL, and is the largest railway operator and infrastructure owner in Europe. It carries about two billion passengers each year. Deutsche Bahn (literally "German Railway" in German) came into existence in 1994 as the successor to the former state railways of Germany, the Deutsche Bundesbahn ("German Federal Railway") of West Germany and the Deutsche Reichsbahn ("German State Railway") of East Germany. It also gained ownership of former railway assets in West Berlin held by the Verwaltung des ehemaligen Reichsbahnvermögens (Administration of the Former Reichsbahn Assets). While the railway network in Germany dates back to 1835 when the first tracks were laid on a 6 km (3.7 mi) route between Nuremberg and Fürth, Deutsche Bahn has been a relatively recent development in German railway history. Founded in January 1994 as a joint stock-company, Deutsche Bahn was designed to operate the railways of both the former East and West Germany after unification in October 1990 as a single, uniform, and private company. There are three main periods of development in this unified German railway: its formation, its early years (1994–1999), and the period from 1999 to the present.