for the love of train travel

Taking the train…

 

Fafa on the train…

 

The train station in Durham

 

Poppet and Elaine…on a train. A proper train, mind you.

 

The Dammtor in Hamburg
The train to the Zugspitze

 

Ella and Louis on the U-Bahn in Munich

 

Cottbus fans on the way to see their team play in Regensburg, and they’ve wrapped Ella and Louis in their team’s scarves.

 

Doing #DangerPanda on the train…an ICE train in Germany if you were wondering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

up in the Hochbahn in Hamburg

Sternschanze U-Bahn and S-Bahn station in Hamburg

This is a blogpost I’ve been waiting to do until I had enough photos to make it make a bit of sense. Not that this blog always makes much sense. What’d be the point of that?

No point, I tell you.

In the S-Bahn in Hamburg.

Just like other major German cities, Hamburg has both an U-Bahn and S-Bahn system. Most of the time, the U-Bahn system is underground, but like Boston’s T or Chicago’s Elevated, Hamburg has what’s called a ‘Hochbahn‘. All over the city in the U-Bahn stations, there are auld photos of the 100-year old Hochbahn. I’ll include those in a future post.

Here’s my favourite train station in Hamburg:

Hamburg’s Dammtor in the late afternoon.

This art deco train station is on the S-Bahn line, which as Wikipedia describes, is a, ‘…city centre and suburban metro like railway system in AustriaGermanySwitzerland and Denmark.’

Retro photo of a Hamburg shopping scene.

This photo has nothing to do with the Hochbahn, but I liked it and I decided it was going in this blogpost. It’s my blog. If you don’t like it, get your own damned blog.

 

 

 

 

 

free beer

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Georg-Brauchle-Ring U-Bahn Station

When I was still relatively new in Bavaria, well Munich to be precise, my U-Bahn line was extended and they were offering free beer. Well, there was also a party in celebration of the new underground station, but the only part I heard when someone told me about it was ‘free beer’. That was all I needed to know. I was already there.

So today, roughly a decade later, I was back at the same U-Bahn stop, and I thought back fondly of that day when I was new and my German was shaky and the people at the Fest were exceedingly friendly.

The station at Georg-Brauchle-Ring is attractive complete with photos and maps interspersed with colorful tiles…this place always makes me smile. It’s not bad, is it?

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this photo even smells like free beer, doesn’t it?

another day in Berlin

The U-Bahn in motion

Typically, this blog is a lot of text and one well-chosen photo. The last several have been the opposite. Lots of visual impressions of Berlin, and not much interpretation. You certainly know I like to write about my thoughts, so I assure you that there’ll be some of that in the coming days.

Alas, there’s so much going on here. This was actually a business trip, so I needed to take care of that before I could attend to blogging. But I promise you I’m not complaining. Far from it. Here are some of my favourite views of Berlin so far:

The Fernsehturm from the U-Bahn
night and day under the Rüdesheimer Platz
Checkpoint Charlie
at the Currywurst Museum
Berliner Dom
stretching in the Lustgarten
market vegetable seller
winding down at the Tadschikische Teestube

drunk trains in the night

interior of an earlier S-Bahn

Roughly two thousand people showed up Saturday night to protest Munich’s new law that you can’t drink on the S-Bahn (Schnell-Bahn directly translated as fast trains, but I like to say suburban trains). The term *people* I use very loosely.

As the night wore on, ten trains had to be taken out of commission. Lights had been destroyed, windows broken or covered in unspecified nontransparent material, and seat cushions ripped into pieces. After the evening’s festivities, it was discovered that nearly fifty trains had been damaged.

At least ten people are being held responsible (based on closed-circuit camera evidence) for the worst of the damage.

Since 2009, it’s been against the law to drink on the U-Bahn (underground trains), or in the trams and busses. It was only a matter of time before the S-Bahn, which is owned by the formerly state-owned Deutsche Bahn, followed suit.

The protesters were informed about the event and given regular updates on Facebook (very little good comes from that website anymore, does it?) and what started as a relatively relaxed evening turned rowdy between ten-thirty and midnight. The new law went into effect as the clock struck twelve.

Tell me, does this surprise anyone? People protesting not being allowed to drink on public transportation by getting their drink on in that very venue? (exactly the same sort of protests happened in London and Hamburg when they instituted such new policies). What started out peacefully gets quickly and increasingly out of hand?

This is a dog bites man story. The real news would’ve been if the increasingly inebriated people had become reasonable and actually considered the other people in their general vicinity.

‘All in all, the trains were more than six thousand minutes late. That’s over a hundred hours, according to the head of the S-Bahn. The damages add up to more than €100,000. Despite all of that: there wasn’t a single injury.’ (source: Süddeutsche Zeitung Monday 12 December 2011 my translation!)

Do any of you understand the gravity of this? Trains should not be delayed. Not here. This is the beginning of the end of society. Or the end of the beginning.

That same head of the S-Bahn even indicated he had nothing against a goodbye party for drinking on the trains. Can you believe that? The person in charge of this organisation actually sounds reasonable. He insisted that he drew the line at aggressiveness and property damage.

Oh, and some train employees were spit on.

This isn’t mock outrage on my part. This is me trying to tone down what jerks I think these protesters were (and are).

Fine. You think the new law is inappropriate and repressive and whatever, but do you really spit on the people working overtime to make sure your blotto self and your friends don’t fall onto the tracks and get hit by a train?

Can you fathom how indignant these people would be if they were treated in the same manner? If they were spit on for being morons? If their right to protest were infringed upon in any way they’d be up in arms.

You know, there’s probably a better way to tie this up. A funnier approach to the whole account. A perspective that shows either the protesters or the story itself in a different light. But I’m not going to do that.

A group of people show their disgust that they could no longer, in a civilised way, drink alcohol on the trains in Munich by being thoroughly and indisputably disgusting. They really made their point, didn’t they?

I’m not opposed to drinking and more importantly, I like a bit of debauchery. Actually, I’m quite the fan of a lot of debauchery. But these folk are on my opposing team. They really are.