Happy new year 0x7da!

January 1, 2010

For myself, the year started not so happy. I had stayed at my parents over the holidays, and today took the train back. That’s the obvious solution if you don’t own a car and your home’s about 400 kilometres away. (At this point, the attentive reader observes that this post is totally non-KDE. In fact, it’s about to become a rant in three, two, one…)

After today, here’s an advice for those of you who intend to travel with the German railway corporation aka Deutsche Bahn: Don’t! If there is another solution, go for it!

The concrete reason is what happened to me on my last three train tours:

  • In September, I had to wait for rail replacement bus service nearly one hour, after thefts stole the overhead lines on a railway line of about 11 kilometres. (What the…?)
  • In mid-December, I got my train, but it reached its destination 30 minutes late because the Deutsche Bahn seems to have forgotten that winter includes snow.
  • Now today (= January 1st), the same thing: The locomotive came to the conclusion that it has reached its aim some hundred kilometres before what I (and most other involved) considered the destination. It took some blasting 2 hours before they organised a new locomotive, and I reached my home with a delay of 165 minutes. A new record!

And these are not single cases: Go read about the Berlin S-Bahn, the most important transportation means in our federal capital, and why they won’t return to the normal schedule before 2013 (last link in German; if in doubt, use translation services).

All in all, I’m fed up with the Deutsche Bahn. I use to be quite enthusiastic about going by train (which regularly presents me with a nice atmosphere and a good excuse for hacking), but I also have a growing list of companies that are obviously not interested in my money, and Deutsche Bahn is now on that list, too.

So I arrived at home three hours late, and all I got was a lousy “customer rights form”. 48 easy questions for 14,50 € cashback. Hm…

In completely other news, 26C3 was absolutely terrific.

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12 Responses to “Happy new year 0x7da!”

  1. Thomas Says:

    I’ve been to the 26C3 as well, it was really great 🙂 We got there by car from Basel (!) and the drive back was rather strenuous. My conclusion was that next time we should pay a train ticket early… 🙂

  2. frinring Says:

    Hm. Is this the same company where I only had pleasant jouneys with last year, all going in time, while others were stuck in traffic jams or had car troubles?

    Happy 11011010 00000111, also 🙂 (I’m on little-endian 😉 )

  3. Alex Says:

    Only 165 minutes? With Amtrak, 8 hours late is considered pretty good.

    • nixternal Says:

      Only time I took Amtrak I went from Chicago to Washington DC. I think it was typically like a 16 hour trip, which I can do by car in just over 10 hours. However my train trip took 26 hours, due to a breakdown in the middle of nowhere, then we hit a tractor John Deere style, and then broke down again in Pittsburgh. Never again will I take Amtrak.

  4. thingie Says:

    Like we couldn’t make a similar list for KDE. With some understanding of railway operations, this one doesn’t look that bad. Things aren’t always that easy with limited resources, packed routes and so on. Yeah, it sucks, and I’d be also annoyed if this have happened to me. But it’s not necessarily DB’s fault. Shit happens. The bad thing is that, unlike KDE, it’s almost impossible to directly contribute and help fix or improve something yourself (I don’t mean helping DB, but generally public transport in the country), and I’m quite afraid that “voting with money” won’t do in this case (but, well, good luck with that).

  5. DeeJay1 Says:

    Well, you obviously didn’t have the “pleasure” to travel with PKP…

  6. Kevin Kofler Says:

    I’d also consider 165 minutes quite tolerable (if it isn’t a regular occurrance), though annoying (of course nobody wants to waste 2-3 hours waiting). I’ve seen much worse chaos with airlines (flights hours later or entirely canceled), some trains in other countries have also been through big chaos (see e.g. the Eurostar through the Eurotunnel which was out of order for 2 full days), and with cars, you can get stuck for hours in a traffic jam.

  7. jospoortvliet Says:

    I join Alex in saying 165 minutes isn’t that bad. You might be used to DB, which actually does a decent job compared to the rail service companies in other countries. In the netherlands, NS often manages to have that much delay on a 30 minute trip. I actually got my first car from my parents cuz I didn’t visit them very often due to the frequent and insanely long delays with public transport…

  8. David Says:

    I am really happy that I don’t have to experience Deutsche Bahn any more since I moved to Sweden. 😉 We have delays here as well but it is more or less around 10min on a 3h trip in what I would consider the real winter (-20°C and 1m snow).
    Once when I took the train to the north (somewhere north of the polar circle), which takes about 22h from Stockholm, the locomotive broke down twice! There was a bus replacement in no time, free lunch and the overall delay was less than one hour. That is pretty impressive for such a long trip.

  9. Andri Says:

    Well, you should try Italian trains, then you won’t complain anymore about DB and a 165 minutes delay will be normal 🙂

  10. gumb Says:

    If this has spoilt your new year, whatever you do don’t move to England! In fact, from my experience Interrailing and travelling on public transport in many other countries, I’d suggest you don’t leave Germany at all.

    A delay due to theft that can’t be attributed to the rail company is not so bad as regular delays for no apparent reason as experienced by most commuters in the UK. You can also take your pick from a Spanish rail network that seems to have lines covering most of the country with rolling stock sitting around on them, but which only takes the trouble to run one service per day or week over most of those lines with compulsory reservations required, resulting in queues of several hours, days in advance to get a ticket; services in Italy (Sicily in my own case) that stop at your station but you’re not allowed to get on because it’s only going one more stop forty miles away and it’s letting people off only; or, la pièce de résistance, frequent strikes in France resulting in no services at all, with no clear information provided to let people know what’s going on.

    You want perfection, but a lot of jigsaws come with one missing piece 😉

    • Stefan Majewsky Says:

      Hm, jigsaws. Reminds me that I have a half-finished 1000pcs real life jigsaw lying on my apartment’s floor.


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