The Anonymous Widower

From Osnabruck To Brussels By Train

On the Friday, I decided that I would go home the direct route, by taking a train to Brussels and then using the Eurostar.

By eight I was on the platform waiting for the 08:37 train to Cologne, for an onward connection to Brussels.

I waited and I waited! The only entertainment was several car carrying trains going through.

Car Carrying Trains At Osnabruck

Car Carrying Trains At Osnabruck

i could have sworn that the same train went through first one way and then the other.

I did meet a German lady, who was probably a lot older than me and she was on her way to Paris, after a change at Cologne.  Like me, she had a First Class ticket on the 08:37. Even with the advantage of her native tongue, she couldn’t even ascertain what was happening. We did get messages like this.

Zugdurchfahrt

Zugdurchfahrt

Google Translate says it means train passes.  Passes what? Wind? We were also treated to the site of trains going to Cologne that seemed to be running normally.

Hamburg Köln Express

Hamburg Köln Express

But as these were the Hamburg Köln Express or HKX, our tickets weren’t valid. The HKX has Internet-only ticketing and runs what the lady said were clapped-out ex East German carriages. So it would appear that HKX is something like a German version of Grand Central, running trains in competition to the incumbent operator. But looking at the rust-buckets running on HKX and listening to the lady, they appear to be about ten classes below, those of Grand Central.

In the end we sat and waited on some of the most uncomfortable seats I’ve found in a public place.

Uncomfortable Seats

Uncomfortable Seats

Seats are generally noticeable by their absence on German stations, as I suppose the operators assume that the trains turn up on time and you don’t need to sit down. Uncomfortable seats mean that stations don’t get cluttered with passengers. I suppose though, we could always have played hopscotch.

Hopscotch

Hopscotch

But then I never have and don’t know the rules. And anyway like baseball (i.e. rounders), it’s a girly game. The words are Dutch and mean that the train leaves in 40 mins? – no problem.

They should be so lucky!

We waited for well over an hour and a half, before a train arrived. I got in and found that as the corridors were so congested with bags, it was like crawling through a tunnel to get to a First Class carriage, where I did find a seat next to an amiable German electrical engineer, who spoke excellent English. The highlight of the run to Cologne was catching a glimpse of the amazing Schwebebahn at Wuppertal.

A Glimpse Of The Schwebebahn

A Glimpse Of The Schwebebahn

I think I might have done better to go to Wuppertal the previous day and ride up and down on this amazing train. I’ve ridden it before and there’s a video I made here.

At Cologne, I had to get my tickets endorsed for another train to Brussels, as my intended one was now probably on the way back from the Belgian capital. But I didn’t get the right endorsement, and for a moment, I thought, that I’d be thrown off the Thalys to Brussels.  But I found a seat and just sat put, although I did lose my temper with a Frenchman, who said the seat was his.  So he stood to Brussels!

For the last part, I decided to stand and moved to the end of the carriage, which like all trains of the past few days was full of luggage. But sitting on top of it, were a group of Canadians, who had ten minutes to catch the Eurostar out of Brussels.

At Brussels, I stood by, as cases went everywhere and just piled up on the platform.

But I’d made it back to civilisation from the hell of German railways. And for the first time since I took the Underground to Heathrow, reasonably on time too.

I’d also made it back from Osnabruck, without one word of apology from any of the staff I met.

All I expected now, was for Eurostar to get me to St. Pancras.

I

June 21, 2013 - Posted by | Transport | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] my trip back from Stockholm, between Osnabruck and Cologne, I sat next to a German electrical […]

    Pingback by German Pipe Fittings « The Anonymous Widower | July 1, 2013 | Reply


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