The Anonymous Widower

Frankfurt At Night

I went and had a look at Frankfurt by night.

I ate supper at Fisch Franke and it was an excellent gluten-free fish and chips.

The only problem I had was that it was bitterly cold and getting back to my hotel I got lost and a ten minute walk took thirty minutes. Frankfurt is not too well served by maps.

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Food, World | , , | Leave a comment

My Eyrie In Frankfurt

I thought I’d stay somewhere more expensive in Frankfurt, so I booked a room in a tower hotel on the 29th floor.

Everything was fine, except for some of the views in the morning due to the weather and the fact that they didn’t provide any cups for tea,although they did provide tea, coffee, creamer and a kettle.

I certainly won’t be staying there again! The wi-fi was also too complicated and the security was more applicable to Fort Knox. It was also extremely difficult to find from the nearest stop on the Frankfurt U-Bahn, but I can’t blame that on the hotel.

February 16, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

From Kassel To Frankfurt

I could have taken a German ICE train from Kassel to Frankfurt, but I took a regional train, hoping to get some good views from the top deck.

Unfortunately, as the pictures show, the weather wasn’t that good. But you do see the countryside better from the high position and the comfort and ride is of the same standard as something like the ubiquitous Class 377 in the UK.

One reason I took this train, was that I’d been told by the lady in the Tourist Office in Kassel to buy a Hesse Ticket.

My Hesse Ticket

My Hesse Ticket

I thought it was a bit steep at €33 for twenty-four hours, but it did include the buses and trams in Frankfurt and the train between the two cities.

The price actually included up to five passengers. But there is no similar ticket for a person like me, who usually travels alone.

How visitor-friendly is that?

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

A Train With The Engine In The Middle

As I left Kassel, I saw this train, which appears to have an engine module in the middle.

It is actually a Stadler GTW and it must be a good concept as over five hundred of them are working all around the world, in both diesel and electric versions..

One great advantage for passengers is surely that the noise and vibration problem of underfloor diesel engines is minimised. The train is also a low floor design.

The design is also very flexible.

  1. The power packs are probably interchangeable, so you could switch trains from diesel to electric according to need.
  2. A battery could be incorporated into the power pack, which is charged when running under wires.
  3. The articulated design goes well on curvy track.
  4. Extra passenger modules can be added.
  5. For the UK, they could be a way round not buying any more diesel multiple units. We would buy some diesel versions and if we had too many due to the march of electrification, we just swap the central module.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw more trains with a central power pack. I think if the UK used the same loading gauge as Europe, we’d have seen one in the UK on test by now.

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

A Design Crime – Crap Station Design In Kassel

Some parts of Kassel’s urban tram system might well have been good, but these images of some of the stations, show the crap level of some of the design.

One thing that surprised me was the crudeness of some of the stations I visited, which just had steep steps and no lifts. This certainly wouldn’t be acceptable in the UK for a new station and I’m surprised that German disability rules allowed such a station design.

I nominate their stations as a Design Crime.



February 16, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Trams And Tram-Trains Of Kassel

Kassel’s urban tram system mixes both regular trams and larger tram-trains on lines that cross the city. I took these pictures as I sat in a cafe on the Königsplatz in the centre.

The smaller generally blue ones are trams, whereas the larger silver ones are the tram-trains, which have routes that reach far into the suburbs.

The passengers could be seen alighting, boarding and transferring between the various trams, very much as they do in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester, East Croydon  and Fitzalan Square in Sheffield. It is interesting to note that the current Sheffield Supertrams are more the size of Kassel’s tram-trains, rather than their trams. Comparing Sheffield to Kassel, it is a bigger city, but its tram network, is nowhere near the size of that in Kassel, which is about six times as large.

After sitting for half-an-hour or so, I decided to explore the outer reaches of the system on a tram-train.

One thing that surprised me was the crudeness of some of the stations I visited, which are shown separately in this post.

There also only seems to be a train in places only once every thirty minutes.

On the core section of the East London Line near where I live it’s sixteen trains per hour, and limbs of the line to places like West Croydon and Clapham Junction, there are four trains per hour. Like much of the transport in London, these trains are also step-free from the platform, which I think a modern transport system should be. As the picture shows there was a protected gap in Kassel, which would have been difficult in a wheel-chair.

Kassel seems to have about half London’s frequencies. This low frequency and the poor street access probably explains, why in the middle of a Monday, there wasn’t a large number of passengers about.



February 16, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 12 Comments

DAM – German Architectural Museum

The Deutsches Architektur Museum was recommended in my guide book.

It cost me nine euros to enter to see a presentation of photographs of the main modern buildings of Frankfurt with descriptions.

There is no directly similar museum in London, although Crossrail have recently put on some excellent free displays of both their archaeology and architecture.

I wouldn’t return to this museum, unless I was travelling with an architect, who thought it a must-see!

February 16, 2015 Posted by | World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Hauptbahnhof But Not As The Germans Know It!

Hauptbahnhof, which is often abbreviated to Hbf, is the German equivalent of Central.

But Kassel Hauptbahnhof is a station that the high speed line from Hanover to Wurzburg, ignored to call at a new station of Kassel-Wilhelmshohe. So as it now gets only a few trains, and has been transformed into a culture station, with a tram-train station underneath.

It struck me that the people of Kassel could find a better use for it, although the tram-train station appeared to work well.

According to Wikipedia it is the only Hauptbahnhof, that is not the main station for the town or city. So when you book a hotel in Kassel and you’re coming by train, make sure the hotel is by Kassel-Wilhemshohe station

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments