The Anonymous Widower

Deutsche Bahn’s Idea Of Customer Service

To get back from Leipzig, I had two choices.

  • I could go to Munich and spend the night in a hotel I know by the station and come home in the morning.
  • Or I could go back in one day.

As I had bought a flexible Eurostar ticket for Friday in the early evening, I was thinking about the direct option.

But on Thursday night, I decided to buy my tickets for Brussels with a change at Frankfurt Airport, as I was offered a good value ticket in First Class with reserved seats, for less than it would have cost in Second.

It was probably just as well I bougth the ticket, given what happened in Munich on Friday night.

I ended up with a bundle of tickets on three A4 sheets of paper.

Germany's Idea Of A Ticket To Ride

Germany’s Idea Of A Ticket To Ride

Compare that with my tickets to Liverpool tomorrow.

The UK's Idea Of A Ticket To Ride

The UK’s Idea Of A Ticket To Ride

Just two cards for my wallet with one up and one back.

I should also say, that to buy the German ticket, I had to queue up in a Ticket Office, as the ticket machine wasn’t allowed to sell me the ticket I wanted. Queuing included having to get a compulsory number from a machine, despite the fact there was only a few people waiting.

In the morning, the train left at 06:31, so as I was in First Class, I thought I’d go to the DB Lounge.

DSCN9406

But as you can see it wasn’t open. Surely, if trains are running, the lounges should be open.

On the first train, I saw the steward once and didn’t get so much as a complimentary glass of water.

But judging by the emptiness of First Class, it doesn’t appeal to most passengers.

From Frankfurt Airport to Brussels, the second train had more passengers, but I did have to buy myself a Coke.

You get much better service on Chiltern Trains in Standard Class.

And who owns Chiltern?

 

July 24, 2016 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

I Was Always Told It Was Rude To Point

My mother told me it was rude to point, but it seems Donald Trump does it all the time, as this page from Time points out.

This image is typical.

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 18:  Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gestures to his wife Melania after she delivered a speech on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicks off on July 18.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 18: Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gestures to his wife Melania after she delivered a speech on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicks off on July 18. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

I can see it on the cover of Private Eye with a very funny caption.

July 24, 2016 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Custom House Station – 24th July 2016

I took these pictures at Custom House station.

The pictures also show a work-train entering the tunnel and the Crossrail track alongside the DLR until near the Connaught Tunnel.

July 24, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

A Glimpse Of London’s Future

London will soon be getting Crossrail, but Leipzig already has a cross-city underground railway called the Leipzig City Tunnel, which is the centrepiece of the S-Bahn Mitteldeutschland.

These are a collection of pictures taken of the various stations in the tunnel and on the surface sections of the lines.

Unlike Crossrail, which is considered one line with two branches at both ends,  there are several railways through the tunnel.

Wikiedia has a section on the Operating Schedule.

This is said.

It was planned that each hour and in each direction, there were up to ten S-Bahn, two regional trains and one express (as of July 2007)

There would appear to be seven S-Bahn routes, with intervals of between 30 and 120 minutes. As Crossrail, Thameslink and the East London Line in London, are all planned to or could handle twenty-four trains an hour, it does seem the Germans do things differently.

Note the following.

  • The Seaside Park Hotel, where I stayed was about 200 metres from the trains.
  • The line certainly has some spectacular stations.
  • Central stations in the tunnel appear to be island platforms.
  • Ticket machines were on the platforms, where they are really needed.
  • Bicycles were everywhere underground.
  • There are no platform-edge doors.
  • Leipzig Markt Station was of an older era on the surface.
  • There tended to be two escalators and steps to descend to and ascend from the trains. That is usually, the design-on-the-cheap problem.
  • The one surface station I visited, Liepzig MDR, wasn’t step-free.
  • The frequency through the Leipzig ity Tunnel, is low compared to the sixteen trains per hour through the East London Line and very low compared to that proposed for Crossrail and Thameslink.

I have a feeling that because it was designed a few years before Crossrail and uses older, refurbished rolling-stock, that certain features of the line are not as good as others.

Looking at the three systems; Leipzig, Crossrail and Thameslink, I feel that to get the most out of an expensive tunnel, you must do the following.

  • Use trains designed specially for the tunnel.
  • Design the trains for fast entry and exit.
  • Make access between surface and platforms fast and with a large capacity.
  • Use double-ended stations to ease passenger journeys.
  • Have a large selection of routes through the tunnel, to get a maximum return for the tunnel. It may be that Crossrail needs more destinations.
  • Use island platforms if possible.
  • Make all stations step-free.

I think too that after seeing Leipzig, there are implications for London.

Bicycles

One problem for London, shown up by the Leipzig system, is what to do with bicycles on the train. These seem to be allowed at all times in Leipzig, but this page on the Thameslink web site, says that we do things differently.

More Destinations

As I indicated earlier, I think, that to maximise return on the massive investment of the tunnel, that Crossrail needs more routes and destinations, as Leipzig and Thameslink have.

As things stand, Crossrail intends to run a service like this according to Wikipedia.

The Elizabeth line will run a familiar London Underground all-stops service in the core section, but the western section will have non-stopping stations – like the Metropolitan line. The Eastern section has extra peak hour services that will either not enter the core section or that will be non-stopping at some stations. Similar to the Bakerloo line’s outer sections, the Elizabeth line will share platforms and rails with other services outside the tunnelled sections. About two-thirds of all Elizabeth line westbound trains will loop back after Paddington, about one third of peak-hour Elizabeth line trains to/from the north-east section will start/end at Liverpool Street main line platforms bypassing Whitechapel.

So it looks like if 24 trains per hour go through the centre tunnel, that sixteen of them will turn-back at Paddington.

That looks like a waste of resources to me.

Suggestions have been for services in the West to go.

  • Up the West Coast Main Line to Watford, Tring and Milton Keynes.
  • Along the Chiltern Line to West Ruislip and High Wycombe.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of trains an hour went to Oxford.

The East is more problematic, as the only suitable extension is probably Southend, unless the Great Eastern Main Line is four-tracked, which would be very unlikely.

Kent is more fruitful territory, as an extension to Gravesend has been safeguarded. But surely Ebbsfleet with its Continental links would be better.

The Long Distance Crossrail Train

The Class 345 trains that will be used on Crossrail are Bombardier Aventras. According to serious reports, these trains could have the following features if needed.

  • 200 kph capability.
  • Metro, commuter or long-distance interior.
  • 750 VDC, 25 KVAC or battery power.
  • The ability to fit the platform-edge doors in Central London.

So you might reserve a few paths through Central London for long distance trains, if passenger statistics showed it would be profitable.

Imagine being able to get a train from Cardiff to Ebbsfleet for the Continent or from Birmingham to Southend.

Obviously services would only be provided if there was seen to be a demand.

But Crossrail’s and Bombardier’s engineers have designed the tools, so that many East-West journeys are possible.

 

July 24, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment