The Anonymous Widower

Rip-Off Ticketing At Bremen Hauptbahnhof

I am experienced user of Deutsche Bahn and generally buy my tickets at one of their reliable machines.

Note that queuing up at a Ticket Office sometimes takes up to thirty minutes and quite frankly I have better and more important thingfs to do with my life.

This picture shows a typical German ticket.

The two stations; Buxtehude and Cuxhaven are clearly shown.

But imagine my surprise at Bremen Hauptbahnhof, when the ticket machine dispensed this.

It is about one by four centimetres and the only readable writing on the front is EErw.

  • Does it look like a ticket to you?
  • There were no notices up about the change of ticket.
  • How do you sort out today’s ticket from yesterday’s?
  • What if you’re partially sighted?

I thought the machine had failed and curt off the ticket early.

So I tried again. With the same result!

I then tried the Ticket Office for an explanation, but the guy just played stumm, as Deutsche Bahn employees always do, when they know, there’s been a customer relations failure.

I did ascertain, that I had to put the ticket in a machine to validate it before travelling.

I did think about not doing this, so that I would get arrested on the train, but in the end, I can’t remember whether I did.

However, as tickets were not checked on the train, it didn’t matter.

It is the most arrogant system of ticketing I’ve ever found.

When I got home, I found I had been charge for two tickets.

My bank;Nationwide are trying to refuse one of the psyments.

I’ll update this post, to give you the result of their argument.

 

 

 

April 4, 2019 Posted by | Finance, Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

From Bremen Hauptbahnhof To Buxtehude

This should have been an easy journey with a change at Bremerhaven Hbf.

But it wasn’t and I had a nearly eighty minute wai at Bremerhaven.

If this sort of ptoblem had occured with most railway conpanies, you’d have got accurate updates and information, but even though there were some announcements, even the German passengers were confused.

I temember one incident on Greater Anglia on an extremely windy day, when a tree brought the overhead wires down at Chelmsford. Station staff at Colchester were handing out refund forms and I got refunded my trip back to Liverpool Street.

But where were the Germans?

Nowhere to be seen for a start!

I thought EU regulations laid down a tefund policy, if trains were late.

When I got to Buxtehude, a fellow passenger told me there had been signalling problems.

How do I claim my refund?

March 28, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

DB Says Innovative Freight Train Project ‘Very Promising’ So Far

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in Global Rail News.

This is the first paragraph.

A project to design innovative freight wagons, which is being financed by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), DB Cargo and VTG, is producing ‘very promising’ results.

The article is worth reading in full and in my mind it could be important in the development of efficient and reliable freight trains.

I remember in the 1960s, British Rail were trying to run faster freight trains and a lot of four-wheel wagons kept derailing.

Research at Derby using computer simulation solved the problem and went on to lead to a greater understanding of the dynamics of steel wheel on steel rail.

I do know that British Rail Research had one of the best tools for this job; a PACE 231-R analogue computer.

 

This is the one, that I worked on at ICI.

They were a powerful computer, which were capable of solving a hundred simultaneous differential equations.

They were late 1950s technology, based mainly on electronic valves, that responded to tender loving care.

But two of them working together, did the dynamic calculations for the moon landings, when linked to the digital computers of an Apollo capsule and lander.

On Apollo 13, when Jack Swigert said “Houston we have problem”, it was these machines, that were used to find a way to bring everyone home.

And the rest, as they say is history!

In my view, after over fifty years in computing, the rescue of Apollo 13 was the greatest piece of computing ever done with an electronic machine.

I’d love to know, whether the superb dynamics of the Mark 3 coach, are down to the work that was done on British Rail’s PACE 231-R

The second paragraph of the Global Rail News article has this phrase.

feature new digital systems which optimise handling.

Does this mean the Germans are worried about the handling?

I do sometimes wonder, if dynamic systems are best analysed using analogue computers and the demise of the technology means the same problems keep returning in different guises.

There can’t be many of us left, who’ve used an analogue computer seriously.

August 19, 2018 Posted by | Computing, Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

An Idea From India

This article from Global Rail News is entitled India’s Minister for Railways launches glass-roof scenic rail cars.

Why not?

Scotrail’s plans for shortened HST train sets to go between the major cities will hopefully carried out with style and a great deal of respect for the scenery.

For a start, will the seats be arranged like these in Chiltern’s Mark 3 coaches.

Note that the picture was taken in Standard Class.

There can’t be more stylish, comfortable and practical rides in a train of this Class anywhere in the world.

What is not shown is the cheery staff with the snacks and drinks trolley.

All of this too comes from a subsidiary of Deitsche Bahn and it is far superior to anything I’ve ridden in Germany.

I wonder if windows can be put in the roof of a Mark 3?

Probably! Engineers  certainly have ways of making Mark 3 coaches do anything they want

But there’s always the option of connecting cameras to the train’s wi-fi.

 

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

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 | Transport, Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

How To Move 100,000 Containers A Year Between Germany And China

This article on Global Rail News is entitled DB and Georgian Railways to cooperate on new Silk Road rail corridor.

It described how Deutsche Bahn and Georgian Railways have signed an agreement to develop a new rail freight route between the Far East and Europe.

This map from the article, shows the various rail routes across Eurasia and how the new Silk Road will fit in.

DB transports more container by train between China and Germany

DB transports more container by train between China and Germany

I think the most interesting thing about the new route, is that it doesn’t go through Russia.

Vladimir Putin will not be amused!

If you read the Wikipedia entry for Georgian Railways, it does list a few problems, but it would appear that the route across Georgia is being upgraded to Standard Gauge all the way from the Turkish border to Almaty in Kazakhstan.

With Germany, Turkey and Europe at the Western end and China at the Eastern end both predominately Standard Gauge, I think that this route will be all the same gauge.

When this happens, trains will be able to go straight through, with perhaps just a change of locomotive.

How long will it be before, an enthusiastic entrepreneur starts to run a passenger service between Europe and China. Trans-Siberian Express eat your heart out!

Vladimir Putin will be even less amused!

If DB can build the Standard Gauge railway through to China via Georgia, it will give the following benefits.

  • Services will be faster than the Russian routes.
  • There will no change of gauge, which means unloading one train and loading another.
  • If the line is electrified, this will make the route more efficient.
  • Freight will move smoothly across Asia avoiding the pariah that is Russia.
  • The route avoids the more volatile parts of the Middle East.
  • Countries on the route like Serbia, Turkey, Georgia and Kazahkstan will surely benefit.
  • The route will surely be more accessible to Southern European countries, than the current Russian routes.

It is undoubtedly a good plan.

July 7, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Help From The Germans

I want to go to Sudbury today, so to find the times of the trains, I tried to look them from Shenfield to Sudbury on the National Rail web site.

But the site was having an off day.

So I used the alternative of the Deutsche Bahn web site.

Shenfield To Sudbury By Deutsche Bahn

Shenfield To Sudbury By Deutsche Bahn

As you can see it worked. As it does with all European trains!

So if you want to go from Zaragosa to Geneva say, it will give you the route and details.

It even has Llanfairpwll station in the database and looking up the journey to there for Cologne, it even estimates twenty-five minutes for the walk between St. Pancras and Euston.

It is a very comprehensive free service.

 

July 7, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment