The Anonymous Widower

From Amsterdam To Hamburg The Hard Way

You might think that Amsterdam, which is a city of nearly two-and-a-half million people would have a good rail connection to the North German cities of Bremen and Hamburg, which have population of two-and-a-half and five million people, respectively.

But you would be wrong!

  • Amsterdam to Bremen is 354 km. and takes 3 hr. 26 min to drive, but the train takes 4 hr. 16 mins with a change at Osnabruck.
  • Amsterdam to Hamburg is 464 km. and takes 4 hr. 35 min to drive, but the train takes 5 hr. 14 mins with a change at Osnabruck.

The train to Osnabruck is the same for both destinations and runs every two hours.

I arrived in Amsterdam at 12:32 and the next train left at 13:00, which I didn’t try to catch as I had to queue up for a ticket

So I caught the 15:00, as I had planned, which should get me into Hamburg at 20:14, hopefully in time for supper.

I would need the supper, when I arrived, as I could find nothing gluten-free worth eating in Amsterdam Centraal station. But I did have some EatNakd bars.

The train to Osnabruck, wasn’t one of Germany’s finest and the only customer service was the checking of tickets. I didn’t check, but I got the impression, that the onboard restaurant car had gone AWOL.

There wouldn’t have been anything I could eat, if there had been a restaurant car anyway!

Incidentally, I don’t travel First Class in Germany anymore, as all you get is a better seat, with not even any free coffee.

And you have to pay about five euros for a seat reservation!

The train to Osnabruck wasn’t the fastest either, doing about 80 mph most of the way, which compares badly to the 100 mph typically attained by trains on secondary main lines in the UK like London to Norwich.

There was also an Engine Change At Bad Bentheim.

I’ve had serious delay in Osnabruck before, as I wrote in From Hamburg To Osnabruck By Train.

For a time it looked like it would be episode two, but the Hamburg train only turned up about ten minutes late.

By running at 125 mph part of the way to Hamburg, the train had picked up a few minutes.

So I had a lovely supper as a reward.

Conclusion

I’ve had worse train journeys. But not many!

At 105.61 euros it wasn’t cheap either!

October 11, 2018 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

From Osnabruck To Wuppertal

This journey takes just ninety-five minutes and I paid thirty seven euros for the journey. This standard fare compares well with a similar length journey in the UK, but as we can use railcards here, the Germans also have their own system, so deals are available.

But wouldn’t it be good if all countries used the same system, so perhaps I could upgrade my Senior Railcard for selected countries for an appropriate fee. Judging by the success of the recently released Two Together railcard, a facility like this might even make money for the rail companies.

These pictures tell the story of the journey.

The train did start a few minutes late and we pulled into Wuppertal even later. But that seems to be the case on all Deutche Bahn trains, that I travel on.

The line too had been extensively graffitied and a lot of it was unfenced.

June 16, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

An Unusual Sculpture Outside Osnabruck Station

It’s rather unusual, as they turn.

Perhaps I should have made a video.

June 15, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Osnabruck

I planned to stop the last night at the same hotel in Osnabruck, that I used on my Home Run From Stockholm, when Deutsche Bahn dumped me unceremoniously in the town. This time I had time for an explore.

It is not the most spectacular of towns, but it is conveniently placed if you’re travelling to Brussels or one of the ports for a journey to the UK. Although, after my visit to Cologne, I think I’ll use that city next time.

June 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

From Braunschweig To Osnabruck

This was a leg taken on the top deck of a double-deck Regional train going to a place called Rheine, that I’d never heard of.

These shorter legs on Regional trains can be interesting, as you really see the country well.

What surprised me was the generally simple stations. If there was a means of crossing the tracks, it was never a bridge.

Disabled activists would have had a field day.

What

June 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

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

From Hamburg To Osnabruck By Train

Although, I was intending to go from Hamburg to Amsterdam, as I said in this post, things didn’t work out as I and probably Deutsche Bahn intended.

The train was a few minutes late out of Hamburg and my First Class carriage seemed to be missing  from the German IC train I was on. (Note the missing E!)  Or possibly I couldn’t get near it, as the aisles were blocked with cases. If I’ve complained about Virgin’s services to Glasgow in the past, then this was complete travel hell, that I’ve never encountered on British trains in the worst of times.

At Osnabruck, I was supposed to change onto another IC train for Amsterdam, but of course by the time we got there I’d missed it.

I waited for perhaps two hours on the station at Osnabruck and nothing seemed to be happening.  There was no information posted and those in Information, told me to wait for the next Amsterdam train.  But they had no idea of when it would arrive.

One lady, who lived locally, had told me that the hotel by the station wasn’t at all bad, so as I had nothing to do I took the precaution of seeing if they had any rooms. A pleasant fraulein told me they had a few at €80 including breakfast.

So about ten, I put myself out of my misery and booked into the Advena Hotel Hohenzollern.

Advena Hotel Hohenzollern

Advena Hotel Hohenzollern

It was a decision I didn’t regret.

I thought that I might regret going to McDonalds for a bite to eat, but the fries and Coke had no effect. The trouble was that the information on the back of the paper on the tray is unreadable because it’s so small. So I assumed that they were as in the UK, and gluten-free! I did think though, that McDonalds were showing some very unsuitable adverts for their target clientèle.

On the other hand, breakfast in the hotel of fish, scrambled eggs, juice and coffee was excellent.

I would certainly use this hotel or one of the other, Advena hotels again. Also as a lot of the trains seem to go through Osnabruck, this hotel is a convenient place to break a journey.

June 20, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 10 Comments