There is this enduring myth in many parts of the world that Germany or Germans in particular are brutally efficient and that the trains always run on time. I say myth because today I experienced the reality, and the reality was time consuming, irritating and uncomfortable.
I caught the 10:15 train from Berlin Zoo to Frankfurt/Oder with arrival at my destination expected to be 11:32.
In a small town called Briesen the train stopped; an announcement told all that the train would no longer continue and that all passengers should leave the train.
Exasperated like everybody else, I wanted to know how we could continue the journey. The ticket collector had no idea; in fact, no one had any idea what was going on.
As I was only day tripping I thought what the hell I’ll have a look at Briesen.
That took 15 minutes.
As you can see by the clock in the photo I’m almost an hour late already and there is no train in sight.
Deutsch Bahn did belatedly offer a bus service, but by the time this photo was taken no bus had arrived, although another Frankfurt/Oder-bound train had disgorged its bewildered passengers to gather with the others waiting with wilting hope for alternatives to materialise.
It seems very clear to me now that ‘ruthless efficiency’ thing was something belonging to German folklore. Although maybe I’m being unfair to Germans in general, it could be that efficiency and good customer service are not part of Deutsche Bahn’s mission statement, which means disrupted journeys and customer confusion is not their problem.
I finally caught a train returning to Berlin at 12:45.
It began to rain at 12:30.
There is no protection from the weather at Briesen station
Fujifilm X20, f4, 1/100sec, ISO100