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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

January 14, 2012

What would my German teacher say about this?

Filed under Life in Europe

My high school German teacher used to wax eloquent on the punctuality of trains in Germany.

Mr. Bivens was an excellent teacher at Lindbergh High School in suburban St. Louis, probably one reason why I now live and work in Germany. He sometimes spent his summer vacations in Germany. A classmate of mine knew how to get our teacher off the subject: Just ask him a question about the German train system. Heidelberg train station As a summer visitor to Germany he traveled mainly by train and he told us that you could set your watch by the arrival of the trains. (He had not experienced the delays that unfortunately aren’t so infrequent today.) But I wonder what he would have said about my experience today with a regional train at the Heidelberg main station (in the picture, with a regional train). After today’s church service in nearby Schriesheim, I needed to travel from Heidelberg to Mannheim to catch a connecting train to my stop in Siegburg. I was at the station a little early, so I decided to take an earlier connecting train which would have given me a little extra time in Mannheim. I reached the platform three minutes prior to the scheduled departure, but before I could press the button to open the door, the train started moving and left the station! Several other passengers were also left behind, just as amazed as I was. A train leaving 3 minutes early! We mentioned it to the Deutsche Bahn service desk, and the response was a shrug of the shoulders. It didn’t matter for me, since I traveled with the train on my original schedule and made my connection in Mannheim anyway.

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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