Looks like USA isn't the only place with train problems

Discussion in 'Freight, International and Other Rail' started by MARC Rider, Aug 22, 2019.

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  1. Aug 22, 2019 #1

    MARC Rider

    M

    MARC Rider

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    Why German trains don’t run on time any more

    The link is a three year old story that was a link shown on a story on today's Guardian about an 8-year old kid who drove the family car down the Autobahn at 140 km/hr.

    Apparently, the same kinds of dynamics that we have in the USA about not wanting to spend tax $$$ on infrastructure are also found in Germany. Well, it's nice to know that we Americans aren't the only ones in this mess.

    A good joke from the article: "if you want to see German efficiency, go to Switzerland."
     
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  2. Aug 22, 2019 #2

    jis

    jis

    jis

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    If you want to see real German craziness, you’ve got to take a look at the Berlin Brandenburg Airport!

    But still, the Germans on the whole operate their airports better than anything in the US. And more importently, they are party to the EU Bill of Rights for the air passengers, which is miles ahead of anything in the US that protects the rights and sanity of air passengers.

    Same is true of their rail service.Yup, they have problems. In some areas really lots of them. But still they have the political will to address them, maybe not exactly as quickly as would be desirable. Unlike in the US where the general approach is to simply not address the problems at all and pretend everything will be just fine. If not outright justifying the wonderfulness of not doing anything, that is.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
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  3. Aug 22, 2019 #3

    Devil's Advocate

    Devil's Advocate

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    I look forward to hearing more about the perils of false equivalency.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
  4. Aug 22, 2019 #4

    jis

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    jis

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    Yup, give me a creaking rail system which is being invested in hugely as in Germany over our mostly virtual rail system (in the fertile imagination of railfans) for which even virtual money cannot be found at times. :mad:
     
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  5. Aug 23, 2019 #5

    Qapla

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    Sometimes I think if they brought back steam engines and modernized Pullman cars, ridership would triple
     
  6. Aug 23, 2019 #6

    railiner

    railiner

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    Perhaps at first... until the novelty wore off..
     
  7. Aug 23, 2019 #7

    drdumont

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    If they brought back steam engines (set aside for the moment the economics and other issues), people would complain about the smell of burning coal or fuel oil, noise, clouds of steam, on and on.
    If they brought back Heritage equipment, people would bark about the different ride, inefficient HVAC, heavy hard to open doors, and find other things to dislike.

    Alas, I really liked the one bunk pull down roomettes, the light fixtures, the ride, and - get this - the smell.
    There was a certain aroma that is still in my memory, a combination of ice bunker air conditioning, cigarette, pipe and cigar smoke, brake shoes, PrestoLog smoke, and - well - I don't know what else. But it wan't unpleasant, and of course, 60 years later, it reminds me of my youth, train rides, and pleasant memories of the past.
    Of course, in that era, service was with a smile, the food was incredibly good, we had Observation cars, Dome cars, the little bottles of whiskey brought with a sparkling glass, ice, a napkin and a swizzle stick.
    Put your shoes in the little cupboard at night and in the morning, they were magically shined.
    And there were trains that went where you wanted to go, sometimes more than one a day, and the style of the F-Units, A-B-A power, the Mars light circling out ahead. Ah, well. There WAS "Something About a Train".
    Sorry for the long post.

    Does anyone remember that particular aroma of the Heritage and Heavyweight gear in the 50s and 60s?
     
  8. Aug 23, 2019 #8

    jis

    jis

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    The negative thing that I remember is the forever present rancid smell of burned tobacco everywhere. Since I have never smoked, that was a very noticeable thing for me and sticks in my memory.

    The other memory that I have of the '60s is of riding the Senator from Boston to Washington DC in September on a relatively warm day in a car in which the only cooling available was open Dutch doors and the door to the passenger compartment.

    Yeah there were a few prestige trains that were still serving well, but at least past mid '60s there was already a lot wrong with passenger service in the US, unfortunately.
     
  9. Aug 23, 2019 #9

    Anderson

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    Berlin Brandenburg's woes are arguably down to the government not being inclined to take a vendor (namely, the putative airport operator) to task for not reading the plans and complaining down the line [1]. But I did notice the dodgy OTP when I was waiting at the Frankfurt airport station last week and about half of the trains were either late in their own right or caught behind late trains.

    [1] Apparently the company that won the bid to operate the airport had a cow after-the-fact about the lack of shopping and forced expensive renovations that triggered a cascade of problems...frankly to the point that, combined with the delays, it would probably have been better to either compel them to operate the airport and bluntly suggest that this was a "constructive exercise in the value of reading skills" or just throw in a subsidy and call it a day.
     
  10. Aug 23, 2019 #10

    jis

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    Yup DB's OTP has slipped, but it is not disastrous on any route like Amtrak's OTP on many routes. But in my experience the tales of DB's perfect OTP was a bit of an aspirational one even five years back. DB has never been as perfect as SBB-CFF-FFS.

    At Branadenburg, as I seem to recall, forgetting to put in enough conduits for wiring that met fire safety regulations and water mains for sprinklers was a serious issue about a decade or so back. But why it takes this long to resolve that is quite a mystery. It is one thing after the other being discovered I suppose.

    Meanwhile, I personally don't mind continuing to use Tegel since it is so close to the city, even though it is ridiculously overcrowded, and apparently has no airidge gates capable of accommodating anything larger than a 757. So it is a bus ride from/to the plane if it is a 767 that you are flying on.
     
  11. Aug 24, 2019 #11

    railbuck

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    Better a slightly longer ride (from BER to the city) on a train than a shorter ride (from TXL to the city) on a bus, which is often even more ridiculously overcrowded than the airport.
     
  12. Aug 24, 2019 #12

    jis

    jis

    jis

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    The extra fare airline connect bus was never crowded when I used it, and it was quick from the Alexanderplatz area, way quicker than any train to Schoenfeld/Brandenberg. Of course the train was less crowded since Schoenfeld is not exactly a hot destination yet.
     

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