German virtues or travelling with Deutsche Bahn

Papenburg Travel Blog

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My boyfriend Klaus lives about 500 km (300 miles) away from me and once a month I travel from Papenburg to Sandersdorf to see him. Usually I drive by car but I had 2 serious accidents recently (nothing happend to me but the car got some bad damages) and I decided to go by train during the autumn and winter months. I checked the internet about the prices and schedules and I found some reasonable offers and bought the tickets. So far, so good.

At 4.18 p.m. my train left Papenburg with a little delay of 2 minutes. Nothing serious. I had to change trains 2 times. First time I have 12 minutes and the second time I have 18 minutes time for the change. Under normal circumstances it's enough time.

About 15 km before I reached the first connection station my train stopped between two stations. Nothing happend for about 10 minutes (I got nervous and was counting down already). Then the train conductor made an announcement. There was a freight train in front of our train on our track driving extremely slow, they had to wait until it reached the next station to let us pass. I hoped they would hurry up but my hope felt into pieces after nothing happend for 10 additional minutes. It was clear now that it's impossible to reach the connection train. The next announcement was that the freight train finally broke down and blocked the track so it was neccesary to send employees out to switch the turnouts that we could pass the damaged train.

I decided to ask the ticket collector what would happen now. There was a long queue of angry people already since most of them had to reach connection trains. He gave us a form to fill out and send to Deutsche Bahn for refund. There's a new law that Deutsche Bahn has to pay for recourse in case of delays longer than 1 hour. When it was my turn I asked him about alternative connections but he said I have to ask for that at the information booth at the station.

With about 30 minutes delay we arrived at the station and as I already feared the connection train was on its way already :( Damned!! In the meantime there was a long queue at the information booth already. I hate waiting. When it was my turn the employee gave me the informations about the new connections. Instead of an IC (InterCity) which stops only at several stations I had to take a RE (RegionalExpress) which stops at every station. This made my journey time much longer as it already is and I had to change train 1 addional time. Instead of 9.53 p. m. I should reach my destination at 0.16 a.m. the next day. 2.5 hours late!!!!

Next connection station was Hannover which we reached in time. WHAT A WONDER!! But my happiness about it didn't last long. Standing at the platform I heard the announcement that the connection train to Magdeburg was 10 minutes late and in Magdeburg I had 8 minutes to change train. Everybody who's fit in math knows what will happen. The worst thing was that it was the last train to Halle which is my ultimate destination. If everything would go wrong I had to wait there until next morning. All the way to Magdeburg I crossed my fingers that the next train will wait for me. It wasn't roughly as relaxing as I thought the trip would be. Arriving in Magdeburg I found the connection train waiting for me and other guests :) What a relief!!!!

My trip ended after more than 8.5 hours at 1 a.m. in Sandersdorf where I felt in my bed totally exhausted.
JP-NED says:
now i understand your answer Jutta!
Posted on: Nov 10, 2009
aloneinthecrowd says:
Kimberly, I must admid that travelling Deutsche Bahn sometimes work ;) This weekend there was only a delay of 5 minutes which is ok ;)
Posted on: Nov 09, 2009
DCBackpacker says:
Wow...a blog on the not so timely DB Trains! I mentioned in my blogs from my first time in Germany about how you could set your life to the German train schedule!!! Nice blog!
Posted on: Nov 08, 2009
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368 km (229 miles) traveled
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Papenburg
photo by: aloneinthecrowd