Thursday, November 10, 2011

Changing trains in Hamburg

If you need to travel a long way with Deutsche Bahn German Railways you will more than probably need to change trains. Trains in Germany often work on the hub principle beloved of US airlines. If it is just a case of walking from one side of a platform to the other this is no problem, but if you need to get from one side of a major station to the other then it can be difficult.  One of the ideas that would help the progress of the human race would be a chart of actual change times at various railway stations. 
We changed trains in Hamburg Hauptbahnhof last night. Theoretically our train to Mannheim left 8 minutes after our train from Copenhagen arrived. Our train was four minutes late arriving, so we had four minutes to ascend to the connecting bridge, run over approximately eight platform widths, descend to the departure platform and get on our train, and all this with two folded Bromptons and two quite heavy hand held bags. In addition there were a number of folk with immense hard shell cases who were not sure that this was their train, so needed to stop on the stairs, at the bottom of the stairs and by the train door to enquire and reflect. We fell onto the train soaked in sweat and in urgent need of a beer. 
There is a way round this problem. When you use the German Railway timetable website:, you can adjust the Duration of Transfer when you set up your journey. Quarter of an hour or twenty minutes for changes is not a bad idea.

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