Friday, 5 August 2011

…due to a fault on the train which cannot be rectified at Aachen

Perhaps the next time my journey to work is disrupted due to a “Failed train at Balham”, I’ll be a little more understanding.

I always thought failed train was a euphemism for “you know what, we can’t actually be bothered”. The sheer number of trains that appear to fail in South London on a daily basis had me wondering how our trains can be so bad, when, for example, the German’s are so reliable.

Except, I found out today, they are not.

Whilst I was sitting on my train in Aachen station waiting to head back to Köln there was a train on the adjacent platform.

It was already 10 minutes late and getting later by the minute, which I’ve discovered is not as rare occurrence as one might have thought on German railways.

After another couple of minutes a member of staff could be seen kicking at something underneath the doors. He stepped back, looked at it, kicked it again, stepped back and repeated for a good six or seven times.

He then walked away and a couple of minutes later returned with several other members of staff. They all took it in turns to kick whatever it was underneath the door, then tried opening and closing the doors.

There was much staring and pointing, and then a decision was made.

30 seconds later there was the sound of an announcement being made in the train, within a few more seconds everyone on board the, pretty busy, train got up and disembarked.

I think that officially makes it a cancellation?

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