Today: Trains – with a particular reference to the Deutsche Bahn
The German railway services are ridiculously expensive, often unreliable (according to public impression: always) and altogether a company that still needs to learn more about its responsibility towards customers, employees and stakeholders.
171 Euro for a Stuttgart-Cologne round trip are excessive (by comparison Paris-Brussels: 134 euro; 24h advance booking). I’ve never seen the ’29 euro on any distance ticket’ available online no matter how much time I booked in advance and I really would be looking forward to some more competition by the SNCF (though certainly not a role model on open and fair competition policies itself) on the German rails like recently announced.
That was the kind of thought running through my mind while sitting comfortably first on a Thalys and then on a ICE; 2nd lass equipped with plugs (in both trains), heating and coffee service. I admire modern technology – the shape, the style, the systems. We so easily rely and depend on them and even easier ‘bitch’ about them if they fail – and might it be only a 5 minutes delay. We are taking it for granted without acknowledging the skills and complexity behind. Sitting on the platform and watching the trains coming in and going out with an almost meticulous precision is witnessing a masterpiece of engineering and beauty – in Germany as well as in France.