Thursday, 22 August 2013

Those are not the carriages you're looking for

So day 3 of my life as a reborn train commuter went well in the morning. The trains were on time, the bus was on time and it was warm and sunny and I got a fair amount of Economics for Dummies read. Not that I understood most of it, but it shows willing, doesn't it?

I decided to go for a different train on Wednesday having tried the 18:48 (from Düsseldorf) on Monday, and the 17:48 on Tuesday. Those trains take me to Mönchengladbach where I have to change to a stopper to get to Erkelenz. So I decided to split the difference and go for the direct train which leaves Düsseldorrf at 22 minutes past the hour.

The first leg is leaving the office at 17:45. That can be a bit of a struggle (especially at the moment with the auditors requiring me to be at their beck and call this week) but I got to the bus stop on time and off we trundled. The train from the airport station to the main station was, according to my Deutsche Bahn app, due to leave from platform 6 at 18:03, but due to the fact that they allow very generas walking times between stops, I got there in time to get the 17:54 from platform 4. Which got me to Düsseldorf Haputbahnhof in plenty of time to get the 18:22. Yay.

But it was running 20 minutes late (in the end 24 minutes late) so there were a lot of people hanging around on platform 4 waiting for the train to Aachen. When it arrived there was a little sigh running around those waiting because it wasn't the usual double decker, which meant reduced seating capacity. Nevertheless we boarded, everyone whipped out their books, ebooks or smart phones and settled in for the journey. The driver made an announcement that the train was going to Aachen.

Swiftly followed by an announcement out on the platform that the 18:22 (20 minutes late due to some technical thing) would depart from platform 5 instead of platform 4. Everyone looked up, looked around. Confused expressions all around.

And indeed as we all looked over at platform 5 our sleek, regular double-decker pulled in. There was a mad rush for the platform and we boarded the train to Aachen. The other one. A few minutes later off we went and I tried to educate myself in the small matter of macro economics.

What I noticed is that when I'm going home on a sunny day I need to sit with my back to the direction of travel* since the sun was shining directly into my eyes making it difficult to read.

The other Aachen train must have followed us to Mönchengladbach because as we pulled into that station the helpful announcement on our train ran along the lines of: you are currently on the train to Aachen shortly arriving at Mönchengladbach. Connection possibilities at that station are blah blah blah and for passengers going to Aachen you can take the train which will arrive shortly at platform 5.

Eh? This time we all stayed put and shortly after that I was in Erkelenz meeting my Chef for a rather nice dinner in Anton's the shiny new restaurant which has taken over the refurbished station building.

Today I went for the 18:22 from Düsseldorf and even though my bus and then the train from the station airport were a few minutes late, I managed to get the train I wanted. And do some shopping on the way home so the Gruesome Twosome are alright for frozen pizza for the next couple of days.

Winners all round!

*this applies to going to Düsseldorf in the mornings too for the opposite reason

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