Sometimes you are just not lucky. Last Monday was one of these days for me. I’ve been taking a train from Ingolstadt (that’s a city close to Munich in the South of Germany) that usually should have brought me home in around seven hours. In the end I arrived after 14 hours and had an overnight stop in Leipzig. But, and that’s the positive side of it: I enjoyed another memorable experience I can share with you!
When it’s about trains, I tend to be in kind of a hurry as I’m used to arrive just in time. That’s why I decided to rush a little when leaving my birthplace on Monday. I had to make a train at 5:35 pm on a regional train station and had 20 minutes of drive ahead of me (it was 5:10 pm). As I was driven by a family member, I had the time to check my schedule online. And there, the fun began. I got a message by Deutsche Bahn that my train is delayed.
Nothing special for me, so I was okay for the moment. After checking back, I decided that I may instantly go to the bigger train station (Ingolstadt), where the long-distance trains are leaving. My regional train, as I later recognized, arrived full 90 minutes after schedule in Ingolstadt – a good decision to skip this one.
No long-distance train for me today
Talking of skipping: While I skipped the regional train, the long-distance one skipped me. Just minutes after I decided to not go to the regional train station, I got a message that the ICE 1502 (the one I was about to take to Berlin) was not stopping in Ingolstadt this day due to a heavy delay. I’m nobody who is going crazy in moments like this as I’m used to heavy delays and love travelling, so I looked up a new solution.
Unluckily, I had already booked the last official connection to Frankfurt (Oder), my current hometown, so I had to look for new solutions. I decided to go for the risky one and asked for the last connection to get to Berlin (via Göttingen, six minutes connection time in Göttingen, six minutes connection time in Berlin). This one was not even offered on the website as the Deutsche Bahn was sure it was not possible to make these connections (I know the stations and I know it is possible).
Prepared with a new solution, I arrived in Ingolstadt and went to the Service Point. The employee right there had another solution for me: Due to the heavy delay of ICE 1602 (that should have left more than an hour before my initial train), I may take this one instead. The only comment by the employee was “run!”. Okay, I’m doing this in my free time and I just had a backpack but even I was not able to run from platform 1 to platform 6 in 10 seconds (Goddamn, I need wings!).
The sad anecdote is that I even made it in time but the train doors were already closed and did not open anymore (automatic doors that close some seconds before the train leaves). Some criticism at this moment: The train did leave at 5:58 pm while mine should have left at 6:00 pm. Waiting for some minutes would have made it possible that all passengers would have made it to Berlin but they decided to let leave the heavily delayed train earlier to catch up some minutes. Strange decision.
15, 25, 60, 70
Weird numbers in the headline? Yeah, you are right. This is just the delay of my “other solution” that should have left at 6:31 pm. After it was announced with just 15 minutes delay and a chance to make my connection in Göttingen (the Deutsche Bahn already made my ticket fully flexible, so I was able to take every single train in Germany wherever I wanted to go), the delay went up and up. In the very end, it cumulated to 70 minutes.
With six minutes connection time in Göttingen, I decided to give up my hopes to arrive in Berlin this day. So I began a marathon of calling the hotline, talking with the service point and making plans by myself. As I accepted that I wouldn’t make it home this day, I was searching for a possibility to make my appointments on Tuesday morning (Lucky me scheduled everything for 11 or later).
You want to read more about my hillarious experiences with trains? Check out the second part of the story!