Germany 2.3.06-6.3.06 <  >

More unconsidered trifles on this trip, particularly in the Berlin area. Major upheaval in the services is due with the opening of the new north-south route in May, with some curves losing their services. There were also some serious diversions due to bridge replacement at Rummelsburg, so off I went to Berlin, with some more odds and ends in the north to add a bit of spice to the proceedings!

Thursday 2.3.06

Not the sort of thing the newly unemployed should be doing but hey, the diversions have to be done!

Despite overnight snow and gloomy forecasts, the British public transport ‘system’ worked for once. My wife, back in long-suffering mode, delivered me to Telford Central for the 0544 to BNS which materialised, amusingly disguised as a Ginster’s pie, at 0546. Charged merrily into Wolves despite snow covered rail (sensible scheduling – non stop 0544 clears the muck off the rail for the 0554 stopper so it can get up the bank from Albrighton and not delay the 0607. Or am I crediting the planners with something they never thought of?). Anyway, on to BNS on time, and from there on VT’s ‘no Savers’ 0640 to Birmingham Irrational, armed with my Saver and a print from the NR web page saying it was valid! No grippage anyway, and I was safely checked in at 0700 for Lufthansa’s 0800 to DUS.

Which was 30 minutes late arriving (or more for all I know – I didn’t see it). We were eventually called at 0835 for the long march to Gate 50 which is somewhere near Meriden. Then we had to wait in the cold for a while. Then things started to move, with the Flying Coke Can [Canadair CRJ – I don’t know why I find Embraers so much more appealing, but I do] eventually leaving the runway around 0852.

Crummy service from German Wings (aka Lufthansa, wish they still did it) with a stale cheese roll and a cup of coffee from the one miserable cabin man. Still, we pulled up at 1100, disembarked 1102, bus left 1104, into terminal 1106, out of immigration 1109. Charged off to the Danglebahn only to find it SEVd from outside the arrivals gate… Bus driver wasn’t going to hurry whatever happened but eventually made it to Dü-Flughafen in time for me to get to P1 at 11:26:52 for the 11:29 RE (146xxx hauling) to Duisburg. Desperate stuff.

10 minutes at Duisburg so time to collect a couple of bottles of König Pilsener (a Duisburg brew, no less) at a very reasonable €1.40 each for a half litre of 4.9%.

Chatty gripper on IC2116 asked me for my passport – first time since 1992! I ribbed him about it: ‘only doing my job’. Once my bona fides was established he told me about his tram bash in Blackpool. Sound man, even if he did like Virgin Trains…

Could have done without being 13 late leaving Dortmund, Still, connection at Hamburg is 24 so we’ll see. I though I caught ‘technical fault’ I the announcements but maybe it was just 101 101 turning up late with the connection.

15½ late leaving Osnabrück – hoping for a major thrash to Bremen though there’s not much sign of it. Not a bad try though, back down to –13 on arrival at Bremen and it’s not a slow timing by any means, 122km in 51 minutes. Still –13 departing, so it’s in the lap of DB and DB Netz.

Who obliged, keeping it off the critical list with another minute gained by Harburg. Final arrival (for me – the train went on to Altona) at Hamburg Hbf was also 12 late, at 1523. In the end I had enough time to amble up P6a and record the number off 218 429 which was Rabbiting away happily at the front of a very cold train.

The train was only partly cold – deciding to avail myself of the facilities half way to Lübeck I discovered a warm compartment and completed the journey in relative comfort.

On time arrival at Lübeck gave plenty of time to walk up to the Iibis, clock in and have a wash and brush up (also pay the bill, in view of early departure tomorrow). 10 minutes is just sufficient to walk to the station in the morning, or there’s a bus, amazingly, at 0437.

Back to the station for 1705 to Oldenburg and Puttgarden, via Neustadt. It left in a snow storm (light snow, according to the forecast). After Neustadt it did reverse in the loop as suspected on my previous visit, and made the day worthwhile by doing the separate alignment for, ooh, 200 metres back to the main line!

On then to Oldenburg, EC35 at 1906 being the quickest way back to Lübeck. I wandered off towards (as I thought) the town in search of a pub. The town seemed to consist mostly of outskirts but I did eventually find the marketplace and a pub with one customer (apart from me) whose owner (the pub’s that is) dispensed a small Krombacher willingly enough. In the course of my wandering I discovered that if you want to buy a garden gnome at 6.20 on a snowy March Tuesday evening, Oldenburg’s the place!

Back at the station 1839 København (ex Hamburg) went at around 1900 so there was obviously no hope for the 1906. It rolled up at about 1920, a nice warm Danish kart with a (non-smoking) seat for me and a smoker full of Chinamen playing cards. Honestly.

17 late back at Lübeck which rounded off a good day, rather against the odds. The final task was to scratch the Lübeck hausbrauerei (Brauberger, in Alfstrasse) so I made my way there on foot (across the two bridges, turn left and it’s the third street on the right). A more than acceptable unfiltered pils is the only offering – dear at €2.40/0.4l but then, they mostly are. There is a good value (if you don’t like salad, for which you pay extra) carvery which did me roast pork, sautées and gravy for €7.20. A generally very worthwhile establishment. And so to bed, via the bus which stopped outside both pub (luckily, 2 minutes after I emerged) and hotel, and a splendid hot shower!

Friday 3.3.06

As I staggered out into the snow at 0432 I wondered (not for the first time) why I do this… Bus times were examined yesterday to reveal an 0437 which seemed a good way to get 0503 to Bad Kleinen. It duly appeared, warm, clean, on time and surprisingly full.

The ‘chain’ baker’s stall doesn’t open until 0500 which seemed pretty short sighted with departures at 0501, 0503, 0506 then nothing until after 0530! But Mandy of ‘Snack & Back’, bless ‘er, opens at 0450 and as I’d noticed two [other] strange looking blokes with their noses pressed to the steel shutter I was on hand for a coffee (and in fact near the front of an eager queue). Lübeck Hbf is getting the full treatment and has so far evolved from dungeon to chaos. It’ll be nice when it’s finished, no doubt. Meanwhile the 628 forming 0503 was on its way in, nicely prewarmed so that I could enjoy my coffee in comfort. You can just see all this happening at Shrewsbury.

A very dull trundle to Bad Kleinen in the dark, but it gave me time to finish my coffee, reboot my brain into some sort of order (e.g. remembering I’d already written a note about the 0437 bus yesterday!) and consider the day’s schedule. Bad K is one of those places where four trains meet each hour amid much scurrying, then disappear again. Consequently 9 minutes wait was quite bearable and the 0603 to Rostock obliged by turning up at 0601. Double deckers of the newer kind, all the ‘slim Jim’ ones having now disappeared it seems. They will be sadly missed. Not.

Rostock’s rebuild is complete – it’s now on three levels with trains at ground level, then the pedestrian subway, and trams at the bottom. Part of the platform awnings are missing but there’s no sign of construction so maybe it was designed that way. I took the opportunity to visit the rather grand and rather empty travel centre to get my seat for Sunday’s reservation-only EC and got hit for €9.00 for my trouble, the extra 6 being ‘because it’s the Warsaw Express’. Nothing would move her, so I had to grin and bear it.

The trams are new since my first visit in 1992 but still seem odd. They are quite short (and narrow relative to their gauge) three section artics, but seemingly with the centre section as a four wheeler, and one four wheel bogie at each outer end. I could be wrong – but that was all the wheels I could see.

In the Bleak Midwinter. An unidentified (because I forgot) 642 stands at the new platform at the end of the reopened Graal-Müritz branch on 3-3-06.

And so to Graal-Müritz at last, on a 642 or similar. This was an ‘I wonder where that goes’ branch observed from the road in 1992, closed before I could get to it and eventually reopened. Consequently it was particularly good value, even on a cold, grey morning in the snow. It’s plain single line all the way, ending in what looks like the ‘suburbs’. The line looks to have gone further at one time, though I didn’t have the time (nor the inclination, in the snow) to explore. The catchily named intermediate station, Ostseeheilbad Graal-Müritz-Schwanenberg, has been reborn as Rostock-Torfbrücke even though it’s about 21 km from Rostock.

Back to Rostock, then a thoroughly tedious 2½ hours to Hamburg on a packed to the doors RE (first one of the day on which Länder tickets and the like would be valid, I suppose). Brunch was obtained together with beer for the Old Git With Beer Can tactic, which had one of its rare failures yesterday. The München bound ICE was a tad late after its long struggle all the way from Altona. The ICE was a mark 1 set and it has to be said that my initial impression of noisy and rough riding (in 1993, q.v.) applies to this one to some extent. Route from Celle was the westernmost (Langenhagen) as normal.

111 089 passing the Autozug loading bays on its way out of Hannover Hbf with RB24819 to Braunschweig on 3-3-06

A bit more fuel was taken on at Hannover where I was quite glad to leave the ICE as there were large crowds waiting (not to mention that I’d been in a Hannover – München Pasing reserved seat!). No further beer was taken in view of Gose-hunting later.

The Old Git With Beer Can tactic failed again on the IC to Leipzig – it was wedged and I ended up in an ex-IR coach, now getting to look rather shabby but still comfortable. Clearly there’s a demand for the Magdeburg avoider, at least on Fridays… 52 8015 was noted plinthed just west of Lehrte – don’t recall it before though I must have seen it. Southernmost track throughout at Lehrte.

The TM made it abundantly clear at Hannover that we weren’t going via Magdeburg Hbf; she’s just done it again at Braunschweig and will no doubt repeat the treatment at Helmstedt. Presumably at M-Buckau you get ‘if you did want to go to M-Hbf, alight here’!

Neither occurred in fact, though Buckau was announced very pointedly. There was a very satisfying lurch to the right just after Sudenburg, and round we went. Another airing for the Big Daft Grin!

I'd be interested to know the identity and purpose of this ancient electric outside Leipzig Hbf. It appears to be connected to the OHLE so my best guess is that it's used for train heating?

Having run right on the nose all the way to Leipzig we were held outside L-Hbf and arrived about 5 late. PP1-6 are out of use currently, presumably as part of the north-south line engineering work. Major goings-on outside too, with the centre two tracks of the tram ‘station’ OOU while it’s being rebuilt. The tourist office (which now closes at 1800) put me right on tickets and provided me with the street map that (idiot) I’d forgotten to print.

Off then by the 12 tram to the Gosenschenke, whose opening hours luckily start at 1700 on weekdays. Very friendly people, gave me a sample of local Leipzig speciality liqueur – allasch, made from caraway but very sweet. 6 cl of this in a half litre of gose is traditional apparently. Must be utterly lethal.

As for the gose – you wouldn’t drink it in Britain! Sour certainly, but nothing like a traditional gueuze and it goes down very easily. Colour-wise, slightly darker than Dabley!

And then, back on the trams (12 and 16) to Bayerisch Bahnhof. Foreign riff-raff not wanting a meal (I did, desperately, but there wasn’t time) didn’t seem too welcome but I was accommodated at the bar and sampled their gose. It was very unexceptional though pale and cloudy like the advert for an ‘old time’ gose in the Ohne Bedenken. So – maybe more authentic? Who knows. It certainly didn’t have the sour taste of the Döllnitzer Ritterguts variety. The Bayerisch Bahnhof was only selling its own gose, and the Ohne Bedenken had only the Döllnitzer. To finish I tried ‘Schaffner’ (Conductor) a very pale unfiltered pils. Rather a bitter ‘undertone’ (pseud!) but otherwise even more unexceptional. The automatic doors on the way to the loos were impressive though.

I left myself plenty of time to get back to the Hbf, almost all of which was needed (not least because I thought the train was at 1953 and it was 1950). No bones broken though, and this poorly written note is due to ICE1514’s rough riding and not the gose!

5 minutes or so late at Lutherstadt Wittenberg which was no problem. Off, via the Acron for a wash and brush up, to the Brauhaus Wittenberg. This provided another unfiltered pils so memorable that I’d forgotten it before my glass was empty, a dunkel which I didn’t try, and an excellent weizen which I thoroughly enjoyed. Health food dinner consisted of a schnitzel with two fried eggs and fried potatoes. Oh, and some peas. I took the onions out…

Saturday 4.3.06

Pleasant standard breakfast at the Acron which for €46 (weekends) is perfectly acceptable. The removal of the onions made for a pleasantly quiet start to the day… Off to the station for a relatively leisurely departure on ICE1616, 0826 LW – Hamburg, hopefully diverted via the Genshagener Heide west curve. The jewel in the crown would be keeping right at Saarmund but this seems unlikely. We’ll see in due course.

Curves were noted from the Aussenring to the Teltow/Lichterfelde line (E to N) and from the Genshagener Heide loop to the T/W [I think I meant T/L not T/W] ]line (W to N). We duly did the Genshagener Heide west curve, hooray. 2 km from Saarmund now, tension mounts… rats. Michendorf it is. And just to rub my nose in it, a lengthy delay thereat. And now we know why they aren’t doing a stop at Potsdam, and how the set stays the right way round – reverse at Michendorf and straight to Wannsee. Ah well, c’est la vie. At least we might be on time at Zoo, not that it makes a lot of difference.

At Zoo the DB man confirmed my Domino to be OK for the S-Bahn which made me feel slightly better about the Warsaw Express [I’d expected to have to buy a Berlin local ticket]. Away to Friedrichstrasse and then a Kurzzug S2 to Gesundbrunnen where it became apparent no S2s were going to Pankow. Once again the Curse of Bornholmer Strasse strikes. I made do with an S1 to Wollankstrasse which did me no good at all, then an S8 out to Ostkreuz which at least did part of the Bornholmer Strasse plan. Out to Lichtenberg then; it must be one of the most depressing stations on earth [if you use the eastern subway] and after dark I suspect it will be seriously frightening. It always was and it’s worse now. The hotel was located – there’s a tram stop (21 and 18) right outside so maybe that’s the way back.

From there I went to Schönefeld, soaking up as much warmth as I could in IC2456 Stralsund - Düsseldorf. Mercifully the RE4 service is being mucked about with and my 1232 was in the platform so I was able to acquire a bottle of Berliner Kindl (any port in a storm) and consume that in a nice warm double decker. Schönefeld may not be as grim and dangerous as Lichtenberg, but warm it ain’t.

More gloom to follow as we took the direct curve on to the Jüterbog line. In the brave new world post-May 28, anything going from Schönefeld to platform 1 of the new Birkengründ Süd would be the one to watch, as there is no crossover before B-Süd so it would have to do the Genshagener Heide east curve.

The good folk of Trebbin seem to have nothing to do but smoke (annoyingly) and vandalise their station (comprehensively). Consequently 12 minutes there was easily 10½ too long, the remainder being needed to walk between the staggered platforms. It then became apparent that the only way I could get back to town from Schönefeld was by S-Bahn, there being no ICs on the horizon (or not ones willing to take me, anyway). S-Bahn to Ostkreuz therefore, and on to Lichtenberg on the gamble that there’s be something to Nauen. There was (1427 EC ex-Praha to Hamburg) but, at the time of writing, 16 minutes late so it looks like the rest of daylight will be taken up trying to do curves at Hohen Neuendorf. That’ll teach me to change my plans on the fly.

And then, after satisfactory grice of ‘straight across at Hohen Nuendorf’ and the Breiselang N to W curve, why on earth did the late running westbound EC have to occupy eastbound P2 at Nauen? Who knows, but it did, and the 1518 was held to await it, thus ensuring that I made the connection. Totally barking, but well done DB!

Delay was only slight so the connection at Falkensee on to 1543 RE to Oranienburg (a shuttle due to today’s goings-on, terminating at O/burg) was no problem. And how wrong can you be (see 3.3.06) the ‘slim Jims’ are alive and well, and to prove it I’ve just cracked my head getting into my seat. It was worth it though – the Big Daft Grin got yet another airing as the shuttle charged past the junction at Hohen Neuendorf and proceeded all the way round the ‘Long Curve’ (the 270° one) which is allegedly to lose its trains at the Big Bang. Research at Oranienburg revealed no RB12s for the duration so I’ll try 1657 RE5 to Elsterwerda via Lichtenberg and see what happens.

Hohen Neuendorf rocks, is what happens .Round the Lange Kurve again with no problems, this time doing the S to E connection on to the Aussenring. Really not a bad day’s work in the end, even with some ups and downs en route.

Preserved DR power car 175 015, smartly repainted, stands in its usual spot at Berlin Lichtenberg on 4-3-06.

No-one at the Lichtenberg travel centre spoke English so after booking into the hotel (converted factory, very spick and span) the first port of call was the Reisezentrum at Ostbahnhof where I waited 15 minutes for the one English speaker but eventually got my €9.00 for the Warsaw Express refunded, having realised I could do the job on the 0826 kart which goes out to Bad Saarow-Pieskow on the Fürstenwalde-Beeskow branch. Why, I don’t know. One up to EGTRE! Next port of call was the Alt Berliner Weissestuben in Rathausstr. Berliner Weisse on its own isn’t allowed there, it seems – you have it with strawberry or peppermint cordial. Given it’s a sour beer it makes quite a good drink with the strawberry but leaves a lot of sugar on the palate. €2.40 was a pleasant surprise.

Thence to the Lemke hausbrauerei where the darkish Original was exactly what was required to clear the palate. It’s a few arches back from Hackescher Markt S-Bahn, towards Alexanderplatz. I also tried the Märzenbier – lighter, stronger, and even more expensive at €2.80/03l vs €2.30 for Original – more to my taste, really. Couldn’t be bothered finding a cheap meal so I retired to Lichtenberg which was still quite civilised at 2115. Maybe it is all night, but I was happy enough not to find out.

Sunday 5.3.06

Up early, if not bright, for 0630 breakfast (all nicely sorted, coffee on tables, very pleasant young lady speaking good English). I had this brilliant idea, on a Sunday morning with engineering work everywhere, with no timetable, and knowing that S2s to Pankow weren’t running yesterday, that I could get to Pankow and back by 0826.

As noted before, fortune favours the terminally stupid. I walked on to an S75 at Lichtenberg, and an S2 (to Bernau) at Friedrichstrasse, That did the job trackwise, but I found myself with a longish wait at Pankow (until 0746) .With a U2 straight to Alexanderplatz due at 0743 I paid my €2.10 and settled for that. After the long march through the subways at Alexanderplatz, I arrived at the same time as an S75 which got me back to Lichtenberg at 0814. Had I just missed the S2 or either S75… Anyway, off to Erkner on a beastly 646, which did the Wuhlheide curve, as indeed it had to, really.

In theory the connecting S3 back from Erkner was 0900 – we passed what was obviously the 0840 and as we ran into Erkner at 0846 I saw an S-Bahn unit with the doors open, and hoped for an 0850. Erkner has staggered platforms on the main line, but I hastened over quickly enough to get the S-Bahn at 0850. Then we were bustituted from Karlshorst to Nöldnerplatz which suited pretty well as it’s one station from Lichtenberg. I took up my seat on the 0942 RE to Oranienburg and Stralsund at 0930 – the 0900 from Erkner would have been a very close shave at best.

The 0942 came up trumps too, doing the direct east to north curve at Hohen Neuendorf as required. ‘Faced’ (as they say) with a(nother) 40+ minutes at Oranienburg – one is quite enough – I was wondering how to stay warm when it dawned on me that the shuttle from Ostbahnhof might have the same layover. It did, and had arrived by then, and provided me with a seat in the warmth.

Worth the wait, too, as the shuttle (slim Jims again) completed the quartet at Hohen Neuendorf with the direct north to west curve. Thoroughly satisfactory. There’s a ropey looking bridge over the river just east of Abzw. Hennigsdorf – you’d have to guess that once the new lines open and the RE5s don’t go that way, that will be replaced. The severe speed restriction in both directions suggests that neither span has long to go.

A sharp exit from Ostbf was made on the 1156 RE to Frankfurt (Oder), this hopefully giving me an extra hour to muck about with the connections at Cottbus. That’s if Max the Mole doesn’t strike, of course. The Rummelsburg blockade is not complete – the RE went out past the new bridge, which is in situ but still jacked up, but then confusingly passed north of the ICE depot adjacent to the S-Bahn station. Cue Google Earth to see what’s going on!

Fürstenwalde has had ‘the treatment’ and the small separate station from which I went to Beeskow many moons ago has vanished. It appears that you now go from P3 (or maybe P1 if the numbering is the other way round). There’s no connection with the main line other than via P3 (or 1) so presumably this morning’s 646 went that way.

The major rebuild at Frankfurt(Oder) has been completed and it's now easy to find your train again. Here Ostdeutsche Eisenbahn GmbH railcar VT650 59 waits to depart as OE80424 to Berlin Schoeneweide on 5-3-06

Frankfurt (Oder)’s treatment is also now complete and you can find the trains again! (see previous visit on 25.1.03). Insufficient time to wander so I awaited the arrival of my RE so that I could at least have 12 minutes warmth. The stuffed 64 (317?) is still there but was unphottable due to a freight train in the way. The Warszawa Express was due into the same platform as my RE, some 7 minutes later, and the Grenzpolizei were busy looking for whatever Grenzpolizei look for. No barriers though. Seven GP so far (we’re just departing so still a few minutes to go).

It’s an interesting ride to Cottbus, if only because it seems to be a part of Germany that everyone’s forgotten about (or prefers to). Grim in the extreme. Eisenhüttenstadt for example, seems not to have moved on at all. The new deviation south of Peitz Ost is as per Schweers and Wall, with a station part way along it (Teichland/Gatojce) and Wilmersdorf Nord (Rogozno polnoc) which is north of the old Cottbus-Wilnersdorf. The line north to Peiz and Grunow is closed and lifted. Another new station, Cottbus-Sandow/Chósebus Zandow is at the junction with the Forst line.

In my opinion the garish new colour scheme doesn't do a lot for Polish diesel SU46-037, seen at Cottbus on 5-3-06.

Arriving at Cottbus an hour early I trotted off to the hotel instead of looking at the timetable properly. Stupid, stupid, but only the Berlin line would have been of benefit (1530). For want of anything better I went out to Drebkau and back (out 1613, back 1651). There is very definitely a diveunder line to the high numbered platforms here (went from and returned to low numbers).

Then on 1655 P11 to Leipzig as far as Doberlug-Kirchhain, and so to Finsterwalde, and a circuitous (by accident) walk through a town which I suspect wasn’t too struck by 1989. If it was, then strange about the street names. I eventually found Sieben Brunnen, a bowling alley-cum-pub with a house beer hard to describe. Dark, yes (and a fabulous red-brown colour when held to the light). Sweet, certainly. Character? Yer got me there. Still, pleasant enough lady of the house. She spoke no English but we got by in pidgin German, as you do.

Two Sieben Brunnen(en) got me no nearer liking it so I retired to Radigk’s Wirtshausbrauerei which is handily placed 5 minutes from the station. A different animal entirely, basically a factory with a nice little stage for live music, and Four Tops Greatest Hits as the muzak. Beerwise, I was offered pils and dunkel. I chose the pils, unfiltered and pleasant if not exceptional. Of the two, it was the worse pub but the better beer. I left in fairly good time for the 1949 and was amused by the booking clerk slamming down the shutters at exactly 1945, her advertised closing time. With a train at 1949 is this totally sensible? Snow was falling with great enthusiasm as I walked up to the station, but so far it’s not amounted to anything. ‘Tomorrow is another day’, of course.

The day finished with the worst McDonalds ever, and an early night.

Monday 6.3.06

Hopefully not the last ever German track bashing day (no contract at the time of writing). An inauspicious start though, having planned to get the 0613 as far as Leuthen or Drebkau, to do the diveunder. Having worried that the staff would think I was doing a bunk I left my rucksack behind and charged off downstairs to find the door locked and no sign of life anywhere. The fallback was 0715 and no breakfast (15 minutes walk to the station) as I didn’t particularly want to risk 0930 Berlin for heading home, with no margin for subsequent delays.

Accordingly went off, muttering, to the very annoying timed shower (4 cycles to get hair and rest of self washed) and resurfaced just before 0650. I found breakfast ready and a very pleasant English speaking lady ready to take payment for my room by credit card, so was able to give myself a 7 minute breakfast slot. I just got there before the natives arrived at 0655, as per!

Leaving at 0658, a mad dash to the station making the 0712 or 0713 depending which display you read, by a couple of minutes. It went out from P10 via the diveunder, to my great relief. Out to Drebkau where 10 minutes wait in beautiful sunshine and a dusting of snow wasn’t a hardship, and back by the direct curve into P1 as booked.

How could I have doubted Mr Steane and friends. [I had done, the previous day]. Although PP5 and 6 are to the south side of the station, trackwise they point north, curving right at the platform end. PP1-4 have the straight run in from Leipzig, so I must have missed some (very technical) track if we did arrive in P5 last night. I suspect I noted the platform wrongly as I didn’t notice any manoeuvring, which would have been necessary to access P5.

Meanwhile the RE2 is definitely in P4 and will have to go straight on before it goes right! Ah yes. Over to the left, south of the C&W depot, over the Dresden diveunder, south of the loco depot then round and under the Leipzig line. There also seems to be a connection off the north side of the Leipzig line down to the Berlin diveunder – or even separate?

A very dull trundle into Berlin, though noting that we were right over by the S-Bahn through Rummelsburg. Beer supplies were taken on at the Mini-Mal supermarket at Ostbf - €1.25 for a litre of beer seemed more than reasonable (50p/pint or near offer).

On to ICE640 then – the only unreserved seats being rear facing unfortunately. I should have thought – but it’s so murky now that it’s little difference! Out of Spandau to Staaken by the northern line as expected.

Quite entertaining to see the ICE’s displays advertising the allegedly doomed EuroDomino, and also the Britrail Flexipass (meaningless advertising garbage name) at, if I clocked it correctly, €194 (£140) for 4 days in a month.

Totally uneventful ride to Düsseldorf, having made sure I was in the right half (front portion Köln-Bonn Flughafen via Dortmund, Bochum, Essen, D-Flug, D-Hbf, rear portion Hagen, Wuppertal, K-Hbf, splits at Hamm). 3 late from Berlin Ostbf, 4 late at D-Hbf. Quite surprising really, but no big deal. Fastest I saw was 250kph. Ending up at Düsseldorf with 1¾ hours to kill, where better than Schumachers (Oststrasse, natürlich. Don’t rate the other one really). The more I go in this excellent old beer hall, the more I like it. Let’s hope this isn’t the last visit!

[I didn’t record the journey home with Lufthansa – but no news is good news, so I guess it went OK!].








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