November 2007


Die Strikers D(i)efeated!

I am in Dresden.

Despite the ongoing strike by Die Bahn’s train drivers, I made it to Dresden today, and my plan worked better than expected.

Yesterday I’d peeked at the train schedule in the morning and noticed that some trains were getting from Weimar to Halle, so I decided to gamble: If I went to the train station, I would wait until I found a train going east to Halle, and take it. So this morning, after showering and dressing, I looked at the RIS and noticed that there was an ICE scheduled to leave at 7:53 for Leipzig.

I quickly tossed my toothbrush in my prepacked backpack and headed out the door: I had 30 minutes to get to the train station.

Naturally I got to the train station to discover that the 7:53 to Leipzig was cancelled, but that there was a different train leaving about 20 minutes later for Leipzig, also an ICE. So I got myself a Soy-Latte from the coffee shop in the station and waited for the train.

The train station was eerily silent: although the train drivers are on strike, apparently they are not actually allowed to form picket lines at the train station, so there were no angry lines of drivers demanding 31% pay increases to cross. Additionally, there were trains running, but not with great reliability or predictability. I saw an “Inter City” train arrive in Weimar from the west, which ended in Weimar, only to turn around and head back east to Eisenach: it was called an Inter City train, but the equipment was actually for a Regional Train and the station announcer made clear that the train’s next stop would be Erfut and not one of the little stations inbetween. I also saw a train come through that could have taken me to Jena.

Meanwhile, at 8:10, an ICE from Leipzig rolled in and stopped. Ending in Weimar, the ICE was heading back to Leipzig, so I got onboard. There were probably 20 passengers on the entire train: the strike has clearly scared passengers off. Between the unpredictability of the trains and the wide coverage of trains being cancelled, people didn’t seem to be trying to travel. I had a table to myself and people traveling seemed to be in a good mood—the opposite of what I expected.

I was also surprised by how quickly the train went: it took far less than an hour to go from Weimar to Leipzig, complete with one stop where nobody seemed to get on and nobody seemed to get off. Usually this journey takes just over an hour, so during the strike, the lack of competing trains on the tracks has sped up some services—its just that the actual departure times are unpredictable.

After arriving in Leipzig, I grabbed a bagel from the shop that makes pretty good bagels, especially considering it is in Germany, and waited. On the train it had been announced that busses from Leipzig to Dresden would be running—leaving at 11, a mere hour and three-quarters after I arrived. However, B, from Eurotrippen, had already generously offered to pick up Germany Doesn’t Suck’s J and me from Leipzig and take us to Dresden—and she was already on her way, so J and I met, then met her and her husband outside of the station for the quick jaunt over to Dresden.

I was able to get a lot of work done on the train, and quite frankly the speed of the train caught me off guard. I looked up when people started putting on their coats and was surprised to realize that we really were almost there: I’d expected the train to take another 20 or so minutes. This afternoon I’ve worked at my hotel and in a coffee shop located nearby—getting one of my project’s segments done.

Tonight is the dinner for the early arrivers of the Whiney Ex-Pat Blogger Meet-Up—and as I understand it, there will be six people there: the aforementioned J, B and her husband from Eurotrippen, me, and two other people, but I don’t remember their names at this time.

It should be a fun weekend!

2 comments to Die Strikers D(i)efeated!

  • Annie


    It’s great that you made to Dresden. Have a fun weekend! You missed the night of sciences though. It was lots of fun.

    Thanks for the Philly song!

    CU on Monday, Annie.

  • @annie: glad you liked the Philly song… and too bad I missed the night of sciences. I hear that we had a hit with H’s talk.