Looks like the football world cup has begun today. Unfortunately i am traveling to berlin on this very same day (by train via Arnhem/Duesseldorf), which means that you have to share the slightly overcrowded train with about 300 english football supporters and lots of bottles of more or less warm beer (i never loved my sound-canceling headphones more). However it also means that the authorities are freaking out in the name of security and decide to stop the train at the border station (where it usually does not stop) in order to let a posse of badly dressed, short-haired idiots wearing reflective vests on board of the train to check everybody’s passport.
Now everyone including the train staff assumed they would board the train and then do the checking while the train is moving. Instead the well-dressed gentlemen who was in charge of the whole operation had the brilliant idea to stop the train for the entire duration of the operation.
When asked them if he thought that this was a good idea his even less intelligent sidekick (with a much bette taste in facial hairdo though) told us that the stop was not related to their activities, but due to the trains engine having to be changed at the border. Now this is the biggest bullshit i have heard in a long time as there was (a) no stop scheduled and (b) the ICE3 does not even have a separate engine but rather a number of electrical motors under all the carriages. He also told us ‘to shut up as it was none of our businesses’
Now, to make matters worse, the 20-or-so cops decided that it was most efficient if they would walk through the entire train in one big group instead of splitting up in smaller groups. the result: the aisle clotted by a slowly moving mass of cops who were permanently bumping into each other (i guess that is why they were wearing kevlar vests) and stepped on each others feet while shouting personal data of everyone looking remotely British or non-european into their mobile phones.
All in all this truly impressive display of collective intelligence took more than 30 minutes. No terrorists where apprehended, the English supporters got their first good laugh at the German police and everybody missed their connections (which on a Friday afternoon is a bit of a pain in the neck).
Also shortly before Duisburg the bar ran out of beer which is a bit embarrassing as the Deutsche Bahn is one of the main sponsors o the wold cup and has been running ads depicting happy supporters on trains for quite awhile now. Somebody at market research should have told them that happy football supporters consume more beer than average train passengers.