Twice as fast = twice as nice

So today the dutch railways (NS) ran a one-time Amsterdam Berlin intercity service that was 27 minutes faster than the usual 6 hour 30 minutes Amsterdam Berlin intercity service. They achieved this by omitting all stops between Amsterdam and the German border (Hilversum, Amsersfoort, Apeldoorn, Deventer, Amelo and Henglo). According to the NS it should be possible to further reduce travel time to four hours by aquiring engines that are capable of running 200 km/h on the Dutch and the German rail…

How to not run a high speed train service

Earlier this week i had the ‘pleasure’ of travelling down to Brussels using the new so called ‘Fyra‘ service by NS Hispeed for the first time (the service is operational since 9 december 2012). While the Fyra is making news mainly for the unreliability of the service (said to be somewhere between 55% and 75% on-time performance in the last week, with 5% of the trains ‘never making it to Brussels at all [1] both journeys where perfectly on time. Still the entire experience really sucked. Here are…

Delhi metro now moving more people per day than the entire Dutch national railways

This was mentioned in passing in an item on carbon trading that ran in today’s NOS evening news: the delhi metro is now transporting more passengers per day than the dutch national railways. a quick check on wikipedia shows that this is a bit of an understatement: daily ridership of the delhi metro system is 1.8M passengers per day while the NS is moving a mere 1.1M passengers per day (and struggling to do so i might add). This figure pretty much blows my mind in a number of ways. while there h…

Streetfighting immigrants rocks

Photo of a grafitti on a metro bridge between the A4 motorway and the Amsterdam-Zuid schiphol train tracks near the knooppunt nieuwe meer. Without climbing fences and walking on railway tracks it is only visible from trains running between Amsterdam-Zuid and Schiphol……

Police != intelligence

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 u…

Portbou train station

Have always been fascinated with border towns. The fact that another national economy with other taxes and other social norms is just across the border/mountain/river/fence tends to have interesting effects on these places, and especially what is for sale in the stores and on the streets. Now my most favorite border town in Europe is Portbou on the border of Spain and France: The tiny shops in the even more tiny city center have ridiculous amounts of Pastis on sale (for the Frenchmen who live ju…

Pairing requests

Seems like everybody and her mother have bluetooth enabled phones nowadays. In the last few weeks i have had repeated pairing requests from unidentified mobile phones while working on my laptop in the Train. For the uninitiated, a pairing request is a precondition for establishing a connection between two bluetooth devices: The contacted party has to agree to ‘pair’ her device with the requesting device in order to transmit files, interchange data or use it as an input or output device. Apart fr…

ICE 645 02.08.05

Have been on trains a lot the last couple of days. Since saturday i have gone from Amsterdam to Frankfurt back to Amsterdam and now i am almost in Berlin. Since january i have traveld more than 43.000km by trains. Most of this has been within Germany some of it in Holland and i even took Amtrak from Boston to NYC. My bahn card wich gives me 50% reduction within Germany will expire in a bit over a month and that means that i will need to decide again if ill take a bahncard 50 or if i will go for…