A Ferry Enjoyable Journey (#TågFärjetur Part 5)

Day 3 (Sunday 20 October)
09.28 Hamburg Hauptbahnhof to Copenhagen Hovedbanegård

We were back at Hamburg Hauptbahnhof on Sunday morning for the next leg of our journey, the EuroCity train from Hamburg to Copenhagen. As I mentioned in part 1, this was the centrepiece of our whole trip, and our chance to experience one of the few remaining train ferries in the world.

Photo of Customer Information Screen at Hamburg showing train EC33 to Copenhagen

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InterCity Interlude (#TågFärjetur Part 4)

Sign reading "zu den Zügen" (to the trains)

Day 2 (Saturday 19 October) continued:
13.16 Wuppertal Hauptbahnhof to Hannover Hauptbahnhof
15.59 Hannover Hauptbahnhof to Hamburg Hauptbahnhof

I had told Paul all about the train information posters that most German railway stations have. On each platform, a list of every train that will stop there, with a diagram showing how many coaches it will have, and exactly where on the platform you need to stand for your coach. DB can do this, I said confidently, because they are well-organised and it is rare for platforms and train formations to change at short notice.

Then our ICE train to Hannover arrived in a completely different formation to that shown on the poster, and stopped in a completely different position. Oh well.

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Suspended until further notice (#TågFärjetur part 3)

Photo of "Schwebebahn" station totem sign

Day 2 (Saturday 19 October):
09.13 Cologne Hauptbahnhof to Wuppertal Hauptbahnhof

“That’s an interesting connection,” remarked the guard on train IC2441, as he checked our ticket. It was a masterpiece of understatement; I imagine it’s not every day he sees a ticket for a journey lasting nearly two days, artificially lengthened with an extended stop in Wuppertal, of all places.

Paul and I both tried to explain, but how to communicate what we were doing? This is the third blog post in a series, and I’m sure many of the people reading this still don’t really understand.

DB Doppelstok (double decker train) at Cologne Hbf

I was childishly excited to be on the top deck of a Doppelstok train from Cologne to Wuppertal, although disappointed that we would only be on board for 30 minutes. I suppose I could have stayed aboard to the train’s ultimate destination of Dresden, where we would have arrived a mere seven hours later, at 16.39, but I suspect the novelty might have worn off by then. Nevertheless, it was thrilling to have an elevated viewpoint as we glided across the Hohenzollern Bridge out of Cologne to our next stop.

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Cologne again, naturally (#TågFärjetur part 2)

Photo of St Pancras station entrance

Day 1 (Friday 18 October) continued:
15.04 London St Pancras to Brussels Midi
18.25 Brussels Midi to Cologne Hauptbahnhof

As we approached St Pancras, Paul was excited at the prospect of seeing the Spice Girls’ Entrance.

That’s not some weird euphemism – the video for their debut single Wannabe was filmed in and around the station’s Grand Hotel. Even if you don’t recognise it, the caption “St Pancras Grand Hotel” appearing 6 seconds in gives the game away.

Incidentally, while writing this blog post, I looked up when this song came out, and it turns out it was in NINETEEN NINETY SIX, which is impossible because I remember it from when I was young, and I’m STILL YOUNG NOW, DAMN IT.

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Trains of Thought (#TågFärjetur part 1)

Day 1 (Friday 18 October):
10.47 Liverpool Lime Street to London Euston

Some appropriate music to accompany this blog post:

Europe’s high-speed rail network is a thing of beauty. Trains zip passengers across the continent and through multiple countries in mere hours, with no tacky duty-free shops or requirement to decant your shampoo into tiny bottles.

It’s a network I have taken advantage of multiple times in the past – a trip to Amsterdam with my friend Ian, a sleeper train from Berlin to Paris, zooming across Germany on the sexy InterCityExpress. I was “flight shaming” before Greta Thunberg made it cool.

My last Euro train trip was in 2016. That was far too long ago, and in the summer of 2019, I started to feel the railway itch again. I often found myself at idle moments with multiple browser tabs open on the Eurostar, Deutsche Bahn and Man in Seat Sixty One websites, looking for inspiration for my next trip.

Then, online chatter revealed that one celebrated European railway route was to undergo major changes. The Hamburg to Copenhagen EuroCity service, one of the few remaining lines in the world where the entire train is loaded onto a ferry to cross a body of water, was being rerouted to avoid that messy procedure. After December the opportunity to enjoy this unusual train journey would be gone forever. Naturally, a ride on this train quickly became the centrepiece of the plan.

Continue reading “Trains of Thought (#TågFärjetur part 1)”