Die Bahn, Das Gute
I was discussing the woes of the old SNCF website last night when I was told that one of the best places for European railway timetables online is to pop off to Germany – in the online sense anyway.
In a handful of seconds I’d replicated exactly the journey to Montdauphin-Guillestre, and had been told that the TGV has a bar coach and space for wheelchairs.
Even better, it does what few railway planning websites seem to want to do. If you click on a particular train, it gives you a full breakdown of that trains scheduled stops for the whole route. I’ve wished that National Rail’s site did that for a long time.
Even if Die Bahn’s site was purely in German, it would still have been simpler and easier to use from the outset. The English language version is merely the icing on the cake. It’s a superb site, and of course, is more than happy to work out purely UK based journeys too. It even puts in a 35 minute gap at the beginning of Eurostar trains – which is the check in time.
Thanks to its wonderfulness, I’ve just found out it would take me 46 hours to get from London Waterloo to Bergen in Norway. Now the SNCF put it bluntly – well after a very long think anyway. You’re basically told that you’re mad, and you should pop to the train station and sort it out there.
Not so for the Germans. In a matter of moments, they’ve told you all you need to know. So, should you be insane enough to try, here’s what they recommend.
The trip starts by getting on the Eurostar to Brussels. From there get an overnight train to Hamburg. At Hamburg get an InterCityExpress to Kiel, then pop on the boat (or Schiff – a slight breakdown in the translation there!) to Oslo – again overnight.
At Oslo you need to get a bus or taxi to Oslo South station, from where you can catch the Express-Zug to Bergen.
Or you could just get a plane and be there in a few hours… But hey, it wouldn’t be as fun.