An ICE train left a station in Germany 10 minutes early

An ICE train left a German train station 10 minutes early, leaving passengers nervous on the platforms. German publication FAZ believes DB employees should have apologised for being “idiots”.

Locomotive drivers in Germany

“Deutsche Bahn is usually late. However, lately trains have been leaving too early, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded. What’s going on?” asks the prestigious German publication FAZ in an article available here.

One thing can be said – with Deutsche Bahn you never get bored. The team is always coming up with new surprises for passengers who are still willing to put up with yet another attempt at DB passenger transport due to lack of alternatives.

An ICE train left ten minutes early

Last Monday, for example, ICE 279, which was due to depart from Berlin to Basel at 7.08am, left at 6.58am – ten minutes before its scheduled departure time.

In the realm of mega-delays, this was a good line. Hundreds of passengers stood on the platform in disbelief and watched in bewilderment as the red lights at the tail end of the train glowed like the evil eyes of a monster lurking in the southbound tunnel.

One old man visibly had high blood pressure and pulled his phone out of his pocket with trembling hands. Two teenagers with very large backpacks burst into tears and called their mothers: “Mom, the train left too early. But… . Mom… No, we’re not late, Mom… it just left too early, yes…”

No information on the displays, the train was gone. In the passenger centre, a red-haired employee shouted to the helpless non-travellers coming from ICE 279, which had left too early, that they should sit at the back of the queue of 30 people.

If you had measured the general blood pressure at the station that morning, you could have transferred all the staff, rail employees and standing passengers, to the emergency room of nearby Charité Hospital. Only the gentleman at the entrance to the railway lounge shook his head when he confirmed the early departure and let a few desperate travellers through for a free coffee.

FAZ: You can’t expect in Germany what it’s like in Japan

In Japan, if the train driver arrives just a few minutes late, he has to apologise to all passengers by giving a deep bow. Of course, you can’t expect that from the Germans, but then how about, dear railway, at least a nice announcement like that: “My dears, this is the railway speaking. We are idiots. We’re incredibly sorry. We know you couldn’t celebrate your friend’s birthday yesterday because the train didn’t arrive until 1am instead of 10pm. We know that you woke up early this morning, whispered in the ears of your still-sleeping children that you had to go to school alone today because I was supposed to catch the morning train at seven o’clock and you were still at the station at nine. We know all this and we are very sorry to steal your time and poison you with half-frozen chicken in the on-board restaurant.” It would be a gesture, FAZ notes.

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