Sit or survive

I always knew English trains were bad, but it was only when I was living in Leipzig I realised just how terrible they are. One thing that really upset me in Germany was that I often heard people complain about the trains. “they’re always late and really expensive,” people said. That may be true, but at least they don’t give you a sore bum or serious health problems. To an Englishman, German trains are the pinnacle of engineering and efficiency.


Foto: Hartmut Mester /

The railway may have been invented in England, but you wouldn’t believe it. These days, our trains are as uncomfortable as a car with square wheels. In fact, sitting on an English train is rather a lot like sitting on a horse – only horses smell better. Not only do our trains bump up and down, but they sway from side to side as if being rocked by some unseen wave. In fact, if you are ever on an English train and you have a surf board with you – get it out and you’ll get some good practise in. One of my favourite hobbies when travelling by rail in England is to walk along the whole train and see how many people I fall on to. I think my record so far is 16. Now compare this to the average German train. You could do brain surgery on a German train, it’s that stable.

Another thing that makes German trains so comfortable is that they have seats. You might have assumed that seats on trains are normal. Not in England. Our trains do have seats, but there are inevitably far more people on the train than there are places to sit. I can’t remember the last time I could park my bum on anything other than the floor, and usually the floor next to the toilet. Thankfully, for those of us sitting next to the toilet, some train companies have started to remove them to make more room for seats. This is great, unless you’re stuck on a long journey and desperately need to pee. There’s nothing worse than being thrown around like a football and needing to pee.

Here’s a horrible story: Once I was on a train and really wanted to sit down. There were lots and lots of people standing, yet there was one seat empty… and I couldn’t see why. After sitting in the seat I noticed a nasty smell, and a slight wet feeling. The man in the seat next to me clearly couldn’t hold his bladder, and had wet himself. That’s why the seat was empty. I’m sorry to be so disgusting, but I want you all to see just how good German trains are (or at least how bad English trains are).

Not only do we have to put up with bumpy, overcrowded and unhygienic carriages, but our trains are often late too. But, to be fair, so are German trains. The other big difference, however, is in the price. Our trains are far more expensive than yours, with short trips lasting 40 minutes costing at least 20 Euros.

I am genuinely very angry at the state of English trains, and so now I ask you to do me a favour. If you ever meet an Englishman, please never, ever complain about German trains to them. They won’t like it.

Dorothea Hecht lacht, wohnt, arbeitet, isst und ist gerne in Leipzig. Manchmal verlässt sie Leipzig, kommt aber immer wieder gerne zurück. Sie hat Journalistik an der Uni Leipzig studiert und dürfte sich somit ein "Dipl-Journ." vor den Namen setzen. Mag und macht sie aber nicht.

Veröffentlicht unter: Peter Clubb

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  1. [...] Auf Englisch lesen oder auf Deutsch lesen [...]

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