Live and texting at the end of the line

This entry keeps me awake on the Czech-Polish boreder. It is past midnight and still one and a half hour to wait. Bohumin might be a nice town for all I know, but at this hour I wish I wasn’t here. That is the odd thing about train travel, it insists on marooning you at times and places you don’t want to be. I would fondly forget Frankly am Awful, Tonabrick,

Frustracia, Catatonia, Maimed, as well as the wrong station in Berlin (no, there is no other). At least in this place you can stay inside at the station, electrical outlets and all, the night is warm and dry. Electrical hums, screeches and clanks from one side of the curtains, quadraphonic snoring from the other.

Railways have a hard time competing. They are more expensive than low-fare airlines, and slower, less convenient, and less comfortable than buses. The high-speed, high-quality, high-price lines do well, but companies like České Dráhy are suffering. The great flood two years before the Prague flood derailed a lot of the countryside, but ČD still has a vast network to maintain and aging rolling stock.

Most of Western and Northern Europe have good trains, but their in-station information system (to answer questions like “How do I get there from here?”) is uniformly horrible, with a particular mention of Swedish railway stations. Their Internet sites are supposed to take the strain, but evidently nobody told the people actually designing the web pages that. Instead you are taken for a ride by Flash animations supposed to show how fun it is to take the train, with the end result you take the plane instead.

In comparison the Brno station information was impeccable. Though I could see that she cheated, she was really using like the rest of us for the advanced questions. was however innocent of the arrival time misinformation that left me miserable in Bohumin instead of in Hranice na Moravě where I imagine I would be much happier to be miserable.


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