Archive for the ‘Railways’ Category

German Transport

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Looks like people expect rants about transport from me. OK, here’s what should be the last in that series — regional and urban rail transport.

There are several types of rail transport:

  • Trams (Strassenbahn)
  • Commuter trains (S-Bahn)
  • Underground (U-Bahn)

In theory, trams go in cities on the ground, U-Bahn goes under the ground and S-Bahn goes to suburbs and S-Bahn trains look like this.

But during my travels I’ve seen it’s not completely true.


This city has a proper system with all three components, nothing peculiar at all.


Proper trams and S-Bahn, nothing peculiar. But Neckar valley views are impressive.


Proper S-Bahn but their U-Bahn reminds me of trams for some reason. They have underground trains with maximum of two carriages (or one articulated) with third rail between usual two. I heard they’re better at cars though.


This is rather small city so they have only one proper S-Bahn route — to Heidelberg and Mannheim, the rest of S-Bahn routes are served by trams, the same trams serve internal routes. Yet this network is quite extensive, I’d never believe that I can visit famous Russian resort (Baden-Baden) by tram — and that’s in 30 kilometres from Karlsruhe!


I visited Berlin to attend live IRC chat (aka LinuxTag) yet I’ve tried to look at local transport system.

U-Bahn is curious, they have two kinds of trains: narrow and not so narrow. Both seem to have the same types of trains in two different sizes though. A pleasant surprise is that it actually works even at night, not all of the lines though.

S-Bahn is actually can be described as “U-Bahn that shares some tracks with railroad”. Honestly, it’s the same third rail system as any underground and if not for the line naming (S1, S2, … versus U1, U2, …) you cannot distinguish them; even the trains are similar. And I have an impression that it does not serve much of the suburbs either.

I heard they also have trams but never seen those.

Some Observations on Transport Infrastructure

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Today I’d like to rant about the ways transport is organised in different places I’ve visited so far.