analytical Q May-Aug 2000 Sept-Dec 2000 Jan-Apr 2001 Discussion

The Diary
Anne Ku

21 February 2001 Wednesday



Why can't we have spacious, high tech, comfortable, and punctual fast trains in England?

Is this a rhetorical question after the tragic Hatfield accident?

I am sitting on the famous InterCity Express (ICE) and listening to soft music. There are eight channels on the seat which can be connected from my walkman earphone. I travelled southeast from Berlin this afternoon through what was formerly East Germany. After Leipzig, the train is moving towards Nuernberg.

The doors between the carriages are see-through glass, from top to bottom and side to side. I can see clearly through the next carriages. The windows are big. The seats are comfortable. "Ihr Reiseplan" - your travel plan - is on every seat. I can trace every stop on the way, including connections and time tables.

And this is only second class!

It is said that punctuality is so important to the Germans that if a train is late, the German conductor would announce it as if someone had died. "With great regret, I would like to inform you that the next train will be one minute late."