The train station in Spandau is pretty easy to navigate. It only has 6 train tracks on three platforms. Platforms 1 and 2 are for the “S-Bahn”, the regional trains to and from the city. Platform 3 and 4 are for trains leaving Berlin and 5 and 6 for trains going into Berlin. Relatively straightforward.
Still – I have no idea why – I did not find my train to Osnabrück. I have the strong feeling that it drove through the station on platform ¾.
I summarised my experience that was this train journey for you.
Thursday, my train to Osnabrück was scheduled to leave the station at 8:48 am. Platform three, coach 9, I was on time. Shortly before the scheduled departure, I spot a colleague on the platform, who is also going to the congress in Osnabrück. We greet each other, chat for a bit and walk further down the platform to where the coach my colleague is booked in is supposed to stop.
Thursday, 09:05 am. I am beginning to wonder where the train is. So I pull out my phone and text another colleague, who is already on the train.
“Where are you?”
The reply comes in right away: “In my seat.”
Okay, follow up question: “But where’s the train?”
Answer: “We just passed Dallgow.”
Dallgow is about 5 to 10 minutes outside of Berlin.
Still Thursday, 09.15 am. We are beginning to doubt ourselves. Did the train not stop? Are we on the wrong platform? Confused, we make our way to the information desk. The two women behind the counter look back at us just as confused. The train arrived at platform 3 on time, a little early if anything, they even assisted a wheelchair user to board the train. We still cannot believe it, but the reality is: The train seems to have left without us!
Thursday, 9:30 am, ticket desk of Deutsche Bahn, the railway company. We are still flabbergasted, but we need to get to Osnabrück somehow. The congress starts at 2 pm and actually, we would have loved to drop off the bags at the hotel beforehand. We look for alternative trains.
Option 1: Berlin Spandau – Hamburg – Osnabrück : A little inconvenient, arrival time in Osnabrück 13:48
Option 2: Berlin Spandau – Osnabrück, arrival 13:51
We went for option number two, we didn’t want to miss another train in Hamburg. So, we bought another ticket, called the hotel and arranged our check-in for later in the day, after the congress. Then we went for a coffee.
Thursday, 10:48 and we are finally on the train to Osnabrück. Happy that we found two empty seats next to each other. As soon as we sat down, I thought it’d be funny to make a remark about how a broken train would be the only thing missing on this day. I wish, I didn’t say that. After about 1.5 hours, our train unexpectedly stopped at a small station. A friendly announcement over the speakers told us that the motor coach had a problem and that the second motor coach from the end of the train had to be brought to the front to replace it. Passengers were encouraged to get some fresh air on the platform in the meantime. It took almost 45 minutes to replace the broken coach before we continued our journey.
Thursday, 2:45 pm and we had finally made it to Osnabrück. We hurried to the bus we had to take to get to the congress and were relieved when we noticed that the first presentation hadn’t even started yet due to overly long welcoming speeches.
To this day, I do not know how I missed the train on the platform. I am almost certain that the train didn’t arrive on platform three but on the secret platform ³/4. I am also almost certain that there must be a secret entry to that platform behind the ramp for wheelchairs. The person in the wheelchair got on the train, after all.
This train journey was certainly an experience. I haven’t had a good laugh like that in a while.