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Trains! (or, Why Germany Is Better than Us)

A guest post from Jason!

Dräger sent me to Germany the week before last. It was my first time traveling by train in Europe, and it was amazing. Most of the cities have what’s called U-Bahn and S-Bahn lines, the equivalent of our subway and commuter rail. These are handled by the RMV system. It’s when you go farther out that it’s really different from the U.S.

The Lübeck train station

The national transportation system, Deutsche Bahn, operates a large regional and inter-city train network. And when I say large, I mean 34,000 kilometers of track and 1.9 billion passengers annually. One can pretty much get from any point in the country to another by train alone.

The Hamburg train station

And when you do get to your city, you can easily rent a bike or a car, because Deutsche Bahn runs a giant car/bike share operation, as well. How awesome is that? Boston’s supposed to get a bike share program this summer, and I’m looking forward to it.

A Book-n-Drive car in Frankfurt

All that, and the trains go upwards of 125 mph, with test track already built for maglev trains that go upwards of 250 mph. I can’t even get 50 miles from my house without feeling stranded once I get there; public transportation just isn’t that integrated into our culture. But being in Germany and using the system for only a few days made me wish that we had more of that here.

So many bikes outside of the Lübeck train station


Comment from Bucksome Boomer
Time March 24, 2010 at 8:44 pm

With few exceptions U.S. cities could do a lot better job in providing public transporation.

I couldn’t get within a mile of my office using public transportation AND it would take forever. I live less than 4 miles from work in a major city.

Pingback from Pragmatic Environmentalism
Time June 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm

[…] had no idea Freiburg was so environmentally friendly. This is particularly interesting to me, since Jason went to Germany and my coworkers both went to Freiburg last […]

Comment from Leopold Baum
Time August 22, 2011 at 5:54 am

im sure that more people will prefer public transportation to privat ones, if they would be more comfortable and faster

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