Thursday, August 9, 2012

Train trips in The Netherlands (& part 2)

Splitting trains: Amsterdam-Maastricht

I have already learned that, at leas tin The Netherlands, certain trains split up at some given point to double up the service to remote regions, like Limburg. Ever since I have been linving in Maastricht I have always been careful to step into the right side of the train. However, sometimes that's not enough! After having spent a couple of days in Amsterdam with my boyfriend we were on our way back and I was exhausted, so I just listened to my iPod carelessly. When we were just half an hour away from home my boyfriend started to look concerned about the fact that he didn't recognise the landscape. I tried to reassure him saying that all the previous times we have done the way back to Maastricht were in winter, so it was already dark and we could not see anything. But when we stepped out of the train I got a disapproving look from my boyfriend as it turned out we have just arrived to Heerlen! And apparently we were not the only ones surprised to be in Heerlen, so eventually we sat for another 30 minutes on a train to Maastricht together with many other people who had arrived there by mistake, which led me to think that it wasn't entirely my fault.

Maintenance works: Maastricht-Haarlem

The Dutch railway company has the particularly annoying habit of doing most of their maintenance works during the weekends. And while it may be good for commuters who won't have to deal with unwanted delays, it can be a real pain for common people who want to make the most of their free time by going somewhere else in the country. So, last month, after having put much thought and prepation on a trip to the beach I arrive at the station and found out that trains weren't running between boxtel and Den Bosch. Options were a shuttle bus or changing trains three times. I decided for the second option and stepped out in Eindhoven to take another train to The Hague. The platform was totally crowded with people who wanted to go to The Hague (or to somewhere in between), people who could not go directly further to Den Bosch, Utrecht or Amsterdam or people who simply wanted to enjoy a warm and sunny Saturday at the beach. The train to The Hague arrived on time but it was such a small train that most people could not get into, including me, so I had to take a regional train which stopped at every possible station, including Boxtel. And there I decided that it might be a better idea to actually take the bus to Den Bosch and keep on going on a direct train until Amsterdam. But the story repeated itself and the bus stop outside the station was totally crowded with people trying to get into the two buses waiting to go to Den Bosch. Finally some other buses arrived and I could continue my journey and I eventually managed to get to Haarlem with just a 30 minutes delay!

Lousy people: Maastricht-Eindhoven

The last time I travelled bytrain I had quite a funny trip. I was totally absent-minded enjoying some reading when a woman started to shout to her phone. After five minutes of loud conversation she explained with an equally loud voice that she was speaking to a deaf nephew, so she really had to shout for him to hear her. Suddenly, out of nowhere a young boy came up playing the accordion. Everyone was enjoying and had taken their wallets out when the ticket inspector came to take the boy out of the train, yelling at him for playing music in a public place where it is forbidden to do so. People totally disapproved the inspector attitude and began clapping their hands to praise the boy, so the inspector yelled even more and told the boy to get out at the next train station. Meanwhile, everyone in the wagon was pitying the accordion boy and after 10 minutes of yelling the inspector came back to explain that the boy did the same day after day and never paid for the train ticket, so he had just got a €120 fine. Incredibly, some people still offered to pay for his train ticket. Needless to say that the inspector didn't accept any deal.

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So, this is was my little collection of train stories worth telling. Do you also have some interesting train stories to tell?

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