How to break Cologne's main station

Question: A single axle of an ICE 3 is derailed, right in the middle of the leaving tracks of a station that is always overloaded anyway. How long should it take to fix that?

ICE 3 heading into Cologne main station.

Today, in Cologne, DB wasn’t done after three hours. For all I know they might still be working on it (although I don’t hope so). During this time, the train blocked one of the two westbound tracks, and the machinery car that was brought there blocked one of the two tracks leading into the station from the west. All of this was perfectly visible from the outside, by the way, but I didn’t have my camera with me, I’m afraid. At least they had managed to get the car up some ten or twenty centimeters over these three hours.

Of course this isn’t a job you really want to rush, because doing it wrong might only cause more damage. Still, I would have expected that the guys in Cologne would have known how to deal with such a problem and more efficiently than this.

There were some interesting observations to be made as well. Except for the S-Bahn commuter trains, which have their operationally independent track, most trains ran at the wrong time from the wrong track. It turns out you can fit three trains on a single platform side if they are short enough and you really want to. Some trains ended in Cologne and were then replaced with other trains with identical material for the rest of the journey. Some trains were routed around Cologne entirely, and some of them were replaced in Cologne with S-Bahn-EMUs, which are not actually well equipped for being used on anything but S-Bahn platforms. On the other hand, there also was a double decker train on Cologne main station’s S-Bahn platform. Crazy, but I guess they had little choice.

Written on July 9th, 2008 at 10:05 pm


    New comments can no longer be posted because it got to annoying to fight all the spam.