The German Train System: will I need a PHD to understand all this?
After I received the following instructions on HOW to use the train in German, I thought this may help other solo travelers.
Is this your first time on German trains? If yes, here are some useful instructions:
|Duesseldorf train station is as busy as an airport terminal|
1. The track, from which the train leaves is already known. Other than in the States, where you sometimes don't know, from which track the train will leave. If there are track changes (happening very few times), just watch the crowds. If they are moving all of a sudden after someone announced something, just ask someone why!
2. I will also include an intermediate stop list, which you will receive in Muenster. This is important, so you know, when to get up and get ready to disembark the train. Trains in Germany usually don't stop for more than 2-3 minutes at the train station.
3. If you really get lost and there is nobody who is able to help you, either walk to the German Rail Service Center, which is located in every train station, or call me.
4. You will travel 1st class. This is really convenient in German trains. Always watch for a yellow line above the windows. That indicates: Here is first class.
5. You should always be at least 10 minutes earlier on the platform. As I said, the train won't wait for more than 2-3 minutes. There are two ways, how to know, where the first class coaches will be: 1. There are digital information signs that give you information about the train. Sometimes they show you, where first and second class is. To understand it, you need to know, that platform in Germany are devided into sections: normally A to F.
2. There is also sign somewhere on the platform called "Wagenstandanzeiger" meaning "in which section stops my coach"
Then you also have to watch for the right coach. They have numbers. This is important for your reservation.
Historic Highlights of Germany for this great information