Sunday, October 7, 2007

Train strike in Germany. D'oh! (Updated)...



Update: The in-laws didn't end up leave Dresden until about 10:30 PM on Friday night, meaning an arrival in Prague just before 1 AM. I had found a limo service on-line and arranged to meet them on the platform at the main train station. I did this because I wasn't sure if there was a taxi stand there. The guy I talked to spoke passable English, and I gave him the details of their arrival - train number, number in the group, cell phone number (our current spare phone) and which train station they would be arriving into (there are several in Prague). Fortunately, the driver called the their cell phone just before the arrival time, because they had gotten off at a different train station. Not to worry, said the driver, since the main station where he was is just a 5 minute drive - especially at 1:00 AM.

Anyway, they got to our little village about 1:20 and were tired but otherwise in good spirits. It seems that on the way they met some kind people who spoke English. And despite a very crowded train (due to the many cancelled trains) Bill and Gert were offered seats by polite younger folks. There will be many more stories from the return trip from Berlin as a result of the strike. So, as Bill Murray wold say, they got that goin' for them.

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The in-laws went to Germany on on Wednesday to complete the Prague-Vienna-Berlin trifecta. The trip to Vienna by train had been uneventful, even pleasant, and the same was expected on the trip to Berlin. Well, while the trip TO Berlin went fine, the trip BACK was another matter.

Unknown to us, the train drivers in Germany had planned a 3-hour strike for today. They are in the midst of contract negotiations as they attempt to secure 31% pay raises, and one of the clubs they have is to conduct nuisance strikes in an effort to motivate the public to press for a settlement so they stop being inconvenienced. The strike had the intended impact, throwing the system into chaos. The four in-laws were supposed to get on the train about 12:30 this afternoon, arriving in Prague about 5:15.

Well, as I write this it is 7:30 and we aren't sure where they are or if they are on Czech soil yet. After their initial train was cancelled they boarded a later train that got them as far as Liepzig, just northwest of Dresden. They boarded a train for Dresden about 5:00 that was to connect them to the train to Prague, but the train left Liepzig about 40 minutes late, so we don't know if they made the train connection in Dresden.

More later.

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