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Posts Tagged ‘delay’

16scarf-jumbo

Photo: Sara Weber
On the scarf that German citizen Claudia Weber knitted to record her train commute, gray represents within five minutes of the timetable, pink within half an hour; red means a severe delay. She sold the scarf on eBay to raise money for a German train charity.

I was a train commuter for many years, and although there were often delays, they weren’t usually as horrendous as those in the winter of 2015, when you could wait two hours on an outdoor platform for a train that was supposed to be close at hand.

Last year’s delays on a train route in Germany led to an enterprise I never would have thought of. It not only gave a commuter an outlet for her frustration, it ended up raising money for a good cause.

Palko Karasz has the story at the New York Times. “Claudia Weber is a seasoned commuter, and she loves to knit. Over the past year, as her train journey from a town in the Bavarian countryside to Munich was replaced with a bus service during track repairs, stretching to two hours or more from a scheduled 40 minutes, she had a novel way of working out her frustrations. …

“When she got home each evening, she simply added two rows of wool to a striped scarf she was knitting: gray for delays under five minutes, pink for up to 30 minutes and red for a delay of more than a half-hour or delays in both directions.

“The resulting four-foot ‘Bahn-Verspätungsschal,’ or ‘rail delay scarf,’ has become something of a social-media sensation. Put on eBay to raise money for a Germany charity that provides free assistance to people at train stations, it sold [in January] for 7,550 euros, or about $8,650, to an undisclosed buyer. …

“Ms. Weber, 55, an office clerk at a travel agency, said in a phone interview, … ‘I understand the problems they’re having. There’s more and more commuters every year, but on the other hand I spend a lot of time waiting.’

“Her daily journeys take her between Munich and her home in Moosburg, northeast of the city, along the Isar River. …

“The scarf resonated with a lot of commuters in Germany and around the world, who live with the frustration of daily delays. After Ms. Weber’s daughter Sara, a journalist in Munich, posted a picture of the scarf on Twitter, it soon drew 23,000 likes and nearly 400 comments, as well as interview requests from local and international news media. …

” ‘It has become somewhat of an urban myth that Germans are always on time and trains in Germany run on time, but it’s not always true,’ [Sara Weber] said, reflecting on why the post resonated with so many people. … Experts have been warning for years about aging infrastructure in Germany, and delays and cost overruns in giant projects have hurt the country’s reputation of efficiency. …

“For her part, Claudia Weber has taken the Munich-Moosburg train for 25 years and has no intention of stopping. She considered driving, she said, but calculated that it would save her neither time nor money.

“ ‘I know I was complaining, but I’m still grateful I have that service,’ she added.”

That’s exactly how I felt about my commuter train. It was invariably better than the alternatives.

More at the New York Times, here.

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