The Wrong End of a Splitting Train

Splitting Train

Don’t make our mistake! Traveling can be fun, relaxing, exhilarating, interesting…it can also be stressful. Last night, we found ourselves laid out on my blanket scarf, sleeping on the floor of the Frankfurt airport at 3AM. How? Because trains are confusing.

Long distance trains in Europe sometimes split into two different trains while in route. Even though you get on the right train, you may be in the wrong train-car unknowingly.

The trick is to look on the end destination on the outside of the individual train car. Remember, a seat reservation with a ticket is optional (and more expensive). This means that if you get in one car, and keep walking on the inside of the car to find a seat, you may enter a car that will split off in a new direction. Get out of the car and check the outside display, double check the interior displays, and confirm with the ticket collector that you are in the correct train-car for your destination.

Your ticket does not state that the train will split. The announcement for the split should be made over the loud speaker, but whether that happens in English depends on if the conductor is able to (or bothers to) speak English. From our understanding (told by a another conductor), the staff should tell you when they scan your ticket. However, twice now our train has split without our realization. The first time, Lance luckily noticed the display screen was not listing our end stop, and thus started asking questions.

We were absolutely unlucky this time, coming on the last train from Munich. The display screens were broken, and the announcements were only in German and were cutting in and out. The staff who checked our ticket didn’t say a word about us being in the wrong car.

We had to take a roundabout route back to Frankfurt and wait a few hours for the next train in the early morning hours. We didn’t get home until 7AM…. and then…Monday morning real life on no sleep.

Check your train-car and check again, or you might be sleeping somewhere less than preferable!

This site has some great tips for train travel in Europe. 


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