12-year contract is first time German national rail company Deutsche Bahn has lost a big S-Bahn franchise
People in the UK don’t usually believe that British companies take over property in Germany – the tabloids give them the idea that it only happens the other way round.
I note that although the Fürth Oberbürgermeister, Thomas Jung (the only mayor I know who you can wave to in the street and he waves back), has had trouble with Deutsche Bahn for years – they are trying to drive the Nuremberg-Fürth line in a new direction through farmland, and are not keen to pay for the upkeep of Fürth railway station – he seems less than happy for Britishers to take over a German railway.
Er befürchte bei der Umstellung „über Monate größte Verwerfungen“, sagte Jung ins Mikrofon, und weiter: “Neue Gesellschafter aus England – keine Ahnung, ob die überhaupt wissen, wo ein Bahnhof Vach oder ein Bahnhof Großgründlach liegen.”
Jung seemed only slightly mollified to hear that Tobias Richter, the head of National Express’s German subsidiary, is a Franconian, trained at Vach, worked from Fürth Hauptbahnhof for four years and knows that there is no station at Großgründlach now.
The local railway in the Nuremberg-Fürth-Erlangen conurbation is a fairly new enterprise. It has always been a real pain for students and others to commute from Nuremberg or Fürth to Erlangen – sometimes in the past standing in corridor trains. However, I hope National Express does well. I have stopped coming home late at night on their c2c Fenchurch Street trains as they are full of slightly inebriated people travelling to Essex and eating beefburgers, chips and curries. The District Line does have its virtues.