It’s my fourth day here in Berlin and apart from the fact i’ve been having a hectic time I’m also having a fabulous one.
Sunday left me shattered after my negative experiences of Stansted airport. Whilst I’ve been here I chatted to other UK colleagues, who share the same view of the place and now refuse to use it. What was once one of the UK’s best airports is viewed as having been ruined by concentrating on wringing every last penny of of passengers. After spending a few hours exploring and getting pictures I headed out to my hotel and ended up falling asleep by 21:30!
In contrast, my experiences here in Germany have been extremely positive. After all the madness that’s going on back home because of Brexit and our mad politicians, it’s lovely to be in a confident and outward looking, stable country. Berlin’s also one of my favourite capital cities. It has a bohemian heart and it’s all the better for it. There’s also massive investment in Berlin’s railway infrastructure, like this view East from the rebuilt Ostkreuz station which shows the new flyover and dive under built for the S-Bahn.
On Monday I took time off to explore a couple of the delightful old rural tramways that link country towns with the S-Bahn. They’re rather timeless. Here’s the route out from Rahnsdorf to Waltersdorf.
This one is the route nearby, from Friedrichshagen to Rüdersdorf.
Right now I’m commuting in from Ludwigsfelde, a town just to the South, which is where I’m staying. It takes 30 mins to get to the amazing Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Hotel prices go crazy when Innotrans is on, so unless you book months (or years) in advance you can pay silly prices.
I’m heading to day two of Innotrans, the world’s biggest rail trade fair. Around 160,000 people will visit over the four days, after which it’s opened to the public for another two days after that. I’m expecting another hectic day as one of the magazines I’m working for has a shortlist of stuff for me to get and today the British Transport Minister, Chris Grayling is touring the show. He’s tipped to be signing some contracts…
Oh, did I mention the weather? Innotrans is renowned for always getting the sun. Yesterday we baked in the heat, today’s expected to hit 26 degrees! I’m just glad us photojournalists are allowed to dress down!
Right now I’m in the Press centre, where I can grab a coffee, use the wifi and all the other facilities provided for Journalists before hitting the stands. It’s quiet at the moment, but here’s what the place looks like.
If you want to see pictures from the show, take a look at this gallery on my Zenfolio website as that’s where I’m putting them. I’ll flesh this blog out more when I have time.
I’ve finally left the show and begun my journey home, but first there’s time to stop of at the Alkopole Bar at Alex, have a quiet beer and catch my thoughts. The day was busier than I thought for the simple reason that Chris Grayling visited a lot of trade stalls. We may fundamentally disagree over politics but I can’t fault him for keeping such a busy schedule. David Davis he ain’t!
I did manage to take up a certain train builders invitation to visit their version of platform 9 & 3/4, which was an mock English pub hidden on the back of one of their trains, but I’ll say no more.
The rest of my time was spent flitting between trade stands and the press centre with the occaisional foray to have a look at some new train interiors. The problem was that some of the ones I wanted to check out had a shore supply. This meant they were extremely popular as the air-conditioning worked – a real blessing in this heat!
I’m not sure what the temperature is now but it’s a lovely evening for sitting outside with a beer.
The ‘press pack’ has scattered to the four winds this evening due to a multitude of receptions and events to go to, which has spared my liver, so I’m not complaining. Besides, I have another 05:50 start in the morning…