Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Streetcar Named Time Machine

Berlin has a new attraction: A city tour for only 2.30 Euro. Well, not really, but you can actually ride one of those old-fashioned tour buses where you can sit on the upper deck for the price of a regular metro ticket. Which is 2,30 Euro. This is because the BVG - the city's transportation agency - has run out of buses. Really, they have run out of buses because some subway lines are being repaired, the S-Bahn is more or less defunct, so they need more buses to replace subway and S-bahn cars. This is why they are sending everything back on the street they can get their hands on, including museum cars usually used to chauffeur tourists up and down Unter den Linden.

On the plus side, the S-bahn is not late any more, because the average speed was reduced from 80 to 60 kilometers an hour (about 40 miles an hour). In 1933, when the S-bahn from Wannsee to Downtown switched to electricity, it ran with 140 kilometers an hour. Berlin is the only city in the world where you can actually time-travel while riding public transportation, but sadly, just in one direction.

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