2020 was going to be a new exception due to coronavirus COVID-19. But borders reopened just in time. So I decided to come and see my sister, my brother-in-law, my nephew and my niece in Zug in Switzerland.
- Antwerp – Brussels – Paris – Geneva – Zug.
- Antwerp – Brussels – Strasbourg – Basel – Zug.
- Antwerp – Brussels – Cologne – Zürich – Zug.
- Antwerp – Brussels – Frankfurt – Zürich – Zug.
Last time I took route 3. I noticed the existence of EuroCity EC 9, a train headed by an electric locomotive hauling a number of different coaches. Including a panoramic car. I said I would book that one next time, so that’s what I did.
On the 6th of June I booked a seat on ICE 13 and a seat in the panoramic coach of EC 9.
Danny drilled me well. Although ICE 13 only leaves Bussels-North at 8.32 AM, I took an early train to Brussels and I arrived there at 7.30 AM. During that first leg of the journey I found out ICE 13 did not exist. I made a call to a colleague to double check. It did not exist. And indeed, SNCB Europe writes it doesn’t operate at this point in the corona crisis.
So why could I book a seat on this phantom train, Deutsche Bahn? Why didn’t I get an email saying something was wrong?
I didn’t have time to waist. The app suggested a train at 8.06 AM to Welkenraedt, the omnibus to Aachen, a train to Cologne. But I would miss my EC 9.
Instead I took the 7.39 AM E406 train to Welkenraedt, a taxi to Aachen and an Abellio train to Cologne. In time for my EC 9. I had seen the Swiss coaches parked just before Köln Haubtbahnhof. I was happy. I was ready.
But then came German mostly white coaches. No panoramic coach. The Swiss train got technical issues. Instead we got these older German ones. Without catering. Not fun for a six-hour train ride.
As top of the bill: the EC 9 was shortened to Basel. So I took a Swiss, domestic train to Zürich and the to Zug.
Things can go wrong
Things can go wrong. The replacement train? Yes it can happen. It sucks but what can you do? Train cancelations happen.
But my ICE 13 wasn’t cancelled. It didn’t exist. I was sold a ticket for a non-existant train. Not okay.
Luckily I was early in Brussels. But I should have checked he night before. Or when waking up. I could have taken an earlier ICE.
I could only stay calm and act quickly. I was, in the end, 3 minutes earlier in Zug.
I will keep trying to get that panoramic couch. I will succeed one day!