Train Station

FF-hbf1Rev2Once in the train station building you will walk along the long corridor leading to the train platforms where you catch the train. At the end of that corridor you will see a Bahn office for tickets and one for Information. These are located across a large lobby area you come to at the end of the corridor. The ticket office is on the left and information to the right. Further to the right of the Information booth is a Starbucks Coffee. At the other end of the lobby area is a small bakery and a mini-grocery store. To get to the train platform used for the train to Weimar you must go down two flights of escalators to the platform. Here is what the train platform looks like.

 

 

 

 

FF-hbf2RevFF-hbf3Rev

Finding Your Place on the Platform

On the train platform there is an essential sign that you must use to find out where your train car is located. This sign is located at several locations along the platform. This is what the sign looks like.

Note that the sign is really a chart or matrix that has the Time of Departure from the station and the Train Number (such as – ICE 209) down the left side and along the top it has the letters for areas on the platform (see photo below). The letters correspond to large mounted letters above the platform that tell passengers where to stand to wait for the train.

TrainMatrix1Rev2

To use this sign you must know: 1) the Number of your train, 2) the Time that it departs the station, 3) the traveling class of your ticket (First or Second) and 4) the number of your Wagon or train car. This information is on your ticket.

Bahn-TicketRev-final1

You use this chart by finding the Time of Departure for your train number and looking on the chart for the row of cars for the train going in the direction of your destination. Then look for your wagon/car number and look to see what letter that train car is located under. Once found...go to the correct letter on the platform and that should be the place where the car you will board will come to a stop when the train comes in.

FF-hbf-train-matrixsignRev

How To Find Your Train Car

traincarEntryRevEach train car or wagon has an electronic sign on it. This sign can be found facing out at either end of the car. The sign is located next to the door/entry to the cars.

The sign looks like this up close. The number 1 designates this car as First Class seating.

Note that the Train Number is in the upper left hand corner and the Car or Wagon Number is on the top right. In this case the train is ICE (InterCityExpress) 1597. This sign is on Car #27. Normally there will be another sign on the side of the car that tells what class of seating is in the car...First or Second Class.

train-sign-Frankfurt-SmallUnder the Train and Car information is the route of this train. It will go from to Dresden Hbf (Central Station) via Wiedbanden Hbf, Fulda, Eisenach, Erfurt (Weimar is just after this stop) etc.

So, make sure you get on the correct train number and in the correct car to your intended destination. You do need to know the larger cities on the route since a location like Weimar may not be listed on the route shown on the sign.

You also need to know that sometimes trains will pull into the station and sit for a while. Sometimes these trains turn out to be the train you are waiting for. At an appointed time the electronic sign on the cars will change and a new Train, Car and Route will appear. You have to watch closely because this could be the train you are waiting for.

First Time Riders Beware

Taking the train is relatively easy, but it can be complicated if you don't pay attention.

Getting on the Correct Car: First, be sure you get on the right train and are seated in the correct train car and seat (if you reserved one – as you can in First Class). While the train may be headed in the direction you want to go, it is possible that the car you are in may not go to that place, if by accident you are in the wrong car. It does happen that trains pull into a station and some cars are de-coupled and picked up by another engine that will take that part of the train to another location.

Checking Timetables at the Station: Second, train schedules are subject to change. Not only might a train schedule change, but also the platform that the train is arriving on or departing from, can change quickly as well. If you don't understand German this can be a big problem. The best thing to do is look around you and see what other people are doing. Train riders in Germany know this can happen so when announcements are made in the station or on the train look around and see how people are reacting. Sometimes you may have to follow the crowd to get on the right train.

Also you will find that many train passengers speak English. If you are unsure about a schedule just ask around. It should not take you long to find an English speaker.

Just to be on the safe side, don't take train schedules for granted. Always check at the ticket counter in the station or at one of the information kiosks to make sure your train is on time and coming into the platform for which it is scheduled. Surprises can happen.