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Thursday, May 10, 2007


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If you're using public transport, Schienenersatzverkehr - often written as SEV for short, or as you can see from the photo, shortened to Ersatzverkehr - is not a word you want to see or hear too often. It literally means "track replacement traffic", i.e. replacement buses running instead of the normal S-Bahn, U-Bahn or Tram services.

Usually Schienenersatzverkehr operates when part of a line is out of service for maintenance reasons, often at night or at the weekend. Usually it works pretty smoothly, although you aren't able to take bicycles on the replacement buses, and wheelchair / pram users are particularly inconvenienced. On a bad day however, you might find yourself along with a whole train load of passengers trying to board a single bus.

The worst kind of Schienenersatzverkehr happens when an unforseen incident occurs (such as someone unsuccessfully trying to find out what the underside of a moving train looks like) and the line is closed - it can be some time before replacement buses turn up, and no-one (particularly drivers and station staff) generally knows what direction they need to go in, where they stop etc.

Posted at 11:29 AM in