Traveling by train in Germany is something I find very relaxing, although there are several thousand customers of the Deutsche Bahn (German Railway) who will violently disagree with me. Perhaps it is my Asian predisposition to take delays and breakdowns with a grain of salt. Whether the train is five or fifty minutes behind schedule, I see it as an opportunity to soak in the atmosphere or the surroundings. If the windows are not too dirty I can photograph the passing landscape, but in winter that is asking too much. So I turn my sights to the train stations and the tracks.

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Hamburg Central Station ©MT Herzog

Take any one of the main stations, whether old or restored, and you will be treated to a definition of “grandeur” and “space”. In some, like this one in Hamburg, you get the fascinating contrast of dark winter shadows and the bright lights of the shops. Regardless of how often I have travelled from North to South, East to West across Germany, the central stations always take my breath away.

The trains themselves don’t really catch my fancy, but the travelers do. You will notice the veteran local travelers versus visitors, tourists, and senior citizens who don’t travel much anymore. Then there are the hoards of harassed parents traveling with small children and trying to balance all the bags, the hyperactive excited child and their patience.

Something else that always draws my attention are the billboards that are larger than life and strategically placed for you to contemplate while waiting in the freezing cold for your train. The recent ad campaign of Volkswagen is a rare appeal to the emotion and a huge digression from previous campaigns.

Click HERE for the entry with the complete set of photographs.

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