Monday, 20 December 2010

vun'n Mehdorn in de Grube geföhren

I can assure you the average speed was nowhere near this.

One expects a travel delay when the already frozen earth continues to be dusted with movement hampering snow. But I have to wonder, as we ever expand relatively cheap accessibility to the technologies of world commuting, are we not begging for it?

The privatization fetish of the Deutsche Bahn's previous CEO, Harmut Mehdorn, has contributed a great deal to the functional wagon shortages this country has suffered over the last few years. And it probably doesn't help this German rail company that both he and his successor are entrenched in the airline and defense industries.

But for 2008's monetary meltdown, the previous Bahn boss would have been able to pass along to investors a railroad company that had been made to look like a financial success story in the adventurous aftermath of German reunification. What those potential investors might not have known* was that those numbers in the black were achieved through the hard work of board managers hellbent on cutting costs everywhere but their own paychecks. Seriously:

At a time a few years ago when the locomotive drivers' union were negotiating for a pay raise that Bahn management fought rail and spike (DB personnel wages had been frozen for a decade), the board proposed a sixty percent increase for themselves.

So in other words: This network has been private all along. The only difference is on whose spreadsheet the cooking is done, but not on whose behalf.

On a lighter note: In spite of our travel snags, our Devastations Kino gig at Haus Villigst went well enough to earn praise from at least a couple of the doctorands in attendance.

*Let's not kid ourselves; they knew perfectly well and were ready to buy and sell, buy and sell.