Cologne/Bonn Two-City Challenge

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cyxpanek
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Joined: 27 Feb 2020, 10:11

Cologne/Bonn Two-City Challenge

Post by cyxpanek » 28 Feb 2020, 23:28

The Cities of Cologne and Bonn in Germany have a combined tram/light rail system with a total of 19 lines and 303 stations. Only the numbered Lines from 1 to 68 are part of this system: https://imgur.com/a/YxJI87R
Being from Cologne, last year, I decided to try to do a 'tube challenge' here. Both cities of course, because why only do half of it? Realised quickly while planning that this would take me all day... including having to take the first tram at 4:25 am in the southwest of Cologne, in Frechen. Several Revisions of the plan later, a practice day with a small 3 hour loop through the city, I settled on a trip around it all, planned time ~18-19 hours. 4:25 to 22:53 *according to plan*, to finish in the very southeast in Bad Honnef. I chose this start instead of later starts to have some leeway at the end, as trams might be out of service or delayed and service in evening hours is really limited very quickly. There is only one 'problematic' station, akin to Kensington Olympia, 'Longerich Friedhof' in the northwest, which only gets a limited service in peak hours on school days.
So on June 21st, I set off for this, got up at 3, took a taxi out to Frechen, and got on the first tram. And right from the start it all went exceptionally great. The 2nd and 3rd trams(line 1 from Rudolfplatz in the city out to Weiden West and Line 13 from Bf Ehrenfeld to Geldernstr./Parkgürtel) were unscheduled trams that had just left a depot(no night service on weekdays on most lines) and catapulted me nearly 1 hour ahead of schedule. Some second-long turnarounds that i had scheduled to take 10 minutes instead as the trams were scheduled to arrive and leave in the same minute at several endpoints I was on track to finish 2 hours early.
11 1/2 hours in though, it was time to take a tram from Longerich Friedhof, only to find out... that on that particular day, no trams were calling at that station. So in the end, I would only be arriving or departing from 302 of 303 stations. It wasn't a huge setback, as this station is less than 200m away from the other station, Longericher Straße, so I actually didn't lose any time from that detour(as opposed to if a tram would run there). So I did visit them all, just not by tram.
Everything else though was really smooth. One small delay at the Central Station in Cologne(Dom/Hbf) that I expected as it is one of the busiest stations, but no suspended or heavily delayed trams anywhere else that bothered me. The trip ended, definitely not as expected, very early at 20:43 after just 16 hours, 18 minutes(and 27 seconds) in Bad Honnef, early enough to get a well deserved ice cone and see a beautiful summer sunset on the river.

I was not expecting to finish that quickly, and I think I got extremely lucky. I wanted to take many pictures, but as it turns out, its really difficult to look at a clock, the logbook to write down times, and take pictures when you're alone, so I only got some pictures from stations where i would stand on platforms and have the time. I want to do this again, with pretty much the same route and only some small alterations(such as moving an evening detour to midday and taking out a bad level crossing that can potentially take ages to cross). And I don't think I'll get this lucky again. So a new route would be likely needed to get a faster time, but i haven't figured that out yet. I'm a student, which sounds like I have a lot of time, but I can only do this on schooldays, so no holidays, and taking out an entire day is hard. Also there are some works being done in Bonn which means no service on 2 stops, and I want to get them all.

EastActionWoman
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Re: Cologne/Bonn Two-City Challenge

Post by EastActionWoman » 29 Feb 2020, 08:37

Great effort and write-up!

I've got a friend in Heidelberg who's just got her husband and sons interested in challenges. She sent them off on a random 15 challenge of bus/tram stops on Monday, which they loved. Her husband finished last as he missed out a stop :lol: I'll send this on to them to see if they're interested in trying to beat your time :)
Not a plus one :wink:
Prague metro (2020) 2:27:56

RJSRdg
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Re: Cologne/Bonn Two-City Challenge

Post by RJSRdg » 29 Feb 2020, 10:01

Manchester and Liverpool between them used to have a tram network that stretched from the Irish Sea to the Pennines. Now THAT would have been a challenge!
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cyxpanek
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Re: Cologne/Bonn Two-City Challenge

Post by cyxpanek » 29 Feb 2020, 16:44

Manchester and Liverpool between them used to have a tram network that stretched from the Irish Sea to the Pennines.
That is indeed a massive tram network. It's amazing to see maps of the size of old tram networks.

Also I should try that 15 station challenge as well, huh, then i could get some other friends in on it as well. Would love to have "competition" in Cologne/Bonn!

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