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Rendez-vous auf den Champs-Elysées
October 10, 2010 3:37 PM   Subscribe

In 1957, the year of the Treaty of Rome, founding the European Economic Community and setting the aim of an "ever closer union", the national railway companies of West Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy and Holland (later joined by Belgium and Spain) launched the Trans Europ Express, a joint network of first-class-only international trains for business travellers.

While various trainsets from the different member states were eventually used, definitely the most iconic was the German streamlined Diesel VT 11.5 / VT 601 (interior), which became one of the symbols of the postwar German economic miracle. In the following years, the TEE inspired a film, and, of course, this little ditty (and this bizarre cover).
posted by Skeptic (14 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
chik, chik-a-chik. chik, chik-a-chik!
posted by alex_skazat at 3:44 PM on October 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


"This video contains content from WMG, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds."
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 3:48 PM on October 10, 2010


That is, the "bizarre cover" is blocked in the USA.
posted by lukemeister at 3:55 PM on October 10, 2010


That is, the "bizarre cover" is blocked in the USA.

Drats! It's a cumbia version. Really.
posted by Skeptic at 3:58 PM on October 10, 2010


Skeptic,

I have the Señor Coconut album, so we're cool.
posted by lukemeister at 4:04 PM on October 10, 2010


I remember all those trains you linked to. whenever I went to hamburg or cologne as a kid I would see these TEE trains at the train stations and kind of jealously wonder why they weren't going up north to where I lived (as far as the deutsche bahn is concerned germany ends in hamburg and I lived 150km further north in Bummelbahnterritory - all we got were slow, local trains that stopped at every hamlet). the best we ever got was the occasional IC train, which looked similar to this train, went fairly fast but had the same ramrod-straight benches in them all the local trains had back then. you couldn't possibly be prussian enough to sit comfortably on them. all that changed in the early nineties with the introduction of the inter regio trains, which were once again the same wagons but with an updated interior. those trains eventually gave way to the ICE, which in its current version just rocks but once again doesn't really go up north beyond hamburg. good thing I moved there.
posted by krautland at 4:21 PM on October 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah yes, train travel in Europe. I travelled Europe a lot in the early nineties, not on a TEE (above my student budget), but even regular "2nd" class was fantastic. Here in America, what do we get? Acela and Penn frikken Station? What a joke.
posted by monospace at 4:24 PM on October 10, 2010


Oooh nice! Thanks!
posted by carter at 5:23 PM on October 10, 2010


Ach, the Rheingold with which my mother would visit her late parents.
posted by joost de vries at 8:35 PM on October 10, 2010


Here in America, what do we get? Acela and Penn frikken Station? What a joke.

And you'd better like it! American rail projects are being cancelled left and right, despite already having been budgeted. Most notably, the new set of tunnels under the Hudson got scrapped, which will effectively prevent any further ridership increases on the Northeast Corridor.
posted by schmod at 10:46 PM on October 10, 2010


Meet Iggy Pop and David Bowie.
posted by pracowity at 3:25 AM on October 11, 2010


Most notably, the new set of tunnels under the Hudson got scrapped, which will effectively prevent any further ridership increases on the Northeast Corridor.

Pretty sure I heard on the radio that the secretary of transportation was coming to have a little chat with the governor on this issue, and that the governor was inclined to listen. Mind you, Google news is not helping me out here - their latest is three days old. So stay tuned.

But it is a question, how much are you willing to pay for passenger rail. Amtrak gets government funding, but not as much as European passenger rail, so it's not like Europe is working smarter, they just have different priorities. Once upon a time this included the Concorde. Money changes everything.

And maybe if gas cost as much in the US as in Europe people would not automatically opt for driving the North East corridor.

(Nice post, btw.)
posted by IndigoJones at 8:03 AM on October 11, 2010


Pretty sure I heard on the radio that the secretary of transportation was coming to have a little chat with the governor on this issue, and that the governor was inclined to listen. Mind you, Google news is not helping me out here - their latest is three days old. So stay tuned.

Given the Tea Party Republicans set to sweep the board in November, many of them promising to cancel already funded railroad programmes out of little more than ideology which narrows down to "We don't need no stinkin' trains. This ain't socialist France, you know", it looks like America will be renewing its oil dependency. By the time it gets too expensive for the working poor to drive to their jobs, it'll be too late to turn around.
posted by acb at 9:01 AM on October 11, 2010


You think? Could be. Me, I'm pretty cynical, I don't necessarily believe the new brooms would sweep any differently from the old once they get in. We shall see.

Could be worth a post, by the way, the whole Cancel the Trains in the USA thing. Not something I know a lot about. Except that Warren Buffett is investing in cargo trains.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:13 AM on October 11, 2010


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