A Childhood Dream

ESMT Link: here.


My First Anniversary at Deutsche Bahn

Yes, it is exactly one year at Deutsche Bahn. Okay, I wanted to avoid saying “how time flies” but I can’t help it. HOW TIME FLIES and I SURVIVED. It was been a wonderful one year and more eventful in the last 6 months. People asked me how did I end up being in Deutsche Bahn (yes, BAHN not Bank) but that’s irrelevant now; or I will explain next time.

Anyway, besides being the first anniversary at Deutsche Bahn and first year working in Germany, it is also my first German tax submission *booohoooo hoooo* There goes my money.

And, best of all …. the topping on my 1st anniversary cupcake is …. I successfully made my first internal “sales pitch” to a project manager, to convince him that we have a strategy to execute our part of the project. I got his ears and eyes now.

It has been a long day so I won’t blog much. Will share more of my 1st year experience working in Germany with you soon.


Jimmy Low

Happy 176th Birthday, German Railways!

Today, 7th December marked the 176th Anniversary of German Railways. The first commercial railway, powered by British-built Der Adler (“The Eagle”), started from Nuremberg to Fürth, a distance of 6 kilometers, signalled the beginning of railway undertaking in Germany. Soon the railway began to expand with other states established their own railway and were consolidated in 1924 with the formation of the Deutsche Reichsbahn Gesellschaft (DRG).

From Der Adler to ICE, German railways is still growing with new high speed lines being built and foreign and private operators entering the German rail passenger and freight markets. There are over 500 private operators in Germany!


Jimmy Low

German ICE Diorama: The Flagship of DB AG

The ICE (InterCity-Express) is the flagship (ie. flag carrier) of Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG). The ICE is synonymous with DB AG and is an instant brand recognition for Germany. But don’t be mistaken with other ICE especially ICE 3. The same Siemens Velaro/ICE 3 design can be found in the Netherlands (operating as HiSpeed) and Switzerland (ICE SBB). The same design is also found in China high-speed railway as CRH3C, in Spain Velaro E and in Russia Velaro RUS. For more information on ICE, visit wiki or special issue of Eisenbahn (Railway) Journal.

There are only 3 manufacturers of ICE trains in N-scale: Fleischmann (ICE 1, 2 and T), Minitrix (ICE 3) and Arnold/Hornby International (ICE 3). No company has produced ICE-TD in N-scale or any other scale (as far as I have researched) since there are only 20 trainsets in operation in DB AG. But, the ICE-T can be converted to -TD version by removing the pantographs and replacing with aerodynamic cover (easily fixed with styrene). I hope either Fleischmann or Minitrix will produced the next-generation ICx in N-scale when the real trainsets are delivered by Siemens to DB AG in 2013.

For now, I am happy with my ICE 2 and 3 collections. It would be nice to add ICE 1 and -T, wouldn’t it? So you can expect the ICE to be running around prominently on my N-scale layout, or pose for photo shoot on my diorama.

Fleischmann “Piccolo” ICE 2 trainset


Arnold ICE 3 trainset

Jimmy Low

Yipee, Not More than 40 hours per Week!

Finally, after a long wait for work permit, I finally started work at Deutsche Bahn Systel in Eschborn on 1 June. This is DB’s ICT subsidiary that managed all its IT and telecommunication needs. Think of this as a mini-telecom operator within the Bahn ecosystem. Although we have about 350 employees, and I am probably the only Malaysian and Asian here (I need to look around longer), we support the whole business in Germany and wherever they are around the world (getting there).

As I lived quite a distance away from Eschborn, I left for work early on my first day; timed the whole journey. Okay 1 hour. Not too bad. We are a small team of service managers but there are many others who actually handled the planning and operations. As the only Asian in the Eschborn office, I stood out like a sore thumb. Well, have to get used to it. The colleagues are nice. They had to switch to English when speaking to me but I insisted at times to speak in German. I have not heard so much German in one day compared to the whole last year when I was in Berlin studying. At the first meeting, the colleagues all spoke in German; which I told them to. There I was, listening attentively. Trying to catch what they were saying. Had not problem at some point, could pick up the gist of the conversation, but at times I don’t understand at all. Probably due to the nature of conversations. Anyway, when it was my turn to introduce myself (vorstellen sich), I did it in my broken German. Not too bad, said one colleague. They were helpful and ask me if we should speak in English or German. I told them probably both, more toward English for a start and once I pick up, to switch to German. You see I could read in German and understand the texts. But when comes to speaking, it is a whole lot of challenges. Even my boss told me that they spoken in German dialects (depending where they came from) so it is normal for non-German to be confused.

First day passed by quickly and before I knew it, my colleague was at the door and asked if I was still working. I looked at the clock. Only 5.30pm. He was leaving. The rest of colleagues packed to leave. So I followed suit. I was chatting with my colleagues that in Asia, don’t expect to work til 5.30pm only. At times till 10, 11 or even more and even on weekends. Not here. We have a 40-hour work week. Nobody checks you. All based on trust. That’s would be nice. Looks like I am looking forward to a 40-hour work week regime for now on.

This is not me 😀

Jimmy Low





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