Go to the homepage of our German Course Chapter 6: Getting around town University of Portsmouth
6.4 Der Hauptbahnhof Includes sound files!

Click here to listen to the conversation!After his visit to the zoo, Ken McNaught now returns to the new Berlin central station (der Hauptbahnhof), which was opened on 28 May 2006. He goes to the travel centre (das Reisezentrum) to book a ticket to Kassel, a town in the Bundesland of Hesse in the middle of Germany. You can listen to Ken's converation in the travel centre by clicking either here or on the sound icon at the top of the previous paragraph. You can also:

  • click here to take a virtual tour around the new Berlin Hauptbahnhof.
  • click here for a panoramic view of Berlin Central Station taken by Helmut Koelbach.
  • click here to visit the homepage of the new Berlin Hauptbahnhof.
  • click here to see the up-to-the-minute arrivals and departure board for Berlin Central Station.
  • click here to see a full-scale map of long distance travel network in Germany so that you can follow his route.

Das Reisezentrum    The departure board showing the train to Kassel

Beamtin Guten Morgen.
Ken McNaught Morgen. Einmal nach Kassel, bitte.
Beamtin Einfach oder hin und zurück?
Ken McNaught Einfach.
Beamtin Und ist das erster oder zweiter Klasse?
Ken McNaught Zweiter Klasse.
Beamtin Haben Sie eine BahnCard?
Ken McNaught Nein. Ich habe keine BahnCard.
Beamtin Die Fahrkarte ohne BahnCard kostet dreißig Euro und vierzig Cent.
Ken McNaught So...und der nächste Zug nach Kassel fährt um halb zehn?
Beamtin Ja, in ungefähr zehn Minuten, um 09.28.
Ken McNaught Fährt der Zug pünktlich?
Beamtin Selbstverständlich!
Ken McNaught Von welchem Gleis?
Beamtin Von Gleis 9.
Ken McNaught Und ist das ein ICE-Zug?
Beamtin Nein, das ist ein Regional Express. Es gibt keinen InterCity-Zuschlag.
Ken McNaught Muss ich in Weimar umsteigen?
Beamtin Nein, der Zug fährt direkt.
Ken McNaught Wann kommt der Zug in Kassel an?
Beamtin Um elf Uhr dreizehn.
Ken McNaught Danke sehr. Auf Wiedersehen.
Beamtin Bitte sehr. Auf Wiedersehen.

A train about to depart Berlin Zoo Station

der Bahnhof  The station
der Hauptbahnhof  The central station
das Reisezentrum  The travel centre
die Abfahrtstafel  The departure board 
einmal  "One ticket". It literally means "once".
nach Kassel  The preposition "nach" always takes the dative case. You should use it when you are travelling to a town or country - provided that the country is neuter.
einfach...  This means "single" as in a "single ticket". As we have seen earlier, the literal meaning of the word is "simple".
...oder hin und zurück? "...or return?" Literally: "there and back".
die Klasse  class
erster oder zweiter Klasse  This means "first or second class". Note the endings on the ordinal numbers.
die BahnCard  A BahnCard from the German railway company Deutsche Bahn entitles you to substantial reductions on the entire German rail network and on most regional buses for the duration of one year.
die Fahrkarte  The ticket 
ohne  This preposition meaning "without" always takes the accusative case.
halb zehn  This means "half-past nine" and not "half-past ten". See Chapter 8.
ungefähr  approximately
fahren  This means "to go", when you are not travelling by foot. It is an irregular verb.
der Zug  train
pünktlich  punctually 
Fährt der Zug pünktlich?  Is the train on time?
selbstverständlich  of course
das Gleis  This means "platform" when you are asking from which platform a train departs. In fact, "das Gleis" literally means the railway track itself.
von welchem Gleis? from which platform?
der ICE-Zug  An "ICE train". "ICE" stands for InterCity Express.
der RegionalExpress  A "regional express train". This is a stopping train, but it is faster than you might assume.
der Zuschlag  A "supplement". You have to pay a supplementary charge to travel on an ICE train. But as Ken's train is not an ICE, the official informs him that there is no supplement to pay.
direkt  direct; directly 
der Zug fährt direkt  "This is a direct train". Literally: "This train travels directly".
ankommen  This means "to arrive". The verb "ankommen" is a separable verb, a type of verb which will be discussed in detail on Page 6 of this chapter.
Wann kommt der Zug in Kassel an?  When does the train arrive in Kassel?
um elf Uhr dreizehn  at 11:13 

Weiter! Chapter 6.5: More irregular verbs

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