Public Transport Obsession

09:39 Fri 26 Dec 2008. Updated: 16:54 28 Jan 2009
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When I lived in Berlin, 1995-1996, I took quite an interest in the rather excellent public transport system there. I recall this as being fairly unremarkable, but friends who visited me at the time have since pointed out that it seemed like I knew all of the timetables inside out and that it was clearly on the other side of obsessive.

I think this obsessive interest is understandable for a couple of reasons: one, the Dublin transport system, particularly the trains, is pretty bad and was worse in the 90s, with only one train line (the DART), so the Berlin one was a revelation in comparison; two, I was in New York City for a significant part of my early life and hence had a certain expectation regarding the ubiquity/accessibility of public transport, an expectation that Dublin clearly didn’t meet but which Berlin did.

In any case, it’s clear that both in terms of degree of obsession and age of obsessional development, I was a mere dilletante and johnny-come-lately: the illustrator Christoph Niemann‘s two elder sons set the bar rather high.

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