Born on the Train

One phrase that thousands, nay probably hundreds of thousands of Berlin parents have uttered at some point in the last 100 years: “Biste inner U-Bahn jeboren?” [Were you born on the subway?] This is the modern update on “Bist Du in einer Scheune geboren?” [Were you born in a barn?]. In both cases, this is meant to encourage kids to close doors behind them, of course.

In the case of the former, this is because subway doors close automatically.

So do train doors, of course, but while the train is in a station, waiting, the doors are open and let lots of cold air in. So, naturally, there’s a close-doors button on the inside of the door, at least for those subway lines that have an above-ground part of their tracks, and for trains. Here’s a reminder from the Berlin S-Bahn.

[In winter it will be appreciated that if you’re the last at the door, push the button and close the door, other passengers will thank you. [[Sorry for non-poetic/non-rhyming translation]]]

Their colleagues over at the #WeilWirDichLieben campaign would have made more or at least something more humorous out of this, but still.

Yet, it seems that few people are making use of the close-door button, at least in my observation. Perhaps they’re nervous about shutting someone out (quite literally), especially when trains are generally modestly crowded so that someone might always come running or move over from another open door.


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