Fare-dodger leaps from train to escape fine

A 27-year-old man from Munster took the concept of fare jumping a bit too literally on Saturday when he leaped from a moving carriage to avoid a €10 ticket.

Fare-dodger leaps from train to escape fine
Bremen main station. Photo: DPA

The train was on its way from Bremen to Hannover when the young man realized a ticket collector was approaching him and he didn’t have a valid ticket.

Rather than pay up the roughly €10 the fare from Bremen to Verden would have cost him, the man decided to take an altogether more spectacular course of action.

He pulled the emergency brake on the train. Then when the train was still moving at a speed of around 20 km/h, he pulled the emergency release on the door and jumped out.

A spokesman for the Bundepolizei (federal police) told The Local that this decision could have cost the man his life.

There are so many signals and wires next to the line that he could have easily had a very serious accident, the spokesman said.

Luckily the man didn't encounter any obstacles in his descent, but he injured his leg badly as he landed.

Nonetheless he got up and attempted to keep running. But after a few seconds he could go no further and collapsed on the embankment next to the track.

The line was immediately shut down and the driver of an oncoming train saw the man lying by the track, got out and gave him first aid.

The miscreant was later arrested and taken to hospital. He will now face charges of misuse of a train's emergency facilities. It is unclear whether he will still be expected to pay the fare.

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Germany’s Scheffelbrücke: Everything you need to know about the ‘world’s most expensive bridge’

Germany's Scheffelbrücke might not seem like much to look at, but by some accounts it is the most expensive bridge in the world. Here’s what you need to know.

Germany's Scheffelbrücke: Everything you need to know about the ‘world’s most expensive bridge’
The Scheffelbrücke in Baden-Württemburg isn't known for its astounding beauty or engineering prowess - but it is known for its price tag. Photo: Heinz Seehagel, Creative Commons.

If you’re travelling near the Swiss border, you might come across the Scheffelbrücke – a quiet, two-lane bridge over the Radolfzeller Aach in Baden-Württemburg. 

By bridge standards, the 20-metre concrete construction seems relatively unremarkable – until you take a look at the engraved sign on the side which quotes the price tag. 

A sign on the bridge references the incredible price of the bridge: 1,520,940,901,926,024 Deutschmarks. 

That’s 1,500 trillion marks. 

Why is the Scheffelbrücke Germany’s most expensive bridge – and why is it so drab?

While Germany has the money and the landscape to have some expensive bridges, that over the Aach hardly rivals the Golden Gate, London Bridge or Sydney Harbour for elegance or ingenuity. 

The bridge, completed in 1923, takes the name of Joseph Victor von Scheffel, a German writer who will forever be associated with the glorified concrete slab. 

While one might suspect pork barrelling or crafty accounting as a reason for the astonishing cost – or perhaps a trick to reel in the tourists to the otherwise unassuming village of Singen – the cost is in fact real.

The high price is a consequence of the out of control post-World War One inflation which hit Germany, where money almost completely lost its value. 

A sign for the bridge reveals its extortionate building costs. Photo: Heinz Seehagel, Creative Commons.

Local authorities, wanting to boost the economy, signed off on the bridge as an infrastructure project. 

As a consequence, some local workers presumably became millionaires as a consequence – although there was perhaps little meaning to the idea of being a millionaire when a billion would only buy you a concrete bridge. 

Fortunately, Germany was able to bring inflation under control and wheelbarrows full of money were no longer required to purchase basic things.

And almost a century later, when not taking wacky inflation into account, Germany’s ‘most expensive bridge in the world’ no longer has that title. 

That goes to the Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco (no, not the Golden Gate but the other one), which cost 6.3 billion US dollars – or roughly 5.2 billion euro  – to build. 

The Oakland Bay Bridge however goes for eight kilometres and possesses some of the aesthetic qualities which one would expect from the most expensive bridge in the world.