Train travelers must take alternate routes due to <I>Pendelverkehr</I>

For the most part, Berlin’s public transport system is highly reliable — but then without warning, for perverse reasons known only to themselves, they will suddenly decide to do track work, just when you are most in a hurry.

Or during the Berlinale.

This year is no different and those traveling on the S-Bahn to or from Potsdamer Platz after 9 p.m. tonight and Friday, as well as next Monday through Friday, will experience an exasperating local phenom known as Pendelverkehr.

This means that instead of taking a train direct to one’s destination, the latenight traveler will have to change tracks and trains at Friedrichstrasse — if heading north, or Papestrasse — if going south. And if he or she doesn’t pay attention (due to latenight party stupor) and get off to make the change, they will find themselves heading back the opposite direction.

The good news is that at Potsdamer Platz, the instruction signs usually have an English translation.

Possible bad news, however, is that a strike of public sector workers in southern Germany is threatening to spread, which may mean that the U-Bahn and buses will cease to run. The S-Bahn, which is operated by the railway and, therefore, not a public company, should be OK.

Except, of course, for the Pendelverkehr.

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