Visualizing survey results excellently
Maps and legends

Would you be willing to miss a train to admire art?

This wonderful data visualization made me stop in my tracks at a train station somewhere in Bavaria.


It conveys so much information in such an efficient manner.

At a glance, the diagram tells passengers the configuration of the train they will be getting on, how many carriages, what types of carriage and crucially at which location the train will come to a stop at the current station.

The most important item is the curvy red line running vertically. This tells you where you are standing in relationship to the entire platform. I was standing right near the middle. If someone is standing on the sides, there are many trains they will not be able to get on.

The entire chart is in German but I didn't need to know German. This is what great data visualization accomplishes.


Would you be willing to miss a train just to admire this work? I would.


PS. I was a bit overexcited when I wrote the above. I hope my German readers will tell me what the red, yellow, green colors signify. Also why do some trains appear to have two or three disconnected carriages?


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We have those diagramms since decades and they in deed are very efficient (Germans, you know...)
For the disconnected carriages on the chart: I'm happy you didn't experience their meaning, because at some point of their voyage they are disconnected in reality and one half of the train for example goes to Donauwörth, whereas the other travels to Augsburg - and you should better be in the right one!
If you ever travelled by train in Japan, you know, that the same carriage will always stop at the same place on the platform.
In Germany perfection has it's limits and you can often hear the announcement (a minute before arrival), that the train will arrive in opposite order.
At that moment you can see hundreds of people running from one end of the platform to the other. A distance up to 500 Meters wide.

The colors mark the class of the waggons: yellow for first class, green for second class and red for bordrestaurant.

By the way: In Germany you will hear funny announcements in English that always end with: Sank u for travvelling wis Deutsche Bahn...


Oh, and I forgot: It's called Wagenstandsanzeiger (you can hear this wonderful german word on


I never realized they display railcars doing portion working (Flügelzug) in a disconnected fashion—the CityNightLine at the very bottom is also doing portion working (the destinations of the individual cars are printed above each car), but not in the disconnected fashion the railcars are. Hum.

The blue cars are the sleeper cars of the CNL trains. And, funnily, there seems to be a design glitch with RE 57106/57306 :D


I think the "disconnected" trains are just different models, where you can't walk from one portion to the next.
Probably looking like a few of these put together (and then later separated) They don't need a separate engine in front of them.
Also note how the engines for the different types of trains (RE, IC, ICE) are modeled after the actual trains.


@Robin, yep, that's individual railcars coupled together. However, the same is true for ICEs from Generation 2 onwards, where a full train consists of two half-trains coupled together. See ICE 680/630 (also doing portion working)

Also note how the engines for the different types of trains (RE, IC, ICE) are modeled after the actual trains.

Yeees, with much attention to detail! They even take into account the specific train type: ICE 582 is a 2nd generation half-train (BR402) on weekends, whereas during the week it uses a 1st generation full-train (BR401). And one can even tell whether a train incorporates a control car (e.g., IC 1284) or not (e.g., IC 2082) :D


Are you referring to the little symbols shown inside the carriages? There is yet another layer of detail.


The control car at the front or the rear of the train doesn't have an engine, just the controls to drive it.
For every wagon you can see those little symbols that show, if this wagon has certain features, like seats for disabled persons or the possibility to fix a wheelchair or if you can take your bike with you etc.

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