Traveling in Space and Time (or Trains in Europe)

I had to go to Brussels for a project review and as usual I preferred to travel by train. When I left home, I checked my connection and the Internet told me the trains run on time. About an hour later, when I reached the main station in downtown Bremen, I learned that my train got canceled. This meant an hour waiting time for the next train to arrive and plus the (usual) delay we accumulated during the trip to Cologne. I arrived about 1h30m late in Cologne. (I will file some papers and I should get ~7 Euro back for the delay, close to 5 Euro/hour - wow.) In Cologne, I got warned that there might be trouble with the trains running to Brussels the next day.

When I left Cologne, the train was on time and I arrived well in time of the meeting. The project review went very well and it was becoming clear that we finish early. So I went to the train website to check whether there are any earlier connections I could take with my ticket. This way, I learned that my train back to Cologne was canceled. When I arrived at the main station in Brussels, I could change my ticket to use the Belgium high speed train running to Cologne. Luckily, the train that was scheduled to leave while I changed my ticket was 45 minutes late - so I could get something to eat and jump on the train. While on the train, we were told that the train does not go to Cologne and we were told that we have to leave the train in Aachen. Well, since I took an earlier train, I thought I still can be happy. When we arrived in Liege (that is before we reached Aachen), we were told that all passengers to Cologne should step over in Liege to another train running to Cologne, which was immediately following us. After stepping over and leaving Liege, we were told that the train has a technical problem and thus the train gets rerouted and will be a about 30 minutes late in Aachen, but it will then continue at normal speed to Cologne.

The bottom line is that I was happy to get on a train earlier than my scheduled train to Cologne. However, the rerouting and the problems with the train did eat up all the time benefit - so I finally arrived in Cologne at the time the canceled train would have arrived in Cologne. The funny thing is that I can’t really complain about anything since according to German regulations, you can only ask for refunds if you are at least one hour late. Since I arrived still on time, it does not matter that I spent several additional hours in various trains.