After realising that four out of five of us had travelled illegally last night (because we only validated one of our five-pass ticket), despite passing a ticket inspection, we returned to Ørestad for some more papers from Metroselskabet about the amazing existing driverless metro and the new City Ringen project.
Although we didn’t go back to the Ramboll building, it looked lovely in the sunlight so I took another photo:
The building that we did end up going to was just as exciting architecturally, if somewhat more imposing:
One of the presenters was asked why the trains run all night and his answer seemed really typical of the noble attitude that the Danes have towards their passengers, and the public in general, “Because the people want it.” Simple.
After some very welcome coffee, we went on a tour of the Metroselskabet control centre and train depot. We were divided into smaller groups (I was in the yellow group) so that we would fit into the areas for the tour. Our group guide was a train dispatcher and was very dedicated to keeping us to the timetable. There was a lot of watch tapping and “Excuse me, yellow!” to ensure that we made it through all the areas.
The first room was the emergency back up room with a very tempting button:
We were told that if we pressed the button the metro would stop, which just made it all the more tempting. We then saw some trains that had cabins that were being refurbished. In this area there is no electrification, so there is a vehicle that acts like a tug boat, but for the trains. This particular one had a lovely feminine touch:
In contrast to the flowers, there were also some more “traditional” decorations in the workshop:
The next area we walked through was where the trains were cleaned. A Metroselskabet employee was using chemicals to clean graffiti off one of the trains and we were guided past him, splashing through whatever was cleaning the train. We were worried we’d find that our shoes had melted, but I think we were just being paranoid.
The control centre room at Metroselskabet was greatly different to the other control centres we had seen on our trip. There were signs banning conversations and photography and all the controllers wore uniforms instead of the casual bright colours of the Trafikverket and S-train controllers.
We also saw a simulator that was used to train the controllers. The controller trainer explained how they would recover from particular line failures with minimal disruption to passengers but running a shuttle train on one line around the error and just turning all the trains at the stations at either end of the fault. Genius! In fact, the controller trainer explained that it was just like playing a video game.
After the tour, we were given a metro ticket and free time to explore Copenhagen. We caught the metro back to the city, taking in the views provided by the lack of drivers cab:
We stopped for lunch at a seafood restaurant at the canals. Unfortunately, due to the copious amounts of salmon that we had been fed throughout the convention, none of us ordered fish.
We made our way towards the Nørreport metro station through a park, with a “castle” and an army barracks.
We caught the train back “home” and started preparing for the evening gala dinner, which for me meant curling my hair, but for many of my colleagues, it seemed to involve shaving the gradual rugged stubble which had been building throughout the week, the “facial hair is invisible when not in the office” phenomena which I often observe when at conferences or site visits.
Well, whatever our individual beauty routines, I think we did scrub up quite well for the dinner at the Slaghuset, the old Slaughterhouse:
The food was lovely but we did have some hiccups on our table to do with dietary requirements, which didn’t seem all that complicated to the causal observer, but were giving the staff some issues. One of the guys on my table was served three different dinners until he was given something that met his specification. We had a lovely Italian waitress, though, who gave us recommendations for underground clubs to go to, rolled her eyes at the 80s tribute band that played and rescued my handbag at the end of the night when they were closing.
I was a little sad that the convention had ended because after spending several 12+ hour days together you develop a sense of camaraderie with your colleagues and it might be years before we cross paths again. Luckily, in this information age, I will be able to stalk them from time to time on LinkedIn and Facebook, to check that they’re going okay in their respective countries until the next time we find ourselves together.