“Misuse of the lavatories will be punished” heard on Deutsche Bahn train from Austria

Stuff you don’t want to hear as a visitor on a foreign train:

Misuse of the lavatories will be punished!

img_7012This was heard aboard the Intercity (IC 118) train from Austria to Germany.

Further statements by the conductor made it clear his admonition was regarding violations of the smoking policy on board the train (i.e., No Smoking, not even while hiding in the WC.)


Intercity First Class compartment on IC118 train from Austria to Germany in 2018

I will admit that I was a bit nervous before he clarified. One assumes one’s restroom behavior is similar to that of others, but, after all, it isn’t something easily brought up in conversation with one’s compartment mates whose native language and culture differs from one’s own.

Though the finer nuances of European international relations are beyond me, it seemed clear that the German conductor, upon taking over after the border crossing, was speaking specifically to Austrians on board.

I’m guessing he did so because Austria’s national attitude toward public smoking lags so far behind that of most modern states, but it might just be because the Germans are more strict about rule enforcement than the smaller nation sharing its language and a border to the south. Or maybe Germans just have a thing about bossing Austrians around?
As a tourist, I simply followed every rule as carefully as I could and took special care not to get up to any hijinks in the lavatories. One thing I definitely don’t want to experience of another culture is how they punish people on trains!

5 thoughts on ““Misuse of the lavatories will be punished” heard on Deutsche Bahn train from Austria

  1. Wow they have closed systems now…. used to be that when you flushed it went right on the tracks…. one thing i hated about germany but now miss is that if rules are broken the rules will be enforced and people will be fined while in america it seems we just make another rule to REALLY FORBID something but still no enforcement will be done

  2. I once got yelled at in a German airport, for sitting sort of angled in a seat and not straight on, such that my legs encroached a bit on the seat next to me, despite an almost empty lounge with most of the seats empty. So yeah, I expect they don’t put up with any deviations in the bathroom.

  3. I have never smoked, and find the habit smelly, dirty, and unpleasant, but I have to say–after a lifetime following the mantra rules are meant to be broken–this leaves me torn. Maybe I could just sit in the toilet, reading a book with my feet out in the corridor (properly dressed of course)?

    • Wait, are you trying to be punished by the Germans? That’s something I find hard to get behind! 😀

      To be fair, though, there’s no prohibition against reading in the toilet with one’s feet in the aisle, at least so far as I could read the instructional infographics.

      • 🙂 Not so much “be punished by”, more gratuitously annoy figures of authority… especially those in uniform. It’s a failing that has landed me in trouble from time to time (not least being riot-hosed from the streets of central London during the poll-tax protests of the 1980s); but, well, sometime it’s just got to be done.

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