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I Only Understand "Train Station"


No pants on the subway, train talk with Yonah Freemark, and the Germans know what to say when you don’t understand a thing.


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Show Notes:

First Stop:

It's a no pants party, people! The annual No Pants Subway Ride took place on January 12 in New York City, which is where the movement started as an improv prank back in 2002, and also at several locations around the world, from Melbourne to Mexico City.


If you want to register your own event in 2021, save the date for next year, or see videos of this year's event (which sounds creepy, when we say it like that), you can do so at the link shown above. Would you ever try it yourself?


Next Stop:

Joe talked trains with Yonah Freemark, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. Yonah is known around the transit world for his writing in The Transport Politic as well as his contributions to The New York Times, City Lab, Next City, and more.


More people in the U.S. are pushing for free bus and train transportation for all. Will it increase ridership? Time will tell.


If you want to see how that movement is progressing (or if you're looking for an overview of the state of public transportation in the U.S.), the American Public Transportation Association is a good place to start.


And if you want to daydream about an epic train trip across the world (like we do, always), this itinerary from railbookers.com will take you across four continents and 15 countries. It contains a few flights and such, so if you're a rail purist, check out The Man in Seat 61. We've both used it to plan and fact-check our own train trips.


Language Love:

Germans love to complain about trains (even though they're much more efficient in Germany than in other places). They also like to gripe about not hearing announcements at the train station. (Honestly, does anyone actually ever hear the entire announcement?)


From this frustration grows the phrase, Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof, which means “I only understand train station.” You can say it whenever you don't have a clue what someone is talking about.


And we promise, your pronunciation will be way better than Alicia's. (Don't worry, this is Alicia writing. German destroys me every time.)


What about you?

Do you use trains? Why or why not?

What's your dream train journey? (Alicia wants to be teleported to the Orient Express in the 1920s, please.)

What would make you replace some of your car or plane trips with a train trip?

What's your dream train trip?

How have you changed your habits to reduce your carbon footprint? (Please give us tips!)

On a much less serious note, would you ever do the No Pants Subway Ride? Why or why not?


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