Checking tickets, giving timetable information or helping with heavy luggage: the responsibilities of a train conductor are clearly defined. Mario Bidlingmaier from Rudersberg (Rems-Murr district), however, was challenged with a completely different matter on Sunday. The 33-year-old, who works as a train manager for Deutsche Bahn (DB)
became an obstetrician. Sunday morning, Paris East Station: ICE 9571 leaves the French capital on time. A good three hours later, the train was supposed to reach its final destination, Stuttgart. That this did not happen was not due to one of the recurring switch malfunctions or defects on the train but something completely different. “About an hour after the train’s departure, a man approached me and asked how much longer it would take to get to Strasbourg,” Mario Bidlingmaier recounts. The Alsatian metropolis is the first scheduled stop after Paris. “The man then told us that his wife had gone into labour. Bidlingmaier provided the questioner with a bottle of water for the mother-to-be and
for the expectant mother and asked over the on-board loudspeaker and in three languages whether there was a doctor on the train. A paramedic from near Göppingen came forward.
The high-speed trains that commute between Germany and France are operated by DB and the French state railway SNCF in cooperation – both railway companies provide the on-board staff. Together with his French counterpart Vrej Zulfikaroglu, Bidlingmaier advised on the situation. While the paramedic attended to the woman, it was decided to have the train make an unscheduled stop at TGV Lorraine station, a stop halfway between Metz and Nancy, which is supposed to connect Lorraine to the high-speed network but is a bit out of the way. Car 28, where the woman was in labour, had meanwhile been vacated by the other passengers. “It then took about 20 minutes
Since the mother-to-be did not speak French, Mario Bidlingmaier’s translation services were needed. A teacher
He says that he benefited greatly from his teacher training in French, a long stay in Lyon and “my enthusiasm for languages”.
So it was not a language barrier that the helpers decided the child had to be born on the train. The birth process was simply too far advanced for the mother-to-be to be transported. Finally, Felix, the name of the new earthling, was born on board. “We were all very relieved,” says
Bidlingmaier. A feeling that spread to the other carriages as well after the train manager made the announcement of the happy news. “The team on the train worked together very well. It made the atmosphere very relaxed,” Bidlingmaier says. The colleagues from the on-board catering department, for example, provided toys for the children on board.
even the big brother-to-be, who was waiting in his father’s care for the arrival of the new family member. “Hats off to the father for the way he managed it all”,
says Bidlingmaier, who is himself the father of a daughter. The 33-year-old trained as a transport services clerk. Only an additional qualification allowed him to work in the
high-speed trains between Germany and France. He says the SNCF has a manual on how to deal with medical incidents on board, up to and including birth or death. And the train? After the enlarged family had been taken away to the hospital, it continued its journey. But because of the long delay, it only got as far as Karlsruhe. There the ICE turned around and sped back to Paris.

Source: Stuttgarter Nachrichten, 31.01.2023