Greta Thunberg pictured on a train in Germany. Picture: Twitter/Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg pictured on a train in Germany. Picture: Twitter/Greta Thunberg

Greta reveals truth about train photo

The spat between teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg and German national railway company Deutsche Bahn has taken on new life after the 16-year-old's story was corroborated by eyewitnesses.

In case you missed it, the Swedish teen, who became a lightning rod for climate change activism, was shamed by Deutsche Bahn for posting a photograph of her trip between Spain and Sweden on Saturday.

Thunberg wrote that she was "finally on my way home" next to a picture of her sitting on the floor of a carriage next to piles of luggage.

It was suggested, not by Thunberg, that she had spent the journey on the floor. She said it was a good sign that the train was "overcrowded" because it means demand for more environmentally-friendly train travel is high.



Deutsche Bahn told her it would have been "nicer" if she had mentioned "the friendly and competent manner in which you were treated by staff at your seat in first class".

Thunberg countered on Twitter that she had found a seat at a stop after Frankfurt, which she said was "no problem".

"Our train from Basel was taken out of traffic. So we sat on the floor of two different trains. After Goettingen I got a seat," she wrote.

Naturally, the story became fodder for Thunberg's critics on social media. But support for the 2019 Time Person of the Year arrived when Swedish journalist Alexandra Urisman Otto weighed in.

She had been on the same train as Thunberg and said the teen's story was accurate and that she, too, was forced to spend part on the journey on the floor.




Thunberg had been attending a climate summit in Madrid. Following the media frenzy surrounding her train trip home, she suggested the press had lost perspective.

"Media surprisingly seems to be more interested in a teenagers train travels than the fact that #COP25 failed," she wrote.

Thunberg suggested conspiracy theories were "running high" and wrote that she was thankful to have been travelling with a journalist who confirmed her story.

Deutsche Bahn, which used to be famous for its punctuality, has come under fire in recent years for delays, last-minute train cancellations and expensive ticket fares.

In Deutsche Bahn's first reply to the teenager's initial tweet, the company wished her a good trip back home and adding that "we continue working hard on getting more trains, connections and seats."

Thunberg was earlier this month named Time's Person of the Year for 2019. She is the youngest person to have ever received the honour. | @ro_smith