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Eurofurence 26 — "Welcome to Tortuga"
Estrel Congress Center Berlin
August 24 - 28, 2022
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Author Topic: Is Max Maulwurf DEAD???  (Read 285 times)


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Is Max Maulwurf DEAD???
« on: 05.06.2022, 22:09:03 »

I am an American furry fan.

In February of this year I had acquired the necessary 30+ years of faithful service to the Union Pacific Railroad, and have now retired with a US Federal Railroad pension.  So I know a little something about the business and operations of railroads.

To attend past EuroFurences, it has been necessary to fly into either Frankfurt or Munchen, and - naturally - journey on to whichever host city our convention was held, via train.

Riding the DB system, I had several opportunities to see timetables, travel plans, service announcements and bulletins, presented in an eye-catching (and humorous) manner by one of the hardest-working anthropomorphic corporate mascots ever:  Max Maulwurf, general construction worker for the German national railway.

Throughout the last 200 years or so, other railroads have had animal mascots used in promoting their services, and in general earning good will for their corporations from both young and old - though typically, these cartoon characters are usually depicted in the “glory” job of manning the throttle on a big, powerful locomotive; Max was different - he depicted the critical-but-little-noticed, often thankless jobs of Construction and Maintenance, jobs (and workers) who usually are only thought of (and often blamed) when outages impact service and riders’ schedules.

As one who has stood beside the tracks or climbed signal and radio towers and worn the orange vest and hard hat and work gloves while setting a Tiffenbach wheel detector on a rail or adjusting the wayside car-tracking apparatus, rather than riding the locomotive and sounding the horn with wild abandon, I really appreciated seeing this hard-working yet good-spirited symbol in such a high-profile role.

And I am not the only one - other people, of all ages and walks-of-life, have relied on (and smiled at) the notices and announcements placarded out on the station platforms and printed in train “fahr plans” (sp?), enough to warrant a DB-hosted fan site, featuring most of the whimsical images created of Max over the years - even with a video showing the creative process, as the artist imagines, sketches, and finishes a specific Max illustration, about a track restoral program.  I’ve often pointed people to that specific video, as an example of how artists turn a sketch into a completed and polished illustration.

...and then - last month - I tried to visit the site, and discovered that DB has just “retired” Max, because someone in the corporate management determined that DB needed a more plain, straightforward and “professional looking” way to present information to the public.  I have been unable to access the Max fan site ever since.

Is Max truly DEAD?

What corporate business wunderkind came up with THAT idea, and who made the decision to pull the plug on one of the best examples if how to use an anthropomorphic character to get a message across and promote a service to the general public?

My time has passed - I needed to retire.  But not so with Max!  He still has the potential for many more years if faithful service to DB and to the rail-traveling public, and I for one would like to know how this situation can be corrected!

...And - perhaps - suggest that perhaps EF could find some way to recognize and perhaps honor the artists, or their commercial art firm, which gave us so many happy images of a mole in a workvest, armed with a pick, a shovel, a jackhammer, and a slew of anthropomorphised mechanical diggers?

...(Please excuse both spelling errors and grammatical mistakes; I’m typing this on an iPhone behind a dealers’ booth at BLFC furry convention in Reno, Nevada, USA)...
Vulpine fortunes are precarious; people wish either to build monuments to us - or to hang us.


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Re: Is Max Maulwurf DEAD???
« Reply #1 on: 22.06.2022, 20:26:22 »

Dear Vulpes,

sadly "they" did retire this cute fluffer. Deutsche Bahn communications wants to inform in a more sober technical manner without any sympathy for the stricken and burdened traveller in the future ... yes it is stupid but consistent with the general railway policy here.


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