Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Please Be Quiet - We're in a Quiet Carriage Don't You Know?

To what extent do South West Trains enforce the ‘Quiet Carriage’ policy?

Not a lot, I think.

It’s not a difficult thing to implement, really. The ticket manager just has to tap someone on the shoulder with a noisy I-Pod or interrupt a mobile phone conversation to tell the offender to shift it.

However, for passengers, the ‘Quiet Carriage’ can be slightly inconvenient. Often, it is only once you have taken a phone call on your mobile before you notice the signs saying ‘quiet carriage’. By then, it’s too late. There are no signs by the door of the train to say ‘you are entering a quiet carriage, sssh.’ It is only once you are sat down comfortably in your seat, reading your book, before you notice the signs. In a busy train, you are unlikely to move carriages just in case you need to take a phone call.

I know all this.

However, when the lad opposite me sat with his Ipod on ridiculously loudly so that all I could hear was the beat of his crap music, I started to feel irritation. Then I noticed we were in a ‘quiet carriage’ and felt justly irritated. I thought to myself, ‘I could just tell him to turn if off and point at the sign.’

I didn’t of course.

But I expected the Train Manager to do so as she came through the carriage checking tickets. She reached the noise Ipod boy and called for tickets. He ignored her because he couldn’t hear her. She had to wave a hand in front of his face to attract his attention. ‘yes! I though, ‘she’s going to tell him to turn it off as we are in a quiet carriage.’

Sadly not, she asked for his ticket, he pointed it at her, and she continued on her merry way. He continued to have poor taste in music.

So, I ask, what is the point of these quiet carriages?


Anonymous said...

I just tend to sit by the doors in the little hallway thingy. It's *usually* quiet and really rather comfortable.

Daniel (memorex) said...

To be honest, some Guards* don't care. It's not in their job descriptions so they don't have too.

*SWT Don't have Train managers. They're not posh enough. Midland Mainline have TM's, though ;-)

Blue Soup said...

These "quiet" carriages exist only so that passengers like you and I get narked and write posts like this. (I am waving my finger in agreement all the way).

Oh, the only way to beat them? Is, sadly and unoriginally, to join them. I choose Operation Blade for my journey home x

Billyo said...

Hi There, like the blog.

Ah yes, and what is the definition of Quiet carriage. This varies from train company to train company.

I had some hoity-passenger tell me I had to take my laptop-headphones out in a First Great Western quiet carriage recently - but there wasn't even any noise coming from them. I just had them in to hear the occasional beep from my laptop.

I'm all in favour of quiet carriages though. Unfortunately my train is normally only two carriages so no such facility exists. Instead I have to put up with the constant mobile use. I've ranted about this on my blog see http://billyosstressrelief.blogspot.com/2007/03/living-in-bubble.html

Lyle said...

The 'quiet carriage' is supposed to be there for a quiet zone without mobiles or music.

However, it normally then becomes the destination for half-deaf coffin-dodger couples to yell at each other for the entire journey about how lovely the countryside is, where the train goes next, is this their stop, and tutting (loudly) when some poor sod who hasn't realised it's the quiet coach lets their mobile ring.

Oh, or the family of four (mum, three kids) chavtastic hellspawn who proceed to scream, shout, and be total pains in the arse until you want to go off to the noisy carriage with the fucking Nokia ringtone going off everywhere, and idiots saying "are you there? Yeah, I'm on the train. Hello? Hello? I'm on the train. The coverage is... Hello? Hello? Yeah, the network keeps Hello? Hello? Oh, fuck it!"


Matt Cruse said...

I think it should be the opposite. There should be a Noisy Carriage where everyone can just squeeze into if they want to play with their gadgets and avoid annoying the rest of us. I've been talking about this kind of thing over at Electric Writer, coincidentally.

Stefan said...

I used to go to Switzerland a fair bit , where some trains (Intercity services, mostly) have quiet carriages. They do have signs on the doors leading into them, and they are usually full of Swiss people being so quiet you'd think they we're dead.

Woe betide you if you dare to even whisper to travelling companions on those. The Swiss travelling on them like their peace and quiet, and they will shush and hiss and glare like only they can.

Ian said...

You could have asked iPod boy to turn down his music.

I do it all the time - even in the regular carriages. The thing is, people never seem to mind if you ask nicely - often they don't even realise their headphones are so leaky.

Nathan said...

Ian - if only that were so on my line. I've given up asking people to turn their music down as I dislike threats of violence more than I dislike hissy earphones.

Dave SWT said...

I'm so glad to have found this blog. Well done G.O.A.T.(did you pick that on purpose? Good one). I agree with everything everybody has said. The trouble is, an incident last evening on the SWT to Southampton has really got me thinking about this whole Quiet Coach thing (BTW I absolutely love the QC when it works and there's no noise - makes my long journey bearable).
Anyway, there was a young t*sser talking on his mobile who got all shirty when I asked him to stop. Apart from the fact that he knew he was in the Quiet Coach which hacked me off no end to start with, he then tried to rationalise his actions by saying words to the effect that: 'well if there was a bunch of people talking at the tops of their voices you wouldn't be able to stop them would you?'.
While I told him they WOULD be told, it got me thinking (and Matt Cruse's comment above refers as well) is there any point in having a Quiet Coach? How many times have I had to put my (purely medicinal) headphones on to drown out the noise from some morons talking a load of sh*te and who I just really don't have the energy (or the backing of a nice blue sign on the window) to tell to shut the f*ck up.

Doesn't the Quiet Coach actually make things worse?