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"The Quiet Coach"

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

This is my second post about train journeys and is from my notes of 2018.

Do you remember when train passengers spoke to each other? Now-a-days it is smart phones, lap-tops and headphones as people remain cocooned in their own little worlds.

Today I am on a Virgin Trains “Quiet Coach” from Leeds to Peterborough. It is soul-less, with nearly every passenger having their head plugged into a phone, tablet or lap-top, with little or no conversation.

The carriage need not have any windows except as a source of light, for no-one is looking out at the marvellous countryside and town scapes that speed by the windows. There is even a sign up, “Quiet Coach, sit back, relax and unwind (and please be considerate).”

This calm, soul-less world is disturbed by the man in front of me telling off the man across from me for having a conversation on the telephone. He states that it is a quiet coach and that he should not take phone calls. However, whilst keen to admonish another passenger this zealot overlooks that it is customary to put your baggage in the rack above your head and not on the table in front of you to the inconvenience of other passengers.

The man on the phone quietly cuts short his phone call. It is then I realise that the purpose of the quiet coach is to get people to talk to each other, even if it is to moan bitterly at another passenger. It works!

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