Travel hazards

The journey home today was, on the whole, OK.  Both trains were clean and well-maintained, and on time.  Neither train was overcrowded.  The standard of train buffets seems to have deteriorated since the 1980s, but the major improvement of having ridded them of smokers more than makes up for that.

Going via London, I have one long journey leg: three and a half hours from Paddington to Plymouth.   As on any FGW intercity train, I headed straight for the quiet carriage: the one where mobile phones and personal stereos are banned.  I even got one of the end-of-carriage seats with extra legroom (have to give them up if a disabled passenger needs them, but that seldom happens).  There I got out the laptop to do some work in peace and quiet.

But there’s always some flaw.  This time it came in the form of the noisiest brat and most useless mother I’ve encountered in a long time.  They were in the middle of the carriage, but dominated the whole of it. So, no quiet carriage:-(

So, dear, lazyweb, what the **** can one do about that?  As with smokers, it only takes one **** to ruin it for everyone.  Apart from move to another carriage, where the big fella with the personal stereo and the bunch of teenage girls constantly texting and playing ringtones are entirely within their rights to do so?

Fortunately, coach C (or was it D?) was rather better, with nothing too bad going on, and where the (only) small sprog was a delightful contrast to the noisy brat.  But no extra-legroom seat:-(


Posted on January 22, 2008, in travel. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’ve become a bit of a snob in my old age and tend to travel first class on long journeys like London to Plymouth, even when I’m travelling at my own expense. I won’t pay the rip-off walk-on fares, but by booking in advance, often using single tickets, off-peak first class travel can be quite reasonably priced, and usually it’s spacious and quiet. And I like getting free coffee and mineral water.

    Only snag – on recent journeys I’ve discovered that the parent and sprog brigade have discovered that first class can be quite cheap too!

  2. Anecdote – A few years ago, whilst travelling to London, I was in a busy first class quiet carriage (at my employer’s expense on this occasion). At first, everyone was well-behaved. Then, at Newbury, a young salesman-type got on board with sharp suit, shiny shoes and mobile phone. Almost immediately he started talking loudly into the thing. The surrounding passengers glowered at him menacingly. After about five minutes a well-groomed, bearded youngish country gent in tweed jacket, moleskin trousers and brogues stood up, leaned over the offender and bawled into his face at close range “quiet carriage – can’t you ****** read!”. I thought there was going to be a fight, but in fact Mr Salesman slipped out quietly and wasn’t seen again. The remaining passengers broke out into a spontaneous (but duly restrained) round of applause.

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