On how to travel by train without annoying everyone else

(A rant, please excuse me, I need to let off steam ;))

Travelling by train is quite easy, really, as is travelling by train without irritating your fellow passengers. At least I think it should be (although maybe I annoy everyone else without knowing it).

There are signs up everywhere telling people not to smoke, drink, eat, shout, put feet on the seats, listen to loud music and a few other things which aren’t particularly irritating.

These are a few as yet unwritten rules, which I would love to see implemented to save my teeth and my good temper:

(Please bear in mind that for the most part, I’m not aiming these rules at doddery old people, or people who are travelling by train for the first time in 35 years (for example) or people who can’t see, or are injured, or have some other legitimate reason for whatever they’re doing. I’m not even really talking to/about people travelling during the day when everything’s empty, they can probably do what they like without anyone caring. I’m talking to/about capable people using trains during morning or evening rush hour.)

  • if you are walking along a platform or across the flow of foot traffic in the station or in front of a lift or up/downstairs, DO NOT STOP WALKING (unless you know no one’s behind you and that’s unlikely). You will most likely cause a pile up, and if you don’t, it’s because of the split second reaction time of your fellow travellers. Find somewhere out-of-the-way instead. Looking for where people aren’t walking helps you find a suitable standing spot.
  • if the train or the lift is already stuffed full of people, DO NOT SQUISH THEM FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR BIKE! People don’t like being squished any more than necessary. Wait for the next one.
  • if you are wearing a [huge] backpack, CHECK YOU HAVE SPACE TO TURN ROUND – you are liable to wallop someone without realising it. Also, taking it off and putting it on the floor will make it easier for more people to squeeze themselves into the carriage.
  • if you get on the train and someone offers you a seat DON’T DITHER ABOUT – either sit down or decline (politely). If there are 2 (or more) of you, come to terms with the fact that you might not be able to sit together during rush hour. The chances of someone else jumping up and offering your travelling partner an adjacent seat is remote. Especially if there is a vacant seat in the next row. You might well be lucky, but it isn’t a right. Say thank you, even if you are facing the wrong way and you didn’t get a window seat.
  • if you need to sneeze, COVER YOUR NOSE, even if you don’t have a hanky or tissues, the chances ate pretty high that you still have a shoulder and/or hands. Use them.
  • if the train’s full and you need to get out at a central (or otherwise busy) station, the chances are huge that other people do too. DON’T BARGE PAST THEM ALL TO GET TO THE DOOR WHILE THE TRAIN’S STILL MOVING. They exist. They can’t disappear to satisfy your need to be the first off the train.
  • if you’re playing with the ticket machine to get prices for imaginary journeys while you’re waiting for your train, and someone is standing close by waiting to buy a ticket, cancel the imaginary journey and STAND BACK TO LET THEM BUY A TICKET. You can carry on when they’ve finished.
  • if you see a person with crutches or a white stick or even an ordinary walking stick, or a buggy, DON’T GET IN THE WAY. They probably need a little bit more room to manoeuvre than you do.
  • if someone gets off the train to make room for you to get out, SAY THANK YOU.

(I won’t continue, I’m cross enough as it is!)

Is it really that difficult?!

0 thoughts on “On how to travel by train without annoying everyone else

  1. Hmmmm….doesn’t sound good. Have you ever traveled on a train in {i e Japan China?} I haven’t but I’ve heard its a daring adventure! Comparing things doesn’t of course, stop our own situation from being annoying, irritating etc. I expect you travel regularly by train so it becomes further distressing to see fellow human beings treating each other in an unmannerly and inconsiderate way. It doesn’t take much to show courtesy wherever we are. I often wonder about the motorist who just can’t wait to get past me and then ends up between the car in front and myself. We are often in too much of a hurry these days to think about how our treatment may affect others.

    1. I haven’t been to China or Japan, but they bring video footage of their rush hour on the news sometimes. It looks very scary – to anyone used to that, Berlin’s rush hour must seem like day traffic! Usually I can ignore the irritating people, or I make up reasons for them, yesterday was different because there were so many of them…
      What do you do when you get cross while driving? Or have you got a technique for not getting cross?
      (I have an hour commute each way, 4 days a week)

  2. So glad my commute is by car, on good road, with only a baby traffic jam every now and then. My tolerance levels wouldn’t e able to deal with what you describe. I know when I visited London 22 ears ago I was totally freaked out about the Tube. I’m a country girl and i LOVE my space.

    1. 🙂 that sounds good too 🙂 My favourite benefit of going by train is having time to read that I wouldnt carve out otherwise, closely followed by knowing that I can still be half asleep (at least in the morning) and not put anyone at risk 🙂
      I think the tube is a bit crazier than the trains in Berlin – luckily I don’t think I’ve ever needed to cross London during rush hour.
      Space and being outdoors certainly have addictive potential (except that I’m a wimp and like being sheltered from rain, cold, strong winds…..;))

        1. Hehe! I AM a camping person – in good weather! I don’t really mind cold if I’m moving about, and windy can be fun (never want to meet a tornado though), I really don’t like waiting in uncovered train stations in winter 😉 which was what came to mind first for some reason!
          I grew up in a village with about 50 houses and 3 farms. Berlin is a bit of a culture shock 😉

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