Quiet carriage etiquette: do you pass the test?

8 August, 2013

I’m not very organised, but sometimes I like order. For example, I like ‘quiet carriages’ on trains to be, well, quiet. Sometimes I feel a bit lonely in that, so I am heartened to see someone has used his anger creatively to bang the message home (though not so loudly as to upset other passengers).

Image: Quiet Carriage, by Kai Hendry on flickr.com (licence: CC BY 2.0)
Image: Quiet Carriage, by Kai Hendry on flickr.com (licence: CC BY 2.0)

The subject of quiet railway carriages divides people nearly as efficiently as Marmite. I’ve found it’s one of those issues that can send pleasant conversations hurtling suddenly in unexpected and frightening directions. So, although I’ve whinged about quiet carriages before, I generally try to avoid the topic.

You see, I’m one of those people that thinks ‘quiet carriages’ should be just that: quiet carriages. We will forgive you for missing the signage (designed, apparently, by someone whose line of sight is tuned to a different frequency than everyone else’s); but, once you’re aware of the situation, you deserve all the indignant, passive-aggressive glances you get for turning perfectly good music into pebbly rattlesnake piss.

However, many people see attitudes such as mine as anal, aloof and uptight. So, I was delighted when I discovered this morning that someone else (a chap called Tom Scott) was so irked by behviour in quiet carriages that he came up with this:

The Quiet Carriage Proficiency Test.

Try it, it’s fun. And, if I had my way, it would be legally binding and enforced by burly train guards.

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