Whilst I’m a big fan of the bicycle as the main means of everyday transport, for longer distances I prefer the train. The train makes a lot of sense, but it can be intimidating for newcomers. Therefore I decided to put together this handy guide to behaving on the train.
The golden rule: Think of the train as an extension of your home.
This is probably the core of almost all of the other rules. You’ve paid for this train journey, so you deserve to put your feet up and make yourself at home
Getting on and off the train:
1. The doors
When the train arrives and you wish to get on, it makes sense to position yourself square in front of the nearest set of train doors. Other passengers may wish to alight, but they’ll doubtless find your enthusiasm for the train they’re desperately trying to leave endearing.
2. Have a seat
Once you have managed to fight your way past the passengers getting off the train, make sure you sort out your bags and remove any extra layers of clothing you might wish to before you get settled into your seat. There’ll be no time for all that once you’re underway.
Luggage is best kept within reach and thankfully each train seat comes with a seat-shaped table for storage of personal belongings. If you have a lot of luggage, it can be haphazardly tossed into the racks at the ends of the carriage as you get on the train.
If the train becomes rather busy, make sure you have something to put on the seat-shaped table next to your seat, lest a newcomer to train travel come along and mistake the table for a spare seat.
5. Tables and four seater areas
The middle of some carriages have extra tables and seat-shaped tables for the lucky lone traveller who gets there first.
6. Music and video
Some passengers may have forgotten to bring a personal music or video playing device along for the trip, or worse, be too poor to afford one of their own. They’ll doubtlessly be delighted should you choose to share your own music, or even better the sound from a video over a loudspeaker.
7. Going to the game
Travelling on the train to football matches is a popular way for many individuals who usually travel by car to spectate at sporting events and also indulge in alcohol. It is only natural that other passengers will be curious about your team allegiance. Loud, inappropriate bellowing will serve to enlighten your curious fellow travellers.
Other train passengers may not have children of their own and will undoubtedly appreciate the opportunity to experience parenthood as you sit back and let your children climb over them and fight with each other in the aisles. Likewise, nothing helps drown out that nasty engine noise quite as well as four hours of a baby crying whilst being ignored by his or her parent.
Should your train run out of seating space, you may have to stand. To make the best of a bad situation, standing passengers squash into the ends of the carriages to form impromptu mosh pits. Standing in the aisles of the carriage is seen as a sign of weakness.
In the station:
10. Ticket barriers
Larger stations have automated ticket barriers, which have robbed many people of their jobs as station staff. naturally passengers are against this and in solidarity shun the many automated ticket barriers in favour of everyone entering and exiting the station through the same solitary staffed barrier which was intended for use by passengers with wheelchairs/crutches/prams/large luggage or bicycle. In addition to this, many passengers express their preference for human staff by asking this lone barrier attendant for timetabling information which is readily available on the many automated screens.
Whilst smoking in stations is banned in the UK, but no-one minds really. Some of your fellow passengers may be too poor to afford smokes anymore and will doubtless appreciate your second hand smoke taking them back to a happier time.
I hope this guide can help those new to train travel to fit right in on Britain’s trains