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Some behaviour on trains just sends me off the rails

Washed Up, by Sarah Juggins, Tuesday, November 12, 2019

An ongoing discussion I am having with fellow passengers on the King’s Lynn to London line regards what is appropriate behaviour on the train.

The group, who discuss these important matters on various social media channels, have unanimously drawn the line at nose-picking, coughing without covering mouths and relieving an itch inappropriately.

Washed Up, by Sarah Juggins, Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Washed Up, by Sarah Juggins, Tuesday, November 12, 2019

We have now moved onto the thorny issues of whether eating, personal hygiene and putting feet on chairs is acceptable while on the train.

The last of these rarely presents an issue as the train is usually so full that the floor is the only place feet can go. If, however, someone is lucky enough to be on a quieter journey, then the overwhelming opinion is that feet on seats is just not nice.

At worst, the feet are encased in shoes that have, in all likelihood, trodden in something unpleasant. At best, reclining across seats with your feet up is too Rees-Moggish to be acceptable.

The issue of personal presentation is more difficult. Watching someone carefully applying make-up, only to see all the hard work undone as the train swerves is a source of real entertainment for many a bored commuter.

However, I recently watched in horror as a women carefully filed her nails totally unaware that the nail filings were gathering in a fine dust on the trousers of the man sitting next to her. In true English style, he said nothing, merely brushing the dust from his suit as he left the train.

I think the rule of thumb in this instance is that personal hygiene is called ‘personal’ for a reason – no-one else should have to witness or experience it.

Eating on trains is the hot topic at the moment as there is movement afoot to ban eating on trains because of the obesity epidemic threatening children.

I don’t think that completely marries up. Firstly, our trains may be overcrowded but they are not packed with children stuffing their faces with burgers and chocolate.

Aside from the school-time rush in the morning and early evening, not that many children are regular commuters. The obesity epidemic might be better served by giving physical activity higher value on the school curriculum – but that’s for another column.

A better argument is the antisocial nature of eating on the train. I’m thinking about the stench of fried chicken in a hot, packed carriage; the slurp of someone eating sloppy noodles in close proximity; the continuous crunch of a giant sized packet of crisps.

The rule of thumb, like in all other aspects of our lives, should surely be to take into consideration other people around you?

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