Monday, 17 March 2008

An answer from the polite police

A little while ago I asked a question about etiquette on train journeys.

I had e-mailed Debrett's for advice. I thought I should share their response with you.

"Hello Ann

Sorry not to reply sooner, I have been out of the office.

Your query about behaviour on trains is very interesting. I’m afraid we do not offer specific advice on how to deal with such a situation but I would advise saying a cheery “I’ll give us both a bit more room” or similar before moving if you are worried about offending.

We do, however, give more general advice for how to behave on trains (please see below).

Kind regards


Rail travel etiquette

Respect fellow passengers and use your mobile phone with discretion and common sense. Conducting loud, lengthy conversations in close proximity to others is not fair on them. If you do receive a call that you must take keep it brief and monitor your volume. Some trains have ‘quiet zones’ and you should respect these by turning your phone to silent and leaving the carriage if you receive a call.

Seats should always be given up for elderly people, regardless of sex, and pregnant women. Never take up more than one seat, whether with bags, feet or other items. This is particularly important on crowded trains.

If someone is trying to engage you in conversation and you do not want to join in there are subtle signals you can employ without being rude. Give brief answers and smile politely before returning to your reading/listening to music etc. and becoming absorbed."

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