It's 6.30pm and the Edinburgh train hasn't yet left Glasgow Queen Street station.
In fact, it hasn’t even arrived. Hundreds of passengers are waiting at the end of platform six, huddled together like cattle in the rain. As ScotRail in its infinite wisdom usually puts on only three carriages for this service, it’s clear some people will be standing on the journey home.
The train finally arrives and the rammy begins. Rule of Train Etiquette Number One: Allow Departing Passengers To Get Off First, is flagrantly ignored. Some people do alight, but then there’s a hiatus as someone inside the train puts on their jacket and the crowd surges forward. Students and pin-striped executives start streaming through the doors like soldiers breaching a line of defence, determined to get seats before they all fill up. Three departing passengers are pushed back into the vestibule by the press of bodies.
Then Rule of Train Etiquette Number Two is outrageously flouted by a man in a suit. He sits down in an aisle seat, hemming in an empty window seat, which he plants his bag on like a flag. It’s an old tactic, designed to make it difficult for others to sit next to you, but patently absurd on a train as busy as this. How selfish can you get? Thirty seconds later, another man comes up and asks him to move his stuff, which he is obliged to do, of course. Gee, what a surprise.
Other Rules of Train Etiquette: Do Not Play Music, Do Not Get Drunk, Do Not Have Sweary Conversations Everyone Can Hear On Your Mobile. Just common sense, really, but the difference between a relaxing journey and a form of torture.
Where everyone behaves, a train journey can be positively therapeutic, a short break from being busy. You can catch up on sleep, do a crossword or have text conversations with friends (silently, of course). Train etiquette: a little bit goes a long way.
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