CrossCountry is putting an end to quiet coaches on long distance routes. And First Great Western is getting rid of them on its high-speed lines.
And so – that’s it. With a whimper, the train companies are capitulating to the bores, the show-offs and the thugs who have to shout their inadequacies down a mobile, while the rest of us try to read or look out of the window.
The excuse of the train companies is pathetic – that quiet carriages were producing rows between the thugs and the quiet ones. Well, that’s when they should have intervened on behalf of the quiet majority. That’s what they do on America’s Amtrak trains where the guards come into the quiet carriages and order the thugs to stop talking on their mobiles. It works.
Train travel used to be the loveliest way to get round this country. Wonderful views; a chance to read or catch up on some work. None of the wasted hours staring at the motorway ahead of you; none of the cattle-truck feel of modern air travel.
But the joy depended on silence. Without the silence, an end to joy.