Suffering in Silence

Has anybody else noticed how quiet people are on the trains in the morning? Even under provocation. Take today when SWT, possibly channeling the departed spirit of Silverlink, decided to cancel my usual train. No cry of rage or despair greeted this announcement, not so much as a mutter went up from the waiting crowd. Once on the train, we pulled into Clapham Junction where the passengers were waiting five-deep, and people just clambered on in silence. At Wandsworth Town there was a single cry of ‘can you move down a bit,’ which was greeted by a short burst of ironic, slightly hysterical laughter from the unfortunates jammed into the aisles. There was a single announcement from the guard (‘Next station is Wandsworth Town’ as we pulled into Putney) and the usual endless wittering of the tannoy, but other than that, we might as well all have been a party of deaf mutes en route to Marcel Marceau’s funeral, for all the noise we made.

In the evenings, things are a little livelier, but not much. I wonder if this is a London thing, or a British thing, or what? I feel certain that a platform full of Italians, say, or Brazilians, wouldn’t greet the announcement of a cancelled train with an inaudible sigh and a slightly more emphatic turn of the newspaper page. Or do commuters the world over tend to just suffer in silence?

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7 responses to “Suffering in Silence

  1. Pretty much the same down here in Wales, except we have to suffer all announcements in two languages – after which length of time everyone’s lost the enthusiasm for any comment, – or indeed the will to live.

  2. I think it might be a British thing – it’s similar in the bank too, our natwest regularly has queues that take half an hour to go down but yet there is barely a whisper about it out of people, who just shake their heads and look sick of it all. I like to think it’s because they’re all thinking “Come the revolution you will all swing for making us suffer like this!” but I suspect it’s just because we’ve learned that speaking up is pointless as it never gets you anywhere.

  3. Grunt – I wonder if ‘this service has been cancelled due to the late arrival of the incoming train’ sounds as weaselly in Welsh as it does in English…
    AMP – perhaps they’re all furiously blogging away in their heads?

  4. WHY won’t commuters strike? Or set fire to a couple of trains? 😦 I prefer the Italian way of doing it…even in India, (even if it is after being provoked/goaded by political parties) people will march or even rampage! It is a way of letting of steam AND getting the authorities to listen as well!

  5. There was a strike this summer I think but it was a ticket strike, rather than the sort where trains get torched … A spot of rampaging might not go amiss

  6. I think you could be on to something there, we should have some kind of url swapping in queue 😉

  7. bloggers of the world, unite …

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