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?