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Chat carriages

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Duke of York, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Something I picked up from a radio programme was a discussion about chat carriages. This follows a BBC inspired experiment being undertaken by Virgin trains, Transport for London, bus company Arriva, Greater Anglia, the Go Ahead Group and the National Express.


    How would you feel about this if it became the norm for strangers to start chatting to you? What would you want to chat to them about?

    Would you be able to understand a word of what a Glaswegian sitting next to you on a Virgin train was saying, because frankly, although I like Glaswegians, I struggle with the accent. It might be better to do it in writing.

    What if a complete stranger asked your opinion about Brexit?

    Would you prefer to stand in a crowded quiet carriage than sit in a chat carriage with plenty of seats?
  2. LondonCanary

    LondonCanary Lead commenter

    Whatever the topic, you just can't stop yourself from finding a reason to include it.
    nomad likes this.
  3. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Given that the nation has spent the last three years talking about little else, do you imagine it wouldn't be a topic that could crop up in a chat carriage?
  4. fraisier

    fraisier Occasional commenter

    I think it's a brilliant idea. I like my privacy but also like to chat to complete strangers so it's good if 1 or 2 carriages per train are designed to favour social interraction on trains. I have fond memories of my Interrailing through Europe in the 1980s in this sort of compartment: [​IMG]

    On a Rome-bound train (from Paris) once I befriended an Italian girl, whom I saw again in Italy and Paris, and an Italian-Scot, whom I saw again in Edinburgh, Milano and then Spain years later, we're still in sporadic touch. I also met a Mexican bloke whom I saw again in Mexico 10 yrs later and several Brits whom with I kept in touch. I have fond memories of buying a cooked chicken on a market 1 hour before taking a train to the south of France and sharing it with my fellow passengers in that sort of compartment above!

    Great convos, great memories, lots of laughter trying to speak foreign languages etc. and frankly it would get the young generation (and, sadly, increasingly the Oldies too) off their friggin' screens!
    bajan and smoothnewt like this.
  5. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Unfortunately I am a magnet for chatters, probably because I dont mind chatting and probably give off vibes to that effect. If it starts getting personal or in any way unpleasant - maybe 1% of the time ever - I say "Well it's been lovely talking to you but this is my stop", get off and get back on in a different carriage, one downstream of the restaurant or loo.

    I consider it a kind of mental exercise not to be drawn into arguments with nutters or total strangers with fixed opinions, an art I honed via my in-laws. You lot don't count. ;):eek::mad::D
  6. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    In some parts of the country people have always chatted and still do.
  7. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I normally chat to strangers on buses, in queues and on trains. Not, for some strange reason, on tubes. Perhaps it's the parallel layout of the bench seating in tubes that makes it more difficult.

    Usually about how awful public transport tends to be.
  8. fraisier

    fraisier Occasional commenter

    SNCF has had "social carriages" in some trains for a decade now, like this games space:


    but sadly, the old-fashioned compartments that used to foster social interraction, like in my #4, have all gone for a Burton AFAIK.

    SNCF has just launched an app (the "OUITalk app" I think it's called) where you can exchange and talk to people on the same train, and for instance share tips on the destination city, ask for info or club together to share a taxi/an Uber on arrival, decide to have a drink together at the buffet car etc.

    I really think there is a dire need for this sort of thing, our society is increasingly individualistic, divided etc. (just what our politicians want us to be of course, divided!) and many train users wouldn't mind a different approach, cf this 2015 survey commissioned by SNCF:

    C'est sans doute l'une des surprenantes conclusions de l'étude commandée à Viavoice par la SNCF sur «les relations à bord des trains»: 65 % des clients du TGV sont attachés à la sociabilisation pendant leur trajet, explique Vincent Jullien, directeur conseil du cabinet Viavoice. Un tiers d'entre eux aimeraient entrer en relation avec les autres et n'osent pas faire le premier pas. Près de la moitié seraient prêts, mais ils se sentent découragés par les autres passagers.

    (in summary, a lot of people would welcome some form of socialisation on trains).
    sodalime likes this.
  9. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    How do you manage to distract them away from their phones?
  10. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    Yep I'm a serial bus/train chatter. I'll talk to anyone about pretty much anything. Always have, even as a child.
    But then I don't drive so public transport has been a huge part of my life.
  11. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

  12. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    We used lot of public transport when we were in Slovakia and found the locals wanted to chat to us as British visitors were so rare and they wanted to practice their English.
  13. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    Another of those HR/PR department ‘innovations’ that make ordinary people feel nauseous.

    Virgin would be much better off trying to solve the much smaller problems they have, before trying to fix their invented societal ones. I am thinking of perhaps trains that run on time, decent customer service, and even if possible a real innovation of - enough seats for their passengers!!
    needabreak, primarycat and blazer like this.
  14. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    Got to wonder at the author of the Glasgow Live article though:
    Do you think this type of initiative would be a success in Glasgow?”

    No-one who visits Glasgow is ever likely to come away with the impression that people don’t talk to strangers! Engaging random people on random conversation is almost a Glaswegian obsession:D
    catmother likes this.
  15. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Fraisier, I'm not a big fan of those parallel carriages. When I lived in London, 79 - 81, I was dependent on public transport and had to take the train home after a night out. I'd been warned about never getting into an empty compartment because psychos wait on platforms to spot a woman alone in one; but several times, everyone got out and the nutter got in. You knew it straight off because in an empty carriage, they'd come and sit next to you. The aim of the game seemed to be to terrify without doing anything actually illegal.

    You can't get out or move once the train has left the platform unless onto the track. Within two years, I'd had to pull the communication cord and twice get out of the last train home before my stop and cough up gazillions for a taxi. The Police said it was common and advised against travelling at night, and I understand it's one of the main reasons they phased them out.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  16. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    I think I may just be the nutter on the bus...
    needabreak likes this.
  17. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    If people keep moving away when you're engaging them in chat, then yep, it's you!
    Lara mfl 05 and needabreak like this.
  18. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

  19. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

  20. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Oh that reminds me of the near hide and seek games on empty tube carriages as you pop on and off to avoid being the lone one with the potential axe murderer... grateful for dare I say it Uber these days. The night bus was no better in fact was far worse as you add alcohol and vomit into the mix of close proximity and bus that's running close to but still miles away from where you actually live.

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