“Nostalgia is the handmaiden of etiquette…

Above: on outside wall of Waterloo Station.

Jay Sennett wrote in the Gentleman’s Gazette of 4.8.14:

…While we have little control over other people’s behavior, we can and do control our own behavior and our reactions to any situation. Looking after yourself while traveling will make any journey – whether around the world or to work – less stressful and more pleasurable.

1. Get You to the Station on Time

Whether printed on your ticket or in white on your hand-held device, train companies world wide go to great lengths to keep their schedules updated, please be on time.

2. Arrive at the Station With Time to Spare

Armed with your departure time, an arrival well-ahead of schedule lets you flaneur through the grandeur of Grand Central Station in New York City or King’s Cross St. Pancras in London.

Keep your head up and eyes ahead. Save the phone/tablet reading for the waiting area or the train ride. Stay to the right on escalators. Let your less organized brethren run up the stairs two at a time. If you will be traveling with several large bags (or a smart-car sized baby stroller), use the elevator. In older stations, elevators may be off the main pedestrian areas. Since you’ve arrived to the station early, you will have plenty of time to find them.

You may also be required to go through a simplified form of customs and baggage security. You are not worried, though. You have arrived early and have time to wait your turn in line, calmly and with a smile.

3. The Time to Watch That Cat Video

Pay attention while on the the train platform. Depending on the time of day and depending on how many trains arrive and depart a particular station and depending on how many delays have occurred prior to your departure, your train may arrive and depart in mere minutes.

“Oh, I missed my train because of this awesome cat video,” will not get you any sympathy.

4. Keep the Trains Beautiful (and the Tracks Safe)

By all means, enjoy that newspaper or magazine you have been itching to read. Have one or three bags of (gummy bears you purchased in Berlin. Just gather up all the trash and throw it away when you are done.

If you cannot wait and must disgorge all the bears from one bag while on the platform, throw the bag away or take it with you on the train. Trash on the tracks can cause fires and delays; and depending on where you are and how easily other passengers point to you as the culprit and how inclined the police are to detaining you, you might end up missing more than just your train.

Trash your trash.

5. Seats Are For People

Put your baggage in the luggage area found in every train car or put the bag under the seat if it fits. The seat across from or next to you is not for your stuff nor is the aisle. The same is true for your feet – don’t rest them on other chairs.

6. Use Your Inside Voice

Voices rise in a train with the high pitch whine. Lean towards the person you are conversing with. You may feel awkward at your proximity but the rest of the car will be spared, and gratefully so.

7. Your Personal Music and Food Tastes are Not for the Public

Smelly food is a top annoyance in the office. Not surprisingly, it is on trains, too. In those tiny rectangles clackety-clacking through space, your kimchi, stinky tofu or Vieux-Boulogne Cheese may call to you like a siren’s song. Resist!

Save those odors for more private or more expansive spaces, that also means you should keep your shoes on.

Music is no different. One person’s harmony is another person’s cacophony. Do not think for a moment those headphones make it all okay. While wearing them, if you have to raise your voice to answer a question, the volume is too high. So high in fact, people around you can hear your music (or cat videos or whatever).

An International Transportation Don’t

Whether on a train, a plane, bus or subway, forego getting cockeyed. Even less than your stinky foods and loud music, other passengers do not want your drool. Moderation is the key.

You know how much is too much. Stop just before that point or even a little bit before that.”

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