Train etiquette | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Etiquette in Trains – Progress Reports from 1878 and 1929

The etiquette (and lack of it) on trains is one of The British Newspaper Archive team’s all-time favourite subjects.

Truly, if discussing the behaviour of people on trains were an Olympic event, we’re confident we would stand a fair chance of winning a medal.

Just why do people sit in the aisle seat, and place all their belongings in the seat by the window? Why don’t they use the luggage rack for their bags, etc? And when you politely ask, ‘Excuse me, is this seat taken’?, what’s with the weary and long-suffering look of resignation, as they grudgingly move their belongings from the vacant seat? I mean, it’s not some Herculan task! Tsk and grr.

But judging by these splendid newspaper reports from 1878 and 1929, it seems that poor behaviour on trains has long been a thorny issue for passengers in the UK – and elsewhere, too, we imagine.


Chelmsford Chronicle | 30 January 1925


Alnwick Mercury | 28 September 1878


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