Will Quiet Carriages For Sydney Commuters Work?

Will Quiet Carriages For Sydney Commuters Work?

From February 13, Sydney’s CityRail will be trialling “quiet carriages” on long distance commuter services, asking passengers in the first and last carriages to STFU and stop using their mobiles. It seems like a noble idea, but will it work?

The trial will run from February 13 to May 13, and will cover all services between Newcastle and Sydney, plus peak-hour services between Sydney’s North Shore and Wyong. On four-car trains, only the first carriage will be “quiet”; on larger trains, both the first and last will be zoned for silence.

Beyond some announcements on the trains that quiet carriages exist, CityRail won’t be actively policing the rules:

Quiet carriages are customer regulated. There are no penalties or consequences for not being quiet in a quiet carriage, but we encourage everyone to respect the peace and quiet and not to disturb other passengers. The success of this trial depends on all customers respecting their fellow passengers.

I suspect this will cause problems when passengers get on the train and find that they’re in a quiet carriage by mistake (especially if they race to catch a train at Central and end up in the last carriage). The only way many passengers will be aware of the “quiet carriages” is if they’re constantly reminded over the loudspeaker, and that partially negates their usefulness. Can you imagine this working?



  • These are already in Queensland.
    It certainly isn’t perfect, but people generally follow the rules.

    Additionally if gives you good grounds to ask people to shut up.

  • They have done this with QR first day i got on the train when this was happening i had no idea what was happening i thought people where being really rude to my and my friend trying to have a chat, telling us to be quite.

    I felt a bit sheepish when i got of the train and read the sign.

    For the most part it works now its a good idea i think, i personally don’t use it.

  • Only thing I don’t understand is the blanket ban on mobile phones. Loud conversations is reasonable, but what’s the difference between a quiet conversation with your neighbour and a quiet conversation on a phone?

  • Sadly, not everyone respects the quiet carriage on the Cleveland line, and often I have to remind people that they should talk softly and they continue shouting on the phone. Hopefully, one day, everyone will understand that not everyone wants to hear your latest story about any stupid subject that cannot wait like what the latest celebrity has said/done/etc.

  • If it means I finally get a place to sit when I go to and from work in supposed rush hours I’m all for it! But we all know that’s impossible in Sydney.
    What ever happened to that promise to update all trains to newer ones first?
    I guess they forgot, because I am still traveling in a tin can every day.

  • This post has it right – what sucks about this scheme in Brisbane is that you’re reminded every second minute that you’re in the quiet carriage. Otherwise, you get the occasional ignoranus who thinks it’s OK to talk loudly on a mobile in the quiet carriages, but we Brisbanites get all passive-aggressive and glare at them a lot.

  • when this first came into brisbane’s trains i remember the loud PA system reminding everyone they were in a quiet carriage every few minutes. giant face palm to the genius at QR who authorised that

  • My experience with the quiet cartridge on Brisbane Trains has been poor. People still talk away (loudly), still have the music turned up and phones continue to ring (I’ll admit this is less now). I never hear the PA talking about the Quiet Cartridge anymore.

    I always get the first or last cartridge of my train for the quiet (6 cartridge trains) and yet still get the same thing. I even saw a middle aged woman agrue with a police officer after the officer asked her to keep quiet because it’s a quiet cartridge. She wouldn’t stop going on about how she cannot be fined for being loud.

  • I do listen to my ipod on the train, and I also talk on my phone when I must make or receive an important call, but I try to do so quiety so as to minimise disturbance to my fellow passengers. I even use noise cancelling earphones to minimise that chance of other people having to listen to my music, to be honest I have somewhat daggy taste in music so the last thing I want is people overhearing what I’m listening to. Yes, I am annoyed when people make loud social calls or listen to loud music, but I try to recognise that it’s their right to do so; the train isn’t my office or my bedroom, it’s a shared social space and maybe I need to be a little less up tight. At present when I need to catch a connecting service I ride in the carriage that lets me out closest to the stairs at my destination, if I dont do so then I often get caught in the crowd, and sometimes that means that I miss the next service if its only a few minutes away. Trains only stop at my station every half hour, so its not as simple as catching an earlier service to ensure I’m on time, when I have a busy day I just do not have that extra half hour to spare. I dont want quiet carriages, and I won’t be supporting them by adhering, instead I will continue to ride in the carriage that is most convenient to me, albeit with my conversations at a minimum and my music at a considerate level, which I think is a much more sensible solution anyway.

    • “I even use noise cancelling earphones to minimise that chance of other people having to listen to my music,”

      doesn’t noise cancelling headphones minimise the amount of external ambient noise interfering with the sound you are listening to? *puzzled*

    • Yes It is their right to make phone calls, but I don’t think it’s right for them to make LOUD phone calls that can annoy other passengers inside that carriage.

        • Sorry, I meant that last reply to the comment above. I agree that its annoying when people make loud phone calls, but I also think that trying to make rules about what you can and cannot do will potentially inflame the issue. I suspect that (before people get bored with the whole issue and move on) some passengers will protest by disregarding the rules, and others who are already annoyed at some of these disturbances will experience even greater annoyance at the apparent disrespect. Some days I travel with my earphones in and no music playing, simply because it helps me feel a little detached from my surroundings or because I have switched my music off; it will be interesting to see how people react to the presence of my earphones even when there is no actual music to overhear. At any rate, I think a focus on respecting fellow passengers would be more useful than banning any particular behaviour.

          There needs to be a focus on respecting your fellow passenger, rather than

    • 100% agree

      I do my best to respect other users and tha means keeping my noise down.
      But also it means respecting some people need to take that call or are with friends and would like to chat.

      People are a bit rediculous when they expect the quiet carriage to be dead silent. Reality check people, it is PUBLIC TRANSPORT.

      The only thing that annoys me is music blaring from headphone (but i get over it quickly because i’m mature), and also when bogans get on and intimidate everyone else in the carriage.

      Other than that – they should put more effort into getting efficiency up and costs down and leave this kinda fluff to someone else.

  • I’ve always had pretty good luck with quiet carriages in Queensland. QR seem to have lowered the volume on the PA announcements in the quiet cars as well now. I like the idea.

    And while you can’t be fined for talking in the quiet carriage, if you annoy the cop enough, especially if you’re using bad language or being aggressive about the argument – they will pick you up for public nuisance if your behaviour interferes, or is likely to interfere with the peaceful passage through, or enjoyment of, a public place by a member of the public, which can be a thousand dollar fine or even a jail stint.

  • I wear headphones so I don’t have to listen to people’s conversations, phone calls, or music. I shall not be getting involved in any form of enforcing, but I shall watch and eat popcorn, and maybe leave the quite carriage if I happen to be in it when it esculates. I think our priorties are wrong when we are worried more about the sound in a train then we are about how packed they are in peak hour, how hot they are in summer, how inconvienant, and the cost to business when they are late. It’s a deflection, if we are upset at each other then real issues don’t matter as much.

  • These would be excellent in Adelaide where the Street Preachers have decided to go onto trains to ‘spread the word’. If the Street Preachers are only allowed on the middle carriages I certainly will be in the first and last carriages. So will everyone else though.

  • Just love travelling on Shinkansen in Japan where every carriage is a quiet carriage. It’s rude if your phone even rings. You have it on silent and when you get a vibrate/call, you have to go to the compartments at the end of the cars before you can talk. The atmosphere on board the trains? Great!
    Mind you, because of their ticketing system, everyone gets a seat (although there are usually one or 2 cars that are FCFS).

  • First of all, its only voluntary and only passenger enforced.
    So you’re quite within your rights to tell the ‘Quiet Nazi’s’ to stick there heads where the sun doesn’t shine.
    Also I have noticed, with QR anyway, that the quiet carriage posters and the announcements have started to dwindle into obscurity.. At best it was a PR exercise to misdirect people’s attention from fact the trains are always late, Every time there is an electrical storm the rail system ends in power outages and chaos, the trains are quite old although relatively clean ….now, carriages leak when it rains, the services aren’t regular enough and there aren’t enough tracks or stations…

    I don’t know about you but I’m not that easily placated… It’s going to take a hell of a lot more than a quiet carriage before I’m happy with the rail system…

  • Actually scratch the whole quiet carriage thing..
    I’m sure most people would agree that they should just hand out cans of Rexona to all those special stinky people who assault our senses on a daily basis…


  • I wish this applied to all public transport. Nothing put me in a worse mood on my morning journeys to Tafe than some berk blasting Solja Boy through a tinny mobile phone speaker.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!