Quiet Carriage 101: What You Should And Shouldn’t Do

Quiet Carriage 101: What You Should And Shouldn’t Do

CityRail explains the ins-and-outs of quiet carriages — including how to deal with rowdy commuters, abusive peacekeepers and whether it’s acceptable to eat a bag of crisps.

Zipper picture from Shutterstock

Earlier in the week, we kicked up a bit of a hornet’s nest by suggesting silence isn’t always golden when it comes to travelling on CityRail’s quiet carriages. To cut a long story short, I took an emergency call from my pregnant, about-to-explode wife and copped a tirade of abuse from a fellow commuter.

On reflection, I was probably in the wrong, but how far should you go when a traveler bends the rules? Is there such a thing as taking peacekeeping too far?

We spoke to a CityRail spokesperson about the main things you should be aware of when travelling in a quiet carriage: including how to handle unwarranted abuse from other travelers.

What is expected of commuters in quiet carriages?

“In quiet carriages, customers are asked to respect the peace and quiet by refraining from loud conversations, using mobile phones or playing loud music.”

Are the rules enforced in any way?

“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.

“Customers are reminded by rail staff to place mobile phones on silent, move carriages to have a conversation with a fellow passenger, and use headphones with mobile devices.”

How can commuters be sure that they’re in the right carriage?

“The first and last carriages of all six and eight carriage trains and the last carriage of four carriage trains on the line are designated quiet carriages.

“Regular announcements on trains and stations and station signage remind passengers of the quiet carriages. The new OSCAR trains feature digital voice announcements and scrolling electronic messages to also remind passengers.”

What should you do if a commuter abuses you for talking (or abuses you in response to being shushed at)?

“If any customer feels uncomfortable while travelling, they should move to another carriage. On newer trains customers can access Emergency Help Points linked to CCTV cameras and intercoms which allow them to talk to the guard.

“If there are no Emergency Help Points on the train, customers should call 000 and police will alert our Rail Security Control Centre. Customers should report serious incidents to police.”

What has the feedback been like?

“Customer feedback on quiet carriages has been positive. Nearly 90 per cent of respondents to a Transport for NSW survey on the quiet carriages trial said travelling in quiet carriages had improved their overall travel experience.”

Finally, should we be mindful of eating crunchy foods, like chips?

“CityRail guidelines on eating or drinking are as stands on the FAQs section of our website.”

So there you have it. While talking and listening to music are specific no-nos, it seems that you’re allowed to eat as loudly and obnoxiously as you want. Go figure.

You can leave your feedback on the quiet carriages by calling 131500 or visiting the CityRail website.


  • “The first and last carriages of all six and eight carriage trains and the last carriage of four carriage trains on the line are designated quiet carriages.”

    The problem is, the Newcastle line becomes the Epping line, so you have to magically know the point of origin for cit bound services to know it has a quiet carriage.

      • Well… yes. If you go and kick a hornet’s nest, all the hornets start to attack you. The hornets are all in agreement that the original kicker was in the wrong.

        So, yes, it’s a very apt analogy that a hornets nest was kicked up last week

  • “Regular announcements on trains”

    Hahahaha! Have you been on anything but the newest trains lately? If it’s no dropping out, it’s a mumble, or completely incomprehensible. And that’s assuming that there are announcements at all!

    Signage should be attached to every window (just above the sil) which states “Quiet carriage – please refane from loud noises and take phone calls in an adjacent carriage”.

  • I see your now trying to upgrade someone giving you a bit of lip for being a rude passenger into “Oh I’m such a victim, this person HURLED ABUSE at me on the train”. Your responsibility dodging skills are up there with the best!

      • Nowhere in this article does Chris state he is talking about Sydney. The portion of the audience reading this who are not in Sydney are left to wonder what he is talking about. Watch and/or listen to the ABC enough from outside of Sydney and you’d be amazed how much this happens.

        • Well, the first word of the article was ‘Cityrail’, which is Sydney’s rail operator. The name seems to be pretty ubiquitous in my experience, but adding the word ‘Sydney’s’ in front could have been clearer, I suppose. It’s not just a Sydney thing though, they do it on a lot of articles, particularly things like ‘there’s an update to SoftwareX that does this!’ without even a link or brief description on what SoftwareX actually is, for those who aren’t familiar with it.

          Then again, they probably assume we’ll just google what we don’t understand anyway =)

          • If I’ve never been to Sydney how would I know their rail operator is named Cityrail? Yes, Sydney is in Australia, but it’s not the whole of Australia. People who live in Sydney tend to forget this fairly regularly.

          • It’s hardly the arrogance you suggest and you’re not doing yourself any favours by showing pettiness about what people in Sydney think. Cityrail is mentioned reasonably often in national news and national newspapers, which tend to have fairly wide coverage when all their local brands are taken into account.

  • The whole quiet carriage thing is utter bs, the noise levels in each carriage are essentially the same. The only reason people sit in the quiet carriage is because it’s close to the touch off machine. The only people who care about this quiet carriage are grumpy old people.

    • The next serious signal failure should sort out the grumpiness, one train at a time. Front and rear carriages are always the first to bear the impact of such failures.

      At least we are “quiet” grumpy old people – we have earned the right to be grumpy, so sarc off!

    • Yep. If not wanting to be forced to listen to your ‘bs’ phone calls and conversations for one second makes me grumpy so be it. You are erroneously assuming others are obligated to suffer even the most minor exposure to the banalities of YOUR life’s ‘bs’.

  • I guess the writers “emergency” phone call makes them far more important than anybody else in the carriage and that’s why they seem to think they are exempt.

    A reflection of today’s self absorbed culture where no-one else matters except yourself!

  • I’m still on his side. I’m happy for him to say technically wrong – definitely wasn’t meant to be talking and I get why people were cheesed but it is still a newish trial, carriages aren’t marked, there aren’t always announcements – this unfortunately simply means that mistakes like this happen. You can let people know nicely they aren’t meant to be talking, but abusing someone on the way out is very different and not justified at all.

    If you are going to abuse someone for talking when they were unaware, I think have foregone your right to the quiet passage. You have shown that quietness, manners and respect don’t matter to you after all and that really you are just a jerk who can’t show any compassion or mercy. Anyone can make a mistake, being a jerk is up to you though.

    Stay strong Chris.

    • I’ve never heard of the concept of a ‘quiet carriage’ and if anyone randomly told me to be quiet I’d tell them to politely go jump. But besides that the fact is when your about-to-explode preggers wife calls you in an emergency, you take the call. The dude was absolutely not in the wrong and screw anyone that can’t see past their own entitlement. When shit goes down you can’t fault a guy for acting. I fully expect if any one of those other passengers got an emergency phone call they’d take it too. He should have said something scathing like ‘It was a call from the police, my wife and kids have been found dead and mutilated.’ That’d shut the whiners up for the rest of the trip.

  • I would like to let everyone know that they are ‘quiet carriages’. Not bloody ‘Silent carriages’.
    I had a visitor from Qld who had intermittent comments to make about the scenery on the Newcastle line in a whisper to be polite and I answered her in the same vane respecting the ‘quiet’ train requirement but apparently some morons can’t help themselves and started abusing us in full voice. Glory hunters? One idiot actually opened his eyes right up in a stare down and leaned toward me in a threatening manner. One lady bent over to us before departing the train and apologised to us for the behaviour of the others but said she was too frightened to voice her opinion when the incident occurred as she was scared of the persons bearing as he was standing right next to her seat.
    Have a nice day (to all the righteous arseholes that travel on Sydney Trains). You are an embarrassment to commuters who are visiting NSW and many other travelers.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!