The noisy brigade should be off the rails

The launch of Greater Anglia's railway library. Photo: Greater Anglia

The launch of Greater Anglia's railway library. Photo: Greater Anglia - Credit: Greater Anglia

Greater Anglia's library scheme is a lovely idea, says Keith Skipper. If only the noisy folk in its carriages would take heed.

As a dedicated rail traveller and voracious reader, I admire the motives behind Greater Anglia's scheme to introduce a new library service on some of their branch lines.

More than 300 volumes have been donated by the public along with bookcases for the stations at Norwich, Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth and Read'em … sorry, I mean Reedham.

It's an idea aimed at readers of all ages with the hope of extending page-turners eventually to other lines in the region. Passengers will be welcome to borrow a book and then return it to the shelves at any participating station.

No mention yet of any fines for lost or overdue items or any damage caused in a lather of excitement as the plot thickens just before your destination is reached. The number of travellers likely to use their tickets as bookmarks and then forget where they've put them must also be borne in mind.

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After too many years of suffering dreadful interference on the line between Cromer and Norwich while trying to read, I fear fresh converts to one of life's deepest joys may well be forced to shelve the idea of turning over a new leaf.

There seems no reasonable way of bringing the ever-growing noisy brigade to book. They will continue to turn up the volume on mobile phones and other technological wonders used to inform anyone in hearing range what they intend to do with the rest of their banality-riddled lives.

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It's worse on my biannual trips to London. Even the 'Quiet Carriage' is turned into a hi-tech squat by commuters who clearly don't know where they should be working and mooching passengers who pretend they can't read obvious notices banning space invaders and other raucous equipment.

Yes, I wish the new library service well. But I can't see it opening a brave new chapter in restoring peace and goodwill to train travel. Too many passengers have one-track minds.

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