From: Martin Powell, Woodkirk Green, Barnsley.
Are you one of those people who regard a train journey as an opportunity to sit back, relax and read a book or a paper? To engage in an interesting conversation or just look out of the window and let stress fade away?
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Well, those days are over. Instead, prepare for an assault on your senses, expect to be mentally degraded and subjected to tedious repetitions as Tannoy message after Tannoy message beats into your mind as if it cannot think for itself.
If you board in a station and the train broadcast system is switched on then you may hear a constant stream of warnings to keep on your toes and look out for suspect luggage, to be ready to inform the police and which phone number to ring.
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Then there are messages advising you to make sure that when you leave the train to remember to take your possessions with you! Or you might hear of which station is the final destination for the train repeated over and over with every station to be visited called out. At every single stop you will be subjected to the same recording – to mind the gap between the train and the platform. Yes, honestly. You would not believe it.
Try not to end up grinding your teeth into dust or becoming one of those who are forced to leave the train in order to try and maintain their sanity. Or one who swears never to go by rail again, only to use the road despite this adding to air pollution. If you have tinnitus then the onslaught of noise can have you ending up in agony.
You might live in a democratic society where asking someone who is being loud, repetitive or irritating to quieten down is your right, but that does not exist on the railway. There is no let-up. Someone, somewhere has decided to force this upon you.
In an era when schools are winning awards from enlightened inspectors for encouraging children to think for themselves, their mums and dads and uncles, aunts and grandparents are being treated in exactly the opposite way by the railway companies.
Non-enlightenment is now the endurance test that is included in the price of a train journey.