Children in First Class on NSW TrainLink trains

 
  craigfitz1 Train Controller

Good evening Railpagers,

I obviously have too much time on my hands in starting this 'first world problems' thread, but here goes.......

I am a frequent traveller on the NSW Regional services, taking advantage of the very good-deal Discovery Pass, which I use a lot on my regular Newcastle-Sydney trips for family purposes. Plus the occasional other jaunt when I have time off from work. In general, despite the restricted number of departures each day, the XPT and Xplorer trains have a much more pleasant ambience than the regular interurban trains.

However, I have noticed more and more young children in the so-called 'premium' First class carriages. After a bit of discreet digging I have learnt that most, if not all, are travelling either for free or one dollar fares (with their accompanying adult paying normal fare).
As kids are wont to do, they are often noisy, running up and down aisles, crying/irritable etc. I notice adults around me sighing heavily, and casting the odd dirty look, but that's about all you can do.

I wonder about the wisdom of TrainLink promoting first class as a premium 'product (which is what their advertising says), when they virtually give away first class tickets to kids. Let's face it, a one dollar fare is basically giving them away. Would an airline sell their business class seats for one dollar? I don't think so.

So, is it time for NSW Trainlink to either restrict their one dollar/free kids travel to just economy seats (and any parents wanting their kids to go first class can stump up for the appropriate fare)?

Alternatively, could they experiment with having a quiet carriage? (like they do on the regular interurban trains). Even some airlines are trialling kids-free zones. Of course such a quiet carriage would be difficult to have on smaller trains like the two car Moree or Griffith service.

TrainLink are in the planning phase for an all-new fleet. I would assume that as part of this they would be putting lots of things up for internal-discussion. How much they want to go after the full-fare paying adult market would presumably be part of this, and the role of any premium product they might want to offer.

Any parents on this forum with young kids may have a completely different perspective, especially if they routinely take their own tackers into first class. Perhaps I am just sliding into grumpy old man stage of life; in which case I need to get a grip and worry about something a tad more important in life.

By the way, the issue of taking kids into first or business class on airlines has been a lively topic for discussion on various forums for many years; but I am not so aware of rail-based discussions.


PS: On my most recent trip this week a particularly badly behaved family made me get out of the first class car and park myself in the almost empty economy carriage at the front of the train. The peace and quiet made it a great choice, and the fact that the seat didn't recline as much mattered not one bit. The staff made no comment. If they had, then I would have let them know why.

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  theanimal Chief Commissioner

As a retired Railway man, I am in possession of a first class pass, however serving railway people

also have first class passes and holiday passes.

Do not see how you could stop children in first class.

Do the airlines discriminate on the basis of age as you are proposing?
  viaprojects Train Controller




By the way, the issue of taking kids into first or business class on airlines has been a lively topic for discussion on various forums for many years; but I am not so aware of rail-based discussions.


.
craigfitz1



private vs public transport services is all up to staff and enforcement... as rail is nsw transport you don't have classes of transport on most services..
  steve_w_1990 Junior Train Controller

Location: Trying to fix something on the PTA Network
I think possibly having a "kids carriage" might help with this, especially on long journeys. It's very easy for kids to get bored on long journeys, and having something like a playground set up, might not only give the kids somewhere to run around without annoying others, but also may encourage people to travel more by train.

Ikea in Perth has a playground set up at their shopping center and, whilst the kids are off having fun, the parents can do some "retail therapy" without the danger of the kids running off and playing "hide and seek" and getting lost.

Bit of an armchair operators view, but for what its worth, I'll post this comment up and see what people think.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

I think possibly having a "kids carriage" might help with this, especially on long journeys. It's very easy for kids to get bored on long journeys, and having something like a playground set up, might not only give the kids somewhere to run around without annoying others, but also may encourage people to travel more by train.

Ikea in Perth has a playground set up at their shopping center and, whilst the kids are off having fun, the parents can do some "retail therapy" without the danger of the kids running off and playing "hide and seek" and getting lost.

Bit of an armchair operators view, but for what its worth, I'll post this comment up and see what people think.
steve_w_1990

most shopping centres have that setup but maybe it is not so safe on a moving train.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
If you're travelling on an Interurban, park yourself in a "Quiet Carriage".  Any noisy kids can then be quite legitimately be given the flick into another car.
  apw5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
If you're travelling on an Interurban, park yourself in a "Quiet Carriage".  Any noisy kids can then be quite legitimately be given the flick into another car.
Valvegear
Is the whole quiet carriage thing sort of rubbish?
  mikado5917 Beginner

I think possibly having a "kids carriage" might help with this, especially on long journeys. It's very easy for kids to get bored on long journeys, and having something like a playground set up, might not only give the kids somewhere to run around without annoying others, but also may encourage people to travel more by train.

Ikea in Perth has a playground set up at their shopping center and, whilst the kids are off having fun, the parents can do some "retail therapy" without the danger of the kids running off and playing "hide and seek" and getting lost.

Bit of an armchair operators view, but for what its worth, I'll post this comment up and see what people think.

most shopping centres have that setup but maybe it is not so safe on a moving train.
simstrain
Such carriages are provided with great success on Norwegian long-distance trains. We saw one in action on the morning Oslo-Bergen express. First-class cars in Scandinavia also often come with coffee dispensers and complimentary snack service to your seat.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

I think possibly having a "kids carriage" might help with this, especially on long journeys. It's very easy for kids to get bored on long journeys, and having something like a playground set up, might not only give the kids somewhere to run around without annoying others, but also may encourage people to travel more by train.

Ikea in Perth has a playground set up at their shopping center and, whilst the kids are off having fun, the parents can do some "retail therapy" without the danger of the kids running off and playing "hide and seek" and getting lost.

Bit of an armchair operators view, but for what its worth, I'll post this comment up and see what people think.
most shopping centres have that setup but maybe it is not so safe on a moving train.
simstrain
It is safe. Numerous intercity operators in Europe have them.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

I think possibly having a "kids carriage" might help with this, especially on long journeys. ...
steve_w_1990

I think we'd be better off with a pensioner's car.  

All the old self righteous fuddy duddies that were never children themselves, travelling on their $2.50 pensioner's concession fares can get together and complain about the the kids travelling in 1st, the kids in 2nd, the kids hogging the buffet queue, the kids on staff and collectively agree "the problem with the youth of today is they have no respect for their elders" - without disturbing anyone else.  

Smile.
  LesS Train Controller

Location: Behind the Camera
Several years ago travelling from Melbourne to Sydney a brat of a child continually misbehaved, making much noise and refusing entreaties from strangers to settle down. He was traveling with grandparents from Wagga Wagga to Sydney. They made not attempt to control him.

Something really does need to be done about this, also the problem of adults having noisy phone conversations. I have had the displeasure of women in particular having loud conversations for long periods disturbing everyone else in the carriage.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
If you're travelling on an Interurban, park yourself in a "Quiet Carriage".  Any noisy kids can then be quite legitimately be given the flick into another car.
Is the whole quiet carriage thing sort of rubbish?
apw5910
3 Sydney Trains staff were making a huge amount of noise in a QC once.  I got off the train and reminded them and they gave me some attitude about it.  I lodged a complaint and a GM customer service or something called me within the hour and got all the details I could remember.  im pretty sure those 3 got a black mark that day.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

with all these stories of misbehaving children I wonder why more people don't take the train.
  Big J Assistant Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
Several years ago travelling from Melbourne to Sydney a brat of a child continually misbehaved, making much noise and refusing entreaties from strangers to settle down. He was traveling with grandparents from Wagga Wagga to Sydney. They made not attempt to control him.

Something really does need to be done about this, also the problem of adults having noisy phone conversations. I have had the displeasure of women in particular having loud conversations for long periods disturbing everyone else in the carriage.
LesS
Totally understand, but unfortunately this is where society is at and is deemed acceptable by the majority.

It might be easier to have the tongue in cheek suggestion by djf01

As others said, if people have a ticket then they are entitled to use it. In terms of children's behaviour that is up to each parent/guardian and the case that you provided you might find that those kids might have bigger issues in their lives if grand parents were with them taking a train somewhere. It is probably an indicator of a bigger issue happening.

While it would $hit me too, the reality is that some compassion is probably warranted (and sounds like it was the case with the offers of help).

I imagine if they could afford to go by car with parents and be angelic they would have. Might have been a situation of no choice.
  ANR Assistant Commissioner

Children should get a sleeper cabin in the daylight hours to keep it sweet for those wishing to travel comfortably in First Class.

I once travelled from Perth to Sydney on the IP sit up class with my trusty Sony Walkman... Yes, it was years ago.

I saw all walks of life in that carriage....

A fleeing woman busted by her estranged spouse on the run with her young daughter to relatives in Melbourne... He boarded the train 2 mins before departure... "daddy!" the little girl said... He snatched her like a rag doll and walked off the train. The poor mother was distraught. She and her luggage disembarked in Kalgoorlie for a return to Perth....

Then there was the unbelievable bogan family with two loud kids. The parents were also loud, sitting in front of me in reverse facing seats until Kalgoorlie. "Get me outa here!" I thought...  While the Walkman blocked out their sound, I could still see the bogans being bogans... Dad and son punching one another on upper arms. Overnight, I saw underage parents get on the train. My thoughts were for the children... who were trailing in age, only by a handful of years. They got off in Adelaide to join the overland.

I met a travelling nurse who was out here from the UK on an adventure. She was very pleasant company. During the 2 hour stop, at broken hill, we hailed a cab and toured around the town and went up to the lookouts.

Then I met a lady from Tassie. She was telling me how she went from riches to rags running a successful boating business until she and her husband were dudded by a long time supplier. She shared her story with me... Yes devastated having happened just before retirement, but it wasn't going to define her life.

Then there were those loud publican type old women that boarded the train at broken hill. As we approached menindee, the dinner announcement was made on the pa  They only found out when people were carrying their meal packs through the carriage. " let's put our noses on, girls" they could be heard saying...

This for me was the trip of a lifetime, seeing all walks of life, the noise, yelling kids, bogan families get on and get off. Wouldnt swap it for anything...

The Walkman kept me sane at times. Admittedly, this was bogan sit up class. NSW trains should make first class a chargeable service to kids.

There is a swathe of mental disorders affecting kids these days e.g. autism, ADHD etc. Some of these kids have a lot to contend with, along with their carers. They could probably fill a couple of carriages on their own.
  craigfitz1 Train Controller

Thanks for the entertaining stories ANR.  Brought a smile and happy memories of my youth.
Yes, I also remember some trips in the economy seats on the IP back in the day, when any sort of train trip was a big adventure for me and I soaked up everything around me as just being part of the fun of it all. I can't imagine the current management of GSR wanting to go after that market again though!

The suggestion that a few folks have made of a kids' play area as apparently is done in some parts of Europe is interesting. But I somehow don't think NSW TrainLink would go for it. Like so many other things, they really do lack vision and anyway, they are ultimately are at the mercy of their political masters and the meagre resources they provide.

Also, TrainLink might ultimately claim that they have much bigger priorities, such as even getting trains on the track in the first place!
For example, the past 24 hours has been a horror show for their North Coast services, with last night's Casino to Sydney serviced being terminated in the middle of the night at Wauchope. Today's Sydney to Grafton service is cancelled, and the up Grafton service today also bustituted. And right at the start of school holidays when the trains would be heavily booked. Sitting on a bus all day or all night heaving with irritated and confined kids would not be  lot of fun for anyone (stressed parents included). All in all, a total PR disaster for TrainLink.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

The vast majority of bad behaviour I have seen on public transport has been from adults.

Deal with that first and then move on to minority of kids who cause problems, assuming that dealing with the adults first didn't simply cause the kids to follow the new standard.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
If you're travelling on an Interurban, park yourself in a "Quiet Carriage".  Any noisy kids can then be quite legitimately be given the flick into another car.
Is the whole quiet carriage thing sort of rubbish?
apw5910
Yep, sums it up pretty well. Quiet Cars on V/Line are the same, a "passenger driven initiative" and you take your life into your own hands sometimes asking people to adhere to the "rules".

BTW I use the Quiet carriage not because it is quiet but because on Up trips it is at the front of the train where I like to sit. I find it WAY more annoying when people talk or phones go off etc in this carriage than I do when in a normal carriage on Down trips. I think because it is so quiet in the first place.

Also a funny thing about quiet carriages, everyone seems to think that the rules are for everyone except themselves. One priceless trip from Castlemaine with a couple of other VGR volunteers we were told off by an old duck for talking too loudly (we weren't). I apologised and said that I didn't think we were too loud but would pipe down to which she replied "it must be something about men's voices".

15 minutes later her phone rang. Loudly. Panicked, she tried in vain to shut it off. Oh how we laughed. She had been such a sour old smeg that I spent the next 15 minutes exclaiming to my colleagues how it must feel to fall from such a high perch. Until they got sick of me and told me to shut up Laughing

BG
  Travelling Hooker Locomotive Fireman

Location: Follows the weather up and down the coast
Before you start on the kids perhaps we could address some of the behaviour by adults on trains in NSW, whether you are in monkey class or what passes for first class on Trainlink
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
I think possibly having a "kids carriage" might help with this, especially on long journeys. ...

I think we'd be better off with a pensioner's car.  

All the old self righteous fuddy duddies that were never children themselves, travelling on their $2.50 pensioner's concession fares can get together and complain about the the kids travelling in 1st, the kids in 2nd, the kids hogging the buffet queue, the kids on staff and collectively agree "the problem with the youth of today is they have no respect for their elders" - without disturbing anyone else.  

Smile.
djf01

Yep...that sounds like me.

I never had kids so never had to put up with their noise and having discipline them...nor the drain on my wallet etc....

So I have established my bonafides as a grumpy, over 60's old fart... Cool

I NEVER sit in a quiet V/Line car unless the train is packed with people standing along the aisle.

V/Line was a late starter with Quiet cars and I used to enjoy sitting in there and shooshing people, until I literally gave up as the Quiet car after a period of time ALWAYS has someone in there who thinks their conversation is SO IMPORTANT it has to be spread throughout the car...or they are just plain ignorant or they are bogans.

I agree, the sole conversation in a Quiet car is worse that white noise of an ordinary car and often the adjacent ordinary car is actually quieter that the Quiet car.

As its never policed and rarely mentioned in announcements I've decided to sit in non-Quiet cars and enjoy my journey with the low ambient white noise of quiet conversations and the noisy Air-con return ducts which are also a great white noise contributor.

First class in Victoria is not quite as bad because it's around $10.. per kid, per journey. Therefore it doesn't have the same problems as NSW.

Mike.
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Myself and the Mrs went on the RTM's farewell 44 class tour to Ulan and return on 1994?
In a compartment carriage with eight seats, all occupied. 4 blokes another fellow with a young boy, 8-10 perhaps.
Around West Ride, opened the window, listening to The Alcos, kid complains about the cold, window stayed open longer that I intended, didn't it. Kid keeps complaining, I'm going to blow me stack he said.
Made some reference to the Mrs about a little smart smeg, falling out the window. 4 blokes opposite all chuckled.
All this before Hornsby, it was a LONG day.

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