Northern railway staff reveal worst passenger habits 'of the few that affect the many' every day

Published on: Thursday, 2nd March 2023
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A Northern Rail Inspector at a station

Train crew and station staff have revealed the worst passenger habits 'of the few that affect the many' on Northern Rail's daily services.

The company, which runs services through Ilkeston Railway Station, said that the biggest bugbears range in scale from simple bad manners and those showing no consideration for other passengers to dangerous behaviour and criminal acts.

Actions making the list include:

  • People putting their feet, bags and pets on seats – feet and bags are an ‘old-school’ problem that prevent others from being able to sit down, but more recently, people encouraging their dogs (in particular) onto seats presents a hygiene problem and/or worse for people with severe allergies
  • Playing music through loudspeakers instead of using headphones.
  • Vaping on-board – just like cigarettes, this is not allowed on-board trains in England and hasn't been since 2014.
  • People who leave their rubbish behind – Northern employs 500 train presentation officers but putting your rubbish in the bins provided will allow them to focus on the tougher elements of train cleanliness 
  • People sitting in priority seats that don’t give way to fellow passengers who are more in-need – not all disabilities are visible. 
  • Making contact with the train (knocking on windows etc) as it’s about to depart - this represents a serious safety risk, particularly if the person is under the influence of alcohol
  • People not giving way to passengers getting off the train before trying to board – this is a simple action that will make the process easier and quicker for all
  • Fare evading – conductors and revenue officers have seen it all before (and heard every excuse); passengers have a duty to buy a ticket before they travel.

The list has been released to coincide with Employee Appreciation Day which was held on Friday 3rd March.

Tricia Williams, chief operating officer at Northern, said: “We welcome around one million customers on-board our trains each and every day and the overwhelming majority are polite, considerate and respectful of others.

"However, it's no wonder given the numbers involved that our train crew and station staff encounter the occasional bad-mannered individual from time to time. What doesn’t surprise me is that the things that bug my colleagues are those which have a negative impact on other customers. They have our customers’ backs.

“To anyone guilty of any of the ‘traits’ included in this list, I would ask you to think of others when using our services. I know my team would appreciate it.”

Northern provides training to enable and empower its workforce to positively engage with customers when faced with disruption and conflict. The programme has already been delivered to 1,300 employees across the North of England, with a further 1,500 people to undergo the training this year.

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