Train operator C2C, master of the Shoeburyness line and spawn of National Express coaches, is to fit mobe-blocking film to train windows in an attempt to force passengers into respecting quiet zones.
The first carriage sporting the film is about to enter service as a trial run, and bold signs will inform passengers that their BlackBerrys won't operate and Wi-Fi will be blocked, unless they leave the carriage. If the trial proves successful then one carriage in four could be transformed into a Faraday cage on wheels.
Wrapping wireless devices in a conductive shell isn't a new way of blocking signals, and trains are already pretty effective at limiting reception. The metal body of a train won't let much of a signal through, so coating the windows with a conductive material will have a big impact on reception, if it doesn't block it completely.
The company is only trialling the technology, and is taking the opportunity to put enlarged signs up on all their "quiet" carriages in the hope that politeness will still prove effective. But if it doesn't, and no one dies as a result of being unable to make a mobile call, then expect to see tinted windows on quiet carriages everywhere.
Now if they could only find a way to automatically silence the children running up and down the aisle then technology would surely have solved the problems of civilisation. ®