Women-only compartments are a rather unusual sight in European trains, Source: Depositphotos

Slovak railways introduce women-only compartments

Slovak railways introduce women-only compartments

Another addition will be silent compartments in some of the express trains

ZSSK, the Slovak state railways, have decided to start this summer season with the announcement of new changes in the interior layouts of some of their trains, among other things. Perhaps the most intriguing among these is the introduction of ‘female-only compartments’ in certain express trains. In addition, there will also be ‘silent compartments’ in some of the same express trains.

The new additions were announced on Sunday although it is not very clear what prompted the management of ZSSK to introduce these types of compartments.

Concretely speaking, the ladies’ compartments will also allow boys under the age of 10. These compartments are designated with a pictogram and found in 2nd class cars. They will be available on Select express trains (Ex 600 - 613, 621, 622, 623, 624, 626, 627).

Express trains 600 – 613 and 622 will also contain silent compartments for passengers who seek quiet surroundings and peace of mind when travelling. Likewise, these compartments will be indicated by a special pictogram, however, you will only find them in 1st class cars.

Additional services and benefits to passengers travelling in northern Slovakia will include cars with train cars with bicycle stands so that mountain bikers can access the region more easily and enjoy its natural charms.

Women-only compartments around the world

In many Asian countries, there is a long history of providing not only women's compartments but entire cars reserved specifically for that gender. These can be found both on subway systems in cities like Tokyo (first introduced in 1912), Taipei, and Teheran, and on national railway lines in Iran, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia. These can also be found in Egypt and Brazil.

The reason behind the introduction of these women-only compartments and coaches was in order to provide female passengers with better safety and to decrease cases of sexual harassment.

In Europe, however, these are not really part of the scenery on a continent crisscrossed by railway lines. Historically, they did exist in the UK, introduced as early as 1874 on London’s Metropolitan Railway as part of Victorian morality values at the time. A century later, however, they were phased out even if there have been occasional calls for their reintroduction.

A similar experiment ran in Germany on the Leipzig-to-Chemnitz regional train line in 2016, however, it was met with controversy by the public with descriptions that it was a “backward solution” and thus it was removed.



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