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Old 24.10.2018, 10:24
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Working on the train: tips and tricks

I spend a long time on the train these days - and I'm going to be spending even longer on the train from the new year (about five hours a day).

I don't mind a long commute - stick in the headphones, look at the mountains, drool on the window - but home commitments mean that I need to start using my time more efficiently. To put it simply, I'm going to have to work on the train.

Has anyone got any tips or tricks? Anything short of an upgrade to first class, which ain't happening. Do you use a laptop? A tablet? How do you handle paper documents? What do you do when the train is packed out?

Quite honestly, I don't fancy the idea at all, but I can't just piss away a fifth of my life* and not do something useful with the time.

All tips gratefully received.

*please ignore my post count
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Old 24.10.2018, 10:27
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

If it has a restaurant, use the tables there. particularly the one next to the door (annoying, I know) as it has a power outlet.
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Old 24.10.2018, 10:28
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

Get a good pair of noise cancelling headphones.

Oh and perhaps a privacy screen if you don't want the world to know what you're watching...
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Old 24.10.2018, 10:44
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

If you're going to invest into a laptop, consider a smaller (maybe 13") with touch function (like the Surface).

SBB will have wifi on 2019, so don't worry having 4G connectivity on the laptop. You could create a hotspot on your mobile anyway...

Get a mobile plan with high/unlimited 4G traffic (in case 2019's SBB WIFI sucks).

A Powerbank could also be useful in case the train is too full and/or power-outlets aren't avalible.

Last edited by Th3Alchemist; 24.10.2018 at 10:55.
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Old 24.10.2018, 12:43
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

I use a Microsoft Surface Pro which has a very good battery life - I get 8 hours from mine. Couple this with a hotspot from your phone when you need internet and that's really all you need.

One nice feature of the Surface charger is it has a seperate USB port so you can keep your phone charged (assuming you have a power point of course) while using the internet/hotspot.
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Old 24.10.2018, 12:57
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

Check out how packed the train is on your route and at the time you'd be travelling, too. If it's rammed, you are going to find it difficult to work.

Also, is there no chance your new place will stretch to making up the difference to a First Class abo? If they know you are trying to work on your commute they might be willing?
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Old 24.10.2018, 13:03
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

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A Powerbank could also be useful in case the train is too full and/or power-outlets aren't avalible.
This, and I used to commute on the train in the UK with a mate who's a graphic designer. He had a really lightweight folding laptop table similar to this, with a cup holder clipped onto the side for his evening 'train beer'. It also had 3 holsters along the top edge for his phone, power bank, etc. Proper little office on the go.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01A81FBQS...9-d56d64501878
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Old 24.10.2018, 13:16
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

Hi,

my commute is only an hour between Basel and Zurich and so I usually work in the restaurant.

I have started using a Surface go, due to being so light but still offering me a full operating system. I have the 8GB model and type cover. It has proved to me one of my best purchases ever. I can use a powerbank with a usb c connector if I run out of power. I means I do not need to carry a large heavy laptop bag. I used my phone as the modem.

Have fun
Martin
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Old 24.10.2018, 14:26
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

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Hi,

my commute is only an hour between Basel and Zurich and so I usually work in the restaurant.
Can you do those BLT sandwiches like they used to do on British Rail?
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Old 24.10.2018, 14:56
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

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*please ignore my post count
LOL. If we dont come up with a solution here, its going to go up significantly.

Use it as a time to do all that nonesense, that we all leave to the last minute to do, taxes, bills, reconnecting with long forgotten friends, etc. Or practice your Schweizer Deutsch on any and all people in the vicinty of your chosen seat.

But if its work related, I can only suggest you dont sit in the family carriage.
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Old 24.10.2018, 15:31
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

Thanks for all the advice!

Unfortunately, first class is not an option, nor is using the time for self-improvement - if I don't work on the train, I simply won't be able to get it done. Looks like I'll have to buy one of the recommended gadgets and somehow get on with it on a crowded train.

I'll admit that I'm not looking forward to it, but needs must.

Thanks again!
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Old 24.10.2018, 15:31
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

Forgive me if this doesn't apply, but for the sake of anyone else reading: One should check to see if privacy/data protection policies at work preclude working on the train.

OH's company specifically does. He is not allowed to work on the train for just that reason - overheard phone calls, the potential for digital spying, and of course the possibility of theft are all risks that the company has to consider.

One of the reasons why OH drives to work.

---

I, on the other hand, can indeed work on the train. I use an iPad Pro, the huge tablet, which gives me the most screen space to work on while still being easy to balance on my lap.

If I were to spring for first class, though, I'd go with my notebook. I much prefer a real keyboard if I am typing 'serious' stuff.

---

Also, some kind of earplugs or headphones - simply because I am too easily intrigued by listening to conversations around me that I find I stop working.

---

Oh, and something that would block EF would be useful. Waaaay too tempting to just check what's going on, just a peek, honestly... and then an hour later...

Good luck!
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Old 24.10.2018, 15:55
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

If your work allows flexible working, then makes sure you travel when the trains aren't full. My son commutes daily Basel to Zürich. He catches the very early morning train, so usually has no trouble working.
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Old 24.10.2018, 16:00
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

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If your work allows flexible working, then makes sure you travel when the trains aren't full. My son commutes daily Basel to Zürich. He catches the very early morning train, so usually has no trouble working.
I'll be catching the early train just to get to work on time (it's more than two hours away). The first 40 minutes are great, but by the time it hits canton ZH it becomes the regular commuter train. Fortunately, on the morning run I have the pick of the seats which might help a bit.

The journey home will be a zoo.

I wonder if the driver would mind sharing his cab?
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Old 24.10.2018, 16:23
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

My suggestion would be, provided you're taking an Intercity train, to pick a seat on the round sofa between the wagons on the second floor. There's a table there and a power outlet. On a full train you have significantly more space than in one of the usual quartet seats.
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Old 24.10.2018, 17:33
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

Wear (make it yourself, if need be) a waistjacket or bib with a lot of pockets, especially ones which are on your chest and not at your sides (and obviously also not in your trousers). Be disciplined about what you put where, always in the exactly the same place: phone, glasses, pen, pencil, eraser, small notebook, tissues, flat snack-pack, waterbottle, ticket, cable. That way, you can sit down and not have to unpack much except your laptop (or your book/journal), and get started immediately.

Wear an odd hat. I'm serious. If you make yourself look weird, people are less likely to choose to sit next to you (except, of course, in rush-hour, when they really need to). Also, I've found that a hat with a brim can reduce glare and also enable me to see my work more constantly, especially on routes with tunnels.
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Old 24.10.2018, 17:39
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

do you mean you want to earn extra money working on the train, try selling old newspapers, or sweets. Take a big flask of coffee and charge people for a cup.

Or stand infront of the toilet with an array of fragrances and spray then as the leave while holding a little silver tray.
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Old 24.10.2018, 17:52
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

If the Intercity or other fast train has no restaurant car check if there is a Bistro one. The Bistro is downstairs and upstairs there is seats with a table. Rather handy!

If you sit in a regular carriage and the train gets full dont chose the seats dirextly next to the stairs. They are more narrow than the regular ones after the "door" next to the sofa. And don't forget that the seat not at the window but inside the carriage has a table in the armrest. Better than the one at the window which you will have to share. Carriage 6 is usually a good one ☺
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Old 24.10.2018, 20:31
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

Depending on the time you travel and your route, you might be better off in 2nd class anyway. The Intercity between Bern and Zürich is packed like sardines between 4 and 6pm in 1st class.
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Old 24.10.2018, 20:48
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Re: Working on the train: tips and tricks

Or play a few Greek ballads on the bouzouki.

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do you mean you want to earn extra money working on the train, try selling old newspapers, or sweets. Take a big flask of coffee and charge people for a cup.

Or stand infront of the toilet with an array of fragrances and spray then as the leave while holding a little silver tray.
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