UK train operator C2C has taken the neat step of actually enforcing its "quiet zone" train carriages with a system than blocks cellphone signals. It's a technique borrowed from the defense industry where a transparent conductive film is placed over windows to stop electronic signals from sensitive equipment "leaking" out (it's dubbed TEMPEST). Basically C2C is turning the quiet carriages into Faraday cages so you won't be bothered by undesired cellphone chatter, and thus creating little zones of sanity in our otherwise loud and electronically cluttered lives. And in case you think there'd still be that irritating high-pitch chittering from iPod headphones—there isn't: MP3 players are banned. [DailyMail via Newlaunches]
I'm guessing the "I can't call 911 if I need to" argument goes out the window b/c there's no reception underground? As long as you have an emergency phone to the engineer, there's really no reason to have a phone. Also, IIRC, the Madrid bombing was triggered by cell phones, so this seems to have a dual purpose.