End in sight for 'pointless' rail announcements?

Train passengers Rail passengers say they ignore announcements

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Is the end in sight for annoying, pointless announcements on trains?

Transport Minister Norman Baker is not the first to criticise the often pointless messages travellers are bombarded with on trains.

He said last week: "We don't need to be told we are in a quiet carriage. That is why we went there in the first place.

"I don't know why people are told to read the safety cards. I've never seen a passenger read one.

"Passengers are told they are on a non-smoking train, which seems pointless, as all trains in Britain are non-smoking."

Well, now it looks like the rail industry is taking action.

First Great Western (FGW) announced on Tuesday it is cutting some announcements including one which tells passengers they cannot smoke, the location of standard and first class seating and 'mind the gap' at stations (where there is no gap).

A survey, carried out by FGW showed most people actually blocked out the announcements and ignored them, deeming them irrelevant.

Mind the gap

FGW said: "One of the first to go will be "mind the gap" at every station stop, only to be said when it is appropriate at individual stations where the gap is greater than normal.

"Other announcements to be assigned to the railway siding in the sky include the scheduled arrival time at the final destination and "change here for connecting services to..."

"This will be enhanced by more relevant information on departure times and platform numbers rather than each and every connecting service. The research indicated that this is what customers value the most."

This probably won't be the last culling of the announcements as First Group, which runs FGW, also operates many of the UK's railways.

This should be an easy win for the Department for Transport as no-one will surely mourn the passing of pointless announcements?

Tom Edwards Article written by Tom Edwards Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

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  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    I would be glad to see the back of "Please ensure you take all your personal possessions with you" as whenever I travel by train, nearly all my personal possessions are in my house, so there's no chance of my complying with that directive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    'Station stop' is a good example of a phenomenon which has been called 'geek speak' - terms which are useful and important to people in the industry but should not be released upon the public.

    The logic probably goes that the next station may be one at which the train will not stop, and the next stop may be a halt for a signal so not at a station. 'Station stop' clarifies both, but is not useful

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Redundant English - such as 'station stop': get rid of it. But not 'Change here for...' - as that has a useful function. Not everyone on a train is a frequent traveller. And of course, that modern curse 'customers'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Timetable information can be given visually - there is no need to read it out loud, or for that matter to read the (sometimes very long) list of stops off verbatim. One minute before departure, simply announce:

    "This is the 19:24 all-stations stopping service to Cambridge. A faster service, stopping at principal stations only, is waiting in the opposite platform."

    That would have helped me...

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Here is an example of a hypothetical, helpful announcement - it is a combination of Japanese and Finnish practice:

    "We will shortly make a brief stop at Carlisle. The platform will be on the left side. Connecting trains to Barrow-in-Furness leave from platform 2; to Leeds and Newcastle from platforms 7 & 8; and to Dumfries from platform 5. The next stop after Carlisle will be Penrith."


Comments 5 of 9



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