Great Western Coffee Shop

All across the Great Western territory => The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom => Topic started by: grahame on July 30, 2021, 03:01:51 pm



Title: Platform Announcements - are there too many?
Post by: grahame on July 30, 2021, 03:01:51 pm
Following on from an earlier poll about on train announcements at http://www.passenger.chat/25154 here's a similar one about on platform announcements.   I was at Evesham yesterday afternoon - an intermediate station on the Cotswold line , await a train to Worcestershire Parkway at 14:36.

From 13:50 to 14:30 ... there were 9 recorded announcements
* Penalty Fare scheme at this station
* Mind the Gap when you board
* If you see something that doesn't look right, see it, say it, sore Ted.(twice)
* To ensure prompt departure, train doors may be closed up to 40 seconds before departure
* Please do not leave your luggage unattended at any time. Unattended luggage may be destroyed.
* Travel with confidence. Please be respectful. Wear a face mask unless exempt.
* Platform 2 ... for 14:33 is the GWR Paddington train / calling at ... (twice)

The train announcement varied slightly between the two announcements - both long, though, and included most of:
- This is the train from Hereford
- The number of coaches
- Food and Drink availability
- Zones for cycles, disable, standard and first class
- Doors at extreme ends of train not available for public use

If you think there should be more, please post a follow up to say what you think is missing, or if it should be more of the same.

If you think there should be less, please post to say which should be removed or combined.


Title: Re: Platform Announcements - are there too many?
Post by: Witham Bobby on July 30, 2021, 03:49:19 pm
The days of either Reg Brimmell or Alan Harwood shouting "EEEEv-aaa-shummm" as a train rolled in being the only announcements of any kind at Evesham are long gone, sadly


Title: Re: Platform Announcements - are there too many?
Post by: IndustryInsider on July 30, 2021, 03:52:04 pm
It’s a difficult one, isn’t it?  All of that information is potentially either useful to know, but put them all together and it is either an unnecessary barrage on the eardrums or people tune out and don’t listen to them.

At least Evesham hasn’t got lifts, or no doubt that would feature in another message.

Personally I don’t find them quite as irritating as lengthy on-train announcements, but would prefer the information to be visual rather than audible in some of the above. cases.


Title: Re: Platform Announcements - are there too many?
Post by: eightonedee on July 30, 2021, 04:49:58 pm
Three comments here-

Firstly I think there are too many generic ones not relevant in terms of keeping the passenger informed about what's happening to his/her train. Abolishing these entirely and confining them to notives on separate boards that do not interfere with "real time" train information (instead of such irritating practices as when the platform train information disappears to be replaced by a message telling you they will be running a special timetable this Christmas just as you arrive at a point when you can read it) would be a good idea.

Secondly, it has been noticeable over the years how the level varies form day to day. For example at Reading there is one announcer with a distinctive voice who generally seems to take pains to keep passengers informed about problems, but when he's not on duty chaos can unfold without any additional information as to what's gone wrong, what the best information is about when it will be fixed and what the effect on expected trains might be (insofar as anyone at "Control" has deigned to favour us with such information) and what alternatives are available to those affected. Surely up to date relevant information like that given by our helpful friend at Reading should be the priority on the station sound systems. Better still, having a system whereby such information from "real people" can be relayed to all stations, instead of being a priviledge only for the largest stations.

Thirdly (on a lighter note) there was a phenomenon at Reading after the "new" station came into use whereby the specific announcements for two adjacent or close by platforms would be "let off" almost simultaneously at considerable volume so that nothing could be heard of either. Mercifully this became less frequent after a while, but is still not unkown (or at least was not when covid put an end to daily travle through Reading last year).


Title: Re: Platform Announcements - are there too many?
Post by: Reading General on July 31, 2021, 12:48:07 pm
Reading (general) could do without the additional Transport for London travel updates which I cannot see that would be of any use to those heading there, particularly as most will be checking this en route or hear the same upon arrival in the capital.

I guess it’s a case of ticking all boxes so people cannot suggest that they weren’t informed about ‘see it, say it, sorted’ and safety messages (because we’re no longer responsible for ourselves?) etc. With our modern marketing led, catchphrase culture these things are soon blanked out by those listening and actual information is lost amongst stuff that registers in the brain the same way a car alarm or neighbours barking dog would.

I would personally much prefer a station announcer and a job for somebody. People are much more likely to be listened to as they vary their voice and message.


Title: Re: Platform Announcements - are there too many?
Post by: Marlburian on July 31, 2021, 02:54:20 pm
... For example at Reading there is one announcer with a distinctive voice who ... Thirdly (on a lighter note) there was a phenomenon at Reading after the "new" station came into use whereby the specific announcements for two adjacent or close by platforms would be "let off" almost simultaneously at considerable volume so that nothing could be heard of either. Mercifully this became less frequent after a while, but is still not unkown (or at least was not when covid put an end to daily travle through Reading last year).

Decades ago there was a lady announcer at Reading who, when a train arrived, would state "Reading, Reading, change here ..." in what some saw to be a peremptory fashion, to the extent that DJ Terry Wogan commented on it during his Radio One (?) programme, giving her two or three days of fame. IIRC there was a reference to her being in a tiny room that afforded oversight of arrivals and departures. I also have a vaguer memory that there might have been a reference comparing her to a parrot.

On Monday I arrived at the station at 1550 five minutes before my departure and was treated to a non-stop barrage of announcements, with at least a couple relating at the same time to different platforms.

There was one about taking care on the escalators, to which my initial reaction was that it was unnecessary. Then I recalled that three hours earlier I had teetered at the top of an escalator in Heelas John Lewis, being reluctant to use the handrail.


Title: Re: Platform Announcements - are there too many?
Post by: Reading General on July 31, 2021, 03:10:36 pm
If I recall correctly, the station announcer office at General was in the original GWR station building above the Three Guineas. I had an interview for the job in the mid 90’s and announced a couple of trains, one of which was definitely a Swansea one. I seem to remember I couldn’t hear my own voice across the station in that room.


Title: Re: Platform Announcements - are there too many?
Post by: PrestburyRoad on July 31, 2021, 05:28:01 pm
Quote
Quote
Quote from: eightonedee on Yesterday at 04:49:58 pm
... For example at Reading there is one announcer with a distinctive voice who ... Thirdly (on a lighter note) there was a phenomenon at Reading after the "new" station came into use whereby the specific announcements for two adjacent or close by platforms would be "let off" almost simultaneously at considerable volume so that nothing could be heard of either. Mercifully this became less frequent after a while, but is still not unknown (or at least was not when covid put an end to daily travel through Reading last year).

Decades ago there was a lady announcer at Reading who, when a train arrived, would state "Reading, Reading, change here ..." in what some saw to be a peremptory fashion, to the extent that DJ Terry Wogan commented on it during his Radio One (?) programme, giving her two or three days of fame. IIRC▸ there was a reference to her being in a tiny room that afforded oversight of arrivals and departures. I also have a vaguer memory that there might have been a reference comparing her to a parrot.

Back in 1980 there was a different lady announcer at Reading General who, when a train arrived at platform 4 (the Down Main), would welcome arriving passengers with a very clear and well-paced "Reading, this is Reading; Reading, this is Reading ...".  Distinctive and clear - I can still remember these announcements.


Title: Re: Platform Announcements - are there too many?
Post by: PhilWakely on July 31, 2021, 06:36:47 pm
Whilst I believe there is a need for safety announcements in today's H&S world, two scenarios irritate me no end.............

- I have heard different announcements broadcast on neighbouring platforms at the same time and ever so slightly out of sync - making it extremely difficult to understand what is being broadcast;

- when 'behind the window' helping a customer, the question 'What time is the next train to.....' is asked. You look up at the CIS placed deliberately directly opposite the window in the hall, only to be presented with the message 'Do not leave your bags unattended....'. By the time you have reverted to looking it up on your system, the departures board has reappeared, resulting in an apology to the customer as the information is not readily at hand!


Title: Re: Platform Announcements - are there too many?
Post by: FarWestJohn on July 31, 2021, 07:32:56 pm
I know this is onboard announcements but I can back from Penzance on the 1515  255 Castle today and the train manager did all the announcements. Brilliant, simple and too the point. Nothing like the automated nausea that is normally churned out. I actually listened!! Well done please can we have more like this.


Title: Re: Platform Announcements - are there too many?
Post by: Sulis John on August 02, 2021, 11:11:40 am
"See it, say it...." should be relegated to posters (unless there is a particular heightened security alert). I know adding audible messages is more "inclusive" but, without being flippant, if you are unable to see posters, you are probably also unable to "see something that doesn't look right".
Less a moan about quantity of verbal announcements - but also their quality: I can remember occasions at Bath Spa where the delay to westbound trains kept fluctuating (presumably because of regulation issues at Bathampton). Every time the lateness changed, the full rigmarole of announcing the delay and apologising for delay and inconvenience was repeated for two trains that were going to follow each other in - even though those changes were 1 minute either way. I was always amused at the apologies for the fact that the train was now less late than it had been before. More importantly, however, what the announcements failed to get right (even after the first train had passed Bathampton) was which one of the two would actually arrive/leave first!
Not quite on topic, but another gripe: "We regret that the 09.45 to Bristol Temple Meads has been cancelled. Passengers for Bristol Temple Meads - your next fastest train (!) will be the 10.06 to Cardiff Central" - completely ignoring the fact that at the moment it's 09.35 and the delayed 09.30 (to Gloucester - so not immediately obviously going to Bristol) is expected at 09.40. I've invented the times, but the point stands.


Title: Re: Platform Announcements - are there too many?
Post by: PhilWakely on August 02, 2021, 02:23:38 pm
Not quite on topic, but another gripe: "We regret that the 09.45 to Bristol Temple Meads has been cancelled. Passengers for Bristol Temple Meads - your next fastest train (!) will be the 10.06 to Cardiff Central" - completely ignoring the fact that at the moment it's 09.35 and the delayed 09.30 (to Gloucester - so not immediately obviously going to Bristol) is expected at 09.40. I've invented the times, but the point stands.

An even worse scenario happens when (say) a long distance train was terminated short for one reason or another and a replacement service is put on in the same path [for instance, the 1V50 (0606 Edinburgh to Plymouth) service was terminated at Newcastle a few days ago because of a train fault and an additional service (1Z50 0750 Newcastle to Plymouth) was run in the same path]...

You then get the automated announcement.... "We regret that the 14:13 service to Plymouth has been cancelled. The next fastest service for Totnes and Plymouth will be the 14:13 service to Plymouth"

Also, glancing at the CIS, you note the cancellation, but fail to see the additional service!


Title: Re: Platform Announcements - are there too many?
Post by: Reading General on August 02, 2021, 04:46:43 pm
Any change in service was/is probably still a problem for the real time information screens on Reading’s bus stops. Short turned late buses would show a midway terminal point yet the info would show full service. As far as I’m aware the control room had no control of this. Only buses timetabled to turn short would show that location, pre programmed I guess.


Title: Re: Platform Announcements - are there too many?
Post by: grahame on August 05, 2021, 01:17:57 pm
Result:

There should be fewer   - 12 (66.7%)
It's about right   - 3 (16.7%)
There should be more   - 0 (0%)
It doesn't bother me any way   - 1 (5.6%)
I hadn't though about it   - 2 (11.1%)

Two thirds of you who responded thought there should be fewer platform announcements, and no-one wants more.   Can't say I'm surprised, but it's nice to have it confirmed.

Many of the announcements are of particular use to new users to rail - which is a different metrics to our active membership. For those persons, which announcements could be reasonably dropped, or should they all remain but just not played quite so often?



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