Annoying Announcements

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WestRiding

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Having started travelling by train again recently, something is really getting my back up.

Why, oh why, do we get the generally very clear, very concise and straight to the point, automated announcements, which are then immediately followed up by the Guard wibbling on about exactly the same as the automated announcements, usually full of stutters, pauses and crackling?

Either turn off the automated announcements, and do it manually, or just let the automated ones do their job.

Train travel is supposed to be relaxing.

It's getting more common, guards pretending they're cabin crew.

Rant over, but seriously, why?
 
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Bletchleyite

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It does seem to be a very common "disease" on LNR, and I'd agree it's irritating - one or the other please! I have wondered if it's guards justifying their existence on TOCs where DOO might be a little tempting.
 

David Goddard

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Bit like on the approaches to Paddington you get GW guards waffling about taking belongings, having tickets ready then detailed instructions on how to get to the underground and then where to find the ruddy taxis. Never any info on where to find buses, which really grinds in a worlds of sustainable travel.
 

8J

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Having started travelling by train again recently, something is really getting my back up. Why, oh why, oh why, do we get the generally very clear, very concise and straight to the point, automated announcements, which are then immediately followed up by the guard. Wibbling on about exactly the same as the automated announcements, usually full of stutters, pauses and crackling. Either turn off the automated announcements, and do it manually, or just let the automated ones do their job. Train travel is supposed to be relaxing. Its getting more common, guards pretending they're cabin crew. Rant over, but seriously, why?

As has been said, a fair few guards are ex cabin crew!

In all seriousness, I quite agree with you. Some are wannabe comedians which winds me up. Its unprofessional and irritating.

There's a balance to be had on announcements. Certain TOCs guards are really quite irritating on the PA!
 

Fincra5

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It does seem to be a very common "disease" on LNR, and I'd agree it's irritating - one or the other please! I have wondered if it's guards justifying their existence on TOCs where DOO might be a little tempting.
Nothing to do with that. Guards are told to do announcements at Key Points and so on.

Not their fault the train also has an Auto PIS System... however, from experience passengers often tune out the same Auto Announcements. Especially if they use the service a lot. But a different voice gets your attention.
 

fgwrich

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The one that get's me is the Guards who have to go through with the BTP announcement, followed by the "See It Say it Sort" it tagline. I'm sorry, but grrrrr.
 

LowLevel

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The one that get's me is the Guards who have to go through with the BTP announcement, followed by the "See It Say it Sort" it tagline. I'm sorry, but grrrrr.

We don't have a choice. We do actually technically have announcing scripts and if you think it's bad you should see what it would be like if you followed them verbatim.

Security announcements are a DfT requirement and failing to make them is an easy way to get into hot water. I can actually force the train to do it to the script on our TrainFX fitted units, but once I do that it then flashes the text up constantly on repeat in the carriage saloons until the next station, whenever that is, because TrainFX is rubbish. Thus I find it's best to grit my teeth and get on with it myself at the lowest permissable frequency.

It's cringeworthy but that's the modern railway.
 

sd0733

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[/QUOTE]
In all seriousness, I quite agree with you. Some are wannabe comedians which winds me up. Its unprofessional and irritating.

There's a balance to be had on announcements. Certain TOCs guards are really quite irritating on the PA!

Had that on a pass ride today, pointless additions which were supposed to be funny i think. Its embarrassing and cringeworthy when some people try it and its rarely the time or the place.
 

LowLevel

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The only time I try to be funny is if I make a mistake or fluff it (I occasionally fall into a stammer and saying something different kicks me out of it). There are a few one liners I drop to drily reference that I've cocked up and I move on. Given I'm pretty good at one liners even if I do say so myself that usually gets a smile out of even the most stoic commuter.

The intentional one person crackling PA comedy shows that occasionally seem to break out there is never any need for however - you can tell when they're beginning and it's head in hands time.
 

Horizon22

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One point is that on certain stock, despite having the most professional and clear voice the quality of the PA system is such that it comes out rather garbled and crackly.

As has been stated, many TOCs have it in their on-board code/policy to ensure that at key stations pre-announcements are made for connections as well as pre-departure and destination arrival announcements.
 

Flange Squeal

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Nothing to do with that. Guards are told to do announcements at Key Points and so on.

Not their fault the train also has an Auto PIS System... however, from experience passengers often tune out the same Auto Announcements. Especially if they use the service a lot. But a different voice gets your attention.
Indeed. I know from personal experience that Guards at such companies are well aware they are probably annoying people by repeating much of what the automated announcement has just said, but they also know that if they don't make certain announcements when departing designated stations and this is noticed by someone travelling (for example a manager travelling somewhere or doing a discreet ride assessment) then they'll be liable to a black mark against them.
 

Ashley Hill

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I tend to let Doris do her stuff but as LowLevel said there are things we are instructed to say. There are also things the auto-announcer doesn't say like connections or delays. I'm often cheerful making my announcements and recieve many favourable comments from passengers compared to those guards who just drone on. Many passengers also prefer a human voice as it's reassuring and authoritive compared to automata.
 

66787

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As has been said, certain TOCs have scripts and their guards/TM’s/conductors are subject to random mystery shops.

In respect of the mystery shops, they can be marked down for not stating where they can be found on the train, face coverings, social distancing etc. The auto announcements aren’t programmed to do this.

Personally speaking, I try to do a manual announcement on leaving a station before the auto announcer kicks in. On arriving into a station, the auto announcer is useful especially if you’re in the saloon carrying out revenue duties. However, a manual announcement for major interchange stations detailing connection info etc, especially if they’re tight or delayed goes a long way.
 
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Deutsche Bahn has very precise rules when it comes to announcements, there were complaints about long announcements years ago so it goes something like this:

Departing station: 'Welcome on board this train and destination via the three main stations and then saying the next station. short mask announcement followed by 'if you need any help etc etc' and that is it. Most follow this structure none of this calling out every station nonsense. English announcements only at big stations.

Arriving at station: We will shortly arrive at 'station', you have the following connections and then the good old 'thank you for travelling with Deutsche Bahn'

Nice and simple, no unnecessary waffle that you get here where some guards just go on and on and on and on.....and there you have it the passenger has zoned out and misses something important. Would be worth for TOC's to run some sessions on making good announcements.
 

TT-ONR-NRN

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I can't stand
Automated announcements This train is now approaching it's final stop, this is XXX, etc.
Guard: As you have just heard, we are now approaching our final stop etc.

You literally just confirmed that we'd already heard it. So why are you saying it again?
 

fgwrich

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We don't have a choice. We do actually technically have announcing scripts and if you think it's bad you should see what it would be like if you followed them verbatim.

Security announcements are a DfT requirement and failing to make them is an easy way to get into hot water. I can actually force the train to do it to the script on our TrainFX fitted units, but once I do that it then flashes the text up constantly on repeat in the carriage saloons until the next station, whenever that is, because TrainFX is rubbish. Thus I find it's best to grit my teeth and get on with it myself at the lowest permissable frequency.

It's cringeworthy but that's the modern railway.
Thank you for the explanation, that's fair enough. I don't mind the security related part but it's the "See it Say it" tag that I just find grating. Although it probably is more preferable able to hear a human voice repeat it than the digitalised versions from some of our PA systems we have now. And I'm not surprised about the Train FX system being rubbish - you really do have to wonder who signed that thing off!
 

lachlan

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Deutsche Bahn has very precise rules when it comes to announcements, there were complaints about long announcements years ago so it goes something like this:

Departing station: 'Welcome on board this train and destination via the three main stations and then saying the next station. short mask announcement followed by 'if you need any help etc etc' and that is it. Most follow this structure none of this calling out every station nonsense. English announcements only at big stations.

Arriving at station: We will shortly arrive at 'station', you have the following connections and then the good old 'thank you for travelling with Deutsche Bahn'

Nice and simple, no unnecessary waffle that you get here where some guards just go on and on and on and on.....and there you have it the passenger has zoned out and misses something important. Would be worth for TOC's to run some sessions on making good announcements.
I actually find listing stations useful, always good to know my service is stopping where I think is. The British Transport Police announcements are tedious however, as are unnecessarily long ones about food (there is no need for everyone in Preston station to hear about the buffet car in every departing service!).
 

_toommm_

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Conversely, I very much like the funny announcements where the guards make light of their job. I travel in excess of 20,000 miles per year so I’m pretty sick of the automated drivel, but I’ll always turn my music off and listen to a funny announcement, although I do understand funny is subjective.

There’s a certain TPE guard who jokes about us travelling at a height of three feet amongst other bits, and his announcements are very good IMO.
 

OldNick

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Given many people do the bare minimum required in their jobs I'm not sure why people would think the majority of guards specifically would regularly make announcements that they weren't instructed to, simply to be annoying.

It is annoying though when the PA is too quiet or otherwise inaudible so you can't tell if it's a special or unusual / out of course announcement that would be really useful to know, or just the same old info.
 

davews

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I am rather puzzled by the one on the automatic announcements when approaching Virginia Water on the Reading Line. 'Passengers alighting at the next station must be in the front 6 coaches'. Platform plenty long enough for all 10 coaches and all the doors open.

And 'this is London Waterloo' when you are still half a mile away.
 
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I honestly don't mind most announcements. If anything, I'd rather the bulk of the automated ones at the stations were just switched-off and replaced with real people. I can't stand "Annoying" Anne - the defacto voice of about 70% of the UK, so I'll take anything over that.

I also find it reassuring to know that there are real people working the controls of the train - hearing a guard's (possibly cheesy) commentary still does that for me. If you don't like their jokes, then maybe offer them some new material whilst they're walking down the train if you think you could do better.

A few people may say it's "unprofessional", but I would disagree. What would be clearly unprofessional would be flipping and cussing over the tannoy, or, simply doing nothing other than convincing the public that maybe these staff really are spare parts. Have we really slipped into a world of jobsworths where we have to listen to the same corporate-approved scripts over and over again? Then the announcements are more likely to be missed or ignored by an increasing number of people, and then why have them at all?

Dial down some of the repetitive pre-recorded and automated announcements, maybe, but I wouldn't start telling rail staff they aren't allowed to be human or display some of their personality as part of the work that they do. Otherwise this just says that we can't have nice things.
 

Bletchleyite

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Deutsche Bahn has very precise rules when it comes to announcements, there were complaints about long announcements years ago so it goes something like this:

Departing station: 'Welcome on board this train and destination via the three main stations and then saying the next station. short mask announcement followed by 'if you need any help etc etc' and that is it. Most follow this structure none of this calling out every station nonsense.

Do they still announce connections before arrival? That to me is one of their best ones, and some UK guards do it using Realtime Trains but it isn't universal. What would be good is the autoannouncer having that capability.

As for not announcing all calling points, that works in Germany because of Takt - an ICE25 (or whatever, I made that number up) will always have the same route and stops. The UK doesn't have Takt and so the stops need calling out. The only thing that would remove that need would be compulsory reservations, as if you then have a ticket for VT1234 to a given station of course it stops there.
 
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Scotrail314209

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I have noticed at times on Avanti services. The train manager either does full manual announcement or leaves it down to the automated one. I’ve never really noticed it being both.

Though the Avanti pendolino voice is a little bit too chipper for my liking
 

GregA

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Something which I don't think has been mentioned yet is the fact that, when a pre-recorded announcement is played, a transcript is shown on the Passenger Information System for those who are hard of hearing; this obviously can't happen for "live" announcements (though it might be funny to see the results if they did set up a "speech to text" function, as these very often get the words completely wrong!), so I wonder if this is one of their reasons for saying "you must use the auto-announcer" (though I suppose if this was the case they could just mute the audio and read out loud what it would have said, so that you get the human voice plus the text).
 

XAM2175

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... when a pre-recorded announcement is played, a transcript is shown on the Passenger Information System for those who are hard of hearing; this obviously can't happen for "live" announcements ...
Yes, I agree that this accessibility issue is one that definitely needs to be considered when favouring "live" announcements.

(though I'll admit that I also agree entirely with many comments about excessive announcements being fatiguing, and that I also don't really enjoy attempts to bring a holiday airline flavour to the passenger experience)
 

CaptainHaddock

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Generally speaking I wear headphones so I don't have to listen to the irrelevant drivel (both live and pre-recorded) that passes for announcements on trains but the one thing that really annoys me is those guards who don't seem to know that holding their microphone next to a speaker causes ear-splitting feedback!
 
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