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Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by physics34, 6 Sep 2017.
or mentally disabled if we're not in America...
For some reason, at Crewe, the word "coaches" is cut off. It sounds like. "This train is formed of ten [pause]ch".
ah yes. ironically Crewe's glitchy Anne-voiced Atos system is a new 2018 installation, replacing the Amey system voiced by "Only" woman.
Aside from what I've said already, here are my top 5 announcements that annoy me the most.
1) "May I have your attention please. Please do not leave your luggage unattended on the station." The phrase "may I have your attention" should be reserved for useful and important information, not for random spiel about lost property or possible threats to security.
2) The Virgin Trains advertising announcements for BEAM and the onboard shop. You don't need to go on and on about these facilities. I would say that anything irrelevant to where or when a customer boards the train should not be announced at the station, and preferably, not at all.
3) The need to repeat announcements twice (e.g. "Mind the gap between the train and the platform! Mind the gap!). Yes, we get it! We need to mind the gap!
4) The annoucements on trains about the buffet trolleys, for two reasons. Firstly, why not just tell us as you are coming down the train, and secondly, they are far too long (e.g. "I will now be passing through the train with a selection of teas, coffees, hot chocolates, soft drinks, beers, wines and spirits, snacks, sandwiches, crisps" etc.)
5) "When on the stairs, please use the handrail and take care." What is the point in having this play every time someone walks down a set of stairs?
They ran the Amey system to trial automated announcements, and then when they decided to permanently use them they ripped out the Amey and put in Atos. What's the point of that? (The "Only" woman doesn't sound natural - even though VT managed to stop the announcement of "only" after every list of calling points - but at least it is not glitchy.
The most annoying announcement for me is at Platform 1, Clapham Junction:
"Attention please, the next train is not scheduled to stop at this station"
And Platform 1 is a bay used by terminating trains from Stratford. Trains have to stop or they will go through the buffers...
@anamyd Seeing as you know about audio, amplifiers and voltages, I thought I'd ask you something.
Ever since the fire at Nottingham (January 2018), which affected to comms room, the automated announcements (ATOS Anne here) have been very quiet ever since. Why is this? Are they having to run on a 'backup/temporary' system? Some 'zones' are still totally free of any announcements. I'm not sure if any repair work still needs doing as is actively being worked on.
Despite multiple requests to East Midlands Trains to turn the volume up, nothing has been done.
I haven't been to or used any East Midlands stations. Are just the automated announcements quiet, or all announcements including live ones...? If they are having to run a "backup" system, it's possible that the amplification being used is simply not fit for purpose, and on these constant voltage distributed sound systems, every speaker is "tapped" for a certain wattage, and the total speaker load per amp module must be lower than what it can supply. If this requirement is not met, attempts to "turn it up" can result in nasty clipping which sounds like squealing.
As for some zones being totally free of announcements, all the speakers in each zone are wired in parallel or "daisy chained" to the respective amplifier module for that zone (this can be done because of the constant voltage transformers raising their impedance, allowing for the long cable runs to work effectively). If the fire caused breaks in the wiring between the outputs of the "dead" zones' amp modules and the inputs of the "first" speaker of each "dead" zone, then every subsequent speaker in each "dead" zone of course wouldn't have a signal to "piggyback" from.
Manual announcements are only made if necessary (which is not very often) but from what I heard they seemed to be the 'normal' volume or at least a lot louder than the automated ones.
That makes sense as to why there were some 'dead areas', as they were doing some work upstairs on the main concourse area with the speakers and lighting. So essentially I assume the chain had been broken somewhere. I am not sure on the progress of this as despite vising Nottingham station quite frequently, I haven't been upstairs. Though work took place a good few months ago on this.
Ah OK, since manual/live announcements are also made through the Atos system, the only thing I can think of is that the levels are adjustable on its software. I'm guessing that station staff can't access those settings, but why they changed and why they haven't been set properly again I don't know.
Station PA systems are normally designed to meet BS5839-8 requirements. Many are also used as evacuation systems (not just for fire) and those that arn’t are still normally designed as if they are. Sound levels are normally tested every square metre, it’s not just sound pressure level, it’s RASTI (Rapid Speech Transmission Index) also. This does sometimes result in higher than desired sound pressure in some areas to ensure others have an adequate level, it’s always a compromise.
Modern systems utilise various forms of automatic volume control (AVC) which uses ambient sound sensing and raises volume levels automatically if the background noise increases - as required by the standard.
As most systems are designed to work totally automatically they are programmed to assume that any manual announcements are of an urgent or emergency nature and therefore automatically select maximum volume and over ride any AVC systems.
Good info - the like button is never going to be enabled though!
On a northern train with manual announcements my ears hurt now. It is awful.
Narrow-band microphone ex-BR unit with the volume right up...?
As it happens it's not typical British hysteria. There have been two very serious attempts to attack UK rail systems using IEDs within the last two years, one of which was found pre-initiation and the other of which only partially detonated, but that was down to incompetence rather than lack of will on the part of the perpetrator. If it had fully detonated there would have been multiple fatalities.
As I've said before See it, Say it, Sorted is an earworm; it's designed to get into your head so that if you do see something suspicious you'd be more likely to report it. If you want to ignore a still actively existing threat that's up to you.
Or learning disabled if we're not in the 1970s.....
While correct the computer doesn't know that unless we tell it! Garbage in = Garbage out.
"Neurodiverse" is the word I think is sought.
There might have been a minor terrorist incident on the London Underground last year (I'm guessing you mean Parsons Green) but there hasn't been a major terrorist attack on the National Rail network since...well, I can't actually find any record of one.
I can understand, given recent history, why London Transport might feel it necessary to warn passengers of suspicious items and behaviour but in other parts of the UK, such as the rural bit of Yorkshire where I commute, the chances of a terrorist attack are so miniscule as to be not worth mentioning. Hence up here the vast majority of us treat the constant "Security Services" warnings as they should be treated - with a combination of disinterest and contempt!
Not sure if this is true but I've previously read a post on this forum that said the 'See it...' announcements were intended for large (Category A) stations - It's just that most TOCs have rolled them out at ALL stations with CIS. The most rural station I have personally heard it at was Talsarnau (Cambrian Coast) via the text-to-speech system! Anything at all going on at that station would be suspicious!
You're quite right, neurodiverse/neurodivergent as opposed to neurotypical.
Ahh, Acapela Rachel saying "if you see something that doesn't look right..." all day to no-one over the Infotec dot matrix microPA units, bless "her"
Some people might as well be, given their complete oblivion to what is going on around them.
Not the appropriate term. This has already been discussed.
The IRA bombed London Bridge station in 1992 and Victoria station in 1991. Those are the most recent ones that I can remember.
This announcement is more likely to distract you from taking care on the stairs. Frankly idiotic, and has no place at all. Not to mention how in places with multiple staircases, it's just constantly getting triggered and like three or four different announcements are played at once. Again, idiotic.
Ahah my pet hate!
I find this particularly annoying. South Western Railway specifically are the worst culprits, I assume you quoted this from their announcements. Nearly every service has this long announcement made to half heartedly encourage passengers to buy something. Some of the staff keep it brief but most like to ramble on. Not much effort is made to advertise why anyone should buy anything from the trolley. I once counted an announcement which listed 14 menu items, which then went on to detail that "coins, notes, Apple Pay, Android Pay and contactless are all accepted as methods of payments so take your pick".
I would suggest they announce instead something along the lines of "Why not enjoy a fresh coffee on your journey today? The catering trolley is coming along the train now"
The automated announcements on VT-run stations will tell you that food from the on-board shop is "delicious", so of course it's worth buying.
I was actually quoting from CrossCountry, who have an irritating tendency to announce this and then decide against running the trolley anyway. I always sit at the end of a Voyager furthest from first class, as in my experience not many people are prepared to walk the length of the train so this coach tends not to be particularly busy compared to the others. This is also where the trolley is stored, so if anyone gets served in the time available, it's the people in my coach!