Manual announcements at Woking too quiet as residents say they are to loud

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by infobleep, 21 May 2015.

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  1. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    I was just chatting with staff at Woking and asked why the manual announcements were so quite that they couldn't be heard.

    They said it was due to residents in the near by flats complaining. So I then asked why aren't they the same volume as the automated announcements which could be heard and they replied, we don't have any control over the automated announcements but we do over the manual ones.

    Now the flats were built long after the railway was put in so find this state of affairs ludicrous.

    If a loud manual announcement bothered me and I lived in the flats, I can't see how an automated one wouldn't. Besides far more automated ones are played than manual.

    Surely people buy the flats for convenience to the station and not how quiet they are.

    The conversation came about after I alighted from the 18.54 Basingstoke service and heard an announcement I could barely make out. I then checked the departure board and saw the train to Portsmouth Harbour wasn't showing on the departure screen. I checked the summery screen and headed to platform 2. As I was doing that the automated announcement for the Basingstoke service was played, as the train was now just about to leave so you couldn't boaed it. To be fair it would have been played earlier but I'm ever hopeful the railway companies can introduce a system where by late announcements don't get played.

    As I reached platform 2 I heard an automated announcement for the Portsmouth Harbour train on platform 2. This caused a few passengers on platform 5 to start jogging.

    Now if they are not allowed to make manual announcements that people can hear, how about just cueing up automated ones with platform changes. They are wasting their breath if they are not allowed to let us hear them.

    Perhaps the future is everyone wearing headphones with announcements going into those, then everywhere else can be silent, well except for traffic; trains and wildlife.
     
  2. DT611

    DT611 Member

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    or, turn them back up and tell the residents if they don't like it tough. i honestly have no sympathy for those who move near a railway and complain when it makes noise. guess what, railways make noise, you don't like it don't live beside one.
     
  3. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    No doubt they would be the first to complain if they missed a train because they couldn't hear the manual announcement.

    The announcements are very important for people coming off a train as they do not have the luxury of hanging around the station in advance to hear any other announcements that might have already been made. To be fair there probably wasn't any others last night as it was a always change.

    I think the ECS to Farnham might have been late leaving, having possibly arrived late from Waterloo.

    I don't know why they don't just run the Waterloo to Woking stopping service non stop to Farnham. Then they wouldn't have to check no one was on board before it left Woking. The check could be made at Farnham instead where less trains run through.

    That would depend on their being a guard available to crew it. If one is not available then it's a non starter.
     
  4. 507021

    507021 Established Member

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    I think that's totally ridiculous. I have never found manual station announcements to be any louder than the automated announcements so I really don't see how either can be "too loud". It's not as if the announcer puts a megaphone next to the microphone before they start speaking is it?
     
  5. Philip C

    Philip C Member

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    I have some sympathy with those who have moved into a house/flat close to the railway and then some unforeseeable change is made to the way that the railway operates. For any other circumstance caveat emptor surely applies.

    Many years ago I bought a flat a hundred yards away from a public house and was then less than delighted that there were a lot of banging car doors at closing time. All I could do was to learn my lesson. Had the pub tried to extend its opening hours into the early hours I would have felt "within my rights" to have fought against it.

    On the more general point of passenger information some guards do provide connection information (platform numbers and times) on the approach to an interchange station. I feel that this is good practice and is to be encouraged.

    Finally in Switzerland there are bus routes which display (or did a few years ago) on-board, real-time departure boards for railway stations at which connections are to be made. An example being the bus which runs along the northern shore of Lake Luzern (der Vierwaldstättersee) where the Brunnen Station departure board is displayed at regular intervals, in colour, on a screen behind the bus driver. It would be nice to think that this would eventually become the norm, on trains, here as well.

    PS: How do you insert an umlaut on this forum?
     
    Last edited: 22 May 2015
  6. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    If using Microsoft Windows, press:

    alt + 0228 for ä
    alt + 0246 for ö
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    If using Android, Linux iOS or OSX, I can't help.
     
  7. dtaylor84

    dtaylor84 Member

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    Or install WinCompose and press:

    <AltGr>o" for ö
    <AltGr>O" for Ö
    <AltGr>a" for ä
    <AltGr>i" for i"

    etc.
     
    Last edited: 22 May 2015
  8. SpacePhoenix

    SpacePhoenix Established Member

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    +1

    If you buy a house or flat near to anything like a railway line, airport, etc you have to accept that it'll be noisy
     
  9. sbt

    sbt Member

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    Unfortunately the law is probably not on the side of the railway. Noise complaints are a persistent problem for boatyards that have new homes built near them, or even just new people move in - some have had to close. As I understand it there are basically no 'Grandfather Rights', a noise nuisance is a noise nuisance, a 'strict liability' issue.

    Those are very expensive new flats full of 'up and coming' executive types so I'm not surprised the railway has had complaints.

    That having been said you can underestimate the extent to which noise will annoy you once you move in. I used to live in Woking, in an over-the-shop flat away from the railway, and found the extent to which noise from the market setting up early in the morning or from bands playing in the Red House, when the doors were propped open, disrupted my sleep. Eventually I got used to it but it took time, earplugs and a visit to one large stall whose setup crew had a habit of dragging all the stall metalwork out of the van in a block, dropping it onto the ground with a massive crash, whilst leaving the van doors open with the radio on at max, at 3am.
     
  10. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    What I don't understand is how the automated announcements are allowed at a loud volume. If there is a law against noise for manual, I'd expect the same to apply to automated announcements.
     
  11. sbt

    sbt Member

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    I suspect that things are as described by station staff - they are trying to comply with legal requirements, or trying to stave off things progressing to the legal stage, but the recorded announcements are controlled centrally and they have been unable to get the volume altered.

    BTW I use Woking and the manual announcements are relatively quiet. Certainly you can't hear them if there are any train movements in progress - which is a bit an issue if the train moving is the one the announcement is telling you that you need to switch platforms to catch.
     
  12. crehld

    crehld Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    I wonder how the residents cope with the sound of trains going to and fro, over points and especially the diesels pulling away? I imagine that must be louder than any announcements!
     
  13. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    Perhaps the law doesn't include them.
     
  14. crehld

    crehld Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Perhaps. Point is dimming down the announcements is going to do nothing about the overall level of noise, so the residents' complaints about the announcements themselves are rather unfounded.
     
    Last edited: 24 May 2015
  15. sbt

    sbt Member

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    Firstly, this being Third Rail Land, there are very few diesel movements. Then the human ear and brain has evolved to pick out human speech from background noise, so announcements register more than the 'background rumble' of rail traffic, which doesn't register much above the constant road traffic in the area. There could also be a directional factor - the announcements may be being directed toward the flats more than rail movement noise due to the geometry of the station and the flats, the relative locations of the speakers and the train wheels, and how various frequencies bounce off different surfaces.

    Finally it may be that the residents in the new flats are more reasonable than people think and accept that noise from rail traffic cannot be avoided or reduced but think that announcements can.
     
  16. crehld

    crehld Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    I was thinking about the 159s to Exeter which I thought went through Woking? But I never through about being able to pick out speech over background noise before.
     
  17. sbt

    sbt Member

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    They do, but they are relatively rare and only really get noisy during their initial acceleration away from the platform, which is for a short duration. The rest of the time they are at tick-over or cruising through the various speed restrictions at each end of the station.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    By the way, Platform 3, the centrally placed London Bay, seems to have no announcements at all which has led to problems for me during disruption. Its new and near older residential buildings (its at the opposite end of the station to the new, expensive, blocks of flats) so I do wonder if that is for disturbance reasons as well. Whatever the reason its a pain as you can be sat on a now cancelled or delayed train with no idea of the fact.
     
    Last edited: 24 May 2015
  18. Clip

    Clip Established Member

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    The problem may well not be with the system as a whole at this station but those who make the announcements. Too close to the microphone, loud voice and so on and so forth.
     
  19. TheNewNo2

    TheNewNo2 Member

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    This is a problem for all sorts of places, but notably motorsport venues. People buy houses near to a motorracing track, then complain that it's occasionally noisy. Eugh.
     
  20. TEW

    TEW Established Member

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    4 diesel trains an hour through the station, all stopping at Off Peak times so all pulling away and making quite a lot of noise. It's not really rare. Far louder than any of the announcements too.
     
  21. sbt

    sbt Member

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    Not so, says a passenger who was sat opposite one as it pulled away at the same time as an announcement was made this morning. I could hear the announcement without effort.
     
  22. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    I take it, it was an automated announcement?
     
  23. sbt

    sbt Member

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    Correct
     
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