New announcements: "Separate" not "Divide" and "Carriages" not "Coaches"

74A

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Travelling on Southern recently I notice they have changed their announcements. Whereas trains always used to divide they now say separate. Also the train has 8 Carriages not 8 Coaches.

Does anyone know why they have done this. Has there been some sort of research to say people are confused about the old announcements ?

Carriages and Separate have more syllables than Coaches and Divide so the announcements have got longer !
 
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aleggatta

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can you confirm where you heard this? was it on train or on platform? I know the platform PIS has been changed recently, but nothing more than that...
 

RichardKing

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On a general note, I can't stand the platform announcements on Southern now. In the old days of Phil Sayer, for instance, the information was delivered with authority, but it made sense. Now, however, there are pauses in weird places and it just doesn't seem as natural.
 

RLBH

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I remember asking about the use of "carriages" replacing "coaches" in railway parlance on here some years ago. Can't remember the replies now.
'Carriages' vs 'coaches' vs 'cars' is an argument that probably goes back 100 years, if not longer. I believe the LMS had coaches and the LNER carriages! Pullmans are always 'cars', catering and sleeping vehicles (oops, there's another one!) always seem to be 'cars', and multiple unit vehicles are often 'cars'.

As far as 'separate' vs 'divide', I imagine that 'separate' is seen as being a more normal term that passengers will engage with, as part of the general efforts to avoid railwayspeak.
 

Bletchleyite

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"Carriages" just sounds cringeworthily quaint, though you could probably put "sausages" there and everyone would understand as the number is what people are looking for. If they want to avoid railwayspeak they could drop "is formed of" for "has" like LM did, though.
 

philjo

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When some of the GN services towards Cambridge used to divide at Letchworth there was one time when a couple of passengers heard the announcement saying they needed to join the front 4 coaches to continue to Cambridge and thought it meant they they had to get a replacement bus !
 

edwin_m

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'Carriages' vs 'coaches' vs 'cars' is an argument that probably goes back 100 years, if not longer. I believe the LMS had coaches and the LNER carriages! Pullmans are always 'cars', catering and sleeping vehicles (oops, there's another one!) always seem to be 'cars', and multiple unit vehicles are often 'cars'.
"Cars" comes from American parlance, hence the tendency to apply to Pullman and multiple units which have similar heritage (at least in the UK the first MUs were closely based on American practice and some were actually imported).
 

DelW

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Isn't Clapham Junction a SWR station? I think they use carriages. Not sure about separate.
IIRC the information screens on board SWR Desiros say "Coach X of X".

Some confusion developed on another thread a little while ago, when a poster used "coach" to refer to a vehicle within a train, but another poster took it to mean a road coach being used for rail replacement. So I suppose "carriage" has the advantage that other uses of the word are largely obsolete (mainly referring to horse drawn items) whereas in general conversation many people might assume "coach" to mean a road vehicle. In the case of announcements at stations or on trains though, there's not much risk of confusion either way.

Re divide vs separate, if you consider the full length train as a single entity, it would have to be "divide", you can't "separate" a single item. However if your consider the full length train as two (or more) units then they can be "separated".
 

rich r

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Hull trains don't have 'carriages' or 'coaches'. They have 'kerches', and there's nerr smerking in any of them. ;)
 

Western Lord

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Everyone knows that coaches are kept in a carriage shed and that a railway carriage forms part of the railways coaching stock......
 

700007

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Yes SWR had a recent change to the announcement system and it has changed to what sounds like a text to speech version of ATOS Anne and Roger (from GWR), replacing our favourite Phil and Celia. Clapham Junction even though no longer an SWR station, on the announcement system I believe is still linked to the rest of the SWR network hence they have SWR's voices and script.

Part of the changes include 'this train has x carriages'. As with most other people here, it is safe to say we miss Phil's lovely and well spoken voice.

Back in Southern land one stop either side of Clapham Junction, it is worth noting that they have changed to ATOS Anne last year but the male voice is done by Matt, a GTR employee (who is far better to listen to than Roger). However these ones definitely are pre-recorded and not text to speech.
 

londonmidland

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This would be down to SWR’s awful implementation of the ATOS system at their managed stations.

The system by default is not bad however SWR felt the need to oversimplify virtually every sentence making it sound more like a text-to-speech system.
 

Bletchleyite

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This would be down to SWR’s awful implementation of the ATOS system at their managed stations.

The system by default is not bad however SWR felt the need to oversimplify virtually every sentence making it sound more like a text-to-speech system.
I wonder why the company behind Aviavox (which does that irritating Dutch-accented[1] airport system) hasn't shown an interest? That works by using sampled word fragments (syllables) which means you can do a very natural sounding text to speech system. It also has an automatic reporting-and-review system to fix things that don't quite sound right.

[1] I believe she's the Schiphol manual announcer, or was - the one who tells you they're going to offload your luggage! :)
 

TUC

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I do remember waiting for a National Express coach when a member of staff came over to advise that the ‘service car’ was late,
 

greaterwest

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"Carriages" and "Separates" are indeed SWR simplifications, which explains how you heard them at Clapham Junction.
"This is due to" has become "This is because of", and "We are sorry for the delay to your journey" is "We are sorry that your journey will take longer than planned"

I far prefer the default ATOS wording, as per GWR, but furthermore, I prefer the infinitely superior Phil/Celia Ditra system SWR had before. Had SWT retained the franchise, everywhere would have been updated with the "New Celia" system which was at London Waterloo for a short period of time.
 

Hophead

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I have heard this announcement specifically at Clapham Jnc Platform 13
So have I. In addition, one no longer needs to be in the rear 4, but the back 4. It's as though someone's gone through the previous announcements with a thesaurus in an attempt to change as many words as possible.
 

Parallel

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Instead of ‘This train will terminate here’ you now get something like ‘This train will finish its journey here’

SWR have got an absolutely massive commuter base and I’d be surprised if none of them knew what ‘divide’, ‘terminate’ and ‘This is due to’ meant.

Voices are Anne and a sped up version of GWR’s Rodger.
 

USBT

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So have I. In addition, one no longer needs to be in the rear 4, but the back 4. It's as though someone's gone through the previous announcements with a thesaurus in an attempt to change as many words as possible.
How are they dealing with short platforms?

“Passengers alighting at Feltham should situate themselves in the forward eight carriages due to ‘platform length restrictions”?

This could go golden on the Cat/Tatt’s (carriages separate at Purley, and length restrictions at South Croydon and Purley Oaks).

And on on the up do the trains join, couple, combine, integrate or something else?
 

30907

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Re divide vs separate, if you consider the full length train as a single entity, it would have to be "divide", you can't "separate" a single item. However if your consider the full length train as two (or more) units then they can be "separated".
It forms two separate trains?
Instead of ‘This train will terminate here’ you now get something like ‘This train will finish its journey here’

SWR have got an absolutely massive commuter base and I’d be surprised if none of them knew what ‘divide’, ‘terminate’ and ‘This is due to’ meant.
So would I! However, I think you meant to say "if any of them didn't know..." which is a far larger number of people :).

Seriously, there has been a long-standing campaign in favour of using simple English, which benefits those with a learning disability, people whose first language isn't British English, etc. I suspect someone has reviewed the wording of announcements from that perspective and made changes. One would hope they are evidence-based.
 

700007

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How are they dealing with short platforms?

“Passengers alighting at Feltham should situate themselves in the forward eight carriages due to ‘platform length restrictions”?

This could go golden on the Cat/Tatt’s (carriages separate at Purley, and length restrictions at South Croydon and Purley Oaks).

And on on the up do the trains join, couple, combine, integrate or something else?
I would not be surprised if that ended up being the case soon!

The current script is:
"If you are travelling to x, you will need to travel in the front y coaches of the train"

Surprisingly not used the thesaurus as much here, but did jumble the words about.
 

akm

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I noticed the change to 'separates', at Waterloo. I have to say I don't like it - milk 'separates', but that's not really what a train does. I don't think it's any more readily comprehensible than 'divides', but I'm sure they've done rigorous testing... right...
 

greaterwest

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How are they dealing with short platforms?

“Passengers alighting at Feltham should situate themselves in the forward eight carriages due to ‘platform length restrictions”?

This could go golden on the Cat/Tatt’s (carriages separate at Purley, and length restrictions at South Croydon and Purley Oaks).

And on on the up do the trains join, couple, combine, integrate or something else?
"Some stations have short platforms. If you are travelling to x, (y or z,) you will need to travel in the front/back x carriages of the train."
also, "Some stations have short platforms. If you are travelling to x, (y or z,) you should listen to announcements on the train." usually heard if the short platforms are after a separation.

I don't think there is an announcement for joining.
 

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