No Station Announcements?

centraltrains

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Some point within the last year, it seems that automatic station announcements have been all together stopped (except in times of disruption) at some railway stations. Despite quite a few recent threads on annoying announcements, I haven't seen anything on this - I don't know if it's just something not many have noticed or I've been unable to find on searches - but it's something I'd like to understand more.

My immediate thought on this is "How would blind/partially sighted people cope?" - however I remember that the Eden Park RAIB investigation suggested multi-platform announcements could be a danger.
The audible cues associated with a train arriving at another platform, and its doors opening, can be similar to those associated with a train arriving at the platform a person is standing on. Because of this, visually impaired people may attempt to board a train that has not yet arrived because they have become aware of a train arriving at a different platform.
https://assets.publishing.service.g...data/file/962796/R012021_210219_Eden_Park.pdf (Paragraph 35)


Specifically I've noticed this at many local West Midlands Railway operated stations I've been to such as University, Bournville, Selly Oak & Shirley, but not at the more major Birmingham Snow Hill, yet it seems to also apply at Network Rail operated at Birmingham New Street (on both the concourse and platform levels). Are places other than the West Midlands doing this?
When I first noticed the lack of announcements while walking though the concourse of New Street it felt quite surreal but it seems to make the concourse into a much calmer environment.
 
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Mordac

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Specifically I've noticed this at many local West Midlands Railway operated stations I've been to such as University, Selly Oak & Shirley, but not at the more major Birmingham Snow Hill, yet it seems to also apply at Network Rail operated at Birmingham New Street (on both the concourse and platform levels). Are places other than the West Midlands doing this?
When I first noticed the lack of announcements while walking though the concourse of New Street it felt quite surreal but it seems to make the concourse into a much calmer environment.
My local at Kings Norton has the announcements going as normal.
 

Sprinter107

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All the West Midlands Railways operated stations that i stop at have had the automatic announcements working normally. There might be the odd time if the system has gone down that they haven't worked, but generally they all work as normal.
 

centraltrains

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All the West Midlands Railways operated stations that i stop at have had the automatic announcements working normally. There might be the odd time if the system has gone down that they haven't worked, but generally they all work as normal.
I spoke to someone on Twitter who noticed the same thing at the Stourbridge end of the Snow Hill lines. I commute every weekday and it has been a consistent thing at my local and the 2 other stations I occasionally use. When government advice allows public transport for more than "need" I'll have to take a reckie and get a broader sample size.
 

Sprinter107

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All the stations I stopped at yesterday had auto announcements. I can hear them as i run into the platform. If you are aware of one that isn't, maybe you could inform the powers that be.
 
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This reminds me of a story that a friend of the family told.

In the early 1970's, recorded announcements were rolled out quite widely across the Southern Region. The general public had little if any experience of recorded announcements, and two elderly ladies on a stopping train to Brighton were surprised to recognise the same voice at (say) Purley as they had heard at East Croydon. They formulated the hypothesis that the announcer must be travelling down on the train, and nipping off at each stop to make the announcements.

At one stop there was a live announcement instead. The ladies accommodated this within their hypothesis: this must be where the nice announcer man had a break to grab a cup of tea.

At a following stop, the familiar (recorded) voice was announcing again, but this time the announcement hadn't finished as the train pulled out. The ladies became quite agitated at the realisation that the train had departed before the announcer was finished, and were concerned that he had accidentally been left behind.

The story was reported by the friend because the recorded announcer was my father (a museum curator, who earned a reasonably good fee for recording the announcements in a tiny studio in West Croydon). The most frequently-encountered female announcer at the time was my mother.
 

centraltrains

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All the stations I stopped at yesterday had auto announcements. I can hear them as i run into the platform. If you are aware of one that isn't, maybe you could inform the powers that be.
I assumed it was a purposeful trial - all the stations are part-time staffed so would have thought they'd have noticed/reported if it was an unintended fault. I was 100% sure of announcements not being present, but I think I'll wait till I've been to them again to double-check my sanity before reporting it myself. :lol:
 

Sprinter107

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This reminds me of a story that a friend of the family told.

In the early 1970's, recorded announcements were rolled out quite widely across the Southern Region. The general public had little if any experience of recorded announcements, and two elderly ladies on a stopping train to Brighton were surprised to recognise the same voice at (say) Purley as they had heard at East Croydon. They formulated the hypothesis that the announcer must be travelling down on the train, and nipping off at each stop to make the announcements.

At one stop there was a live announcement instead. The ladies accommodated this within their hypothesis: this must be where the nice announcer man had a break to grab a cup of tea.

At a following stop, the familiar (recorded) voice was announcing again, but this time the announcement hadn't finished as the train pulled out. The ladies became quite agitated at the realisation that the train had departed before the announcer was finished, and were concerned that he had accidentally been left behind.

The story was reported by the friend because the recorded announcer was my father (a museum curator, who earned a reasonably good fee for recording the announcements in a tiny studio in West Croydon). The most frequently-encountered female announcer at the time was my mother.
What a brilliant story. I love that.
 

Peter0124

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When I was last at Birmingham New Street in July 2019, there were no automated announcements related to "the next train" or "the train at". They seemed to only announce if services where delayed. Is it still like this?
 

43096

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When I was last at Birmingham New Street in July 2019, there were no automated announcements related to "the next train" or "the train at". They seemed to only announce if services where delayed. Is it still like this?
The last few times I have been at Gatwick Airport - the bit with planes rather than the bit with trains - there have been no announcements. They made a deliberate policy decision not to announce every flight. It means that a) the place is much calmer and quieter than it was and b) it draws attention to announcements because they are so infrequent - they are only used for important information (delays/cancellations/whatever).

The railway could learn a lot from this approach - it really needs to ditch all the background noise of see it, say it, sorted, social distancing blah blah blah that is just background drivel that no-one takes the slightest notice of.
 

tommy2215

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A couple of weeks ago I was on the cross city line and all the stations apart from New Street were playing announcements, including the ones you mentioned
 

XAM2175

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The last few times I have been at Gatwick Airport - the bit with planes rather than the bit with trains - there have been no announcements. ... The railway could learn a lot from this approach - it really needs to ditch all the background noise of see it, say it, sorted, social distancing blah blah blah that is just background drivel that no-one takes the slightest notice of.
It's becoming increasingly common at many airports - usually just a discrete final call announcement for each flight in the area around the relevant gate - and I wholeheartedly agree that it's a lesson the railways need to learn too. Obviously though there does need to be consideration for people who can't rely on visual information.
 

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