On train noise and ambiance

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phil281

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The other day I was travelling on a SWT 455. I guess it's one of the last ones to get the 2nd refurbishment (not re-tractioning).

The automated P.A. system wasn't working and the doors still had the original sounders. I realised how nice this was. The lights weren't stupidly bright and it just felt so much more relaxing as well as comfortable. I'm sick of this move towards constant drivel on the P.A. and the awful noise every train door makes when they release the doors. I understand the need for catering for those less able, but traveling by train now just seems to be overwhelmed with awful noise all the time and horribly bright lights. Why not just have a simple bell like on the 465's when the doors are released instead of this horrid siren sound you have now on so many new or refurbished trains? And does anyone listen to the drivel (which is often out of sync) when traveling onboard? And why the horribly bright lights?
 
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ComUtoR

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Why not just have a simple bell like on the 465's when the doors are released instead of this horrid siren sound you have now on so many new or refurbished trains?

New and better standards.

And does anyone listen to the drivel (which is often out of sync) when traveling onboard?

Because there is a legal requirement and its for all passengers, not just you.

And why the horribly bright lights?

It's the move from florescent lights to LED ones.
 

TEW

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All the PA on SWT services announces is the stations. I think most people would classify that as pretty useful, not constant drivel.
 

Bletchleyite

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LEDs can provide a very nice, relaxing, warm environment if you want. They are ultimately flexible. My house is fitted throughout with LED GU10 spots, and you can barely[1] tell they are not tungsten except by looking at the electricity bill (if I have the whole house turned on it consumes about 220W rather than well over a kilowatt as it was when they were tungsten).

[1] I am very sensitive to flicker, able to perceive it at well over 80Hz, so I can tell, not to mention that I know as I fitted them. But most people wouldn't be able to, and it doesn't actually *bother* me as such, though the 50Hz flicker of cheap ones does.

Unfortunately, the TOCs seem to like making trains like unwelcoming operating theatres rather than soft, welcoming and homely places to relax and enjoy a journey. Of modern stock only the Voyager, Pendolino (I know some think this is a bit dull inside) and Meridian seem to get it right. And Chiltern should be embarrassed at the cheap daylight white, flickery rubbish they have fitted to the Mk3s - they might as well have just strapped a few cheap camping torches to the vestibule ceiling.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
And the time is always 00:00!

Have they not applied the fix to that yet? It was a GPS related fault caused by a software update - they get the time from the GPS. All LM's units now show the correct time again.
 

Deepgreen

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LEDs can provide a very nice, relaxing, warm environment if you want. They are ultimately flexible. My house is fitted throughout with LED GU10 spots, and you can barely[1] tell they are not tungsten except by looking at the electricity bill (if I have the whole house turned on it consumes about 220W rather than well over a kilowatt as it was when they were tungsten).

[1] I am very sensitive to flicker, able to perceive it at well over 80Hz, so I can tell, not to mention that I know as I fitted them. But most people wouldn't be able to, and it doesn't actually *bother* me as such, though the 50Hz flicker of cheap ones does.

Unfortunately, the TOCs seem to like making trains like unwelcoming operating theatres rather than soft, welcoming and homely places to relax and enjoy a journey. Of modern stock only the Voyager, Pendolino (I know some think this is a bit dull inside) and Meridian seem to get it right. And Chiltern should be embarrassed at the cheap daylight white, flickery rubbish they have fitted to the Mk3s - they might as well have just strapped a few cheap camping torches to the vestibule ceiling.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


Have they not applied the fix to that yet? It was a GPS related fault caused by a software update - they get the time from the GPS. All LM's units now show the correct time again.

You, Sir, have stolen my simile!
 

Domh245

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Unfortunately, the TOCs seem to like making trains like unwelcoming operating theatres rather than soft, welcoming and homely places to relax and enjoy a journey. Of modern stock only the Voyager, Pendolino (I know some think this is a bit dull inside) and Meridian seem to get it right.

I'm personally of the opinion that a train like the 455s doesn't necessarily need to feel like your living room. I can see the argument for making intercity stock feel more welcoming, but short distance commuter trains ought to be more utilitarian in nature, which is why they are fitted with the floor material that they are and not carpet, and why they have thin airline seating rather than wingbacks.
 

Bletchleyite

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I'm personally of the opinion that a train like the 455s doesn't necessarily need to feel like your living room. I can see the argument for making intercity stock feel more welcoming, but short distance commuter trains ought to be more utilitarian in nature, which is why they are fitted with the floor material that they are and not carpet, and why they have thin airline seating rather than wingbacks.

I think all trains should be welcoming, and not austere. That doesn't mean hard-to-clean carpets, and it doesn't mean super-comfy seats when cramming a few more in is imperative, but it does mean a nice environment. Choosing the right colour temperature of lighting doesn't really cost any more when you're considering the tiny cost of running LEDs, for instance.

Much as I might regret saying so, I find the Borismaster a good example of this - it's still a bus with bus seating, plastic panelling and a vinyl floor, but it's been made to look nice. Or if you're not a fan, how about some of Trent Barton's "coffee shop" interiors? Again, wood-effect fake-laminate lino doesn't cost noticeably more than the standard speckled type, nor does selecting rich, deep, expensive-looking colours of moquette/fake leather for the seats rather than faded FirstPurple(f) and the likes.

It just takes a little thought, and that thought encourages the use of public transport. "This is a nice train" has quite some power. After all, we spend huge sums on home decor, we don't just paint everything white and be done with it. Well, most of us don't.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
By way of an example, this:



is the same type of coach and seat as this:



But doesn't the latter look so much more welcoming? And why not?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
And isn't this:



so much nicer and more welcoming than this?:



Even though they are the same bus? (And the Arriva interior is hardly the worst example)
 

physics34

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The other day I was travelling on a SWT 455. I guess it's one of the last ones to get the 2nd refurbishment (not re-tractioning).

The automated P.A. system wasn't working and the doors still had the original sounders. I realised how nice this was. The lights weren't stupidly bright and it just felt so much more relaxing as well as comfortable. I'm sick of this move towards constant drivel on the P.A. and the awful noise every train door makes when they release the doors. I understand the need for catering for those less able, but traveling by train now just seems to be overwhelmed with awful noise all the time and horribly bright lights. Why not just have a simple bell like on the 465's when the doors are released instead of this horrid siren sound you have now on so many new or refurbished trains? And does anyone listen to the drivel (which is often out of sync) when traveling onboard? And why the horribly bright lights?

unfortunately most of this is due to the disabilities act.. (probably a european law!). Helpful for a very small minority....annoying for everyone else.

And i think these noises, chimes and announcements subconsciously stress us out, and may affect our behaviour etc. Id like more research done on this.
 
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unfortunately most of this is due to the disabilities act.. (probably a european law!). Helpful for a very small minority....annoying for everyone else.

Please keep your uninformed political views off this forum. Its a rail forum not a politics one.
 

Domh245

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I think all trains should be welcoming, and not austere. That doesn't mean hard-to-clean carpets, and it doesn't mean super-comfy seats when cramming a few more in is imperative, but it does mean a nice environment. Choosing the right colour temperature of lighting doesn't really cost any more when you're considering the tiny cost of running LEDs, for instance.

Much as I might regret saying so, I find the Borismaster a good example of this - it's still a bus with bus seating, plastic panelling and a vinyl floor, but it's been made to look nice. Or if you're not a fan, how about some of Trent Barton's "coffee shop" interiors? Again, wood-effect fake-laminate lino doesn't cost noticeably more than the standard speckled type, nor does selecting rich, deep, expensive-looking colours of moquette/fake leather for the seats rather than faded FirstPurple(f) and the likes.

It just takes a little thought, and that thought encourages the use of public transport. "This is a nice train" has quite some power. After all, we spend huge sums on home decor, we don't just paint everything white and be done with it. Well, most of us don't.

I suppose so, but it's also in part personal taste I guess. I preferred the whiter light from the D and C stocks to the yellow light from the S stock.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/fellis-wrv/9757886261/in/photolist-fSgHCi

I do think it would be interesting though to see if we can get hold of someone responsible for specifying these kinds of refurbishments so that we can ask them about why they go with the lighting that they do. I mean, there's got to be some reason, surely?

By way of an example, this:

is the same type of coach and seat as this:

But doesn't the latter look so much more welcoming? And why not?

I'd probably put it down to the worn seats and dirty floor in the first photo! There's also a lack of natural light in that first one as well, which can't help matters
 

All Line Rover

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I suppose so, but it's also in part personal taste I guess. I preferred the whiter light from the D and C stocks to the yellow light from the S stock.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/fellis-wrv/9757886261/in/photolist-fSgHCi

I do think it would be interesting though to see if we can get hold of someone responsible for specifying these kinds of refurbishments so that we can ask them about why they go with the lighting that they do. I mean, there's got to be some reason, surely?

I prefer the S stock. The lighting on the D/C stock is almost blue/green, not pure white. It was most depressing when commuting one week from Upminster.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
TOCs seem to like making trains like unwelcoming operating theatres rather than soft, welcoming and homely places to relax and enjoy a journey. Of modern stock only the Voyager, Pendolino (I know some think this is a bit dull inside) and Meridian seem to get it right.

Pendolinos are the best I know of. Dim overhead lights but (generally) incredibly bright reading lights. Suits everyone.
 
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beermaddavep

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I hate the horribly bright and stressful interior lighting in most modern public transport.

I suspect it boils down to the 'ambulance chasers'- one slip, trip or fall claim and there'll be complaints about 'substandard' lighting being aired in court...

Old compartment stock with 3 comfy well sprung seats per side, a dimmer switch and your own heating control- now that was the way to travel :) (and still is in parts of Europe)..
 

mugam4

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And the time is always 00:00!
Sorry to digress but this has been really bothering me. All they seem to display nowadays is 00:00, not even messages on most trains, and it's been this way for a while. Anybody know why?!
 

Peter Mugridge

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By way of an example, this:

is the same type of coach and seat as this:

But doesn't the latter look so much more welcoming? And why not?

Actually I would prefer to travel in the interior in the first picture; the lower lighting level and dark grey seating is much more comfortable on the eyes...




I hate the horribly bright and stressful interior lighting in most modern public transport.

I suspect it boils down to the 'ambulance chasers'- one slip, trip or fall claim and there'll be complaints about 'substandard' lighting being aired in court...

I do wonder how those partly sighted people who need to wear darkened glasses to protect their eyes would view these modern lighting standards. Come to think of it, I haven't seen as many such people on trains in the last few years as I used to, so has the railway become less inclusive in this respect, I wonder...?

I have normal eyesight and these lights are uncomfortably bright for me.

As to the ambulance chasers - I have in fact bumped / stubbed myself a few times on the floodlit modern rolling stock because I am trying to keep the light out of my eyes which I usually do by half closing them; maybe I should complain about that next time it happens?
 
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Via Bank

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unfortunately most of this is due to the disabilities act.. (probably a european law!). Helpful for a very small minority....annoying for everyone else.

I don't know, I (as a non disabled person) quite like there being a requirement for me, as a railway passenger, to be able to find out where I'm going, and where my next opportunity to get out is. I like how this means I'm less likely to miss my stop when the TOC/NR couldn't be bothered to install station signs that line up with windows. I like being able to concentrate on reading a book without worrying we're going to sail past my destination without me noticing.

If you ask me, this should've been a legal requirement to have been implemented ten years ago. With fines for TOCs if the system isn't working or set up properly.
 
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phil281

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And i think these noises, chimes and announcements subconsciously stress us out, and may affect our behaviour etc. Id like more research done on this.

Absolutely nailed it, all these noises and incredibly bright lights stress me out. If people have had a hard day at work, being on a packed train is bad enough. But when there are these ridiculously loud sirens blaring every time the doors open, digital doris blurting out the calling pattern for the 15th time and stupidly bright lights make it stressful.

I get the need for accessibility and catering for as many people as possible to use the train. But I do wonder if these characteristics of modern trains are slightly detrimental to the mental health of the vast majority of customers.Would it not be an idea to have hearing loops built into priority seats on trains for those hard of hearing for example?
 

Bletchleyite

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I don't know, I (as a non disabled person) quite like there being a requirement for me, as a railway passenger, to be able to find out where I'm going, and where my next opportunity to get out is. I like how this means I'm less likely to miss my stop when the TOC/NR couldn't be bothered to install station signs that line up with windows. I like being able to concentrate on reading a book without worrying we're going to sail past my destination without me noticing.

Yes, I agree a basic system is a benefit - but I also agree there is a benefit to making them sound nice and not over-waffling[1]. The Pendolino's old-style sharp "bing-bong" was a fine example of how NOT to do it (though it is being replaced with a slightly less horrible sound, albeit one that still sounds flat and odd compared with the relaxing old Mk3 guitar strum). The Welsh one (a very long set of tones prior to announcements more important than others) is also quite nice - I wish they'd copy DB regional services and play the first few bars of the national anthem of England or Wales as applicable to the station! :)

Technology allows us to produce much nicer sounds than it did - perhaps something both compliant and softer on the ear could be developed? It's sharpness that's the issue in my eyes, not volume.

[1] The thing about not forgetting your bags is pointless. And I reckon we could cope with the thing about contacting the BTP if there's trouble being only visual - OK, blind people would miss it, but most people using the railway are not blind, and as such there are enough people watching suspicious incidents that there is no great disbenefit to a small number of people with a specific disability not reporting them, particularly given that that specific disability makes them less likely to be aware of them to start with.
 
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ComUtoR

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[1] The thing about not forgetting your bags is pointless.

Forgetting your bags presents a security risk to the railway and can often cause delays to the service when reported to the authorities etc as they investigate it. Part of the reasons why the announcement was brought in was to address those security concerns.

The problem is that too many people do forget their luggage. A little reminder has probably saved many a laptop from being left behind.

The other problem is that passengers have been pushing for more and more information and communication. There was a thread a few days ago (and is still active) about PA announcements for when stopped at a signal. Passengers want such a glut of information and the more understandable ones know that the announcements are for everyone not just their own selfish requirements.

There are frequent travellers and ones that are using the railway for the first time. Shockingly enough we get tourists and god forbid that they may need reassurance and on board information.

All in all the increased PA usage has come from research and passenger demands rather from the TOC. In all my years I have never had a passenger complain about the plethora of announcements being made but I have lost count of the complaints where none are being made.

My issue at the moment is where we have automated the announcements now and they are meeting the legal requirements and that it reduces the workload on the Driver/Guards and can be announced with greater clarity to the passengers, yet people still want a human at the end of the PA. We are almost coming full circle :/

Bright, clean lighting is very much an improvement over the dingy and dirty fluorescent lighting. People feel safe when the lights are brighter.

The door bleeps etc are there for safety and yes the more litigious nature of society plays a part in this but also it is the passenger who is placing demands on the system. We do need to cater for disability, we do need to cater for the complainers and social media warriors and we also need to make the railway a better place for those who use it. To do that we need to keep pushing for better standards and better quality on train equipment etc.

Wait till the 700's come in. They look to have a crazy amount of information being given to the passengers. The onboard screens look incredible. Passengers want information and it should be provided.
 

6Gman

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have i touched a nerve? you know what i mean.

If you had a visual impairment you might quite appreciate "we will shortly be arriving at Clapham Junction". I think that is the point being made.

But I would agree with you that some of the endless "please take all personal belongings/ please read the safety instructions/ if you see anything suspicious" could be dispensed with.
 

Bletchleyite

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If you had a visual impairment you might quite appreciate "we will shortly be arriving at Clapham Junction". I think that is the point being made.

But I would agree with you that some of the endless "please take all personal belongings/ please read the safety instructions/ if you see anything suspicious" could be dispensed with.

I generally take the view that electronic PIS should not be used to present static information. The worst example is of the old TV style monitors which used to alternate static information with very time-critical dynamic information.

Put static information on printed posters. Yes, blind people won't be able to read it, but it is information not useful to their journey anyway.

As for forgetting your bags, I have done this once (forgot a coat). I actively looked in all the places I thought I had placed luggage but one (the overhead). My coat was on the overhead. The reason I forgot was that it was a hot day so I forgot I had one with me. The announcement did not prevent me forgetting it. It is spurious.
 

al78

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On the subject of irritating noises on trains, on Pendilino's, there seems to be randomly a series of three loud bleeps repeated three times. It doesn't happen when the train has stopped, and it isn't related to anything I can see from my perspective (in other words it happens at random points along the journey). Sometimes it can happen two or three times in succession, with a minute or less silence in between. I appreciate this isn't a very clear description of the phenomenon and it would be better if I could record and play it back, but if anyone knows what I am referring too, can they explain what is causing the three repeats of three bleeps.
 

Islineclear3_1

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The problem is you can't please everyone. TOC's have a duty of care which includes providing visual and audible information to all - which will welcome by some but annoying to others

There will always be the people with sensory issues that will have meltdowns with the bright lights and loud noise, people who chat and laugh out loud in the quiet coaches (happened to me on an SWT service recently) - then there will be the doors banging at speed when other trains pass, endless announcements about security and ticketless travel, CCTV in your face - where does it all end?

As somebody else said, give me a tungsten lit compartment with bouncy seats and a window and/or heater control :D
 

physics34

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On the subject of irritating noises on trains, on Pendilino's, there seems to be randomly a series of three loud bleeps repeated three times. It doesn't happen when the train has stopped, and it isn't related to anything I can see from my perspective (in other words it happens at random points along the journey). Sometimes it can happen two or three times in succession, with a minute or less silence in between. I appreciate this isn't a very clear description of the phenomenon and it would be better if I could record and play it back, but if anyone knows what I am referring too, can they explain what is causing the three repeats of three bleeps.

I'm guessing here but I think it's a sort of "could the train manager contact the driver" code of some kind.
 

Harbornite

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On the subject of irritating noises on trains, on Pendilino's, there seems to be randomly a series of three loud bleeps repeated three times. It doesn't happen when the train has stopped, and it isn't related to anything I can see from my perspective (in other words it happens at random points along the journey). Sometimes it can happen two or three times in succession, with a minute or less silence in between. I appreciate this isn't a very clear description of the phenomenon and it would be better if I could record and play it back, but if anyone knows what I am referring too, can they explain what is causing the three repeats of three bleeps.

I was going to suggest AWS, but I don't think it is.
 
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