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Station announcements too long

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Nova1

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I travel every day on the Snow Hill lines with West Midlands Railway, and recently they've changed their announcements for trains heading towards Birmingham Moor Street.

These announcements are *super* long, and often the announcement is still going well after the train doors have closed and the train has begun to leave the platform.

I'm personally thinking that possibly too much information is given audibly.

First it does the usual - "Platform 2 for xx:xx to x, calling at x". Doesn't help at the moment that trains are running to Kidderminster which is around 30 station stops from Stratford-Upon-Avon

But after the platform & destination announcements, it then does "Change at Birmingham Moor Street for Birmingham New Street and Bullring Shopping Centre" which seems unnessecery to me, as well as "Change at Stourbridge Junction for services to Stourbridge Town"

And then it announces the four request stops (Wootton Wawen, Danzy, Wood End, The Lakes) and then has to do the announcement about how for the Lakes you need to be in the first carriage.

This means from some stations the announcement is very, very long.

"Platform 2 for the 00:00 West Midlands Railway service to Kidderminster. Calling at *calling stations*. Wotton Wawen, Danezy, Wood End, The Lakes, are request stops, and passengers for these stations should ask the conductor on the train, to arrange for the train to stop. Change at Birmingham Moor Street for Birmingham New Street and Bullring Shopping Centre. Change at Stourbridge Junction for services to Stourbridge Town." (then the announcement for the lakes short platform + a repeat of the platform, time, and destination"

Thoughts?
 
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lachlan

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I travel every day on the Snow Hill lines with West Midlands Railway, and recently they've changed their announcements for trains heading towards Birmingham Moor Street.

These announcements are *super* long, and often the announcement is still going well after the train doors have closed and the train has begun to leave the platform.

I'm personally thinking that possibly too much information is given audibly.

First it does the usual - "Platform 2 for xx:xx to x, calling at x". Doesn't help at the moment that trains are running to Kidderminster which is around 30 station stops from Stratford-Upon-Avon

But after the platform & destination announcements, it then does "Change at Birmingham Moor Street for Birmingham New Street and Bullring Shopping Centre" which seems unnessecery to me, as well as "Change at Stourbridge Junction for services to Stourbridge Town"

And then it announces the four request stops (Wootton Wawen, Danzy, Wood End, The Lakes) and then has to do the announcement about how for the Lakes you need to be in the first carriage.

This means from some stations the announcement is very, very long.

"Platform 2 for the 00:00 West Midlands Railway service to Kidderminster. Calling at *calling stations*. Wotton Wawen, Danezy, Wood End, The Lakes, are request stops, and passengers for these stations should ask the conductor on the train, to arrange for the train to stop. Change at Birmingham Moor Street for Birmingham New Street and Bullring Shopping Centre. Change at Stourbridge Junction for services to Stourbridge Town." (then the announcement for the lakes short platform + a repeat of the platform, time, and destination"

Thoughts?
Hmm, you could cut down on the stations being listed by saying "calling at all stations between here and xx". It is reassuring to have the stations read out, however. The "change at" announcements are the same for every service, so could presumably be replaced with occasional announcements or posters of some sort explaining onward connections. Request stops could also be removed and announced on the train instead if time really is tight.

This has me wondering, what do they announce at Clapham Junction?
 

Mcr Warrior

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Must be some locations on the network where the auto-announcements are so long that they haven't finished by the time the train has already departed.

(Perhaps this is the case for services calling at stations on the Cambrian Coast or Heart of Wales lines, particularly if they are bilingual announcements in English/Welsh).
 

_toommm_

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Must be some locations on the network where the auto-announcements are so long that they haven't finished by the time the train has already departed.

(Perhaps this is the case for services calling at stations on the Cambrian Coast or Heart of Wales lines, particularly if they are bilingual announcements in English/Welsh).

Milford Haven announcements (presuming they have them) must be pretty long for services to Manchester. You’ve got at least 30 stops in English, then repeated in Welsh, then you’ve got request stops too at Johnston, Clarbeston Road and Clunderwen; and Kidwelly and Ferryside.
 

LLivery

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Hmm, you could cut down on the stations being listed by saying "calling at all stations between here and xx". It is reassuring to have the stations read out, however. The "change at" announcements are the same for every service, so could presumably be replaced with occasional announcements or posters of some sort explaining onward connections. Request stops could also be removed and announced on the train instead if time really is tight.

This has me wondering, what do they announce at Clapham Junction?
Until recently the East London Line core said "calling at all stations". Now it has the normal style, listing all the stations. The old announcements always sounded bad and weren't very useful if you're new to the route and travelling south to any one of the 4 branches. I am wondering what the Crossrail core will be like.

Clapham Junction isn't any different from most stations.
 

Fenchurch SP

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The announcements are almost non stop on the all stations services to Caterham and Tattenham Corner, which split at Purley. The 10 coaches are longer than most of the stations between London Bridge and Purley so you get warnings about travelling in the front 8 coaches as well as the list of stations for both portions.
 

lachlan

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These announcements are *super* long, and often the announcement is still going well after the train doors have closed and the train has begun to leave the platform.
On second thought, this isn't the announcement being too long, rather it started too late. Unless we're at the point where departures are so close together that the announcements start overlapping.
 

fairysdad

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This has me wondering, what do they announce at Clapham Junction?
The other day I was on a SWR mainline suburban service on platform 10 as a West of England service approached 9. The announcement seemed very long - the 8 or 9 car train was due to split at Salisbury with one portion continuing to Exeter and the other to Bristol, and the Exeter portion was due to split again at Yeovil Jn with half continuing and half terminating. This, plus the short platforms, meant that the announcement that was in progress while my train arrived, was still going when my train departed! (Passing the arriving WoE service as we did so, so at least the announcement was - probably - finished by the time that train left!) In typing this out now though, I'm thinking that it would have been a similar length announcement at Waterloo, so I wonder how many near-simultaneous departures had missed or delayed announcements... (there's probably another thread in whether you can get delay-repay on a delayed announcement... but let's not go there, 'tis a silly place.)
 

jopsuk

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I travel every day on the Snow Hill lines with West Midlands Railway, and recently they've changed their announcements for trains heading towards Birmingham Moor Street.

These announcements are *super* long, and often the announcement is still going well after the train doors have closed and the train has begun to leave the platform.

I'm personally thinking that possibly too much information is given audibly.

First it does the usual - "Platform 2 for xx:xx to x, calling at x". Doesn't help at the moment that trains are running to Kidderminster which is around 30 station stops from Stratford-Upon-Avon

But after the platform & destination announcements, it then does "Change at Birmingham Moor Street for Birmingham New Street and Bullring Shopping Centre" which seems unnessecery to me, as well as "Change at Stourbridge Junction for services to Stourbridge Town"

And then it announces the four request stops (Wootton Wawen, Danzy, Wood End, The Lakes) and then has to do the announcement about how for the Lakes you need to be in the first carriage.

This means from some stations the announcement is very, very long.

"Platform 2 for the 00:00 West Midlands Railway service to Kidderminster. Calling at *calling stations*. Wotton Wawen, Danezy, Wood End, The Lakes, are request stops, and passengers for these stations should ask the conductor on the train, to arrange for the train to stop. Change at Birmingham Moor Street for Birmingham New Street and Bullring Shopping Centre. Change at Stourbridge Junction for services to Stourbridge Town." (then the announcement for the lakes short platform + a repeat of the platform, time, and destination"

Thoughts?
it's 19 stops.

Which part would you omit?

Other than the time and destination, the rest of the announcement isn't really for regular travellers, it's for those less familiar with the line. Announcing "all stops to" would be useless for someone that doesn't know which stations their intended destination is between.
 

Bigman

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What is the longest announcement in the country in terms of how many stops get mentioned?
 

glasgowniteowl

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These announcements should not be reduced in any way, if there is an issue with them still ongoing after train has departed they should ba simply started sooner, they are contain important information helpful to passengers with visual impairments
 

Bletchleyite

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These announcements should not be reduced in any way, if there is an issue with them still ongoing after train has departed they should ba simply started sooner, they are contain important information helpful to passengers with visual impairments

I would venture that the number of people boarding trains at Snow Hill who are going to "change at Moor St for New St" is somewhere around 0. So that bit could go.

If we moved to proper Takt we could dispense with announcing calling points and just announce that it's a LM2, for example. Merseyrail doesn't, nor does London Underground.
 

Essexman

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Must be some locations on the network where the auto-announcements are so long that they haven't finished by the time the train has already departed.

(Perhaps this is the case for services calling at stations on the Cambrian Coast or Heart of Wales lines, particularly if they are bilingual announcements in English/Welsh).

I've been on Shrewsbury station several times when the Heart of Wales announcement is still half way through as the train is disappearing into the distance.
 

MCSHF007

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In my experience at many major stations there is precious little time when passengers are not being bombarded with continuous "wall-to-wall" aural piffle. Whatever the rights and wrongs of announcing every station that every train calls at (and all the connectional opportunities at every station en route) the brief respites between "all that" are filled with all the "Remember the 3 S's" (Sh*t, Shave, Shampoo??) verbal diarrhoea. Absolutely no escape from this ear torture at so many stations these days.

And then it's just as bad once on board. The announcements on leaving some stations take so long that there's barely a second or so's peace and quiet before "we are now arriving at xxxx change here for yyyy") - and so it continues..... ad infinitum. Just STFU.
 

The exile

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OK - it’s an on- train announcement, but it always strikes me as odd that on Bristol - London services, you are told on the approach to Bath “ change here for services to Salisbury and Portsmouth” ( or something similar). Yes, you can, but if you need to, why are you on the London train in the first place as the train you would change on to also comes from Bristol. Makes sense on Westbound trains, but excess announcements just lead to people ignoring them ( or carrying on talking so people who do need them can’t hear them)
 

Parallel

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OK - it’s an on- train announcement, but it always strikes me as odd that on Bristol - London services, you are told on the approach to Bath “ change here for services to Salisbury and Portsmouth” ( or something similar). Yes, you can, but if you need to, why are you on the London train in the first place as the train you would change on to also comes from Bristol. Makes sense on Westbound trains, but excess announcements just lead to people ignoring them ( or carrying on talking so people who do need them can’t hear them)
The GWR class 800s aren’t great for their ‘change at’ announcements. I was on a PAD-Cheltenham train before that advised people to ‘change at Swindon for Kemble, Stroud, Stonehouse, Gloucester and Cheltenham Spa’ when the train was stopping there anyway.

There are some very long announcements in Wales. They’d be even longer if the system announced short platforms! There’s a video of some of them here:
 

Dr Hoo

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There seem to be plenty of people on these forums who implicitly consider that announcements should be even longer, through inclusion/repetition of the train reporting number/'head code'.
 

_toommm_

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There seem to be plenty of people on these forums who implicitly consider that announcements should be even longer, through inclusion/repetition of the train reporting number/'head code'.

Or as a country we could shorten them by using Retail Service IDs so that you’re not booked onto a specific time train (which can be changed and can cause confusion), but instead are booked onto a particular service.

Platform One for train VT1958 to Edinburgh. Boom sorted.
 

Bletchleyite

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Or as a country we could shorten them by using Retail Service IDs so that you’re not booked onto a specific time train (which can be changed and can cause confusion), but instead are booked onto a particular service.

Platform One for train VT1958 to Edinburgh. Boom sorted.

That only works with compulsory reservations.

Of course what you can do is go for full Takt and fully standardise, with no exceptions*, where a VT1 calls. At that point, you don't need to witter on at all. Though you might go for something like:

"Platform 1 for route VT 1 train number VT1958 to Edinburgh via Birmingham New St. The next station is Milton Keynes Central."

"Platform 3 for route AW 5 calling at all stations to Blaenau Ffestiniog via Betws-y-Coed. The next station is Glan Conwy." (No point having the train number if there aren't any reservations)

* Well, you could..."This train calls additionally at X" - just don't drop any.
 
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DanNCL

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The announcement for Heart of Wales services from Swansea is incredibly long, all stops between Swansea and Shrewsbury (sometimes onwards to Crewe too) via the Heart of Wales line are announced, then a mention of the request stops which is most of the stops on that route, and then the entire announcement is repeated in Welsh. From start to finish the announcement probably takes 3 or 4 minutes, with the majority of the stations mentioned 4 times in the announcement (twice in Enlgish twice in Welsh). The announcement starts playing several minutes before the scheduled departure, and has only just finished by the time the train leaves.
 

tommy2215

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The GWR class 800s aren’t great for their ‘change at’ announcements. I was on a PAD-Cheltenham train before that advised people to ‘change at Swindon for Kemble, Stroud, Stonehouse, Gloucester and Cheltenham Spa’ when the train was stopping there anyway.

When I was on an Exmouth train from Torquay last week, the female automated announcer said when approaching Newton Abbot "change here for Paignton", which was pretty odd given that's where the train had come from! I predict approximately 0 people travel from Torre/Torquay to Paignton by changing at Newton Abbot
 

Clip

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Or as a country we could shorten them by using Retail Service IDs so that you’re not booked onto a specific time train (which can be changed and can cause confusion), but instead are booked onto a particular service.

Platform One for train VT1958 to Edinburgh. Boom sorted.
But I'm going to Blackpool and that's what it says on my ticket with a change at Preston. So a number and a train to edinburgh means nothing to me.

A timetabled journey of the 1030 to Edinburgh with the stops called out tells me that this is indeed my train and connection at Preston .

Boom. Sorted.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Is it me, or does the auto-announcement for 'Cynghordy' (station) on the Heart of Wales line, sound a bit like 'Kirkcaldy' on the Fife coast in Scotland? :?:

 

185

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Haven't we just had a thread say how 'irked' some forum users are (seemingly three users from the SE area) with drivers / guards making manual announcements, and how wonderful excellent and professional pre-recorded automatic announcements are?

See it, say it, sort it, we want you to feel confident, does not look right engineering work, hi I'm the toilet or text the British Transport on 610161016.
 

mike57

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I agree with the OP there are to many announcements, in general, both on the platform, and once you board the train. I actually think train numbers help if you travelling in unfamilar places, when travelling in France I know I am on the right train, even if I havnt managed to make sense of the announcements, and I suspect foreign travellers have the same problem and would appreciate them. Maybe the announcement should be along the lines of "The train on platform 1 is TPE2001 for Liverpool Lime Street, calling at York, Leeds..." And cut out all the other announcements not related to the journey in question both on board and on platform, they wear down the regular traveller, and confuse the occasional traveller. General travel info can be distributed in other ways. Where the number of stops becomes excessive then the old favorites "All stations..." or maybe "Not stopping at" can simplfy them. What is needed is a bit of common sense, its not a one size fits all across the whole network.
 

Jez

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Heart of Wales announcements I find very long especially when one used to run from Cardiff to Shrewsbury via Swansea and Llandrindod.

Also some Manchester-West Wales services particularly those stopping at Swanline stations and with lots of request stops on the branch lines west of Carmarthen.
 

_toommm_

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But I'm going to Blackpool and that's what it says on my ticket with a change at Preston. So a number and a train to edinburgh means nothing to me.

A timetabled journey of the 1030 to Edinburgh with the stops called out tells me that this is indeed my train and connection at Preston .

Boom. Sorted.

But with the move to itinerary-based planners both with the proliferation of tickets being bought online, plus the likes of Northern-style ticket machines, it would tell you to get train VT1934 to Preston, then NT5589 to Blackpool.

As Bletchleyite said, with a move to a takt timetable, you’d know the xx:30 and xx:58 would always stop at Preston anyway for you to change to Blackpool.
 

Nova1

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it's 19 stops.

Which part would you omit?

Other than the time and destination, the rest of the announcement isn't really for regular travellers, it's for those less familiar with the line. Announcing "all stops to" would be useless for someone that doesn't know which stations their intended destination is between.
Sorry for this specific example I wasn't clear, from Stratford-Upon-Avon to Kidderminster via Whitlocks End and Birmingham Snow Hill it's 30 stations ( https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/service/gb-nr:L25920/2021-06-10/detailed ) I'm not sure what you'd omit, as you can't announce all stops because it doesn't stop at Bordesley, plus not all services stop at Tysley.

Some say it is confusing on this line, there's 2tph between Birmingham Snow Hill and Stratford-Upon-Avon, but 1tph runs via Whitlocks End and 1tph runs via Dorridge. These both have the same destination station (Kidderminster). These sort of calling patterns make just saying "all stops" basically impossible. The stopping patterns of trains via Dorridge is even worse, some trains stop at Stratford Parkway, Hatton, Bearly, some don't, a true Takt could just be too complicated.
 
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Bletchleyite

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Sorry for this specific example I wasn't clear, from Stratford-Upon-Avon to Kidderminster via Whitlocks End and Birmingham Snow Hill it's 30 stations ( https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/service/gb-nr:L25920/2021-06-10/detailed ) I'm not sure what you'd omit, as you can't announce all stops because it doesn't stop at Bordesley, plus not all services stop at Tysley.

There is no room for that sort of inconsistency in local services in a Takt. Close Bordesley or serve it properly, and all trains on a given route (e.g. "WM3", not necessarily everything passing through) should stop at Tyseley for consistency. The Merseyrail model is simple and well-understood - and does not require announcing all the stops!
 

40129

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But I'm going to Blackpool and that's what it says on my ticket with a change at Preston. So a number and a train to edinburgh means nothing to me.

A timetabled journey of the 1030 to Edinburgh with the stops called out tells me that this is indeed my train and connection at Preston .

Boom. Sorted.
Fair point. However, how many connection opportunities should be announced for each interchange station?

Is it just the main connecting services or all possible connecting services? Are these announced by referencing the end of those lines or some/all stations along those lines?

e.g. Should it be "Platform 5 for the xx:xx Avanti West Coast service to Glasgow Central calling at Crewe, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western, Preston ..... Glasgow Central. Change at Crewe for Chester and Holyhead. Change at Wigan North Western for Southport. Change at Preston for Blackpool."

OR "Platform 5 for the xx:xx Avanti West Coast service to Glasgow Central calling at Crewe, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western, Preston ..... Glasgow Central. Change at Crewe for Chester and stations to Holyhead. Change at Wigan North Western for stations to Southport. Change at Preston for stations to Blackpool North."

OR "Platform 5 for the xx:xx Avanti West Coast service to Glasgow Central calling at Crewe, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western, Preston ..... Glasgow Central. Change at Crewe for Chester, Shotton, Flint ... Holyhead. Change at Wigan North Western for Gathurst ... Southport. Change at Preston for Salwick ... Blackpool North."

The fundamental problem would appear to be that whichever version is chosen someone (at least on this forum) is going to be unhappy that the announcements are either too long/too short or too detailed/not detailed enough.

Personally, I think the railway should bring in consistent stopping patterns with route numbers for each route and retail service IDs for trains with reservations e.g London Euston - Glasgow Central (Avanti West Coast) being IWC1 for example with the 10:15 departure being IWC1-1S08 for example. These numbers could, be printed on the passenger's itinerary so they would know which train they were looking/listening for without all of its calling points having to be announced
 
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