What's up with the announcements on SWT 455s?

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Callum J

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What's the deal with the appalling South West Trains Class 455 automated annoucements?

Thankfully they ditched the "If you see anything suspicious please tell a member of staff" announcements, which on services between Waterloo and Wimbledon seemed to be played far too frequently in the past.

However, having tinkered with the announcements so that we now get "the next station is ...." announcements which were previously absent on the 455s, all kinds of anomalies seem to be cropping up:

* At Earlsfield we are regularly informed that "the next station is Raynes Park", which I have observed has caused a number of Wimbledon-bound passengers to jump off the train, even though all trains that stop at Earlsfield do in fact stop at Wimbledon.

* At Wimbledon the poor lady sounds likes she's suffering from an attack of the hiccups, with "Change here for the Croydon Tramlink and .... the .... District Line ...." ... What on earth was wrong with the perfectly-clear previous announcement stating "District Line London Underground"?

* At Strawberry Hill (on Richmond-bound services) we are informed that the train "terminates here", even though it does in fact continue via Richmond on to Waterloo.

Why on earth couldn't the fantastically husky and more naturalistic sounding Julie Berry have been commissioned to record the announcements on SWT, as she did such a great job on Southern and Southeastern? The manner in which they have cobbled poor Celia Drummond's recordings together is so rushed and garbled ... it really just grates!!

Why does the SWT onboard system produce so many errors?
 
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455/8

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Unfortunately its a problem with system and it effects the Desiros as well as the 455's, basically from what one of the Guards told me a new company has been brought in to sort out the codes and announcements and from what I was told the person that originally created the system left the company and took all the info with them, so when this new company has started to repair or change codes and announcements they've unintentionally messed up others. It is currently being worked on from what I gather but it is a slow process and a lot of guards will do manual announcements.
 

Matt Taylor

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It isn't exclusive to 455s, several codes don't work at all on the 450s. the December update was handled by a third party who have quite clearly screwed up. There are ways of working around the Strawberry Hill problem but it can only be done if the guard is in the cab and on that route the most effective way to patrol the train is to do it between Kingston and Richmond.
 

455driver

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a new company has been brought in to sort out the codes and announcements
Yes thats true.

and from what I was told the person that originally created the system left the company and took all the info with them,
This is a myth that has been doing the rounds for a while (and yes I was taken in by it as well :lol:), I spoke to the chap who is sorting them out and he told me that most of the issues (ie Basingstokes having Brookwood on the PIS screens) has been because Planning have not corrected any of the errors that the previous chap fixed (despite being told) and so they were perpetuated by the computer programme.
About 90% of the errors should be corrected by the new software.

so when this new company has started to repair or change codes and announcements they've unintentionally messed up others.
There is new software being installed as we speak easily identifiable on Desiros by them having "lon w'loo" on the destination screens.
 

455/8

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Yes thats true.


This is a myth that has been doing the rounds for a while (and yes I was taken in by it as well :lol:), I spoke to the chap who is sorting them out and he told me that most of the issues (ie Basingstokes having Brookwood on the PIS screens) has been because Planning have not corrected any of the errors that the previous chap fixed (despite being told) and so they were perpetuated by the computer programme.
About 90% of the errors should be corrected by the new software.


There is new software being installed as we speak easily identifiable on Desiros by them having "lon w'loo" on the destination screens.
ah well there you go, I did ask one of my Guards about it once and why the codes were playing up and it got so complicated I just changed the subject and those points were the only things I could remember :lol:
 

Matt Taylor

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On a 2K rounder the trick is to use the code for the late night Waterloo-Strawberry Hill service but replace it with the normal rounder code at Kingston. On a 2O rounder use the code for Kingston Bay but change it when you leave Strawberry Hill.

There is a similar problem on the Hounslows, and the Woking stoppers.
 

455driver

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Down Woking stopper use 9069 from Surbiton,
Up Woking stopper use 5112 from Woking, which is the code from Guildford but it will pick up from West Byfleet.
 

lewisf

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Why were the announcements even changed in the first place. They worked perfectly before.

A Kingston rounder would announce itself as a Strawberry Hill train from Waterloo to Clapham Junction, a Richmond train from Earlsfield to Norbiton and then a Waterloo train from Kingston.

Also, they really have screwed up that Wimbledon announcement. The Vauxhall one was a lot more comprehensive as well.

Rant over :D
 

TEW

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Lots of people complained about excessive announcements so the idea was to reduce the number of them. They have reduced them, but they've broken a lot of to. The Twitter username has finally been fixed on the screens, well sort of fixed. The stupid |S| has gone but now it just says follow us on Twitter, doesn't mention the username. A new error seems to have appeared recently, or it might only effect certain stations. When approaching a terminus, or at least it does it for Portsmouth & Southsea and Brockenhurst it now says This train is now approaching its final destination, this is Brockenhurst. It just sounds stupid, the this is bit shouldn't be there. The main thing I notice now is the complete inconsistency, it used to announce the same things everywhere but now different stations say different things. Approaching Woking none of the useful connections are announced, but approaching Guildford it has a huge list of connections it announces. Standing at Woking it doesn't say this train is for, the next stop is either, it does a welcome aboard this SWT service.
 

ralphchadkirk

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They appear, to me at least, on Desiros to have removed the pauses in the speech between sentences so you get "The next station is Alton where this train terminates Change here for the Mid Hants Railway", rather than the expected pause between sentences.
 

fgwrich

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Well, i wouldnt say all of the gaps have been removed - we still seem to get the South West Trains service to Weymouth, calling at station station station Southampton Airport Parkway, Southampton Central, Brockenhurst.................................................................Sway, New Milton as the computer reloads the rest of the announcement.

And the The next station is Basingstoke, Change here for Rowlands castle dosent appear to have completely gone either. :lol:
 

TEW

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It must be really important to mind the gap, and SWT must really want to thank you for travelling with them as well, as approaching Guildford it still announces both twice, straight after each other. Please mind the gap between the train and the platform edge, thank you for travelling with SWT. Please mind the gap between the train and the platform edge, thank you for travelling with SWT.
 

Callum J

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Also, they really have screwed up that Wimbledon announcement. The Vauxhall one was a lot more comprehensive as well.
Yes, the Wimbledon one sounds awful. I notice they never mention the option to connect to Sutton or Tooting/Streatham either!

Also noticed that for those coming into Clapham Junction via the Richmond line there is no announcement at all, just silence on approach and when at the platform. I imagine that's where an announcement might be extra useful, what with all the connections available there.

I assume they cut the announcement at Vauxhall to change for the Victoria Line on the grounds that they were trying to encourage people to connect at Waterloo instead during the station improvement works at Vauxhall (which were previously announced as running "until April" but which don't appear to be anywhere near finished yet).
 

455driver

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I assume they cut the announcement at Vauxhall to change for the Victoria Line on the grounds that they were trying to encourage people to connect at Waterloo instead during the station improvement works at Vauxhall (which were previously announced as running "until April" but which don't appear to be anywhere near finished yet).
Did they say which April? ;)
 

BestWestern

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Under the circumstances, would it not have best simply to switch off the PIS and require all Guards to carry out manual announcements until it was fixed?! That is what TOCs with old trains do after all! Whilst PIS has some merits, a manual announcement is surely better than blatantly giving people wrong information?!
 
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