End User fun stuff

station announcements

I have just invented two new and different ways of making train announcements at railway stations. The ideas came to me when standing around at Kings Cross station waiting for my own train to be announced. Announcements for other trains came and went but not my own. I found myself saying to myself “that’s all well and good but it’s not my train and I am therefore not interested”.

The first idea is that you should only be able to hear the announcements that affect you. I have no idea how to go about implementing this idea but that’s not my problem. I’m the ideas man – someone else goes away and makes it happen.

The second idea is that the accent of the station announcement should reflect the destination of the train and each of the stopping points along the way. This came to me when I noted that “Hull” was pronounced with a decidedly “correct” English accent rather than saying “Ull” as they do in that part of the world.

So a train going from London to Aberdeen via York should have announcements that start in Cockney, flow through a Yorkshire brogue and end up with a strong Scottish lilt.

Och aye!

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

7 replies on “station announcements”

Tref, if people had RFID tags attached to themselves or tickets, using an array of directional speakers and using the Huygens-Fresnel principle you could probably sort this immediately, not sure about your accent segmentation.

Why not an SMS text message to one’s mobile gadget ? SMS charges would be part of the ticket price and should be discounted due to their bulk nature.

I like the Huygens-Fresnel angle. Could also use bluetooth to your smartphone & the announcement would come over your phone’s speaker.

The accent bit is easy enough. Currently they have a voiceover artist that records a whole dictionary of words used in announcements. The words are strung together as appropriate. All they would have to do is record Glasgow in Glaswegian etc.

Of course there are likely to be some places where the place name is going to be less comprehensible than others. eg if Rab C Nesbitt were to do the Glasgow announcement. Buy hey, who cares:)

If you use a smart phone you could almost “log in” to the station when you get there – perhaps have some sort of app running in the background and announcements/information could propagate down to the phone based on your train selection/destination. Announcements could be made to take over take over whatever sound/app might be going through your headphones at the time jolting you into some sort of action especially in the early hours of the morning as you hunt down the least foul tasting source of caffeine…

Randomly enough have also been trying to think of ideas for Google glass/other devices recently and this might go on the list…nothing says your train is here like exclamation mark burning into your retina.

A smartphone app linked to the train timetables.

You select the train you are interested in and it will play the announcements using the loudspeaker function.

However it would require all the PA systems to be IP enabled (potential massive contract for Timico there)

The voice you hear at KGX is “Anne” this is an Atos employee and default voice of their system.
You are right in some way that regional accents are part of the way in which places are spoken as such if you was at at Birmingham New Street you would hear both “Anne” and “Brummie man” (depending on which platform you are stood/waiting) he is a Birmingham New Street employee and male voice for that station’s Atos system.

Anne is the most used over the UK for station announcements.


BE. 🙂

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