About me
Archive
About me

The next calling point for this service will be…

I usually try to avoid ‘grumpy’ columns in magazines. As a general rule, they are not very interesting and are not nearly as funny as the author intends. Turning a ‘moan’ into interesting writing is a tricky skill to pull off.

All of that aside: In 1843 magazine, Adrian Wooldridge recently wrote about irritating announcements on public transport:

Some companies seem to revel in redundancy. In the railway world Amtrak is the champion of verbosity. Recorded announce­ments on its trains proclaim the arrival of each station with a peroration ending in a request to “please take this time to look about you and collect your bags”, as though the majority of passengers were otherwise likely to canter off the train in a spiritual ecstasy, leaving their material possessions in their wake.

This complaint touched a nerve. When I was commuting to London on a weekly basis a few years ago, there was one particular train guard whose name became lodged in my memory, so annoying were his announcements. His tone tended to convey a weary sense of superiority: it was with some mild irritation that he reminded passengers to check that their tickets were valid for this particular service, as though only a moron could be confused. He spoke extremely slowly, as though he had been told in training not to speak too fast and had overcorrected. And, most irritatingly of all, he seeemed intent on lengthening every announcement to the greatest possible extent by including superfluous words.

Peterborough would never be the ‘next stop’; it would inevitably be ‘the next station stop at which our service will be calling this morning’. Passengers should not merely content themselves with ‘reading the displayed safety instructions’; rather they should ‘be sure to fully familiarise themselves with the safety information cards displayed on the walls of the vestibules at the end of every carriage on board this service’. Customers should not simply ‘have tickets ready for inspection’; they should ‘be aware that a full ticket check will now take place in all coaches, starting from Coach B at the front of the train, and ensure that they have all tickets, travel documents and railcards to hand both at their seat and when moving around the train.’

The verbosity was almost too much to bear. So while I disagree with Adrian’s preference for not knowing the names of service workers and wearing headphones through safety demonstrations on aircraft, I find it hard not to have a little sympathy with his complaints about excessively loquacious train guards.


As an aside, on a recent train journey, the guard issued the typical reminder that passengers should “take all of their personal belongings with them”. Somebody loudly responded that this wasn’t practical, as most of their personal belongings were at home rather than on a train. I’ll laughed quite loudly, despite myself.


The image at the top is of a Virgin train at Brighton station. The full version was posted on Flickr by Matt Davis, and I’ve reproduced a cropped version here under its Creative Commons Licence.

This 2,436th post was filed under: Posts delayed by 12 months, Travel, , , , , .

Weekend read: New York’s hidden subway station

This week, I’ve chosen something that could perhaps more properly be called a weekend gawp than a weekend read. Before reading Sophie’s Travellettes post, I was already aware of City Hall station on New York’s subway, having read about it somewhere else at some dim and distant point in the past. But I’d never seen pictures, and, by golly, does Sophie have some pictures to share! Her post is well worth a look.

This 2,003rd post was filed under: Weekend Reads, , .

Photo-a-day 317: Emirates 777

20121113-112808.jpg

Thanks to an on-call that was rather busier than I prefer, I forgot to post a photo last night. So, to make up for that, here’s one from this morning.

According to some plane geeks sat near me, this is the Emirates Boeing 777-300ER, the biggest aircraft to regularly service Newcastle airport. There was quite some fanfare when the 428-seater started running earlier in the year.

In interviews, Emirates pilots describe Newcastle’s as one of the more “challenging” runways on the 777 route, thanks to its short length. To me, 2.3km sounds quite a long runway, but then I’m not trying to comfortably halt a quarter of a million kilos which hits the ground at 150mph, so perhaps I’m not fully appreciating the situation!

This 1,886th post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , .

Photo-a-day 314: It’s a miracle!

20121109-213227.jpg

On the day of the announcement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, evidence of a miracle unseen at Newcastle Airport! Praise the Lord!

This is the second photo today, making up the numbers as I forgot on some previous occasion….!

This 1,883rd post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , , .


The content of this site is copyright protected by a Creative Commons License, with some rights reserved. All trademarks, images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. The accuracy of information on this site is in no way guaranteed. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information provided by this site. This site uses cookies - click here for more information.