Sunday, 12 August 2012


Carnforth Station. Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson weren't troubled by stupid announcements
I know I'm not the only train passenger that gets annoyed at the seemingly incessant messages that come over the PA on trains and stations these days. But it's not just the number and volume of the announcements that gets on my nerves - it's the content as well. Some of this seems to come from some sort of official script, while other parts of it are made up by the staff concerned.

"We are now arriving into . . . ."
No we're NOT: We are "arriving at" We've "arrived at" stations for years. Why all of a sudden do we have to "arrive into" them?

"If you are leaving the train please take ALL your belongings with you!"
Do you know just how many "belongings" I possess? I'd probably need the whole carriage to accommodate them if I were stupid enough to lug them round with me!

"Do not leave luggage unattended. Unattended items will be removed by the security services and destroyed."
Well, it's about time someone found out who in the "security services" is doing this and stopped them! Seriously though, if the railways survived two world wars and the IRA terrorist campaign of the 1970s without these announcements, why do we need them now? The same goes for all those entreaties to "read the safety information provided at your seat". Does anyone ever do this?

"This is the 16.30 train to London Euston, due to arrive London at six o' clock"
A peculiarity of Virgin Trains this one. The railways have been using the 24-hour clock for nearly 50 years and anyone who didn't understand it wouldn't have been able to catch "the 16.30" anyway

"We are now arriving at Birmingham. Birmingham is our final destination"
Well it might be your final destination, mate, but I plan on being around a few years longer and I sincerely hope that when the time comes, it's not in Birmingham. What's wrong with the traditional "All Change, Please!"

"Please have all tickets, passes and travel documents ready for inspection at the barrier"
Blimey, where are we going?: Birmingham or East Berlin circa 1962.

On the other hand, you do learn some interesting local turns of phrase, particularly on the Anglo-Scottish services:

"If you are leaving the train please make sure you have uplifted your belongings."

And I must admit I've fallen in love with the young lady on Arriva Trains Wales who tells us to
"Please place items of litter in the bins provided - thank you!"  It's the way she says it: bursting with pride at being given her first real job on the railway to record this announcement. I'd even forgive her for disregarding 150 years of common practice and calling the railway station a "train station". (Now where has that one come from?)

We don't have this trouble on the buses - the most you get there (outside London) is an occasional grunt from the driver!


No Direction said...

Nothing to do with trains but the one that really revs me up is when someone says "Can I get" instead of "Can I have".

No Direction said...

Jim, you've got me going now. When I worked for Land Rover and a vehicle caught fire (very rare) we used the term "Thermal Event" in the report, it just made life easier for us, got away with it for 3 years:)

Andy Healey said...

We still use that term at Lotus, although not as often nowadays.

Martin said...

"Can I have" ?? Do you mean "Please may I have"

Sarah said...

My particular bete noire on my regular commute was 'calling at... Lewes, where the train will then divide.'
Why the then???

I did used to make a point, upon being exhorted to take all my belongings with me, of muttering 'Oh no! I've left most of them at home!'

Jim said...

How about "Dogs must be carried on the escalators" Bit of a problem if you've never owned one.

Halfie said...

And what about "station stops" as in, say, "Crewe will be the next station stop"? It sounds clumsy. Bring back "Next stop - Crewe"!

Mark Doran said...

Do I agree with you Jim? ABSOLUTELY!!! (sorry...)

Jim said...

Mark: BONG!