‘On-Train announcements’ is another way of saying ‘PA Announcements’. Having worked as a manager on the railway for a few years I know how the terminology changed after privatisation ie Guards became Conductors, Buffet services became On-Board Services, passengers became customers and I became crazy !!
It seems that some things have gone from one extreme to the other though and these announcements maybe informative, but just try having a relaxing journey on some trips!
Here’s a couple of my recent favourites;
‘May I remind you Ladies and Gentlemen that Rule 17 of the Railway Bye-laws restricts 2nd. class customers from sitting in 1st. Class seating and you will be charged the full first class fare. No up-grades will be considered’.
He may as well have said ‘I’m the boss of this train, just watch it or I’ll ave yer’! The ironic thing is that on my 70 minute journey, he didn’t come through the train to check tickets anyway.
A very popular one is “Because of a short platform, please make sure you’re in the first 3 coaches of this 12 car train”. How on earth is a customer to know where they are in the first place. If you aren’t aware of short platforms, do you count the carraiges as the train draws into the station!
I once proposed some sort of colour coding, but it was turned down on the fact that someone would always forget to do it or get it the wrong way round.
Then we come on to the overkill and this is a true story of only 5 days ago.
I got on the train and was reminded where the train was going (one of those joined up voice recordings), then I got the security announcement. The train left ‘ding-dong’, ‘The next station will be……’ Between the staions I was also told about feet on chairs, CCTV installed on the train, 1st. class up-grades, emergancy exits, no smoking reminder, non mobile phone carraiges and weekend engineering work.
I reckon that by the next station which was 11 minutes, about one of those didn’t have a recorded message. Then, after leaving every larger station up the route, we got the whole lot again.
If you want to know about Fareham to Portsmouth engineering works, I’m the man with the knowledge.
The most upsetting thing is that it’s all recorded. We spent a long long time educating Conductors to use the ‘PA’ and get up the train. Now it seems they’re educated the other way! To be fair, in a lot of instances, it isn’t their fault – they’re going by the rule book etc.
The railway is changing, the trains are certainly getting better, in general the staff seem to be smarter and the stations getting some renovation done.
But it’s the service which matters, both in timetable and general public relations (>customer focus and interface<). I don't think re-nationalisation is the answer - a lot of things have got better, but the Train Operating companies need to get some conformity and work together for the common good. Post replies to 'the miserable old git who always thinks things were better in his day' !!