‘The next announcement will arrive shortly’: just how annoying are train messages?

“See it, say it – sorted.” Sure, it’s that maddening “Sisis” message earlier than my journey even begins.

Rail passengers are continuously cajoled to behave “should you see one thing that doesn’t look proper”. In these troublesome days, you would possibly wish to report a busy practice to British Transport Police on 61016: as passenger numbers weaken, such occasions actually represent an uncommon sight.

The two.07pm stopping service from Guildford to London Waterloo, fashioned of 10 coaches, has solely 11 passengers on board when it begins its one-hour journey, which suggests solely two folks have to share a carriage.

The doorways shut, bringing some welcome respite from the Sisis exhortation.

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, has pledged a “bonfire of the banalities”: to evaluate and take away practice bulletins that add pointless noise and disruption to journeys.

The Division for Transport (DfT) claims the adjustments imply passengers will not be bombarded with public-address “spam” that distracts from “vital safety-critical messaging”.

Mr Shapps mentioned: “Practice passengers are all too typically suffering from an infinite torrent of repeated and pointless bulletins.

“In step with the passenger enhancements we’re rolling out with our Plan for Rail we wish to see enhancements to the railways for many who use them day in, time out.”

On the South Western Railway practice from Guildford, the primary announcement is from the guard, welcoming us on board and specifying the arrival time of three.07pm.

After that the messages settle right into a rhythm: about 30 seconds earlier than arriving at a station, we’re informed “The subsequent station will likely be Oxshott.”

When the practice stops and the doorways open: “That is Oxshott. That is the practice for London Waterloo. The subsequent station is Claygate.”

With 14 stops, that’s 28 pre-recorded messages.

Some extras are thrown in. After Surbiton, the guard makes one other “stay” announcement, however it’s too quiet to make out.

Then comes the inevitable pre-recorded demand: “In case you seen one thing uncommon, textual content British Transport Police on 61016. See it. Say it. Sorted.”

Simply forward of Wimbledon, passengers are reminded to “thoughts the hole between the door and the platform edge”. As it’s the first such warning, it appears properly judged.

Forward of Clapham Junction, all of the connection prospects as much as and together with Willesden Junction are reeled off – once more, a helpful service.

In a video message on Twitter, the transport secretary cites examples of superfluous bulletins as being informed to have your ticket prepared when leaving the station, warnings of inclement climate and placing newspapers within the bin.

“Passengers simply should be handled as grown-ups and have the ability to use their frequent sense,” he says.

“Practice journey must be an opportunity to chill out, learn a guide, atone for some work and even take a nap.”

A complete of 34 bulletins in an hour’s journey may appear extreme, however the overwhelming majority are helpful “locators” for individuals who have nodded off or, extra importantly, are visually impaired.

Jacqueline Starr, chief govt of the Rail Supply Group, says practice operators will “plan extra helpful and constant bulletins throughout the community”.

I’ve despatched her a be aware saying that apart from the Sisis repetitions, the one different annoying request is on reaching Waterloo: “Please keep in mind to take all of your belongings with you.”

I had introduced solely a small bag, however now it appeared I’m alleged to lug my wardrobe, bicycle, journey guide assortment, fridge and prized poster of the Soviet supersonic jet, the Tu144, round with me.

It might be shorter and extra acceptable to say: “Verify you haven’t left something behind.”

On arrival at Waterloo – till the the coronavirus pandemic, the busiest transport terminal in Europe – there was another messaging thriller to clear up.

The movie accompanying Mr Shapps’s tweet exhibits a railway carriage with him and two different passengers, none of whom are sporting face coverings.

The transport secretary is studying a three-day previous copy of the Every day Telegraph. It seems, subsequently, that the video was filmed on Tuesday – when masks sporting was nonetheless obligatory.

The DfT tells me the carriage was not in public use, so successfully it was a movie set and unaffected by the prevailing guidelines. Which I hereby announce.

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