|Driving a train with flair
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
One of the pleasures of regular commuting is the occasional hilarious announcement from bored transport staff. Here are a few recent examples:
- On the 17:44 from London Kings Cross to Kings Lynn (calling at Cambridge, Waterbeach, Ely, Littleport, Downham Market, Watlington and Kings Lynn, and one of these days I'll have to record a voice post because I can recite that from memory in time with and in the accent of the announcement): "Just to mix things up, we'll be stopping at Royston tonight. It'll be fun!"
- On the platform at Kings Cross: "As you enter the platform, please turn left and keep moving down. You'll find it much easier to board the next train if you move down the platform. Please believe me. I've been saying this for the last half an hour and no one believes me. There's space down here. Look!" *frantic waving of signalling paddle seen above the heads of the crowds*
- On the Piccadilly line at South Kensington Station: "Ladies and gentlemen, you are reminded that flash photography is not permitted on the London Underground. Please use some sense and do not use the flash on your camera while on the Tube."
"This train will be held here for a short time while I just get my sight back."
If we ever progress to a system of automatic, driver-less trains, I hope the engineers program in a bit of personality.
Some years back, at Leicester Square, there were crowds of people all trying to shove their way up one of the stairs leading out, leading to the announcers saying, simply;
"There are four exits from this station..."
I love the way the English can summarize oceans of frustration with the most bland, straightforward statements.
:) reminds me of being on the District line of the Underground one day, when after telling us where we could change for at Earl's Court, the driver informed us that it was the location of the first escalators on the Underground, and repeated the unsubstantiated story that a one legged man was employed to travel up and down them all day on the first day to demonstrate their safety. :)
the trains on the Docklands Light Railway are driverless, but only semi automatic: there is a conductor [officially referred to as the "Train Captain" if memory serves] who operates the doors, checks tickets and [i think] makes announcements, so there's still a human element. :)
I once rode the Piccadilly line when it was being driven by what I suspect was a former airline hostess. She kept adding superlatives to station names and tube lines - "dear old Green Park, where you can change for the jolly Jubilee line" - and providing tips for activities and sights one could enjoy nearby. I keep hoping I'll hear her again, but it hasn't happened yet.
hm. :) nice to know such things can still happen despite the prevalence of automated recorded announcements. i know someone on here who i think is a driver on the Piccadilly line. perhaps it's her. :)
I love those sort of announcements. I've heard a number of somewhat "off-message" announcements on the tube, laden with a frustration and despair that was almost tangible. My favourites were probably announcements that went much like this:
Mind the doors. No really, mind the doors. Look, we can't go anywhere until the doors are shut. So stop leaning on them. Yes that means you, with the red hat and the rucksack in the third carriage back. I'm sure all these other people would like to go home sometime today and I know I would...
I apologise for the delay but this service is being regulated. Which means we have to sit here for a few minutes to even out gaps in the service. Funny thing is, I still have to get to the final destination by a certain time so it just means I have to go faster to catch up and thern I'll get regulated again a few stations down the line. What's the point in that eh? No, I don't know either.
and best of all:
I apologise for the delay but we're currently stopped at a red light. I don't know why it's gone red and no one can tell me either. Perhaps it was bored.
Edited at 2010-11-20 01:03 pm (UTC)
Ahahaha. I just remembered another one from a platform attendant with a schoolmistress manner.
"I know you're all kind, lovely people and so you'll stand away from the doors and allow customers off the train first before boarding. Won't you?"
*everyone does, looking petrified*
"Oh well done everyone. You can board the train now."
*everyone shuffles hesitantly onto the train*
I wish my wit one day to be as pithy, cunning, and self-deprecating as that of the Tube staff.
I'm not sure it's worth enduring the physical and mental punishment of being on the Tube staff.
Hahaha, I miss using public transportation. In Hawaii I had a few bus drivers that were pretty witty. Mix that in with the local dialect and sheer lolz.
Oh man. I've forgotten most of my pidgin. Maybe it would come back to me if I visited, but I dunno, it might be gone forever. :/