London Underground Cordons Off Christmas

By M@ Last edited 137 months ago
London Underground Cordons Off Christmas

Speaking of Christmas trees, London Underground unveiled a rather isolated little tree at Kings Cross St Pancras a couple of days ago. Complete with Tube symbol decorations. It's a thing of beauty. But never in the field of seasonal decorations has such a lovely gesture looked so out of place, sitting as it does amongst the clinically polished halls of the new interchange.

We love Kings Cross Tube at the moment for so many reasons:

• The stenatorian gentleman who announces the most trivial of transport updates in the style of a Hollywood trailer. "Ladies and was a time of heroes...the Northern line is running a good service...prepare for the motion picture event of the year".

• The completely misleading 'Way Out' signs which have you traversing an Escher-esque tour of the station's sloping mezzanines.

• The preposterously loud ticket barriers on exiting the Met/H&C/Circle platforms. Jesus.

• The infinite queues of tourists in the eastern ticket hall, when there are at least three ticket machines completely free near the Christmas tree.

Ah, bless. Merry Christmas to everyone who works at KC. It must be hell.

Last Updated 08 December 2006


I think the "stenatorian gentleman" is an experiment to prove how hard sentences are to understand when delivered in a variety of mismatching speeds, volumes and tones.

e.g. "Ladies and gentlemen! Delays are occurring on theNORTHERN LINE due toSIGNALLING PROBLEMS at Camden Townstation!!!!"

Takes me an age to untangle the mangled syntax, buy which time I've missed my train, and then the line is suspended etc etc

Edwin Lyons

In my experience they seem to try to get the person least qualified and least understandable to speak the messages - and its always someone different. I find myself actually laughing (and I've seen others trying not to) at the announcements at Notting Hill Gate that are so poorly spoken you'd think they'd intentionally found someone with a speech impediment for a laugh. Maybe the station staff take it in turns?


I think the stentorian gent is Tom Baker, isn't he? I absolutely love it, as a) he does the voice for BT when you send text messages to a landline and he has to read them out, and b) it's not fecking Johnny Vaughn. Never has my heart sunk so deep as when I first got into the lifts at Covent Garden, the door snapped shut and... "HI, I'M JOHNNY VAUGHN - DID YOU KNOW YOU'RE IN COVENT GARDEN?..." etc


The announcements at KXSP (which I saw described somewhere as "someone who's trying to make it very clear that he's a classically trained actor") seems to be a speech synthesis system, ie text-to-speech.
I suppose it's a bit more versatile than the system used at other stations, where they just cut and paste together phrases said by that well-spoken woman - something that leads to some odd sentence structures. But they could have at least gone for a system which can pronounce station names and lines properly.

One I heard yesterday: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. PICC Adilly line trains arenotrunning this weekend between Actontownanduxbridge. Use Met Ropolitanlineservices instead. ARSEnalstationisclosed due to PLANNEDengineeringWORK.