Platform / a trolley service / Warrington Bank Quay
August 21, 2022 5:38 AM   Subscribe

On Friday, journalist Jon Brady discovered via freedom of information laws that Scotrail (the Scottish national railway operator) had published a 2-hour-long MP3 containing every speech fragment used in their automated station announcements. Before long, it had been split into 2,440 individual MP3s and a crowdsourced transcription process had begun (with notes about the more peculiar phrases). Now, you can get (very) random announcements in your Twitter feed, make your own with an online soundboard, or even listen to ambient lo-fi beats with ScotRail announcements. Alison McKay, the voice artist who uttered the original announcements, is very much amused.
posted by acb (38 comments total) 63 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've got to say I'm a bit disappointed it doesn't sound enough like this.
posted by zaixfeep at 6:22 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


I have to weed my garden this morning, and since I saw this yesterday I've been planning to use this as my soundtrack.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:27 AM on August 21


I'm okay for sourcing rail-delay announcements by myself, but thanks!
posted by pompomtom at 6:41 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


(I used to live on the other side of town, and my anecdata is that suicide-by-train is far more prevalent in the East of Melbourne than the West).
posted by pompomtom at 6:45 AM on August 21


"This train is formed of 12 coaches of drinks and light refreshments. Please note this train is the sheep on the railway."
posted by Foosnark at 6:46 AM on August 21 [5 favorites]


"We are sorry to announce that this train is formed of thick fog, signifying difficulties [white noise]. Please ignore the following announcements."
posted by box at 7:33 AM on August 21 [6 favorites]


At least we can stream this train, infinitely.
posted by curious nu at 7:46 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


sadly they have no "oh" or "zero" in the [make your own] link. i was going to make a new voicemail message.
posted by glonous keming at 8:14 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


"We are sorry to announce this train is formed of mechanical problems, a bridge having collapsed. Please ignore any information currently displayed."
posted by Earthtopus at 9:18 AM on August 21 [5 favorites]


"Tweedbank. Tweedbank. Tweedbank. [long beep].
Tweedbank. Tweedbank. Tweedbank. [long beep]."
posted by Earthtopus at 9:26 AM on August 21 [5 favorites]


"We are sorry to announce that this train is formed of thick fog, signifying difficulties [white noise]. Please ignore the following announcements."

iPhone + a busking speaker = good times.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:41 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Metafilter's own simonw has a fun database interface to play with this data here.
posted by bitslayer at 10:11 AM on August 21 [6 favorites]


Can this get plugged into the Endless Jingling engine?
posted by delfin at 11:10 AM on August 21 [4 favorites]


(I used to live on the other side of town, and my anecdata is that suicide-by-train is far more prevalent in the East of Melbourne than the West).

There's a video for why that likely is.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:20 AM on August 21


sadly they have no "oh" or "zero" in the [make your own] link. i was going to make a new voicemail message.

The "Time" category has 01 through 09, so unless you have a double zero or a zero at the end you're set.
posted by finka at 11:53 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


I don't know why I love this so much. I have much better things I could be doing, but I've been playing with silly announcements on the soundboard for an hour.
posted by Chanther at 12:20 PM on August 21


Oh I have been having so much fun with this stuff! I lost basically all of Saturday to playing around with it.

My two neatest things with it so far are: Lots more details on my blog.
posted by simonw at 1:42 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


I suppose Scotrail couldn't get ahold of Steven Toast
posted by BWA at 2:21 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


I get the train through Annan a lot and it's always bugged the way the announcement pronounces it "a nan". It's in Scotland, how can Scotrail not get this right!

With the benefit of this soundboard I can see there are two versions in the system, both different and both wrong!
posted by PJMcPrettypants at 3:31 PM on August 21


We are sorry to announce that this is manchester piccadilly . We apologise for the inconvenience caused.

As a professional railway consultant I will fins some excellent uses for this tool.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:04 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]




"A boat colliding with a bridge earlier today" is an extremely specific announcement!
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:19 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


I suppose Scotrail couldn't get ahold of Steven Toast

HYUAEAS!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:03 PM on August 21


my son starting playing with this. here's his creation:
"we are sorry to announce that the sheep on the railway is available on this train and will not arrive until a wartime bomb near the railway yesterday has been cancelled."

boats hitting bridges, wartime bombs near the railway -- I'm never riding Scotrail!
posted by martin q blank at 6:49 PM on August 21


The cancellation reasons all come from this UK-wide list and aren’t specific to ScotRail - e.g. There’s no third rail anywhere near Scotland*, but a full set of announcements.

Trains being delayed by a boat colliding with a bridge seems to have happened in Wales, Kent and Leeds. Wartime bombs are far more prevalent further south.

(* yes, I know the Glasgow Subway exists)
posted by grahamparks at 7:14 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


We are sorry to announce that a wartime bomb near the railway is at present being tested by our engineers. While this testing is carried out, please take extra care when getting on and off trains.
posted by smelendez at 12:56 AM on August 22 [1 favorite]


Yesterday, while stopped in a tunnel outside Waverley Station, I was remembering Scotrail's release of their announcements, vaguely wondering if anybody would bother to do anything with it - and thinking that - if they had - it would make an interesting post here on the blue. Thank you for being way, way ahead of me, acd!

The ambient Scotrail project, is a work of genius. Perfect to have in place until the Scottish Gritter Tracker comes back online in the winter.
posted by rongorongo at 2:24 AM on August 22


I suppose Scotrail couldn't get ahold of Steven Toast

We are sorry to announce that we can, in fact, hear Clem Fandango.

Also:

We are sorry to announce that this is manchester piccadilly . We apologise for the inconvenience caused.

As someone who's been through Manchester Piccadilly more times than I care to remember, I felt this.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:47 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


It would require unrealistic amounts of coordination and voiceover work, but I've always thought it would be a neat April Fool's joke if transit systems swapped their voices for the day like newspaper and webcomics creators do.

Maybe Boston's Frank Oglesby could show up in London saying "mind the gap" and Alison McKay could do the "The next Red Line train to BRAINTREE is now arriving"
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:50 AM on August 22


(I know Alison McKay does the ScotRail announcements, I was trying to hide the fact that I know very few of the people who actually do the announcements by including London in my hypothetical example of swapping voiceover artists.)
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:53 AM on August 22


We are sorry to announce that this is Manchester Piccadilly. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.

I wish I’d taken a pic when, years ago, waiting to board my train home at Birmingham New Street, said train’s front display evidently had a bit of a disconnect between the top and bottom rows of its front LED sign. It read either:

Sorry
Leicester


or

Leicester
Sorry

posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 5:24 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


We are sorry to announce that a wartime bomb near the railway is currently being tested by our engineers.
posted by Urtylug at 1:51 PM on August 22


...adverse weather conditions....forecasted high winds...forecasted heavy snow...ice preventing trains getting electricity from third rail...lightning damaging a train...thick fog earlier today...heavy rain flooding the railway
I am glad they have all the announcements required for August.
posted by rongorongo at 11:13 PM on August 22


Write extremely constrained short comedic forms!
posted by mubba at 12:13 AM on August 22


I screamed, I sobbed, etc (so did my wife)
posted by lokta at 11:05 AM on August 24




The next service to
Cambridge
is delayed by approximately...
hundred hours
due to
Cattle on the railway
You'll be liable to pay a penalty fare
...at...
Aberdeen
For the...
Trespass on the line
Thank you
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 1:58 AM on August 25


"We apologise for the inconvenience caused by Johnstone" fits at the end of just about anything.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 2:31 AM on August 25


Slippery Rails

(MeFiMu)
posted by Grangousier at 11:46 AM on August 30


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