Help! Some of our Platform is Missing!

On one of my infrequent visits to the grindstone the other day, I found myself on a train with the chatty guard. This is the one who, rather than leaving the talking to SouthWest Trains Woman, supplements her announcements with speeches of his own. And what announcements they are: suavely worded mini-essays on the journey ahead. I think he’s written himself a little script because it’s always the same, and it’s always about three times as wordy as it needs to be (‘mind the gap’, for instance, becomes ‘Passengers alighting at the next station should please be aware that there is a bit of a step down from the train to the platform. Please take extra care when alighting at the next station.’).

I suppose it’s nice to hear someone going the extra mile on his job. But there’s one announcement of his that gets me every time: his announcement about Isleworth. Now when everyone else does it, the Isleworth announcement is ‘Due to a short platform, passengers for Isleworth should use the front four coaches’. When Mr Verbose does it, it goes: ‘Please be aware that the platform at Isleworth is shorter than usual. Therefore, if you were planning to complete your journey at Isleworth you should move towards the front of the train…’ (he then follows with some explicit instructions on how to actually get to the front four coaches of the train – and no, it’s not as simple as ‘walk to the front of the train’ – but does at least reserve those for only the people sitting in the back four coaches). Now I know what he means when he says this – that the Isleworth platform is shorter than the others – but every time I hear this I can’t help but imagine the Isleworth station staff turning up for work in the morning to discover their platform has shrunk in the night.

Or perhaps, even, been stolen?


6 responses to “Help! Some of our Platform is Missing!

  1. SWT do like to make sure their ‘customers’ stay informed, don’t they! Does anyone know why they always refer to stations as ‘station stops’? Or, for that matter, passengers as ‘customers’?

  2. A ‘station stop’ as opposed to a ‘pointless 20 minute stop in the middle of nowhere for no apparent reason’. Or does that just happen up here in the Midlands?

  3. Yeah – I can almost see the logic of a ‘station stop’ because there are stops that aren’t stations and stations where you don’t stop … but it’s so ugly…

    And it does lead to the magnificant redundancy of (and this is a GNER special, rather than a SWT one) : We are now approaching our last and final station stop, where this train terminates.

  4. Well done National Express East Coast; they talk about the ‘next station’ No stop. This could be irritating if you wanted to get off and it didn’t. But, presumably the stop is understood, silent, like the ‘p’ in bath

  5. does it have you grinding your teeth in irritation, though – like i do when i see those signs that say ‘5 items or less’


  6. rivergirlie – you appear to be channelling my other half…
    Huttonian – now that National Express have got their English sorted out, maybe they’ll be able to concentrate on actually running some trains?

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