What Was That Announcement? Things You’re Unlikely To See #5

live train information

Ah, just imagine…live text announcements to your mobile to translate the unintelligible mumblings from a station PA system. A technological step too far for Scotrail, perhaps, but maybe there is an alternative.

I often stare at the Information section of the train departures board in the hope that it will tell me something more useful than not to feed the pigeons, not to smoke within the station or not to leave my luggage unattended. It seems I am the only one, however, because everywhere you look on the concourse there are pigeons wrestling chips with their stumps, and pecking at fag butts and unattended suitcases.

Standalone live PA system announcements for the deaf/ HOH might arguably take up too much space on the board, but what if the pigeon alerts on the board could alternate with text announcements?  It would also help the 98% of the populace who don’t care about not feeding the pigeons and can’t make out the PA announcements either. Two for the price of one.

I know for a fact this system could work. Scotrail love alternating displays, and already have a sophisticated system in place at minor stations which only have one monitor. It somehow detects when you are about to look at the screen for vital train information, and immediately switches to a useless warning not to leave unattended luggage. I find the system is particularly effective when you are rushing.

I used to try and trick the sensors by pretending to look away as I approached, until I misjudged some stairs in the bowels of Glasgow Central and nearly ended up under the Garscadden train. If the secret alternating display system could be deployed usefully to make space for live text announcements on the main destination board, however, my embarrassing trip might not have been in vain…

Background photo cropped from Departures board, Glasgow central railway station  courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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2 Responses to “What Was That Announcement? Things You’re Unlikely To See #5”


  1. 1 Rose Rodent (@RoseRodent) August 11, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    This could actually be a use for Twitter. Who knew? Ironically, posted with Twitter, as it does come in handy for authorising sites, even if, especially if, you never use Twitter.

    And welcome back, we’ve missed your humour to brighten our days.

    • 2 moiradancer August 13, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      Haha Rose, never even thought about Twitter!

      Talking of tweets, I did have a rather offbeat idea to rehabilitate the bedraggled station pigeons by turning them into Scotrail carrier pigeons. They’d have a wee blue harness with room for an incentivising french fry on one side and space for the rolled up platform alteration announcement message on the other. Those pigeons are faster than a phone signal when they spy food, plus they don’t lose their connection in a tunnel. Mobile phones don’t do droppings on you from the rafters, right enough…

      Good to hear from you too 🙂


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