Birmingham New Street P.A options

Currently waiting for a response from Network Rail Limited, they should respond promptly and normally no later than (details).

Dear Network Rail Limited,

It has been quite a while since Network Rail have silenced the auto P.A at Birmingham New Street, and to only announce the generic announcements.

I was told this was a 'trial' in an attempt to reduce noise pollution on platform level, and that Network Rail were in discussions with the provider (ATOS) Worldline, to seek alternative options. As you probably already know, this affects the whole station, not just platform level.

In my opinion, a large station such as Birmingham New Street has no place to have its train announcements silenced. Whilst there are manual announcements, these are few and far between. As well as, naturally, being not as clear.

My suggestion would to be to ONLY to include the necessary train service information. Which includes calling points, amount of carriages (formation) (and perhaps first class location) Also limit it to perhaps one or two announcements per service?

Can you confirm if you have any plans to re-enable the auto P.A for train services within Birmingham New Street?

Yours faithfully,

Josh Rubio

FOI, Network Rail Limited

Reference number: FOI2020/00948

Dear Mr Rubio

Information request

Thank you for your email of 13 August 2020. I can confirm that your request is being processed under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) / Environmental Information Regulations (EIR). I will endeavour to respond to you as soon as possible and in any event by 11 September 2020.

On occasion we may need to consult with third parties about requests, in line with the recommendations in the Code of Practice issued by the Cabinet Office.

If you have any queries please contact me.

Please remember to quote your reference number in all future communications.

Kind regards

Najea Begum | Information Officer
Freedom of Information | Legal & Corporate Services

Network Rail | 1st Floor | Willen Building | The Quadrant: MK
Elder Gate | Milton Keynes | MK9 1EN
Telephone: 01908 782405 | 07732640993
Email: [Network Rail request email]
Web: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/foi/

Diversity and Inclusion Champion            

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FOI, Network Rail Limited

1 Attachment

Reference number: FOI2020/00948

Dear Mr Rubio

Please find attached a letter in response to your recent requests for information.

Kind regards

Emma

Emma Baker | Information Officer
Freedom of Information | Legal & Corporate Services

Network Rail | 1st Floor | Willen Building | The Quadrant: MK Elder Gate | Milton Keynes | MK9 1EN
Email: [Network Rail request email]
Web: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/foi/

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Hi,

Thanks for the detailed reply. There’s just one thing I’d like to be clarified as in the response, there’s something which contradicts itself.

The response stated:
“I have consulted with the Station Manager and I can confirm that we do not currently have any plans to reinstate the PA announcements at Birmingham New Street Station“

Further down the response, it says:
“We do announce services when on approach to the station at all levels, this includes concourse and platforms.”

As well as:
“For your information, under normal ‘business as usual’ conditions, the station announcements cover:
All services are announced when on the approach to the station”

Does the above mean that services are manually announced, or announced via auto P.A with there being one announcement per service?

Thanks for the update.

Yours sincerely,

Josh Rubio

FOI, Network Rail Limited

Hi Josh

Thank you for your email.

To clarify, once the train passes the train describer on the approach to Birmingham New Street, this triggers the automated PA to announce the service when on the approach to the station. This is usually as the train enters the tunnel from either side of the station.

I hope that helps.

Kind regards

Najea Begum | Information Officer
Freedom of Information | Legal & Corporate Services

Network Rail | 1st Floor | Willen Building | The Quadrant: MK
Elder Gate | Milton Keynes | MK9 1EN
Telephone: 01908 782405 | 07732640993
Email: [Network Rail request email]
Web: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/foi/

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Hello,

Thank you for replying.

I appreciate you explaining how trains are announced as they pass over a section of track but I think you initially misread my question? My question was - are trains now being announced again as they approach the station as Network Rail disabled the auto announcements during Summer 2019. So trains were entering the station unannounced.

Is this still the case now or have the announcements been re-enabled?

Yours sincerely,

Josh Rubio

FOI, Network Rail Limited

Hi Josh

Apologies if there's been some miscommunication about this. To clarify, we disabled Pre-Announcements and Arrival announcements during the summer of 2019, and these are still disabled. However, we still have standing at announcements, delay announcement’s, replatform announcements and cancellation announcements enabled.

I hope that helps.

Kind regards

Najea Begum | Information Officer
Freedom of Information | Legal & Corporate Services

Network Rail | 1st Floor | Willen Building | The Quadrant: MK
Elder Gate | Milton Keynes | MK9 1EN
Telephone: 01908 782405 | 07732640993
Email: [Network Rail request email]
Web: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/foi/

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Hi there,

Thanks for clarifying. With the ‘standing at’ announcements, how does this work for trains which enter and leave the station quickly, such as the Cross City line services? The standing announcements are usually made for services which stay in the station for quite a while, if I’m correct?

Finally, may I suggest that the ‘arrival’ announcements are re-enabled and are used instead of the ‘standing at’ announcements as I feel this would be more beneficial to passengers. Most passengers would already be onboard the train when the ‘standing at’ announcement is played, as opposed to when the ‘arrival’ announcement is played, where the train would still be approaching the platform.

To add to the above suggestion, perhaps you could do what your Network Rail counterparts at Manchester Piccadilly do, which repeats the service departure time and destination after its calling points have been announced. This way, any visually impaired passengers get all the relevant information in one announcement, per train.

Yours sincerely,

Josh Rubio