Are Chiltern going off the rails?
So, Chiltern trains have used a comedy writer to help inject some personality into their announcements.
They’ve used someone good, too – Richard Preddy, who wrote Green Wing. And they’ve got Tony ‘Baldrick’ Robinson to help coach their announcers in how to deliver them.
It simultaneously makes me think two things:
- Oh good, that’s interesting. Rail announcements have always been a joke – but for all the wrong reasons. It’s nice to see a train company do something imaginative with their language.
- Oh, god: that’s excruciating. There’s nothing worse than Organised Fun. Off-the-cuff quips get a smile. Forced humour gets a grimace. (At best.)
The whole thing is a link-up with a comedy TV channel, so presumably it’ll run for a few weeks and then all be over. The real opportunity, though, is for a rail company which realises that there’s a middle ground between funny ha-ha and the weird formal/bureaucratic gibberish of ‘de-training’ and ‘alighting’ that announcements are usually full of.
So, if you’re on a Chiltern train and you hear one of these announcements, do email us and tell us what you think. If you’re a train company who actually wants to change your language for better, for good, email us for a chat.