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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.


3 minutes, 40 seconds read

Posted in

Our take



on May 17, 2012

Share this article on

Related articles

Enough about us

Let's talk about you

We use cookies to make our site better.

Find out more about how we use them (and why they’re called ‘cookies’) here.