haltestellenansage.de

>>About the author

Language

About the author of haltestellenansage.de

Home

Announcements

Updates

Specials

About me

Links

Hello and welcome to my website!

1
9
7
7

-

1
9
9
5


Moskau (Russia), February 1995

My name is Kai, I'm currently 30 years old and a PhD student at the university of Oldenburg in the subway-deprived German federal state of Lower-Saxony. I've spent most of my life in cities without any local rail transit until I moved to the city of Bremen in 2002 - one of the first cities with an electrified streetcar system (1890).  

This section will trace the development of my interest in transit systems and present a few pictures of myself on various subway systems around the world. It may sound somewhat like a report about my experiences with several transit systems around the world.  

This website presents a few interesting pieces from my collection of station announcements (mainly those from subway systems), which I have been adding to a lot over the past years. Even though some cities were pioneers in using pre-recorded announcements (from cassettes) most cities stuck with manual annoucements until rather recently, when digital announcement systems entered the market and became wide-spread. In the light of that argument, my interest in station announcments is a rather new hobby of mine.  

1
9
9
9

Berlin, 04-July-1999, Uhlandstraße station (U15)
Whenever I visited my grandparents as a small kid I used to beg them to be taken for a ride on the streetcars. Unfortunately, the streetcar service in my home town had been discontinued in 1960 and replaced by buses, which made riding a streetcar special for me. Back then, the announcements were stored on cassettes and I regularly impressed the drivers by knowing the names of all stations.

I took me a few more years (until 1997) until I figured I might as well record some of the announcements with a cassette recorder. I made my first recordings in that year during a trip to Berlin. Ever since, my cassette recorder is always in my backpack - needless to say that I've gone through two cassette recorders already!

As I used to live relatively close to the Rhine-Ruhr-area (Germany's largest agglomeration area with 11.2 million people) I chose that area to start my new hobby. The combined length of all streetcar systems in the area is well over 500 km (350 miles), and I still haven't finished the project of getting all the announcements from the streetcars today.

1
9
9
9
-
2
0
0
0

Atlanta, GA (USA), 15-June-2000, Airport station (South Line)


New York City, NY (USA), 06-Aug-2000, 14 St-Union Sq

I managed to get a scholarship to attend an American university for one year. Of course I took advantage of that opportunity and made sure to explore as many American transit systems as possible

Unfortunately, subway systems are few and far between in the United States as the car is the predominant means of transportation. Fortunately, there was MARTA , the subway system (actually it's more like a suburban rail system) of Atlanta/GA, within easy reach. In addition, MARTA features an excellent system of automatic station announcements in their trains - a great opportunity to put my cassette recorder to good use. I also rode the subway systems in Washington DC, Baltimore (Maryland), Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) and New York City (New York).

Unfortunately, neither Washington's nor Baltimore's subway featured auto announcements. Discouraged by that experience I left my cassette recorder in my car (parked far away at a suburban rail station) when exploring Philadelphia, just to find out that the trains operating on the Market-Frankford Line did have auto-announcements. In New York City, the conductor is still responsible for announcing the stations (awfully difficult to understand!). However, the new trains, which are currently being placed in service, are equipped with a system of auto announcements.

2
0
0
2

London (UK), 21-Jan-2002, Picadilly line train near Rayners Lane
In early 2002, I (finally) had the opportunity to check out the world's oldest subway system: The London Underground system. There had been a lot of talk about security problems in the British Rail and London Underground systems, but when I finally got there I was surprised by how modern the system seemed to be (well, I was impressed up to the point when I spent 10 minutes in the tunnel waiting for my train to finally pull into Edgeware Road station). London Underground has developed an extensive system of automatic station announcements - lots and lots of announcements to record! The British terminology struck me as odd after spending so much time in the U.S. though.

Upon returning to Germany, I discovered BVE - a rail simulator program. Almost the entire London Underground system is available for BVE by now, some of the routes even feature the original auto-announcements. In order to contribute my share to BVE, I have decided to create this website and make my auto-announcements sounds available online.

 

2
0
0
3

Hamburg, 07-Aug-2003, U1,Kellinghusenstr. station
After I've moved to Bremen, Hamburg is within easy reach (1 1/2 hours on the train), but yet I rarely find the time for a trip to Hamburg. Every once in a while however I do need to go to Hamburg for whatever reason (on the occasion shown in the picture I was showing a visitor from England around the city) and make sure to record some announcements when I can.
2
0
0
4

Düsseldorf(D), 17-September-2004,   Hubertushain stop


London (England), 14-May-2004, Hainault station

Amsterdam isn't really that far away, and even though I have been to Amsterdam before I've never managed to actually ride their subway system (Metro) . Not surprising really, as the subway serves some infamous parts of the city such as Bijlmermeer (where an Israeli plane crashed into a huge multi-story apartment building a few years ago). I finally managed to travel on the Amsterdam Metro in 2004. Unfortunately, my cassette recorder quit while doing so, which means that my collection of Amsterdam announcements is limited to 4 files.  

Shortly after returning from Amsterdam I once again made it to London, which allowed me to get closer to finally getting all the announcements of at least one line (I didn't quite make it though).

 

2
0
0
5


Amsterdam (NL), 06-May-2005,  "Rozengracht" stop


Warburg (Germany), 23-July-2005,
Warburg station (RegioTram Kassel)

A short trip to London in March gave me the opportunity to add even more announcements to my collection. Fortunately, London Underground had not changed the announcements yet again as they had done the last time I traveled to London. So I was able to pretty much continue where I had left off the last time around.

When I returned to Amsterdam in the spring of '05 however I was out of luck. Amsterdam's transit authority had completely redone the announcements but finally decided to equip their streetcars with automated announcements as well. However, that did not stop some of the streetcar drivers from still adding their own announcements or comments about bizarre sights along the route (e.g. the Amsterdam Torture Museum). Either way, I have managed to get the announcements for almost half of Amsterdam's Metro and Sneltram (light rail) system.

The city of Kassel is not too far from where I was born - just slightly more then 100 miles. Yet it's almost impossible to get there: If you were to take the train, you'd be traveling almost 50 miles extra due to a series of mountains blocking the direct way, and you'd have to change trains three times as there is no direct InterCity train service. Getting there by car is as much of an adventure as a train ride: Due to a missing piece of Autobahn (Motorway / freeway), travel times is increased by at least an hour as you have to cross a large city on normal congested city streets. In the end, I decided to go by car and made sure to park it at the terminal station of Kassel's new Regional Light Rail-system, which happened to be on my way (see picture on the left).

 

 

 

 

2
0
0
6

 


Nottingham (GB), 05-June-2006,
Phoenix Park stop

In 2006, I once again took some time off to travel to England. However, this time around, I did not just stay in London, but invested 8 days in traveling around the country and checking out all the new light rail systems. These are: London (Croydon Tramlink and Docklands Light Railway), Birmingham (Midland Metro), Manchester (Metrolink), Sheffield (Supertram), Nottingham (Express Tram). It's quite amazing that England had just one tram system left in the 1980s: Blackpool (a system I have not yet visited). After that, the aforementioned systems have been built, often by using abandoned right of ways of former train lines. Of course I made sure to collect as many announcements from the light rail systems as I could. A rather annoying fact about English tram system is the constant noise generated in the vehicles, especially the beeping sound from the doors. It's beyond me why a door cannot open without producing a deafening beeing noise.Possibly, the transit companies figured that the British people are not used to riding trams any more and need extra help.

After quite a while, I finally managed to return to Berlin... unfortunately for only a total of 24 hours showing a visitor around, so I had little time to expand my collection of announcements. A lot has changed in the subway network since my last visit - the transit authority instroduced a new network of "Metrotram" and "Metrobus" lines (lines with a minimum frequency of 6 trams/buses an hour) and rearranged the subway network, while the Metro-lines now get mentioned in the announcements as well. In addition, the new H-class of subway trains is seen more often nowadays, and they do have different announcements compared to the old trains. Aside from that, Berlin has not changed as dramatically as it used to back in the late 1990s - main projects like the Potsdam Square are almost finished. The only completely new project I had not seen before was the new main railway station, which was built in the middle of nowhere and is already overcrowded.

 

 

2
0
0
7

 


Blackpool (GB), 01-Sep-2007,
Thornton Gate stop
Bonn (D), Amsterdam (NL) and England...that pretty much summarizes my travels in 2007. The decision to travel to Bonn was a spontaneous one, yet I managed to ride the whole system and record the new announcements that had been introduced since my last visit. In Amsterdam, I had even two days to explore the subway and streetcar systems.
In the late summer, I (yet again) traveled to England - again for a whole week. I still hadn't seen England's only original tram system in Blackpool. The mixture of different cars (most of them over 50 years old) and the "Illuminations"-festivities (that sees the entire promenade of the city as well as some tram cars illuminated with a variety of colorful lights) made the visit interesting and unique. Other than Blackpool, I returned to the systems in Manchester, Sheffield and London to ride all those sections of the systems I had not seen during my visit the previous year. From now on, I can claim to have seen every single meter of revenue track on British tram systems!

Any questions or comments? Drop me an e-mail! I'm looking forward to hearing your feedback, and in case you have recorded the announcements of your local transit system I'd be delighted to hear them and, if you agree, to share them with others.

   (kabra2mail@yahoo.de)

Kai

Notice:

The recordings on this site are meant to demonstrate how each individual transit company uses their announcements. All recordings were made by me in regularly scheduled services. Commercial use and publication of the recordinds is not permitted.

Please leave comments here

(c) Kai Brackschulze 2008