Seeking audio of Septa Regional Rail conductors' calling the next stop
February 11, 2015 4:25 PM   Subscribe

"This is the R-5 train to Páólí. Néxt stóp, Ò::vèr::bróók! Tickets, please!" The Regional Rail train conductors in the Philly region will forever be associated with formal, stentorian, prosodically elaborated station announcements. Where can I find a recording of these?

"This is the R-5 train to Páólí. Néxt stóp, Òvèr::bróók! Tickets, please!" In 1999-2000, before the GFC made it cool, I was a tenant in my parents' basement and commuted to work at Penn. Between stops on the R5 Regional Rail line, the "Main Line," conductors would announce the stops in each car, usually in viva voce, rarely on the rather antiquated PA system. The sing-song cadence and rising and falling tone of their patter is imprinted forever in their minds. Most Septa conductors and staff struck me as friendly and charming; what they say on their blog about civility is true. They are upholding a very high, very old-fashioned standard. They're experimenting with SoundCloud. Has anyone recorded their station announcements? Could you share them with me?
posted by rschram to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
You might look for SEPTA railfan videos on Youtube.
posted by nickggully at 5:58 PM on February 11, 2015

Its not the r5 anymore, its the Paoli/thorndale line, and depending on the train the stations are prerecorded.

Historical recordings are your only hope at this point. I'd suggest railfan YouTube videos also.
posted by TheAdamist at 7:12 PM on February 11, 2015

I also can't help with the recordings, but if you're interested in other mementos Septa sells retired destination signs from actual trains for fairly cheap. My girlfriend and I also used to live on the R5, and I got her an R5 one as a gift a few years ago.

(Also, the first line of your post brought me right back. I can hear them now, going "Pay-ohli!")
posted by Itaxpica at 7:43 PM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

A cursory scan of the first few SEPTA railfan videos showed they were too recent, although I feel like they were still doing this on all the R3 (to Él-ẃynn, next stop--Mortn!) and R5 trains (at least) even three or four years ago. I'll keep looking, because I want to hear these again, too.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 9:42 PM on February 11, 2015

Any advice on transcription of the prosody would be welcome too. Hopefully it doesn't involve an extended set of IPA symbols and diacritics.
posted by rschram at 9:50 PM on February 11, 2015

Oh and to the people who recommended railfan videos, thanks a lot, I needed a new slow TV addiction... Here's a nice one from my current home: "CityRail Passenger Trains May 2013 Compilation".

Hopefully this won't derail (ha!) the current thread, but do railfans make vids of passenger behavior, e.g. crowds massing on the platform to board, or just crowd scenes? Between San Diego, Portland, Philly, Helsinki, and now Sydney, I've always suspected that there were marked, visible differences in public behavior on train platforms. But I also doubted myself: No... You haven't been here long enough, and you're biased anyway... This is the first time I can indulge my love of Goffmanian microsociology and compare them! I need railsocfans, observers of any and all aspects of the social world of mass transit.
posted by rschram at 10:05 PM on February 11, 2015

Yes, there's no live announcement of stops over the PA system now (just a prerecorded female voice), but occasionally, there's not an intercom and a conductor will shout out the stops (unamplified) from between the cars. The conductors vary in delivery style; I haven't heard anything I'd call all that distinctive, but would you like recording of that happening on this line, if I'm riding when it happens?
posted by kalapierson at 12:27 AM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Unfortunately many of them are ridiculously hiss-y, like this arrival at West Trenton.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 5:09 AM on February 12, 2015

You need a recording of the older regional rail cars, not the new ones that have recorded announcements. I looked on Youtube a bit but I didn't see anything great. Railfans seems more interested in the outside of the trains. And the engine noise.
posted by interplanetjanet at 5:19 AM on February 12, 2015

As of 2013, teh line that went to Trenton (R7?) had live calling on the way home (so like evening rush hour). I knew it was time to wake up when I heard "TIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEE-CONE-Y!"
posted by WeekendJen at 9:19 AM on February 12, 2015

Also if the winds are blowing the right way, the Septa bus speakers sound like Darth Vader if you are 25 or so feet away from them outside. They scare the shit out of me at least once a week when I'm outside and not expecting it.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:20 AM on February 12, 2015

I take the Norristown/Manayunk (R6) train to work everyday and they still yell out the stops when I'm on one of the older generation trains. The newest trains are pre-recorded as other have said, but at least on the line that I take, I'm on older trains about 80% of the time.

The intercoms are always broken, or just useless because of static, so the conductors always call out the station names instead. One of my favorite parts of riding now that you mention it.

I also love the live updates given over the PA at Jefferson (Market East) station. When things are going smoothly, it's a pre-recorded man's voice. But when things start going off the rails, they have a person break in with live updates. The current guy doing rush hour at night is always wonderfully overwhelmed like a sports announcer who just can't keep up with the action. (Amusing to me who knows the system well, probably less amusing to people relying on him for information)
posted by Eddie Mars at 10:40 AM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older How do I start a choir?   |   Odd vision issues Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.