Station Announcements ca. 1972

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Station Announcements ca. 1972

Post by astrosa »

First of all, sorry for cross-posting this, but I'm really hoping someone will be able to come up with an answer.

This query was posted on a mailing list, and I wonder if anyone here might be able to help:
Hi all,

We are finalizing the sound recordings for our upcoming TurboTrain release.

We would like to include station announcements at Boston (South) Station and Penn Station - the TurboTrains moved from Grand Central to Penn Station in the early 1970s.

The trouble is, nobody I know can remember what the station announcements sounded like circa 1972.

The Toronto station announcement is pasted below to show you the sort of thing we are looking for. Do any of you remember the New York and Boston station announcements from back then?

Was there a unique chime which preceded train announcements? Was the announcement a recording, or a bored employee at a microphone? Did the person reading the announcements have a strong regional accent?

These are the sorts of things we need to know. Ideally, I would love to get a recording of an original station announcement so we can copy it. Did a station announcement appear in a movie perhaps?

Thanks and regards,

Rapido Trains Inc.


May we have your attention please. VIA train number 66 en route to:


is now ready to receive passengers at gate number 11. Only passengers with valid tickets are permitted to board. We thank you for travelling VIA Rail Canada, and would like to wish you a pleasant journey. All aboard. Please.

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Re: Station Announcements ca. 1972

Post by bratkinson »

astrosa wrote: Did a station announcement appear in a movie perhaps?
I'm not sure whether there were any audible announcements made, but in the movie "The Out of Towners" w/Jack Lemmon & Sandy Dennis, during the first couple of minutes of the film, they are in South Station, or possibly a set duplicating South Station.... The movie was shot in pre-Amtrak days if I recall....

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Post by EastCleveland »

Regarding New York's Penn Station:

During the early 70s, I worked at the Farley Post Office across the street. In cold or inclement weather, I often spent part my lunch break "passenger watching" in the station.

I don't recall hearing bells or chimes. The announcements were definitely live. I never noticed any particularly strong New York/Brooklyn/Bronx accents. But since many of the announcers back then were undoubtedly former employees of the Pennsylvania/New York Central/Penn Central etc., some very likely still used that classic, somewhat nasally "train announcer's" monotone, which was definitely still in vogue further uptown at Grand Central Terminal.

The main difference was that Penn Station, with its low ceiling and modern construction materials, didn't have the monumental, cathedral-like reverberation of Grand Central (which GCT still has to this day). Acoustically speaking, the sound quality of the announcements in Penn Station has always been comparatively "dead" -- more like the PA announcements you'd hear in a department store or a hospital than in "North by Northwest" or "Strangers on a Train."



Post by Mercer&Somerset »

Although it's from the late '70s ('78 or '80 I believe), the episode of "Great Railway Journeys of the World" traveling coast-to-coast in the US begins in Penn Station. They play a large chunk of the announcement (the narrator spoke over many of the destinations) for the start of boarding. There did not seem to be a chime preceding it.

EastCleveland is spot on regarding the voice--it was a nasal monotone, and seemed to be totally void of any NYC/NJ accent.

"The Broadway Limited to Chicago...departing now receiving passengers to the west gate of track 14, west gate track 14. Stopping at Harrisburg, Altoona [] Gary and Chicago, west gate, track 14"

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