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New PA system keeps Waterloo passengers on the move

New PA system keeps Waterloo passengers on the move

Passengers using Waterloo station will notice that announcements are clearer and easier to hear than ever before, following a multi-million pound investment in a new, state-of-the art public address system for the station. The joint South West Trains/Network Rail Alliance is investing £2.8 million in the new system at London Waterloo station.  With 350,000 passengers using the station every day, this is one of the UK’s busiest stations.  The new PA system, specially designed to cater for a busy station environment, will help to ensure passengers have access to even better information.

Commenting on behalf of the South West Trains/Network Rail Alliance, Richard Anderson, Station Manager for Waterloo, said: “Our passengers expect to have clear and concise information when using one of the busiest stations in the UK. Passengers need to be able to hear any information which may affect their journey, particularly at busy times. This is why we have invested in a modern, state-of-the-art system that will be capable of being heard right across Waterloo’s concourse, new balcony and 19 platforms.

“The first phase of the new system went live in the main concourse and new balcony before the start of the 2012 Games. Our passengers have already noticed the difference with clear, audible announcements. By early next year, we will complete the installation of further speakers right across the station to include all the platforms.

“Passengers will be able to hear any announcements with the same clarity across the Grade II listed station and train-shed which was completed in 1922, whether they are on the concourse or platforms with a state of the art 21st century public address system.”

Producing up to 90 decibels of sound in an emergency, the active PA system was specifically chosen because of its ability to cater for acoustically challenging environments such as Waterloo station, which is constructed from a mixture of bricks, concrete, glass and steel each of which reflect sound in different ways.


Connected to almost 1,000 speakers around the station, the PA system’s sound equalisation system maintains intelligibility whilst constantly monitoring and adjusting its sound output. Unlike normal speakers, the specially selected ASL and Duran Audio systems uses complex circuitry and proprietary computer programs to steer its sound beams in predefined directions. It can be set to emit sound to a specific distance with very minimal sound spillage and is also programmable to set delays and stagger emitted sound to minimise or avoid reverberation.