About a week ago David Marsh wrote a brilliant article in the Guardian about the peculiar torture of Railspeak, that surpassingly odd distortion of English perpetrated by train companies:
Railspeak is a language with a unique syntax and vocabulary — characterised by, for example, the mandatory use of auxiliary verbs ("we do apologise"), the random deployment of redundant adjectives ("station stop", "personal belongings") and the selection of inappropriate prepositions ("journey time into London Paddington is approximately 25 minutes").
Trains never leave, but "depart", never reach their destination, but "terminate", and are frequently delayed by mysterious "incidents". Rail catering, meanwhile, has been transformed from a music hall joke (British Rail sandwiches) to a surreal world of its own, offering among other treats "teas, coffees, hot chocolates [sic] ..." (Has anyone tested this by asking how many varieties of hot chocolate are, in fact, available? To enjoy, perhaps, while reading the safety information leaflet in braille?)
Meanwhile, someone should tell the announcer at Waterloo station that the ever-lengthening list of things we can't do — smoke, run, cycle, skateboard, find a rubbish bin, find a seat — does not, so far, extend to playing boules or yodelling. Is this an oversight?
Customers requiring enhumoration into their Monday will find the article in the vestibule at the end of the post. Here.