I checked out the brand new underground train station. Having recently travelled on the Paris Metro and London Underground, I now consider myself to be a 100% expert on underground train stations and have made the following observations.
- It’s cold. This could possibly be due to the fact that the Britomart centre thing is still under construction, so it’s likely that there are great big holes where cold wind can come gushing in. Either that or it’s just a really chilly building.
- Automated announcements. Every couple of minutes a pre-recorded announcement would be made. They were voiced by one of those voiceover guys who does television ads and sounds like the sort of person who’d rarely – if ever – travel by train. One message started with a cheery, but very white sounding “Kia ora!”
- One of the announcements advised passengers that when a train is pulling into the station, that waiting passengers must step back one metre from the edge of the platform. Why don’t they just do what other train stations do and paint a line along the platform and write “STAND BACK” on the platform. Interestingly, that message was nowhere to be heard when the next train pulled in.
- There were also live announcements from someone in the station. He was suffering from the same affliction that Air New Zealand pilots have, that is, the tendency to waffle on and on when all that’s required is a short and simple message. While repeating the destinations of a train for maybe the third time, one of the automated announcements came on, so there was a cacophony of polite yet unintelligible information echoing around the station.
- The station’s decor looks like an old warehouse that’s been converted into a gay nightclub. I don’t mean that as an insult. I think it’s the most accurate way to describe it. There’s lots of bare concrete but also concrete surfaces that have been covered by a stainless steel mesh. There are a bunch of cone-shaped skylights along the middle. At the top of every cone is a silver ball, which resembles a disco mirror ball, just smoother. But the gayest thing of all is the lighting along the side walls. The bare concrete is lit up in the colours of the gay rainbow. It looks fabulous.
- The station is missing advertising. It looks like there are spaces for ads. I think when the ads come in it’ll stop looking less gay discoesque. There are also no vending machines. These are essential for a good train station. But I suspect that there may be small shops opening that will sell drinks ‘n’ junk food.
- There’s no “bing bong” noise before the announcements are made. They really need to get their act together and get a “bing bong” noise.
I suppose the next step for me is to attempt to catch a train.