Grant Goldman, the 2SM breakfast radio guy, Manly Sea Eagles ground announcer and now the voice of Sky Channel. He was of course replaced by the female voice of Taylor Owynns around 2010. Before recording the announcements for what is now known as SydneyTrains, Taylor was already famous for being the voice of Lulu on the popular children's show Bananas In Pyjamas.
Anyway, using Grant's booming male voice to fit the 1995-2005 era that I model, I soon started playing around using the 1,251 pre-recorded sayings that Mr Goldman had recorded during his time, to collaborate my own CountryLink station announcements for Philden's South North West Explorer. As my fictional Explorer train goes everywhere except east, (or it would fall into the ocean off the coastline of Australia), I had a bit of fun recording the following announcements. Simply press the play button on each of the following clips below to hear what I mean.
There's this train that goes anywhere ending in 'O'.
Or this train going everywhere ending in 'I'.
Or perhaps you'd like to ride this train heading everywhere ending in 'E'.
Or perhaps you'd like a ticket to anywhere ending in 'A'.
Each file you create can be exported as an MP3 file into a folder of your choosing. I then uploaded the MP3 files above to a free sound file sharing site called Clyp, which I felt was a safer way of publicly sharing these examples than providing a link to each MP3 file stored on my Google Drive account. I figured those serious enough to want to add these station announcements to their own layouts, would simply have way more fun downloading the program and creating their own announcements.
After the fun of creating some bogus station announcements had passed, I soon took out my 1990's railway timetables and began compiling announcements for the trains listed within them, starting with all the CountryLink Explorer trains that I could simulate passing through Philden. I then moved onto the CityRail services that I'm going to pretend my 2 car Sydney suburban double-decker is substituting for on my upper level.
So far, I've created over 40 MP3 files. Next up, I'm going to load the completed files onto an iPod Mini Shuffle and connect it to a small hidden speaker beneath my layout. I figure that playing a different station announcement each time my same 2 car Explorer set or double-decker electric train comes and goes from my station, will do wonders to help create the illusion that my models actual connect to somewhere beyond the layout. Because having a small layout sometimes calls for a bit of creative thinking outside the box.
Speaking of boxes, another feature of the DVA 5 program is the station indicator boards. Clicking the indicator tab will open the boxes that enable you to call up various services from actual timetables, and alter the arrival times and platform numbers etc., before sitting back and watching the station names scroll up on the screen just as the blue computer screen indicators do at the Sydney stations that are fitted with them. Perhaps after I have the sound files finished and working in time for the Brisbane Model Train Show in May this year, I can then look at building a working replica indicator screen into the upper level expansion on my layout. Or at least I can have the program open and running on the desk in front of my layout when I running my trains.
Finally, in keeping with the light-hearted approach to my modelling, I'll leave you with one final clip in honour of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks winning last year's NRL Premiership. The Up, Up Cronulla service.
Next week I'm heading to Sydney for a short break where, apart from some general sightseeing, I'll be scouting a few train stations in the hope of finding some inspiration for the NSW A-8 centre platform station building on my upper level layout extension. But as usual, I'll let that be a story for another day.