Request ID: FOI-1326-2122 Date published: 13 October 2021
Dear Transport for London,
Please may I request any current and historic sound files you are able to release for London Underground, London Overground, TFL Rail and Elizabeth Line train and station announcements.
Many thanks in anticipation of your time.
TfL Ref: 1326-2122
Thank you for your request received by us on 19 September 2021 asking for copies of various audio announcements.
Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy.
I can confirm that we hold the information you require. Your email account has now been added to the permissions list to access the audio recordings and you should now have an email with a link enabling you to access the folder (please check your spam folder if this is not visible).
Upon opening the link you will be asked to verify your account which will generate a code to be send to your email address which is only valid for 15 minutes (you may need to check your spam folder). Once that code is entered you will have access to the relevant files which can then be downloaded. Should you encounter any difficulty with this please contact [email protected]
On train announcements for the TfL Rail, the Elizabeth line, London Overground, London Underground’s Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines are included in the folder. The Northern line audio files contain historical as well as current announcements. You will note the Piccadilly line announcements are supplied as PCC files which may need specialist software to play them. This format is the only version we currently have available.
Please also note that while the Jubilee and Piccadilly announcements are recorded as full statements specifically for each station, Northern line announcements are recorded as segmented phrases joined into full sentences by the train management system (TMS).
With regards to the London Underground station announcements, and the on train announcements for the other tube lines, we are not obliged to supply these audio files as the information is subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under section 43(2).
In this instance section 43(2) has been applied as disclosure of the information requested would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of TfL and/or the company used to provide the recordings. The recordings in question were provided to London Underground under a signed contracts which contained explicit conditions concerning disclosure and distribution.
These contracts specify that the recordings are solely to be used for the purpose for which they were created and for broadcast on the London Underground network only. If TfL were to disclose these recordings in response to an FOI request, it would constitute an actionable breach of contract and would be likely to result in a valid legal claim against London Underground or the license to use the recordings being withdrawn, which would impose additional, unnecessary, costs. TfL wishes to protect its commercial interests and ability to participate in future commercial activity. The disclosure of this information would be to the detriment of present and future business activities for both parties.
The use of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the public interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. TfL recognises the need for openness and transparency within public authorities and the degree of public interest concerning London transport announcements in light of the recent disclosure of iBus announcements. However, in this instance this is outweighed by the damage that would be done to TfL’s ability to use these recordings and any future contractual negotiations that may take place regarding the London Underground announcements.
Please note that access to this material will be provided to you under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, you are not granted any rights to any of the intellectual property that exists in it or granted any permission to make secondary uses of it.
TfL owns all intellectual property (including, without limitation, copyright) in the material supplied and will defend such rights.
If you wish to make any secondary use of the material provided, you must first obtain the consent of TfL (which may be withheld) and, if consent is granted, a fee may be charged, in accordance with the terms of the Reuse of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005.
If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.
Jasmine Howard FOI Case Officer FOI Case Management Team General Counsel Transport for London