please empty your brain below

Is there a reason why these are being rolled out? I mean... what was wrong with the old ones?
I'd say specified by cretins. The installers didn't pick the displays :)
I've seen the one at Pimlico and it's absolutely unreadable from more than about ten foot away - ironic as the indicator is positioned miles away from where people arrive onto the platform. If this is obvious for us, why is it not obvious to 'them'? And, like someone above said, what was wrong with the old ones?
Perhaps they are positioned so people are subliminally persuaded to move along the platform towards them and away from the often overcrowded platform entrance.
I really want to believe Steve's explanation is the real reason they were repositioned. An intelligent 'nudge' to public behaviour.
i was going to say something, and then you said it anwyway - strangely the Victoria Line (when working) is now so good, that you never wait more than 2 minute for a train nowadays.

the money spent on these therefore would have been much better spent on lines and at stations where there aren't any indicators, but some are badly needed - where trains are less frequent than every minute or two

also, unless there's a problem when have you ever seen a southbound train go anywhere except Brixton?

also, it would be nice if '1 min' actually meant minute as apposed to 1:30, or 3 min meaning 3 min, and not 3:45 as it often is. Could have spent the money on that instead. Or why not have how many /seconds/ away the train is as they do in Japan? The Victoria Line with its new trains, new signals (and, now.. new timetable) would have been really good candidate for that, and would have impressed me.

Having seen one of these in action, my first thought was "What on earth..."

That was my second and third thoughts too.
The same kind of thinking happened at Euston where someone had the good idea of putting a repeater board for the mainline down in the LUL ticket hall, right opposite the way out gates.
It's one of those huge portrait LCD panel types, but the lettering is so small you can't see it until after you've gone through the gateline, and it doesn't help much anyway because (1) all you really need to know at that point is what trains are leaving from 8, 9, 10 & 11 as they can be accessed via the long tunnel to the left (2) they hardly ever announce the platforms until the last minute anyway nowadays for some reason and (3) there's now always a couple of people with massive pieces of luggage trying to work out which is their train using it and blocking an area where two perpendicular streams of bodies have to cross.

I wonder if we only ever notice when they get it wrong?

There are also problems with the signage at Euston where passengers leaving the train are directed by the over-passageway signs to the way out, but the walls of that passage-way (one of the three into the same escalator lobby) are marked with "exit only in an emergency" signs.
Oh, dear, DG! TfL can't win, can they? Four" rel="nofollow">">Four years ago you were complaining about an NTI at Oxford Circus:

Look, it's so wide that the only way of fitting it across the top of the platform has been to shove it into an alcove. Even when the next train is for 'Hainault via Newbury Park' there's still plenty of unnecessary blank width, but could somebody be arsed to design a slightly narrower 'next train' indicator? Could they hell. All modern dot matrix displays have to be wide, otherwise there'd be no room to write important messages about engineering works and unattended luggage. So Oxford Circus ends up with a too-wide box that doesn't fit, and isn't fit for purpose. And you know, that's why I liked the old lightboxes, because they were invariably narrow, and therefore capable of being positioned nearer to the tracks, and therefore visible. Today's one-size-doesn't-fit-all approach is evidently far too inflexible.

Hey presto, TfL designed a narrower NTI which could fit in more places, and now you're complaining the letters aren't wide enough!
Bloody URL parser! Can we please, please get one which is intelligent enough to ignore URLs in between angle brackets?!
Swirlything - if they'd simply made the existing boxes narrower I doubt there'd be a problem. That's doable.

Unfortunately these signs have the double whammy of having a much smaller text size that quickly becomes illegible when you move away from it.

e.g. whilst at Pimlico I moved down the platform a short way (about 1/4 platform length) and the text was unreadable. And I have perfect vision thanks to an up to date contact lens prescription!

(n.b. only the clock was working at Pimlico during my visit.)
@ swirleythingy - to be fair to DG he said "slightly narrower" as judging from the quote he was complaining about needing to botch about with the station finishes to make the display fit. That's a reasonable enough comment to make.

These new units are narrower but they are not easy to read. I am surprised that they have been purchased as the older wide units had been patched into the new control system perfectly well. Further when Tube Lines refurbished many of its stations they procured DMIs with 3 line displays which are of the "wide" design. These are perfectly readable and are on the Vic Line at Green Park and Finsbury Park.

Given the usual approach to customer facing technology taken by LU I am really surprised these new units have passed "customer acceptance testing" which is a requirement for kit like this.
The displays on the platforms are not the only issue. At the termini - Walthamstow and Brixton - they have replaced the former huge "Next Platform" arrows, with screens displaying the same information, but in tiny text.

The Victoria line upgrade team must really hate those with visual impairments.
A narrower Next Train Indicator doesn't have to use narrower text.

There was loads of blank space on the original displays which could have been chopped out. Instead they just shrunk everything. Mistake.
These look like the same displayed used at a lot of National Rail stations (or at least, on South West Trains). I wonder if they are cheaper to buy rather than a more bespoke design?
I am guessing the old DMIs were , what 20 ? maybe 25 years old ?
they probably had valves in them!

I imagine they were long past their maintainable life and spares were not economic to source.

( It reminds me of the Not the nine o'clock news sketch about looking for a grammophone )
I so want to believe Steve's explanation, despite every sane brain cell in my head thinking that TfL's not capable of being that clever.
20-25 years sounds about right. I was a young man when I saw a wooden box sitting on a Piccadilly line platform with 'COUNT ALUCARD' scrawled on it. Must have been one of those DMIs inside, waiting to be fitted.
I'm not sure why there is always such a fuss about the NTIs. They are utterly pointless. The next train will be along "in a few minutes" and it will go to the destination written on the front and side of the train. The NTIs are not needed - complaining that they are not big enough in hidden behind a sign is a bit silly.

They should have spent the money researching train doors that don't break if a moth accidentally gets trapped in them.
If the letters were wider the display would have to be bigger so more expensive.
Apart from that, people who specify things, like policemen, are always getting younger. I'm used to print too small for me to read, but recently I find that when I ask people of around 30 they quite often can't read it either. Perhaps the designers of such things are on work experience.
@Tony W: Have a go at deciphering this year's website. It's designed for the pre-junior generation of tennis players.
I went through the southbound platform at Vauxhall today. The indicators look very much like the type used on the Overground, which does raise the question of how passengers on the Overground manage if nobody can read its indicators (and such information is rather more important there than on the 30tph linear Victoria line).

I think the answer is a combination of two factors. Firstly, Overground trains are only four carriages long (much shorter than Victoria line trains) and many of its platforms are also very short, which means it's possible to stand a lot further away from an NTI at Vauxhall than it is at, say, Surrey Quays.

Secondly, some commenters have rightly pointed out that this squidgy design isn't at all uncommon on the 'big railway' - in fact, the Underground is unusual in having always had such enormous indicators. You should see the one at Wandsworth Road - I had trouble reading that when I was standing right next to it! But a major difference is that, typically, where a platform is longer than the Overground's miserly lengths, there's more than one NTI on it. This is, again, a measure the Underground has never traditionally had to resort to (I know a PR once told DG that, if an indicator isn't visible from the whole length of a platform, they try to install a second one, but it was utter rubbish then and still is), because of the abnormally large size of its NTIs.

So, if the tube is going to adopt main line practices in sizing its NTIs, it's only fair to say that it should adopt good practice in positioning them as well.

And as for the question about whether the new indicators are any better positioned than the old ones: If Vauxhall southbound is any indication, what with a hanging accessibility sign plonked right in front of the indicator rendering the destination unreadable from the entire southern half of the platform, installation by cretins shows no signs of abating...
It is completely wrong to say the indicators are not required. Try living at the north end of the Victoria line where you need to know if a train is going to Walthamstow. Try coping when frequencies are lower late at night, early in the morning or on bank holidays - if you have a train connection to make then knowing when the tube will turn up is important. The Vic Line connects with loads of NR lines so this is an important factor. When the service has fallen into a mess it is important to know if you face a "severe delays" gap of anything up to 15 minutes - yes even on the Vic Line!

It is, of course, essential to have indicators on lines with more complex service patterns or at stations where several lines serve one platform (e.g. KX sub surface).
How do you remember a blog from four years ago!
The DLR does seem to lead the way with the indicator boards. On platform they have the next trains destination and number of minutes away in big type with the next two half the size below alongside the current time. Easy to read along the entire platform!
Also most DLR stations now seem to have LCD displays at the entrance showing the next trains at all platforms, very useful for deciding if you need to walk or run upstairs!

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