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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Classical Music grows on the Tube

Busker at Piccadilly CircusExpect to hear more classical music on the London Underground and not just from buskers on harps or wind instruments. A trial of playing classical music in station ticket halls, which began on the District line at Elm Park in 2003, has apparently become so successful that it's being extended to 40 stations with more to be introduced.

"It was part of a number of measures at the time to deal with anti-social behaviour, which included extra CCTV cameras, additional policing and playing classical music," said a spokesperson from London Underground. "We had fairly anecdotal feedback from customers saying how much they liked it. People found the music relaxing and calming. The playing of classical music was part of a package to improve the ambience of stations."

I've only ever heard piped classical music once on the District Line at Gloucester Road about three years ago. When I asked the station assistant about it then, he said it was just a compilation that one of the guys had done from his computer. However, stations are now being supplied by a contractor with 40 hours of programming using MP3 players. Popular composers are Beethoven, Vivaldi and Rachmaninov.

The Financial Times reported that "A survey by Transport for London of more than 700 travellers found they overwhelmingly agreed that hearing classical music made them "feel happy, less stressed and relaxed".

So listen out for the music and let us know if you've already heard some. Plus if you see any hoodies legging it from stations holding their ears, screaming "No more bloody Beethoven", that might give you a clue that the music's made it to your station.


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