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Europe’s largest Tannoy QFlex install for Glasgow Central station

Digital beam steering technology from Tannoy, in the form of its QFlex range, has been implemented at Scotland's busiest railway station.

With around 34 million people passing through the station every year, Glasgow Central is Scotland’s busiest railway station. As part of a national programme of investment in infrastructure by Network Rail, a new QFlex public address system from Tannoy was installed as part of a wider renovation of this important transport hub.

Long-standing intelligibility issues had previously been a problem due to the cavernous nature of the iconic structure and its architecture, which was opened in 1879, with expansive reflective floor surfaces, sandstone walls and a glass roof all contributing to a very lengthy reverberation time.

Network Rail and contractors Babock enlisted the support of sound and communications company TG Baker. After careful consideration and design testing, Baker elected to proceed with the solution comprising of QFlex, Tannoy’s digital beam steering loudspeaker range.

Brian Andrew, who heads up the Railway Division for TG Baker, said: “Glasgow Central is a famous Victorian structure that is protected by The National Trust for Scotland, which in itself presented a whole set of architectural limitations. As well as that, the station had a problem with intelligibility of announcements, as the reverberation time was in the region of 6 seconds.“

TG Baker deployed 29 Q Flex 48s eight QFlex 32s and ten QFlex 16s, all in varying customised colours to match the existing architectural scheme. Comprehensive system overview and diagnostics is provided courtesy of six Sentinel SM1 system monitors, which sit on the VNET network and ensure system-wide integrity and provide alerts in the event of any fault condition, eliminating the need for a PC to be constantly connected to the network. This is essential to the system’s compliance as a mass-notification and emergency paging system, providing reporting solution that meets and exceeds all worldwide legislative and safety standards.

Andrew finishes: “The biggest benefit to the end user is that people can actually hear what is being said! As soon as we switched it on, everyone involved remarked on the notable difference in terms of intelligibility. Also, another aspect is that the announcements are now automatic; mirroring what is on the information screens in the station. That is all done by a PC that we have networked into the system. Network Rail can override it in case of emergency, and QFlex is able to step up and cope with all of the eventualities. ”

Andrew spoke to Tannoy about the installation.