Heard on the Hill

Listen to the New Sing-Song Warning for Senate Subway Riders

A new disembodied voice now rings out in the Russell trains

New audio warnings have been added for riders on the Senate subway. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There’s a new soundtrack in the Senate basement this week, with the addition of audio warnings for riders on the Russell trains.

“Stand clear, the doors are closing,” says the announcement, which follows a few musical tones. 

Riders on the trains between the Russell Building and the Capitol will hear the new announcement every time the trolley doors close at each end. The audio was described by one rider as an “omnipotent voice” and another said the cheery tone sounds a lot like a kid’s amusement park ride.

A train operator said the new warnings were installed Friday, but wouldn’t share an opinion on the audible addition to their job. The automated tram that runs from Hart and Dirksen in the Capitol has a warning of it’s own, a series of four tones that signals the doors are closing imminently.

“The [Architect of the Capitol] continues to improve safety with the new audio warning on the Russell subway. It aligns with the warning on the other subway,” said an AOC employee.

The Russell trolley doors are not quick to close, but that hasn’t saved riders — including senators — from getting pinched. It’s unclear if the announcements will keep Senate denizens safer, or just drive the train operators nuts. (Thank your Russell train operators, folks.)

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