Marylebone station has announced it will become the first train station in Britain to make announcements in Mandarin and Arabic as well as English.
The foreign language announcements are intended for the benefit of the thousands of Chinese and Middle Eastern tourists that pass through the station on their way to the Bicester Village designer outlet mall in Oxfordshire.
Bicester Village offers discounts of up to 60% on designer labels including Prada, Dior, and Armani and is very popular with visitors from China and Middle Eastern countries including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. Bicester Village is now thought to be London’s second biggest tourist attraction for Chinese visitors, after Buckingham Palace.
The rail line from Marylebone Station to Bicester Village was opened in October 2015 and has been the route for 1.6 million journeys since then.
Announcements in Mandarin and Arabic have already been recorded by Chiltern Railways, which operates the line. Staff members fluent in these languages will also be posted at the station to assist foreign passengers.