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For whom the subway speaks

February 13, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Washington has a subway systems with trains that talk.

Before a train leaves the station, a warning chime rings and a female voice sings out.

Some people hear: ``George Clayton. George Clayton.″

Others hear: ``George Clinton. George Clinton.″

Others hear: ``George Mason. George Mason.″

Most keep quiet about it; they don’t want others to think they’re crazy.

Passenger Nady Robson broke the silence.

``Who is this GEORGE CLAYTON they are paging all the time on Metro trains?″ she wrote to the newspaper. ``It’s annoying, just like a dripping faucet.″

Ron Shaffer, who writes a Washington Post column about commuting, professed to be stumped. Aliens? he wondered. Squeaky doors?

Dennis Carroll blamed an accent from the Tidewater region of Virginia.

Frank Bell Jr. said he asked the subway system and was told to get his hearing tested.

Passenger Arlene Simms came up with the innocent truth. She too used to hear ``George Clinton.″ Finally she figured it out.

The voice says: ``Doors closing. Doors closing.″

On Thursday, the voice said, ``Doors closing.″ The doors closed. The train pulled out of the station.

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