Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

The Voice of SkyTrain

with 8 comments

Because I read I now know that there is now a Buzzer blog. And the first story I clicked on was about the lady who does the pre-recorded announcements on SkyTrain. Actually she is the new voice as the system was updated when the Millennium Line opened. I did once have a CD of the previous voice – she sang old standards, quite well as I recall. It would seem that the CD got mislaid in the recent upheavals and of course I cannot now recall her name.

Anyway there is this neat podcast with Laureen Regan of Calgary who not only does our system but BART as well. I like the sound of her voice – indeed one of the things I miss these days are the similar warm tones of the female announcers on the former CBC Radio 2. Judy Nasrullah (the only one who plays classical music now) is OK but will never replace Shelagh Rogers in my affections.

There is something special about the Canadian accent. Unlike the London accent. The tube train drivers call the voice of the Underground (“Mind The Gap”) “Sonia”. Why? Because after a while she “gets on yer nerves”

Written by Stephen Rees

October 22, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Posted in transit

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8 Responses

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  1. Hi Stephen! Glad to see you’ve found the Buzzer blog. Just thought I’d comment and let you know the person behind the pre-Millennium Line SkyTrain voice is Karen Kelm 🙂


    October 22, 2008 at 4:35 pm

  2. You don’t happen to have a copy of Karen’s CD do you – or maybe a podcast?

    Stephen Rees

    October 22, 2008 at 4:40 pm

  3. I read this on the paper buzzer on the bus a few days ago… I guess the internet isn’t the only place to get information.

    But have you heard the annunciators on the new trolleys? Almost unintelligible as they’ve recorded each part of the street name separately and when broadcast together they are at different volumes and don’t flow. e.g. “West”….. “pender”…..”STREET”. There is no beep or bell preceeding the announcement so frequently the only part I can catch is the last part (e.g. “Street”) which isn’t too helpful.

    And while I’m ranting about transit way-finding, another irritation is when street signs are hung over the middle of the intersection (rather than on posts at the corners) – nobody in a bus except the driver can see them.


    October 22, 2008 at 8:38 pm

  4. Hi

    There was a film, Light Rapid Transit (2002). I saw it at VIFF that year and was enchanted. A man slowly falls in love with the Sky Train; he gives up everything to just sit at home listening to composites he’d created of her voice saying his name.

    I have a copy of the VHS! But I couldn’t find any download links or torrents…



    October 22, 2008 at 10:17 pm

  5. Nope, I don’t have a copy of Karen’s CD. You might be able to get one from her through her website though:


    October 23, 2008 at 10:12 am

  6. An Irish woman once commented to me that the Canadian accent was rather flat, but perhaps has the truest pronounciation in the language. The Irish have great literary talent, and I would think the Irish lilt adds a certain rhythm and cadence.

    I’m amused when my Aussie friends say No-Ice for “nice”, and Beer for “bear.”


    October 23, 2008 at 12:24 pm

  7. @ Meredith – LOL. Love it. Aussies pronounce my name “Reeeal”. I’m like “excuse me? what did you say?” I swear to God I will never be able to understand their accents.

    @ Stephen – Thanks for the reminder about the podcast. I do love her voice. “The next station is… Burraaaard”



    October 25, 2008 at 8:39 pm

  8. Hi there.
    I love Laureen Regan’s voice over the skytrain. I would have love to hear more. The Portland Transit in Oregan & the Chicago Transit Train systems have added some rules & directions on each train or light rail system. for an egsample “The next station is Broadway. Doors to my left. Transfer point to the Millennium line via Commercial Drive Station.” When the doors open the announcer should say “This is the Expo Line to King George.” not “Expo Line to King George.” Also when the skytrain does the Millennium line it should say “This is the Millennium Line to VCC-Clark via Columbia Station.” not “Millennium line to VCC-Clark.” because once they’ve reached Broadway Station the passingers would believe that they are going the long way trip to VCC Clark via Columbia. I’d mention that the Skytrain sould inform passingers about safety & what zones they are on through the speakers, once the skytrain had left the station. Many people don’t know the chimes. I think the skytrain should do the chimes & then say in words “The doors are closing, Please stand clear.”
    I was wondering if she’s going to do the Canada Line soon? I’m imaging it for what it would hear now. “This is the Canada Line to YVR-Airport.” I’m a huge transit rider. I hope someday I could do a voice over soon. Take care.


    October 26, 2008 at 1:02 am

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