Train announcements on SkyTrain’s Expo and Millennium line trains are set to change over the coming months.
According to TransLink, updated automated audio announcements played on trains are being recorded for the entire SkyTrain system ahead of the fall 2016 opening of the Evergreen Line.
Laureen Regan, the woman behind the voice of the existing announcements, has been contracted to record the updated announcements to improve audio quality and the effectiveness of the information provided. Her voice was used for SkyTrain’s new recordings when the Millennium Line opened in 2002 and again for the Canada Line in 2009.
“Laureen was recently asked to update all the station announcements to improve our audio quality and ensure we had the Evergreen extension of Millennium line passenger announcements ready for testing and launching,” TransLink spokesperson Cheryl Ziola told Vancity Buzz.
“Our passengers recognize her voice so we wanted to keep consistency across the rail system.”
Some of Regan’s audio recordings are up to ten years old and her voice has changed slightly since then.
But the updated announcements are more than just improving sound quality. The natural tone and pacing of the announcements will be similar to Regan’s more recent recordings for the Canada Line.
There will be additional recorded phrases to improve information flow to passengers during maintenance periods, disruptions and normal operations, such as an announcement requesting passengers to move further into the train to allow others to board. Other changes will even include a new, modern-sounding “next station” chime.
Regan runs an interactive and broadcast production business that is based in Calgary. Not only has Regan done the recordings for SkyTrain in Vancouver, but she is also also the voice of the automated recordings of the Amtrak in Oakland, BART transit system in San Francisco, and light rail systems in Calgary and Salt Lake City.
She was first hired years ago based on a recommendation by Bombardier, the supplier of all of the trains on the Evergreen, Expo and Millennium lines.
“I was asked to lay down a few tracks for use in the proposal for the equipment that runs the automated systems,” she told Vancity Buzz in July 2014. “Some months later, I was told that they had requested my voice for the actual announcements once the system was installed. I was very surprised and delighted.”
“Years ago, when I was going to SAIT in Calgary and riding Calgary’s C-Train I would mimic the voice. I think we can’t help doing it when we hear it over and over as it is part of our daily commute.”
New announcement samples
“Please keep moving into the train to allow others behind you to board.”
“This is an Expo Line train to…”