The rich, baritone voice that has narrated the T for more than 25 years will be replaced with an automated system.

Frank Oglesby, the long-time voice of the MBTA, emerges from recording booth with script in hand in 2018. His T announcements will be phased out and replaced with automated systems, the MBTA says. Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

For more than 25 years, T riders have been welcomed by the same voice. The rich baritone announces upcoming stations, approaching trains and makes general announcements. The iconic voice actually belongs to a real person, and he is a Newton native. 

Hailed as “the voice of the T,” Frank Oglesby worked for the MBTA from 1984 until his retirement in 2016. He started as an assistant to the general manager and, according to his LinkedIn, rose through the ranks to deputy director of paratransit. 

In the mid ’90s, Oglesby did the voiceover for a safety video for the MBTA. Then, when the MBTA revamped the Red Line and needed someone to voice the audio elements of the new cars, Oglesby was the solution. 

“It was weird at first,” he said. “But bottom line, it’s about communicating information, it’s not about how I feel about how I sound,” Oglesby told The Huntington News, Northeastern University’s student paper. 

Quickly his voice became commonplace across the train network. 

“What I hear most is that [my voice] is soothing, or that after a hectic day at work they hear me and it’s a positive thing,” he told The News. 

Oglesby attended University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he studied communications and media studies. He was an active member of the student radio station and narrated a series of other projects — making him comfortable in a recording studio.

His voice is being phased out as the MBTA modernizes and increases integration with real-time data feeds, the MBTA said in a statement emailed to Boston.com. 

“The MBTA is grateful for Frank Oglesby’s service. Audio announcements are a critical part of the information that the MBTA provides to riders. In the past, having a pre-recorded voice for the MBTA made sense – the information provided to riders was much more limited,” the statement read.

Oglesby is keeping busy with a variety of voice acting and acting jobs.

“I will miss hearing about what people feel about what I did,” Oglesby told CBS. “That is the coolest part of what I did. It’s been a good time, and I am kind of sad for the T that that will not continue for them.”

The T can no longer rely on pre-recorded messages as it “publishes more real-time information through more channels,” the release said. 

“Maintaining consistency across many channels — stop announcements on vehicles, announcements on subway platforms, audio messages that accompany digital signage, means that the T can no longer rely on pre-recorded announcements,” the statement read. “More and more of these systems are using a text-to-speech service that can integrate with our real-time data feeds.”

Even after his retirement, Oglesby made trips to the MBTA to record new messages every year, though the tradition came to an end in 2020.

“I’m just glad that I’ve done a public service people feel good about,” Oglesby told The News. “People have said to me, ‘I grew up with you, I feel like I know you, I’ve heard that voice since I was little.’”


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