'This is a Green Line train to downtown Minneapolis and I'm Kathleen Humphrey'


OK, you won't actually hear her say her name.

But as the Pioneer Press reports, anyone who rides the light rail trains in the Twin Cities hears plenty of Kathleen Humphrey.

She alerts you to an upcoming rail stop or an approaching train ... offers you a receipt at a pay station ... reminds you not to smoke on the platform ... tells you which bus you can catch and where.

In short, she is the voice of light rail and has been since the metro area opened its first line in 2004.

Humphrey is a veteran actor and singer who has graced the region's biggest stages including the Guthrie Theater, the Minnesota Opera, and the Minnesota Orchestra.

But her biggest audiences, the Pioneer Press says, come on the trains where she speaks to 60,000 riders a day and has narrated 100 million trips in her public transit career.

She must take herself pretty seriously then, eh?

Well, uh ... then there's this:

This embed is invalid

The people who speak to bus and train riders across America are largely unsung (singers notwithstanding). But a number of them have been profiled by media in the cities they serve.

In Chicago a couple of years ago a reporter from the website DNA Info sat in on a recording session with the voice of the Chicago Transit Authority, Lee Crooks – who actually lives near Milwaukee and never rides the CTA.

This embed is invalid

The real mother lode of transit voices, though, came out last summer when Motherboard pulled together short profiles of about a dozen, including video and audio clips. (The voice on Disney World's monorail is an actor who once played Yoda in a Star Wars movie.)

Kathleen Humphrey tells the Pioneer Press the goal is a sound that is at once warm, authoritative, calm, and reassuring.

And knows the next stop ... doesn't smoke on the platform ... offers you a receipt...

Next Up