WATCH: The voice of the D Line rides an RTD train to hear her voice

Countless hundreds of thousands of people have heard her disembodied voice aboard commuter trains — but she went a decade without hearing it herself.

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

The voice of RTD’s D Line is not a robot. It’s a woman with very fine articulation. Her name is Karen Hutton.

Hutton is a photographer, California artist and the voice of Canada-based Calgary Transit trains. She recorded the announcements for Denver’s D Line back in 2004. Countless hundreds of thousands of people have heard her disembodied voice aboard commuter trains — but she went a decade without hearing it herself.

That changed in 2015 when she “FINALLY got to hop on board and hear the train announcements” on the D line, as she wrote on YouTube. (The big reveal’s at 0:30.)

The Denver Post highlighted Hutton in a feature back in 2006. She was one of eight finalists picked for the original RTD job, and she had to survive an Olympic-style judging panel to get the job. She recorded the D Line voiceover in her home studio, she told the Post.

One of my favorite comments on her video: “As a train operator for RTD Denver, your voice is in my head both at work and sometimes in my dreams. (That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just can’t stop hearing your voice!)”

Hutton says on YouTube that she also recorded voiceovers for the A Line extension. I’m waiting for confirmation on that, but it sure does sound like her. (Honestly, this story has shaken my faith that I can tell a robot from a very good talker.)

If you’re still reading, I assume you’re weirdly satisfied by train noises, so here’s a recording of that guy playing an organ and saying “hooolllldddd on, please” at Denver International Airport.

Oh, and thanks to r/Denver’s IanGecko for surfacing the D Line video.