The face behind the voice you hear in local trains every day

For those of you who wonder about the person behind the soft voice informing us about the approaching stations and even on the stations along the central line, the mystery is solved. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, MiD DAY unveils the name behind the voice Sarla Chaudhary. Chaudhary, now 49, was one of the hundreds who gave the test for the post of announcer in Central Railway in 1982.

Sarla Chaudhary
Sarla Chaudhary

Chaudhary was selected and she joined on daily wages basis. However, due to her hard work and soft voice, she was made permanent in 1986. “I was working as an announcer at one particular station and would announce manually. There was no computerised system at that time and we had to announce at each railway station,” she recalls.

In 1991, Chaudhary was a part of a group asked to record announcements in All India Radio. “I had to record the announcements in Marathi in different ways for different situations and it took over three to four days to finalise it. Later, the voice was mixed with a computer and was centralised.” Even now, when all the announcements are made by Train Management System (TMS), her voice has been saved in stand-by mode at control rooms. It proved its utility in the recent mega block carried out for Thane Yard remodeling when the TMS service was suspended.

“I left the job 12 years ago due to some personal problems. I feel very happy when I hear my voice at railway stations and hear passengers appreciating it even when they don’t know me,” said Chaudhary, who is now working as an office superintendent in the OHE department at Kalyan. Chaudhary’s voice was recognised by the then GM Ashutosh Banerjee, who heard her voice while he was on Thane inspection and asked his officers to get her to record for the announcements. VA Malegaonkar, Chief PRO, CR, said, “We are proud that we have such women working with CR. She was selected for her soft voice and we are using her voice since over 20 years.”

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