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    The voice of the MBTA returns for new Silver Line announcements

    There was a brief moment two summers ago when Frank Oglesby Jr. wasn’t sure what the future held for his voice-over career.

    He had been eating cherries and enjoying his recent retirement from the MBTA, when his body had a strange and sudden reaction to the fruit.

    “For two months, my voice wasn’t the same,” said Oglesby, who speaks with a soothing baritone. “I was worried — a little worried — and then I realized, ‘Well, this could be it, and I’ve got to think about what I need to do.’ ”


    Luckily, with a bit of tea, some anti-inflammatories, and a variety of herbs, the symptoms soon passed. And these days, Oglesby has plenty of voice work lined up — including a triumphant return to work, on a contract basis, with the MBTA.

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    On Tuesday, Oglesby, 56, stepped back into the recording booth to once again lend his calming vocal skills to the transit agency where he worked in various capacities for decades.

    Next month, when the T debuts the SL3, a new Silver Line route that will shuttle passengers between Chelsea and Boston, riders will be greeted by the familiar sound of Oglesby coming through the speakers, announcing each new stop along the way. The SL3 is the T’s first new line in almost 11 years.

    “I love working with the MBTA in this capacity,” he said. “I’m very comfortable doing it.”

    Oglesby retired from the T in July of 2016. At the time, he was managing paratransit contracts and recording announcements for the subway on the side, a gig he first picked up in the early ’90s. To this day, the T uses his voice to alert passengers about train arrivals, stops, and transfers.


    During his recording session this week, stuffed inside the see-through booth in the corner of an office on the eighth floor of Ashburton Place, Oglesby felt right at home.

    It was a bit of a squeeze, the shoulders of his copper-colored suit jacket nearly touching the edges, but it was a familiar place for the man who has long been known as “The Voice of the T.”

    As he kept his face close to the microphone, Oglesby read a series of new announcements from sheets of paper.

    “Upcoming arrivals. Upcoming departures,” he said, rattling them off like an announcer at Bingo night. “Route 86. Route 88. Route 96. Route 170. Route 171.”

    It was over in what felt like an instant.


    “We call him ‘One-take Frank,’ ” joked the multimedia specialist who edits Oglesby’s recordings.

    Oglesby said he was eager to take the job when the MBTA reached out about doing announcements for the SL3, which begins running April 21.

    “It was like, ‘Let’s do this. When?’ ” he said.

    Transit officials were similarly happy to have Oglesby back on board.

    “Our customers know Frank’s voice as well as they know the T logo or the CharlieCard,” MBTA general manager Luis Manuel Ramirez said in a statement. “It’s only fitting that customers on our newest transit line hear the familiar voice to which they’ve grown accustomed while commuting on MBTA services.”

    On the new line, buses will arrive at stations every 10 minutes during rush hour, and every 12 to 15 minutes off-peak. Officials expect about 8,700 passengers to take the trip each day.

    Because it runs on a bus-only roadway between the four new Chelsea stops, much of the route will break free from the region’s snarling traffic issues.

    But the commutes won’t be completely free of headaches: Buses will still compete with cars in the Ted Williams Tunnel and parts of the Seaport and East Boston, where the new line will stop at the Airport Blue Line stop before veering toward Chelsea.

    Buses will also occasionally need to detour to avoid a drawbridge between Boston and Chelsea that lifts during the day, with delays lasting more than 20 minutes.

    When that happens, however, riders can trust that Oglesby will be there, keeping them informed.

    “A drawbridge is currently raised ahead of us,” passengers might hear him say. “We apologize for the delay while we wait.”

    Steve Annear can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @steveannear. Adam Vaccaro can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @adamtvaccaro.