MA: The world’s oldest train operator? She works for the MBTA

June 21, 2024
Helen Antenucci, an 81-year-old employee of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, was certified last week as the world’s oldest train operator by the Guinness World Records.
Do you know the world’s oldest train operator? If you live or work in Boston, you just might.
 
Helen Antenucci, an 81-year-old employee of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, was certified last week as the world’s oldest train operator by the Guinness World Records, the de facto authority on achievements as varied as the world’s oldest cat (38 years, 3 days) and the largest mosaic made of M&M’s (533 square feet).
 
Antenucci’s MBTA career began in 1995, at age 53. With five daughters, it was “a way to get me out of the house and get some peace and quiet,” she told the Guinness World Records, according to a press release from the organization.
 
She operates the MBTA’s Blue Line, providing service between downtown Boston and Revere.
 
According to Guinness, a colleague submitted Antenucci’s name to the record book without her knowledge.
 
“I don’t know what all the fuss is about,” she told Guinness. “I get up every day and do what I love to do. Not many people get to say that at my age.”
 
Antenucci also said her favorite Blue Line stop is at the New England Aquarium in Boston, where the majority of passengers boarding or exiting the train are families with children.
 
“The children are all excited; first about riding the train, and second, going to the aquarium,” she said. “It’s so fun and heartwarming to see their happiness.”
 
“Helen is a rider favorite,” both for her love of the aquarium and her well-known cheerful announcements, the MBTA said on X, formerly Twitter.
 
Last year, the Boston Globe featured Antenucci in a story on MBTA operators beloved by riders for their friendly or humorous announcements over the train intercom systems.
 
The paper cited Antenucci‘s upbeat, bilingual greetings and reminders to “be kind” as a key reason for her popularity.
 
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