Monday, 12 August 2013

On the GO


Effective start dates: an important schedule feature.
Every evening last week Kie and I were walking over to the top of the hill at Ellengale Park to watch freight and passenger trains passing by on CPR's Galt Sub. Kie started bringing her camera along to record scenes some of the passing trains. 

Anyway, after looking at GO trains all week, this last Saturday we decided to ride around on some of the GO trains operating on the Lakeshore Line. This was going to be my first time out travelling farther afield since the heart attack five weeks ago.

We drove over to Clarkson GO station to catch eastbound GO Trip 18420 due at 11:06. That went as planned.


Now they are called trip numbers. Whatever happened to familiar, good old-fashioned train numbers? Regardless, having the correct information is all that matters in the end.


Kie captured this scene of Trip 18420 arriving into Clarkson GO station right on time.



This scene shows typical tied-up eastbound traffic on the Gardiner Expressway about to cross over the Lakeshore GO line along Humber Bay. At that rate it may require patience and quite a while to get over that bridge. Taking the train means avoiding all this, or at least it should.


Here is the corollary: 

If I drive downtown on this route, the traffic I encounter most of the time is just like this, and while stuck in the mess I often get to watch a GO train speed by. Of course I wonder why I did not take the train. 

If, however, I take the train and look out over at the Gardiner Expressway as we cruise along Humber Bay, the traffic is usually clear and moving along quite well, and some cars are actually recklessly racing along fast enough to pass the train. Of course I wonder why I didn't drive. 

Anyway, last Saturday we were on the GO trains simply to ride the trains. The traffic over on the Gardiner Expressway was moving along, better than shown in the illustration above, but I could clearly see that traffic was choking up near Jameson Avenue, one of the usual trouble spots. I was glad to be on the train.


This photo (copied off the internet) shows an eastbound GO Train racing along Humber Bay toward the underpass at Jameson Avenue. With St. Joseph's Health Center in the immediate background, this scene was probably captured from the pedestrians-only bridge that crosses over both the Gardiner Expressway and the railway tracks. I wonder what the highway traffic was like that particular day.


Our next ride was going to be on Trip 715 departing at 12:13


Our layover in Union Station was short, but long enough to walk around for a few minutes, to see crowds of confused would-be subway riders discovering that the subway was closed for the weekend south of the Bloor-Danforth line; closed for signal work.


Trip 715 arriving into Union Station.


The back cover of the paper schedule I picked up in Union Station. On-line works fine, but there is something different about still being able to flip through the pages of a train schedule. Maybe it's tradition, or maybe it's just old age and a reluctance to change with the times. We decided to ride the train to Aldershot, the western end of its run.


"Stop! Look! Listen" was a standard line we once learned as small children when approaching a railway crossing. Kie captured this scene from the train as it was departing from Port Credit.


At Aldershot arriving westbound GO Trip 715 terminated, as trains always do at their destination station. The equipment itself did not change but the train crew walked to the opposite end of the parked string of passenger cars to prepare for eastbound travel as GO Trip 18550. Kie and I were only riding as far as Clarkson.


Eastbound GO Trip 18550 departing from Clarkson Station. We actually road in car 206 pictured here. Kie recorded this scene as we were leaving the platform.



Presto Card
Tap-on/tap off
One more note to keep in mind when riding the GO Trains. Train fares are now paid by using one of these Presto cards. (on the left) Simply load up the cards with a cash amount; either in advance on line or in person at a GO station. Just don't forget to tap the card (on the right) before boarding at the origin point and again after detraining at the destination station. Forgetting to tap the cards can be a headache as well as expensive.

The medical experts advised me to avoid stress as part of my recovery. I have always found train riding to be a good way to relax and unwind. Once upon a time I used to take an occasional day off work to do just that - and spending a day riding the GO trains.

Remember: it's not getting there that counts, it's the going. Enjoy the ride!


The Oddblock Station Agent


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