GO Transit and More, Part 1

In late August 2021, my daughter moved to Toronto to attend college there. We are very proud of her for being accepted, and she’s doing well so far. Of course we are sad that she isn’t living at home any more. Her cats miss her too.

We packed some of her stuff into the back of our van and drove the almost 2,500 km to Toronto and helped her get set up in her apartment. After a couple of days, she was mostly settled in and I found a few hours one morning to go railfanning in downtown Toronto, something I had never done before.

I walked from the Courtyard Toronto hotel south on Yonge Street to Union Station. It’s about 1.8 km so it was a nice walk.

I took a few photos outside the station, then wandered through the mostly empty Great Hall and up past the Union Pearson Express station to the Skywalk bridge. As I was walking through the bridge, I saw this eastbound GO Transit train led by locomotive 626.

GO Transit 626, from the Skywalk
GO Transit 626, from the Skywalk

The Skywalk may be great for moving people, but it’s not great for photography. The glass has a lot of reflections and most panes are pretty cloudy with dirt and grime.

Still, there are some nice views. I liked the building reflections in the photo below.

Cab car GOT 317 from the Skywalk, with some reflections
Cab car GOT 317 from the Skywalk, with some reflections

The photo below really shows the reflections well, sadly. Union Station’s tracks are clearly visible with the UP Express station and 3 car trainset at left (north).

UP Express train near Union Station
UP Express train near Union Station

The Skywalk itself is quite barren, just concrete and steel and glass. I was quite surprised that such a public space had no decoration other than a couple of hanging images. There’s a lot of opportunity for some public art here.

Barren concrete in the Skywalk
Barren concrete in the Skywalk

I found the open platform at the south end of the Skywalk, near the CN Tower, that offers open views without any glass in the way. It’s here. Eric Gagnon wrote about that platform.

Here’s a view to the west with GOT 655 on the tail end of one of the many GO Transit trains I saw that morning.

GOT 655 from the "Gagnon platform"
GOT 655 from the “Gagnon platform”

Here’s the view to the east. The only bad thing I would say about this particular location is that you can’t see the station itself very well, and the east view is a bit cluttered, in my opinion.

View to the east
View to the east

If I were in downtown Toronto for only a short time, this platform is probably where I would end up.

This is what the platform looks like from the UP Express train…

Young railfan in Toronto
Young railfan in Toronto

I hope you like Toronto’s trains, because there’s lots more to come. This is part 1 of 5 in the series! In the next post, I’ll share how I continued walking east and exploring new photo angles, while being passed by a parade of GO Transit, UP Express and VIA Rail trains.

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4 thoughts on “GO Transit and More, Part 1”

  1. Hi Steve,

    I indicate the location of my favourite platform in this post: https://tracksidetreasure.blogspot.com/2015/07/110-minutes-at-union-station-july-2015.html
    if that’s the one you’re looking for.

    It’s not the best spot, the Skywalk is only good if it’s raining, but it’s the best spot on a nice afternoon I’ve found to see the most VIA, GO and UP Express trains all in one place with decent lighting. VIA is quite boring because they use the same few tracks for all their trains. GO is where the action usually is, and getting two or three trains passing you at once is just the best!

    Thanks for sharing your photography in T Dot.

  2. The thing about Skywalk is that it really only has one purpose – to move people from a Jays game to Union Station.

    But the Jays, since those heady early 90s, rarely generate crowds big enough to justify spending any money on the Skywalk given how few people use it these days.

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