Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Signs summer hasn't left the GO train

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ontario Making Commuting Easier for Cyclists in Southern Ontario

Province Building New Secure Bike Storage at GO Stations and Carpool Lots

Burlington, ON
Sep 12, 2017

Ontario is making it easier for cyclists to commute to and from work, school, and appointments with the construction of new, secure bike storage lockers at GO Transit stations and car pool lots across southern Ontario. This investment is part of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan and is funded by proceeds from the province’s cap on pollution and carbon market.

Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Eleanor McMahon were in Burlington today to launch the new Commuter Bike Parking Program, which will help encourage people to take their bikes as part of their daily commute.

Eight bike lockers will be installed at each of 15 commuter parking lots across the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area, Niagara, and Simcoe Region for a total of 120 bike lockers. Work will be finished by the end of March 2018. In addition, 28 bike rooms will be installed at 26 GO Transit stations in the Greater Toronto Area over the next four years as part of Ontario’s GO RER program, expanding storage capacity while enhancing security. The first locations, which will be complete by spring 2018, include: Appleby, Markham, Mount Pleasant, Bronte, Unionville, and Stouffville.

Making it safer and easier to cycle in Ontario is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Once I can forgive, but twice, no. The motorcycle spaces are not your reserved VIP spot. Get to the station earlier or park at Whitby, k?



- Submitted by annoyed multiple Oshawa patrons.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Rumblings from the NIMBYS in my Courtice neighbourhood about the GO train expansion. I WILL FIGHT YOU ALL IF YOU SCREW THIS UP.

I belong to a few private Facebook groups for the community I am in, and the communities I am next to. Everybody's bitching about how the Courtice and Bowmanville stations will bring more traffic congestion and noise to the area. And there's been some rumblings about train horns. These people seem to forget that the train tracks were in the area long before there were homes. Don't like it? Please move.

These people are high.

We already have traffic congestion. Public transit infrastructure can actually improve an area as it requires roads to be improved, or re-built. One only needs to look at Milton to see what a GO station can do to a community.

We can't keep driving out of east Durham. We need a GO train. Oshawa is over capacity. I will make it my mission to fight anyone that does anything, protests, or complains in a way that stalls this development. I didn't stay in Durham so I wouldn't get the GO train I was promised 15 years ago. I would have been long gone by now.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Is it time for dancing in the streets?

Special to This Crazy Train
By GO Voyageur

Let’s get some musical accompaniment from Martha & The Vandellas, shall we? Excitement mounted on August 21 when GO Transit announced their Route 12 service changes commencing September 2:   

St. Catharines received some well-deserved improvements in service. I have believed for a long time that city carries Route 12. Thank you GO Transit planners! The editing on the announcement is mine. It appears someone in the Ivory Tower forgot that GO’s directionality of buses on the QEW is relative to Union Station, the centre of Metrolinx’s universe; apparently, official MTO signage is irrelevant.  This oversight can be excused given the excitement surrounding this news.  

In my opinion, the real highlight of the announcement is the last line. It appears to be Metrolinx’s way of saying they’ve made some headway with Burlington GO station. Did they keep their word? Indeed they did; bus 8370 rolled in just before 07:00.


I had to contain myself as the tears of joy welled up. However, there was no head office representation — no balloons, no music, no cake, no party hardy PR folk. The only coffee served was the one I brought the driver. We shook hands and exchanged pleasantries; then he was off.

Now, don’t get all excited and start thinking that the construction at Burlington GO is complete, because it’s not. GO Station Ops personnel were still mounting signage on the bus platform as bus 8370 arrived. You now purchase your tickets from agents inside the building, and the east tunnel leading to the track platforms is no longer barricaded. However, there are still construction pylons inside the building, black partitions at the west end, scaffolding in the stairwell to the west tunnel, and there are construction grade doors along the corridor to the east. Here is a walk from east to west through the building…


 Is Burlington GO finished? No, but at least it’s usable. No dancing in the streets just yet.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Presented without comment

Wilmot Creek residents (this is a condo community in south Bowmanville) protested outside the Minister of Transportation's office last week (the tracks were there long before the community was built)

Some highlights from this article on Durham Region News (and you would think city councils would STOP issuing builders permits to construct housing near rail lines):

Wilmot Creek residents came to council with a petition with more than 900 signatures, requesting that a safety study be conducted at the two railway crossings at Wilmot Creek. The study will be paid for by the Wilmot Creek Homeowners Association and local developers, at no cost to Clarington.

The residents say other municipalities have banned train whistles and fatalities and serious injuries at rail lines haven’t risen in response. They consider the whistle as noise pollution that is disturbing their sleep and impacting their health. Some residents have health conditions that make uninterrupted sleep essential.

There are three railway lines (CP Belleville, CN Kingston and CP Havelock) that cross through Clarington and more than 20 public crossings. As Clarington grows the number of residents living close to the rail line increases. The risk of an accident rises as more traffic travels roads that cross railways, according to a staff report. At the same time, more residents are inconvenienced by the train whistle and Clarington now receives one request every two years to stop the whistles.

Good on this guy for calling it in

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Transportation engineer responsible for building rail networks in Scotland and England hired as new Metrolinx CEO

The Board of Directors of Metrolinx have appointed experienced rail operator Phil Verster as its new President and CEO.

Over the last 12 years, Mr. Verster has overseen operations and major construction of some of the most complex and customer intensive rail services in England, Scotland and Ireland.  Among his most recent assignments as a Managing Director of Britain’s Network Rail have been running Scotland’s railway operations, the ScotRail Alliance, and initiating work on the East West Railway, a new rail line linking Britain’s high tech corridor between Oxford and Cambridge.

Mr. Verster was selected following an international search on behalf of Metrolinx.  His start date is October 1, 2017.

Rob Prichard, Chairman of the Metrolinx Board, pointed to the unique set of criteria in Metrolinx’s search:

“We’re implementing a $34-billion transit build – the biggest transit investment in Ontario’s history and one of the largest in the world today.  We’re quadrupling the number of weekly GO Train trips - from 1,500 to 6,000.  We’re electrifying key GO rail lines to provide 15-minute express service all day long throughout the region, and we’re building new LRT lines to tie the region together.

“Moreover, as we execute this massive transformation, we need to continue providing the current high level of daily transit service that people throughout the region depend on.  We sought as our next CEO a person with deep domain expertise and substantial executive experience operating and building railways.  There are few people in the transit and rail industry with the know-how, experience and executive skills to drive transformation and maintain service at the same time.  Phil Verster is one of them.

“Mr. Verster has graduate degrees in both engineering and business and a post-graduate diploma in law.  He has operated, built and electrified commuter rail.  He has the expertise and executive experience we need to deliver on our ambitious agenda, leading the 4,000 employees of Metrolinx and working with all of our partners.  We are delighted the Mr. Verster has chosen to join Metrolinx.”

At ScotRail, Mr. Verster oversaw the delivery of $3 billion of new electrification of the Scottish railroad.

Most recently, at the East West Railway, Mr. Verster led successful efforts to re-launch the project through creative partnerships with the municipalities and local leaders it will serve while simultaneously designing and engineering the project in the most cost effective way.
Mr. Verster said: “I am very excited about joining the team of dedicated women and men at Metrolinx, and to be part of one of the most exciting transit transformations taking place anywhere in the world.  I believe Ontario is the place to be.  Not just because of the very large scale of investment being made in transit, but because of the dynamism, optimism and quality of life that has made this region so envied all over the world.

“At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that all the investment, all the construction, all the new trains and services are not an end in themselves.  They’re about improving the experience of passengers, contributing to communities and to the economy.”

TTC CEO Andy Byford welcomed Mr. Verster’s appointment: “I am delighted Phil Verster is coming to Toronto to lead Metrolinx.  We worked together in London just over a decade ago in an executive team that turned around a poorly performing train operating company.  He will be a superb leader for Metrolinx.  He is smart, driven, good at delivery and gets things done. He will deliver both the projects and the change agenda for Metrolinx and GO.  I very much look forward to working with him as our partner at the TTC.“

Sir Peter Hendy, Chair of Network Rail in Britain said: “Phil Verster is a great leader, a loss to the UK rail industry and a gain to the Canadian railroad industry.  He has made a great contribution to ScotRail and to Network Rail as a Managing Director for the last six years.  He has a great customer focus and a strong track record in supporting and developing teams to improve customer service and train service performance.”

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Heck, thought I posted this... I met my goal to cycle 1000 km before the end of summer (August 9 - more than a month ahead of summer's end)

My husband suggested I try for 1500 km before winter hits. I don't know about that.
I will say this, cycling saved me - physically and mentally.

But ... dogs are already on trains and buses ... there's no enforcement. Just like bikes, feet on the seats, smoking, etc...

Story link here (so controversial and for no reason ... )

“I don’t think you’re going to get everyone to agree on what is best,” she said. “But as a regular GO commuter, as long as I’m a paying customer and I get to sit before your dog does, we’re good!”

Monday, August 21, 2017

Back from Chicago!

First, let me pay homage to my idol ^^^^ ...

The best thing we did was pick up a Ventra card - an open fare card that is nothing like Presto. My husband and I spent $35 USD and we took trains and buses to:

Lincoln Park
Beverly (Chicago's south side and what was once a predominantly Irish area)
Navy Pier
Wrigley Field (caught the ball game between the Cubs and Blue Jays)


... Firehouse 51 (where Chicago Fire is filmed on location outside of the hall and in the service bay)

This was as close as I was going to get to Taylor Kinney.

And of course, we picked up some Chicago Fire Department swag!

We rode the "L" like champs.

And saw some amazing sites along the way such as the incredible architecture of the city's Chinatown (off in the distance).

We couldn't do everything so it warrants another trip in the Spring. I absolutely loved the city's waterfront.

The bus operators were incredible - friendly, engaging and polite. Locals said it was because we were engaging and polite. Were we supposed to be rude?

People like to be respected and respond in kind. I chatted up every police officer I met and charmed the fire fighters. Public service can be a shitty job and dealing with the public isn't easy, so if I can make someone's day better by asking her about her job or what sport team he roots for, then that's what Imma do.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A picture tells a thousand words

As a graphic designer and someone who works with photos a lot to help illustrate a story, it is important your stock photo or professional photos don't send the wrong message.

Recently, I've noticed an increase in bikes on board trains at rush hour and have received tweets and texts from other passengers also noticing this. I fully support transportation on two wheels but when space is at a premium during commuter time aka rush hour, bikes need to be tossed off. There is no room. Please don't.

I got an email about GO and the CNE and in that email was this link
When the site pops open, what is the first image you see? This:

So, if I'm a daytripper or even a regular GO commuter, what does this image tell me?


Please, Go Transit friends, can you try a different image here? We're already putting up with a lot on trains with unregulated temperatures, shorter coach lengths, platform congestion at Union, construction woes at stations *cough*, Burlington, *cough* and increased fares come September.

Throw us a bone, k?

Exploring Chicago by transit

Well, that's the plan - my plan. My husband on the other hand, who is apparently too good for public transit, is terribly stressed by this idea. I am NOT taking uber or a cab to Wrigley Field from our downtown hotel to this Blue Jays vs. Chicago Cubs game he talked me into next Friday. We are taking transit.

So, he owes me one.

I picked a hotel that is literally close to everything on foot. I have already mapped out our eating excursions (we arrive next Tuesday and leave Saturday) and one place I need to go, is the fire hall that stands in for Firehouse 51 on the tv show, Chicago Fire. The fire hall is 35 minutes away from our hotel by subway and apparently, we can use a credit card as fare payment. However, I plan on hooking both of us up with day passes which makes my husband shiver in horror. If he had his way, we'd rent a car (no thanks) or take a cab everywhere (apparently we're very rich and I simply choose to ignore just how wealthy we are).

I truly believe the best way to really see a city and feel its vibe is to ride its transit system.

At least I didn't suggest we rent bikes...

Thursday, August 3, 2017

No plans to bring back buses for Markham, Whitchurch-Stouffville GO Train customers, says Metrolinx

The problem for these commuters is with midday and evening service: previously, commuters had the option of taking a single bus direct from Union to all points north of Unionville GO Station.

Now, there's no longer bus service between Union and Unionville at those times.

That forces people travelling to and from stations north of Unionville to take a train and bus combination, which some say some adds up to an hour to their commute.



date:Wed, Aug 2, 2017 at 6:38 PM
subject:LSE 6 PM Express Train

The guy in the plaid shirt sitting with one leg in the aisle brought his bike on the train at rush hour, then muttered under his breath while pointing at the bicycle sign "it says two bike but I guess you guys don't want to share" while he proceeded to prop his bike against the two seats across from us (blocking them in the process as seen in the pic).   I told him that bikes weren't permitted on rush hour trains and he says defensively "oh really?  Thanks for the information but that's the UP Express". So of course I Google it on my phone and proceed to tell him that in fact it does include Go trains.  He starts telling me off and says I need to get a life LOL.  Such entitlement.   Then I just tell him " I'm just letting you know to educate you" to which he replies  "I'm a lawyer,  I don't need education". So ironic.  So much for using his lawyering mind to read the fine print.  

from:Cindy (Cj) Smith
date:Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 7:14 AM
subject:Re: LSE 6 PM Express Train

Bravo to you for speaking up to this self righteous jerk. That takes a lot of courage and despite his grandstanding, I'm sure he thought about it all night. And hopefully, he's more respectful next time.
When people are defensive like that, it's a telling sign they already knew they were breaking a rule. Honest people don't react this way. There's usually a hint of embarrassment followed by apologies. 

Potential disaster avoided on Kitchener line after citizen calls 911 to report a forklift on the tracks

A frantic 911 call to report a forklift on the tracks near Guelph last night helped avoid what could have been a derailment, according to Metrolinx.

A GO train, en route to Kitchener, with about 1800 passengers on board was safely stopped 200 metres away from the forklift which is believed to have rolled onto the tracks from a nearby construction site. There was no one on the forklift at the time and the incident is being investigated.

It took 15 minutes to remove the forklift.

Metrolinx says it takes a GO train up to 1 km of distance to come to a complete stop. The actions of the person who called 911 most likely prevented a derailment.

- With sources from Twitter, Newtalk 1010 and Metrolinx

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

When your hate so great it makes you stupid, too

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

And yet another reason why your train may be delayed

First time I've seen someone arrested for fare jumping - more to the story for sure

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.... #toronto #gotransit #nofreerides

A post shared by Patrick (@glaciersofrice) on

Meanwhile, at Oshawa GO

Because sometimes you just gotta take yer trash to the GO parking lot. #stayclassy #stayclassyoshawa #gotrain

A post shared by Holly D (@stayclassyoshawa) on


Doesn't beat the time I watched a woman rub lotion on her feet and in between her toes...

Friday, July 28, 2017

It's been so long since we've had a crazy train moment on here


Long story short... possible sting operation. Guy allegedly boarded at Union Station. Grabbed a Lakeshore East train. Wanted for, allegedly, several robberies. Undercover arrest. Happened on the train and finished on the platform.

Gotta justify that September fare increase ...

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Probably the number 1 reason for most train delays - these losers

I blame footriders

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Stouffville corridor changes nothing short of a disaster say commuters who have written into the blog

I received this request (more than once now):

Would you be able to make a post about how the touted service increase are actually a service cut.

Yes. But, definitely keep pushing back on Facebook, guys.

What's happening?
- Buses run faster than trains on this corridor outside of rush hours
- Buses ran every 30 minutes, trains run once an hour
- Trains only go as far as Unionville, forcing people to make a transfer.

This is undoubtedly a service cut for residents of Markham and Stouffville. Unfortunately, this has received no media coverage. GO has been non-responsive to complaints giving only fluff pieces on how the changes are a first step to RER.

How bad is it? Ivy Kwok on Facebook writes:
Starting Jun 24, 2017, GO TRANSIT are boasting of adding more train services in the morning and evening to and from Union Station to Stouffville Line. Did they mention anything about the cutting of bus services? Not at all.
Take the evening schedule for example :
Today we have 20 buses services from Union Station northbound between 20:00 to 23:20, however, starting Jun 26, there are only 4 trains for the same period of time.
Today, 20:00 from Union will arrive at Stouffville at 20:49, starting next Monday, for the same time, there is a train 20:00 from Union, stop at Unionville, then transfer a bus to Stouffville which arrives at 21:20. It means 30 min more with the new schedule.
Moreover, there are NO SERVICES at all between 20:30 to 21:40 !!!
If I take the 21:50 bus from Union today, I arrive at Stouffville by 22:37.. next week, I take the 21:40 TRAIN and arrive at Stouffville by 23:00.

Stouffville customer asks:
Can someone explain to me where the enhancement is? They are just misleading the public by saying ADDING more train services but never mention about the cutting of bus services.
I am just furious about this reverse engineering ! We are moving backward not forward !

See here for more complaints:

That's an interesting motorcyle you're riding ... looks like a car to me

Oshawa GO Station

In case you missed it ... Metrolinx rebranding will cost $250,000

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Oshawa GO throwin' some serious shade at Burlington GO

Progress on the new Oshawa GO Station (which is really a new VIA station because that's what it will be in 40 years when GO train service finally comes to Bowmanville) is coming along smoothly. I'm amazed, actually, at the pace of construction.

I mean, the Oshawa station had a roof in 8 months. Burlington waited almost 3 years (and I still am not sure if the roof is complete). The engineering marvel that is Oshawa GO is surely going to garnish some construction excellence nominations.

Yesterday I noticed that raised flower beds had been built. Isn't it nice that the architect thought about how the smokers will need a place to sit? I can't wait for the cigarette butt garden.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Guyz, I think the blog is dying...

Readership is still there but I'm not sure where to take this. All the action is on Twitter.

Before Twitter, this blog was my Twitter.

The most popular pet peeve and email topic from readers is foot riding. I could fill this blog with photos and photos of foot riding. In my opinion, the problem is worse than ever before. You only need to look at the condition of the fabric of your morning GO train to see how awful it is. Seven years ago I figured we could shame the problem away. It's just not happening.

The grossest thing I witnessed was Monday evening. I wasn't fast enough with my phone to get a photo as the Stouffville train pulled out of Union, but it was a woman, sitting sideways in a quad, with her bare feet on the window pane. The souls of her feet were black. I shudder to think if she washed them before bed.

Over 900km and still rolling

I pulled off an impressive 43.88 km on Sunday morning...

I'm still maintaining a 20 pound loss. I'm fighting a low metabolic rate, hormones, PCOS, age and poor sleeping habits, so managing a 20 pound loss and keeping it there is all I'm focused on at the moment. It would be nice if the scale would move, but that means 1,200 calories a day with a 1,500 caloric burn. Frankly, I don't have that kind of dedication or time. The good news is my doctor is referring me to a bariatric program that is funded by OHIP. I have so many questions and I'm hoping I get good answers!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

You ready to pay more for this come September?! It's bad enough we've got coaches without functioning A/C, now this

Still a better love story then the New York subway?
I guess...

Friday, July 7, 2017

Automated announcements survey? No, what I want, are schedules...

Message body

He's lucky I didn't witness it to give him a boot up the arse

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

GO took away schedules (train and bus) and replaced them with fluff (Note the word: "Information")

Here's the crap that's at Oshawa GO:

The reason being? No one reads nor wants to consult with paper schedules.

Hey, I get it's a digital age, but depending on your mobile provider, depending on whether your train was late, AND WITH NO APP, waiting for or to load could take enough time to MISS A BUS.

And what if it's pouring rain? Is everyone carrying their mobile devices in a life case? My phone happens to be water resistant, but it still sucks at swiping a wet screen. And depending on where the moon is aligned with the sun, I can drop a signal with Rogers like no one's business.

Pas cool, GO Transit.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Must be the same contractor responsible for Burlington GO

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Great. Maybe with that $8.5M the fare increase generates, GO Transit can afford a proofreader ... and maybe a better bulk emailer, seeing as I got this email twice

So many Passenger Charter violations!

Hi CJ, 
I just returned from vacation to find this response in my inbox from GO about the Stouffville line changes.  The original email to GO is at the bottom of the email.  Not only did it take 9 business days to reply (I sent in my comments on June 9th), but it doesn't address a thing.  Immediately below, I've also attached some additional correspondence from Facebook.  Feel free to use anything you want to get the word out.  
GO Transit: Facebook

Go Transit really needs to acknowledge to its Stouffville line passengers that the changes to its schedule are not to their benefit. The change will result in a significantly longer commute time, plus added hassle of transferring at Unionville Stations for those commuting further north. For example, the 11:20am-12:05pm bus from MtJoy to Union station will now become 11:08am-11:31am bus from MtJoy to Unionville Station, 11:46 train from Unionville to Union station arriving at 12:27pm. 45 minutes total time now compared to 1h19m starting next week. This is just one of the many changes as well as the evening commute at 8pm8:30pm 9:40pm are increasing by 30 minutes in duration. Please explain yourself GO.


GO Transit Hi Paul, thank you for your feedback. We'll forward your concern to our team for advisement. This new changing coming to Stouffville line next week is part of the Reginal Express Rail way project. The ultimate goal is to have all-day, two-way train on Stouffville line. You can find more information here: ^CW

will be added to GO Transit’s Stouffville line from…
Paul Gill When the ultimate goal is to have all-day, two-way service at the expense of efficiency then I think you missed linking a key priority that is crucial to your customers. If you provided service every 20 minutes, but if it takes 50% longer, are you truly offering a better service? No, you are only providing more frequent service. Fast, frequent, economical, convenient and reliable service is exactly what you customers expect. Your revised scheduling taking effect June 26th does not check the box of all of the aforementioned priorities Just so you know, my commute time is currently is 20% longer than when I first started taking GO in 2006 from the exact same station.

From: GO Transit Customer Relations <>
Sent: June 21, 2017 1:39 PM
To: Paul Gill
Subject: We've Received Your Comments EM0016007382

Dear Mr. Gill,
Thank you for your recent email regarding the recent addition of midday and evening trains to the Stouffville line.
We always look for opportunities to tailor our service to meet the needs of our customers.  Although, there are no additional changes that will be made to the board change that takes effect on June 26th customer feedback on how we can improve service is very important to us.  Your suggestion has documented for review and consideration
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback.
Customer Service Representative, Customer Relations, Customer Care 

From: Cindy (Cj) Smith <>Sent: June 12, 2017 1:58 PM
To: Paul Gill
Subject: Re: Stouffville Line Changes.

That's ridiculous. Please forward me the reply. I will publish your email (anonymously) and the reply.

On Mon, Jun 12, 2017 at 11:15 AM, Paul Gill wrote:

FYI - It seems as if GoTransit is touting their new train service to Stouffville, but neglect to share the whole story with its passengers.  Below is an email I sent to customer service.  Just thought I would share since I believe this is incompetent planning at its best.

As a Stouffville line commuter, I "just read the service change update that is posted here:
MORE TRAIN TRIPS. MORE REASONS TO GO. As of June 26th, we’re bringing you a lot

more service on our Stouffville Line, so you and your neighbours can get to Toronto ...

Dear Go Transit,

Following my review of the schedule, I'm shocked if GoTransit actually views this change as a benefit to all its Stouffville commuters.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but my reading of the schedule now suggests that my commute time to Mount Joy station will increase from 37 minutes currently to 1 hour 7 minutes as of June 26th from 8pm onward (with exception of 10:30pm which is 53 minutes).  In addition, underpinning this is the fact that all customers will now be expected to disembark at Unionville station to transition to a bus to proceed northward.  How can you justify that this is a progressive change that is good for your customers if the results are 30 added minutes and an inconvenient transfer on top of this?   You have a lot of explaining to do to your Markham/Stouffville customer base."