takin’ the train

Posted on April 24, 2007. Filed under: Travelling |

Whenever I’m in England I always get a rail pass and take the train. I love it so much. Everything about it. Catching the train seems so romantic. Being on the train, staring out the window: romantic. And always exciting and relaxing. But here, in the GTA and beyond,trains have always been nothing but a hassle.

The first time I took the train was in my first year travelling from Kingston to Georgetown. Now, you can’t do this easily or cheaply. As a student with an ISIC card you could do pretty well, but the VIA train was always late without fail and then I would have to navigate my way, running, through Union Station (I didn’t know it well back then). I would usually not have time to purchase a ticket and would hop on the GO train as it was pulling out of the station. Nothing romantic, exciting, or relaxing about that. Getting back to Kingston wasn’t as hectic, except for trying to get a cab from the train station, which was way out in the middle of nowhere compared to campus, and the fact that all of the cars were packed with students from Queen’s and McGill. Fun sometimes, but not at the end of a long weekend when you just want to catch up on studying or sleeping. I probably only came home 3 times all year as a result.

Then there was commuting every day from Georgetown to Toronto on the GO. On top of hating my job and he evil company I worked for at the time, I hated the commute and hated the fact that the train moved so painfully slowly. Or was late. Or was stuck…often for hours.

So I’m giving the train another chance and I’m really excited about it. Maybe it will be just like England. Brian’s going to be in Ottawa this summer for a couple of weeks and I’m going to join him for 2 days. I didn’t want to drive all the way up there, spending 5 hours or more in the car, and then have both of us drive all the way back so I thought I’d look into the train. They must be competing with airfares or something right now, because the ticket was only $59! For a four hour train ride! This is way cheaper than it used to be from Kingston to Toronto (a much shorter route). But, it will be uncharted territory and the train station in Ottawa is only 4 km from downtown Ottawa.  I can’t wait! The only catch is that I have to figure out how to get to Union Station for 5:00 pm without a car on the day I leave…this would be great if I worked along the subway line. Any suggestions? Anyone want to pick me up and take me to work and then downtown? I could try to figure out Mississauga Transit in the morning and then try to score a ride downtown… I guess I have time to figure it out.

I haven’t been to Ottawa for about 2 years, so I’m really looking forward to getting to the city again and to see my friends who make Ottawa their home.

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9 Responses to “takin’ the train”

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You’re right. There’s nothing too romantic about trains in north america. If you ever have the chance to take a train from London to Canterbury, England I highly recommend it!

As for your dilemma…would you be able to work from t street that day? at least you’d be very close to union then.

I have taken the train from London to Canterbury and it was lovely! Scotland was also simply gorgeous and whisked me away completely.

True. I was thinking about working from T street. I’ll have to look at the schedule to be sure I can work around it, but yes — brilliantly ideal!

Good grief! You wouldn’t be saying that you lived here and had to take trains all the time. Trains in the UK are overpriced, dirty, crowded, hideously expensive, unreliable, slow…argh! Need I go on? I hate them, I HATE them with a passion!!! Things have got so bad there’s even talk of re-nationalising the train network! I guess being on holiday gives one a different perspective sometimes. 😉

Okay, fair enough. I guess if you have to take the train every day it sucks, no matter where you live. I’ve only ever been delayed in England once so far. Just the mere extent of the rails there, and the tube, etc. in London specifically are something that I wish were over here too. We pale in comparrison — by far! I mean you can get virtually anywhere via rail in the UK. Here, not so much.

Though I will agree for sure that the trains there (and anywhere) are overpriced. The beauty of being a tourist is the wonderful rail pass from Brit Rail. It’s dead cheap!

I wish our transit system was more like London’s (with the Tube in particular!). As a tourist, it was a fantastic experience, and I loved the fact that you could buy one pass and use it for the train, the tube, the buses, etc.

Me too! I love the tube and how far it reaches. The TTC is pathetic in comparisson!

[…] from London and wish that the tube could be superimposed over the GTA).  (I’ve talked about taking the train before) Not only does it take over an hour to get from the outer lines of the GO train into the […]

[…] on June 30th, 2007. I took the train up to Ottawa on Tuesday night and it was only about an hour late because we broke down just outside […]


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