Two women sit next to a man on a GO train.

Ontario transit photos - diving into over 50 years of GO history

Metrolinx News needs your help in filling in the colour and details of these historic photos.

Oct 17, 2019

You have the box or bin in mind right now, don’t you?

That junk container filled with time.

It waits – likely with others – down in a basement, at the back of a garage or high up on the top shelf of a linen closet. It even has a certain, familiar smell when you open the lid.

And inside is yesterday’s stuff, including embarrassing school pictures, an unsigned birthday card, charging cords for cell phones long tossed out, a Canada Post gift card that may or may not still contain funds, a recipe for Crepes Suzette penned by someone’s aunt and a VHS copy of Chuck Norris’ 1982, not really a classic, Silent Rage.

It’s not the most important box of stuff, but it tells a tale of years and moments spent by you and your family.

Here at Metrolinx, we have similar crates where the past waits. They live in corners of storerooms across our landscape. And while sometimes unclearly marked, their contents chronicle the important life and times of transit in Ontario – marking time from one century into the next.

Two women sit next to a man on a GO train.

Two customers in warm winter coats are on the GO in this undated image. (Metrolinx photo)

In a weekly feature we call HistoricGO, we’re opening up some of these boxes to you. There may be a single image of interest or books of unused train tickets or an invitation to the official opening of a GO station.

And in some cases, we’ll be asking you to help us fill in the details of what we find.

In fact, that’s where we’ll begin.

From a worn, light brown cardboard bankers box, simply marked ‘Box 12’ – it was originally ‘13’, but that was hastily scratched out – we’ve pulled out four random pictures. We may be slightly red-faced to find the subjects are famous, but they are all orphaned images, with nothing scribbled on the backs.

Three men in suits and hats pose in front of a train door.

So we’re asking you, our customers and followers, to look closely at the images, in the hope you can fill in some blank spaces. If you believe you can set the scene for us, even a clue of a detail, please send an email to

Crowds rush along a platform in a black and white photo.

One of our experts suggests this is probably from around 1975 or 76 when GO was testing bi-level cars it had initially borrowed. (Metrolinx photo)

Even if the faces aren’t familiar, check back every week, as we open other boxes to draw back the years.

Crowds gather on a GO platform.

by Thane Burnett Manager of editorial content for Metrolinx