A GO train, in a black and white shot, heads over a small bridge. It pulls silver passenger carriages behind.

(Infographic) Beyond Elvis and $1.25 movie tickets – tracking the evolution of GO trains

Happy birthday to us, as GO Transit celebrates 52 years operating in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe Region. Today we want to look back at the scrapbook of engines that took us this far. They’re symbols of our constant updating as well as reminders we continue to improve with age.

Imagine, every few years, being able to upgrade your body.

To find a heart that beats a little stronger and legs that carry you further.

This would be an amazing gift – especially on your birthday – as the years roll along.

GO Transit celebrates its 52nd birthday today (May 23). Created in 1967 as Government of Ontario Transit – many customers today don’t realize what the descriptive acronym ‘GO’ actually stands for – the system was Canada’s first interregional public transit system.

In this shot from the 1960s, three men stand looking at the GO logo being painted on the outside of a train. The image is black and white. The train is up on blocks.
The GO logo would pass the test of time and still, with some slight updating, be used today. (Photo property of Metrolinx)

To give you some historical perspective, GO Transit began around the time Elvis was marrying Priscilla Beaulieu and country singer Tim McGraw was being born. Back then, the average movie ticket would cost you just over a dollar.

It was also the year of the first human-to-human heart transplant and debut of the original automated teller machine.

As Canada celebrated the centenary of Canadian Confederation, advancements were being made in many sectors. This included how a generation of commuters around Canada’s financial epicentre – the urban centres circling Toronto – made their way to work and play.

Men and women line up on the platform, while they board a sleep GO train.
In suits and dresses and even hats, customers line up and board the original GO trains. (Photo, property of Metrolinx)

Go Transit fit that important need. Empowering it were marked changes in the habits of the people of Ontario, and their need to move about, quickly and reliably in neighbouring communities. But powering that human motion has always been an ever-changing and advancing lineup of locomotion – the engines powering our buses and trains.

There are a great many customers – even long-term ones – who may not notice what’s pulling them to their destinations. They’re happy with the view out of the windows. But there are others who keep track of the evolution of those engines, especially, and most dramatically, on our trains.

Passengers sit inside a GO train.
Traveling on the GO train continues to grow in popularity, changing the way people commuted. (Photo, property of Metrolinx)

So as a bit of a birthday album look-back, we’ve created an info-graphic treatment of some of our favourite GO power-plants – the engines that have led our own advancement over the past 52 years.

In the years ahead, they’ll be more upgrades and continuing changes to GO Transit’s mechanical hearts. So rather than getting old, the transit agency is constantly upgraded and improved.

If only we could all say the same thing on each birthday.

To see a more detailed account of the changes in our trains, click right here.

And if you’d like to explore a special section created to mark GO Transit’s 50th celebration, just click here.

Story by Nitish Bissonauth, Metrolinx bilingual spokesperson, media relations and issues specialist.