A worker checks under the hood of a mini GO train.

Who shrunk the GO train? In pictures – Prepping the Toronto Railway Museum’s miniature train

When the platform is full of customers going your way, you’re thankful when a huge GO Transit locomotive comes into your station. But there are times when smaller is way cooler.

It’s a little taste of GO.

No, it won’t actually seat 154 customers in each coach, as our normal GO trains can accommodate. It’s more like 12 adults comfortably.

While our locomotives can easily travel well over 100km/hr, this version does a respectable 10km/hr.

And, that’s right, this GO transit experience happens to be a convertible.

All aboard the Toronto Railway Museum’s miniature GO train. Operating on the weekends until Jun 16th, it’ll then rumble along all summer long, seven days a week, until the Labour Day long weekend (September 2).

While small in stature, the train takes a big effort to run.

A worker checks under the hood of a mini GO train.
The mini GO train receives some technical TLC. (Photo courtesy of the Toronto Railway Museum.)

Kelly Burwash, manager and curator for the museum, says it’s inspected by operations staff every day, as well as taken on a test run before the start of each day. It takes two people to operate – a driver and conductor.

As for maintenance, Burwash says the museum has a crew of about 15 volunteers who are responsible for all restoration – including locomotives and rolling stock, as well as the miniature locomotives.

Two volunteers connect up a coach section to the engine of the mini GO train.
Museum operations staff connect the passengers coaches to the engine. It’s less tricky than a real GO train, but still takes some muscle. (Photo courtesy of the Toronto Railway Museum.)

This isn’t the first time GO has been on track at the Railway Museum, located at 255 Bremner Blvd., in downtown Toronto. In 2017, as part of GO Transit’s 50th Anniversary, Metrolinx worked with the facility to move an original GO coach to Roundhouse Park, as well as bring artifacts inside the museum. And then, the miniature train was rebranded to the familiar colours of GO.

Some vital stats on the little engine that can:

  • The engine is five horsepower.
  • It’s about ten years old.
  • The exterior is about 2 years old.
  • The engine is a gas powered hydraulic system – a gas motor pumps hydraulic fluid to hydraulic motors on axles.

It all fit in with the Toronto Railway Museum’s dedication to preserving the physical legacy, history and experience of rail transportation in Ontario. The museum encompasses Roundhouse Park with Stall 17 as the home of the railway simulator and small artifact display. Don Station houses their gift shop and ticket sales for the Miniature Train ride.

Workers pour gas into the engine.
The little GO gets a drink of gas. (Photo courtesy of the Toronto Railway Museum.)

And unlike our regular GO trains, this one doesn’t ride in an efficient straight line – but rather a family-friendly and lazy summer half-kilometre figure eight.

Looking into the engine, which looks like a large riding lawnmower engine.
Just enough power – The small train boasts a five horsepower engine. (Photo courtesy of the Toronto Railway Museum.)shop. srceives some technical TLC.hne

While families can fill up digital albums with images of taking rides on the tiny transit, we’ve gathered up behind-the-scenes glimpses of the miniature GO train being inspected and readied before rolling out to the public each day. While riding it may be practically effortless, there’s no small amount of toil that goes into keeping it on track. Just like the real thing.

Hours of operation:

  • May to mid-June (weather and track permitting) Saturday and Sunday – 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Mid-June – Labour Day Weekend – Daily 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • September – October (weather and track permitting) – Saturday – Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

For more information on the museum, just click here.

And if your children want to jump on the slightly bigger GO trains, and buses, the Kids GO Free program allows those 12 years old and younger to ride for free.