Do you know the woman on the train? Diving into more than 50 years of GO history, we’re hunting down important info about Ontario transit photos

As Metrolinx News starts HistoricGO – a weekly series devoted to digging into our files in search of interesting images and nicknacks from the pasts of Metrolinx, GO Transit, PRESTO, and UP Express – we’ll begin with a few pictures. And we’ll need your help in filling in their colour and details. So is that your mom with the yellow scarf on that GO train? And where was she headed with that woman in the glasses?

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. We bet the woman in the yellow scarf would have been someone interesting to sit next to.

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.

When hats were the norm, along with a cigarette in hand.

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 news@metrolinx.com.

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

While mostly capturing backs, this picture shows that the rush off the train is nothing new. One of our experts suggests this is probably from around 1975 or 76 when GO was testing bi-level cars it had initially borrowed. The lack of doors meant gridlock to exit and enter. And we have to ask, what is that man looking back at?

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.

GO Transit crowds were on their way. But where were they headed? Notice the smart cap of what appears to be a helpful GO employee to the lower left of the frame. Whatever became of the child in red, being held by the woman? And is it you?