As Metrolinx News continues HistoricGO – a regular 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’ve pulled out images of when one of our major routes was so very new.
Every day, the Richmond Hill line sees about 6,000 boardings – GO trains a routine part of many lives as it now stretches 42.3 kilometres from downtown Toronto up to Gormley Station.
But like your own life, there had to be a birth – a start to it all.
Though, fair enough, you likely didn’t have a clown band on hand when you were delivered.
From inside a file box stored away at Metrolinx’s Union Station headquarters, we’ve found a small, white leather photo album, containing images of the April 29, 1978, opening ceremony and inaugural run of the Richmond Hill line.
To bring you back to the era – ‘Annie Hall’ was the movie to see, Kenny Rogers and Crystal Gayle were playing on your family’s car radio and a Trudeau was Canada’s prime minister.
To bring you back to the Richmond Hill line inauguration, these pictures of the day the ribbon-cutting event took place – celebrating passenger runs at Union Station, Oriole, Old Cummer, Langstaff and stopping at Richmond Hill (Gormley Station was added in 2016) – show a ceremonial, vintage engine with a ‘Welcome GO’ sign proudly affixed to the front.
As well as excited crowds who showed up on that Saturday, there are undated pictures that appear to show the first regular GO train service on the line, which began on Monday, May 1, 1978.
By all accounts, the birth was a celebration of speeches and souvenir tickets and promises of countless journeys to come.