How Milton line was born to become a big deal for GO Transit customers – Do you still own one of these buttons?

As we’ve been digging into old boxes and archives for forgotten pictures of Metrolinx’s transit past – all part of a continuing series we’ve dubbed HistoricGO – one small button, souvenir ticket, grainy photo and a few advertising clippings caught our eye. It all revolved around the first official GO train on the Milton line.

It started with GO Transit engine ‘910’ making mincemeat out of a large ribbon.

A train breaks a ribbon that says 'Here we GO Milton'.

Engine 910 makes short work of a ribbon, opening the Milton line. As well as customers on the platform, notice the train engineer taking a look out of the window. (Metrolinx photo)

Digging into old collections of photos and memorabilia from GO’s past, we’ve come across an image of the big train breaking the inaugural ribbon on the Milton line, back on October 25, 1981.

The launch of GO stops along the route – there were three weekday morning trains, as well as a trio of return trips from Union Station – came on rail lines that CP had used for passenger service until 1971.

From inside one old box, we’ve pulled out a modest treasure trove of keepsakes from that first day. The random keepsakes – scattered among other photos and items spanning decades – include a souvenir inauguration button and train ticket.

Photo shows a button that says "October 25, 1981 - Milton rail service'.

A keepsake button from the day. How may are still tucked at the back of junk drawers in Ontario? (Metrolinx photo)

A ticket that notes it's a souvenir of the day.

The souvenir ticket. On the back is listed all the stops on the line. (Metrolinx photo)

As well, there are advertisements, printed on now yellow newsprint from local papers. A small reminder of the times, GO Transit phone numbers listed on the ads contained no area code.

Image showsa pamplet that was handed out.

A GO service brochure that was handed out to announce the Milton service starting up. (Metrolinx photo)

What train 910 started continues to grow. Today, Milton line is the third busiest rail route operated by GO Transit, and the number of trips is projected to increase over the next five years.

And Milton GO station itself – like many stops along all the lines – is undergoing significant improvements and upgrades.

It started with small souvenir buttons and one big train making short work of a ribbon.