15 thoughts on “Shameless Self Promotion

  1. A very nice article.

    The small-town Toronto you mentioned is also what I loved about it growing up, and what I love about Ottawa now. A lot of T.O. transplants to Ottawa have made the same comment. We just hope Ottawa gets over its “what would Toronto do” mentality and just get on with it. Our City Council is mired in minutia.


  2. Great article and good to let people who don’t regularly read THIS blog know that you are not ONLY a transit geek and that you see transit as a means not an end. We are lucky to have you in Toronto!


  3. Somehow, I never pictured you with tattoos. 🙂

    Anyhow, great read, and it’s good to get a little insight about who you are (aside from Transit)!


  4. Nice article, it helps me think that I am doing the right thing with my son. He is 2 yrs and a few months and just loves Thomas the Tank Engine. So to entertain him I take him out on the RT, Subway or GO train. We haven’t done the streetcars yet but I plan to soon. I got hooked on public transit late in life, I lived in Vancouver and couldn’t get my drivers permit because of a medical condition- I was having seizures for a few years after a head injury. I haven’t had a seizure in quite a few years now and have my driver’s permit back but from this experience I am grateful for the different transit systems around the world i have exprienced.

    Hopefully my son doesn’t have a terrible accident that will turn him into a public transit buff, but rather a good introduction that all transit is good- always needs to be improved but it is overall good. He loves buses as well as trains so maybe this will carry on through when he gets older. I know that a good transit system helps anyone gain independence. I know that Vancouver’s transit system helped me after my head injury and I got out of the wheelchair and slowly gained my independence with the help of the transit system. My son will one day start middle or high school fully schooled in how to best use the transit system for his own independence.


  5. I thought Steve Munro was a swan boat nerd? Guess I’m wrong.

    Steve: Swan Board Nerds know the entire family history of all of the swans including strange colourings and assignments to unusual routes. I, on the other hand, see the Swan City Network in all its glory!


  6. Interesting story, but I always thought your dad was a railfan and that he got you hooked on streetcars at a young age. Help me understand … what was it about streetcars that you found so fascinating as a child, and why didn’t that translate into a desire to be a streetcar operator when you grew up? Have you ever operated a streetcar?

    All boys like trains, but most of them find the subway more exciting, and then they just grow out of it … so I just don’t understand the psyche of streetcar railfans.

    Steve: I lived near Mt. Pleasant Loop, then the eastern end of the St. Clair car, and all trips began from there. The subway was simply not as interesting as the variety of the streetcar network — twelve nearly identical stations and a 15-minute one-way ride. The best part of the subway was the old G trains with all their wonderful noises.

    I have never operated a streetcar in the professional sense, but I have driven both PCCs and Witts.


  7. I loved the old G trains, they were melodious.

    By the way, what do they do with Swans when it’s time for retirement: turn them into Swanson dinners?

    Just wondering….

    Steve: They go to Stratford.


  8. M. Briganti said: I just don’t understand the psyche of streetcar railfans.

    It might have to do with actually getting to see the city while you ride them.


  9. You lucky dog, you! I’d love like no tomorrow to run a PCC. The closest I’ve gotten is to sit in the operator’s seat in one that’s on static display in a museum in Downtown Pittsburgh. One thing I’ll say for this site, all the references to swan boats are just too funny!

    Your mention of having grown up near the Mt. Pleasant loop made me think of a certain Andrew Biemiller who was, I believe, a driving force in Streetcars For Toronto and I’m curious as to what’s become of him since those days. And speaking of SFT, I once borrowed a book from my local library called Moving Millions by a New York journalist named Stan Fischler and I distinctly remember seeing your name in it in connection with SFT. Now ain’t that something?

    Steve: Andy is living up near Barrie these days.


  10. You seem to have left out some interesting facts. Did you not have a wagon with a Peter Witt roll sign? You should also mention that you once ran a fan trip with a bus even and had it stop in front of your house.

    Steve: I wasn’t editing the article, and there are times I feel that the world is not entitled to every shred of information about me. The Peter Witt rollsign in question is now under my bed. No, it is not involved in any erotic encounters, although it occasionally displays “Exhibition”.


  11. Hi Steve:-

    Nice to know I’m not the only one who finds Eglinton Avenue a boundary line between the City and the rest. My comment is usually that I get a nosebleed in the rarefied air north of that Avenue.

    And yes, those G trains are sorely missed out of the subway as the rubber stamp of H and T cars is just a wee bit too monotonous for my tastes. I would sit in an end seat at off peak times while riding the Gs, open the train door and just soak up the sounds and smells. Probably still got brake shoe dust in my veins.

    You you and your bloggers have reminded me that the only time that I got to run a Witt car in TO was at your Broadview stn. loop Steve. Only a few feet mind, but it was 2424.

    And back to railfanning in the subway. The great workcars are also gone, with their Brill Witt trucks, motors and gears and North Yonge Radial Railway whistles. One night while in the tunnel on the phone with Transit Control, RT-1 was heading through the opposite tunnel and with track personnel on the line the Workcar Operator was liberally blowing that NY whistle in warning. The Transit Control Operator that I was on the phone with asked me if that was a freight train going through?

    Ah the memories!

    Dennis Rankin


  12. Hi Steve:-

    I forgot two things. First and most importantly, congrats on another positive article about you. Well deserved and I hope for Your’s and selfishly all of our sakes retirement lasts many, many productive years.

    The second thing was that I got to operate the world’s first production PCC car once. When I was active with the OERHA, I was able to visit the Branford Electric Railway Museum (which I believe is called the Shoreline Museum now) at East Haven Connecticut. Wow, for a TTC PCC fan, to run Brooklyn 1001 was a dream come true. After perching myself in the Mortorman’s seat, our pilot motorman was explaining to me about how different a PCC was from any of the other technologies preserved at their museum when he realized that we were leaving the caryard and were well on our way up the Museum’s line. He then believed me when I said I thought I knew how, understanding that 25 years of my having watched TTC motormen do their thing was enough just to leave me go. Wow, what a smooth ride those Pre-war cars gave.

    And too, thanks to an ex-pat Torontonian living in the New Haven area, a number of TTC cars have ended up at that Museum, including 2898, 1706 and 11. Got to run 1706 with a full standing load and as well a fullseated load on the trailer. It stopped on a dime even though it is only equipped with a hand brake.

    Dennis Rankin


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