Sunday November 23, 2014


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Waiting for trains

Tanya’s Tales

I've been pretty lucky to not get stopped at train crossings, and living on south hill, that's lucky! As of late, I've not only been stopped at them, I end up sitting and waiting for the ones that seem to take FOREVER!

In one day, last week, I was stopped at three different times of the day. A total of 45 minutes of my day was spent sitting in my vehicle staring mindlessly at passing train cars.

Here, is a peek inside my 25 minute wait at the first train:

For once, I was going to make it to the office by 8 a.m. This rarely happens. In my morning routine, something always seems to put me behind schedule.

THIS time, I was going to be not only on time, but early.

I made my run to Tim Horton's as I do every morning and on the way to the office, I see a train heading east. I look at the clock in my vehicle and its 7:45 a.m.

Yes! I'm still going to make it on time.

As I turn the corner, the railway crossing arm comes down, the engine fires off the siren and it passes through the crossing.

So I sit. A few minutes later, I shift my vehicle in park. It is now 7:51 a.m.

Still early!!

The train crawls through the crossing now. It seems to have slowed down. Usually, I marvel at all the brightly coloured graffiti that covers the train cars. But this train is graffiti-less and boring to watch.


Now I start talking to the train. "What? Why are you stopping? You aren't a long train, but for some reason, today you are the endless link of handkerchiefs being dragged out of the pocket of a goofy-looking clown. I know there's an end to you...but how much more of you is there?"

Rewind. Now the train is backing up.


I look to my left and see a man standing waiting for the train. I think to myself, "CP Rail should really put in benches or shelters similar to bus stops for the pedestrians."

This is a long wait to be standing, with nothing to do but shift your weight from side to side, hands in pockets, watching the same boring graffiti-less cars.

It is now 8:02 a.m. - I'm officially two minutes late.

Through the spaces between the cars, I can see two lanes of vehicles lined up on Government Road past Bison Avenue. I wonder what other people think about when in their vehicles stopped at trains.

Mesmerized by the clanking and dinging of the train, I start thinking about hopping on a car and taking a cross-country tour, about how I used to count cars from the backseat of my parents vehicle and about the talent of graffiti artists.

Flattened pennies.

The crossing arm goes up. I snap out of my day dream, back to reality. Put the car in drive and continue on to the office.

It's 8:09.

I miss waving at the caboose.



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