Missing The Old Subway

Devan Wang


The Toronto Council is replacing the subway trains on the Yonge-University-Spadina line with “Toronto Rockets.” They’re supposedly faster and have a larger carrying capacity. That’s nice and all, but there is one thing missing: the front facing window of the lead car in the train. I remember when I was a kid, I would always run to the front of the station while waiting for the subway, to get a chance to peer out the
front facing window – the only front facing window in the entire train. I would
watch in awe as the darkened tunnels, fluorescent lights, and flashing signals pass
by in a blur. No child could resist the temptation. It would look especially
beautiful, going north from St. Clair station to Davisville station, where the
tracks emerge into the outdoors, with a spectacular view of Mt. Pleasant

But now? The new subways don’t have the front facing window in the front car.
Unlike the old trains, where the driver’s cab only occupies half of the width
of the first train, the new Rockets’ cabs take up the entire width of the car,
blocking all forward visibility for children and adults alike. “That’s just the
design of the new trains,” says TTC spokesman Brad Ross. “Some of the
electronics meant the cabs had to be different. The fun factor, I suppose, is
removed somewhat.”  While I do appreciate all the other aspects of the new
Rockets,  such as better lighting, a better communication system, and
speed, I just can’t seem to forgive the absence of a part of my childhood that
was so vital.  However, the Bloor-Danforth and Sheppard line will still
have the old Rockets for at least the near future. I guess I will have to
revisit my childhood memories through them….