Finally – and just as I always saw it


When I was a little boy, I always liked to ride in the front of the subway train so I could look out and see everything that was whooshing-by – while also pretending to drive the train (naturally).

Thanks to the wide variety of soil conditions and techniques used in various years, there are funny round-metal ‘tube’ sections, squared-off concrete runs, and even surprisingly broad shallow trenches overtopped with high-traffic roads.

But the most exciting parts on the line were always the outdoor sections – and this section here, for me, was the very best run of all – the Davisville train-yards!

I used to fantasize endlessly about building this whole layout as an N-scale railway – it’s really cool and familiar both. So when I read in my camera-manual that it had a ‘model’ mode, I knew exactly the subject to use it on – right away!

RT-15 is a very funky wee critter – a brand-new old-style service-train.

Two cars only – just like the ancient (early fifties) round-windowed garbage-train (ghost train) that used to run with no lights at all, and come slinking along the line at an off-puttingly moderate speed, between the penultimate and absolute final run of the night, to collect what had been emptied from the wastebaskets along the platforms.

I really wish I could show more generations (Red trains with green seats and those cool incandescent porthole-lights that went out at every track-switch!) but though RT-15s siblings are yet running along the Bloor line, the main point is that he is last-generation tech – not the fancy newest gear.

He also makes me laugh – because he really seems to be a freelancer!

Zoom right in and you’ll see that his destination window shows that he is officially “out of service” – but that’s the funny part – RT15 is out there with the welding crews at 3AM, and he’s up at dawn, supporting more work down at the other end of the yard. Sometimes every line is packed, sometimes, as here, RT-15 is the only one on the scene – but he’s always up to something.

Which is what makes me think of freelancer – the ‘free’ word is so deceptive – makes salary people think that in a way, you’re “out of service”. But in fact, you’re up welding at 3AM, and up at dawn, doing something else entirely, fighting the crowd, standing alone – always looked at just a little askance by the hard working regular line-trains – and yet never (as they are every night) entirely free and off the clock!

Still – how many subway trains can say every single day is different, unique? Sometimes (when luck is good) even outright interesting!

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