Home
 
Choose Your City
Change City

Forty-one years on the GO

“Clear the doors, please, clear the doors. Union Station our next station stop. Union Station.”

“Clear the doors, please, clear the doors. Union Station our next station stop. Union Station.”

Most of the 4,700 GO Train commuters who routinely board the green and white trains at the Burlington station can probably recite the public address stop calls in their sleep.

But imagine if you had heard those same station announcements every weekday for 41 years.
Welcome to Virgil Duff’s commute. All 1,002,750 kilometres of it, the equivalent of going around the world 25 times.

But the end of the commuting line is coming on Christmas Eve. That’s when the Toronto University Press editor will disembark at Union Station, take the subway to his Bloor Street office, officially retire and end his reign as the longest regular GO rider among the 55 million people who use the service annually.

Duff recalls in the early days he could smoke on the train. And for a time he would see the same commuters every weekday morning. But as they moved to new jobs or retired, Duff turned to newspapers and puzzles. At Union Station, GO Transit president Gary McNeil greets his most loyal customer with a warm handshake and best wishes.

With the end in sight, Duff isn’t looking back, but forward. He hopes to volunteer with the CNIB, reading to the blind and visually impaired, and spend time with a nine-month-old grandchild and another due in July.

 
Consider AlsoFurther Articles