The St. Claire West reversal

Fairly frequently, there are morning trains on the yellow north-south line in Toronto, running toward Downsview, that do not continue north to the terminus station. Rather, they order everyone to disembark at St. Claire West station. Then, they go up a weird little blind alley, pause for a minute or two, and return to the station heading south.

I usually learn that I am on one of these trains in an uncomfortable way.

It being early in the morning, my brain is barely functioning. In addition, I am almost certainly listening to music or a podcast on my iPod. I sort of vaguely register the fact that everyone else on the train has gotten up and left, but the time it takes for me to understand the situation exceeds the span of time granted for disembarking. So the doors close, and I follow the train down its little dead end path, before it begins traveling back south again.

The mistake is easy to correct. You just get off at St. Claire West station redux, go upstairs, cross over to the northbound platform, and wait for the next train. What is awkward is how the conductor of the train walks the length of it in that little dead-end tunnel, moving from what used to be the front of the train to the control car at the other side. As the conductor passes, there will be some kind of exchange in which it is mutually understood that you are the dim-witted fellow who didn’t follow the instructions to get off the train.

Today’s conductor was quite amicable about it – even concerned for my mental well being. He told me that the dead end tunnel stresses some people out. I explained that I had seen it before, in the semi-conscious haze that characterizes mornings for me. All told, today’s experience was much more pleasant than my last St. Claire West reversal, where the conductor rather energetically berated me for still being on the train.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

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