I travel a lot. Mostly on airplanes, although according to certain family member – sometimes on my broom, and I have no worries about circumnavigating my way through an airport, but train stations are a completely different story.
Short version – I’m a mess.
Truth be known – all of my train stories happened in Europe and range from me trying to jump on a train that turned out was just parking to nearly missing an Express Train in Rome because the Italian-way is very different from the Mairlyn-way.
I know what you’re thinking – “It’s where you live, all the signs will be in English, every one speaks English and if you do miss one train there’s another in 15 minutes. You are a huge chicken.” And you’d be right.
So Little Miss Chicken Type A Personality put on her Big Girl Underpants and had her husband drop her off at Union Station five hours before her flight left. (Did I mention that I like to be at the airport early so I don’t have to run like a crazy person through the terminal? Seriously if I could pitch a tent right beside the check-in counter the day before I’d be way more relaxed. And yes….I know, I’m a nut)
The first thing we did wrong was turn up Bay Street to get to Union Station. Never do this. Traffic in Toronto on a good day is a nightmare. With all of the road work being done downtown for the Pan Am Games plus the general mayhem, driving downtown is a complete pain in the butt.
You cannot turn left from Bay Street onto Front Street and the entrance to Union Station, which results in having to drive in large left turning circles for somewhere in the vicinity of three hours to get back to where you want to be. Okay, I’m exaggerating, one hour tops. So my husband let me off at the corner of York and Adelaide and off I went. Insert here *me walking about a block and a half hauling my luggage, purse, and computer bag*
I am fifty-ish, work out regularly and lift weights, but hauling my luggage plus the extras to the front door of Union station was a heavy workout. Insert here *my suitcase was 48 lbs of really important stuff plus all the really important other stuff I was hauling*
I navigated the entrance only to discover that I had to back track over York Street and up a ramp to the Union Pearson Entrance. Points for them for the great signage, but a buggy would have helped or possibly a Sherpa.
I arrived a sweaty mess to the desk that had no Lineup Starts Here kinda sign and was a complete tool when I finally spoke to a Service Rep. My apologies, I’m going with I was a sweaty mess and I couldn’t get me breath….long story for another blog post.
A lovely young Service Rep directed me to the kiosk where you can buy a ticket and even stunned computer challenged me could figure it out. It looks like one of those crazy parking ticket machines but actually makes sense.
They must have hired engineers when they designed the entrance ways, or a really smart mom, because it’s a ramp/gangplank. You just drag aka pull your luggage into the waiting train and store it in baggage racks, if you want.
Tip: don’t put your ticket in some random place once you buy it, a ticket taker comes around during the ride to check if you did in fact buy a ticket. If not….you can buy one from him. No one gets thrown off the train, it’s so Canadian.
As we whizzed by all the traffic by all the traffic on HWY 401 and HWY 427 I felt smug. I couldn’t help but think that I was usually in that quagmire but today I was flying past it for only $27.50 and free WiFi.
Twenty-five minutes after leaving Union Station we arrived at Pearson Terminal 1. A walk to the terminal was made all the better when I discovered the free carts.
It took me an hour door to door. I was not crabby, I was really early, and I was a happy traveller.
Note: if you are hauling more than a carry on and you aren’t fit ~ it’s a bit of a haul. I’m totally using this fabulous service again but I’m packing lighter next time.