GO Transit Motive Power Timeline

I’ve been reading, and learning, a lot about the history of GO Transit lately and becoming ever more curious about what they have on their fleet and what it looked like in the past. The first time I ever saw a picture of a GO Transit diesel was actually in my grade eight math book. I can’t remember what the reference was, or why the picture was in there but it was and I was intrigued. Fast forward to my first experiences railfanning GO by watching trains pulling in and out of their Hunter Street station in Hamilton, Ontario while I lived there. By the time I was trackside all GO trains were the same thing: F59PH diesels pulling or pushing strings of bi-level coaches. That first picture I’d ever seen was of older F units and lately I’ve been piecing together a more detailed pile of information on what ran in GO service and when.

Go has a fascinating history of motive power and while almost all of it was purchased new they have always purchased things they felt they could easily get rid of in case the service was suspended. As such a history of their motive power reveals some interesting choices. Across the web there are some great resources detailing these purchases. What I wanted was a way of comparing what ran “when” to try and determine when the greatest overlap might have existed to really offer some variety for the modeler. Tonight I took some time and built this quick timeline and figured I’d share it here.

I’ve based my initial research on websites including:

Click on the thumbnail above to expand it out and take a look. Those early-1980’s appear to have been a real boon when just about everything was in service and it would be reasonable to expect a GP diesel pushing or pulling the train and a FP7 on the other providing hotel power.

For the modeller this same, early-eighties, time period should be relatively easy to model as well. The GP40’s from the 720-726 were just straight GP40’s and Atlas have released their model in GO colours. Next easiest are the 510-514 F40’s. While not regarded as GO’s wisest power purchase these have also been released painted and ready for your layout – this time by Life-Like’s Canadian importer Hobbycraft Canada. The remainder of the fleet will require some work but you have a start. Coach and cab-wise is as simple as purchasing ready-painted cars from Athearn.


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