This last update is arriving a little late. I didn’t write anything at the time, but I think it’s worthwhile to recall the rest of the trip and draw some concluding remarks. On day 5 we had breakfast somewhere around Sudbury Junction. Normally we’d be having breakfast just out of Toronto, but we were running about 7 hours late due to the track cracking in Reddit. Breakfast occurred with a kind of familiarity which likely exists on no other passenger trains – over four days the train becomes a little insta-community on wheels. People are at ease with each other. As usual, I had the oatmeal. Ontario in the snow is beautiful, and I spent most of the day in the dome car. I spent a lot of time talking to other passengers – this is something that gets easier and easier as the trip goes on. Partially because one has simply sat and ate with so many people, and partially because as the trip goes on everyone realizes there is no reason to keep to yourself. In everyday life, we are pretty reclusive around the “public”, and rightfully so – opening up to everyone would be tiring and perhaps dangerous (I hope I’m wrong on this point, by the way). But on the train, the “public” quickly becomes homely. A ready-made small town. Everyone has a lot in common – they’ve been on this train for too long.
We finally pulled into Union Station in Toronto around 3:30pm. The trip ended without much song or dance. I tipped the car attendant (I saw someone else doing it), said goodbye to my new friends, but didn’t exchange facebooks with anyone. Most of the folks I met were older, I suppose they don’t have facebook. To any accord, it didn’t come up. The train becomes its own community to be sure – but there is no need for that community to go on existing after arrival. No need for Via to create a “January 1st Canadian Eastbound” facebook group. (Although – I have the feeling this is the kind of thing they would do). I paid a red-cap to carry my luggage out to a cab, and took the easy way home. In principle, I’d prefer to take transit – but I had far too much luggage for that.
It was good to arrive home, to get back to school, to see my housemates again. I had a good visit in Vancouver, but now it is time to get back to work. As for the trip – it was wonderful. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.