The Northlander was a passenger train that served Northern Ontario.
As a young teenager I worked in Toronto and a couple of times a month I would board the train at Torontos’ Union Station and a few hours later would be visiting my mother in New Liskeard. I don’t recall the price of the ticket. What I do remember was the peaceful yet hypnotizing clicking of the rails and passing through small communities, some children waving as the mournful horn played both warning and greetings through the air.
The days when the fog hung low in the trees and over small lakes and marshes were my favourite. Sometimes seeing a moose waist deep in water, watching as we went by. Seeing my mothers smile when I arrived for a short weekend visit. Smelling the creosote from the tracks on a hot summers day as I waited on the platform for my return to Toronto.
Over the years the Northlander stopped coming and over the years the politicians promises of the Northlanders return stopped coming too. Except during an election year of course. Now I’m grown up and retired and the only trains that pass my small town here in Northern Ontario are a mile long and filled with freight. Kids don’t wave at those because there’s nobody on them to wave back.