Train, train, go away… (turn off your engine while you wait)

At times I seriously curse the fact that we have so many train tracks running through our city.  Generally speaking I love it.  I love the sound of the trains on the rails, love the realness of it, love that it speaks of how our country was created, and what Canada could be again (if only we’d invest in high speed rail – which was invented by Canadians, but then sold to Germany when the Canadian gov’t refused to invest).  Tonight though?  I was ticked off by the train.

We were on our way home, Damon, myself, and the girlie.  When the railway crossing lights started blinking and the red/white striped bar dropped.  We were on 51st street, just passed the intersection of 51st and Waniskewin…  No biggie, right?  Oh, so wrong.

When we pulled up it was about quarter past seven, or maybe twenty past.  I wasn’t watching the time closely at that point.  But we didn’t get moving again until shortly after eight.  That’s at least 45 minutes stuck sitting waiting for a train to cross in the middle of Saskatoon!  That’s not okay.  Not even remotely okay.

When we first realized that we might be sitting for more than a minute or possibly two, we shut off the car.  And you know what?  It filled my heart with hope, as other cars around us took our lead.  It was cold, and we were chilly sitting there waiting.  But the car in front of us turned off, the car to the right, and the car behind that.  Who knows how many others followed suit, too far from my scope.  It was so wonderful to see them turn off, one after another.

A couple of years ago, we’d have been the only ones sitting in a darkened car thankful for our jackets and mitts, but tonight others joined in.  Sure, there were tons of others who’s vehicles were left running that whole time (close to an hour)…  but it still gave me hope seeing that others joined in with us, and turned their vehicles off.

The girlie passed her time playing with the camera phone.  Here’s one she took of me:

"train, train, go away, come again some other day..."


Besides all the cars sitting there, idling for almost an hour?  The most frustrating thing was the freakin’ train itself.  For the first fifteen minutes it sat off to the side of the road – not even blocking the road itself.  Not moving, not doing anything…  but close enough to the road that the bar was down preventing any cars from moving.  Then it slowly began to move, the engine went down a few blocks, and stopped again…  cars blocking the street this time (but at least then there was actually something REAL stopping traffic).  Then the whole freakin’ thing backed up again.  ARG!  Not cool.  Not blocking a major flow of traffic for almost an hour.  Seriously, there has got to be a bylaw or something preventing this type of thing during normal waking hours.  I was just grateful that I was able to keep the girlie entertained, and that she didn’t have to pee really badly (or worse).

So yeah…  a rather trying hour.  But I’m choosing to take hope in the people driving those cars who cared enough to shut off their engines.  THANK YOU!


About Tobi-Dawne

Tobi-Dawne Smith is many things to many people... photographer, canine behaviour expert, equal rights activist, green politician, lactivist, intactivist, writer, crafter, dog handler, third wave feminist, etc. But most important in her life is her role as mother to an amazing five year old. Learn more about TD at follow her blog at get to know her daughter at or check out her work at

Posted on March 3, 2011, in BlackBerry, Green, Just a Note, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Yeah, it seems like the higher the gas prices go the more likely people are going to turn off their vehicles instead of sitting around idling. At least Saskatoon still has passenger rail. If there is a train holding up traffic in Regina, it full of either potash, or anhydrous ammonia.

    • We seriously need to be opening up more passenger rail options across the country, and I am grateful we have passenger rail service here. But you won’t find passenger trains blocking traffic within Saskatoon. They don’t run through the city. This was the same crap you guys see… car, after car, after car of it. 😦 And yes, the one good thing about high gas prices is they encourage drivers to turn off their vehicles more willingly.

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