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transit nerds, unite!


years ago, when i first moved to montreal, i used to tell people that i wanted to get a job driving the metro. it was a silly ambition, of course, not only because my french wasn't near good enough, but because i would have hated the schedule and because jobs with the stcum (now just the stm) were in high demand from people a lot more qualified than i.

but i still had the idea in my head because i found the whole concept of the subway fascinating. in fact, when i first got a transit pass, i put its unlimited capacity to good use by randomly hopping on and off the metro and finding new neighbourhoods to explore. that's really the beauty of a subway system. you disappear underground and then reappear in a completely new place, with no real idea of how you got there. a little urban adventure.

most of these adventures were very positive experiences for me, discovering little-known corners, pockets of architecture that i liked, etc. some of them, particularly seeing a homeless man, apparently dead, with onlookers and emt's trying to revive him, were somewhat more sobering. but all in all, they form some of my strongest memories of living in montreal.

subways in general appeal to me, and i make a point of seeing them in cities where i travel (not merely as conveniences, but as points of interest). but the montreal subway, with its unique stations and astonishingly quiet trains, is a particular favourite. it may lack the comprehensiveness of new york or paris, but its artistic bent, expressed above all in the uniqueness of its stations and their prominence in the cityscape, still makes it something special.

and apparently, at least one person agrees with me. heck, this guy has even developed a rating system for evaluating the relative merits of each station (and a pretty good one, too)...

to others, it may be just a method of getting from a to b, but for some of us, the few, the proud, the nerds, it's iconic, a reflection of the city itself.

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