ontario line trains

Creepy fake passengers in new Ontario Line train renderings prove legitimately hilarious

Newly-released images depicting the driverless trains that will one day run along Toronto's highly-anticipated Ontario Line are giving some people in the city pause this week, as well as some laughs and potentially nightmares.

An Italian company called GFG Rail is producing the trains that will eventually take people through Toronto, from Exhibition Place all the way to the Ontario Science Centre, on the new 15.6-kilometre, 15-station Ontario Line.

The company, commissioned by Hitchai Rail on behalf of an Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Metrolinx-selected consortium of companies known as Connect 6ix, revealed some new renderings for the project on its website this week, giving locals a more-comprehensive glimpse into what we can expect come 2031 when the subway line is now slated to open.

As previously announced, GFG's Ontario Line trains are designed to be packed with futuristic technology, including digital passenger information screens, LED headlights, onboard Wi-Fi, connected carriages and dedicated spaces for bicycles.

"The trains, moving up to 30,000 people per hour in each direction and stopping in 15 stations, will be packed with the latest technology," wrote the company on a webpage that appears to have been taken down as of Wednesday afternoon.

"Our design idea was that a contemporary vehicle projected towards the future must be characterized by a safe yet iconic appearance."

The renderings show mass-transit vehicles that, as many pointed out on Tuesday, actually appeared quite boxy and plain. "Iconic" isn't a word many would use to describe what was presented this week, nor is "safe" — at least not among those who've seen the 2022 U.S. horror flick Smile.

Twitter user Evan Boyce was the first to point out that the renderings released this week featured some particularly creepy-looking digital humans.

Unlike the "render people" usually used by architects in mock-ups like these — sometimes to unintentionally hilarious effect — GFG's imaginary Ontario Line riders don't appear to be derived entirely from photos.

If anything, the look more like something out of a late 20th-century computer game.

"New mildly upsetting Ontario Line renders," wrote Boyce when tweeting out some choice images on Tuesday. "I swear I've had nightmares where I walk onto a train and everyone is smiling like this."

"N64 GoldenEye did it better," joked one person in response.

"As a resident of the King-Bathurst area I can absolutely attest that we are rarely smiling like that, even the children," responded another. "We are cynical city people and we are always looking down to make sure we're not stepping in something disgusting."

Others joked that the people in the new GFG Rail renderings looked like everything from characters in The Sims to actors promoting a sequel to Smile.

"Maybe this is a promo for the movie 'Smile 2: Mourning Commute'," said one person, referring to a film that does not exist but has a fantastic name.

Former Toronto School Board Trustee Norm Di Pasquale went so far as to generate his own happy, Ontario Line customers using AI software. These proved even scarier than what was presented by the Italian rail company.

It's not clear why GFG has cleared the webpage containing these renderings, though it's of note that the page was still live on Wednesday morning.

Perhaps they're going back to the drawing board with more humans at the helm? 

We can all rest easy knowing that these creepy computer-generated avatars won't be riding the subway in Toronto any time soon, either way, as they don't actually exist. Based on the city's current vibe, it is also unlikely that the majority of Ontario Line passengers will be grinning on their commutes.

There are years to go yet before we see the line come to fruition, regardless, though work on the project will start ramping up this year.

"Early works construction for the Ontario Line is already underway at Exhibition Station, at the site of the future Corktown and Moss Park stations, and in the joint corridor west of the Don River," reads the most recent press release from Ontario's Ministry of Transportation regarding Toronto's new transit line.

"By 2041, the Ontario Line will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 14,000 tonnes annually and cut overall fuel consumption by more than 7 million litres a year – the equivalent to nearly 120,000 fill-ups at the pump."

Lead photo by

GFG Rail

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