NDG- The border can be quite intimidating these days. Has been that way since 911...what can you do. I stopped going to NTrak meets in the US with my modules and trainsets because it became a nightmare at the border, both coming and going. You used to be able to get a green sticker which they affixed onto a module and then every time you went across you pretty much sailed through but that is long gone.
The computer knows all...every parking ticket, every story, even what you will have for lunch before you even thought of it! Big Brother is there. Also of course every customs officer has an opinion and wants to be a star. Usually it's no trouble but sometimes trouble can come out of thin air. Had trouble once at Port Huron/Sarnia coming back from NTrak meet from Canadian Customs...my truck had broke down stateside and required a tow and repairs and I showed them the receipts ...they told me I had to tow the vehicle back to Canada and do the repairs here. Really gave me a hard time. Was there hours as they went through everything. I was worried about my trains, but had an itemized list when I went over and they checked it all. Paid a hefty duty on the repairs.
Loved those cat whisker curb feelers. Used to twang them just for kicks. Grandpa's Studebaker had them. I don't know how well they worked but a scuffed up whitewall looked like hell. Big thing in the fifties along with dingo balls and marker lights.
Yes NYC out of Ottawa all the way to the border long gone and tore up. It was never a big money maker but they sure were proud of that line. They had their own funky station and passenger service. FM high hoods H20-44 when they Dieselized. Spans across the St. Lawrence came down in '57 and '65. The trackage on the US side is still in use by CSX.
Colour of the future? Despite all the political polarization going on, arms build up in the zany countries requiring responses from the West and the threat of nuclear proliferation and the world still being a dangerous place I have great optimism and the feeling that we are entering an era where the good pushes back and the darkness recedes..for a while anyway. It's the "goods" turn.
More on Colour- On a personal individual level I can tell all that 2 years last October I dropped dead as a sack of hammers. Flash pulmonary edema, lungs filled with fluid and then the heart stops. It's like drowning so it takes a little bit of time but not much and you fight like hell, in vain. After multiple attempts of dialling 911 I finally focused enough to get the numbers right ( last attempt..no kidding)..got outside, stumbled up to the top of the driveway and dropped. I'm told they worked on me for 4 hours at the hospital here, was brought back and finally got me stabilized enough that they flew me out air ambulance down to Saskatoon. Woke up 3 weeks later.
Now here is the interesting part...I was somewhere, some of it familiar and lived a daily life...met people, did things, and I remember all of it. Much of it was filled with terror and fear and I saw terrible things and was in constant danger. Barely avoided death a dozen times, always different. Was well aware of time, clocks everywhere. Lot of strange odd and even funny events as well. Where was I? Not a dream, not like that at all. I would say the colour was greys and blues with interruptions of bright yellow sunshine.
When I came to it was a great relief to be out of that place but I think of it often. One thing I can tell you...there were trains!...modern Canadian Pacific Diesels but with a beautiful melodic steam whistle sound and huge iron ore trains, 40 feet tall with one big 40' tall steam locomotive pulling it. They went by constantly from across a river.
They tell me the cause was a viral infection from some time previous.
I'm told I was very fortunate not to have had brain damage as their was no oxygen for 11 minutes or something, and CO2 bubbles on the brain. ( Others may dispute the no brain damage thing).
Recounting your tale of Ottawa Union Station and the Taxi and Streetcars...we had a good decent functioning society that was, looking back, quite idyllic. It's a shame we lost so much of that and it seems we strive to get those times and feelings back all our lives. We should not have lost any of it in the first place.