It’s a reunion for Global Television’s “Train 48” cast members: Lisa Merchant, Joanne Boland, Raoul Bhaneja, and Paul Braunstein.
The soap opera-style show aired from 2003 to 2005 with 300-plus episodes, following the lives of twelve daily commuters. The foursome met at Union Station Friday to hop on the Lakeshore West GO train – the same train from the show to reminisce.
“Train 48 is actually a VIA train number…but basically it’s this exact train we’re on now. A Go Train basically going to Burlington and then, Hamilton was the final stop. And characters lived at different spots along the way,” said Raoul Bhaneja, who played “Peter.”
“And that was when reality television really came into its own, so, people sometimes thought we were our characters,” said Joanne Boland, who played “Dana.”
All TV shows have their secrets. In this case, “Train 48” was not actually recorded on a moving train.
“The way the camera men made it look – because we weren’t moving, it was just in a set at Global, but they would just slowly rock their camera so those guys were sitting there not only trying to get the shots but then gently rocking to make it look like this motion,” said Lisa Merchant, who played “Brenda.”
As the foursome recall, some of the celebrities who made appearances like former CFL star Micheal Clemons, singer/songwriter Carole Pope, and former politician Sheila Copps – the actors are most proud of appearing on a show they describe as “progressive and innovative.”
“It was one of the first shows on Canadian TV that had a trans-gendered actor in a leading role. It dealt with plot lines around gay marriage, gay relationships, inter-racial marriage, inter-racial relationships,” Bhaneja said.
Another thing that made the show unique was the fact that it was shot and edited the same day it aired – and – it wasn’t scripted.
“We had a lot of freedom to build our own characters and to shape the scenes just with improv,” said Paul Braunstein, who played “Johnny.”
Merchant, Boland, Bhaneja, and Braunstein still cross paths as friends and as actors. Boland and Braunstein appear in a movie out this week staring Donald Sutherland called “American Hangman.”