Layin’ down track and buildin’ the privy

Model engineers club heeding the call of Mother Nature.

Model engineers are dedicated to showing people the joys of running on steam and riding the rails - even if they are in miniature.

Members of the Vancouver Island Model Engineers club are making sure that following a long ride on one of their trains at Heritage Acres, people won’t have far to go to tinkle.

The club, with the blessing of the Saanich Historical Artifacts Society and its foundation wing, is building a new washroom facility close to the roundhouse and train station. Foundation treasurer and model engineers club member Rick Senkler says people currently have to walk pretty far onto the grounds to reach the existing washroom facilities. This new building, scheduled to break ground this month, will be near the old windmill, adjacent to the Whistle Stop concession.

Senkler said the project started after people kept asking if there were any facilities closer to the trains. He added the club has raised money, gained volunteer labour and donated supplies to build the facility. It will be a single washroom, unisex, with baby changing table. On the other side, Senkler said the club will create a display space, to show off their work in clock making, small engines, tool making and more.

The display space is temporary, he said, as the club looks to put up another building for that purpose alone down the line. Should demand go up, Senkler said the building going up this spring can be expanded into two washrooms.

“Engineers are always thinking ahead,” he said.

The foundation and underground services are scheduled to start being put in this month for construction to start in May.

Senkler said the construction will be done by Camosun College students, as part of their trades program.

The project is costing the club approximately $35,000 and they are seeking donations from the public to cover the last $12,000. To help, contact project leader Claude Jolivet at 250-883-1328.

The trains resume running April 11 and 12 for a pair of private events, Senkler said. On April 12, Heritage Acres in Central Saanich hosts the Old English Car Club and the trains will be on track as well.

To find out more about Heritage Acres, visit