A hobby that really picks up steam

The train rides at Heritage Acres started with years and years of hard work

Rudy Walter sits atop a one-eighth scale three-truck Shay locomotive at Heritage Acres in Central Saanich on Sunday. The engine is a working model of the full-size locomotive at the Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan.

A quick ride around the grounds on a model locomotive at Heritage Acres in Central Saanich belies the years of dedication shown by the members of the Vancouver Island Model Engineers (VIME).

On the weekend, members of VIME brought their locomotives out of the roundhouse and offered by-donation rides during the Saanich Historical Artifacts Society’s Summer Fair. Hundreds of families took advantage of the rides on Sunday, when the PNR stopped by.

Cliff Plumpton of Saanichton is one of the engineers and says his steam locomotive — based on a Canadian Pacific Railroad engine that ran in Montreal — was built over eight years. It was a chance, he said, for his father-in-law Arthur Pennance to pass on his skills and knowledge after years as a machinist.

“He’s 96 and he’ll be here today,” Plumpton said.”Building this locomotive gave him the chance to pass on his skills, which gave him a lot of satisfaction.”

Plumpton himself worked for the CPR’s signal gang when he was 15.

“We shovelled for a summer,” he said.

Phil Harrison from Hornby Island and Rudy Walter of Courtenay partnered up to build their one-eighth scale locomotive — a smaller three-truck Shay like the one on display at Duncan’s Forest Discovery Centre. Harrison said he had the plans and Walter had the skills as a machinist. Like Plumpton and his father-in-law, it was a chance to teach and to learn.

And like their counterparts, it was a hobby that took them eight years to complete. All agree that it’s a labour of love and a hobby that requires a certain amount of dedication.

With a twist of a few knobs on a propane tank, the click of a lighter and blast of hot air and flame, the locomotives started heating up for a busy day on the small tracks, as families from all over the Island lined up at the gate for their chance to take a ride on a little piece of history.

Just Posted

Victoria seniors want to know more about marijuana

Four presentations on the medical properties of cannabis for seniors come to Victoria

Victoria gears up to axe free parking on Sundays

Council vote puts Sunday parking fees towards bus passes for youth

Parents still seek clarity for future of Victor School

Motion avoided to remove special needs Victor School from boundary review proposal

Oak Bay one step closer to deer immunocontraceptive test

Up to 80 deer could be given ‘birth control’ vaccine in the fall

Black Press readers share photos of their favourite critters on #LoveYourPetDay

Greater Victoria is raining cats and dogs…and snails and goats

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

Steam train to McLean Mill is out of commission for repairs; city wants to re-examine rail costs

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

Most Read