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

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unamanageable’

Bouquet sales support big dreams in Greater Victoria

Country Grocer features holiday bouquets for Help Fill a Dream

‘Book nerds unite!’ Sidney voted one of Canada’s most cozy cities

Coveted for its bookstores and picturesque views, Expedia.ca ranks town No. 12 on list of 55 cities

Emerald Gloves boxing brings fights to Langford

Langford’s Matt Daniels dropped weight for debut

‘Good Samaritan’ honoured for saving man from capsized canoe

BC Ambulance Service said Rob Clifford’s actions saved man’s life in December 2017 incident

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

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

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

Port Alberni convenience store robbed

Police still searching for suspect

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saskatchewan college honours memory of Humboldt Broncos coach

Darcy Haugan wore jersey No. 22 when he was a star player with the Briercrest College Clippers

Liberals to act quickly if Saturday midnight deal deadline breached: source

Oh Friday, Canadian Union of Postal Workers said it would not bring the latest offers to a vote of its members

Most Read