Locomotive No. 2116 once plied the tracks of the Sooke Hills with logs from the Sooke and Leech River watersheds.

Locomotive No. 2116 once plied the tracks of the Sooke Hills with logs from the Sooke and Leech River watersheds.

Memories of locomotive No. 2116

The old steamer trekked the Sooke Hills up and down between Sooke and Victoria for decades, hauling cargo and passengers.

No. 2116, our favourite steam locomotive.

Back in the days of rural Sooke in the 1930s, we unsophisticated kids that lived in Saseenos would rush out to watch a locomotive hurtling by hauling a string of cars, when the steam whistle announced its onrushing approach.

Boxcars and flatdecks, while generally empty as they headed upcountry, would come charging back down from the Sooke and Leech River watersheds loaded with logs destined for the mills near Selkirk Inlet in Victoria.

Sometimes the flatdecks carried poles enroute to Minneapolis, Minn., the centre which distributed communications poles throughout the western world. The CNR established sidings at various strategic locations along the line, such as Saseenos, Milnes Landing, and Leechtown stations, where the flatdecks would be loaded. In the 1940s and early 1950s, the siding at Saseenos Station, just east of Woodlands Road, would often be the scene of poles being loaded from Alf Brown’s poleyard.

Another scene, on the eastern side of the station, might be a load of lumber being loaded onto the waiting railcars by strong muscled young men. Munn’s Mill, which stood between Ayum (Stoney) Creek and Laidlaw Road, was operating then, and it was the “Ross Carrier” from Munn’s Mill, driven by Bill Marr, that one heard whining up the hill to drop its load alongside the railcar, ready for those muscular young men to load by hand.

Before there was such a thing as the Capital Regional District, that later developed the Galloping Goose trail on the original CNR line, local folk used to hike the line, with its Douglas-fir ties supporting the steel rails on which rode the mean looking steel rimmed wheels in this photo.

The thing we all had to watch and listen for, as we neared one of the many railway trestles that were on the route at that time, was not to get caught on a trestle when a train was approaching, as they would not be able to stop in time.

Later, the trains carried munitions from Cowichan Bay to Work Point, but by that time, the locomotives were diesel – how dull, after the excitement of the belching steam behemoths.

While those days are long gone, as you join the hundreds of hikers walking the Galloping Goose trail every day now, spare a thought for the romance of the steam locomotives and the mournful haunting wail of their steam whistles which once echoed throughout the Sooke Hills.

•••

Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.

 

Just Posted

Staff member Lena Laitinen gives the wall at BoulderHouse a workout during a media tour on June 16. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
BoulderHouse raring to rock Langford

Popularity of bouldering continues to climb across Greater Victoria

The Sooke Potholes is a jewel in the community's crown. Transition Sooke hosts a town hall meeting on community growth on June 26. (Courtesy: Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke forum tackles community growth

To Grow or Not to Grow online town hall meeting set for June 26

General manager Lindsey Pomper says Sidney’s Star Cinema cannot wait welcome audiences when it reopens June 18, amid an easing of public health measures. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney’s Star Cinema raises curtain for the first time after months in the darkness

Iconic theatre to reopen at half capacity for Friday night showing

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.’s Indigenous language, art and culture

North Saanich advisor says initiative supports urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

A dogs in parks pilot study unanimously approved by Saanich council will evaluate how park space can best be shared between dog owners and non-owners alike. (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Saanich to study park-sharing strategy between those with and without pets

District-wide People, Parks and Dogs study to produce recommendations by fall

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says re-opening B.C.’s border to the U.S. ‘is not in our best interest’ right now. (B.C. Government photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (B.C. Government photo)
B.C. records 113 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 4 deaths

Vaccination of young people rising quickly, near 75 per cent

Most Read