SOOKE HISTORY: Milne’s Landing CNR station

Jane Kitching waits for the train bringing groceries and dry goods to Sooke in 1927. (Sooke Region Museum)

Jane Kitching waits for the train bringing groceries and dry goods to Sooke in 1927. (Sooke Region Museum)

Elide Peers | Contributed

Back in the 1920s, freight was often carried via the Canadian National Railway from Victoria to supply Sooke.

The Milne’s Landing Station, pictured here in 1927, stood a bit west of where Meota Drive meets Sooke River Road. This area is frequented by hikers nowadays, as the Galloping Goose corridor (originally the route of the CNR) intersects with Sooke River Road a couple of times.

The little girl perched on the oil barrel is Jean Kitching, who accompanied her dad to the station to wait for the puffing steam locomotive, bringing a shipment of grocery and dry goods supplies.

READ: Whiffin Spit named after Royal Navy clerk

At that time, the Kitchings and their partners, the Hardys, operated the Kitching & Hardy grocery store at the northwest corner of Sooke Road and Otter Point Road. Eustace Arden originally built this structure in 1909 and it still stands today, and now houses a restaurant.

Eustace Arden had also operated a horse-drawn stage, and it was in that fashion that groceries had initially been brought to stock his general store. In the time of pioneers, transport of merchandise from Victoria to Sooke had been by sailing schooner or sloop, so when rail transport became available, it was seen as a significant advancement.

Near the station stood a cottage that housed the CNR section foreman, Ernest Hillen, and his family. Small vehicles called “speeders” were used for quick transport along the rail line as well, and we recall hearing that sometimes the speeders were used for hi-jinks.

Sooke resident Danny Eddy grew up on Sooke River Road in the 1950s, and he recalls he and his buddies having the opportunity for speeder jaunts along this route as far as Colwood for a bit of fun, returning with no one the wiser.

The other CNR station, which was familiar to us, was built alongside the track approximately where Saseenos Road meets the CNR/Galloping Goose route, a bit east of Woodlands Road, where there was also a siding loading Alf Brown’s poles. After hauling logs, lumber and poles from the Sooke hills’ uplands, the rail line, converted from steam locomotives to diesel, was in use transporting munitions from Cowichan Bay to Rocky Point in the 1960s.

In 1987, the Capital Regional District leased the province’s corridor and established the very popular hiking trail as far as Leechtown.

•••

Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Local HistorySooke

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greg Chow is the 2021 Local Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Fighting fire a family affair for Colwood Assistant Chief Greg Chow

With 38 years of service, Greg Chow is the 2021 Hero of the Year

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

Sooke Road was down to single lane alternating traffic after a motor vehicle incident Wednesday morning. (Google Maps)
UPDATED: Sooke Road reopen after motor vehicle incident

Emergency crews were on scene of Wednesday morning incident

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

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

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Most Read