The larger of the two rail engines donated to the Sooke Region Museum by BC Hydro gets lifted off the transport truck before being moved into a bay at the Kaltasin works yard. Maneuvering it into place are Brian Sorokan from RKM Crane Service (in black hardhat) and Willie Webb from the museum.

Two historic rail engines come home

The Sooke Region Museum acquired the two small narrow gauge rail engines recently.

A huge crane from RKM Crane Service practically dwarfed the small, rusty rail engines it was employed to pick up. The crane gently lifted and eased the old engines into a bay at the Kaltasin Works Yard so they could be under cover while being assessed and restored.

The Sooke Region Museum acquired the two small narrow gauge rail engines that used to work at the Jordan River Dam. They had been housed at the B.C. Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan until their relocation on November 21 to the works yard in Sooke.

On hand were museum members and Karla Louwers from BC Hydro. BC Hydro donated the engines and provided the museum with a donation of $5,000 to help with the restoration.

Louwers, community relations spokesperson for BC Hydro said they will stay involved and assist with providing some of the history.

“It’s nice for us that we have found a good home for these rail cars. It is part of Jordan River history and it makes good sense to have them back in this area,” she said.

Lee Boyko, Executive Director for the Sooke Region Museum said the gas-powered rail engines worked on the dam transporting people and materials.

The smaller of the two cars is 10’ 6” long by 55” wide, the longer is 19’ long, also 55” wide. They ran on narrow gauge track which is 36” wide. Eventually the smaller of the two engines will be housed at the museum, the location for the larger engine placement is still under consideration. Small engines of this type were once common workhorses of the many narrow gauge rail lines that were found around Vancouver Island.

Museum volunteer Wally Vowles laughingly said, “We should tell Stu Young we have our own trolley now.”

The Sooke Region Museum is looking for volunteers and financial resources to help bring the engines into display condition. Anyone interested in helping out can contact the museum at 250-642-6351, info@sookeregionmuseum, or drop by the museum during our normal operating hours Tuesday – Sunday 9-5.

 

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